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Unpacking Preservice Agriculture Teacher Development Through Reflective Awareness of Stress: A Mixed Methods Study

Erica B. Thieman

Ph.D. Dissertation, Faculty of the Graduate School, University of Missouri-Columbia, May 2013.

For a PDF version of the complete paper, click here.

Abstract

Agricultural teacher educators are faced with a challenge of preparing their preservice teachers for the reality of the profession that lies in everything that exists outside of content and pedagogical knowledge (Barrick & Garton, 2010; Cruickshank, et al., 1996; Darling-Hammond & Bransford, 2005). Understanding how preservice teachers develop is essential in the process of development, selection, and implementation of teacher preparation curriculum and practices (Cruickshank, et al., 1996). Through the study of preservice teacher struggles and reflection, teacher educators can work toward more developmentally appropriate practice to optimize the limited time students are in the teacher development program. Using measures of physiological stress is a good first step in identifying moments of struggle and increasing reflective awareness related to challenging aspects of the microteaching (Kyriacou, 2003; Lazarus & Folkman, 1984; McCraty & Tomasino, 2004). There is a need to increase reflective awareness of stress in preservice teachers to inform teacher educators how to better help novice educators proactively work to improve in areas where struggle is observed within their teaching practice (Kyriacou, 2003). Understanding how preservice teachers experience stress and how physiological stress can help indicate opportunities of growth where preservice teachers are struggling. This approach could help teacher educators tailor experiences maximizing growth and development in preservice teachers.