ERIC Number: ED301402
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1988-Apr-8
Reference Count: N/A
Teachers' Perspectives on What Promotes Instructional Improvement in Rural Schools.
Killian, Joyce E.; Byrd, David M.
This study examined the incentives and obstacles to instructional improvement perceived by 27 rural elementary teachers who participated in a cooperative school district/university language arts staff development project. Participants were almost all female, and averaged 42 years of age and 12 years of teaching experience. Most had lived in the rural area where they taught for most of their lives, and they had a record of commitment to professional growth. Courses in the project used several "bridging" activities to aid the transition from discussing curricular change on campus to making changes in the classroom. During coursework, participants kept running journals in which they informally recorded their observations, reactions, insights, and plans. These comments frequently noted the obstacles and incentives teachers perceived in their past, present, and planned attempts at instructional improvement. Researchers analyzed such passages, identified common themes, and designed a survey which was mailed to participants the following semester. Ten subjects also participated in followup interviews. Major obstacles to change included lack of financial resources, an already crowded curriculum, and isolation from peers with similar interest. Professional self-esteem was the most prevalent incentive to project participation, and collegiality among participants was a strong force during coursework. Back in the classroom, teachers reported that interest and enthusiasm from students and parents were major sources of maintenance support. Most administrators were supportive, but only a quarter were actively involved in the implementation process. Contains 17 references. (SV)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (New Orleans, LA, April 5-9, 1988). Appendix B will not reproduce well.