Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Amy D. Broemmel

Committee Members

Susan L. Groenke, Dorian L. McCoy, Stergios G. Botzakis


The purpose of this study was to understand how teachers implemented, modified, or resisted the implementation of a scripted English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum. This critical case study used qualitative interviews to investigate reading and ELA teachers’ experiences with implementing a scripted ELA curriculum in a single school district. Findings include teachers’ observations about the role of the curriculum in their teaching, the role of their self-efficacy as teachers, the role of reciprocal trust between administrators and teachers, and the role of power in the adoption and implementation of the curriculum. These findings may be of interest to school and district administrators, curriculum developers, teacher educators, and educational researchers.

Overall, study participants viewed the Wit and Wisdom curriculum favorably. They cited its recursive design as a way to allow all students access to classroom discourse and questions that require high level critical thinking. Some participants said it raised their expectations for students. Participants overwhelmingly said that their trust in the district administration and their freedom to modify the curriculum was essential for their satisfaction with it or their willingness to use it. District administrative structure and the role of academic coaches was central to mediating conflict between teachers and curriculum. Participants noted that the curriculum offers vertical alignment and stylistic consistency to mitigate intra-district transience and pandemic disruptions to the instructional calendar. Many participants struggled with the loss of autonomy and creativity of building their own curricula. Within my analysis, I noted teachers’ lack of knowledge and control of the adoption process and what that may suggest about power and curricula in schools. For example, teachers were expected to teach 90 minute lessons in 70-minute class meetings. The power imbalance implicit in this expectation directly impacted their classroom practice.

Based on these findings, I suggested implications for teachers, school and district administrators, educational researchers, and educator preparation programs (EPPs). Implications include an ongoing examination of how curriculum is defined and how standards-driven discourse influences classroom instruction, as well as suggestions for teacher resistance and EPP advocacy for teacher autonomy.

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