Date of Award

Winter 2012

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Teaching & Learning


Curriculum and Instruction

Committee Director

Shana Pribesh

Committee Member

Leigh Butler

Committee Member

Charlene Fleener


In this descriptive, mixed methods study, the researcher investigated the influence of teacher preparation programs' field experiences on teacher candidates' sense of teaching efficacy. Tschannen-Morgan & Woolfolk-Hoy's (2001) Teacher Sense of Efficacy Scale questionnaire was sent to 221 teacher candidates enrolled in one of five teaching license paths in a large metropolitan university in the eastern part of the United States. Seventy-seven percent of the questionnaires were returned. Questionnaires were analyzed to determine the degree the number of hours of elementary teacher candidates' field experiences influence their perceptions of their teaching efficacy. The questionnaires were also used to compare the mean scores among teacher candidates' teaching efficacy beliefs that have completed their required teacher license paths' field experiences. Further, eleven interviews were conducted from the five license paths to determine components of candidates' field experiences that contributed towards increasing their teaching efficacy. Results indicated that multiple field experiences benefited candidates by exposing them to multiple cooperating teachers, students, and various learning environments. The regression analyses indicated a slight to moderate positive correlation of the number of hours of field experiences to teacher candidates' teaching efficacy. The analyses of variance (ANOVA) tests determined a statistically significant difference among overall efficacy of those in one of the license paths with less than 430 hours and the other four license paths. However, since this particular path's participants' population was very small, this might provide a limitation to the findings. Further, qualitative results indicated numerous factors during candidates' field experiences that contributed to the increase in confidence levels as future educators. Evidence suggested that field experiences should provide candidates the flexibility to try different instructional strategies, ways to engage students, and teaching techniques to help classroom management. Formal field experiences that emphasized communication and collaboration among the candidates, the university supervisors, and the cooperating teachers promoted candidates' teaching efficacy. Candidates expressed the strength in regular self-reflection and continual feedback from these key players during their field experiences. Along with feeling supported, results indicated the importance of a working professional relationship among the university supervisor, the teacher candidate, and the cooperating teacher. Findings also suggest informal field experiences (completed before entering the teacher preparation program) that were paid or volunteered, contributed towards increasing candidates' teaching efficacy prior to enrolling in their teacher preparation program.