Date of Award

Fall 1991

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Urban Services - Urban Education

Committee Director

Stephen W. Tonelson

Committee Member

Katharine Kersey

Committee Member

Thomas Lockamy


The purpose of this research was to study the process of change from traditional teaching practices to developmentally appropriate practices (DAP), following training. The population for this study consists of kindergarten and first grade teachers, in urban elementary school comprised of student at-risk for school failure. Quantitative and qualitative research methodologies were utilized. The quantitative measures provide evidence of the degree of change made by teachers and render a context for the qualitative findings. The variables of DAP were measured pre- and post-training to determine change in teaching practices that occurred after training. Two observation instruments were utilized to measure change: The Wasik-Day Open and Traditional Learning Environments and Classroom Behavior Instrument and The Early Childhood Environment Rating Scale. In addition, the degree of DAP implementation was measured by a technique called Innovation Configurations and a checklist was developed for this purpose. In-depth interviews then were conducted with teachers in order to gain an understanding of their experience with the change process. Findings of this study are derived from inductive analysis, as well as from comparisons of the pre- and post-training data. A phenomenological (descriptive-analytical) interpretation of the data is provided. All teachers in the study showed some evidence of change to DAP following training and findings indicate that training influenced teacher willingness to change. Identified barriers to change include lack of DAP materials, lack of time for planning and organization, large class-size, traditional class schedules, promotion and retention policies, assessment, level of noise from student interactions, and lack of parent involvement. Facilitators for change include the exchange of ideas and materials with co-workers, teaching assistants, observations of teachers who are implementing DAP practices, on-going training, the provision of technical assistance, and administrative support.