Planning During the Internship: A Study of the Planning Practices of Preservice English Teachers
Hessong Grove, Rebecca M.
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This collective case study investigated the planning practices of six English education interns during the full time internship, including planning for edTPA. Research and professional standards emphasize the importance of planning, as it undergirds every aspect of what happens in a classroom. By understanding how interns learn to plan, teacher educators can better facilitate interns' development of planning skills. Using activity theory as a theoretical framework, this study describes how interns' planning practices changed over the course of the internship and identifies factors that influenced changes. Data sources included lesson plans, interviews with interns and mentors, and edTPA lesson plans. Findings showed most interns did not write detailed daily plans, but those who did experienced fewer planning and teaching struggles. Communication and feedback from the mentor were major factors in creating successful plans and planning routines. Three of the interns began writing more detailed plans to improve their teaching, motivated by a desire to be more organized and effective. All interns wrote detailed, formal plans for edTPA, and these plans included elements that were not part of typical written plans, such as differentiation and formative assessment. Other areas of change included increased planning for scaffolding and addressing students' confusion. Graduate interns expressed increased confidence in planning student-centered lessons. Factors that influenced such changes included experience, mentor guidance, and support from a methods course. Interns also drew on their increasing knowledge of students and district curriculum to plan relevant lessons. Interns consistently planned at the whole-class level, with little evidence of planning for individual learning. This study has implications for teacher educators aiming to strengthen candidates' planning practices. Programs must facilitate proactive mentoring and structured co-planning. Pre-service coursework should help candidates integrate student-centered pedagogy, formative assessment, and differentiation into lesson plans. The impact of internship length and undergraduate vs. graduate program structures must be investigated further. Finally, this study indicates that planning for edTPA was educative for interns. This, along with other findings, suggests that more formal planning can improve intern learning and program coherence.