Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

"Stroke Your Thoroughbreds and Kick Your Donkeys": Power and the Secondary Administrative Distribution of Teaching Assignments
by Lieberman, Daina S., Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2017, 320; 10606416
Abstract (Summary)

There is evidence to suggest that the teaching assignment process affects teacher career decisions and therefore teacher retention (Andrews & Quinn, 2004; Donaldson & Johnson, 2010; Feng, 2010; Gardner, 2010; Loeb, Kalogrides, & Beteille, 2012; Ost & Schiman, 2015). Understanding what administrators believe influences their decisions and what teachers perceive influences those decisions shed light on how the teaching assignment process works and how it might affect teacher career decisions. The purpose of this study was to investigate and describe the strategies and rationale employed by administrators in the distribution of teaching assignment, the factors teachers perceive to influence the teaching assignment process, whether teachers and administrators believe the process affects teacher retention, and whether teachers believe power relations play a role in the process. Qualitative interpretive design was the best choice of methodology to examine the teacher assignment process in schools (Merriam, 2009). Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 14 teachers and nine administrators in nine districts across six states.

This study used Bourdieu’s concepts of social capital and misrecognition as theoretical framework (1984). In addition, psychological contract, trust, communication, and transparency (Rousseau, 1989; Tschannen-Moran & Hoy, 1998) were used as conceptual frameworks. Findings from data analysis included the following: (1) social capital was a component of the teaching assignment process connected to teachers’ preference for honors courses and students; (2) administrator communication and transparency seemed related to teachers’ perception of psychological contract breach, trust in their administrators, and occasionally their career decisions; (3) social conditions were an important factor in teacher retention; (4) teaching assignment had an impact on teacher career decisions; and (5) administrators demonstrated symbolic violence over teachers, evident through language of power and decision making.

This research contributed to a better understanding of how administrators implement the teaching assignment process and how teachers experience that process, with implications for improvement. It is important for administrators to know how changing teaching assignments affects teachers and how teachers understand and experience the process in order to retain high quality teachers.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Clayton, Jennifer K.
Commitee: Ali, Arshad I., Thessin, Rebecca A.
School: The George Washington University
Department: Educational Administration & Policy Studies
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 79/01(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Educational administration
Keywords: High school, Power, Social capital, Symbolic violence, Teacher retention, Teaching assignment
Publication Number: 10606416
ISBN: 978-0-355-12580-1
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