Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Orchestrating classrooms: A collaborative inquiry study of novice teacher community building
by Welte, Leah G., Ph.D., Utah State University, 2011, 205; 3445400
Abstract (Summary)

Creating a community of learners with and among students in a collaborative classroom environment provides the keystone for developing the skills necessary for success in the 21st century. Some preservice teachers envision that community building can enhance the learning experience for them and their students and want to learn and employ the necessary strategies. This study examined whether such a desirous group of novice teachers could identify the key factors they believed comprise community building and could successfully establish a community of learners during their first full year of teaching, supported by participation in a collaborative inquiry group.

Four novice teachers met monthly throughout their first year for two-hour sessions during which they discussed and examined various aspects involved in establishing their classroom communities. They created and shared artifacts designed to promote a caring, respectful relationship between them and their students as well as among the students themselves. These novice teachers discussed the challenges inherent in helping students with differing sociocultural, language, and behavioral needs bond with one another. They also supported each other in dealing with the myriad of necessities and constraints involved in implementing a start-up classroom. During the final session, group members synthesized what they believed constituted the essence of community building. They also elaborated regarding the areas of success they had achieved during their initial year of teaching. Finally, the members identified that participation in a collaborative inquiry group had supported their first-year experience. The group judged their overall experience as productive and successful.

The researcher’s perspective was somewhat different from the other group members. Difficulties identified in the process were using collaborative inquiry as the method to gather data for a dissertation while endeavoring to act as an equal group member, requiring in-depth analysis of novice teachers who had not previously participated in action research and were still in the early stages of developing their practice as well as the tendency of novice teachers who had experienced the same preservice program to employ groupthink rather than to challenge one another’s statements. Further research should study collaborative inquiry as a method employed throughout preservice programs.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hunsaker, Scott
Commitee: Burnham, Byron R., Campbell, Todd, Franklin, Barry, Saavedra, Cinthya M., Straquadine, Gary S.
School: Utah State University
Department: Elementary Education
School Location: United States -- Utah
Source: DAI-A 72/06, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Instructional Design, Elementary education, Secondary education
Keywords: Classroom orchestration, Collaborative inquiry, Community-building, Learning community, Novice teachers, Student autonomy, Teacher/student collaboration
Publication Number: 3445400
ISBN: 978-1-124-54953-8
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