Date of Award

12-2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Education

Major Professor

Gary Skolits

Committee Members

Janie Burney, F. Ann Draughon, Russell French

Abstract

Research on adolescent learning shows that students learn best when they are actively engaged with the content and when metacognitive teaching strategies are employed. Despite these findings, current studies show that most classrooms are still teacher centered and that passive learning strategies are the norm. To help teachers incorporate highly effective instructional strategies into their classrooms countless professional development workshops are offered each; yet most of these workshops fail to effect true change in the classroom behavior of teachers.

The design of this study compares teachers’ attempts to employ new instructional strategies within the context of a model curriculum with subsequent attempts to employ those same strategies outside of the model. The purposes of this study were to: (1) investigate how teachers apply new knowledge, attitudes, or behaviors and adopt them as a regular part of their instructional process; (2) identify barriers to instructional change; and (3) examine the impact of a research-based professional development model on teachers’ use of a novel instructional strategy.

The results of this study indicate that teachers need to understand the educational theory behind new strategies, see the strategy modeled for them, be provided with opportunities to discuss the strategy as it relates to their classrooms and current instructional practices, and have on-site support when implementing the strategy on their own.

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