Date of Award

5-2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

College/School

College of Education and Human Services

Department/Program

Teacher Education and Teacher Development

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Katrina Bulkley

Committee Member

Kathryn Herr

Committee Member

Emily Klein

Subject(s)

Teachers--Rating of, Action research in education

Abstract

The purpose of this action research study was to work with a group of teachers to refine an organizational routine dealing with teacher evaluation with the dual goals of (a) increasing the teachers’ sense of professionalism and improving the technical core of their work—instruction— and (b) moving toward a routine that the district will be able to use in the future. The research question that guided this work was, “How do we experience the organizational routine that I developed using video for teacher evaluation for improving teacher practice as compared to the existing teacher evaluation system, and how does our experience inform the routine’s continued development?”

This study takes place against the backdrop of over 100 years of American educational history in which teaching has not been treated as a profession as well as a more recent context in which teacher evaluation systems have focused on teacher accountability but failed to emphasize teacher development. As a result, our teacher evaluation system contributes little to the professionalization of teachers and does not align with elements of effective professional development to the improve teacher practice. Therefore, I set out to conduct a study that used the power of an organizational routine to potentially change teachers’ perceptions of being treated as professionals and to foster teacher learning and improve practice. The study took place over two cycles, with the teachers and me collaborating on revisions to the routine for the second of the two cycles.

Four findings emerged from this study. First, I explain how the participants viewed the existing evaluation system as transactional and deprofessionalizing. Second, I explore how both the first and second versions of the new routine increased the participants’ perceptions of being treated as professionals due to increased teacher agency in the teacher evaluation process. Third, I examine how the participants and I experienced improving teacher practice through the routine in light of the tenets of effective professional development. Finally, I examine the relational aspects of the study, specifically how relationships affected our experience and what lessons could be learned from the process.

This study has implications for teacher evaluation and administrators looking to conduct action research collaboratively with teachers around the use of organizational routines.

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