Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2019

Access Restrictions

Access restricted until 07/29/2021

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Teaching and Learning

First Advisor

Schrier, Leslie

First Committee Member

Plakans, Lia

Second Committee Member

Wesely, Pamela

Third Committee Member

Schmidt, Renita

Fourth Committee Member

Kelly, Mitchell


Student teaching has been identified as an instrumental element in teacher development (Gaudelli & Ousley, 2009; Hamman, Gosselin, Romano, & Bunuan, 2010; Helgevold, Næsheim-Bjørkvik, & Østrem, 2015). During this portion of a teacher’s education, student teachers are paired with a cooperating teacher and university supervisor who guide them as the student teachers assume the role of teacher in a real-world classroom. However, assuming the role of teacher is not as simple as completing a university program and being granted a teaching license. To become a teacher one must reconcile their preconceived notions of teaching with university coursework, local standards, legal requirements, and community expectations (Alsup, 2006; Borko & Mayfield, 1995; Britzman, 1991; Brown & Crumpler, 2013). Because of the difficulty in navigating these demands, student teachers are provided with two individuals tasked with supporting them. These two people are the university supervisor and cooperating teacher. Commonly referred to as the student teaching triad, the student teacher, university supervisor and cooperating teacher have all been identified as integral to the successful completion of the student teaching experience (Borko & Mayfield, 1995). However, despite the claim that each person is essential to student teaching, their individual contributions to the entire process are not well understood. The purpose of this dissertation is to contribute to the growing body of researcher examining the role each member of the student teaching triad plays in a student teacher’s growth and development. Specifically, this study is focused on the university supervisor, an individual who has not received much attention in the research literature.

Approached from a sociocultural perspective, the aim of this work is to investigate the role of the university supervisor from the perspective of the university supervisor. In this case study, data were gathered through a series of semi-structured interviews with university supervisors of English as a Second Language (ESL) student teachers. Three participants were interviewed twice regarding their work with student teachers. Once completed, the interviews were transcribed and qualitatively coded.

Results from this study indicate that the university supervisor is indeed essential, but not in a uniform way for each student teacher. The university supervisor supports the student teacher with whatever they need to be successful, however, the needs of student teachers vary. Therefore, in accordance to the needs of the student teacher, the role of the university supervisor varies. Even with the variances in practice, there were several consistencies in practice which emerged from the data. In conclusion the author argues that while the university supervisor may not have the same impact on the development of each student teacher, the impact they do have is instrumental for student teacher success.


Student Teaching, Teacher Development, University Supervisor


xi, 173 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 155-173).


Copyright © 2019 Gregory Scott Child

Available for download on Thursday, July 29, 2021