Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Education and Human Services


Teacher Education and Teacher Development

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Emily Hodge

Committee Member

Kathryn Herr

Committee Member

Reva Jaffe-Walter

Committee Member

Suzanne McCotter


Interdisciplinary teaming has been a hallmark of the middle school philosophy for over 30 years and consists of a multitude of benefits for teachers, ranging from job satisfaction to communal support. Yet, interestingly, there is little research on the benefits of interdisciplinary teaming at the high school level, even with an increased focus on teacher collaboration and Professional Learning Communities (PLCs). Thus, the purpose of this practitioner action research study was to examine the reported professional learning of ninth-grade teachers participating in an interdisciplinary team. The interdisciplinary team consisted of seven secondary level English, science, math, and social studies teachers, including me. During this two-year study (2017–2019), the interdisciplinary team functioned as a PLC and met twice a month: once for the required PLC time and a second time in a voluntary format. Two research questions guided my study: How do we create space for an interdisciplinary team at the high school level? What types of teacher learning and student support may result from creating space for high school teachers to work in an interdisciplinary team setting? Throughout my two findings chapters, I utilized the “Grammar of Schooling” by Tyack and Tobin (1994) as a conceptual framework and Social Learning Theory by Brown and Adler (2008) as a theoretical framework. Both of these frameworks provided useful lenses in understanding the archaic structures of schooling and the organic and innovative collaborative practices of people working in groups. Initially, I found it difficult to replicate a traditional interdisciplinary team model. But despite the institutional barriers, the interdisciplinary team collectively learned from one another, contributed to conversations, offered suggestions and resources, and, most importantly, advocated for ninth-grade students.

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