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Practice-Based Teacher Education Programs at Independent Schools: A Cross-Case Analysis Open Access

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Teachers’ knowledge and skills are the most important influences on the learning and development of young children. It is imperative that teachers entering the classroom are prepared with the knowledge, expertise, and experience necessary to promote student learning. This qualitative, instrumental, multiple case study with cross-case analysis explores practice-based teacher education programs at independent schools and provides a thick, rich description of the essential components of each program and novice educators’ experience of each program. Practice-based teacher education programs are experience oriented programs that emphasize the connection between theory and practice through daily engagement with schools.This study outlines the essential components of practice-based teacher education programs at independent schools and provides valuable insight and information to practitioners seeking to establish programs or strengthen existing programs, and researchers committed to innovative teacher education and interested in the independent school context. A product of this study was a proposition for characterizing the essential components of practice-based teacher education programs at independent schools. The components identified by this analysis include a clear, well-defined mission; coherent and integrated core curriculum, coursework, practice, and theory; extended immersive field experience in a supportive school context; response to school specific culture; commitment to diversity and inclusion practices; exemplar modeling of pedagogical and instructional practices; ongoing supervision, observation, and feedback; educative mentoring; support for a cohort of novice educators; opportunities to develop self-awareness and self-reflective practices; commitment to preparing teachers to effectively teach, increasing teacher effectiveness, improving teacher self-efficacy, promoting teacher retention, and advancing school specific goals.

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