ERIC Number: ED372031
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1994-May
Reference Count: N/A
Teacher Empowerment: Can It Help Teaching and Learning? Final Deliverable to OERI.
Gamoran, Adam; Porter, Andrew C.
This paper contrasts three distinct theoretical positions about the importance of empowerment for instruction and achievement. The "teacher professionalism" view maintains that empowerment enhances instruction and learning, the "bureaucratic centralization" approach argues that empowerment impedes effective teaching and learning, and the "loose coupling" perspective suggests that empowerment is largely irrelevant for what happens in classrooms. A limited test of these competing views was conducted using data from the Longitudinal Study of American youth, a national study of math and science teaching and learning in seventh and eighth grades. The study asked teachers whether they had control over classroom curricular content and teaching methods, and whether they participated in administrative decisions and in setting school policies. Results indicated that: (1) in eighth-grade math and seventh-grade science, control over curriculum content had a negative effect on achievement, whereas control over teaching methods was positively related to achievement; (2) none of the empowerment variables made a difference for achievement in seventh-grade math and eighth-grade science; and (3) the impact of empowerment did not seem to depend on teacher experience, administrative leadership, or reported levels of teacher morale and collaboration. The study concludes that ambiguities underlie calls for teacher empowerment as part of educational reform packages. (Contains 17 references.) (JDD)
Descriptors: Centralization, Curriculum, Educational Policy, Junior High Schools, Mathematics Education, Participative Decision Making, Personal Autonomy, Professional Development, School Administration, School Policy, Science Education, Teacher Effectiveness, Teacher Responsibility, Teacher Role, Teaching Methods, Theories
Publication Type: Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: Center on Organization and Restructuring of Schools, Madison, WI.