Date of Award

12-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

Colleen Gilrane

Committee Members

Richard Allington, Ralph Brockett, Stergios Botzakis

Abstract

Are elementary teachers self-directed learners? If so, do their learning activities outside their classrooms translate into their classrooms? The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship, if any, between elementary teachers’ self-directed learning and activities in their classrooms. A two phase, mixed methods design first utilized a quantitative study from which the results were used to denote the type of data collected in the second, qualitative phase. The quantitative Phase I of this study involved using a survey instrument in order to identify self-directed learners and identify categories of teacher learners. These quantitative data were gathered through the use of the Self-Directed Learning Readiness Scale [SDLRS/LPA] (Guglielmino 1977) which was administered online to 100 teacher respondents. The responses to the instruments were also analyzed statistically in order to generate descriptive statistics for this population of teachers. For the teachers in this study [N=100], the mean was 240.89 with a standard deviation of 2.019. The range was 91 and the variance was 407.735. This score fell within the “above average” range which indicated the teachers had developed an above average readiness for self-directed learning and determination of their own learning needs and goals and the ability to plan and carry out their own learning (Guglielmino 2011). In Phase II, nine teachers scoring “high” and “above average” were interviewed. Results from the interviews revealed that teachers participate in self-directed learning activities which expressed their creative and professional selves. When the teachers in this study found that professional development did not meet the immediate needs of their classroom, they planned and sought additional knowledge on their own. It was found that teacher self-directed learning actually included characteristics that research has found to be essential for successfully implemented professional development that results in improved student achievement. Implications of the study for practice and further research were also discussed.

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