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Author Steele, Emily A
Title A qualitative investigation of how urban teachers sustain change in turbulent times
book jacket
Descript 283 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 68-08, Section: A, page: 3328
Adviser: Nancy A. Evers
Thesis (Ed.D.)--University of Cincinnati, 2007
Over the last twenty years there has been increased interest in facilitating and sustaining change in the education. The bulk of past research has focused on systems change with little insight into the role of individual educators as change agents. The purpose of this study was to examine the role individual teachers play in creating and sustaining change in a large Midwestern urban school district. This study focused on how teachers in a system that was made turbulent by both the neighborhood environment it existed in and the ever changing environment of the large urban district it was a part of
Multiple noteworthy studies have been completed to identify the characteristics and qualities of successful change initiatives. More recently researchers have begun to turn their attention to the human elements of change that occur within systems change. These studies have revealed the importance of collaboration, professional development, available resources, and systems supports to facilitate teachers in change. However, further knowledge is needed to understand how individuals build capacity for change and what the causal factors are that drive teachers to sustain their new practices. In addition, there is a need to discover when it is that teachers begin to plan for sustaining change
The research sought the answer to one question. How do teachers sustain change in turbulent times? The study design was qualitative and involved the analysis of in-depth interviews conducted during the last year of a three year Reading First change initiative. The study also included archival data and field observations
It was found that teachers sustain what is within their power to sustain. The larger the support system for sustaining changes the broader teachers plan for sustaining it. In this instance teachers had a very small support system remaining after the withdrawal of grant monies. Their vision for sustaining change was limited by the withdrawal of most support structures put in place by the funding provided by Reading First. Their system of support was further narrowed by the termination of key positions (Data Manager, Resource, Coordinator, Literacy Specialist) within the implementation system by the district. Due to the narrowing of the support system teachers began to plan for sustaining by looking to the collaborative network formed through school based professional development as the most viable system of support. They also looked at the success of their new practices and choose from those which they had the power to sustain and which they did not. What they felt was within their power to sustain they created a mindset and collected needed resources to sustain. As one teacher stated, "Well, the program is given to you and you try it. I think like most things, if you try it and you like it, you will continue using it. I think that every reading series that I have ever worked with has given me new understandings. I have pulled certain things from them that I still use today" (Ms. Damas, second grade teacher)
It seems then that when teachers are involved in professional development or involved in an initiative like Reading First they learn and try new things. After trying these things they take with them the learning or strategies that are most beneficial and effective into their future practice. The more internalized the learning and the stronger the support system for new learning the more dynamic sustaining change, or carrying forward new ways of doing, will be
School code: 0045
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 68-08A
Subject Education, Administration
Education, Reading
Education, Curriculum and Instruction
Alt Author University of Cincinnati
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