Paulsen, T. H., Smalley, S. W., & Retallick, M. S. (2016). Student teacher activities - are they relevant? The university supervisor’s perspective. Journal of Agricultural Education, 57(3), 33-54.doi: 10.5032/jae.2016.03033
The traditional student teaching experience includes a complex, triadic relationship between student teacher, cooperating teacher, and the university supervisor. Studies seeking to understand this experience from the perspectives of the student teacher and cooperating teacher are commonly found in the literature; yet research specific to the university supervisor has been considered meager at best. Building upon Ajzen’s Theory of Planned Behavior, we sought to reveal the university supervisor’s voice regarding the relevance of traditionally required student teaching skills and activities commonly included in the capstone student teaching experience. A descriptive census study consisting of university supervisors (N = 62) from the North Central Region of the American Association for Agricultural Education (AAAE) was implemented. A document analysis of agricultural education student teaching handbooks from the North Central AAAE region provided the foundation for a researcher-developed, expert-panel validated instrument consisting of student teaching skills and activities organized into eight constructs. University supervisors considered seven of the eight constructs as very relevant for inclusion in the capstone student teaching experience. We conclude that university supervisors in the North Central Region of AAAE perceive activities and skills commonly required of student teachers as important to the capstone student teaching experience. Future activities should be aligned with those included in national performance-based, subject-specific assessments commonly being adopted by teacher preparation programs. Future research should seek to determine alignment of best practices in SBAE national standards-based assessments.