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ERIC Number: ED522263
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 408
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1243-4584-0
The Nature of Teacher Interactions at a High Achieving, High-Risk Urban Middle School
Heaton, Charles Richard
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Virginia
Increasingly, teachers are asked to work both systemically and systematically in addressing school performance and student failure. Structuring school communities for teacher collaboration is one area where educators have found common ground; the present and unprecedented need is reflected in the policy statements of the leading education licensing consortiums and grounded in four decades of policy recommendations and reform acts. A review of the literature informs us that the term "collaboration" is conceptually amorphous, unwittingly misused by both practitioners and academics, and the subject of factitious academic debate. Moreover, there is gap in the literature, and needed are empirical studies that capture and describe collegial work that occur among teachers as members of a community. This study addressed both the dearth of empirical data on teacher collaboration and the ambiguity surrounding it. Under the banner of collegiality the researcher conceptualized a continuum of positive teacher interactions (CPTI), a product of an exhaustive review of the literature. Three of the field's seminal frameworks informed the CPTI's conceptualization by establishing four discrete levels comprising teacher collegiality. Two questions surfaced to address the gap in the literature and the need for empirical data on teacher interactions. The nature of the research questions determined the methodological trajectory of the study, and interpretivistic qualitative research was appropriate. Along with the CPTI, functional roles of group members theory and organizational sensemaking theory served as the conceptual frame for this study. Purposive sampling identified a high achieving, high-risk urban middle school in a major southeastern city that was appropriate for this study. Data collection included observations, interviews, and document collection. Data were audio-recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using Erickson's (1986) analytic induction, a five-step iterative and ongoing process that accompanied data collection. Consequently, a series of linked assertions and their evidentiary warrants were generated that described teacher interactions with their peers in varying degrees. Additionally, the findings suggest that context and dynamics must be considered when describing the nature of teachers' interactions. Anomalous data and emergent themes resulted in the expansion of the CPTI to include non-positive interactions. As a result, A Continuum of Teacher Interactions (ACTIN), a framework of distinct and incremental levels of teacher interactions, posits a more comprehensive continuum that arrays teacher interactions. The link between this four-month exploratory study and published research informs us of the varying levels of interactions that may occur among teachers and details the implications for practice and scholarship. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A