Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Teaching and Learning
Curriculum and Instruction
Although science teachers regularly participate in PD experiences involving reform-based practices, even our best teachers struggle to change their teaching practices to coincide with these pedagogics, and when they do change, it occurs at differential rates. The aim of this study was to better understand teachers' self-systems by analyzing their experiences in a PD institute program through the lens of professional identity. This multiple case study involved five high school science teachers participating in a summer PD initiative. Data were collected through interviews, written reflections and exploration and commitment cards, and a scale designed to capture participants' perceived level of pedagogical discontentment, or unease with teaching practices (Southerland, et al., 2012). Data were analyzed using the Theoretical Model of Professional Identity (Kaplan, et al., 2012), which highlights the dynamic interplay of teachers' self-perceptions, beliefs, purposes, and practices. Data were also analyzed for pedagogical discontentment, and the two were compared. Analysis led to patterns of change in professional identities, triggers for changes to professional identities, insights into perceptions of pedagogical discontentment, and ultimately, the potential relationship between professional identity and pedagogical discontentment. The model of professional identity served to capture teachers' experience of the PD, including tensions that arose as they began to explore portions of their professional identity. Pedagogical discontentment served to assist in better problematizing portions of the participants' professional identities, and assisted in identifying tensions and potential changes in less elaborative interviewees. However, the professional identity model was better able to capture the underlying causes of discontentment and planning associated with alleviating discontent. These emergent models can provide conceptual tools for future use, as well as guide evaluating and designing PD experiences for teachers.
Hathcock, Stephanie J..
"Professional Identity and Pedagogical Discontentment in High School Science Teachers Participating in a Professional Development Institute"
(2014). Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Dissertation, Teaching and Learning, Old Dominion University, DOI: 10.25777/rka7-8575