As the collaborative work of teachers continues to increase through job-embedded professional development, such as grade-level meetings, the need to understand the complexities of educational settings that promote teachers' joint work is critical. Therefore, this study investigated the institutionally mandated grade-level meetings of a group of fifth-grade teachers. Analysis of multiple data sources including audiotaped grade-level meetings and teacher interviews, field notes, transcriptions of the grade-level meetings and interviews, and written documents revealed four findings: In the institutionally mandated grade-level meetings, unwritten rules were evident and left unexplored; the institutionally mandated grade-level meetings' professional discussions were superficial; the informal and casual tone of the institutionally mandated grade-level meetings provided an opportunity for teachers to get to know their grade-level colleagues; and as represented in the institutionally mandated grade-level meeting, teachers avoided conflict. This conflict-avoidance stance was realized in the grade-level teachers' curriculum choices and interactions with the principal.
Based on the four findings, four hypotheses were developed with regard to grade-level meetings specifically, and teachers' group work in general. The first hypothesis was, if grade-level meetings are to achieve their desired results of improving and informing professional practice, context and belief factors must be addressed and reflected upon before, during, and after implementation. The second hypothesis was that, while educational settings such as grade-level meetings are established to elicit and support change, they may in fact perpetuate the status quo when unwritten rules go unchallenged. The third hypothesis was that, if grade-level meetings are to support the development of professional learning communities, teachers need to know, internalize, and use critical professional discourse and reflection skills, both in the grade-level meetings and as part of their daily interactions and decision making. The fourth hypothesis was that educational settings, such as grade-level meetings, help build trust among colleagues.
A Three-Dimensional Approach to successful group work was developed addressing the complexities that became evident throughout the analysis. This study's import is that enhanced understanding of the activities established to promote the collaborative work of teachers will increase the likelihood that school reform efforts that embrace teachers' collaborative work will succeed.
|Advisor:||Brause, Rita S.|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||DAI-A 69/02, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Ethnography, Fifth-grade, Grade-level meetings, Group work, Professional development, Professional learning communities, Teachers|
Copyright in each Dissertation and Thesis is retained by the author. All Rights Reserved
The supplemental file or files you are about to download were provided to ProQuest by the author as part of a
dissertation or thesis. The supplemental files are provided "AS IS" without warranty. ProQuest is not responsible for the
content, format or impact on the supplemental file(s) on our system. in some cases, the file type may be unknown or
may be a .exe file. We recommend caution as you open such files.
Copyright of the original materials contained in the supplemental file is retained by the author and your access to the
supplemental files is subject to the ProQuest Terms and Conditions of use.
Depending on the size of the file(s) you are downloading, the system may take some time to download them. Please be