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How Three English Language Arts Teachers Negotiate Their Beliefs and Instructional Practices in Three Educational Contexts

Guise, Megan Elizabeth (2009) How Three English Language Arts Teachers Negotiate Their Beliefs and Instructional Practices in Three Educational Contexts. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In this study I present data from a six-month qualitative study that examined how three English Language Arts teachers' beliefs about teaching, learning, and their students interacted with specific school, curricular, and educational policies to shape their instructional practice. Data drew from extensive interviews, classroom observations, and teaching artifacts. Data analysis focused on alignments and misalignments between teachers' expressed beliefs and their observed teaching practices and on the negotiations that occurred when the teachers were faced with misalignments between their beliefs and the educational contexts in which they worked. Findings from this research study demonstrate that when faced with a tension between their beliefs and school and policy pressures, the three teachers drew upon several different negotiation strategies including isolating themselves from the larger school context or becoming more actively involved in the school context. These negotiation strategies employed were dependent on the level of agency the teacher felt in her particular school context as well as the type of administrative leadership in her school context. However, misalignments between the teachers' beliefs and instructional practices could not be entirely attributed to school or national educational policies, such as No Child Left Behind (NCLB); rather, the teachers' limited critical reflection on their instructional practice and the broad, vague nature of many of the teachers' core beliefs about teaching and learning accounted for many of the misalignments found between their beliefs and instructional practices. These findings suggest that teachers need strongly-guided opportunities to develop and critically reflect on both their beliefs and instructional practices and to strategize how to make productive negotiations between these beliefs, practices, and external pressures (such as NCLB) if they are to maintain positive professional relationships and adapt their instructional practices in the face of new policies and "best practices."


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Guise, Megan
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGodley, Amandaagodley@pitt.eduAGODLEY
Committee MemberThein, Amandaathein@pitt.eduATHEIN
Committee MemberMatsumura, Lindsay Clarelclare@pitt.eduLCLARE
Committee MemberKiesling, Scottkiesling@pitt.eduKIESLING
Date: 4 September 2009
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 19 May 2009
Approval Date: 4 September 2009
Submission Date: 26 May 2009
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Instruction and Learning
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: cultural model theory; instructional practice; belief theory; teacher beliefs
Other ID:, etd-05262009-170054
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:45
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:44


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