Educator's social representations for cooperating teacher effectiveness: Implications for policy and practice

Tami Greggerson, University of Texas at El Paso


The purpose of this study was to identify, examine, and compare core social representation systems for "cooperating teacher" and "teacher effectiveness" through perceptions of members of a regional committee spearheaded by the university, campus administrators, teachers from campuses who hosted student teachers (cooperating teachers), and student teachers through a three-part questionnaire. As well, this study aimed to compare and elaborate the meaning of each groups' core descriptive concepts for "cooperating teacher" and "teacher effectiveness" with those identified by Roberts' (2006) Cooperating Teacher Effectiveness model. Social representations were derived for each participating group of subjects utilizing the structural analysis approach suggested by Abric (1993). Hierarchical structures by examining each concept's for each group were elaborated, and based on these hierarchies core and peripheral concepts for each group's social representations were identified. Critical to this study was the inability of members of the regional committee and campus administrators being able to establish a social representation for "cooperating teacher". While the group was able to identify descriptive concepts, the overall idea of "cooperating teacher" for this group was ambiguous allowing none of the concepts to become centrally important. Possible reasons included lack of a clearly defined and understood cooperating teacher selection process, lack of a unified mentor training, lack of authentic involvement in the work and practices of cooperating teachers and student teachers, and a lack of support from campus administrators and university personnel. Only 11 of 28 or 39% of the cooperating teacher effectiveness attributes from this study were found in Roberts' (2006) Cooperating Teacher Effectiveness model where he identified 30 attributes of cooperating teacher effectiveness. Only two of the 11 were found in both "cooperating teacher" and "teacher effectiveness" core systems and none of these descriptors were share among all four groups. As well, some key attributes according to experts in the field of teaching such as "knowledge of content, pedagogy, and student learning", "metacognitive/reflective practices", and "feedback" were missing all together from a group's social representation or found in the peripheral system rather than the core system. Overall, it was found that social representations of the groups were more unique than alike.

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Education

Recommended Citation

Greggerson, Tami, "Educator's social representations for cooperating teacher effectiveness: Implications for policy and practice" (2014). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3623408.