Date of Award

5-2009

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Degree Program

Education (also CAGS)

First Advisor

Willett, Jerri

Second Advisor

Paugh, Pat

Third Advisor

Ndikumana, Leonce

Keywords

Collaboration, Critical reflection, Inquiry group

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research

Abstract

This dissertation explores implications about teacher inquiry group (IG) practices through the representations of achievement gap (AG) discourses. The study draws from the challenges, struggles, and accomplishments of a middle school inquiry group of teachers and staff that worked collaboratively, as an institutionalized practice, with the intention to develop recommendations for closing the AG. After five years of collaborative work, the group did not get to develop an action plan. This longitudinal, ethnographic, qualitative study unveils multiple and contested representations of AG discourses and unpacks three assumptions about teacher inquiry group practices as a strategy for institutional and/or individual change: (1) that the group can resolve the issue at task; (2) that members embody the role of researchers; and (3) participation in the group can provide opportunities for transforming discourses. Critical discourse analysis provides the lens for analyzing four years of data collection: field notes, audio and written records from monthly sessions, written feedback and reflections, as well as interviews. My dual role, as member and teacher-researcher, and the use of CDA allowed me to identify critical moments. I describe critical moments as instances in which discourses of AG changed, reproduced, but not necessarily transformed. The analytical tools facilitated intertextual and discourse meaning connections. Data analysis indicated relevant findings: that the inquiry group provided opportunity for discourses to reproduce and change; that critical moments provided possibilities for transformation; that members did not always recognize these moments for which transformations may have eluded them; that inquiry groups have the potential to be a transforming intuitional practice. In general, findings suggested the need for structures that support, encourage, and engage members in "Self" reflection praxis for personal, and collective transformations, if the status quo is to be interrupted.

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