Date of Award

Winter 1999

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

William G. Cunningham

Committee Member

M. Lee Manning

Committee Member

Jack E. Robinson

Committee Member

Petra Snowden

Committee Member

Donna B. Evans


This study compares practicum student attitudes (N = 46) in urban Mature PDS, urban Newly Established PDS, and urban Traditional Schools on five professional attributes: diversity, collaboration, reflection, theory-to-practice, and motivation/efficacy. The researcher also compared practicum expectations of students, principals and clinical faculty to identify differences in attitudes among the three practicum environments.

With regard to the five professional attributes, the Mature PDS environment was most successful in encouraging positive professional attitudes, the Traditional School environment was moderately successful, and the Newly Established PDS was least successful. Qualitative findings showed that the clinical faculty in the Mature PDS environment were focused equally on the needs of the school and the needs of their own pre-service teacher training program; and they helped the school to create a more optimal practicum environment. The clinical faculty in the Newly Established PDS environment were focused primarily on the needs and goals of their pre-service teacher training program; and they did not help the schools to create a more optimal practicum environment. Practicum students, principals, and clinical faculty shared the same three expectations of practicum as apprenticeship, mentoring, and exposure to diversity. Two minor expectations, school wide orientation and career decision, were not systematically addressed in any environment.

Policy, recommendations include initiating new PDS partnerships with a research emphasis rather than a pre-service teacher training emphasis. A research agenda with a professional development component provides for the professional needs of both school and university participants, and for building strong collaborative relationships before attempting pre-service teacher training. Practice, recommendations include developing curriculum strategies that highlight the importance of an informed career decision, and provide for a school wide orientation.

The present study is exploratory; its replication on a wider scale would extend knowledge of practicum student professional attitudes, and how those attitudes are influenced by different clinical environments. The methodologies and instruments of the study could be used to evaluate teacher education programs, and to compare the attitudes of practicum students with their cooperating teachers. The five professional attitudes used in this study hold promise as an interrelated set for categorizing the educational knowledge base.


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