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Title:Understanding adaptive teaching expertise in an elementary classroom viewed as a complex adaptive system
Author(s):Insana, Lindsay Anne E
Director of Research:Parsons, Marilyn
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Parsons, Marilyn
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Higgins, Chris; Roegee, Chris; Sutton, Brad
Department / Program:Curriculum and Instruction
Discipline:Curriculum and Instruction
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):complexity theory
adaptive teaching
Abstract:This study explored adaptive teaching expertise in an elementary classroom viewed as a complex adaptive system. Adaptive teaching is a concept that has been studied; however, using complexity theory to frame how and why teachers make the decisions they do provides a unique lens to interpret teachers’ decision-making in the classroom. The following research questions were examined: (a) What are examples of adaptive teaching expertise in an elementary classroom viewed as a complex adaptive system? (b) What kinds of decisions did the teacher make in response to student needs and the complex environment of the classroom? This study used a qualitative research design. A case study was conducted to study the adaptive teaching of a second-grade elementary teacher and her students. Data collection methods included participant observations and in-depth follow-up interviews. Data were coded and analyzed using cross-case analysis, situational analysis, and were represented visually in screencasts. The findings indicated that (a) successful adaptation occurred when the teacher recognized the unpredictability of the classroom situations, and understood that the classroom was comprised of working parts that required responding in ways that adapted to students’ social and academic choices, needs, and interests, and (b) there was a the link between proficiency in teaching content with the teacher’s confidence level, and (c) the choice with whom to engage, as well as maintaining engagement throughout the situation, was important when facilitating an adaptive situation. Examples of the tensions between what the participant believed was best for her students and how the district would like her to teach are described in detail.
Issue Date:2015-04-24
Rights Information:Copyright 2015 Lindsay Anne Insana
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-07-22
Date Deposited:May 2015

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