Date of Award

Spring 2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Aman Yadav

Committee Chair

Aman Yadav

Committee Member 1

Michael Yough

Committee Member 2

George Bodner

Committee Member 3

David Eichinger


The purpose of this study was to explore elementary preservice teachers' beliefs about effective classroom instruction and the characteristics and behaviors of effective teachers, and to examine how these beliefs may vary across teacher education. Participants were 24 students enrolled in a teacher education program at a large mid-west university in the United States. Data were collected using an intensive interview protocol consisting of semi-structured questions, and analyzed using grounded theory strategies (Charmaz, 2006, 2012). Using a constructive/interpretive framework (Lincoln & Guba, 2013), the analysis of the data indicated that participants' beliefs about teacher effectiveness dwell around 12 overreaching categories; five regarding effective instruction (e.g., the physical environment of the classroom, types of pedagogical approaches), four about the characteristics of effective teachers (e.g., teacher persona, teacher control), and three in relation to the behaviors of effective teachers (e.g., student-related behaviors, control-related behaviors). The analysis also indicated potential variations in participants' beliefs about teacher effectiveness according to the time since they enrolled in the program. Implications for theory and practice and recommendations for future research are provided.