Date of Award

Spring 2002

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

Jack E. Robinson

Committee Member

Charlene E. Fleener

Committee Member

Sylvia Spratley


This year-long study focused on three first-year teachers-in order to examine how they adjusted to their first year, how they developed professionally, and how they changed as teachers. Each teacher possessed characteristics for success in urban schools, and had completed a Professional Development School internship.

Using a self-efficacy test, interviews, and a teacher survey, the three teachers were measured throughout the academic year with regard to their level of readiness to teach, the impact of their Professional Development School training on their work as teachers, self-efficacy, and willingness to continue teaching in an urban setting.

Regarding their level of readiness to teach, the three indicated that they were not only prepared to teach, but well prepared for the challenges and demands of the urban classroom. Principals of the three teachers confirmed teacher success in the urban classroom. Teacher development was observed by analyzing ethnographic interviews to examine how teacher focus changed throughout the school year and compared with characteristics identified in teacher development models. The teacher development models utilized were skill acquisition, reorientation of concerns, and life cycle. The three teachers advanced more rapidly through the stages of development than teachers cited in the literature. In analyzing how the participants changed as teachers, the data showed that the three teachers overcame issues of personal adequacy, gained mastery over their own teaching methods, and became increasingly focused on the needs of their students.

The analysis showed noticeable stability in their personal and teaching efficacy. Also stable throughout the academic year was the participants' willingness to remain in the urban school setting. Responses indicated that the three first year teachers believed that their Professional Development School experience helped their adaptation to the urban environment by empowering them to collaborate with other teachers, respect diversity, be flexible in methodology, and be willing to try innovative approaches.

The successful experiences of the three teachers involved in this study, as measured over time by the self-efficacy test, interviews, and a survey, illustrating the influence of the Professional Development School model for recruiting and preparing these three successful urban teachers. The teachers in this study had many effective urban teacher characteristics which helped them during their first year of teaching. The success of the urban educators was due to a combination of Professional Development School preparation program, experience and utilization of effective urban teacher characteristics.


In Copyright. URI: This Item is protected by copyright and/or related rights. You are free to use this Item in any way that is permitted by the copyright and related rights legislation that applies to your use. For other uses you need to obtain permission from the rights-holder(s).