Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Maureen Ellis

Abstract

The No Child Left Behind Act (2002) and Race to the Top (2009) legislation have forged new school accountability measures and led to a sharp increase in demand for teacher professional development (TPD). However, data revealed that there is a disconnection between the training that teachers receive and its implementation, limiting its impact on student achievement. This qualitative case studyâ??s purpose was to reveal major barriers to TPD implementation and provide suggestions for crafting more impactful TPD. Based on the social constructivist foundation, this study sought to address the factors that increase teachersâ?? receptiveness to more effective teaching techniques. It explored middle school teachersâ?? perceptions of TPD, its connection to student achievement, and factors influencing implementation. Semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions helped to identify emergent themes. Nine participants were purposefully selected to gather data from perspectives across race, gender, and various teaching experiences. This study took an inductive approach using the constant comparison methodology of data analysis. Participants identified influencing factors regarding TPD, such as the inclusion of a follow-up component for accountability and feedback. Also, the participants insisted that TPD must be seen as non-punitive, relevant, engaging, and non-hypocritical; for example, a lecture cannot teach teachers about the ineffectiveness of teaching via lecture. These findings encourage positive social change by providing insight into crafting more impactful TPD. Ultimately, improved TPD encourages better teaching methodologies, increased teacher morale, and higher student achievement.

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