Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Dr. Brett Welch

Abstract

A local college in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates began a Bachelor of Education program in 2008 to train prospective teachers to deliver a bi-literate education in Arabic and English to students in Abu Dhabi schools. Because there had been no examination of preservice teachers' perceptions of their practicum experience, a project study was designed to analyze the perceptions of a group of preservice teachers regarding the final practicum and whether that experience enhanced their ability to deliver educational practices to better serve students. This phenomenological study was guided by experiential learning theory, as preservice teachers learned from their experiences in a professional setting. The research questions addressed preservice teachers' experiences during the practicum and how those experiences contributed to their professional growth. Individual face-to-face interviews of 8 preservice teachers were the means of data collection. Transcripts of audio recorded interviews were coded to determine themes related to the practicum experience. The data revealed that preservice teachers felt that the practicum allowed them to experience the role of the classroom teacher and its day-to-day challenges. Based on the research findings, a project is proposed to assist preservice teachers in assessing students' needs, identifying instructional classroom practices, and planning lessons. Implementation of the project could lead to positive social change by engaging preservice teachers in professional development centered on professional learning communities. This engagement would encourage collaboration with professionals to develop lesson plans to reach all learners. This project has the potential to contribute to preservice teachers' professional growth, which may lead to continuous learning in their professional learning environment.