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Doctoral Dissertation Announcement
Candidate: Donna J. Anderson
Doctor of Philosophy
Department: Educational Leadership, Research and Technology
Title: Systemic and Personal Change: A Retrospective Case Study of Balanced Literacy Implementation as Perceived by Those Involved
Dr. Patricia Reeves, Chair
Dr. Sue Poppink
Dr. Gary Marx
Date: Wednesday, March 18, 2009 3:30 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
2306 Sangren Hall
This critical case study, completed as a retrospective, was conducted to learn more about teacher perceptions of deep, systemic change experiences. The research examined successful implementation of a balanced literacy program at one Title I elementary school through the eyes of those who lived through the change. This case study sought to learn how teachers reflect on their experiences with the implementation process and how those reflections relate to factors that previous research has associated with successful change. Additionally, this study explored the lasting effects the experience of being a part of a deep, systemic change had on the staff at this case study school. Personal changes associated with new learnings, changes in assumptions and beliefs, and changes in practice were of particular interest.
Data was collected through focus group interviews, individual interviews and written narratives. The data was transcribed, coded and analyzed inductively for indigenous themes and sub-themes and deductively for themes and sub-themes related to personal change and to Meister’s (2000) five elements that support implementation of change. Through the inductive analysis, the indigenous themes of teacher empowerment, time, and building culture were identified. The deductive analysis for themes of personal change yielded findings of change associated with new learning, changes in assumptions and beliefs, and changes in practice. The deductive analysis against Meister’s theoretical framework of five themes (vision, collaboration, professional development, leadership, and the assessment of change) yielded sub-themes and points of emphasis that both aligned with and extended Meister’s framework. Finally, a comparative analysis was completed to determine if and how the results of the inductive analysis related to the results of the deductive analysis. Several points of alignment across themes and sub-themes were found along with special areas of emphasis.
The results of this study confirmed, clarified or extended each of the elements of vision, collaboration, professional development, leadership and the assessment of change as they all were prominent in the data. Also realized in this study were the themes of teacher empowerment, time and building culture. Building culture characterized by broad-based shared ownership was a significant overarching theme that permeated the results of this study. The findings of this critical case study add to the literature by providing clarity and extension to the themes of vision, collaboration, professional development, leadership and the assessment of change