Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

An ethnographic case study of teachers who are alumni of the private day school for boys in which they teach
by Powell, Bryan D., Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2009, 219; 3338838
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this study was to gain a better understanding of the culture of a private day school for boys and to examine the role that teachers who were alumni played in the culture of the school.

This ethnographic case study focused on a sample of three teachers who graduated from “Boys’ Prep” between the years of 1985 and 2000. Data for this study was collected via teacher autobiography, cultural interview, participant observation, documentary evidence, and musings from the researcher’s journal. Data analysis consisted of poring through the variety of sources in search of common themes. A representational coding system was developed by the researcher to note the appearance of relevant themes within the multiplicity of texts that were analyzed during the course of this study.

The results of the study showed that the informants as well as documentary evidence and observational data corroborated the existence of common themes which characterized the culture of Boys’ Prep. The cultural themes discovered were (1) character development, (2) academic rigor, (3) the sporting life, (4) the teacher coach, (5) the school is the same…no, it’s not, (6) the death knell of the teacher coach, (7) greater emphasis on diversity, (8) shaping the culture, (9) football, pep rallies, debates, and school stories, (10) legendary figure: the headmaster, and (11) autonomy with a side order of demands.

The results of this study led to a conclusion which portrayed a complex school culture with strong, but weakening cultural bonds in this present day and age. Boys’ Prep was shown to be a school culture which is currently grappling with how to define itself in the present while maintaining the relevant elements of its past. Through the eyes of the informants, this struggle was most evident when looking at the difficulty in maintaining the longstanding tradition of the teacher coach as well as the challenges of adapting to a more diverse school body.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Green, Colin D.
Commitee: Beck, Sylven S., Gustavson, Leif C., Tate, Patricia S., Tipper, Margaret O.
School: The George Washington University
Department: Curriculum & Instruction
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 69/12, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Cultural anthropology, Educational administration
Keywords: Alumni, Alumni perceptions, Boys' schools, Day school, Private school culture, School culture, Teacher perceptions, Teachers
Publication Number: 3338838
ISBN: 9780549934998
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