Date of Award

12-2000

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

Department

Teaching, Learning, and Leadership (to 2007)

First Advisor

Dr. Van E. Cooley

Second Advisor

Dr. Jianping Shen

Third Advisor

Dr. Jeanne Jacobson

Abstract

School restructuring is a process which can facilitate school improvement. One approach to school improvement is based on the principles of learner-centered instruction. These principles, “by focusing on students and bringing their frames of reference to the implementation of educational innovations” (McCombs & Lambert, 1998, p. 501), relate that more students will be successful in school, and the innovations will be more effective in improving achievement. In Indiana, five restructuring “Indiana 2000” school proposals contained one or more goals for the development of collaboration and teacher-student engagement. Teachers at these restructuring schools completed a 60-item, investigator-created questionnaire designed to assess their perceptions of the inclusion of students as active engaged participants in the learning process within the framework of a more collaborative work environment. The questionnaire also elicited teacher perceptions about factors that enhanced or detracted from collaboration and engagement, including those specific inservices which facilitated collaboration and engagement. The Pearson r correlation was used to measure the relationship between the collaboration and student engagement variables for each school. The results of the questionnaire revealed that two of the five schools demonstrated a moderate positive relationship and two schools demonstrated a low positive relationship between the variables of collaboration and engagement. Teachers perceived the factor staff ownership of the change process as enhancing collaboration, and the factor insufficient time for interaction, as detracting from collaboration. Teachers perceived three factors as enhancing student engagement: (1) risk-free environment to make changes, (2) belief that learner-centered instruction improves learning, and (3) assistance and support from colleagues. The factors perceived as detracting from student engagement included the following: (a) competing demands on time, (b) insufficient time to practice new skills, and (c) lack of opportunities to discuss instructional changes. Teachers reported the inservices focused on team building, the C.L.A.S.S. Project (The Brain Compatible Classroom), and on leadership topics as those which enhanced collaboration. The inservices most helpful to teachers to engage students included Glasser’s work, disciplinary strategies, and thematic learning.

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Dissertation-Open Access

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