Date of Award

Fall 10-24-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Teacher Leadership (Ed.D)

Department

Educational Leadership

Committee Chair

Dr. Megan Adams and Dr. Ivan M Jorrin Abellan

First Committee Member

Susan Stockdale

Second Committee Member

Kim Gray

Abstract

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study is to examine teachers’ attitudes toward the implementation of educational innovations - with an explicit focus on social and emotional learning (SEL) and new teacher mentor (NTM) programs. Because teachers are primarily responsible for absorbing new information and implementing educational programs directly to students, their attitudes may influence how the program is perceived, the program’s delivery, and may also impact the program’s outcomes. Support for novice teachers is often regarded as necessary and warranted in many schools, and researchers unfailingly reveal findings that demonstrate the effectiveness of SEL; specifically in traditional school settings (Slaten, Irby, Tate, & Rivera, 2015). Due to the success of the programs, many Title I schools and districts have adopted both SEL and NTM programs, and incorporated them into their educational organizations to improve teaching and learning. Aiming to explore the effects of teachers’ attitudes toward the implementation of the aforementioned programs, a multiple case study approach was employed using semi-structured interviews and focus groups to gain an understanding of the perceptions of educators in elementary and middle Title I urban schools in the Southeastern region of the United States. Five elementary teachers participated in an intrinsic case study addressing their perceptions and attitudes toward the implementation of social and emotional learning; while four middle school teachers participated in an intrinsic case study addressing their perceptions and attitudes toward the implementation of a new teacher mentor program. All ten participants were asked “open-ended questions minimizing categorical and yes-no questions” (Stake, 2010, p. 90), and were observed in order for the researchers to directly see data relating to the story told during their interview. The four middle school teachers also participated in focus groups. The paper is divided into five chapters. In each chapter, the researchers described the components of case study one (SEL), followed by case study two (NTM). A cross-case analysis of both case studies is included in order to address the common tension that has been identified in both cases.

KEY WORDS: social and emotional learning, Title I, teachers’ attitudes, teachers’ perceptions, teacher mentors, new teacher mentor program, new teacher support, induction programs, urban, multiple case study