As US public schools become increasingly diverse and teachers are expected to teach across cultural differences, teacher educators must consider how different professional development models shape teacher learning and practice. This study explores how a cohort of 55 P-12 teachers experienced and perceived long-term professional development focused on literacy instruction to meet the needs of diverse learners. Specifically, it examines characteristics of the process of change for the collective case of participants during their participation in three literacy courses facilitated on-site in the district. The study also provides a close look at the experiences of four upper elementary teachers throughout coursework and in the semester following their completion of the final course. Using grounded theory and symbolic interactionism as a methodological framework, the study utilized and explored data from a three-year professional development program enacted through a partnership between a rural school district and a major university. Data collection tools include surveys, reflections, course artifacts, focus groups, observations, interviews, fieldnotes, and questionnaires. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method associated with grounded theory research to determine categories of interest and inductively generate theory. The impact of coursework can lead to small or significant changes in mindset and practice. Study findings indicate that change happens both incrementally, as a result of on-going support and repeated exposures to ideas, as well as resulting from single, pivotal moments. Course design, duration, and structure were key factors in supporting teacher change.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Dr. Lori Helman. 1 computer file (PDF); xv, 273 pages, appendices A-K.
Coffino, Kara Lee.
Teacher experience, learning, and change: an investigation of the effects of long-term professional development..
Retrieved from the University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy,
Content distributed via the University of Minnesota's Digital Conservancy may be subject to additional license and use restrictions applied by the depositor.