Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A phenomenological study of strategies to increase teachers' professional autonomy
by Spence, Johnna M., Ed.D., University of Phoenix, 2012, 311; 3537796
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of the qualitative phenomenological study was to identify what, if any, strategies and opportunities may provide increased teacher autonomy in public schools. The problem was that No Child Left Behind limits the resources, content, and teaching strategies available to elementary and secondary teachers to improve quality of instruction. Thirty participants involved in one of two pilot studies or the current study were interviewed individually, using an open-ended interview format. Textual data was collected, analyzed, and juxtaposed with data from demographic questionnaires. Textual data from transcribed interviews was imported into NVivo 8® coding software. The nine resulting themes included: Perceptions on autonomy for independent decisions, differences of small and large school districts, descriptions of curriculum standardization, perceived effects of standardization, perceived limitation of teachers’ autonomy, identified strategies and opportunities to increase teacher autonomy, the provision of an enabling environment, the perceived benefits of teachers’ abilities to make policy-based decisions, and the perceived benefits of teachers’ abilities to make policy-based decisions. Findings supported the literature review on teachers’ professional knowledge and the reduction of teaching abilities to following a set of scripted curriculum. The study findings add to current literature by identifying a wanted shift in teachers’ sphere of influence within a scope of curriculum and instruction. Recommendations for future study included replicating the study using various populations. Beneficial information may be obtained by comparing data from large districts to small districts. Future research could be directed at leadership that supports levels of teacher autonomy.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Clodi, Dennis R.
Commitee: Epps, Barbara, Ward, Meredith L.
School: University of Phoenix
Department: Educational Leadership
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 74/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Instructional Design, Educational leadership, Education Policy
Keywords: Instructional leadership, Professional development, Professionalism, Teacher autonomy
Publication Number: 3537796
ISBN: 978-1-267-99068-6
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