Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2011

Degree Type


Degree Name



Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Kathleen Crawford-McKinney


The purpose of this study was to examine to what extent a teacher education program prepares teacher candidates to be effective urban educators who are reflective, innovative, and committed to diversity based on the perceptions and insight from students. As the nation grapples with an extreme range of outputs from our public schools, an investigation into such an integral component of developing effective educators is essential, if not mandatory (Spring, 2009). Given the goals and standards for educators today, teacher education programs have to consider their role in this process and determine what is required of them to support teachers who are prepared for multiple experiences and a diverse group of students (Darling-Hammond, 2006). While effective educators challenge themselves to be exemplary in the field, teacher education programs are equally challenged to provide experiences and the necessary pedagogy that will demonstrate and model the expectations of these teacher candidates.

This study examined the claims presented by Wayne State University's College of Education and its role in the preparation of teacher candidates. The methodology for this research was a qualitative case study to evaluate the teacher candidates and their perception of developing a university's claims of preparing them to be reflective, innovative urban practitioners who are committed to diversity. A collection of teacher candidate interviews, artifacts, field notes and reviewed documents were analyzed and the findings presented in a rich and detailed account. While there are several qualities of an effective educator, this study focused on three qualities that have emerged from the College of Education's theoretical foundation of constructivism and a review of the literature; it is the ability to be an effective urban educator who is reflective, innovative and committed to diversity.

The findings indicated that candidates were prepared to receive their future students because they developed their pedagogical knowledge, reflective practices and connected theories to practices. These findings led to the following three implications:

*Implication 1: Educators must fully understand the cognitive process of knowledge attainment in order to reach all students for learning.

*Implication 2: A restructuring of teacher education programs to formally transition students into the role of novice teachers will develop their understanding as to the responsibilities of an educator, not a student who teaches. Additionally, faculty will improve the development process for these novice teachers if they model best practices, explain their pedagogical rationale throughout the course and evaluate novice teachers' practices prior to the final teaching experience with students.

*Implication 3: The urban education agenda is to elevate students from a survival state of mind into knowledge of their full potential. Contrary to critics of deficient thinking, I argue that many, especially urban students, come with a host of challenges that has to be addressed in order for them to absorb academic content. Each student's needs have to be evaluated and taken care of which peels away the divisive barriers to learning, layer by layer.