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Abstract

Drawing on the Framework for Effective Middle Level Teaching(Faulkner, Howell, &Cook, 2012; Howell, Cook, Faulkner, 2013), this interpretive, exploratory study utilized survey methodology to analyze 38 middle level principals’ perceptions of effective teaching practices and the preparedness of newly hired middle level teachers. The findings suggest there is difference in perceptions of new teacher preparedness between principals with middle level teacher certification and principals that were prepared to teach at other grade levels. While both groups acknowledged the need for better teacher preparation, principals with middle level teacher certification reported that newly hired teachers were less prepared for effective middle level teaching. The researchers identified two primary conclusions that impact the field of middle grades teacher preparation: (a) beginning middle grades teachers need to be better prepared for effective teaching and (b) principals perceive the preparation of new teachers differently depending upon their own teaching certification, with principals holding middle grades teaching certification being more critical of the level of preparation. While both strengths and weaknesses of preparation were identified in each of the six constructs, the most relevant and important conclusion is that middle level principals perceive beginning middle grades teachers as not being adequately prepared to address the demands of effective middle grades teaching in several constructs from the Framework for Effective Middle Level Teaching.

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