Date of Award

1995

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education

School

School of Education

Program

Leadership EdD

First Advisor

William H. Green

Second Advisor

Bruce A. Closser

Third Advisor

Shirley A. Freed

Abstract

Problem. Few studies have focused on defining and delineating the essential characteristics of veteran teacher study groups or the perceptions of teachers about how study groups affect their professional growth.

Purpose. The purposes of this study were to: (1) define and delineate the essential characteristics of existing study groups; (2) describe the effects of study groups on the professional growth of the teacher in the workplace and; (3) explore the implications of ongoing study groups on school change, school improvement, and staff development.

Methodology. This study used a descriptive, qualitative case study method based on interviews, observations, surveys, documents, and records to describe teacher study groups. Three schools and nine primary informants, which were identified by using purposive sampling, provided the means for comparing and contrasting the concept of teacher study groups from more than one perspective. The Growth States Interview and The Gregorc Style Delineator supplied the basis for constructing the profiles of the primary informants.

Findings and Conclusions. In this study the themes of community, cooperation, and culture represent one scheme for isolating and naming the most salient and recurring themes of study groups. Teacher study groups develop, florish, and create an environment where cooperation and true community have become established norms of the school’s culture. Within this culture teachers experience social, professional, and personal growth. As a result, teachers perceived that organizing the faculty into study groups (1) reduces participants' feelings of isolation and stress; (2) provides time to integrate the study of new teaching strategies into the work day; (3) helps develop meaningful interchange among colleagues; and (4) leads to the professional growth of teachers. Since this was the first descriptive study of whole school teacher study groups conducted in the Richmond County School District, an Innovation Configuration of the program was developed. Interviews of the program developers, and users (teachers), and observation of teacher study groups helped in delineating 13 critical components. As a result of teacher study groups, schools can become learning organizations that (1) nurture the professional within them; (2) promote long-term change; and (3) result in teachers, students, and parents, once again, becoming excited about learning.

Subject Area

Teachers--In-service training, Teachers--Job satisfaction.

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