In public education and most recently with the No Child Left Behind Act, there is a nation-wide push for every student to learn regardless of his or her background or ability (H.R. Rep. No 107-63, 2001; U.S. Department of Education, 2006; Symonds, 2001). Engagement is thought to be a key to student success (Bowen, 2005; Shulman, 2002). As a result, teachers are called upon and expected to find ways to engage all students - even the most disengaged (Barkley, 2010). Research has focused on what motivates students (Barkley, 2010) as well as how teachers can better engage students (Bryson & Hand, 2007), yet research has not questioned the human aspect of this endeavor or stopped to ask what it is like for teachers to do this work. In this study, phenomenological interviews of 6 secondary English teachers are used to generate a description of the teacher's lived experience of working to engage disengaged students. A hermeneutic approach is used to deepen and interpret the meaning of the essence of the teacher's lived experience. Emerging themes reveal a recurring cycle that exposes the intellectual challenge and emotional drain for the teacher. Implications from the study reach past the nuts and bolts of instructional practice to draw attention to the teacher as human in this work and will inform teacher preparation and professional development.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. May 2010. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Dr. David O’Brien. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 131 pages, appendices A-E.
Beaton, Anne Marie Meitz.
Engaging disengaged students: the lived experience of teachers who try and try again..
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