Date of Award

12-2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

Sydney Brown

Abstract

This study was concerned with the challenges beginning teachers face when they enter the field of education. Through the use of reflective practice, beginning teacher personal reflections of experience were recorded and analyzed to discern particular experiences that present as the most challenging to these novice educators.

Reflective practice and experiential learning theories are used in this qualitative phenomenological study. This study includes reflective practice as first introduced by master theorist John Dewey, considered by many to be the father of reflection in education, and theorist Donald Schon. Dewey (1944) recognized reflection as an active and intentional action and further that even a minute amount of experience is better than an abundance of theory, because it is through experience that theory has significance. Theorist Donald Schon (1983) expanded on Dewey’s work in developing types of reflection: reflection-in-action in which reflection occurs during the event and reflection-on-action occurring after the event. Kolb (1984) introduced experience as the main source of learning and contended that experiential learning is a combination of experience, perception, cognition, and behavior and is a holistic and integrative perspective in the cycle of learning.

In this qualitative study, the experiences of purposefully chosen candidates in their first 3 years of teaching were analyzed. The research method of interpretive phenomenology was used to analyze teacher reflections for the purpose of obtaining a better understanding of the experiences beginning teachers deem as most challenging and if these challenges include differentiation of instruction, classroom management, and the unexpected expectations required of the teaching profession. These three primary themes are identified in the literature.

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