ERIC Number: ED420621
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Oct
Social Networks, Teacher Beliefs, and Educational Change.
Aston, Michelle; Hyle, Adrienne E.
This study examined the social networks of teachers' strong and weak ties and the impact of those associations upon their beliefs about the realities of elementary education in terms of the knowledge and skills that influenced those realities: school context, general pedagogy, specific subject matter pedagogy, nature of the learner, and self as teacher. The study collected data from principals and teachers at two demographically similar, rural elementary school sites using long interviews, direct observation, and review of communication documents between and among teachers and principals. Data analysis involved examining traditional and nontraditional beliefs, Granovetter's (1973) strength of ties, and McPartland and Braddock's (1981) Perpetuation Theory. Results indicated that across sites: teachers beliefs supported a range of perspectives about elementary education from traditional to nontraditional; social networks tended to impact teachers' beliefs more than school experiences; and the networks offered opportunities for strong and/or weak ties to develop. The weak ties in traditional schools that fostered professional collaboration and teamwork helped chip away at traditional beliefs established through life experiences. Strong ties in schools that supported nontraditional beliefs ameliorated the effects of traditional life experiences. The principal's role was evident as a fosterer of positive networking. (Contains 2 figures, 6 tables, and 19 references.) (SM)
Descriptors: Classroom Environment, Collegiality, Curriculum, Elementary Education, Elementary School Teachers, Life Events, Nontraditional Education, Peer Influence, Principals, Public Education, Rural Schools, Social Networks, Student Characteristics, Tables (Data), Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Collaboration, Teacher Responsibility
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the University Council of Educational Administration (Orlando, FL, October 27-28, 1997).