Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Abraham S. Fischler College of Education

Advisor

Carole Trueman

Committee Member

Judith B. Galician

Abstract

The problem addressed in this study was that stakeholders (i.e., graduates, cooperating teachers, principals, and heads of special education departments) of a teacher preparation program in special education at a teachers’ college in western Jamaica had not been asked their perceptions of the effectiveness of the undergraduate program that was started in 2011.

The purpose of the study was to determine stakeholders’ perceptions of the preparedness and effectiveness of graduates of a teacher preparation program in special education at a teachers’ college in western Jamaica. The stakeholders were the recent fulltime graduates of the program, cooperating teachers, principals, and heads of departments. In addition, information regarding the perceptions of graduates, principals, and heads of departments of the mentorship system for beginning teachers, which was designed to help them transition from the teachers’ college to work, was gathered and analyzed.

The following research questions guided this study:

  1. What are the graduates’ perceptions of the bachelor of education degree program in special education?
  2. What are the graduates’ perceptions of their effectiveness as special educators?
  3. What are the perceptions of principals, heads of departments, and cooperating teachers of beginning teachers who graduated from the bachelor of education degree program in special education?
  4. Are there any differences in perceptions of graduates and other stakeholders of the graduates’ effectiveness as teachers?
  5. To what extent do mentorship programs for beginning teachers provide the necessary support?

A nonexperimental, quantitative approach, using a survey research design, was employed in this study to gather data to answer the research questions. The results of this study show that graduates and other stakeholders believe that the undergraduate program in special education adequately prepares graduates to become effective special educators. In addition, mentorship is a crucial component of any beginning teacher’s development, as mentorship helps to support beginning teachers as they transition from college to the workplace. However, there are some areas, such as enhancing and expanding the mentorship program and improving the information and communications technology course of studies, that need to be addressed. Implications of the study and future research are discussed.

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