Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership, Research and Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Louann Bierlein Palmer

Second Advisor

Dr. Patricia Reeves

Third Advisor

Dr. Jeanette Chaljub


Leadership, elementary, professional development, science teaching, self- perception, classroom


In the DR, the need of producing drastic changes in students’ outcomes fostered the adaptation of a professional development (PD) program to improve the public education system. In 2013, the National Institute for Teacher Preparation chose the School Centered Continuous Teacher’s Preparation (EFCCE, acronym in Spanish) PD program to help teachers with the needed transformation. This program aimed to form knowledgeable and skillful teachers who exhibit instructional leadership in the classroom.

This qualitative, multiple instrumental case study involved 10 Dominican science elementary teachers who had completed the EFCCE program and who had self-identified as a teacher actively implementing engaging science learning strategies, monitoring students’ learning, adjusting instruction as needed to increase science learning, and collaborating with peers to enhance science learning. For each teacher, data was collected through a semi-structured interview, one class observation followed by a conference, and a review of a document teachers shared with me. In total nine themes and 13 subthemes were found to address four major research questions.

Findings revealed all participants positively described the EFCCE program, they all expressed that the program structure of face-to-face, mentoring, and journaling, provided them with different knowledge and skills, and it even impacted them as individuals. To teach science, participants now use learned strategies and resources from the environment, such as oral questioning, hands-on activities, and graphic organizers.

My research also found that these participants monitor different formal and informal teaching processes, such as attendance, planning, and discipline. Formal processes are monitored through daily formative and occasional summative assessments. Monitoring efforts are recorded for reporting and decision-making.

All teachers perceive sharing their knowledge with other teachers as beneficial. Some teachers have scheduled, formal opportunities for sharing, while others share during brief and informal opportunities. Teachers share planning, knowledge, skills, and experiences. Also, teachers feel sharing affords for opportunities to grow, to support each other, and to strengthen relationships.

In general participants feel they are leaders in their classroom, but not all of them perceived themselves as leaders per se. Teachers’ definition of leaders include being models for others and guiding others. Although most of them mentioned their ability to guide and support others, many still expressed some discomfort to talk about themselves as leaders.

My study has contributed to the existing literature regarding teachers’ self-perception of becoming a leader, and it has expanded the research knowledge about Dominican science teachers. This study has also offers data about the program’s impact that are still visible two years after its completion.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access