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Title:Complexities of inservice education: Teachers identify factors that influence change
Author(s):Olsen, Michele Rojek
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Easley, John A., Jr.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Administration
Education, Teacher Training
Education, Curriculum and Instruction
Abstract:This study is the result of a search for insight into reasons why staff development programs are frequently ineffective in helping teachers make lasting changes in instructional practices. The premise of the study is that although a good deal of research is undertaken to determine optimum qualities of effective inservice education programs, very little attention is paid to understanding teachers' views of factors that influence their acceptance of change. This is problematic to those who wish to make improvements in the educational system, because the teachers they wish to change feel left out of the decision-making process in school improvement. These teachers therefore look upon inservice education as an imposition or, even worse, an indication that they are teaching in a deficient manner.
This report is written to help staff development leaders become more sensitive to the constraints inherent in the teachers' role that influence their readiness to accept practices introduced through inservice education. The report is based upon interviews with and case studies of teachers who were involved in two, year-long staff development programs lead by the researcher five years prior to the study. The teachers in the study identify important factors that encourage change, including administrative and collegial support, and they emphasize that being trusted and allowed to be involved in decision making is crucial to their perception of having earned a license to make changes as they sense they are needed. The teachers also stress that inservice education is most likely to succeed when continued support is provided by colleague mentors placed in the classroom after the training sessions are completed.
An insight of this study points to a new definition for staff development. This research indicates that rather than being linked to curricular reform, inservice education should provide a setting in which teachers can behave as scholars. There is evidence that the scholarly teacher is driven to seek optimum methods for educating students. Since school settings are not conducive to scholarly thought, inservice education should be designed to allow teachers a chance to reflect, interact and retreat to a world of the mind.
Issue Date:1991
Rights Information:Copyright 1991 Olsen, Michele Rojek
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9210942
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9210942

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