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A descriptive study of the lives of English teachers: Experiencing curriculum and structural change

Deborah Sue Kolc, University of Nebraska - Lincoln

Abstract

The purpose of this participant-observational study was to describe the lived experiences of high school English teachers as they experienced structural and curriculum change. Rich description was collected on their attitudes, beliefs and practices as teachers through which their stories were revealed. The study focused on three high school English teachers in a large suburban high school who were implementing district written outcomes and assessments and who were also piloting block schedule. Ethnographic techniques were the primary methods used and included participant-observation, interviews, and other documents. ^ This study examined the teachers' stories as learners and teachers as well as their beliefs, attitudes, and reactions to both outcomes and the block structure. The results indicated that the teachers' experiences as learner still had strong influences on their current beliefs and practices as teachers. Until this study, these teachers had been given little time or incentive to reflect on those impacts. They had just done what they believed they were all expected to do, even when those expectations were unspoken. All three teachers, however, believed that they were facing new and more demanding challenges as teachers in their current teaching positions and that was causing discomfort, dissonance, and growth. ^ As these teachers dealt with the curriculum changes, they increased their involvement in district collaborative activities. This involvement led to more involvement and great confidences and a greater willingness and ability to deal with ongoing changes. These three teachers began to view both outcomes and block as complementary changes that would continue to evolve, not as just another educational bandwagon. They became more comfortable with the idea of continuous improvement and ongoing reflection on student learning. ^

Subject Area

Education, Administration|Education, Curriculum and Instruction

Recommended Citation

Kolc, Deborah Sue, "A descriptive study of the lives of English teachers: Experiencing curriculum and structural change" (2000). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI9967384.
http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/dissertations/AAI9967384

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