Mutual learning during student teaching: A case study

Jeffrey Thomas Scheetz, Fordham University


The purpose of this case study was to determine the existence of a mutual learning effect during the student teaching experience. Areas of study included within the dissertation were: student teaching, cooperating teachers, adult learning, staff development, and critical thinking. A pilot program involving Montclair State College and five New Jersey public school districts provided the sampling of cooperating teachers studied for this research. The research questions explored were: The degree to which the cooperating teachers' critical thinking behaviors and attitudes were affected by their participation in this program and to what extent did the program succeed as a staff development tool? The theoretical rationale for this study was a modification of a peer-coaching model whereupon teachers acquired or reinforced pedagogical skills by observing their student teachers demonstrating those skills in their classrooms. Using the work of Miles and Huberman (1984) as a guide, the cooperating teachers' responses were transcribed, coded, placed on a behavior and attitude matrix, and then analyzed. An analysis of the cooperating teachers' responses indicated that a mutual learning effect did exist during this student teaching experience. It was discovered, however, that not all mutual learning occurred as a result of the modeling of critical thinking skills by the student teacher. In several instances cooperating teachers reported improving or acquiring critical thinking infusion skills despite their student teachers being unwilling or unable to include those skills in their teaching. It was concluded that student teaching may prove to be an untapped resource for the professional development of veteran teachers. During this pilot program, cooperating teachers were able to acquire valuable pedagogical skills by observing their student teachers. It was recommended that the pilot program be expanded to include more clinical school districts and that further applications for mutual learning be explored. It was further recommended that Montclair State College make information concerning this program available to other teacher training institutions. It was also recommended that researchers conduct further studies in 5 years to measure the long term effects on both the cooperating teachers and student teachers who participated in this pilot program.

Subject Area

School administration|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Scheetz, Jeffrey Thomas, "Mutual learning during student teaching: A case study" (1991). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9136335.