Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Education and Human Services


Teacher Education and Teacher Development

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Emily Klein

Committee Member

Monica Taylor

Committee Member

Emily Hodge


Often considered an experience in instructional preparation for preservice teachers, the student teaching practicum is both a practical and relational experience for both the cooperating teacher and student teacher. In this qualitative study, I examine both the instructional and relational core practices cooperating teachers enact with and for their student teachers during the student teaching practicum. Informed by case study methods, I first identified core instructional and relational practices and analyzed them through two texts: Mary Kennedy’s Parsing the Practice of Teaching (2016) and Nel Noddings’s Caring and Moral Education (2008, 2013). Using grounded theory, I then constructed a framework for the student teaching practicum, to inform the ways the cooperating teachers supported student teachers, both instructionally and relationally. This framework stresses the importance of context, emotion, and caring in addition to the practical within the student teaching dynamic.

Through semi-structured interviews of seven participants (four teachers and three student teachers) during the student teaching practicum, I identified the effects the role of caring (enacted by the cooperating teachers) on the participants and the practicum as a whole. It is in this space that power, collaboration, and collegiality were challenged and reimagined. The findings of this study build upon the ways cooperating teachers support student teachers, both pedagogically and relationally, provide a framework that teacher educators could use to inform the student teacher/cooperating teacher dynamic, and explore the role of caring in learning to teach. Implications for teacher educators and teacher educations programs suggest how the student teaching practicum should be structured or modified to address the relational and caring components of it.

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