Length of time teaching shapes educators’ competence with intentional integration of democratic engagement in the classroom. This study finding stems from a pivotal understanding of civic engagement refocused and defined as democratic engagement by Saltmarsh and Hartley (2011). The authors determine that democratic engagement as an ideal includes far more than the civic participation element of voting. These authors suggest that for a representative democracy to thrive, communities and civic institutions must partner to create civic agency among not just the individual, but collective, social, and government entities. In this study, educators in a small to medium sized K-6 district are surveyed to identify differing levels of democratic engagement among demographic indicators as identified by Saltmarsh and Hartley (2011). Democratic engagement constructs of community engagement, political voice, civic participation and political knowledge combine to create a Civic Index Scale measure. This measure describes a sample population of highly democratic engaged versus disengaged participants. Identified educators with the most engaged, somewhat engaged, and disengaged civic scores were interviewed for attitudes, beliefs, and professional practice in relation to democratic engagement. A series of two interviews per educator yielded unexpected results. The study found that democratic disengagement does not equate to disengagement in the classroom, poor teaching, or lack of effort to promote citizenship as developmentally appropriate. A disengaged educator in the study was professionally fulfilled, and successfully created classroom community. A medium engaged educator identified in the interview process exhibited highly effective teaching practice as a seasoned professional with lower levels of job satisfaction and difficulty in classroom management. The highly engaged educator in the qualitative analysis exhibited not only effective teaching practice, but also intentional relationship building, and highly effective classroom management. Hierarchical Regression analysis indicated that time teaching, age, race, and gender were significant in the model and that time teaching persisted as a key factor contributing to variance in the model.
|Advisor:||Krahenbuhl, Kevin S.|
|Commitee:||Connell, Peggy H., Evins, Mary A.|
|School:||Middle Tennessee State University|
|School Location:||United States -- Tennessee|
|Source:||DAI-A 80/05(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Education Policy, Political science, Education philosophy|
|Keywords:||Civic engagement, Democratic engagement, Educational pedagogy, Gender, Open classroom climate, Race|
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