Ed.D. Dissertations

Date of Award

Spring 3-22-2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

College

College of Education

Department

Education

Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.

Faculty Chair

Mark Jimenez, Ed.D.

Content Specialist

Donna Brackin, Ed.D.

Content Reader

Aaron Cooley, Ph.D.

Keywords

teacher beliefs, teachers’ religious beliefs, reflective thought, transformative learning theory, teaching pedagogy, agent of change

Abstract

Teacher beliefs can encompass a variety of influences such as the individual’s view of the world and self, perspective on classroom experiences, and personal values. This qualitative case study explored how a teacher’s religious beliefs, in particular, may have influenced their professional practice. This study was based on the conceptual frameworks of Mezirow’s transformative learning theory, and Fullan’s framework of teacher as agent of change. Each participant engaged in the transformative learning process by having the opportunity to think about and reflect upon their belief systems and how those might influence their professional practices as educators. Drawing from qualitative data from a reflective questionnaire, a student-teacher relationship rating scale, interviews, classroom observations, and reflective journals, this study found that participants did indeed perceive their religious beliefs to influence their professional practice. Data showed that found that participants’ religious beliefs influenced their professional practice through their relationships with their students, through curricular choices, and by how they managed student behavior and classroom management. Participants’ general philosophy of teaching, why they entered the teaching profession in the first place, along with being able to persevere through difficult times, was also influenced by their personal religious beliefs. This in-depth qualitative study will provide a resource for teacher education programs who seek to prepare prospective teachers to adequately address all of the challenges they will face. Additionally, this study will allow teacher education programs to intentionally and systematically talk about how teacher beliefs, particularly religious beliefs, may influence one’s professional practice.

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