Learning and Transfer in a Complex Professional Development Setting: A Cross-Case Analysis of the Perceptions and Practices of Science Teachers
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In this dissertation the relationships among teachers' classroom contexts, teaching practices, personal practice theories and their learning from reform-based professional development were examined. This study is based on the cases of three high school science teachers whose participation in the Information Technology in Science (ITS) Center's professional development experience (PDE) resulted in different perceptions and interpretations. Qualitative and quantitative data, including classroom observations, in-depth interviews, teacher-generated written work from the PDE, and student classroom perceptions were analyzed and compared. The within-case analyses revealed that each teacher's thoughts, actions and perceptions were highly congruent. The cross-case analysis illuminated variations among the cases. Bandura's (1999) model of triadic reciprocal causation was applied as an interpretive frame. This frame was used to connect five indicators used in the study to coherently compare and evaluate the alignment of each teacher's thoughts, actions, and perceptions with the vision of reformbased teaching promoted by the ITS Center's PDE. Results of this interpretation show that the differences among the cases stemmed from the different problems the teachers believed reform-based teaching methods addressed. Recommendations for the design of PDEs include the importance of (a) focusing on flexible learning goals that can be meaningful and appropriate for all teachers, (b) understanding and engaging teachers' prior knowledge, (c) making changes in teachers' thinking visible and (d) keeping in mind the challenges involved in changing practice to reflect the recommendations of reform. Recommendations for future research include the development of learning trajectories for teachers with different orientations toward reform and deepening our current understandings of teacher educator expertise.
Brooks, Lisa A. (2009). Learning and Transfer in a Complex Professional Development Setting: A Cross-Case Analysis of the Perceptions and Practices of Science Teachers. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from