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Learning and Transfer in a Complex Professional Development Setting: A Cross-Case Analysis of the Perceptions and Practices of Science Teachers

In this dissertation the relationships among teachers' classroom contexts,
teaching practices, personal practice theories and their learning from reform-based
professional development were examined. This study is based on the cases of three high
school science teachers whose participation in the Information Technology in Science
(ITS) Center's professional development experience (PDE) resulted in different
perceptions and interpretations. Qualitative and quantitative data, including classroom
observations, in-depth interviews, teacher-generated written work from the PDE, and
student classroom perceptions were analyzed and compared. The within-case analyses
revealed that each teacher's thoughts, actions and perceptions were highly congruent.
The cross-case analysis illuminated variations among the cases. Bandura's (1999) model
of triadic reciprocal causation was applied as an interpretive frame. This frame was used
to connect five indicators used in the study to coherently compare and evaluate the
alignment of each teacher's thoughts, actions, and perceptions with the vision of reformbased
teaching promoted by the ITS Center's PDE. Results of this interpretation show
that the differences among the cases stemmed from the different problems the teachers
believed reform-based teaching methods addressed. Recommendations for the design of
PDEs include the importance of (a) focusing on flexible learning goals that can be
meaningful and appropriate for all teachers, (b) understanding and engaging teachers' prior knowledge, (c) making changes in teachers' thinking visible and (d) keeping in
mind the challenges involved in changing practice to reflect the recommendations of
reform. Recommendations for future research include the development of learning
trajectories for teachers with different orientations toward reform and deepening our
current understandings of teacher educator expertise.
Date2009 May 1900
CreatorsBrooks, Lisa A.
ContributorsStuessy, Carol L.
Source SetsTexas A and M University
Detected LanguageEnglish
TypeBook, Thesis, Electronic Dissertation, text

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