Term of Award

Spring 2002

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Committee Chair

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 1

Joyce W. Bergin

Committee Member 2

Michael M. McKenna

Committee Member 3

William M. Reynolds

Abstract

This inquiry is a qualitative study of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model (SEM) at Mercer Middle School and its impact on the participants - the students, teachers, parents and administrators. There are three strands for the theoretical framework of my research: narrative inquiry, critical inquiry and anthropological inquiry. Narrative inquiry becomes the vehicle through which I can tell my story as researcher/participant and the story of the participants. Critical theory grounds my research in the possibilities of change through school reform models. It is the foundation upon which I base my research into the Schoolwide Enrichment Model. Anthropological inquiry makes it possible to bring these diverse theories and stories into one cohesive body of research through the lived experiences of the researcher/participant and the participants from the school.

The general purpose of my inquiry is to explore whether the implementation of the Schoolwide Enrichment Model at Mercer Middle School leads to the increased motivation and academic success of students at a particular school. Specifically, this study explored how this model is reflected in the lives of the teachers, parents, administrators as well as the students. My inquiry particularly focused on the SEM, developed by Dr. Joseph Renzulli. Data collection methods included: school portraiture, historical inquiry, personal interviews, focus group discussions, researcher as participant, and reflective journals.

My research program's major contribution to the field of education lies in: 1) giving students an opportunity to reflect on what they value in their own education; 2) offering teachers opportunities to reflect on what and how they teach and its importance to their students; 3) offering administrators the opportunity to listen to what works and what does not work in the eyes of the teachers, students and parents; 4) offering parents a first hand glimpse into the education of their children and the caring atmosphere created by this reform model in the school; 5) enhancing communication among the students, teachers, administrators and parents; and 6) creating a positive school climate, where equal opportunities are provided for all.

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