Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Antecedents and Consequences of Teacher Professional Discretion Over Curriculum and Instruction: A Grounded Theory Inquiry
by Spittler, Marc M., Ed.D., University of Central Florida, 2012, 124; 10666339
Abstract (Summary)

With the ever-changing requirements of a secondary level of education and the application of standardized testing criteria to determine proficiency in mastery of the subject matter, the attempt to create a standard and acceptable curriculum for all school sites has left the control of the schools. Now classrooms are scrambling for focus, guidance and support with curriculum development and implementation. Over the last three decades, there have been numerous research studies that have examined the place of the classroom teacher in the process of creating curriculum for their classroom with mixed results. The efforts to reform secondary education, from the federal level to the local level, have shut out the local input from teachers and professionals in their particular fields as to what the curriculum in the classroom should be and left that decision to people outside the classroom environment.

This research study was conducted to derive a theory developed on the empirical basis of teacher input through the lens of the methodology of grounded theory. Its goal was to identify the underlying issues and problems associated with classroom teachers; input into local curriculum as well as the barriers to changing the prevailing thought of classroom teachers on curriculum. Classroom teachers from two separate academic subject matters that are currently being taught at the middle school level were interviewed and their responses were coded using the classical grounded theory methodology and processes.

The resulting research shows that the involvement of classroom teachers is considered a benefit to the local curriculum development, regardless of experience in the classroom or length of service as a teacher. While most teachers feel that their input is paramount to learning in their particular classroom, teachers admit that they lack the skills to effectively create curriculum for implementation. It is in this manner that teachers strive to do what is best for their students; however, in some cases they lack the support and direction from the district, state or federal level. Knowing the issue as it appears to the classroom teacher, the creation, implementation and execution of locally created curriculum would be and is met with great resistance due to the adherence to the prevailing thoughts on curriculum development at the state of federal level and the need to comply with and execute the curriculum within the existing frameworks.

Further studies in looking at the existence of and use of locally teacher created and implemented curriculum, in different state or regional areas, would contribute to a better and clearer understanding of the particular issues that surround and deal with teacher involvement in the classroom curriculum decision making process. It is believed that the use of the grounded theory model as a methodological research tool provides a pathway for all interested parties to be open and candid about the issue and provide a better introspective look at the issues at hand.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Sivo, Stephen
Commitee: Boote, David, Katzenmeyer, Conrad, Short, Edmund
School: University of Central Florida
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 79/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Education, Secondary education, Curriculum development
Keywords: Curriculum, Development, Discretion, Instruction, Instructor, Secondary
Publication Number: 10666339
ISBN: 978-0-355-32538-6
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