Year of Publication

1998

Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Katherine Kasten

Second Advisor

Dr. Bruce Gutknecht

Third Advisor

Dr. Joyce Jones

Abstract

This dissertation is a cross-case study and analysis of four teachers in a school involved in two reform initiatives which promote constructivist approaches to teaching and learning. The study describes the teachers' understandings of the learning theory and their interpretations of it in their classroom practice. The study found that three of the four teachers were practicing in ways consistent with constructivism while one was not because her need for control took precedence. The study found that although teachers are very aware of their students as individuals with different ways of learning and constructing an understanding, they are not much interested in learning theory. Teachers are, therefore, more likely to practice in ways consistent with constructivist learning theory if they see that such practice can help them meet the diverse learning needs of the individuals in their classes and if they are shown the "how-to's" in their professional development.

The study also found that classroom management needs and the need for control of student behavior inhibit practice consistent with constructivism and concluded that teachers are more likely to practice in ways consistent with constructivism if complimentary classroom management techniques can be found and if teachers are comfortable giving students choice and control. The study uncovered the four C's of impediments to constructivist practice: classroom management, control, "coverage," and custodial care.

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