Term of Award

Summer 1998

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Bryan Deever

Committee Member 1

Barbara Hendry

Committee Member 2

William M. Reynolds

Committee Member 3

Edmund Short

Abstract

This qualitative study focuses on the teacher as curriculum enactor. Using life history methodology, the study explores how ordinary teachers' life experiences impact their present classroom decisions. The purpose of the study is three-fold: to give voice to the classroom teacher as curriculum expert; to encourage reflective practice; and to contribute to curriculum knowledge by focusing on the enacted curriculum. Three female middle school teachers participated in structured and unstructured interviews in which they shared their life stories and reflected on the origin of their teacher knowledge and behavior. The researcher reviewed transcripts of interviews and notes from observations of participants' classrooms, using a constant comparative method of analysis. Emergent themes provided the basis for narratives of each participant's past experiences and present professional context and possible interactions of these two factors. The three narratives were then comparatively interpreted, noting commonalities. The narratives showed that childhood experiences appear to shape classroom decisions far more than do professional experiences. One commonality across the narratives was the dialectic of forces of reproduction vs. human agency in shaping each participant's classroom decisions.

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