Date of Award

5-2-2014

Document Type

Restricted Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Learning, Leadership, and Community

Department

Department of Educational Leadership, Learning, and Curriculum

Committee Chair

Kathleen C. McCabe

Committee Member

Cheryl B. Baker

Committee Member

Christie L. Sweeney

Abstract

This phenomenological study investigated the lived experiences of 11 elementary teachers from three diverse public schools within the same district in New Hampshire. These participants were members of a teacher-led curriculum development initiative. Research questions center ar0tmd their reasons for joining, and sustaining participation, in this initiative as well as their perceptions of the impact this experience had on their own instruction and the instruction across the district. Teacher empowerment and shared leadership are key factors in successful reforms and data collection methods were implemented to explore whether or not empowerment was a contributor in this study. Data collection consisted of one focus group, three dyadic interviews and one extended individual interview. Results revealed that teachers joined this initiative to make a difference in their own satisfaction with instructional materials, to positively affect student engagement and to contribute professionally to their colleagues. In addition, this study revealed that all 11 teachers who participated in this endeavor felt empowered and reaped the positive benefits reflected in the literature regarding teacher empowerment. The research documents perceptions of substantial transformation in the efficacy, satisfaction, instruction and culture of these teachers and their organization.

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