Date of Award

5-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Major

Education

Major Professor

Vincent A. Anfara, Jr.

Committee Members

Ernest Brewer, Kimberly Wolbers, Pamela Angelle

Abstract

With increasing state and federal mandates to improve student performance, teachers everywhere are struggling with maintaining positive morale—particularly in residential schools for the deaf. Teacher morale serves as a critical component in promoting positive teaching and learning environments for students. Also, the dwindling number of Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing teachers and staff in Deaf Education severely limits the provision of positive language models for Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing children.

The study sought to answer two research questions:

(1) What is the overall teacher morale at five residential schools for the deaf in the southeastern United States? (Quantitative)

(2) How does the morale of Deaf/Hard-of-Hearing teachers compare with the morale of their hearing counterparts? (Quantitative and Qualitative)

Using Teacher Morale and Deaf Culture as the theoretical framework, this study utilized a sequential, mixed method, case study approach to examine teacher morale in five residential schools for the deaf in the southeastern United States. The Purdue Teacher Opinionaire (PTO), a 100 item four-point Likert survey, was administered to a sample of 118 teachers in five residential schools for the deaf. The results of the survey were analyzed using descriptive statistics and the Mann Whitney U test. Quantitative analysis, following the factors in the PTO, revealed high scores in Satisfaction with Teaching and Rapport among Teachers and low scores in Curriculum Issues, Teacher Load, and Teacher Salary. Interviews and observations were performed at two of the schools. Data from the interviews and observations were analyzed according to Merriam’s (1998) constant comparative method. Qualitative data served to verify and expand upon quantitative findings.

Collegiality among teachers is a forte among teachers in the five residential schools for the deaf and is a big contributor to the high level of morale. However, higher standards and additional expectations at the state and federal levels put a damper on teacher morale.

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