Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)



First Advisor

Dr. La'Tara Osborne-Lampkin

Second Advisor

Dr. Katherine Kasten

Third Advisor

Dr. Cathy O'Farrell

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Barbara Kruger

Department Chair

Dr. E. N. Jackson, Jr

College Dean

Dr. Larry G. Daniel


During 2 decades of debate about teacher preparation education practitioners and policymakers have called for a more skilled professional teaching force (Darling- Hammond, 2010). Of particular concern has been poverty’s impact on education -- specifically in struggling urban schools -- prompting legislation such as the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB), which shifted funding formulas in an effort to directly target poor students and struggling schools (Talbert-Johnson, 2006). The major purpose of this study was to explore novice teachers’ (teachers in their second to fourth year of teaching) perceptions of their preparedness to teach in urban schools following completion of a traditional 4-year undergraduate teacher preparation program. Several issues influenced their perceptions: prior experiences and attitudes regarding diversity, coursework, and field experiences. The theoretical frameworks of Vygotsky’s (1962) social cognition learning model, Piaget’s theory of psychological constructivism (1952), and Moustaka’s heuristic research (1994) framed this research study. Using a qualitative method, focus groups and interviews were conducted to gain an understanding of the attitudes, beliefs, and perceptions of novice teachers towards the effectiveness of traditional teacher preparation programs. Pattern coding guided the identification and coding of themes in the data. This generated themes regarding attitudes, beliefs, race, social class, and parental involvement. Recommendations for teacher education included modifying field experiences, extensive xi training of directing teachers, matching preservice teachers with strong mentors, and including content in preparation programs focused on parental involvement. Recognizing the perceptions of novice teachers may assist in influencing schools of education to strengthen current programs to better prepare teacher candidates to work with students of diverse backgrounds.