Date of Conferral







Deanne W. Otto


Traditional classroom environments may not motivate students to learn and may lack interactive connections between educators and learners in the classroom. The problem addressed in this research study is the lack of understanding of science teachers' use and perception of innovative social learning strategies implemented in urban classrooms. The purpose of this research study was to establish urban science teachers' perceptions regarding social learning strategies within their classrooms. The conceptual framework of Hall and Hord's levels of use was used. The research questions addressed in this study focused on the perceptions and experiences of secondary science teachers in a large, urban school system. A qualitative case study design was used with face-to-face interviews, reflective journals, and lesson plans based on the social learning professional development. The inclusion criteria encompassed those teachers who attended the professional development regarding social learning, were still employed by this school system, and had used the social learning strategies, resulting in 8 participants. Open coding was used to highlight data and mark sections of the text in codes or labels. The findings demonstrated which social learning strategies the participants found most successful. Teachers stated that students gravitated towards the opportunity to be a part of the learning process. They also realized that social learning is a valuable way to give students interdependence, social skills, ways to solve problems in a real-world manner, and higher-level thinking skills. This study may provide positive social change by improving the understanding of the concerns of educators, enabling facilitators to address these concerns to improve future professional development, as well as improving individual teacher pedagogy.