There's No One to Tell: Dilemmas of English Teachers in a Culture of Mandated Reform
By: Sarah Elizabeth Perricone
Published: 5/18/2016
Uploaded: 06/06/2018
Uploaded by: Pocket Masters
Pockets: 2016 (May) Teachers College Columbia University Ed.D. Dissertations, Gottesman Libraries Archive, Historical Dissertations
Tags: English, High School, teaching

Description/Abstract: This autoethnographic study explored high school English teachers' perceptions and interpretations of their experiences in the midst of the implementation of current reform movements that began in New Jersey in 2009. Through narrative inquiry, the author examined if---and if so, how---these conceptions and assumptions impact the decisions that teachers make in the classroom. This dissertation also includes an examination of both current and historical portrayals of teaching and teachers as well as the complexities of current reform movements and their potential implications in learning, teaching, and public education in general.
Data for this study consisted of in-depth interviews with three high school English teachers. The author's attempts at self-reflexive analyses in which she explored and interrogated interpretations of her own experiences, perceptions, assumptions, and beliefs and how these impact specific interpretations are included as data and examined throughout this dissertation. The author encourages teachers to engage in similar self-reflexive analysis, that is, engaging in the work that accompanies making the familiar unfamiliar and, specifically, questioning the social, political, cultural, historical assumptions that undergird any educational issue and the way one responds to it. The author suggests this may help teachers question and problematize reform movements as well as specific constructions of "English," "teacher," or "teaching." By calling into question any specific construction, this form of educational inquiry could lead to possibilities for interpretations and reinterpretations. These reinterpretations could then open up possibilities for teachers to explore multiple potentials for thinking about teaching and learning in the English classroom.