Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum and Instruction (PhD)

Degree Level



Curriculum and Instruction


Heather D. Young

Committee Member

Angela Elsass

Second Committee Member

Christian Z. Goering


Literacy Clinic, Pre-Service Teacher Education, Teacher Self-Efficacy


This study describes how participation in a university literacy clinic impacts self-efficacy in pre-service teacher candidates. This study was conducted one and a half years into the global COVID-19 pandemic, creating the need for the clinic’s program, Literacy Camp, to be completed through fully virtual means. Thus, ways in which the pre-service teachers’ experience was impacted by the method of instructional delivery was also detailed. Despite the body of growing research related to virtual learning and efficacy outcomes, there was a gap in the literature related to pre-service teachers’ participation in a fully virtual university literacy clinic and its impacts on their self-efficacy. This study was designed with a need to fill this hole in mind.

The unique and personal experiences of 23 elementary pre-service teacher candidates completing a yearlong internship and participating in a university literacy clinic were explored in this qualitative case study, framed through a social constructivist lens (Creswell, 2013; Vygotsky, 1978) so that the voice of the individual was elevated and carefully considered. A convenience sampling scheme was utilized to collect and analyze data compiled from three main data sources provided by pre-service teacher candidate participants: an efficacy pre-survey, an efficacy post-survey, and ten daily debrief forms.

Four original themes emerged from the data: Building a Learning Culture, Tutor as the Learner, Student First Approach to Intervention, and The Virtual Environment. Findings from this study indicate that participation in the virtual literacy clinic allowed pre-service teachers to successfully plan and implement a full, individualized intervention related to literacy learning for one elementary or middle school student. Participants were able to reflect on their experience to grow as a learner and recognize the impacts they made on their Literacy Camp students. Despite the challenges faced through a fully virtual learning setting, pre-service teachers were able to overcome obstacles and complete their practicum experience, gaining self-efficacy throughout the process.