Lander Teacher Educators Contribute to Study of Keys to Student Success
Tuesday, Nov 10, 2020

research perspective study coverWhy do some teacher education students fail and others succeed? A trio of Lander University faculty members recently participated in a study aimed at finding out why.

The three are Associate Professor Dr. Susan Fernandez, Assistant Professor Dr. Terrell Peace and Assistant Professor Tamara Pack, of the College of Teacher Education, who contributed a chapter to the book, “A Research Perspective: Preparing Pre-Service Teachers for Academic Success Across South Carolina,” recently released by Information Age Publishing.

One of the chief fears expressed by students at Lander, one of eight colleges and universities in South Carolina taking part in the project, is “that standardized tests, in this case Praxis Core and Praxis II, might derail their dreams of becoming a teacher, regardless of how well they perform in the classroom.”

Positive field experiences were among several factors identified as contributing to student success, according to Fernandez, Peace and Pack. “Whether it was freshmen and sophomore students relating to early field experiences just completed, or juniors and seniors reflecting on their journey of experiences in diverse settings, a common element was that these experiences in real classrooms helped them gain confidence in the classroom and sparked a passion for the teaching profession,” they wrote.

Peace said that “the mentoring of a strong cooperating teacher and a strong university supervisor during student teaching” is also important.

Many of the education majors at Lander are first-generation college students, and guiding them through the process of becoming teachers is key, according to Pack. “We offer our assistance, and build relationships to assist every step of the way,” she said.

Fernandez serves as chair of Lander’s College of Teacher Education, and the degree to which Lander succeeds in preparing students for careers as educators can be seen in the calls that she regularly receives from principals and administrators seeking graduates to teach in their schools.

“We have a strong reputation in South Carolina!” she said.