How Hawaiʻi teachers' perceptions and behaviors call for change in public education : an action research study

Galloway, Lisa Maria
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [May 2012]
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This multiple-case qualitative study involved six teachers in Hawaiʻi public schools who participated in a three credit course focused on increasing teacher-family collaboration. Five self-selected participants engaged in action research conducted over ten months in 2010-11, led by the principal investigator as co-participant. The research question was: (1) In what ways do Hawaiʻi public school teachers' perceptions of, and behaviors toward, family collaboration change given participation in a for-credit professional development (PD) course on family collaboration? The sub-questions were: (a) Do demographic characteristics of the PD teachers and their students influence any changes in the teachers' perceptions and behaviors? and; (b) Do specific PD teacher driven strategies result in changes in the teachers' perceptions of, and behaviors toward, family collaboration? Results show: (1) all six teachers' perceptions of family collaboration were positive and persisted or deepened as a result of their PD coursework, especially their increased efforts to collaborate, 75% of which teachers perceived were effective; (a) links between teacher and student demographics elicited no clear findings, but raised questions about how cultural mismatches between home and school, as well as gender, influence collaboration; (b) teacher driven strategies resulted in some changes in teachers' perceptions and behaviors--strategies used were both traditional and new and teachers' perceptions of their effectiveness depended on individual preferences. Notable hindrances to family collaboration identified were lack of attention to students as mediators of communications between teachers and parents/guardians, and excessive demands on families' time to engage in school-related activities. Teaching students to adopt mediator and activist roles and empowering families through positive and meaningful school-community activities are offered as ways to ameliorate this. Results also suggest teachers should pursue collaboration activities that build authentic relationships over time, which may be achieved simultaneously with other teachers, families, students and community members who explore and adopt new roles and learn and take action together in school-community change agent teams. These recommendations may also help stakeholders address other educational issues in which teachers, students and families currently lack a voice and power to influence public schooling.
Ph.D. University of Hawaii at Manoa 2012.
Includes bibliographical references.
teacher family collaboration, parent involvement, teacher action research, school community, change agent team
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Theses for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (University of Hawaii at Manoa). Education.
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