Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Implementation of an educational model for children with autism: Organizational learning and knowledge sharing within schools, across schools and between schools and the support network
by Kucharczyk, Suzanne, Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University, 2011, 369; 3492911
Abstract (Summary)

This multiple method/multiple case study of the implementation of an inclusive educational program and the learning emerging from the implementation, addresses problems in practice, research, and gaps in theory. Specifically, this study addresses gaps in our understanding of the implementation of educational models for children who have autism spectrum disorders, as well as gaps in the literature on organizational learning and knowledge sharing during implementation of educational models in school settings.

The study design is bounded by the experience of four purposively sampled schools and members of a support network implementing an inclusive model of education for children with autism spectrum disorder in one school district within an urban city of the northeast United States. Each case explored is the interaction between a school and its support network and their experiences of implementation, learning through implementation, and knowledge sharing. A number of data collection methods were employed to answer the research questions. These included a document review, observations of team meetings, observations of classrooms, and semi-structured interviews with four principals, one vice principal, twelve teachers, four speech therapists, three social workers, four occupational therapists, and eleven members of the support network.

Four key insights emerged as important across the cases studied. First, a collaborative culture is critical. Despite the challenges inherent in implementation and learning due to typical school cultures, the incorporation of a collaborative culture within one part or the school as a whole is possible. Second, collaborative processes, such as distributed leadership and professional learning groups, are essential to support the creation and sharing of knowledge through implementation by engaging collective and organizational learning. Third, the distribution and sharing of leadership support implementation and innovation through implementation. Fourth, a balance between the maintenance of fidelity of implementation of core components of the model and adaptive flexibility of context-specific elements of the model is possible and critical to successful implementation. Each of these four insights supports an environment conducive to collective and organizational learning at the level of the school and educational model.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Marsick, Victoria
School: Teachers College, Columbia University
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 73/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational leadership, Special education, Organizational behavior
Keywords: Autism, Implementation, Knowledge sharing, Organizational learning, Professional development
Publication Number: 3492911
ISBN: 9781267142474
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