Understanding the outcomes of self-designed, extraordinary professional development experiences on secondary STEM and social sciences teachers

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Understanding the outcomes of self-designed, extraordinary professional development experiences on secondary STEM and social sciences teachers
Unkart, Sharon D. ( author )
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Denver, CO
University of Colorado Denver
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Career development -- United States ( lcsh )
Science -- Study and teaching -- United States ( lcsh )
Social sciences -- Study and teaching -- United States ( lcsh )
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )


Professionals across disciplines are required to participate in professional development. However, the quality of these experiences are not always high and the goals of the experiences are often unclear. In education specifically, K-12 teachers participate in professional development both for personal growth reasons and because of professional requirements. Using hermeneutic phenomenological case study, this research investigated the potential outcomes of self-designed, extraordinary professional development. The participants were five secondary STEM or social studies teachers who successfully applied for a grant from the private, nonprofit organization Fund for Teachers. Each teacher was treated as his or her own bounded case, and then cross-case analysis was done to create an invariant structure of the essence of designing one's own extraordinary professional development. Findings suggest that such holistic professional learning experiences produce positive outcomes for participants including increased confidence in themselves, passion for their content, renewed interest in teaching, and increased professional participation in education outside of the classroom. Thematic analysis revealed six themes as a result of designing one's own professional development: passion, renewal, authenticity, confidence, inspiration, and validation.
Thesis (Ph.D.)-- University of Colorado Denver. Educational leadership and innovation
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School of Education and Human Development
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by Sahron D. Unkart.

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UNDERSTANDING THE OUTCOMES OF SELF DESIGNED, EXTRAORDINARY PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT EXPERIENCES ON SECONDARY STEM AND SOCIAL STUDIES TEACHERS by SHARON D. UNKART A.A., Tarrant County Junior College, 1992 B.S., Metropolitan State College of Denver, 1995 M.A., University of Colorado at Denver Health Sciences Center, 2000 A thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy Educational Leadership and Innovation 2014


This thesis for the Doctor of Philosophy degree by Sharon D. Unkart has been approved for the Educational Leadership and Innovation Program by Michael Marlow, Chair Alan Davis, Advisor Laura Summers Sandra Laursen November 20, 2014 ii


Unkart, Sharon D (Ph.D., Educational Leadership and Innovation) Understanding the Outcomes of Self Designed, Extraordinary Professional Development Experiences on Secondary STEM a n d Social Studies Teachers Thesis directed by Associate Professor Alan Davis. ABSTRACT Professionals across disciplines are required to participate in professional deve lopment. However, the quality of these experiences are not always high and the goals of the experiences are often unclear. In education specifically, K 12 teachers participate in professional development both for personal growth reasons and because of prof essional requirements. Using hermeneutic phenomenological case study, this research investigated the potential outcomes of self designed, extraordinary professional development. The participa nts were five secondary STEM or social studies teachers who succe ssfully applied for a grant from the private, nonprofit organization Fund for Teachers. Each teacher was treated as his or her own bounded case, and then cross case analysis was done to create an invariant structure of the essence of designing ones own ex traordinary professional development. Findings suggest that such holistic professional learning experiences produce positive outcomes for participants including increased confidence in themselves, passion for their content, renewed interest in teaching, an d increased profes sional participation in education outside of the classroom. Thematic analysi s revealed six themes as a result of designing ones own professional development: passion, renewal, authenticity, confidence, inspiration, and validation. iii


The f orm and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Alan Davis iv


DEDICATION I dedicate this work first to my children, Wilson Terah Unkart (Ted) and Vivian Louise Unkart I n your memories, there has never been a time when I was not working on my doctorate. I look forward to your young adulthood and being infinitely more available to you in the future. Thank you for your patience, love, and su pport. I love you both, so much! I also dedicate this dissertation to my husba nd, Dr. Eric Ball, without whose help I would have never finished. Your love, support, and patience have sustained me through many confused, overwhelmed, and exhausted nights. Thank you for loving me so completely. Finally, I dedicate this to my mother, L ouise Eller, who instilled in me the importance of having an informed opinion and if you are going to write a dissertation, you really need one of those. I love you, Mom. I miss you every day. v


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would first like to thank Dr. Michael Marlow for his confidence in my ability and his unending patience over the last 16 years, through both my Masters and Doctoral program s I would never have completed these degrees without your stalwart support. Next, I would like to thank two of my Dissertation Committee members, Dr. Sandra Laursen and Dr. Laura Summers, for not giving up on me. I am thankful every day for your professionalism, critical input, and patience. I would also like to thank Dr. Alan Davis. You stepped in as my Advisor unselfishly and saw me through to the end. Your encouraging words and stolid demeanor have been more reassuring than you will ever know. Priceless. Finally, I would like t o thank my family and friends. Every one of y ou believed i n me throughout my eight year Doctoral journey, supporting me when I needed help, cheering me on when I lost momentum, and warmly embracing me when I reached the end. I feel blessed and thankful for having you all in my life. vi


TABLE OF CONTENTS CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 1 The Problem Space ................................ ................................ ............................... 1 Effective Professional Development ................................ ................................ 1 Extraordinary Professional Learning ................................ ............................... 3 My Theoretical Perspective ................................ ................................ .................. 3 The Purpose of This Study ................................ ................................ ................... 5 The Methodology ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 5 Structure of the Dissertation ................................ ................................ ................ 6 II. LITERATURE REVIEW ................................ ................................ ...................... 7 The Problem ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 8 Teachers Participate in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for a Variety of Reasons ................................ ................................ ............................ 8 Licensure and recertification requirements. ................................ ................ 9 Federal and state policy requirements. ................................ ...................... 10 Demands of reform based teaching. ................................ ........................... 14 Not All Professional Development is Created Equal ................................ ...... 15 Some Professional Development Could Be Called "Extraordinary" .............. 22 Self Designed Professional Learning Experiences Have the Potential to Be "Extraordinary" ................................ ................................ ............................... 29 vii


Theoretical Framework ................................ ................................ ...................... 36 Experiences Matter ................................ ................................ ......................... 36 Experience is learning. ................................ ................................ ................ 40 Learning is interpretive and constructivist. ................................ ............. 48 Learning is subjective. ................................ ................................ .............. 49 Experience is situated. ................................ ................................ ................ 50 Self Designed, Experiential Professional Learning is Interpretive, Constructivist, Subjective, and Situated Based on the Unique Needs of Individual Teachers ................................ ................................ ........................ 52 Hermeneutic Phenomenological Case Study Is Interpretive, Constructivist, Subjective, and Situated ................................ ................................ ..................... 54 Summary ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 55 III. RESEARCH METHOD S ................................ ................................ .................. 56 Research Design ................................ ................................ ................................ 56 My Historical Contexts ................................ ................................ ....................... 60 Participants ................................ ................................ ................................ ......... 61 Population Size ................................ ................................ ............................... 61 Population Characteristics ................................ ................................ .............. 62 Selection Eligibility Characteristics ................................ ............................... 63 Sampling Scheme ................................ ................................ ............................ 65 Data Sources & Collection ................................ ................................ .................. 66 viii


Fund for Teachers Post Fellowship Survey ................................ .................... 67 Grant Prop osals, Project Summaries, and my Reflective Journal ................. 68 Semi Structured Life World Interviews ................................ ......................... 69 Travel Journals/Blogs, Photos, Videos, Lesson Plans, and Audiovisual Materials ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 71 Data Analysis ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 71 IV: DETAILED C ASE STUDIES, CROSS CASE ANALYSIS, AND INVARIANT STRUCTURE ................................ ................................ ................................ .......... 74 Post Fellowship Survey Data ................................ ................................ ............. 75 Case Study: Amy ................................ ................................ ................................ 82 Profile ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 82 Intentions ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 83 The Experience ................................ ................................ ............................... 85 In the Classroom and Beyond ................................ ................................ ......... 89 Follow Up ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 90 Case Study: Ted ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 90 Profile ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 90 Intentions ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 91 The Experience ................................ ................................ ............................... 93 In the Classroom and Beyond ................................ ................................ ......... 96 Follow Up ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 97 ix


Case Study: Lori ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 98 Profile ................................ ................................ ................................ .............. 98 Intentions ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 99 The Experience ................................ ................................ .............................. 101 In the Classroom and Beyond ................................ ................................ ....... 103 Follow Up ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 103 Case Study: Emily ................................ ................................ ................................ 104 Profile ................................ ................................ ................................ ............ 104 Intentions ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 105 The Experience ................................ ................................ ............................. 107 In the Classroom and Beyond ................................ ................................ ........ 111 Follow Up ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 112 Case Study: Mike ................................ ................................ ................................ ... 112 Profile ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 112 Intentions ................................ ................................ ................................ ....... 113 The Experience ................................ ................................ .............................. 115 In the Classroom and Beyond ................................ ................................ ........ 117 Follow Up ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 118 CrossCase Analysis ................................ ................................ ........................... 118 Thematic Analysis ................................ ................................ .......................... 119 Passion ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 120 x


Renewal ................................ ................................ ................................ ..... 120 Authenticity ................................ ................................ ............................... 120 Confidence ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 121 Inspiration ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 121 Validation ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 122 Invariant Structure of SelfDesigned, Extraordinary Professional Development ................................ ................................ ................................ 122 V. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS ................................ .......................... 124 Interpretations of Results ................................ ................................ ................ 124 Transferability ................................ ................................ ................................ .. 130 Limitations of the Study ................................ ................................ .................... 131 Si gnificance of the Study ................................ ................................ .................. 132 Implications for Research ................................ ................................ ................ 132 Implications for Practice ................................ ................................ .................. 133 Conclusion ................................ ................................ ................................ ........ 135 Epilogue ................................ ................................ ................................ ............. 137 REFERENCES ................................ ................................ ................................ ...... 138 APPENDIX A ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 157 B ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 158 C ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 159 xi


D ................................ ................................ ................................ ........................... 160 E ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................. 161 F ................................ ................................ ................................ ............................ 164 xii


LIST OF TABLES Table 1: Features of Effective Professional Development ................................ ............... 18 2: Seven Themes for Math and Science Teachers Using ICT in Deprived Environments for Self Directed Pro fessional Development ................................ 32 3: Jarvis' Model of Learning from Life Experiences ................................ .............. 45 4: Teaching Disciplines of FFT Fellows, 2001 2012 ................................ ............ 62 5: Teaching Experience of FFT Fellows, 2010 2012 (x = 1,315) .......................... 63 6: Participant Characteristics ................................ ................................ ................. 66 7: Summary of Questions 1 3, Fund for Teachers Post Fellowship Survey ........ 76 8: Summary of Question 4, Fund for Teachers Post Fellowship Survey .............. 79 xiii


LIST OF FIGURES Figure 1: The Outward Bound Process Model ................................ ................................ .. 47 xiv


CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION The Problem Space The roots of this dissertation run deep, stemming from my own experiences in teaching and later in professional development. Over the last 20 years, too often I have been the victim of professional development, rather than an active and willing participant in developing my own professional knowledge, behaviors, and beliefs concerning teaching. As Matthew B. Miles wrote in the Foreword to Professional Development in Education: New Paradigms & Practices (1995) a good deal of what passes for professional development in schools is a joke one that wed laugh at if we werent trying to keep from crying (p. vii) Rather than being treated as practitioners, teachers often are treated as robots, or worse, the bad guys. Instead of engaging teachers as participatory agents, professional development is done to them. There is often lack of trust and respect between teachers and schools, teachers and districts, and teachers and legislators. Professional developers, district personnel, and legislators often cite teacher proof curricula as the way to cure the ills of public education, removing all forms of teachers praxis from the act of teaching. Yet, teachers are still required to do professional development. What is it, then, that we expect teachers to get from these experiences? Effective Professional Development There exist many lists regarding the characteristics of effective professional development. For example, Garet, Porter, Desimone, Biran, and 1


Yoon (2001) labeled features of effective professional development in two main categories: core features and structural features. They found that core features (characteristics of a program) typically effected changes in teachers knowledge, skills, and behaviors while structural features (contextsetting) most affected teacher learning. However, in a paper presented at the 2003 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Thomas Guskey found that of the 21 characteristics identified by 13 of the better known lists from 1995 to 2002, no single characteristic appeared on every list. In addition to th is discrepancy, he also noted that only two of the 13 studies showed a direct link between the identified characteristics and student achievement. What does this say, then, about how we are describing professional development as effective? Unfortunatel y, it is rarely said that a desired outcome of some professional development experience could be increased satisfaction or engagement with t he teaching profession, or a renewed spirit. I approached this research with the deep seated belief that professional learning does not have to be boring, disengaging, or uninspiring. I also believe that teachers can be trusted. What would happen if those in positions of power, such as administrators district leaders, and legislators, trusted teachers to understand their own needs regarding their professional praxis? What would happen if teachers were encouraged to seek out their own learning experiences or to design their own professional developmen t? How would it change the face of teacher engagement, with their own professional learning, if they knew that seeking out experiential learning opportunities would be highly regarded and rewarded? 2


Approaching the topic of teacher professional development from the perspective that teachers are adult learners, Hunzicker (2010, 2011) used Knowles (1980) theory of androgogy to propose that teachers are self directed, ready to learn, experienced, task centered, and intrinsically motivated. These assumptions seem to run in the face of the current environment for teachers where professional development is legislatively mandated almost puniti ve in nature, and presented in didactic fashion by pedagogues. Presented in this way, no program would be engaging, even t o the most intrinsically motivated and engaged learner in a room. Extraordinary Professional Learning There exists a plethora of professional learning opportunities for K 12 teachers that focus on actively engaging the whole person, physically, intellectu ally, culturally, and even emotionally. Many of these experiences would be considered out of the ordinary as compared to the majority of professional development programs c overed in the research literature. They include immersive, experiential professional learning opportunities aimed at challenging a teacher to think and act differently and to look at teaching and learning in a completely new way. McLain (2012) called these types of experiential professional learning experiences, that challenge an individual on multiple levels, extraordinary. Extraordinary professional learning experiences are the subject of this dis sertation. My Theoretical Perspective In 1938, John Dewey wrote Experience & Education exemplifying his belief in the unity of theory and practice. In it, he delineated his ideas on 3


traditional versus progressive education, educative versus non educative experiences, and the importance of educators in shaping learning opportunities. He said, A primary responsibility of educators is that they not only be aware of the general principle of shaping of actual experience by environing conditions, but that they also recognize in the concrete what surroundings are conducive to having experiences that lead to growth. Above all, they should know how to utilize the surrounding s physical and social, that exist so as to extract from them all that they have to contribute to building up experiences that are worthwhile (p. 40) This quote summarizes the theoretical foundations upon whi ch this study was built. Teachers are expected to design learning environments and experiences for students every day. I believe that they are also fully capable of designing learning experiences for themselves that are at once nurturing, inspiring, challenging, exciting, engaging, and worthwhile. Each individual approaches experiences from a distinct perspective, from which only that person can truly discern his or her meaning. Meaning is perceived and value is judged based on his or her prior knowledge, e xperiences, and belief s and that person can share his or her perspective with others through conversations, images, and texts. Meaning is then interpreted by the listener, and filtered through that person s perspective. It is my contention that self design ed, experiential professional learning is interpretive, constructivist, subjective, and situated based on the unique needs of individual teachers. I also believe it can be extraordinary. I undertook this study to better understand this complexity. 4


The Purp ose of T his Study The aim of this exploratory study was to identify and understand the outcomes of self designed, extraordinary professional development. The teachers designed the professional development experiences described in this study themselves They researched the background knowledge necessary to interact intelligently with experts in the field; they sequenced the locations and experiences to maximize their holistic understanding; and they synthesized their experiences into classroom lessons and case studies This dissertation is about their process, experiences, and outcomes. The research questions that guided this study are as follows: 1. Why do secondary STEM and social studies Fund for Teachers ( FFT) Fellows choose to design their own professional development over other, more traditional forms of professional development? 2. What do secondary STEM and social studies FFT Fellows include in these self designed experiences and why? 3. What are the teacher identified impacts of self designed, ext raordinary professional development on FFT Fellows kno wledge, behaviors, and values ? 4. What makes a self designed professional development experience meaningful to STEM and social studies educators? The Methodology This hermeneutical phenomenological case study studied five secondary STEM and social studies teachers from Colorado who successfully applied for a grant from Fund for Teachers (FFT) I treated each teacher as an individual 5


bounded case, and then looked across cases to find the essence of the liv ed experience of designing ones own extraordinary professional learning experience. I used various texts to interpret meaning including the FFT Fellows grant applications, transcribed interviews, multimedia materials, lesson plans, and project summarie s. Structure of the Dissertation This dissertation is organized in the tradition of educational studies. Chapter One has introduced the problem space, the literature surrounding that space, the studys theoretical underpinnings, and the methods used. Chapt er Two provides a much deeper analysis of the literature for both the problem space and the studys theoretical perspective. Chapter Three describes the methodology, including my historical contexts, the participants, data sources and collection, and data analysis. In Chapter Four, I present the data and findings for FFTs mandatory post fellowship survey and for each of the five case studies as well as the invariant structure of the lived experience of designing ones own extraordinary professional develo pment. Finally, in Chapter Five, I discuss my findings in a more interpretive way, comparing my findings to the literature and extant data in the field. I then discuss this studys transferability, its limitations, significance, implications for research a nd practice, and offer some suggestions for future research regarding self designed, extraordinary profes sional development, ending with a summary of the discussion. 6


CHAPTER II LITERATURE REVIEW In the following chapter, I will begin with a review of the research on professional development in order to elucidate the conversation around the requirements teachers must meet in order to practice their profession. I call into question the efficacy of required professional development under the argument th at attendance at a professional development program does not equal learning. I will then discuss the research around extraordinary professional learning oppor tunities and propose that self designed professional learning has the potential to be extraordinar y Next, I discuss the theoretical frameworks and research perspectives that guided this study I examine experiential learning and place it within the context of what we know about teacher professional development. I then compile the literature around l earning to propose that self designed experiential professional learning is interpretive, constructivist, subjective, and situated. The chapter concludes with a brief discussion of how hermeneutic phenomenological case study is a perfectly matched methodo logy to both the epistemological and ontological assumptions within this study. For the purposes of discussion within this chapter, I use the terms professional development , continuing professional development, and professional learning to refer to the process of continuous learning wherein teachers acquire the work related skills, professional knowledge, values, and personal qualities that enable them to engage effectively with students and 7


colleagues while continually adjust ing within todays refo rm based educational system (Villegas Reimers, 2003) The Problem T eachers P articipate in Continuing Professional Development (CPD) for a Variety of R easons Traditionally, teachers professional learning has consisted of a wide variety of activities, both formal and informal. T eachers participate in continuing professional development (CPD) for a variety of reasons both personal and professional Personally, t eachers see professional development as a way to expand their knowledge and skills, contribute to their growth, and enhance their effectiveness with students (Guskey, 2002) They may also participate in professional development in order to increase their pay grade within their district or to qualify for a higher position. Informally, teachers would also say that they learn from conversations with their colleagues, from reading various journals and articles, as well as from Internet and library searches. However, these informal learning opportunities are not considered official and would not count towards meeting a teachers requirements for licensure, for example. Professionally, teaching is similar to other fields such as law, nursing, or architecture, in that practi tioners are required to participate in CPD for licensure and/ or recertification University courses, workshops at various locations such as nature centers and museums, state and national conferences, and district sponsored workshops have all traditionally counted towards teach ers professional development. Certain federal, state, and local policies also require that teachers participate in CPD. Finally, the education reform of the last few 8


decades, including high standards, curriculum frameworks, and new approaches to assessmen ts aligned to those standards, have created a continually shifting teaching milieu within which teachers experience ever shifting expectations around their behavior in the classroom. I will now look at these professional requirements in more detail. Licensure and recertification requirements. Depending upon the state in which they practice, t eachers are required to participate in a certain number of CPD hours in order to maintain a professional teaching license In Colorado, for example, teachers must complete six semester hours of coursework from an accredited institution or 90 clock hours of C PD within the five years prior to renewing their license (Colorado Department of Education, 2007a) One semester hour is equal to 15 clock hours (i.e. 6 semester hours = 90 clock hours) and t eachers can combine these hours in any way they choose According to the Colorado Department of Education ( CDE), t hese hours can also take many forms including educational travel, conferences, mentoring, workshops, online courses, or other similar activities (2007a) These activities must be related to increasing the license holders competence in his or her existing or potential endorsement area, or to increase the licensees skills and competence in delivery of instruction in his or her existing or potential en dorsement area (Colorado Department of Education, 2007a) Teachers are required to provide p roof of participation, in the form of transcripts or certif icates for example, to the Colorado Department of Education and after some review, the license is typically renewed. 9


Federal and state policy requirements. Research has shown that there is often a strong connection between both feder al and state legislative education policies and teachers practices in the classroom (Cohen & Hill, 2000) For example, Public Law 107 110, otherwise known as the No Child Left Beh ind (NCLB) Act of 2001, reauthorized the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) of 1965 with considerable revisions It required that all teachers in core academic subjects participate in high quality professional developmen t to enable such teachers to become highly qualified and successful classroom teachers (Boehner, Miller, Gregg, & Kennedy, 2001) To be considered highly qualified under NCLB, a teacher has to (a) hold a degree, (b) be fully licensed (except for general education teachers in charter schools that have been waived from licensing by the State Board of Education), and (c) demonstrate subject matter competency through passing a state content test, holding a degree in the assigned field, or taking additional semester hours in their field (Colorado Department of Education, 2007b) It is interesting to note that in a survey of 5,253 full and part time K12 teachers in the United States, 100% of them had at least a Bachelors degree (Parsad, Lewis, Farris, & Greene, 2001) As of July 2014, this bill has not been reauthorized by the Legislature. It is on the docket for later this summer. However, states, districts, and educators are still required to m eet its expectations. When applying for a professional license renewal, for example, all CPD must meet the criteria in NCLB. According to 10


NCLB Title IX Section 9101(34) professional develo pment includes activities that i mprove and increase teachers knowledge of academic subjects and enable teachers to become highly qualified; a re an integral part of broad school wi de and district wide educational improvement plans; give teachers, principals and administrators the know ledge and skills to help students meet challenging State academic standards; i mprove classroom management skills; a re high quality, sustained, inten sive, and classroom focused in order to have a positive and lasting impact on classroom instruction and th e teachers performance in the classroom; are not one day or short term workshops or conferences ; support the recruiting, hiring, and training of highly qualified teachers, including teachings who became highly qualified through State and local alternativ e routes to certification; a dvance teacher understanding of effective instruction al strategies that are based on scientifically based research and strategies for improving student academic achievement or substantially increasing the knowledge and teaching skills of teachers; are aligned with and directly related to State academic standards and the curricula and programs tied to the standards (with provisions for Special Education programs) 11


a re developed with extensive participation of teachers, principals, parents, and administrators; are designed to support the education of students with limited English proficiency; provide training for teachers and principals in the effective use and implementation of technology and technology applications; are regularly e valuated for their impact on increased teacher effectiveness and improved student academic achievement, with the findings of the evaluations used to improve the quality of professional development; provide instruction in the use of data and assessments to inform and instruct classroom practice; and include instruction on how to more effectively work with parents. When comparing the professional development criteria set forth in NCLB to the CDEs requirements for teacher professional license renewal, it seem s that the two do not agree on all of the criteria for professional development of teachers. Some of the items included in CDEs list would not pass for professional development according to NCLB, such as workshops and conferences. In Colorado, a state b ill that has had an effect on the CPD choices teachers make is Senate Bill 10 191 ( also known informally as the Educator Effectiveness Act ) It requires that each teacher is provided with an opportunity to improve his or her effectiveness through a teacher development plan that links h is or her evaluation and performance standards to professional development opportunities (Sixty seventh General Assembly of the State of Colorado, 2010, p. 10) This bill was created in response to the American Recovery and 12


Reinvestment Act of 2009, the Obama administrations A Blueprint for Reform : The Reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, and the Race to the Top state funding competitions that were directly linked to state policies on teacher evaluation With in the Educator Effectiveness Act CPD is seen as a way to remediate deficiencies, as evidenced by a teacher receiving an ineffective or partially effective performance evaluation (Colorado State Board of Education 2012) This use of the term professional development is different from other contexts mentioned thus far. This use of the term implies that there is some inadequacy that needs to be fixed that the professional needs to be developed . Webster Wrigh t (2009) wrote of a deficit model of professional development, where there is a belief in the transmission model of teaching and learning In this model, the knowledge deficient professional must look to the knowledgepossessing p rovider in order to improve their knowledge and skill. Rather than seeing the teacher as a professional who is capable of self directed learning, this use of the term professional development assumes that external forces must direct the teachers development. However, in a report published in 2001 (Parsad et al.) the US Department of Education found tha t teachers were most likely to have participated in the following opportunities (teac hers indicated all that were applicable, resulting in the percentages of participation) : Professional development that focuses on integrating education technology into t he grade or subject taught (74%) Studying in depth the subject area of th e main teaching assignment (72%) 13


Implementing new methods of teaching (72%) This research indicates that given the opportunity, teachers made professional development choi ces that were aligned with NCLB and in their own, best professional interest. In fact, when asked, teachers top priorities for their own professional development are learning more about the content they teach (23%), classroom management (18%), teaching students with special needs (15%), and using technology in the classroom (14%) (Da rling Hammond, Wei, Andree, Richardson, & Orphanos, 2009) Demands of reform based teaching The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) (NGSS Lead States, 2013) the Common Core State Standards for both Mathematics and Literacy in Science (National Governors Association Center for Best Practices & Council of Chief State School Officers, 2010) and the National Curriculum Standards for Social Studies (National Council for the Social Studies, 2010) were published in the last four years. All of these documents are focused on how to make learning more meaningful for students. With the advent of these new standards for teaching and learning, t eachers are being challenged to teach in new ways. The new st andards an d frameworks stress not only the subject matter but also how students learn the content and skills For teachers, t his means moving away from using only lecture, note taking, and canned labs. The new standards and frameworks also include performance expectations for students, where they are expected to apply a practice to content knowledge (Na tional Research Council, 2013) Within these standards documents, cross cutting concepts, conceptual understanding evidence based reasoning and communication are emphasized. 14


According to a national survey of science and mathematics teachers classroom practices, dramatic changes are needed if students are going to develop the knowledge and skills needed to master the new standards (Banilower et al., 2013) For example, the NGSS now include an emphasis on engineering processes and practices which formally have never been a part of the national or state standards for science. What this means is that teachers are being asked to teach new content, in new ways, leading to the need for CP D focused on deeper learning, new skills, and context based practices. The needed change in current teaching practices is significant (National Resear ch Council, 2012; Wilson, 2013) Not All P rofessiona l Development is Created E qual Decades of education reform have focused on improving student learning through professional development for teachers. Indeed, professional development has almost become synonymous with reform (Sykes, 1996) Consequently, large amounts o f money, resources, effort, and time are spent each year on teachers CPD (Ball & Cohen, 1999; Borko, 2004; Corcoran, Shields, & Zucker, 1998) Ultimately, the desired outcome of this professional development for teachers is to effect change in their kn owledge, behaviors, and/or beliefs that will improve student learning outcomes (Guskey, 2002) Unfortun ately, the purpose of this required professional development is not always clearly defined nor agreed upon by teachers, administrators, PD providers, state agencies, and/or federal legislators (Friedman & Phillips, 2004) This lack of agreement on expected outcomes often results in muddled, confusing, and ineffective training. If you ask most public school teachers about their last professional devel opment experience, they would likely say the professional development wa s 15


done to them rather than requiring their collaborative or intellec tual participation Recently, a teacher friend of mine used her Facebook status to bemoan her current required tra ining. She wrote, There are truly no words for how inane, incompetent, irrelevant, uninspiring, and utterly awful this district training is seriously, they should confiscate sharp objects as we enter the room to prevent both homicidal and suicidal acts I can envision either, or both, occurring before this in terminable training day is over ( A. Shearer, personal communication, August 19, 2013 quoted with permission ). Similarly, a recent meme posted to Facebook read, When I die, I hope it is at a facul ty meeting or teacher inservice because the transition from life to death would be so subtle. In fact, in a 1985 national survey, in service district training was ranked as the least effective (14th out of 14) learning opportunity for teachers (Smylie, 1989) In a study of the effects of professional development on science teaching practices and classroom culture, Supovitz and Turner (2000) summarized six critical components from the literature to define high quality professional development : It must immerse participants in inquiry, questioning, and experimentation thus modeling inquiry forms o f teaching (Bybee, 1993; Marek & Methven, 1991; McDermott, 1990) It must be intensive and sustained (Hawley & Valli, 1999; Smylie, Bilcer, Greenberg, & Harris, 1998) It must engage teachers in concrete teaching tasks and be based on teachers experienc es with students (Darling Hammond & McLaughlin, 1995) 16


It must focus on subject matter knowledge and deepen teachers content skills (Cohen & Hill, 1998; Kenned y, 1998) It must be grounded in a common set of professional development standards and show teachers how to connect their work to specific standards for student performance (Hawley & Valli, 1999; National Research Council, 1996) It must be connected to other aspects of school change (Corcoran & Goertz, 1995; Fullan, 1991; O'Day & Smith, 1993) Using data from 24 K 8 science projects in the National Science Foundations (NSF) Local Systemic Change initiative, Supovitz and Turner (2000) found that increased participation in high quality professional development was statistically associated with higher teacher use of inquiry practices and highe r levels of investiga tive classroom culture. Only after 80+ hours of professional development did teachers report using inquiry based teaching more frequently. That same pattern also held true for an investigative classroom culture, although it took 160+ h ours (Supovitz & Turner, 2000) Similar to Supovitz and Turners (2000) six essential features of highly effective professional development , Garet, Porter, Desimone, Birman, and Yoon (2001) found that p rofessional development programs can be thought of as having (a) core features that affect changes in teachers knowledge, skills, and behaviors as well as (b) structural features that affect teacher learning. Core features make up the characteristics of the program and included three characteristics: a focus on content knowledge, active learning (such as observations, planning time, review of student work, presentations, writing, and 17


leadership opportunities), and coherence (includin g building on prior knowledge, connection to goals, and alignment with state and district standards and assessments). T he structural features set the context of the activity. Structural features also included three characteristics: form, duration (includin g both contact hours and span of time over which the activity was spread), and collective participation. Their research showed that changes in teachers knowledge, skill s and behaviors were most affected by core feature characteristics. Teacher learning w as most affected by the three structural features. For example, t he form of the activity was important. They characterized activities as either reform activities (study groups, mentoring, or coaching) or as traditional activities (workshops, seminars, inst itutes, and courses). See Table 1 below for a summary of these features. Table 1 : Features of Effective Professional Development Core Features Structural Features Focus on content knowledge Form of the activity Opportunities for active learning Duration of the activity Coherence with other learning activities Collective participation of teachers from the same school, grade, or subject Adapted from What Makes Professional Development Effective? Results From a National Sample of Teachers, by M. S. Garet, A. C. Porter, L. Desimone, B. F. Biran, & K. S. Yoon, 2001, American Educational Research Journal, 38 (4), 915 945. The results from G aret, et al. (2001) indicated that sustained and intensive professional development is more likel y to have an impact than activities of shorter duration. R elatedly, they asserted that reform type professional development tends to produce better outcomes because it is typically of longer duration. They went on to say that w hen professional development focuses on 18


subject matter, provides opportunities for active learning, and is integrated into the daily life of the school, it is more likely to produce enhanced knowledge and skills. Activities that link to prior knowledge and experiences, are aligned wit h other reform efforts, and that encourage professional communication among teachers support change in teachers practice. Finally collective participation of groups of teachers from the same school, subject, or gra de level is related to both coherence an d active learning opportunities, which in turn are related to increased knowledge and skills and changes in classroom practice. Many similar lists of characteristics of effective professional development exist. In 2003, Thomas Guskey presented a paper at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association entitled The Characteristics of Effective Professional Development: A Synthesis of Lists that was later published by the National Association of Secondary School Principals (Guskey 2003a, 2003b) In it, h e examined 13 of the better known lists from 1995 to 2002 comparing how they derived their characteristics, which characteristics they listed, and how they compared to the revised Standards for Staff Development published by th e National Staff Development Council (2001) He found that, of the 21 c haracteristics contained within the 13 articles, none of them appeared on every list. In addition, of the 13 reviewed articles only two showed a direct link between the identified character istics and student achievement (see Kennedy, 1998 and Wenglinsky, 2 000). Hunzicker (2010, 2011) approached the topic of teacher professional dev elopment from the perspective that teachers are adult learners. Using Knowles (1980) theory of androgogy she posited that teachers are self directed, 19


ready to learn, experienced, task centered, and intrinsically motivated Using these characteristics of adult learners as her lens, s he summarized the current research on professional development and created a list, similar to that of Guskeys (2003a) from which she then created a checklist for school leaders to use when designing professional development program s for teachers This list includes five categories of questions labeled with these descriptors /characte ristics : Supportive, Job embedded, Instructional foc us, Collaborative, and Ongoing. I will now discuss each of these categories as it relates to the research on effective professional development Supportive professional development supports teac her motivation (Van Duzor, 2011) combines the needs of teachers with school and/or district goals (Fullan, 1995; King & Newmann, 2004) ; engages all learners including teache rs, administrators, and paraprofessionals (Bolam et al., 2005; Saunders, Goldenberg, & Gallimore, 2009) ; and is designed to meet the learning needs of specific groups of t eachers by meeting their unique personal and professional needs (Flores, 2005; Quick, Holtzman, & Chaney, 2009) and inc orporating their input regarding content and method (Lieberman & Pointer Mace, 2008) Job embedded professional development engages teachers in learning using the context of their schools and daily activities as opportunities for learning through collaboration, reflection, observation, and mentoring (Fullan, 1995; Loucks Horsley, Love, Stiles, Mundry, & Hewson, 2003; Quick et al., 2009; Smylie, 1 989, 1995) Instructionally focused professional development emphasizes content and pedagogy connected to student learning (Garet et al., 2001; Mundry, 2005) In collaborative professional development models, teachers work together towards 20


common goals, try out new ideas to develop new ways of teaching, and come together to problem solve, discuss student outcomes, and reflect on their teaching (Bo rko, Mayfield, Marion, Flexer, & Cumbo, 1997; Burbank & Kauchak, 2003; Butler, Lauscher, Jarvis Selinger, & Beckingham, 2004; Clement & Vandenberghe, 2000) Finally, according to Hunzicker (2010, 2011) in order for professional development to be effective, it must by ongoing As with the other four characteristics, this finding of Hunzicker is consistent with many of the studies already discussed. Additional research has examined specific professional development programmatic outcomes. For example, Akerson and Hanuscin looked at the use of inquiry as a professi onal development strategy (2007) ; Banilower, Heck, and Weiss researched teachers use of program sponsored curricula after sustained professional development (2007) ; and Baumfield investigated the link between thinking skills and professional development in stimulating pedagogical inquiry (2006) Common to all research into programmatic outcomes of professional development is a fin al recommendation of what works, adding to the extant literature on effective pr ofessional development programs and essentially lengthenin g the list of effective professional development characteristics, strategies, and programs. Until the advent of NCLB, the field of professional development was moving away from the sit and get model (Colbert, Brown, Choi, & Thomas, 2008) However, with the implementation of NCLB, the field has moved back towards a compliance model, overseen by administrators and dependent on mandates (Peckover, Peterson, Christiansen, & Covert, 2006; Sandholtz & 21


Scribner, 2006; Sparks, 1997) Despite the copious research on effective professional development, many pro grams for teachers still rely on didactic lecturing during episodic events that have little lasting effect on teachers knowledge, beliefs, or behaviors (Garet et al., 2001; Loucks Horsley et al., 2003) In effect there is still no definitive consensus on what constitutes effective professional development for teachers. However, the preceding discussion summarized the main characteristics that appear on most of the current lists today plus some that are less ubiqu itous While many studies of professional development identified common characteristics of effectiveness, the common thread among most of t he studies is their focus on programs program activities, and program characteristics A gap exists in the literat ure concerning research into holistic, experiential, con textual professional learning and its outcomes Some Professional Development Could Be Called "E xtraordinary The research discussed thus far on effective professional development has been programmatic research. Programs do not equal learning. Just because there is a body in a seat does not mean that that teacher is intellectually engaged, motivated to learn, an d/or interested in the information being presented. Nor does it mean that the presentation of the information is relevant, timely, or meaningful to the teachers in attendance. This can be especially true in discussing mandatory programs aimed at all teache rs within a district, school, or discipline. As Dewey explained, Teaching may be compared to selling commodities. No one can sell unless someone buysSince learning i s something that the [learner ] has to do himself and for herself, the initiative lies wit h the learner (Dewey, 1939, p. 614) 22


Jerome Bruner wrote, Ideally, interest in the material to be learned is the best stimulus to learning, rather than such external goals as grades or later competitive advantage (1960, p. 14) Pintrich and Schrauben (1992) Schiefele and Rhienberg (1997) and Boekaerts (2001) have also shown connections between motivation and learning and cognition. In fact, Boekaerts believes motivation and learning to be inseparable. Bruner went on to say that motives for learning must be kept from going passive... they must be based as much as possible upon the arousal of interest in what there is to be learned, and they must be kept broad and diverse in expression (1960, p 80). In other words, people who ar e interested in a topic are intrinsically motivated and they can successfully be given a wide variety of options that will result in learning. T he programs and relevant research discussed thus far have not considered any experiences that could be considere d out of the ordinary for todays teachers. I would now like to shift gears and consider professional learning experiences that c ould be called extraordinary. McLain (2012) defines extraordinary experiences as those which go beyond what might be considered typical, ordinary, or within the comfort zone for a given individual or group (p. xi) When applied to professional learning experiences for teachers, this term encompasses experiences that are not only outside the comfort zone of teachers but that must also include a professional learning component related to their practice. As he also points out, [e]xtraord inariness is subjective (p. xi), so it would not be expected that any two people wo uld hold the same idea as to what might be extraordinary. 23


My interest in this topic of extraordinary professional learning began years ago when I first began designing professional learning experiences for teachers. I wanted to know what learning experien ces were not only supportive of a teachers professional dev elopment and classroom practice, but also inspirational Could some experiences be called extraordinary as compared to others and, if so, what do those experiences have in common? How and why do teacher s definitions of extraordinary professional learning differ ? I believe that there are many learning experiences available now to teachers that would be considered extraordinary . For example, in her book Teacher at Sea: Miss Cooks Voyage on the RONALD H. BROWN (Cook & Stanitsk i, 2005) teacher Mary Cook tells of her adventures while spending three weeks at sea aboard a National Oceanic and Atmosp heric Administration (NOAA) vessel While at sea, she and the ship full of scientists studied the atmosphere and the ocean produci ng data, photos, and videos that she then shared with her students. She participated in the scientific experiences of the voyage, including launching a weather balloon and various buoys and retrieving buoys that had stored data for later retrieval. She als o deployed a drifting buoy that she and her eighth grade class had adopted before she departed on the adventure. It was equipped with meteorological and oceanographic sensing instruments whose data would be transmitted back to landbased data centers via s atellite. From there, she and her students could access temperature and pressure data as the buoy travelled around the ocean as well as track its movements. According to her book, they continued to do so for some time after her return. 24


The National Science Teachers Association recently showcased a few more examples in the ir monthly newspaper NSTA Reports (National Science Teachers Association, 2012) The article was entitled Traveling Abroad for Science and it included the stories of five teachers who had extraordinary experiences that they then brought back to their classrooms in various ways. For example Paul Pea, EdD, a Minnesota high school scie nce teacher at the Broadway High School for Pregnant and Parenting Students, uses photographs of his world travels to get his students to as k the right questions questions spawned from their curiosity but directed at the content he presents. He then dir ects them to resources and texts that can help them find their answers all the while meeting the standards and learning targets in his curriculum. Another teacher, Michelle Brand Buchanan, assistant director of University of Arkansas at Little Rocks teacher education program and a former middle school science teacher, also uses her personal stories and images to engage her students (National Science Teachers Association, 2012) What I found most interesting in her story was that s he also collects basic weather data (temperature, precipitation, cloud coverage, wind speed, and direction) during every experience and introduces it back in the classroom for graphing and data analysis w ork. The three remaining teachers travelled to Thailand, the Galapagos Islands, and India, respectively Regardless of where t hey went or what they did, all their stories have the same theme authentic, contextual experiences shared with students and used to create lessons that engage students in personally relevant and meaningful ways. 25


Many such opportunities exist for teachers through both profit and nonprofit organizations na tionally and internationally. Most are offered during teachers downtime such as on weekends and holidays when the teachers are out of school and vary in length from daylong workshops to extended fellowships lasting weeks. Examples of organizations that pr ovide out of the ordinary experiences for teachers include Global Exploration for Educators Organization (GEEO), the Toyota International Teacher Program, the Fulbright Cl assroom Teacher Exchange Program, the Earthwatch Institute, the Transatlantic Outreac h Program, Ecology Project International, and the Grosvenor Teacher Fellow Program offered through National Geographic as well as very specific programs such as the Keizai Koho Fellowship Program, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Teacher Fellowship Program, and the Summer Fellowship in Korean Studies offered by The Korea Society. In no way is t his li st intended to be exhaustive, only informative. These different programs are funded through a variety of government and foundation grants, private donors, museums and other informal education providers, universities, and participant fees. These programs offer experiences designed specifically for teachers by the organizations and their partners The y purposiv ely design the experiences to engage participants actively in contextua l settings, through holistic engagement with many different opportunities for learning. Often, the se opportunities can be physically, emotionally, and/or culturally challenging for som e individuals Experiences may include immersion into indigenous cultures, tough fieldwork with scientists, long periods out to sea, strenuous extended hikes over a wide variety of terrain, and/or extremes in temperatures. These types of direct, vivid 26


and visceral experiences can become the foundation for future learning and understanding (Manzanal, Barreiro, & Jimenez, 1999) The intent of these programs is to produce teachers who can then actively engage students through sharing the passion, knowledge, behaviors, and skills they developed on their adventures. Most of the program s carry post adventure requirements such as lesson plans, classroom implementation, community outreach, and/or advocacy Although there has been extensive research into experiential learning and its outcomes (Baldwin, Persing, & Magnuson, 2004; Hattie, Marsh, Neill, & Richards, 1997; A. Y. Kolb & Kolb, 2005; D. A. Kolb, 1984) very little scholarly research has been done on the impacts of experiential professional learning for teachers resulting from experiences similar to those provided by the programs just discussed Three studies have looked at experiences si milar to those experiences First, McLain (2012) using narrative, researched four teachers science identity constructio n as a result of an extraordinary professional development program in Hawaii offered by the University of Colorado at Denver Kielborn and Gilmer (1999) compiled the stories of seven teachers who, through a program at Florida State University worked with scientists and each other to learn inquiry through scientific research. Fin ally, Dresner and Worley (2006) investigated the long term impacts of Teachers in the Woods, a prof essional development program that partnered teachers with scientists during a s ummer program intended to broaden the concept teachers had of themselves as science teachers and provide the necessary confidence to lead students through similar science research projects (p. 2) 27


In 1999, Christine Halse also published a paper for the Asia Education Foundation, a group out of Melbourne that sponsors study tours for teachers to Asian countries with the explicit goal of better enab ling participants to teach about Asia. In her phenomenographi c study of nine teachers who travelled to Asia (Halse, 1999) Halse found that teachers had multiple motives for participating in the study tour, despite what the funding agencies and organizers intended. Also, participants overestimated their own understanding of the ho st culture and underestimated what it would take to gain a cultural familiarity of that country. Her study found that this underestimation was so unsettling for some participants that they were unable to learn from their experiences and actually retained t he cultural biases that had travelled with them to the host country. The experience also provided new insights into the participants home culture as they were constantly reflecting on and comparing their own Australian culture to the host Asian country. U ltimately, Halse found that while all the teachers fulfilled the requirements of the program by integrating what they had learned into a classroom unit, there was a vast range of difference in their long term commitment to and excitement for studies of Asi a. More generally, the study found that study tours are a starting point rather than an end point for teacher professional development (Halse, 1999) Halse found that the participants engaged in a four stage process, depending upon the experience they had had whilst in Asia. Stage One included reflection upon their experience and sequencing their learning in a way that made it useful and relevant for their classroom. Stage Two involved experimenting with 28


different pedagogical strategies and uses for their learning in and out of the classroom. Stage Three involved articulating the personal and professional impact of the study tour. This stage was a prerequisite for a participant progressing to the final stage, which was imagining new and varied ways in which they could use the experienc e in the future (Halse, 1999) These findings are applicable to this study o f experiential professional development for teachers and match well with the experiential learning literature. The preceding four studies contributed insight to my research by highlighting possible outcomes of extraordinary professional learning experiences, paramount among them being affective outcomes related to emotions and adventure. Wil lingness to risk (and regret at not trying), emotional connection, and a sense of adventure play integral parts in a persons lived experience (McLain, 2012) Also, t eachers self concepts can change dramatically as a result of extraordinary experiences leadi ng them to increased confidence an d motivation, as well as new found inspiration (Kielborn & Gilmer, 1999; McLain, 2012) Finally, these programs can result in increased content knowledge, improved and expanded teaching skills, and a shift in beliefs related to teachers teaching paradigm (Dresner & Worley, 2006; Halse, 1999; Kielborn & Gilmer, 1999) Self D esigned Professional L ea rning Experiences H ave the Potential to B e "E xtraordinary In 1992, after recently co authoring a comprehensive review and summary of research on teacher thinking (Clark & Peterson 1986) in the Handbook of Research on Teaching (Wittrock, 1986) Christopher Clark called for teachers, 29


individually and collectively, to be given dominion over their own professional development (Clark, 1992) His reasoning was three fold. First, he believed that giving teachers c ontrol over the timing, process, and goals of their own professional learning would increase the likelihood that they fully benefited from the experience. Second, he believed that teachers unique needs would be better served through custom programs than t hrough a single, centrally administered and planned programme [ sic ] of professional development (p. 77) Finally, he advocated for self directed professional development for teachers because he believed that is how the best teachers already operated. He even went so far as to suggest that teachers become designers of their own professional development. Up until this poi nt, I have only discussed teachers continuing professional learning within the context of the research around eff ective professional development and programs designed for teachers by other people. I would now like to discuss the self designed aspects of the FFT Fellows experiences, first through the lens of self directed professional learning then as it relates to designing ones own professional learning journey. Research into self directed learning has lagged behind many of the other aspects of lear ning, such as memory, cognition, and intelligence, mainly because self directed learning typically occurs independently of any formal institution of learning (Merriam, Caffarella, & Baumgartner, 2007) For this study, self directed professional develop ment is defined as that which arises from a teachers own initiative and is internally driven (Van Eekelen, Vermunt, & Boshuizen, 2006) T here have been several studies focusing on different aspects of teachers self directed learning. For example, Mushayikwa and Lubben (2009) examined 30


the use of Information Communications Technology (ICT) for self directed professional development of teachers working in deprived environments, specifically Zimbabwe. ICT includes any digital device that can store, retrieve, manipulate, transmit, or receive information electronically. In their description of the context of the study, the authors describe Zimbabwe as a region experiencing unprecedented decline in their economy, decreased support for health and education programs, increased class si zes, a decrease in real value teacher income, and limited access to communication coupled with political chaos and violence aimed at teachers and health workers. They go on to explain that donor organizations created free resource centers throughout the co untry in order to support teachers and their students. Using in vivo codes and grounded theory meth ods (Auerbach & Silverstein, 2003; Strauss & Corbin, 1998) Mushayikwa and Lubben ( 2009) revealed seven driving concerns or themes, for math and science teachers using ICT for self dire cted profe ssional development. See Table 2 for an explanation of their repeating ideas and themes. 31


Table 2 : Seven Themes for Ma th and Science Teachers Using ICT in Deprived Environments for Self Directed Professional Development Themes Ideas Used To Create Themes Professional Identity Self esteem, self respect, self confidence, professional recognition Career Development Keeping up to date, lifelong learning, higher pay or position Peer Networking Sharing experiences and skills, peer coaching and mentoring, discussion groups Subject Content Knowledge Changes in school curriculum, search for supplementary materials, new content applications Practical Knowledge and Professional Skills Acquisition of teaching resources for the organization of teaching, developing skills for new teaching approaches, improving classroom interactions Pedagogical Content Knowledge Adapting subject co ntent to make it relevant to local contexts, differentiation Benefits for Teacher and Students Improving student performance, attitudes, and classroom participation Adapted from Self directed Professional Development Hope for Teachers Working in Deprived Environments?, by E. Mushayikwa and F. Lubben, 2009, Teaching and Teacher Education, 25 (3), 375 382 They then used the social cognitive concept of efficacy (Bandura, 1997; Goddard, LoGerfo, & Hoy, 2004) to further organize the seven themes into two main categories, professional efficacy and classroom efficacy. Finally, through combining the two main categories, they determined that the main organiz ing principle driving teachers self designed professional development in deprived environments is general efficacy. In their study, they referred to general efficacy more specifically as teacher efficacy (Mushayikwa & Lubben, 2009) While the sociocultural and political contexts of the selfdirected learning are very different in Mushayikwa and Lubben (2009) versus the co ntext of this study, their findings have important implications for this study. Will different 32


recurring ideas organize themselves into descriptive themes similar to the ones in their study ? Could the same themes, categories, and organ izing principle transfer to a study of teachers who are designing their own professional development but who are not in deprived environments? In another example Slavit and McDuffie (2013) recently published a study of school based, collaborative, self directed te acher professional development. As mathematics teacher educators, they presented two distinct cases from two very different contexts. Th e first case included participant researcher data resulting from a year in a Professional Development Team (PDT) led by one of the authors. The seco nd case focused on a single teacher using five years of data from within a multi case research project looking at collaborative teacher inquiry In each case, they used Masons (2008) constructs of attention, awareness, and attitude to explore how teachers developed, brokered, and sustained t heir own professional development. They felt that these constructs addressed important cognitive, affective, and motivational aspects of self directed learning and provided key analytical starting points for understanding teacher change. Slavit and McDuffie (2013) found th at teachers unique contexts, beliefs, prior knowledge, and leadership capacity influence the growth that can result from self directed learning opportunities. In contrast to externally mandated goals, self identified needs increased teachers engagement and led to improved awareness of ways to improve their practices (Slavit & McDuffie, 2013, p. 104) In addition through exploring their own questions of practice, teachers constructed their own understanding of how to transform practitioner knowledge linked m ainly to their classroom into more public and shareable professional 33


knowledge (Hiebert, Gallimore, & Stigler, 2002) These categories of knowledge relate back directly to Mus hayikwa and Lubbens (2009) categories of classroom efficacy and professional efficacy, leading me to believe that increased classroom and practitioner knowledge would also lead to increased teacher efficacy as defined by Mushayikwa and Lubben (2009), as both classroom knowledge and professional knowledge correspond to the recurring ideas used to create their seven themes. In another example of the research into teachers self directed professional development, Minott (2010) examined his own use of reflective teaching as self designed professional development. While dissimilar to all other research into self designed p rofessional learning presented thus far, it is not so far eschew from the experiential learning model (D. A. Kolb, 1984) discussed in the next section. Similarly, Jarvis (1987a) explained that adults exhibit three main responses to learning situations: non learning, nonreflective learning, and reflective learning with the latter being the most valuable and enduring, also lending crede nce to Minotts (2010) espousal of the importance of reflection in the learning process Following Jarvis, Mezirow ( 1991) explicated his understanding of reflective learning in his theory of Transformational Learning, which has four main components: experience, critical reflection, reflective discourse, and action which bring s us back around to very similar compone nts in Kolbs experiential learning theory (1984) that of Jarvis (1987a), and now mo st recently Minnott (2010). As evidenced in the aforementioned research reflection has an important role to play in experiential professional learning. 34


The type of engaged, motivated learning previously described by Bruner (1960) and researched by Mushayikwa and Lubben (2009), Slavit and McDuffie (2013), and Minnott (2010) is indi cative of self directed learning activities and I think, fundamental to the professional learning of teachers. In fact, intrinsic motivation has been known to increase teachers learning for some time (Fuller, 1969; Loucks Horsley et al., 20 03) Why, then, if the main goal of teacher professional development is to improve teachers practice ultimately leading to improved student learning, would not facilitators of such experiences strive first to engage and motivate the teachers in attenda nce? Clearly, with the ubiquitous appraisal of teacher professional development programs being that they are often ineffectual (Borko, 2004; Matthew B. Miles, 1995; Smylie, 1989) a different approach is needed. Self designed professional development experiences may indeed prove to be that new approach. The self designed professional learning experiences described in this study hold many things in common with the previously discussed self directed professional development activities of prior research. The key difference, however, may prove to be the extr aordinary nature of the experiences as described by the FFT Fellows. Remember, this study frames extraordinary professional learning experiences as those beyond what a teacher would experience in a typical or ordinary professional development program. Als o, extraordinariness is subjective (McLain, 2012, p. xi) Within this study, I will describe adven tures in Africa, Scandinavia the Four Corners Guatemala, Honduras, Australia, and Virginia, as designed by the FFT Fellows for their own learning journeys. Compared to the vast majority of research into professional 35


development, the Fellows experiences could certainly be considered out of the ordinary and beyond what is typical thus extraordinary. Theoretical Framework Experiences M atter Teachers experiences matter a lot. Their experiences give them stories that enrich their teaching (Bullough Jr & Baughman, 1997; Connelly & Clandinin, 1990; Shulman, 1986) For example, in her 2009 mixed method exploratory study of secondary geography teachers in central Texas, Mohan found that students interest in geography increased when teachers were able to share personal stories related to the places under study. She also found that most of the teachers in her study (~90% on average) either agreed or strongly agreed that travel had a positive effect on their content knowledge, ability to teach geography, and student interest in geography (Mohan, 2009) Teachers experiences provide the fodde r from which they build their teaching practice, their praxis, and form the foundation for how they understand themselves and the world (Brilhart, 2010) This understanding drives some teachers need to continually grow and learn through extraordinary experiences and new understandings, driving them to know and understand more about our history, culture, and world. Teachers experiences make them who they are, both with regards to their professional selves and their classroom pra ctice (Brilhart, 2010; Carter, 1995; Eick & Reed, 2002; Keys & Bryan, 2001; Kielborn & Gilmer, 1999) In 1999, Keilbor n and Gilmer edited a monograph published by SERVE, a Regional Educational Laboratory associated with the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Within the monograph, seven teachers and one 36


researcher published their own acc ounts of the experiences that deeply affected their professional knowledge and classroom practice as part of a large federal grant that supported real world experiences in the field with research scientists. The SERVE studies delved deeply into how the res earch experiences with scientists affected the participants classroom practice. One teacher wrote, The experience has changed me forever, which is what we should strive for in our teacher preparation programs and classrooms (Kielborn & Gilmer, 1999, p. 39) While the types of experiences under in vestigation in this study are not research experiences, the reported outcomes from SERVEs project have guided the development of this study. Fifteen years ago, I travelled to Costa Rica as part of a university course studying conservation, development an d environmental sustainability. By the time I travelled to Costa Rica, I knew I was going to be a preservice teacher in a large urban district. I also knew I would be teaching students about biodiversity, ecosystems, and sustainability. I did not know if I would stay in teach ing or if I would even like it; but I did know that I wanted to see Costa Rica, study their environment and their plan for economic and environmental sustaina bility, and bring that back to the classroom; I just did not know how. I remem ber my first and only time to experience the rainforest My heart swells as if to burst in the r emembering as every emotion wells to the surface at once: gratitude wonder, sadness, anger respect, love. I recognize my visceral reaction as the same one I h ave anytime I have the opportunity to wonder at this planets majestic power and beauty. I close my eyes and remember how the air hung in my lungs like a sponge inundating me with moisture. As we drove 37


through the hurricane ravaged towns on roads riddled with potholes large enough to swallow our bus, I remember wondering how the small country would recover from such devastation. As I watched vermilion backed birds flu ttering in and out of the trees contrasting with the myriad greens of the d ense forest, I remember scrambling through bird books to identify them. I wanted to know every tree, every insect, every bird and there were so many! I wanted to give a name to everything I saw, so that I could make sense of its complexity. Everywhere I looked, there were so many different forms of life! I was taking pictures, writing in my journal, and drawing pictures as fast as I could so as not to forget anything. One particular morning, w e were hiking up the side of an actively erupting volcano, bath ed in green from every direction. Three wattled b ell birds rang in the distance and there were houseplants ( Pothos sp. ) growing up the trees. And the trees! I had never seen anything so BIG! How was I going to explain this to students? How would I possib ly translate this overwhelmingly beautiful experience into something that urban students could understand when most of them had never even been to the mountains that are in their own backyards? I knew that many of my students would have no experiential a nalog for what it is like to wake up to screaming howler monkeys peeing on the roof of their tent cabin as I had just experienced I knew that in order to teach them about the rainforest I was somehow going to have to translate my experiences into learn ing experiences for them. Since then, I have had numerous opportunities to share about my experiences on that trip. I have told countless students, colleagues, and friends 38


how exciting it is to zip line throu gh the canopy of the rainforest while listening to the sounds of the forest; how I marveled that I would sit in a natural hot spring at the base of an erupting volcano; how I gazed in awe at the endless stream of leaf cutter ants, half an inch long, carrying away what seemed to be an entire trees worth of leaves; and how exhilarating it was to run from t he howler monkeys while they swu ng aft er me in the trees screaming Most often, I think I have discussed my wonderment at the fecundity in one square foot of space on the side of a tree. In that moment, biodiversity went from a concept to a connected, tactile fact. I know that these stories give excitement, life, and authenticity to my teaching. Within the context of this study, when FFT Fellows told me their stories, they were essential ly saying, This is what I did, this is why it was important to me, and this is how I used these experiences in my classroom. What is the what ness of self designed, extrao rdinary professional learning experiences ? I did not design my experiences in Cos ta Rica, and there were certainly experiences that I feel were more impactful on me, personally and professionally, than others. However, we were given a fair degree of latitude in choosing from an array of possibilities. In hindsight, I will say that in some instances I chose very well while in others, not so much. What was it about the experiences judged by me to be the best that made them that? Asking myself this question made me want to ask it of others. I wanted to know if my own experiences were com parable to what others felt when they knew they had just experienced something extraordinary. In 1927 J. Horace Nunemaker wrote, The most outstanding advantage of the foreign experience, then, is a twofold confidence: first, the teacher's 39


confidence in himself, and second, the student's confidence in his teacher (Nunemaker, 1927). As a teacher, direct experience with an idea or concept can bolster ones confidence like nothing else. For example, these activities might include learning about a new culture or ecosystem first hand through an extended visit; participating in authentic research in the field with scientists and researchers; recreating an historical experience like following the Underground Railroad; learning a new language while immersed in its native cultural context; learning how to more effectively teach Shakespeare through studying with actors at The Globe Theater; or learning the geography of the land first hand while travelling by foot, bike, car, train, or boat across the landscape. While these experiences can be exciting, the research has not examined whether these first hand experiences with their classroom content provide something from which teachers pull to bolster their own and their students understan ding (Dyer, 2007) Experience is learn ing Learning has been defined as relatively permanent change in behavior, cognition, or affect that occurs as a result of ones interaction with the environment (DeSimone, Werner, & Harris, 2002) Similarly, Clarke (2003) defines learning as change over time through engagement in activity and goes on to assert that hu man beings cannot not learn (p. 54). Both of these definitions assert that experience is the basis for learning. Itin (1999) describes experiential learning as the change in an individual that results from reflection on a direct experience and results in new abstract ions and applications (p.91), adding components of reflection and application to the definition of learning. He goes on to say that while learn ing is an individual experience, education is better 40


described as the transaction between a student and a facilitator/educator, group, or institution (Itin, 1999) Thus, learning and education are di fferent constructs and should not be used interchangeably. In the beginning of Experience and Education (1938) Dewey said, The history of educational theory is marked by opposition between the idea that education is development from within and that it is formation from without; that it is based upon natural endowments and that education is a process of overcoming natural inclination and substituting in its place habits acquired under external pressure (Dewey, 1938, p. 17) In other words, one learns through reflection and experience and ones intelligence is not only based in biology but is also based in hard work. This idea is reflected in the idea of a growth mindset, as opposed to a fixed mindset (Dweck, 1986, 2008; Dweck & Leggett, 1988) Dweck and others have determined that a persons beliefs about the nature of intelligence will determine their behaviors and attitudes. In a fixed mindset, intelligence and skill are innate, fixed quantities that cannot change. In a growth mindset, effort and willingness to struggle determine intelligence and skill. When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. In one world the world of fixed t raits success is about proving youre [ sic ] smart or talented. Validating yourself. In the other the world of changing qualities its [ sic ] about stretching yourself to learn something new. Developing yourself (Dweck, 2008, p. 15) In relation to Dweck, I believe Dewey had a growth mindset. Dewey did not believe that all experiences were educative; but he did espou se that all true education was grounded in personal experience (1938) As Frank Smith pointed out in The Book of Learning and Forgetting (1998) a 41


person is always learning; but what they are learning may affect their future experiences, beliefs, and/or attitudes in unintended ways. In r ecognizing and acknowledging these possibilities, Deweys belief that education must engage with and enlarge experience significantly informs teacher professional learning. Related to enhancement of experience, Deweys concern with interaction and environ ments for learning provides another continuing framework for practice. Dewey (1938) felt that the educator should not only be aware of how to create an environment supportive of learning, but also that the educator must know how to use both the physical an d social environment to provide conditions that support positive growth. In self designed professional learning experiences, the teacher must discern t hese needed environments for him or herself Teacher educators must also apply these ideas to the professional development of teachers by designing experiences using the same principles. In fact, Dewey believed that the teacher should become intimately acquainted with the conditions of the local community, physical, historic al, economic, occupational, etc. in order to utilize them as educational resources (1938, p. 40) The same holds true for choosing personal opportunities for professional learning and growth as well as creating contextual, holistic learning opportunities for yourself or others. In 1938 Dewey wrote, The educator is responsible for a knowledge of individuals and for a knowledge of subject matter that will enabl e activities to be selected which lend themselves to social organization, an organization in which all individuals have an opportunity to contribute something, and in which the activities in which all participate are the chief carrier of control (p. 56) Lev Vygotskys (1978) w ork from around the same time as Deweys also prominently 42


featured the inclusion of society and culture as factors in cognitive development and used social interaction as the framework for all learning and development, thus the term sociocultural learning Cole and Wertsch summarized Vygotskys theories by saying that the development of the mind is the interweaving of biological development of the human body and the appropriation of the cultural/ideal/material heritage which exists in the present to coordi nate people with each other and the physical world (1996) Since t he time of Dewey and Vygotsky, d espite its continuing popularity as both a practical and theoretical basis upon which to ground pedagogical practice, expe riential learning has been recognized as a difficult concept to 'pin down' (Le Cornu, 2005) David Kolbs (1984) experiential learning theory (ELT) combines the ideas of John Dewey, Kurt Lewin, and Jean Piaget to develop a holistic model of the experiential learning process and a multilinear mo de l of adult development (A. Y. Kolb & Kolb, 2005, p. 194) ELT defines learning as the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience (D. A Kolb, 1984, p. 38) ELT involves a four stage process where the learner has an experience, reflects on that experience, generalizes the experience to form abstract concepts, and then applies these concepts to new situations. This process can be th ough t of as a circle. Kolb identified six propositions upon which his theory is built: Learning is best conceived as a process, not in terms of outcomes. All learning is re learning. The process has to begin from the learners prior knowledge and understanding. 43


Learning requires the resolution of conflicts between dialectically 0pposed modes of adaptation to the world. Conflict, differences, and disagreement are what drive the learning process. Learning is a holistic process of adaptation to the world. It involves thinking, feeling, perceiving, and behaving. Learning results from synergetic transactions between the person and the environment. It is the interweaving of new knowledge and experience with existing understanding. Learning is a constructive p rocess of creating personal knowledge. (A. Y. Kolb & Kolb, 2005, p. 194) Thinking in terms of teachers pr ofessional learning, these six propositions suggest that it is a relearning process where discrepant events create cognitive dissonance, thus leading to reflection, engagement with the learning environment in context, and eventually new knowledge. Merriam and Clarks (199 3) study of significant life experiences found that for an experience to be significant as a learning experience, it must ( a) personally affect the learner, either by resulting in an expansion of skills, sense of self, or life perspective, or by precipi tating a transformation and ( b) be subjectively valued by the learner. In their study, they cited not only Kolbs work on experiential learning but also that of Jarvis (Jarvis, 1987a, 1987b) saying that he extends Kolbs model by outlining nine responses to life experiences. These responses are grouped into three categories: non learning, non reflective learning, and reflective learning. See Table 3 for an expanded explanation of Jarvis responses to learning situations. 44


Table 3 : Jarvis' Model of Learning from Life Experiences Categories of Learning Responses to Life Experiences Nonlearning Presumption habituation of behavior Non consideration missed opportunities Rejection inability to comprehend Nonreflective learning Pre conscious incidental learning Practice skills learning (physical and social) Memorization Reflective learning Contemplation pure thought Reflective practice new skills Experimental learning new knowledge Adapted from Adult Learning in the Social Context, by P. Jarvis, 1987, New York, NY: Croom Helm. Jarvis argues that learning occurs only when the experience fails to fit into our previous understanding of the world, commonly referred to as our personal meaning system ( similar to Vygotskys zone of proximal development) If the experience is congruous with previous experiences, no questions are posed and no learning results. Neither does learning occur if the disjuncture or gap between the experience and one s meaning system is too great (Merriam & Clark, 1993, p. 130) Klein and Riordan (2011) examined how Expeditionary Learning (EL) schools structure professional develo pment for their teachers. They believe that key to ELs professional development is experiential methods that ask teachers to assume the role of student in learning how to translate the [EL] model to classroom practice (Klein & Riordan, 2011, p. 37) In their two year study, they examined the key components of experiential pro fessional development, its strengths and challenges, and how the experiences transferred into teachers classroom practice. They used a two tier theoretical framework to guide their 45


study. The first strand used Walsh and Golins Outward Bound Process Model (Walsh & Golins, 1976) to explicate how teachers engage in experiential profes sion al development (See Figure 1 ). 46


From The Exploration of the Outward Bound Process by V. Walsh and G. Golins, 1976, Denver, CO: Colorado Outward Bound School. As printed in Wearing the Student Hat: Experiential Professional Development in Expeditionary Learning Schools, by E. J. Klein and M. Riordan, 2011, Journal of Experiential E ducation 34 (1), pp. 35 54. LEARNER Unique physical/social environment A state of adaptive dissonance Reorganization of the meaning of the experience then given that create Problem solving Tasks leading to Mastery or Competence which then leads to The LEARNER continues to be oriented to living and learning Figure 1 : The Outward Bound Process Model 47


Upon examination, their model is similar to Kolbs (1984) ex periential learning model in that ultimately the learner must reorder their experiences and apply what they learn to solving problems. It is also similar to Merriam and Clarks (1993) significant life experiences theory in its use of adaptive dissonance (the therap eutic use of anxiety to produce positive change, or adaptations (Walsh & Golins, 1976) ). This component likely results in changes similar to those previously ascribed by Merriam and Clark (1993) as subjectively important and affective. The second strand of Klein and Riordans (2011) theoretical framework was based on Putnam and Borkos (2000) work, who took a situative and constructivist perspective to teacher learning. Within this theoretical perspective cognition is (a) situated within a specific context, (b) social in nature, and (c) distributed across the individual, other people, and tools (Putnam & Borko, 2000) I discuss this perspective in depth in a later section of this chapter. Learning is interpretive and constructivist Dewey said, [E]very experience lives on in further experiences. Hence the central problem of an education based upon experience is to select the kind of present experiences that live fruitfully and creatively in subsequent experiences (1938, pp. 27 28). Buildi ng on Deweys ideas, my research approaches learning from a constructivist point of view, where individuals construct meaning based up on their own interpretation and understanding of the world. Reality then, is determined by the knower, dependent upon a p ersons mind and mental activity, constructed through symbolic procedures, and reliant on experiences and interpretations (Jonassen, 1991) Constructivism does not preclude the existe nce 48


of an external reality; it merely claims that each of us constructs our own reality through interpreting perceptual experiences of the external world (Jonasse n, 1991, p. 59) In a study of Expeditionary Learning (EL) schools professional development for teachers, Klein and Riordan (2011) found that EL schools share this same organic view of knowledge and learning. EL schools use experiential professional development, both inside and outside of the classroom, to help teachers develop the knowledge and skills they need to create engaging expeditions for their students. In experiential professional development, experience is the cornerstone in developing constructivist teachers (Klein & Riordan, 2011, p. 38) Although the FFT Fellows experiences were not sponsored by EL per se, their experiences were certainly in line with ELs ph ilosophy that teachers experience an intense version of the expedition they a re to create for their student. Learning is subjective We cannot not learn (Clarke, 2003) ; but different peopl e do not learn the same things from the same experiences nor do they absorb all aspects of those experiences in the same way. Individuals will take away their own unique pieces d epending upon their prior knowledge and experiences Previously, I discussed how c onstructivism touts the importanc e of personal meaning making and that Vygotsky (1978) spoke of the zone of proximal development, where scaffolding would help support new learning on the boundaries of someone s abi lity or knowledge level. Additionally as Jarvis (1987b) sa id, i f the information is too far removed from prior experience, a person will not benefit in the same way as 49


someone whose prior knowledge is more extensive. In other words, e ach individual will have their own experience of learning, even if they are sideby side during an event. The unique perspective from which each person approaches an idea or experience lends power to the idea that self designed learning experiences can be extraordinary. If a teacher has an experiential and constructive epistemology, then it would make sense that he or she would jump at the chance to design his or her own professional learning. Who better than that teacher to decide what they need to learn and how and where they need to learn it? This is the basis for the Fund for Teachers program The FFT mission statement reads, Fund for Teachers enriches the personal and professional growth of teachers by recognizing and supporting them as they identify and pursue opportunities around the globe that will have the greatest impact on their practice, the academic lives of their students and on their school communities (Fund For Teachers, 2014) The teachers grant proposals are reviewed by a panel of educators at FFT, judged based on a scoring rubric (see Appendix A), and funded based on the merits of the propos al. However, the teachers take aways from their experi ences are expected to be entirely subjective and very personal Experience is situated Studies from a situative perspective view cognition as an internal process one that may be influenced by the surrounding context but that is, at its root, internal (Sawyer & Greeno, 2009) This perspective fits well with the interpretive constructivist ontology, where multiple, socially constructed realities 50


are possible. From the situati ve perspective, where and with whom an activity takes place is integral to the activity as well as to the resultant learning. How a person learns a particular set of knowledge and skills, and the situation in which a person learns, become a fundamental part of what is learned (Putnam & Borko, 2000, p. 4) S ituative theorists look at interactive systems between people and their environment, including symbols, mate rials, and other people within the systems. Within these systems, learning is reconceptualized a s appropriation of tools and practices of the community (Wertsch, 1998) Instead of involving internalization of facts and skills, an individual learns how t o participate in a socially situated activity by acquiring the ability to perform a role within the system (Sawyer & Greeno, 2009) From this persp ective, all socially organized activities provide opportunities for learning. Integral to my research is the explication of the potential personal and professional outcomes that may result from selfdesigned, experiential professional development. Within the context of this study, the situative perspective is important concerning changes in the individual FFT Fellows knowledge, behaviors, and value s and how those changes manifest themselves in the Fellows classrooms. In the language of the situative perspective, t he Fellows experiences took place in unique, socially constructed systems, where they interacted with multiple symbols, tools, and people within these systems. These teachers classrooms are also complex systems with their own symbols, tools, people and practices Presumably, s ome kind of transfer occurred between these systems of activity as a result of the Fellows professional development intentions 51


Self D esigned, E xperiential P rofessional L earning is Interpretive, Constructivist, S ubjec tive, and S ituated Based on the Unique Needs of Individual T eachers This study seeks to analyze the impacts of self designed experiences on the FFT Fellows and their classroom practice. No two teachers have the same prior knowledge or experiences from whic h to pull. From an interpretive constructivist per spective, each Fellow designed his or her experience based on the subjective importance and meaning that each of them placed on their proposed experiences. From a situative perspective, each of their experiences will have occurred within a unique, socially constructed setting. The situative perspective allows for variability in the units of analysis, depending upon the purposes of the research (Cobb & Yackel, 1996) Within this research, my primary unit of analysis is the self designed professional development of secondary STEM and social studies teachers. All ana lyses of the Fellows activities began from that perspective. I also understand that their activity systems of teaching are ever evolving and that transferring their appropriated skills from their experiences to their classrooms is a complex endeavor. Howe ver, because their professional development was designed using their own unique teacher perspective, their participation in the various socially situated systems (and the resulting appropriation of tools and practices) was always approached from a teacher as learner angle. Put another way, if both learning and the subject learned are embedded in participation frameworks, then the portability of learned skills must rely on the commensurability of certain forms of participation (Hanks, 1991, pp. 19 20) In other words, the self 52


designed professional development experiences of the Fellows will be shown to be commensurate with their classrooms. Originally, I was trained as an environmental scientist I worked in that field for approximately five years, but then made the decision to move into science education. I began my education career as a secondary science teacher, then shifted into Informal Science Education and finall y into the Professional Development field. After working in formal and informal science education for over 20 years, I have come to believe that classroom learning (via books, videos, and/or the Internet) is not enough for teachers or teacher educators. In stead, I believe that all educators need to experience concepts in context, using real locations, objects, interactions, and processes whenever possible. If students must become critical thinkers, problem solvers, and innovators, then teachers must create rich, curiosity fostering lessons about our world that engage their students in opportunities to learn those skills. I believe that such lessons are created from a deep understanding of ones place in the world and humans role with in it. I do not believe one can obtain that depth of understanding exclusively through watching movies or reading books. I believe there needs to be some situated, contextual learning experiences upon which a person can build a holistic picture of the world and how it works The se experiences can happen through actual firsthand contact or through a skillfully f acilitated immersive learning experience. This research is a phenomenological study of lived experiences th at hold the potential for creating that picture for teachers. 53


He rmeneutic Phenomenological Case Study Is Interpretive, Constructivist, Subjective, and Situated Hermeneutic phenomenological studies attempt to uncover the meaning, or essence, of our lived experiences through various texts (van Manen, 1990) These texts can take many forms, including original texts as incoming data and outgoing texts as analytical processes of the research itself. It is in the act of reading and writing that insights emerge. The writing of work involves textual material that possesses hermeneutic and interpretive significance. It is precisely in the process of writin g that the data of the research are gained as well as interpreted and that the fundamental nature of the research questions is perceived. In a phenomenological sense, the research produces knowledge in the form of texts that not only describe and analyze p henomena of the lifeworld but also evoke understanding that otherwise lie beyond their reach (van Manen, 2006, p. 715) Within the context of this study, Fund for Teachers (FFT) Fellows shared with me their texts in the form of their grant proposals, project summaries, interview transcripts, classroom implementation plans, and images (texts in the form of concrete representations of lived experiences). I shared with them my interpretations of their lived experiences in the fo rm of their individual case study writeups the thematic analysis, and the final invariant structure of designing ones own professional development. This final piece is the goal of phenomenological writing and describes the essence of the lived experienc e Through this exchange of texts we co constructed the meaning of their subjective, situated, lived experiences. 54


Summary The goal of this research was to unpack FFT Fellows self designed professional learning experiences, experiences with the potential to be extraordinary, and highlight their potential outcomes on teachers and their praxis Through a thorough exami nation of the literature, I explicated the problem teachers face today regarding their professional development : Teachers are required to do professional development, but not all professional development is considered high quality or effective. On the other hand some professional developm ent could be considered extraordinary, and teachers can potentially design such extraordinary learning experiences for themselves. I then compiled the research to build a theoretical framework. Because this study is hermeneut ic in nature, I used both the literature and my own experience to examine the importance and primacy of experiences as learning. I then highlighted the research around the interpretive constructivist nature of learning. From there, I explained the subjecti ve and situated nature of learning. Finally, through the research, I was able to highlight the potential of self designed professional learning. T his framework supports the idea that self designed experiential professional learning is at once subjective, i nterpretive, constructivist, and situated based on the uniq ue needs of individual teachers and therefore holds the potential for powerful outcomes. Chapter Three will now explore this studys methods and methodology. 55


CHAPTER III RESEARCH METHODS The pur pose of this hermeneutic phenomenological case study was to describe the outcomes of self designed professional development for secondary STEM and social studies Fund for Teachers (FFT) Fellows. The research questions that guided this study are as follows: 1. Why do secondary STEM and social studies Fund for Teachers ( FFT) Fellows choose to design their own professional development over other, more traditional forms of professional development? 2. What do secondary STEM and social studies FFT Fellows include in these self designed experiences and why? 3. What are the teacher identified impacts of self design ed professional development on FFT Fellows kn owledge, behaviors, and value s? 4. What makes a self designed professional development experience meaningful to second ary STEM and social studies teachers? Research Design This exploratory qualitative study used a case study approach within the larger context of a hermeneutical phenomenological methodology. Because each teachers individual account was its own unique con textual story, I treated each teachers experience as an individual bounded case (Stake, 1995) However, I also wanted to uncover what the FFT Fellows experiences had in common. To do so, I conducted a cross case analysis of their e xperiences, looking for common themes across the various texts including our interviews, their photos and videos, their 56


associated classroom lessons, and the products they acquired or created for classroom use. My goal with this analysis was to uncover the essence or essential meaning (van Manen, 1990) of designing and implementing ones own professional development as a veteran, secondary STEM or social studies teacher. This essence is then described through the writing of an invariant structural description of the experience that culminates all of the commonalities among the teach ers experiences to describe what did not vary, or what was invariant, between them (Creswell, 2007 ) After reading the short descriptive passage, the intent is for the reader to come away saying, I understand better what it is like for someone to experience that (Polkinghorne, 1989, p. 46) According to Stake (1995) the emphasis of case study is on the unique and complex. Case study describes a method of doing research as well as the research products. Researchers use i t to examine complex, bounded systems (even when the bounded systems are one experience). I used collective case study (Stake, 2000) to examine the unique, intricate experiences of individual teachers and the ir understandings of designing their own professional development experience. I worked with each teacher to uncover the rationale behind his or her professional development design, getting to know each teachers full experience as its own unique, bounded c ase. I defined the bounds of each case temporally, beginning from the time they decided to apply for an FFT grant and ending at the time that they last implemented a lesson based on their self designed professional development experience. 57


As stated by Mer riam (2009) it is the unit of analysis the bounded system that determines whether a study is a case study. This is different from other forms of qualitative research, such as ethnography or narrative, which are defined by the focus of the study. And because the unit of analysis defines the case, other types of studies can be combined with case study (Merriam) In t his study, I combined case study with hermeneutic phenomenology. Hermeneutic phenomenology is a method where the researcher and participant co create meaning from a lived experience together (van Manen, 1990) Instead of bracketing out my own experiences, as in the tradition of transcendental phenomenology (Husserl, 1980) hermeneutic phenomenology requires that th e biases and assumptions of the researcher be embedded as an essential element of the interpretive process (Heid egger, 1962; van Manen, 1990) Therefore, I have included my interpretive understanding of the teachers stories alongside their retellings. In a broad sense, hermeneutic phenomenology is interested in the irreplaceable and unique (van Manen, 1990, p. 7) Similarly, I believe that teachers lived experiences are at once both irreplaceable and unique in the sense that individual experiences are experienced only once. Further, the significance of that experience is decided upon by the subject (Kvale & Brinkmann, 2009) For example, an individual may visit a certain locale multiple times, but each instance would be its own unique experience, similar but different from the other visits in myriad ways. In many ways, the differences between the visits would be subjective, based upon various factors such as his or her state of mind or life circumstances. Phenomenologys focus on what is subjectively important also 58


makes it a complementary research tradition with which to pair a collective case study design. Hermeneutic phenomenology, in the tradition of Heidegger, focuses on learning that is situat ed and contextual (1962) It takes into account th at experience is subjective and that we co create our experiences through historical, social, and cultural interactions. Epistemologically, this framework values the same constructivist view of knowledge creation that I hold: Experiences have historical an d cumulative significance in the development of meaning. A hermeneutic approach was therefore well suited to the search for meaning within the context of how a teacher would use their selfdesigned professional development to augment their teaching practic e through time. It is also a complementary methodology to case study in this study, where it is important to both preserve the unique, subjective, contextual experiences of the FFT Fellows and to uncover the essence of their lived experiences. The teachers in this study were not passive receivers of information. Instead, they were active creators of their own professional learning: The teachers decided what experiences would support their own learning goals and then designed a series of events to accomplish their goals. The fact that the teachers self designed their own professional development suggests that they created/designed experiences aimed at growing their own professional understanding by affecting changes in their own knowledge, skills, attitudes, and/or behaviors. Other possible reasons for designing ones own professional development could include qualifying for more pay or a higher position, striving 59


for a particular certification or credential, or improving a deficiency from a performance evaluation. My Historical Contexts The phenomena under study is extraordinary professional development, defined as that which is outside of the norm as expected by teachers. My orientation to this phenomenon is as an educator, and more specifically, a professi onal developer of K12 teachers. I believe this orientation to the phenomenon is different than if I were a K12 teacher, administrator, or legislator. As a professional developer, I investigate the phenomenon with a focus on the essence of what makes the ex periences personally and professionally meaningful to the teachers so that I may someday help to recreate similarly impactful experiences for others. I have a stake in understanding extraordinary experiences as a person who wants to create and/or facilitat e them with others. I was called to investigating extraordinary professional development for many reasons. First, as a past high school science teacher, I had experienced abysmal experiences touted as professional development. I had also had experiences that were powerful, causing me to reflect on them for days; reflecting on what I had done, seen, and/or heard and making sense of it within my own context. For example, in trying to explain the concept of biodiversity to my tenth grade biology class, I found myself reflecting back on my trip to Costa Rica. I explained to them that, no matter where I looked, there did not seem to be two organisms that were the same in proximity to each other. In other words, in a one square foot area on the side of a tre e in the cloud forest in Monteverde, I counted 20+ distinct organisms. I compared this to a similarly sized area on the side of a 60


tree in the Rocky Mountains, where it would be unusual to find more than two or three different organisms. Then, I showed them a picture I took of that one square foot area in Monteverde. They had never seen anything like it! In that moment, I knew that my stories, images, and experiences had helped to create a richer learning experience for my students. I wanted to be able to do that repeatedly for all learners with whom I would work. Secondly, once I moved from being an educator of young students to an educator of adults, I recognized the explanatory power of my stories. While working as the Teacher Programs Coordinator at a la rge urban science museum, I became acutely aware of my own credibility and authenticity concerning how I related to other teachers who chose to attend my programs. While in that position, I also taught an elementary education methods course in a Masters p rogram at a large, urban university. Within the context of these two positions, I recognized when I had designed powerful learning experiences for teachers and when I had failed to do so. I wanted to know more about how to design learning experiences for a dults that were powerful, contextual, and holistic. This desire to know more about powerful experiences has driven my research into extraordinary professional learning for teachers. Participants Population Size Participants in this study applied for a prof essional development grant from Fund for Teachers (FFT), a privately funded non profit that rewards merit based scholarships to teachers for professional development. Since 2001, FFT has invested $20 million in over 5,500 [pre K through 12] teachers from across 61


the country over the past 13 ye ars (see FFT flyer in Appendix B downloaded from their website at The Fellows have visited 132 countries on all seven continents and reached 16.5 million students in 3,31 9 classrooms (Fund for Teachers, 2012) FFTs funding criteria are based on a rubric (see Appendix A ) that includes teacher growth and learning, student growth and lear ning, benefits to the school community, and a plan for implementation of the Fellows learning. Population Characteristics FFT preK 12 Fellows come from all over the country and teach in all disciplines, as shown in Table 4 Table 4 : Teaching Disciplines of FFT Fellows, 2001 2012 Teaching Discipline # of Fellows Sciences 1038 History/Social Studies 1003 Literature/Writing 893 Language/Culture 873 Visual/Performing Arts 578 Advanced Education/Leadership 372 Other 534 Based upon post fellowship survey data colle cted by FFT from 2010 to 2012 (N = 1,3 2 7 ), 80% of the Fellows were female and 57% of the Fellows were married. They ranged in age from 20 to over 60, with the largest percentage (61%) being between 20 and 40 year s of age. Most (58%) had no dependents. All but one of the respondents had post secondary degrees and English was the home language for 97% of the Fellows. Chinese, Spanish, and Other made up the remaining 3% of languages spoken in the home. Ethnicit ies of the Fellows were as follows: White (78%), Hispanic/Latino (7%), Black/African American 62


(6%), Other (4%), Asian (3%), Native American (2%), and Pacific Islander (0%, x=6). FFT requires that applying teachers have at least three years teaching exper ience as a preK 12th grade teacher; therefore, preservice and new teachers were not eligible for this study. Table 5 summarizes the teaching experience of all the Fellows from 2010 through 2012. Table 5 : Teaching Experience of FF T Fellows, 2010 2012 (x = 1,315) # of Years Teaching # of Fellows Percentage 3 5 years 385 29% 6 10 years 355 27% 11 15 years 268 20% 16 20 years 147 11% Over 20 160 12% Selection E ligibility Characteristics All of the participants in this study originally applied for their grants while working in a C olorado Expeditionary Learning s chool. During the study period of this research (2009 2013), Colorado applicants were only eligible to apply for a grant through an Expeditionary Learning scho ol due to the limitations of the funding structures within FFT. This is not true for all states, but it was the case for Colorado up until the 2014 funding cyc le. However, all of the study participants schools are within the public sch ool system and none of them are charter schools. In addition, while FFT agreed to help identify eligible individuals in Colorado, no one in the organization had any input into the findings of this study nor did the organization receive any direct benefit because of the study. In addition, while I had hoped to include a variety of race and ethnicities, all of the 63


participating Colorado Fellows within the study period identified as White. Regarding the gender of my six participants, four were female and two were male. The partic ipants in this study were selected using criterion sampling. The criterions were as follows: Experience with self designed professional development in the last five years Each participant in this study designed a professional development experience for him or herself, applied for funding through Fund for Teachers (FFT), and was successfully awar ded a grant to fund their designed experience between 2009 and 2013. I chose a fiveyear period to provide a reasonable timeframe for recollection of details, reflection on their experiences, and classroom implementation. Grade level and subjects taught At the time they designed their experience, each study participant was a middle or high school teacher in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and/or mathematics) or social studies (history, geography, economics, and/or civics) discipline. Secondary t eachers are only responsible for teaching within their discipline (as opposed to elementary teachers who are required to teach every subject), and therefore may have a more specific learning goal in mind when it comes to content and designing their own pro fessional learning experience. Location All participants resided in Colorado when they applied for their grants. I chose Colorado Fellows to facilitate face to face interviews. Willing to share products of the process and experience In order to achieve triangulation, I needed multiple sources of data from the 64


participants including their grant proposals, travel blogs or journals, photos and/or videos, and any classroom materials they created as a result of their experiences. In some cases, that included more than nominal time and effort on the part of the participants to locate and share their materials with me. Sampling Scheme I shared my criteria with FFT staff. They then sent a list of all FFT Fellows from Colorado that met my criteria. As an introduct ion, FFT staff sent an initial email to all the eligible participants letting them know that I would be contacting them (see Appendix C ). I then sent an email to each participant that introduced my study, and me, and attached an IRBapproved consent form e xplaining the study and the associated risks (see Appendix D and Appendix E ). Of the 13 initially qualified participants, only one never responded to my inquiries. I followed up with two more email requests, two weeks apart, but was unable to contact the person. Three of the participants were out of the country, and often out of contact, and did not feel that they would be able to participate. Three more of the participants did not feel that their self designed professional development project met my crite ria. They had designed a Wilderness First Responder/Leadership module specific to Expeditionary Learning and Outward Bound and never used their classroom materials within the context of STEM or social studies learning. Table 6 summarizes the characteristic s of the six remaining Fellows who chose to participate in the study. 65


Table 6 : Participant Characteristics Participant Pseudonym Funding Year Years Teaching Grade Level Subjects Taught Amy 2013 7 Middle school Science Ted 2012 6 Middle school Math Lori 2010 14 Middle school History Emily 2010 3 Middle school Math/Science Lisa 2010 7 Middle school Math/Science Mike 2009 3 High school History Data Sources & Collection Merriam (2009) asserts that there are three main data sources in qualitative research: interviews, observations, and documents. Specific to case study research, St ake (1995) adds that in order to provide a vicarious experience to someone not present, a rich contextual description of the setting must also be included. Similarly, van Manen (1990) includes many sources that can be used to collect experiential descriptions from others for phenomenological studies i ncluding a) written lived experience descriptions from the participants; b) in depth interviews; c) close observations where the researcher steps into the life of the observed while maintaining the ability to step back and reflect on the gathered anecdot es; d) biographical data; e) diaries, journals, and logs; f) non discursive artistic material; and/or g) the phenomenological literature. Consistent with those recommendations, I collected multiple data sources during this study including preexis ting FFT survey data semistructured life world interviews (Kvale & Brinkmann, 2009) ( see Appendix F for Interview Guide ), original FFT Fellow grant proposals and project summaries, travel journals/blogs, and products gathered and/or produced for use in the classroom. These products include d photos, videos, audiovisual materials, artifacts gathered 66


during their self designed experiences, and materials created as a result of their experiences. All of these data sources contributed to my understanding of each case and helped to answer each res earch question. For both the case study and phenomenological aspects of this study, I followed a continual iterative process of data collection and analysis consistent with Miles and Huberman (1994) where data collection, data display, data reduction, and drawing of conclusions occur cyclically, as the data is processed. Initially, I reviewed F FT survey data to give me a beginning idea of how other FFT Fellows had reacted to their experiences and how they had used them. I then collected initial data for each case by reading through his or her grant application and project summary. I made marginal remarks (M. B. Miles & Huberman, 1994) within the Fellows documents about a dditional questions to ask and topics to dig into during the interview. I also mad e notes in a Reflective Journal (M. B. Miles & Huberman, 1994) about thoughts I had r egarding their proposals and project summaries. While interviewing the participants, I followed up on those questions and topics in addition to using the Interview Guide (see Appendix F ). I also used the face to face interview opportunity to ask about artifacts that the Fellows could share including student work, lesson plans, pictures, classroom resources, and/or anything they felt would bolster my unders tanding of not only their experience but also how they used that experience in their classroom. A more detailed description of my process follows. Fund for Teachers Post Fellowship Survey Before interviewing the Fellows, I used preexisting survey data from 2010 2012 to create a preliminary picture of potential teacher identified outcomes of 67


self designed professional development. This da ta included responses from 1,327 FFT Fellows, across a ll teaching disciplines, from 2010 to 2012. FFT created the survey and as of 2010, it is now a post fellowship requirement. The mandatory post fellowship, self administered, electronic FFT survey includes seven questions, of which four are closed (with an optional openended response) and t hree are open ended. FFT staff compiled the survey responses specifically for me and supplied this data to me months before I contacted any Fellows. The tallied closed responses and open ended responses (optional and mandatory ) are presented and discussed in Chapter Four. I imported the open ended survey responses into HyperRESEARCH. I chose HyperRESEARCH for its ease of use and because the software allowed me to link the Fellows texts to their associated audiovisual mat erials and code them together as bounded individual cases. On my first coding pass, I used a descriptive (M. B. Miles & Huberman, 1994) in vivo coding method, consistent with both phenomenological and case study methods (Saldana, 2009) to produce beginning codes for the analysis of the interview transcripts. The survey data did not include any identifiable markers that I could use to associate the responses to specific Fellows. The survey responses also guided the development of the Interview Guide as well as helped to answer Research Questions One and T wo. Grant Proposals, Project Summaries, and my Reflective Journal Prior to each interview, I read the Fellows grant proposal and project summary. This gave me an initial understanding of what the Fellow intended to accomplish prior to his or her experience and then briefly described the desired outcomes of his or her fellowship. I made notes in my Reflective Journal 68


regarding each Fellows unique experiences inc luding where they went, what they did, and with whom they traveled (as some of the Fellows travelled in pairs or groups). I made note of questions to ask during the interview such as clarifications concerning the Fellows experiences or comparisons to draw between his or her expectations and the realities of the experience. I also underlined significant words and phrases in their project summaries that I felt were descriptive of their experiences, interpretations, and beliefs. I then contacted each particip ant prior to our interview to suggest items he or she could gather that would be of use to the study such as pictures and videos, website addresses, and classroom artifacts. The grant proposals, project summaries, and my Reflective Journal notes helped to answer research questions two and three. Semi Structured Life World Interviews Over a four month period, six participants were interviewed at a quiet location of their choice using a semi structured life world interview led by an Interview Guide that was supplied at the t ime of the interview (Appendix F ). Kvale and Brinkmann (2009) define a life world interview as an interview with the purpose of obtaining descriptions of the life world of the interviewee in order to interpret the meaning of the described phenomena (p. 3) My first interview was conducted via Skype because the Fellow had since moved from Colorado to Singapore (Lisa, from Table 6) Due to a slow connection as well as difficulties with my recording device, our interview was incomplete. Therefore, this data is not included in my study. The next four interviews were conducted at the Fellows schools, two in their classrooms and two in quieter rooms within their schools. My sixth interview was conducted at a 69


local library. The interviews were both audio and video recorded with the Fellows permission. I used a high definition video camera to record the Fellows and the audio as well as an Echo pen to record the audio and my associated field notes in a journal. After the difficulty with my first interview, I believed that the redundan cy would help insure that I did not miss any subtleties in the interviews themselves. Each interview lasted approximately one hour. Before beginning the interviews, I began by establishing rapport with each Fellow (Seidman, 2006) We chatted about things unrelated to the study, such as the days activities or the weather. (Many of the interviews were conducted in mountain towns during the fall, which often led to challenging weather and perilous travel conditions.) We then moved on to a deeper discussion of the study, its purpose, and its timeline. From there, I gave each Fellow a copy of the interview guide and reviewed with them the questions we would be discussing. I assured them that their information would be kept confidential and that I would be using pseudonyms to present their stories in my study. (I t is interesting to note that none of the Fellows were concerned with their stories being told.) We then began our interviews. As we moved through the questions, I used an informal, conversational style, often following trails of thought and stories that the questions sparked in the Fellows. I asked elaborating questions as they recounted their experiences and often referenced back to their initial grant proposals and project summaries in order to connect their initial intentions with the recounted experiences. I felt it was important to allow the Fellows to talk through their experiences in as natural a way as possible in order to foster comfort with me and establish trust in the 70


interview process. After the interviews, depending upon the interview locatio n, we would go over some of their classroom artifacts. In some cases, I photographed the items. In other cases, Fellows allowed me to bring some items home for further study with the promise that I would return them when I was finished. Each participant ag reed at the time of the initial interview to participate in one or two follow up interviews as needed to clarify, fact check, and verify their stories. Travel Journals/Blogs, Photos, Videos, Lesson Plans, and Audiovisual Materials I saved any photos, video s, or audiovisual materials they provided me to their digital participant folders. During the interviews, three of the participants stated that they needed more time to find some of their artifacts, including photos and videos. Therefore, I created and shared a Dropbox folder so that participants could upload any new materials they found to one convenient location. Within that folder, I created separate folders for each participant to protect their anonymity. Data Analysis As mentioned earlier, I first imp orted the FFT survey data and the Fellows grant proposals and project summaries into HyperRESEARCH, creating individual cases within the study for each Fellow and the open ended survey questions In coding the survey data, grant proposals, and project sum maries, I used a descriptive in vivo coding method in order to make use of FFT past and present Fellows own language in describing their experiences. I used this method in the first coding wave (M. B. Miles & Huberman, 1994) in order to preserve 71


participants meanings of their views and actions in the coding itself (Charmaz, 2006, p. 55) I then used these codes to create my beginning codebook Next, I transcribed each of the Fellows interviews into digital text files and sent the transcriptions to each Fellow for accuracy and fact checking (Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Seidman, 2006) At that time, I also asked if the Fellow had any information they wished to delete, change, or add to the interview transcript ( Seidman, 2006) I did not receive any additional input from the teachers regarding their transcripts I then imported their interview transcriptions and any additional artifacts they supplied into HyperRESEARCH. Using the descriptive in vivo codes originally gleaned from the FFT survey data, grant proposals, and project summaries, I conducted my first wave of descriptive coding (M. B. Miles & Huberman, 1994) on the interview transcripts. On my second coding pass through the Fellows interview data I used an interpretive (M. B. Miles & Huberman, 1994) values coding method, as recommended by Saldaa (2009) for both phenomenological and case studies, that highlighted the participants values, attitudes, and beliefs and represented their perspectives and worldviews. Saldaa defines a value as the importance we attribute to oneself, another person, thing, or idea; an attitude is the way we think and feel about oneself, another person, thing, or idea; and a belief is part of a system that includes our values and attitudes, plus our personal knowledge, experiences, opinions, prejudices, morals, and other interpretive perceptions of the social world (2009, pp. pp. 89 90) These codes captured the Fellows and my co interpretations of their experiences and outcomes. 72


Throughout the first and second w ave of coding of the interview transcripts, I also wrote analytical memos (M. B. Miles & Huberman, 1994; Saldana, 2009) within HyperRESEARCH regarding my codes, the coding process, and any emerging categories and/or themes I was seeing. I created detailed definitions of co des within the codebook to aid with my analysis of the Fellows additional data (such as travel journals or blogs, photos, videos). These cumulative codes were then used to analyze the various audiovisual artifacts and additional texts I had collected from the Fellows including travel journals and blogs, photos and videos, classroom materials, lesson plans, and student work. During my third and final wave of pattern coding (M. B. Miles & Huberman, 1994) I organized the codes into emergent categories and then themes (Saldana, 2009) with the help of the Theory Builder in HyperRESEARCH. The intent of pattern coding is to reduce the overall number of codes into a smaller number of categories. It helps to focus the analysis and also lays the groundwork for cross case analysis by identifying common themes (M. B. Miles & Huberman, 1994) The Theory Builder function in HyperRESEARCH allowed me to create themes using a rule expression: IF some set of conditions is true THEN infer some set of conclusions to be true. Using the codes I had applied to the data in various combinations of conditions, I was able to create new categories then combine categories to produce themes. HyperRESEARCH calls these themes theories. I then tested each case against my ideas to see if my ideas were supported or not supported in the evidence. 73


CHAPTER IV DETAILED CASE STUDIES, CROSS CASE ANALYSIS, AND INVARIANT STRUCTURE I begin this chapter with a summary presentation of data collected by Fund for Teachers (FFT) through a post fellowship survey made mandatory as of their 2010 funding cycle. Summary data includes all responses collected from 2010 to 2012, regardless of the teachers subject area or grade level. This was necessary because the survey data within their database is anonymous. This characte ristic provides a safe place in which the FFT Fellows can respond candidly to the survey questions. Next, I present five case studies in a within case analysis format, beginning from the FFT Fellows decision to apply for a FFT grant, through their experience, up to the time they last implemented a lesson in their classroom based on their self designed professional development experiences. Within each case, I use rich description to create a picture of each teachers unique lived experience. I conclu de the chapter with a cross case analysis discussing the themes that emerged. I then present the invariant structure of the lived experience of designing ones own extraordinary professional development as recommended by van Manen (1990) so that the invariant aspects of [designing ones own extraordinary professional development] come into view (p. 122). The invariant structure is a descriptive passage, a long paragraph or two, that focuses on the essence of the experiences of the participants (Creswell, 2007) It does not vary from person to person, thus describes what is invariant in the experience itself. 74


Post F ellowship Survey Data In 2010, Fund for Teachers (FFT) de cided to make their anonymous, post fellowship online survey mandatory. Before that time, the survey was voluntary. While they received a large number of responses prior to 2010, they really wanted to be able to make some more global statements that made 100% participation more desirable (K Kovach Webb, personal communication, October 23, 2014). The FFT survey data was received during the 2010, 2011, and 2012 funding cycles. The total number of respondents was 1,327 covering all grade levels and disci plines. It is important to note that many of the Fellows who responded to the survey during this time were on fellowships that they did not design themselves. Those Fellows chose instead to participate in an experience designed by someone else, such as a c onference or workshop. However, they stil l had agency in the experience in their choosing it for him or herself Therefore, I feel their responses are still important to understanding the outcomes of self designed professional learning. As stated earlier in Chapter Three, the survey consists of seven questions, four closed and three open e nded. The first question uses a summative, Likert type scale to rate the contribution of the fellowship to the teachers desire to stay in the teaching profession and includes an optional open response for the Fellow to add a comment Questions two and three use checklist response questions to determine factors important to the Fellow (a) staying in the classroom a nd (b) in education, respectively. Accord ing to Questions One through T hree from 2010 2012, 81% of the FFT Fellows either strongly agreed or agreed that their 75


fellowship encouraged them to stay in teaching and 77% chose personal job satisfaction as the most influential factor (of the options given) for them staying in the classroom and in education. The closed responses from Questions One through T hree are summarized in Table 7 below. Table 7 : Summary of Questions 1 3, Fund for Teachers Post Fellowship Survey Question 1: My Fund for Teachers grant encouraged me to stay within the teaching profession. 1=Strongly Agree, 2=Agree, 3=Neutral, 4=Disagree, 5=Strongly Disagree Strongly Agree 631 (48%) Agree 444 (33%) Neutral 210 (16%) Disagree 24 (2%) Strongly Disagree 18 (1%) Question 2: My remaining in the classroom [ sic ] depends primarily on: Money/Salary 88 (7%) Family Demands 63 (5%) Administrative and Community Support 159 (12%) Personal Job Satisfaction 1017 (77%) Question 3: My remaining in education [ sic ] depends primarily on: Money/Salary 98 (7%) Family Demands 56 (5%) Administrative and Community Support 142 (12%) Personal Job Satisfaction 1031 (77%) Of the 1,327 responses to Question O ne none of the Fellows who chose neutral, disagree, or strongly disagree responded to the optional open response. Therefore, I have no way of knowing what it was about their experience that was less than positive. In contrast, many of the Fellows who chose strongly agree or agree added additional comments in the optional open response. Ive included some exemplars of their comments below : The opportunity for individual professional development is a great incentive. Knowing that there are organizations designed to provide support for my personal teaching goals is both validating and inspiring. Knowing that teachers are truly appreciated by some people is encouraging. Also, being able to experience new things is a great motivation to do new things in the classroom and that keeps my interest in the profession. 76


For me I get in a rut teaching science and about every 3 5 years if I participate in MEANINGFUL [sic] professional development this helps me get over the stall in my teaching. It provided me the opportunity to create my own staff development and inspired me to learn more about the topic of fellowship. This trip was the first time I have had the opportunity to explore my c urriculum in a meaningful way. It was so exciting to be with the people of Africa and see the unchanged way of life for the farmers, herders, and hunter/gathe rers of the Great Rift Valley. The stories and details that I will be able to bring back to my students are priceless. Fund for Teachers offered the opportunity to condu ct original research. As a history teacher this makes my content knowledge much deeper. Deeper content knowledge makes me even more passionate about teaching history. This experience of learning Spanish allowed me to experience the struggles and celebrati o ns of learning a new language. As I teach English Language Learners, I can better understand how they feel and adapt my teaching. It is extremely important for teachers to be treated as academics and to be encouraged to seek out authentic professional development opportunities. I think that our professional sustainability depends on our ability to have experiences that allow us to expand our content knowledge. My FFT Grant gave me all this, encouraging me about my upcoming year For those outside the teac hing profession, it may be difficult to understand the use of a program like FFT. The vitality and enthusiasm that a teacher brings to the classroom is infectious and the FFT program is a terrific way of providing teachers the opportunity to build that vitality. After studying the history of science I realized the importance of making science relevant to students today. This is a field that is declining so I want to be a part of encouraging students to study one of the many fields of science. I also want t hem to become involved in the research and discovery of these fields of study. Question Four, while also a checklist allows participants to choose all responses that apply to their fellowship. This question evaluates the personal and/or professional imp acts of the fellowship. According to this question, the most common impact of the fellowship experience is increased subject and 77


content area knowledge (88%), followed closely by increased enthusiasm for teaching (87%) and created/enhanced curriculum and/or lesson plans (86%). Of all the responses, the one chosen least often was improved technology experience (29%). See Table 7 for a summary of Question Four, presented from most common to least common answer. The answers are not listed in this order on the survey. 78


Table 8 : Summary of Question 4, Fund for Teachers Post Fellowship Survey Question 4: The ways that my Fund for Teachers fellowship has impacted me professionally and/or personally are: Answer # of Responses Ratio 1. Increased subject and content area knowledge 1174 88% 2. Increased enthusiasm for teaching 1163 87% 3. Created/Enhanced curriculum and/or lesson plans 1154 86% 4. Collected primary source materials (artifacts/materials/stories) 1082 81% 5. Increased commitment to empower students as learners, citizens, and leaders 1040 78% 6. Gained a better knowledge of self 1013 76% 7. Gained a sense of validation and recognition as a professional 911 68% 8. Increased commitment to building whole school excitement and involvement 831 62% 9. Increased global awareness and/or understanding of globalization 795 59% 10. Gained authentic fieldwork experience 782 58% 11. Widened peer group and resource partners 771 57% 12. Increased empathy and understanding of student learning process 771 57% 13. Increased cross curricular partnerships 755 56% 14. Overcame fears and challenges 734 55% 15. Increased commitment to affirming diversity 697 52% 16. Increased confidence to take leadership roles within the school 657 49% 17. Increased commitment to ethics, character, and service 638 48% 18. Increased respect with students and families of different cultures in the school community 623 46% 19. Increased understanding of poverty and wealth 557 42% 20. Improved technology experience 395 29% 79


Questions Five through S even are open ended, with no character limit. Typical responses to these questions from the 2010, 2011, and 2012 survey data ranged from approximately 150 to 300 characters, or three to five sentences per question The questions are as follows: Question 5: What do you hope this grant will do for your teaching? How will your teaching change? (1,053 responses) Question 6: What impact do you think this grant will have on your students and school? (1,040 responses) Question 7: How has your fellowship affected you personally? (1,052 responses) As mentioned earlier in Chapter Three, these open ended questions on the survey contributed to the development of the research questions for this study, and therefore are similar to the questions I asked in the interviews. However, the responses to the survey questions are briefer and contain much less detail than I was able to obtain from the interviews. I will now discuss some of the most frequently occurring responses to the three open ended questions. The most common respons es to Question Five mentioned specific changes in tea ching practice such as a particular strategy implementation, increased use of interdisciplinary teaching methods, or increased collaboration with peers around instruction. This was not surprising given t hat many FFT fellowships center on attending conferences and workshops aimed at learning specific teaching methods or strategies. Multiple teachers from one school often apply and receive a group fellowship from FFT and attend these events together. Multip le Fellows also mentioned that the experience provided inspiration for new lessons; added authenticity to their practice; and renewed their enthusiasm for 80


teach ing. Other themes included increased sensitivity to cultural and social justice issues, increase d efficacy (through increased self co nfidence and deepened content knowledge), and a desire to increase student engagement with their lessons using real life stories and artifacts collected during their experiences. In reference to the impacts on the Fell ows students and school community (Question Six), the most frequently mentioned change was an increase in the students cultural awareness and sensitivity. Oftentimes this awareness was mentioned in conjunction with a shift to a more global outlook or mindfulness of the students place in the world with respect to other countries and cultures. In addition to this more global perspective, the Fellows also frequently mentioned their hope to serve as inspiration to their students and colleagues. Many hope d to inspire travel aspirations, a social justice mindset, or a n ecological worldview. Other frequently mentioned impacts on the Fellows students and schools as a result of their fellowship experiences included school wide and/or community activities, inc reased collaboration with their peers and community members, and the sharing of their experiences in the form of leading professional development at their schools or in their district Question Seven, the final open ended question on the FFT survey, asks the Fellows to describe the personal effects of their experiences. The most common outcome attributed to the Fellows experiences was an increase in self confidence. The 2010 2012 Fellows cited many reasons for this outcome including overcoming fears and challenges, realizing new capabilities, and learning new knowledge and skills. The next most frequently mentioned personal outcome on 81


the 2010 2012 FFT survey was inspiration, which took many forms. Many of the Fellows mentioned inspiration for new less ons, for activities with their school community, or for ways to engage their students. Inspiration occurred in ways that were more personal as well Craft masters, artisans, and experts inspired many Fellows, as did foreign cultures and their natural surr oundings. Finally, many Fellows mentioned either being inspired to action or wanting to inspire others, such as their students or colleagues. Inspiration was often mentioned in conjunction with uplifting emotions such as feeling validated, empowered, optim istic, renewed, and reenergized. The results from the open ended questions suggest that the majority of respondents to the 2010 2012 surveys experienced positive fellowships. The coded responses to Questions Five through Seven formed the basis for the beginning code book used to code the following five case studies. I will now discuss the case studies in more detail. The presentatio ns of the case studies answer research Questions One and T wo: 1. Why do secondary STEM and social studies Fund for Teachers ( FFT) Fellows choose to design their own professional development over other, more traditional forms of professional development? 2. What do secondary STEM and social studies FFT Fellows include in these self designed experiences and why? Case Study: Amy Profi le Amy is a 48 year old white female who has been teaching in Expeditionary Learning (EL) schools for seven years. She currently teaches sixth 82


grade in a K12 EL school, and has both an Elementary and a Secondary English professional teaching license. Befo re becoming a teacher, she worked as an ecological anthropologist at a local, university based research laboratory studying human culture resilience to climate change and climate change variability (Amys grant proposal, p.3). The current demographic breakdown of the 240+ students in the secondary school is 88% White, 7% Hispanic, 1% Asian, 1% Black, and 3% Two or More Races. She successfully applied for her fellowship during a challenging time in both her personal and professio nal life, which added to her perception of the grant as a gift that she had not known she needed until after she received it. Her one month fellowship occurred during the summer of 2013. Intentions For years, Amy had heard her administrators and colleagu es talk about the grants from F und for Teachers (FFT) and she knew that a couple of people in her building had previously applied and been awarded fellowships. She had always been interested in biodiversity and she recognized that the FFT fellowship could provide an amazing opportunity to design her dream professional development (PD) Deciding she had nothing to lose, she researched and wrote for two months, talked with friends and colleagues, and narrowed down her ideas to a workable plan. She was impres sed with her students depth of scientific knowledge, but at the same time was bothered by their lack of ability to c ommunicate their understandings. She wanted her students t o have both a grasp of the science concepts and the skills abilities and desire to communicate that knowledge to 83


others. Because she taught English and Science, she knew she had an opportunity to create an ecology expedition (similar to a unit, but a semester long) that could incorporate the requisite science content and at the same time strengthen her students nonfiction writing and reading comprehension skills. In addition, t his interdisciplinary expedition woul d serve the dual purpose of fulfilling some of the goals in her schools S chool Improvement Plan (SIP) while also meeting a school wide instructional goal created by the new emphasis on expository texts in the Common Core State Standards for English Language Arts. The two key questions guiding her project were as follows: 1. [ What is the best way] to communicate the integral co ncept of ecological intercon nectedness to the public through engaging non fiction science based writing? 2. [ What is the best way] to teach students the science cont ent and the writing skills in order to create, in them, the generation of communicators who understand science? (Amy s grant proposal, p. 3) She chose Australia as her destination not only because of its unique flora, fauna, and ecosystems but also because its most common language is English. She believed that because she was creating both a science based and a communications based expedition, she did not want to struggle with the content in addition to the language. Moreover she wanted to be able to incorporate native texts into her case studies, as much as possible, and the majority of her students are English speakers. Learning expeditions use case studies to organize topics. Amys personal learning goals narrowed in on two of Australia s most endangered species, the 84


giant gum tree ( Eucalyptus regnans ) and the northern hairy nosed wombat ( Lasiorhinus krefftii ) as future case study topics within the ecology expedition. She decided to study the life histories and ecological roles of these two species in depth during [her] project in order to create two new and exciting case studies for [her] students (Amys grant proposal, p. 3). She felt that these two species made excellent case study subjects because of their unique ecological and evolutionary paths (Amys grant proposal, p. 3). She also decided to in clude a species with which her Colorado students would be more familiar: the honeybee. After learning about Australias unique island ecosystems and evolution through the case studies, she planned to have the students demonstrate their ecological understanding through the design, building, and promotion of a schoolyard ecology project such as creation of a bee sanctuary or native area restoration (Amys grant proposal, p. 4). Because the ecology expedition was not only a science based exploration, but als o had strong roots in expository writing and non fiction reading comprehension, she wanted to make sure that she included community action groups, writers, laypeople, and people working in sustainability and environmental education in her travels. She knew she would have to narrow her focus in order to make the most effective use of her time if she wanted to learn science content as well as get a more creative, community based perspective into the expedition. The following describes what she finally decided to do. The Experience Australia is a very large continent , she laughed, as she thought about her adventure (Amy, personal communication, October 25, 2013) It was July in 85

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Colorado when she and her travelling partner left DIA, anticipating much cooler we ather in the Australian winter season. She had decided to travel with a fri end because, although she did not realize at the time, travelling that far away by ones self can be intimidating, especially considering the amount of ground that she intended to cover. Her travelling companion covered his own expenses and was not included in the costs covered by her grant. She began her trip in Melbourne, where they secured their rental car and in country travel logistics, but also witnessed Giant Fruit Bats (also called Flying Foxes) flying above the streetlights. Some have wingspans up to six feet long From there they took a ferry to Hobart, Tasmania, where much of the biologic al diversity of Australia can be witnessed in a much smaller geographical area. For example, ninety percent of Tasmanias marine life is found nowhere else. While in Hobart, they volunteered for two days with Ocean Planet Tasmania, a group of scientists an d volunteers campaigning to establish marine reserves around Tasmania. She then met up Dr. David Bowman, a climate scientist from the University of Tasmania. Amy studied under him for two days, learning about Giant Gum trees at his study site in Mount Fiel d National Park, northwest of Hobart. Upon returning to the mainland, Amy and her companion rented an RV and travelled into Grampians National Park, a forested area of sandstone mountains northwest of Melbourne. There she had meant to spend two days meeting with scientists and writers from Global Forest Science, a conservation institute that protects fragile ecosystems and does youth environmental education. Instead, she joined up with a hooded plover study before heading to 86

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Adelaide. She referred to this chance encounter as a happy coincidence that influenced my original armchair itinerary. But, as the Aussies say, No worries, Love. (Amys Post Fellowship Project Summary, p. 1). In her mind, Amy had hoped that a more community based education group could help her bridge the science and writing components of the expedition as well as bring a more global perspective to her studies. She also wanted to get a sense of whether or not the ecological view in Australian culture was different from the United S tates due to their unique ecosystems and environment. She spent a rainy few days Adelaide, visiting various sites. One site, the Adelaide Christie Walk, is a small urban village focused on sustainability techniques to reduce climate change. Another group is housed at The Science Exchange, the renovated former Adelaide Stock Exchange building built in 1901. Now, the Royal Institution of Australia, RiAus for short, is a non profit group that does public outreach and works to communicate science to the public. She said of the experience, An Australian saying, stirring the opossum, meaning liven things up and create a disturbance by raising issues that others wish left dormant, describes the work happening at The Science Exchange in Adelaide. I interviewed members of this group to find out how they are making science accessible to the public as they help scientists tell their stories and craft their messages. (Amys Post Fellowship Project Summary, p. 1) From Adelaide, Amy had hoped to take a t rain to Alice Springs, approximately 800 miles to the north, in the Northern Territory of Australia. There, she was to meet with some Aboriginal leaders who are sponsored by the Remote Indigenous Gardens Network working to develop food sustainability; howe ver, those connections did not pan out. Instead, she and her travelling 87

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partner spent six days exploring the Australian Outback. With a large, oldfashioned, paper foldout map, and the bolstered courage that comes from not travelling alone, they let curios ity be their guide as they made their way to Epping Forest National Park They spent their time writing, trying to stay warm during the cold winter night s, and seeking evasive emus (Amys Post Fellowship Project Summary, p. 1). Once in Epping Forest, th ey met up with Conservation Volunteers Australia to search for the northern hairynosed wombat. There is a only a single population of 110 animals left and they are in Epping Forest. Conservation Volunteers Australia is trying to establish a second population at St. George. Amy and her travelling partner also volunteered a day to help with the construction of a 5km predator proof fence that is being constructed to try to protect the new wombat population from dingoes and foxes. After the wombats, Amy visi ted two sustainable commu nities along the eastern coast. Bellbunya Sustainable Community and Eco Retreat Center northwest of Sunshine Coast is an intentional community set up on 40 acres with organic food gardens, wildlife corridors, and a creek and lago on. Their power comes from 100% renewable energy (solar and purchased wind power) and they are developing energy conserving housing options. The second site she visited, Milkwood Permaculture Farm, specializes in edible forest gardens and honeybees. From there she travelled back down the coast, stopping to visit the Alexandria Park Community Centre on the campus of the Alexandria Community School. There she talked with community members about creating and running 88

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multiple community and school gardens a bush tucker garden, and outdoor classroom learning areas. Then finally, she headed home. In the Classroom and Beyond Amy created a two semester unit, where the first semester builds the students conceptual understanding around the topics of evolution, adaptation, and biodiversity. During the second semester, students follow their interests and learn through the case studies she created around the northern hairy nosed wombat, the gum trees, and honeybees. These are in addition to a case study she had cr eated earlier around goatheads ( Tribulus terrestris). She plans to have the students demonstrate their learning through design and creation of a bee sanctuary or rehabilitation of a native plant garden on campus. Amy wanted to make sure that she tied the A ustralian content back to something the kids could touch and experience here in Colorado thus the connections to honeybees and goatheads That was her main reason for including honeybees i n her travel studies in Australia. Interestingly, she also connected with a scientist that she missed in Australia, but who has since moved to California. He is continuing his work on wombats, but is also researching aspects of honeybees, pine beetles, and other species that she can utilize in Colorado. They continue to b e in contact and he serves as an expert resource for her own and her students learning. Although Amy has not shared her experience formally with her school community or at a conference, she is open to the idea. Her fellowship occurred only three months pr ior to our interview. Self admittedly, she has barely had time to reflect on her own experience much less present about it to a large group. 89

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However, she has talked individually and with small groups of her colleagues and is currently encouraging her teach ing partner to apply for his own grant next year. Follow U p Amy has only had one short year to implement lessons based on her experiences in Australia. As a teacher myself, I understand the complexities of teaching a new unit and the myriad teacher learni ng that goes along with that endeavor. Some things worked and others did not. As such, Amy has made some changes during this 2014 2015 school year. She is working collaboratively with the 6th grade team to develop an interdisciplinary Walkabout curriculum. For example, an aboriginal inspired art project will begin soon. She also plans to develop an ethno botany and food security project, focusing on Australian Aboriginal knowledge. Of course, in order to boost he r continued understanding of Australian culture and to fill in the Aboriginal pieces that she did not get to experience on her last trip, she hopes to travel to the northern and western parts of Australia in the future. Case Study: Ted Profile Ted is a 34 year old white male who has been tea ching mi ddle school math for an E xpeditionary L earning (EL) school for three years although he has six years of teaching experience. He teaches in the s ame school as Amy, but in seventh and eighth grade. He is certified to teach both Secondary Math and Secondary Science. I first met Ted at an invitational Fund for Teachers retreat in Wyoming in June of 2013 FFT invited him as an exemplar Fellow and me as a 90

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researcher. I took him at first to be reserved, but found out later he was just humble d by the honor Prior to his fellowship, Ted thought he was done teaching. He had already left teaching once, but came back in order to teach in an EL school. He went on his t wo week fellowship during the summer of 2012. Intentions Ted s case study begins with a story he told during our interview: This whole thing goes back to one textbook problem that one kid took really seriously. And surprised me, ya know? She, her name was Vivian [pseudonym] She already knew how to do all the stuff, so I didnt want to give her a test because I knew she would do fine. So instead of doing the test I said, Why dont you take this data and build some histograms and build some box and whisker plots and kinda analyze it and figure out what this data means. And it was all about water aroun d the world and how that affects life expectancy. And she totally BSSSHHHH! [raises arm in the air like a rocket taking off] went like this with it. And really, kinda, because it was real data and it had a real story behind it. And it blew me away. It bl ew away my whole class. The whole tenor of the class changed for the next month. And kids wanted to do something about this. So all of this, going back even before the application, before the anything, this all started just with one little problem, one kid and some passion. Ted wanted to find a way to connect his passion for the poor and Sub Saharan Africa to his desire to connect middle school math students to real problem solving in the world. Thats why I teach middle school. Its not so much my conte nt area, but trying to give kids the skills and the tools and the passion to do things with their lives and to find confidence ( Ted personal com munication, October 11, 2013). For t he previous two years, he had taught a water expedition (based off his beg inning story) that had involved the students doing a water walk a thon. They created pledge plans, tracked their data using algebra, created tables and graphs, and raised money to construct a well in a village in Africa. He used videos from websites to h elp the students understand the c ontext of the 91

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region ; but upon hearing of the FFT grant opportunity, he wondered if he could use the money to get firsthand, on the ground experience, with real videos and real photos, to share with kids ( Ted personal communication, October 11, 2013). He wanted his knowledge to be more authentic concerning the solutions to poverty, water, and education issues in Sub Saharan Africa. Ted s decision to write his grant occurred during a time when the US and global economies w ere in a tailspin. Unemployment was still very high and getting a loan was near to impossible. To make matters worse, p olitical rhetoric around the financial crisis was not kind. In the meantime, Ted had participated in many conversations at his school about personal finance and financial literacy, and how students were not being taught the skills they would need to manage their own finances. He also knew that there were personal finance literacy stan dards in the new Common Core State Standards for Math and that he was going to need to help his students with those skills. As mentioned previously, Ted had already been teaching an expedition for the last two years that used real data on the correlation between peoples access to clean water and the regions average life expectancy. H e decided to write his grant around a Solutions to Poverty Expedition that would incorporate sustainable solutions rather than one time charity contributions such as they had been doing. He knew that his students had a passion for social justice issues, and he wanted to equip them with more long lasting solutions to the problem of poverty than just donating money to an organization. He also wanted his students to gain a de eper understanding about debt and responsible investing. He decided to incorporate a micro lending project into the expedition. 92

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T ed hoped that t h e students would not only increase their financial literacy through the micro lending project but also their em pathy for those in need of some help Ted wanted his students to understand that the dollars they raise and lend can actually be a financial investment for them that also makes a huge difference for the bo rrowing entrepreneur in Rwanda [his chosen fellows hip location] much more than a one time charitable donation. Students will see that their money can grow in two directions: towards the drilling of a well and towards providing income for several hardworking individuals. They ll see that micro lending is a practical way of providing support with dignity rather than a handout. Also, getting to witness the hardworking, ded icated borrowers will increase their appreciation for a strong work ethic, displace their stereotypes of the poor, and give them a positiv e example of r esponsible borrowing (Teds grant proposal, p. 4) Once he finally had all his ideas together, he wrote his grant in about a month. The following section summarizes his experiences in Rwanda. The Experience Ted arranged to stay with a frien d of his brothers from college named John. Joh n is a native Rwandan who was orphan ed during the 1994 Genocide. Due in part to his commitment to education, he was able to continue his studies and eventually secured a position with a non governmental organi zation (NGO) promoting microlending. He went on to complete a graduate level education in the U.S. paid for by those who recognized his abilities and commitment to rebuilding his homeland. This is where he met Teds brother. John now runs his own NGO in R wanda, starting schools, building wells, and using microfinance to help his fellow citizens rebuild their lives. John was thrilled to have Ted come to Rwanda and live with him for two weeks. Although he had talked to John on the phone to arrange for his v isit, Ted arrived in Rw anda not knowing what John looked like nor being entirely sure if 93

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he would be at the airport to pick him up. It is good that John did pick him up, because Ted arrived in Rwanda with no suitcase. As a result, he was forced to borrow c lothes from his new friend, who is not nearly as tall and about 100 pounds lighter. Ted recounts a story from that first day in Johns clothes. Eating my humble pie, we headed out to a village to visit a school. As part of the school visit, John, the direc tor and myself all took a walk down a trail to visit a nearby well. I really wanted to see firsthand where people get their water. It was off the beaten path and not near any roads. In fact, as you might imagine, it was in the bottom of a shallow valley. There were clothes spread out to dry all over the place and a few children and adults hung around talking or filling their yellow Gerry cans. I wanted to capture the scene but at the same time didn't want to exploit their dignity so I have very little camera footage of this place. A small child started crying when he saw me because he'd never seen a person with white skin. The adults laughed and smiled at me, careful not to make eye contact. Having just gotten off the plane a day before, this was as foreign a place I'd ever been and culturally I felt I was filling my own Gerry can to carry back t o the states (Ted, personal communication, October 30, 2014). Ted spent the first week with John in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. In addition to the school just mentioned, t he y visited a reconciliation camp where the two tribes involved in the 1994 Genocide (the Hutus and the Tutsis) are working together to rebuild their own communities through trust and forgiveness. They spent a day with the staff of Opportunity International, a nonprofit organization that provides microloans, insurance access to savings and training to over five million people in 22 countries. Next, they visited some of the accountability groups that promote responsible repayment. Ted was par ticularly interested in understanding how financial accountability exists in the presence of a trustcentered community of people (Teds grant proposal, p. 2). They spent a day in the market, at the city center, visiting with small business owners who had used microloans to build their businesses. Finally, they finished their first week 94

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together visiting the Kigali Genocide Memorial Center and the Htel des Mille Collines (made famous by the movie Hotel Rwanda ). While Ted did not intend to include Rwandas history of genocide in his classroom activities, he felt it was important to his understanding of the Rwanda n people to know more about the profound effects it had on their country. The y did their travelling around Rwanda in the second week, visiting man y of the projects John had started over the years. First, they visi ted three well sites in the Ruts iro District, about five hours west from Kigali, in the border town of Boneza, on the shores of Lake Kivu There they spoke with people about how life and co mmerce had changed since the installation of the wells. Next, they travelled to the Springs of Hope Nursery School in the village of Kiroeno where only children old enough to swim across Lake Kiv u could attend school until [Johns] project was started ( Teds grant proposal, p. 2) Their next stop was the site of John s newest project, the Rwanda Academy of Excellence. While this school is still only a vision, it is encouraging. John is trying to create a tuition free high school (all high school, called A school, costs money in Rwanda) in the Rutsiro District that will encourage [students] to address community challenges by developing creative, sustainable, and innovative business solutions (Teds grant proposal, p. 2). Finally, they visited a middle school in Eastern Rwanda that John helped start ten years ago. It is also the site of a future well project, as there is no well at the school or in the village. Ted taught a day at the school, discussing U.S. culture and geography, and learned some of th e differences of teaching in an African culture. 95

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Throughout their travels, Ted talked with students, parents, and community leaders about the connection between education and the quality of life in Rwanda. Many students are only able to attend school thro ugh sixth grade, either because they cannot afford middle school or because there simply is no further schooling option in their region. These students simply return to their families to continue living the way they have always lived, with no options avail able to those who would prefer another way. People like John, and now Ted, are doing their best to provide those options. Ted and John finished their trip with two days of seeing some of the geography and important natural history sites in Rwanda. In the Classroom and Beyond Ted ended up creating a threeunit expedition. In the first unit, the students studied data about water and discover [ed] for themselves the connection between unsafe water and decreased opportunities for education, health, and life ex pectancy (Teds Post Fellowship Project Summary, p. 2). They then researched groundwater, wells, and sanitation as part of a water walk fundraiser. The Wa ter Walka thon made the local news when students walked four miles to the river and back carrying their 60 pounds of water on their backs, just dying and not complaining, not saying a thing, ya know? But they get it. Like, they get why theyre doing what theyre doing (Ted, personal communication, October 11, 2013). Finally, the students participat ed in a microloan simulation, learning about the math and the responsibility behind investments, lending, and repayment. Ted set up an inaugural lending team of students through a micro lending website with a great reputation, in 96

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t he hopes that i t will continue on as a club and develop a sister school relationship with the school in Rwanda. He also helped the students at his school establish rapport with the students in Rwanda by setting up pen pal relationships via ePals .com an online classroom matching site. As I mentioned early, Ted and I first met in UCross, Wyoming, at an FFT invitational retreat centered around Carol Dwecks work on Mindsets (see Dweck, 1986 and 2008). For the retreat, FFT asked Ted to do a 20 minute presentation on his fell owship. This was the first time he had been asked to give such a presentation. He felt honored and respected for the opportunity. Follow U p Ive always felt that empathy i s the cure for apathy , Ted remarked as he reflected on the events that occurred over the course of his fellowship (Ted, personal communication, October 11, 2013). Eventually Ted created multiple multi media presentations about his travels throughout Rwanda that he shared with FFT, his school community, his friends, and even his own children. Ted returned to Rwanda this past summer in 2014 He now sits on the Board of Directors of Arise Rwanda Ministries, the group with which his friend John first introduced him. He spent a month in Rwanda this time, touring the poorest, western region of the country with John The tuition free high school is still a vision, but becoming much more of a reality every day as they work with the community, assessing needs, evaluating sites, and putting together a timeline for the schools development. The schools current working name is Kivu Hills Academy. 97

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Ted only got to teach his new and improved water expedition one year. The next year, the school moved him to Science. He ha s been giving the new math teacher ple nty of space so that she feel s no pressure to do what he did. The students still ask him if they are going to do the Water Walk again, and the students who did participate in years past still talk about it during their Presentations of Learning. Last year, a group of the high school students ra n their own water walk because Ted could not do it. So if you just think of starting with something really small, and build around it, and key in on some real clear values like math education. Find the things that are broken, that need fixing, then cent er your work around that, center your fellowship around that, then it real l y has room to grow (Ted, personal communication, October 11, 2014). FFT also recruited him this past summer for a video, the theme of which is an expanded influence. The footage will be available on their website soon. I will end Teds story with an analogy he shared with me during our interview thinking back to the story of Vivian that I recapped at the beg inning of this case study So I guess its sort of an analogy or a metaphor to what the Fund for Teachers grant is, too. I mean, its the same kinda thing. Its one little trip, right, one $5,000, which is nothing to some people, ya know? Certainly the don ors of this program, its nothing to them. But that one trip for me, is now rippling out, bxx, bxx, bxx, bxx, bxx [moving his arms, like rings in a puddle moving out after a rock has been thrown in], you know, and hopefully spreading to kids like that. And I think thats the power of the teacher created professional development, ya know? Case Study: Lori Profile Lori is a 40 year old white female who teaches 8th grade social studies at a preK 8 EL school in a small, mountainous ski town. The day of our int erview, 98

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Lori was wearing a stereotypical teacher sweater, one that only a teacher would wear and only then on rare occasions. We both laughed as she explained that her mother who was also a teacher, had given it to her. The occasion for this particular beauty was Halloween. The demographics of their 551 students break down as 48% Hispanic, 47% White, 2% Black, 1% Native American, 1% Asian, and 1% Two or More Races. Loris eight day fellowship occurred during the summer of 2010. She travelled with two co lleagues, a Special Education teacher and a Writing teacher. Since neither of their disciplines were part of the criteria sampling schema for this dissertation, they were not participants in this research study. Intentions Lori designed her own professiona l development because she wanted to bring American history alive for her students here in Colorado. She felt that if she had the investment in the experiences by being the student herself, she would understand better what resources and activities she would need to acquire or create for her students. Prior to the fellowship, she and her team had created an expedition centered on the historical roots of American freedom (Lori, grant proposal, p.1). It was designed using a workshop model that depends on tea chers as models, guided support by peers, then exhibits of student wor k (Lori, grant proposal, p.1). The stud ents learned historical content then created an historical fiction childrens book. Their assessment was a culminating Socratic Seminar. The idea for the fellowship had started much bigger, including Boston and Washington D.C.; but to stay within the grant budget the team decided to focus 99

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on the Historical Triangle in Virginia. The Historical Triangle is composed of Jamestown, Williamsburg, and York town and provides three unique perspectives in American colonial history. Jamestown was the site of the first permanent English settlement, where the colonists and the Native American Indians first encountered each other. Williamsburg represented the thriv ing capital where the dream of American freedom and independence was taking shape (Lori, grant proposal, p. 2). Finally, Yorktown was the site of the most important and decisive victory in the Revolutionary War that ultimately gave the U.S. her freedom. Lori and her team felt that these three perspectives of early colonial history, from the founding of Jamestown in 1607 to the battle at Yorktown in 1781, could provide the powerful, f irsthand experience they needed to create student activities and product s that address various l earning styles, deepen individual understanding, and enhance student learning (Loris grant proposal, p. 3) The guiding questions for their fellowship were as follows: 1. Who were the voices of freedom that led to American independence, and what were their experiences? 2. How does that notion of freedom compare to other meanings of freedom for different people in different time periods? In order to bring their Freedom Expedition to life, Lori and her team wanted to create Tria ngle Trunks, three trunks filled with distinct (replica) artifacts from each site, plus books, clothing, and other period paraphernalia. The Jamestown trunk would focus on the immigration experience of the colonists, early colonial life, and their interac tions with the natives of the area. The Williamsburg trunk brought in the perspective of the African slave trade and the 100

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culture of the Africans in addition to the burgeoning ideals of the revolution. Finally, the Yorktown trunk really focused in on the Re volutionary War. She and her partners wanted to experience all that the historical sites had to offer and find replica real artifacts that would help to transport the students back in time and make the distant period in our history more tangible. The Exp erience Lori and her teaching partners began their fellowship at Jamestown, where they spent two days immersed in the life of the colonists. Our goals in Jamestown include[d] gathering tangible evidence and resources, experience[ing] firsthand the hardships and challenges of the journey across the Atlantic aboard replicas of the colonists ship, and visit[ing] and document[ing] a Powhatan village and their agricultural techniques (Loris grant proposal, p. 1). In true role playing fashion, they als o played the role of defender through wearing the armor and hearing the muskets fire during the fort reenactment of the Spanish conflict. The y photographed, videoed, and sketched the landscape, living history actors, monuments, and displays. They also crea ted and videotaped mini lessons onsite, including blacksmithing, corn grinding, weaving, and navigating the sea. Their next stop was Colonial Williamsburg site of the thriving capital of colonial Virginia, and now the 301 acre living history museum. The entire town is a recreation of colonial Williamsburg including speech patterns, dress, reenactments, and structures. Essentially, a visitor is transported b ack through time upon arrival. 101

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During this era, the dream of American freedom and independence was ta king shape and the colony was a rich and powerful land stretching west to the Mississippi River and north to the Great Lakes. It was here that the fundamental concepts of our republic responsible leadership, a sense of public service, self government, and individual liberty were nurtured under the leadership of patriots such as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, George Mason, and Peyton Randolph (Loris grant proposal, p. 2). While in Colonial Williamsburg, t hey focused on the 150 years between initial colonization and the road to independence. They video interviewed the living history actor historians and photographed and sketched buildings around the city. They also attended the Conversation with a Founding Father program where they met preachers, servants, farmers, and artisans and listened to their stories. They made personal contacts with historians and educators for live web conferencing and gathered information and resources regarding the African perspective through slave quarter recreations, music, and dance demonstrations. At the James Geddy House, they toured and documented the architecture and grounds to provide insight into a colonial family and interacted with youth interpreters who recreated aspects of the life of colonial children. At t he Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum, the y gathered art history and artifacts. Finally, they created more mini lessons while participating in cooking and medicinal herb preparations and visiting the silver smiths foundry, highlighting the apprentic e traditions. Their final leg of the eight day journey took them to the site of the Battle at Yorktown. There they gathered and documented important battle details and videoed the reenactment of the daily life of a Revolutionary War soldier. They studied t he documents and voices behind the Declaration of Independence, the 102

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Constitution, and the Bill of Rights, focusing on the conception, framing, and realization of democracy. They also visited the Yorktown Victory Center where they participated in and docume nted hands on activities at a working 18th century farm. Throughout all of their adventures, they gathered published resources, facsimile tools and toys, authentic primary source reproductions, and other artifacts that they felt would help students connect with the period. In the Classroom and Beyond Lori and her team created an inquiry based Freedom Expedition driven by compelling questions generated by the students. They created the three trunks previously described, focused on each of the three locations and time periods, using the mini lessons, videos, photographs, books, and artifacts that they had collected. As they moved through the expedition, students would use the trunks for inspiration, replaying interviews and interacting with the artifacts. Thro ugh their own exploration and wearing of the student hat, the teachers became the experts on the content. Student products and assessments within the expedition included a character profile, an historical fiction childrens book, and a culminating Socratic Seminar. Art, the Humanities, L anguage Arts, and Technology were woven together throughout, supported by the three trunks contents. This full engagement continued to inspire the teachers through their Civil War unit where they had the kids participate in a Civil War battle reenactment through the non profit You Can Live History. Follow U p Lori was able to teach the eighth grade expedition for two years before she was moved to the fifth grade team. At that time, the school in which she was 103

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teaching merged with an elementary school to create one K8 school. Lori is teaching fifth grade now and looking forward to changing around the content to make it new again. She and her team are still able to use much of the material in the trunks because this historical era is included in the Colorado Academic Standards for Fifth Grade History. Lori had hoped to create Triangle Trunk Student Expert Teams that could travel around the district doing book talks with the historical fiction childrens books they had written Unfortunately, that dream never materialized. Her students have shared their stories with the students in younger grades within her school. She shared her experience at the national Expeditionary Learning Conference that year and continues to encourage f uture grant writers in her building. She also looks forward to writing more grants and having new experiences to build her fifth grade curriculum. Case Study: Emily Profile Emily is a 28 year old white woman with a lot of energy. She races mountain bikes in the summer and teaches ski school in the winter, on top of being a full time seventh grade science teacher at a K8 EL school in a small mountain town. Emily and Lo ri (previous case study) teach at the same school. Emily w ould have been considered a new teacher at the time of her fell owship in 2010, with only three years teaching experience (the bare minimum allowed by FFT to apply). She applied for her grant with her teaching partner (Lisa, from Table 6) whom I also i nterviewed. However, becaus e Lisa was in Singapore, we 104

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were forced to do the interview over Skype. Due t o a slow connection and difficulty with my recording device, her interview was not included in the data. Intentions Emily wanted to do something for her own professional developme nt that was personally engaging and interesting. After some discussion, she and her teaching partner chose an area of study for which they were both passionate. They wanted to know more about alternative energy, transportation, and food production and generally living a greener lifestyle. They beg an with a grandiose idea. They would travel to multiple countries on multiple continents to stud y alternative energy, transportation and food production until they quickly realized that it would be absolutely r idiculous unless [they] were taking an entire year off (Emily, personal communication, November 25, 2013). They also started out wanting to compare greener, more innovative countries to countries in the developing world, but that also was time and cost pr ohibitive. They finally decided on Scandinavia because of their reputation as being some of the most innovative countries in the world They knew that the countries in Scandinavia were producing energy much differently than the United States. They also kne w that bicycle ridership in those countries is much higher than it is in the U.S.; so they decided to ride their bikes around Scandinavia in demonstration of their commitment to alternative f orms of transportation. ( Plus they both loved to ride their bikes. ) From there, they divided the countries that they were interested in visiting (including Iceland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, and the Netherlands) and began to research where they could go and what they could do. 105

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They began to see that, between those count ries, they had a diverse array of energy produ ction alternatives to visit including geothermal, wind, solar, biomass, and tidal power. Their next decision involved their route. Because they were committed to traveling primarily by bicycle, with minimum inv olvement of mass transportation, they had to confine themselves to an area they could realistically cover in a month. They also knew they were going to need to keep an open mind regarding experiences. Together, they made prioritized lists by country of t he people and places they wanted to see. Emily teaches Environmental Science and must include information and resources in her expeditions around renewable/ nonrenewable resources and climate change She saw this as an opportunity to grow her background kno wledge through firsthand experience with alternative energy production, conversations with professionals working in the field, talking with policy makers, and spending time with the people from Scandinavia learning about their worldview She planned to col lect video recordings of her interviews and take plenty of pictures so that she and her teaching partner could create multi media presentations for their classrooms. They also hoped to make lasting connections with people that could digital connections for their classrooms. The focus questions that guided their fellowship were as follows: 1. What actions are other nations taking to reduce their carbon footprint through transportation, energy, and farming practices and what outcome s are expected? 2. What do local people (non experts) know about global climate change and does that knowledge affect their decision to use alternative transportation, 106

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subscribe to alternative energy sources, or purchase sustainably grown products? 3. Do individual choices, cul tural norms, and alternative business practices impact global carbon emissions? If so, how and by how much? (To answer this, they conducted a survey of daily carbon emitting practices of people they met to compare their behaviors with those of their studen ts and the overall U.S. data.) (Emilys grant proposal, p. 2) The Experience Emily and her teaching partner began their journey in Iceland, a 100% carbon free producer of energy. Currently, 90% of the homes are heated by geothermal hot water. They flew into Iceland with all of their provisions including bikes, panniers, spare parts and bike repair tools. They budgeted $0 for lodging, planning instead to camp, couch surf (using, and stay at eco communities and organic farms, working off the cost of their room and board. Their first couch surf host was a geothermal engineer, Viddi. He was able to facilitate a tour of his geothermal plant at Hellisheidi, explaining that they work much like conventional c oal fired plants except that they do not need the coal to get the steam. They just need to dig a 2000 meter hole in the ground. He clarified that Iceland is positioned perfectly between the American and European plates, making the heat more accessible than in many other areas of the world. He also explained that Icelands other mai n power source is hydroelectric and told them where to visit. Their next stop in Iceland was the Landsvirkjun Hydro Power Plant, an inviting building constructed atop a raging riv er fed by summer glacier melt. 107

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Once inside, they were greeted by an intern from the plant, and taken on a tour. The lobby of the facility looked more like an art museum than a power plant, with subtle lighting, white diaphanous walls, and art tastefully di splayed on the walls and pedestals. The exhibition halls purpose was to help people understand that they are thinking about the nature as well as the power (Intern, Landsvirkjun Hydro Power Plant, Its Not All About the Bike 3:34). In spite of this dua l mindedness, Viddi had explained to Emily and her teaching partner that as a country Iceland was moving more towards geothermal because compared to hydro power, its in many ways more environmentally friendly (Viddi, Its Not All About the Bike, 4:02). From Reykjavik, Iceland they hopped a plane to Stockholm, Swede n. Energy production in Sweden is mainly hydroelectric, coal burning, and nuclear. Their first visit was to Hammarby Sjostad, a sustainable community near Stockholm. The developers created a community that used strict standards and environmental regulations for construction. The community integrated water treatment, energy production, and waste treatment to create fertilizer for the fields, biogas to heat the houses, and their only waste produc t is clean water. They minimize their carbon footprint and energy demands by recycling almost everything. Their hostess in Hammarby Sjostad explained that they didnt necessarily innovate new technology, they just used what was already out there to raise t he quality of the waste production and recycling. They were amazed by the bike culture of Stockholm, and did not understand why the Swedes described their bike community as sub par by Scandinavian standards. They thought they were in bike heaven! They ro de 108

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across Sweden into Denmark (via a short ferry ride) and soon understood why. Denmark is a country of bikes. The government encourages the riding of bikes by building trails for them through the cities and the country. There is no place in Denmark that y ou cannot access via bicycle; they number in the 100s of 1,000s. The governments goal is to become independent of fossil fuels, and they are on their way. Their gross consumption of energy today is the same as it was in 1972, despite population and econ omic growth. T hey visited the Nordic Folkcenter for Renewable Energy in Hurup One of three such Folk centers around the world (the other two are in Mali and Uganda, respectively), the Nordic Folkcenter is a hotbed of alternative energy development. People come from everywhere to test alternative ideas in transportation, biomass/biogas, wave energy, wind, solar, architecture, and power balancing. While they were there, they got to talk with Preben Maegaard, hes like the Godfather of Alternative Energy in D enmark. And [they] got to sit down and, and listen to him for two hours. It wasnt really a conversation. [They] just sat there for two hours, and listened [head in hands, wide eyed] (Emily, personal communication, November 25, 2013). They were able to st ay at the Nordic Folkcenter, in the strawbale house, for a night. While in Denmark, Emily and her teaching partner also visited a biogas facility, a plant that uses manure to produce energy The plant sends people out to the farms to collect manure and bio mass from the intensive livestock farming in the area Then they bring it back to the facility and process it using a variety of microbes, resulting in the production of electricity and heat. The plant contributes to the regions green profile by recycling waste into energy. Emily 109

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referred to this plant as the most awfully smelling place shed ever been, but relished the opportunity it provided to get video and photos for her students (Emily, personal comm unication, November 25, 2013). While in Denmark, t hey found a couple and their organic farm through woofer, or WWOOF Willing Workers on Organic Farms, a website designed to connect people who want to live and learn on organic farms with people who are looking for volunteer help all over the world. We found this supercool couple in Denmark, and he is actually a [ sic ] education professor and she is a chemical engineer, and they had this little organic farm. I mean, it was just this little thing, but they love to travel. And theyre like, We do this so t hat people like you come and stay with us. (Emily, personal communication, November 25, 2013). The woman rides 9.5 km to work and it takes her about 25 minutes. In her car, it takes 20 minutes in good traffic, and 30 minutes in bad. She said she enjoys biking because she can get out and get some air and some exercise; and shes not alone. Copenhagens vision is to have half of its commuters move by bike by 2015. In a city of 1.7 million people, last year there were only five bicycle deaths. From Copenhagen, they travelled to Amsterdam, Netherlands. Emilys teaching partner had begun to have knee trouble, and was forced to take the train as Emily rode on ahead alone. Once in Amsterdam, her teaching partner received word from her teenage daught er that there was an emergency at home. She left a week early to return, leaving Emily alone in Amsterdam with two bicycles. Luckily, she was able to sell her teaching partners bike for a healthy sum, to be reinvested back into their bike co op back at th eir school. Emily enjoyed travelling alone for a few days before she sold her bike to a teacher, stayed her last night in a castle, and headed back to the States. 110

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In the Classroom and Beyond Emily and her teaching partner used much of their video footage t o create a short film entitled Its Only Partly About the Bike. Emily integrated the film into her natural resources expedition and they showed the film at their community Mountain Film Festival. Emily and her teaching partner also created other short vid eos for district classrooms that portray another way to transport, create energy, and have a lifestyle mindful of energy consumption (Emilys Post Fellowship Project Summary, p. 2). She also integrated her newfound perspective on alternative energy produ ction into her teaching. For example, she had gone into the experience believing that people in Scandinavia just loved the Earth more than we do. And thats not the casePeople would always be like, Its all controlled by the government. Its all control led by politics. I was like, No, no, its not. Its peoples choices. Right? Um, its all policy. Thats what I learnedIts whats convenient, its whats available, and its what their governments have chosen to do differently than we haveFor example, transportation. It is so inconvenient to drive a car in any of those cities. And the governments made it that way, you know? Like the couple we stayed with that was a chemical engineer and the educational professor? They actually bought a new car while we were there and they paid 150% tax on their new car[Me: They paid more in taxes?] than they did for their car. She went on to explain how that shift in belief was going to affect her teaching. Thats one of the biggest things that I think I brought back to my classroom. So, How has this experience affected your teaching? is for meYou know, in the EL world, if Im doing a case study on alternative energy, understanding how diverse that needs to be. Because kids need to understand so much more around that, right? Yes, they need to know the difference between renewable and nonrenewable resources and where they come from, and carbon and the carbon cycle, and how all the Earths cycles are interconnected Yes, they need to know that. But they also need to understand, cause I mean middle school kids get really passionate about anything really quickly. So as soon as they start learning about it, theyre 111

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like, Why on earth would we ever burn coal? You know ? So its like, Well, theres reasons why. So I think that was probably one of the biggest things I gained from the grant that has affected my classroom is the importance of looking at multiple perspectives within my own teaching, and really getting kid s to understand the pros and the cons from both the environmental and the political side. Because, you cant separate them. I mean, you can. Like I could just teach those, but youd lose all the real world application when you take that out. Together, Emi ly and her teaching partner created and managed a bike co op as an afterschool club, for one year. They used the recycled funds from selling their bikes to invest in bikes in their town that needed refurbishing. As a service project, the students worked w ith local bike mechanics to refurbish them then donate them to the community to help offset carbon emissions. At the end of that year, Emily s teaching partner moved to Singapore and the bike co op was put on a back burner. It was just too much for her to manage alone. Follow U p The year that her teaching partner moved to Singapore, Emilys school combined with an elementary school in the area to create a K8 school. Following that merge, she joined the curriculum committee in charge of rewriting their scie nce curriculum. Since then, she and her staff have changed buildings and completely rewritten the curriculum, minimizing the amount of information from her trip that she can n ow use. Emily is currently on maternity leave with her first child, a boy Case S tudy: Mike Profile Mike is a 35 year old white male who presents himself as modest and soft spoken. He is thoughtful when he speaks, taking time to find his words. He 112

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teaches ninth grade history and social studies at a small EL high school in an eastern su burb of Denver that integrates art and technology into core academic classes. Enrollment is determined by a lottery system. The demographics of their 280+ students are 42% Hispanic, 32% White, 16% Black, 5% Two or More Races, 3% Asian, 1% American Indian/Alaskan Native, and 1% Hawai ian Native/Pacific Islander. Like Emily, Mike would have also been considered a new teacher, having only taught for three years when he received his two part, eight and nine day fellowship in the summer of 2009. Intentions Mike had always been interested in societal collapse, why it happens, and how to apply those lessons to our own culture. He works in a school that generally provides him more than the average amount of freedom to design his own curriculum. When he heard about the FFT grant opportunity, he started thinking about what he would need to be successful at creating a collapse themed expedition. Mike had never taught an expedition on the topic and had no pre existing resources for his classroom. He had done a lot of re ading on the subject, but felt he needed more firsthand experience if he was to be successful at creating an authentic expedition experience for his ninth graders. Mike also needed tangible materials for his students such as photos, videos, student level b ooks, and artifacts (reproductions). He also wanted to spend time in the cultures and with the modern day descendants to gain some kind of insight that would be harder to quantify, harder to like, measure (Mike, personal communication, October 7, 2013). 113

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Mike had three main goals for his students that he hoped would manifest because of participating in the Collapse Expedition. First, he wanted his students to grow as citizens of a culture facing tough choices regarding climate, natural resources, social ju stice, and economic policies. He wanted them to gain understanding about how to ask hard questions and seek answers that are ever more difficult to hear. Second, he hoped that this expedition would help his students grow as young historians, interested in the mysteries left unsolved. He knew that most students least favorite course is usually history because it had been taught as a list of dates and facts, rather than an inquiry into the stories that bring cultures to life. Finally, understanding that most of his students came from a school setting where memorization and worksheets were the norm, he wanted them to learn the skills and habits of learning they would need to be successful in their new high school. His biggest hope was that he would return from his experiences with so much amazing information and just, you know, an aura around me that was gonna create this amazing experience that the kids are gonna be super engaged in, and that I could play the role of not only a content expert but as also some body who had a more deep and subtle, like, knowledge of the topics beyond factual information (Mike, personal communication, October 7, 2013). He was familiar with many societies that had collapsed, so he needed to narrow down his ideas. In order to maxim ize comparison opportunities as well as his available budget he chose to study two cultures that had much in common. The Ancestral Puebloans (or Anasazi) and the Maya were both skilled in the arts of monumental architecture, astronomy, and weaving. They were both heavily dependent on corn base agriculture. They both used highly stratified social 114

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structure based on religion. They both collapsed before the arrival of Europeans (Mikes grant proposal, pp. 1 2). Being from Colorado, he was able to save money in his budget by driving to the Anasazi sites and camping, rather than having to stay in a hotel. The Experience Mike started his fellowship in the Four Corners region of the Southwest. He started with the largest and most mysterious site of the ancestral Pueblo peoples, Chaco Canyon National Monument in New Mexico. From there, he travelled to arguably their most famous site, Mesa Verde National Park, then on to Canyons of the Ancients N ational Monument and the Anasazi Heritage Center, all three of which are in Colorado. At each site, he spoke with experts from the National Park Service and took tours both guided and unguided. At Mesa Verde, he stood in a room with a roof made of 900yea rold timber, still intact. He studied agricultural a rchitectural practices, and the folklore of Native Americans who are likely descended from the Anasazi. Along the trails and at the structures, he took many photos and videos, and he purchased teaching materials at the Visitors Centers. He also hiked, read, journaled, and tried to put himself into the mind of an ancient Native American. He walked in ancient footsteps. It was like an imaginary, I dont know, it was almost like a speed drug for your imag ination or something. You know? You could take your normal ability to imagine something, or imagine people, and kind of make it more powerful. Or make it more vibrant (Mike, personal communication, October 7, 2013). Later that same month he and his wife l eft for Guatemala. They spent one week with a local family in Guatemala City re learning Spanish. Neither his wifes 115

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trip nor the Spanish language immersion were included in the budget of the grant However, his wife is an ex classroom teacher who now work s for Expeditionary Learning, so he valued having her there as both his wife and as a fellow educator. They also felt it was important to include the Spanish classes so that they would not struggle as much to understand the content they were trying to lear n about the Maya. After their lessons were concluded, their next stop was the Museo Nacional de Arqueologia y Etnologia (Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology). Next, they visited the modern Mayan village of Quetzaltenango and a smattering of small towns and craft centers. They tasted the food, felt the textiles, and tried to grasp the scale of what the Maya accomplished. I was always watching because, you know, the people who live there were really descendants of those people. Im sure a little bit of foreign influence here and there, of course. But, you know, you walk around the market, you see what the people are buying, you see what they are eating, what theyre cooking, how theyre dressing. And you know that, obviously theres a ton of modern influence there, but its also, you kinda scrape away and imagine a market scene that, you know, that was a 1000 years old (Mike, personal communication, October 7, 2013). They made their way across Guatemala, visiting small farms and mor e villages until they got to the Mayan ruins in Tikal. While there, they also visited Tikals largest museum, the Museo Ltico which houses many of the carved stones from the ruins as well as the photographs taken by Alfred P. Maudslay and Teobert Maler o f the jungle covered temples in various stages of discovery. From Tikal they travelled down to Honduras to the ruins at Copan and the Museo de Escultura de Copan. When asked what he had learned from the experience, Mike replied I could spend the next ten years studying the Maya on the Internet and I could collect more information than any human being could ever know 116

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what to do with. But its that, you know, getting away from a screen, going and experiencing life in a place, I think, and seeing things with your own eyes. Its like when you see a photograph of some amazing mountain vista versus actually being there and you realize that the photograph doesnt really capture anything. Just the experience of, you know, walking around these abandoned cities or t hese little abandoned villages and just seeing and touching and smelling, for me, was super interesting and rewarding. And I felt like it translated into some kind of confidence in the classroom even though it wasnt necessarily something I could quantify. But I felt less like somebody who was, you know, regurgitating information and more, and more like someone who was spea king from real life experience (Mike, personal communication, October 7, 2013). In the Classroom and Beyond Mike created a semester lon g, three investigation expedition he called Collapse. The guiding questions for the expedition were as follows: 1. Why do some civilizations collapse? 2. How do choices about natural resource use affect the long term prospects of a culture? 3. Is our own culture in danger of collapse? The first two investigations were on the Anasazi and the Maya respectively. They looked at resource use, agriculture, social structures, conflict, environmental shifts, and other evidence related to collapse. The third investigation had the students look at the modern world in which they live. The students compared our civilization to those of the Anasazi and Maya, looking for commonalities and differences between the three cultures to determine if ours is headed for collapse. Again, they also looked at resource use, agriculture, social structures, conflict, environmental shifts, and what options we have for the future. 117

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My students can see how deeply I care about this topic and I can see this energy being transferred to them. They are excited for the next piece always. When I bring in materials from my travels that the students can touch and examine, I am helping to provide an experience no textbook or worksheet can match (Mike, Post Fellowship Project Summary, p. 1). Follow U p Mike was only able to teach the Collapse expedition one year. After that first year, his administration handed down a rare directive that he teach a civil rights expedition. That lasted a few years. Now, he is back to teaching the Collapse expedition, but in radically differ ent form. It still has a lot of the same big themes, ideas, and concepts, but the content is different. He made the changes because he had difficulty finding studentlevel reading material for both the Maya and Ancestral Pueb loans. He also had trouble establishing the relevance of the invest igations with the students. He is still asking, Could collapse happen here? but from a much more modern point of view. CrossC ase Analysis The preceding five case studies represented positive, self affirming experiences for each of the five Fellows each case representing its own unique setting, experience, level of risk, challenges, rewards, and outcomes I think that the self designed nature of the experiences overwhelmingl y led to their positive outcomes. Because the teachers were able to tailor make a learning experience for themselves, they were able to not only fill the knowledge gaps that they had self identified in themselves but also bolster their teaching through the addition of f irsthand, authentic experiences, stories, and artifacts that relate directly to their classroom 118

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The self designed experiences were necessarily subjective, and when evaluated by others may or may not seem powerful. Indeed, I believe I saw a range of impacts, along a continuum of change; but that should be expected w ith the messiness of learning from experience and the nature of their design process None of the Fellows had ever been to those locations before, and they created an itin erary of experiences without knowing for sure that they would work out. Most of their intentions were realized, some were not, most for no fault of their own. Admittedly, these experiences do not fit the literatures mold for professional development, b u t the Fellows experiences evidenced authentic professional learning (Webster Wright, 2009) and they were extraordinary (McLain, 2012) nonetheless. Keeping that in mind during the cross case analysis, I first present the thematic analysis of the data and discuss how those themes carried across cases answering Question Three of my research questions I th en present the invariant structure, or composite picture, of the experience of designing ones own extraor dinary professional development, answering Question Four. Thematic Analysis Six themes emerged from the data as I conducted the within case then cros s case analyse s. These themes begin to answer Question Three in this research, which is What are the teacher identified impacts of self designed, extraordinary professional development on Fund for Teachers (FFT) Fellows knowledge, behaviors, and values? I define values consistent with Saldaa (2009) to include values, attitudes, and beliefs. My explications of the themes, and how they relate to the responses to the survey and the Fellows in this study, 119

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finish the an swer to Question Three. The six them es that emerged are passion, renewal, authenticity, confidence, inspiration, and validation I will now discuss each one of these themes in detail regarding how they were evidenced in the cases. Passion Passion was a recurring theme across all of the data. Passion transcended context. For example, passion was associated with a deep connection to their content because of the experiences of their fellowship. Fellows talked of how their passion for teaching has been revived and that they have a rekindled pass ion for learning Many Fellows have also developed a passion for sharing what they had seen and learned ; although many have also mentioned that sharing their knowledge with adults is much different than sharing with their students. Renewal Fellows feel renewal in many forms after participating in their fellowships. The most frequently mentioned is a r enewal of joy and commitment in relation to their teaching. This renewed commitment gives the Fellows more energy for teaching, more patience with the student s, more interest in their profession, and a stronger interest in lifelong learning It also contributed to a feeling of rejuvenation of their energy in general and their feeling of creativity regarding lesson ideas and ways to incorporate their experiences into their teaching. Authenticity Because of their experiences, the Fellows recognized authenticity in themselves as educators because of their increased content knowledge. They also acknowledged an added authenticity in their teaching that they ascribed to their 120

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firsthand experiences with their content and contexts Finally, Fellows related authenticity to the learning activities they created for their students and how the ir real world connections and problem solving had reached a new level because of the ir newfound understanding and expanded global perspective. Confidence Fellows found a new c onfide nce in themselves personally, in their abilities to cope with stress, take risks, and overcome challenges. They also mentioned an increased confidence in thems elves as educators feeling more equipped to teach their students through improved skills, a better understanding of a teaching strategy, and/or a deeper understanding of their content. Surprisingly, many also found a new confidence in their ability to talk about their experiences to other people It surprised me that so many teachers were nervous talking to adults, because they talk in front of their students all day; but the difference was that they were talking about their own knowledge and experiences rather than some known body of facts. Inspiration Inspiration expressed itself in many ways throughout the Fellows experiences. The most common form of inspiration applied to the new ideas that were sparked as a result of their firsthand encounters with real world contexts. New understandings prompted further ideas as the inspiration cascaded through their lesson plans related to the new content. Many Fellows also mentioned being inspired to collaborate more with their colleagues and community to make use of their strengths and wealth of knowledge. Finally, the Fellows were moved to 121

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inspire others through their experiences writing grants and designing their own professional development. Validation Fellows felt validated first by the treatment they received from FFT. Many mentioned that it was one of the only times they have felt valued as a professional R eceiving their fellowship enabled the Fellows to feel pride in being an educator and humbled for the amazing opportunity they w ere given. Many Fellows also felt more respected by their students citing the students awe and wonderment that they could travel to such exotic places. Invariant Structure of Self D esigned, Extraordinary Professional Development The essence of d esigning ones own extraordinary professional development begins with a passion for content tempered by the self awareness that there are gaps in ones knowledge In order to fill those gaps, a teacher begin s to think of firsthand learning experiences, people with whom s/he could talk, places s/he could go to see, feel, smell, touch, taste, and do the things that will add richness and authenticity t o his or her classroom le ssons. These experiences will challenge him or her to see things differently, open up new per spectives and ideas, and help him or her to make connections from their conceptual understandings to their teaching practice. During the self designed professional development, the teacher will challenge him or herself to step out of their comfort zone and find inspiration in new collaborations, materials, and content knowledge that can be used to strengthen their classroom practice Once back in the classroom, the new learnings and perspective are put into practice 122

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through the design of le arning experiences for students that are grounded in rea l world problem solving and authentic application of skills learned in the classroom. As a result, the teacher will feel renewed in their commitment to teaching as a profession and to lifelong learning. 123

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CHAPTER V CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS Interpretations of Results I began this project believing that teachers are lifelong learners. As professionals, they grow in their craft through interactions with others personal reflection, purposeful learning, and serendip itous experiences. Such a messy amalgamation of authentic professional learning (Webster Wright, 2009) is difficult to quantify in the research and the quality of such learning is, as I have said, necessarily subjective. I have also a sserted that such learning is situated, interpretive, constructive, and experiential in nature. This study attempted to uncover the essence of self designed, extraordinary professional development. It began by asking four questions: 1. Why do secondary STEM and social studies Fund for Teachers ( FFT) Fellows choose to design their own professional development over other, more traditional forms of professional development? 2. What do secondary STEM and social studies FFT Fellows include in these self designed exp eriences and why? 3. What are the teacher identified impacts of self designed, extraordinary professional development on FFT Fellows kno wledge, behaviors, and values ? 4. What makes a self designed professional development experience meaningful to STEM and socia l studies educators? To provide bound s for the study, I selected a group of Colorado STEM and social studies secondary teachers who had successfully applied for funding from a non124

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profit organization called Fund for Teachers (FFT) to design and conduct the ir own professional development FFTs purpose is to enrich the personal and professional growth of teachers by recognizing and supporting them as they identify an d pursue opportunities around the globe that will have the greatest impact on their practice the academic lives of their students and on their school communities (Fund For Teachers, 2014) Five FFT Fellows partic ipated in this exploratory, hermeneutic phenomenological case study. The data sources consisted of pre, during, and post fellowship artifacts from the Fellows including grant proposals, travel blogs/journals, photos and videos, life world interviews (Kvale & Brinkmann, 2009) post fellowship summaries, and classroom implementation plans. Post fellowship survey data from all 2010 2012 Fellows (not just STEM and social studies secondary teachers) was also evaluated to supply demographic and evaluative data. The survey data in cluded 1,327 anonymous responses to the mandatory, FFT created, post fellowship survey. Analysis of the five case studies revealed overwhelmingly positive, self affirming outcomes for the Fellows attributable to their selfdesigned, extraordinary experien ces. With regard to Question One, Why do secondary STEM and social studies FFT Fellows choose to design their own professional development over other, more traditional forms of professional development? Fellows reported that they could not pass up such a n amazing opportunity to follow their passion with regard to their content and practice and design something tailor made for their own learning. None of them believed their grant 125

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proposal would be chosen and when it was, each of them felt honored as a prof essiona l and validated as an educator. It is also important to note that, although it was not a requirement of FFT, Expeditionary Learning (EL), or the grant, all of the teachers within this study designed experiences for themselves that centered on travel based learning. This characteristic of their self designed experiences aligned well with the studys focus on extraordinary professional learning, learning experiences that are not considered typical for most teachers. However, travel based learning was not the focus of this study. I did not ask any questions during the life world interviews that specifically targeted the Fellows choices around travel, I only asked why they chose to design their own learning experiences versus participating in other, more traditional forms of professional development. Neither was travel based learning a requirement of the experiences in this study being characterized as extraordinary. Open ended responses to the Post Fellowship Survey that mentioned specific programs, workshops, or conferences often used the same words to describe their experiences that eventually led to the themes described in the findings of this study. Remember that extraordinariness is subjective (McLain, 2012, p. xi) Because I had no Fellows within the context of this study who attended a self selected conference or workshop, there is no way for me to say whether the attending F ellow would consider the experiences extraordinary. Experiences such as those could have similar teacher identified outcomes to the ones described in this study, especially if the Fellow had agency in choosing which learning experiences to attend (such a s at a large conference with many offerings). Some of the travel based experiences for FFT Fellows not 126

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in this study might also have produced outcomes that would not be considered positive. However, as I mentioned earlier in Chapter Four, because none of t he Neutral, Disagree, or Strongly Disagree respondents contributed open ended responses to the Post Fellowship Survey, I have no way of knowing what their experiences included. Question Two asked, What do secondary STEM and social studies FFT Fellow s include in these self designed experiences and why? Each fellowship in this study was unique concerning content and location. Fellows travelled to southeast Australia, Rwanda, Scandinavia, Virginia, the Four Corners, Guatemala, and Honduras studying bio diversity, social justice, alternative energy, freedom, and societal collapse. On the surface, these locations and topics seem to have nothing in common; but when I scraped away details, the commonalities were obvious. Upon learning of the FFT opportunity they realized that there was more growth potential in creating their own authentic learning experience (Webster Wright, 2009) than they would realize from typical professional development. Fellows examined their curriculum and ident ified areas that could be stronger, more engaging, and more grounded in real world contexts. Then, they reflected on their own knowledge and identified areas where they needed to know more. Finally, believing deeply in the power of firsthand experiences, t hey researched their content and identified people and places that would provide for them the most powerful learning opportunities, then wrote a grant asking to be supported in their ideas for growth. 127

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In Question Three, I wanted to know, What are the teac her identified impacts of self designed professional development on FFT Fellows knowledge, behaviors, and values? Knowledge growth, resulting from their fellowships, occurred across all of the case studies. However, the kind of knowledge acquired was not just factual or conceptual In his Holistic Theory of Knowledge and Adult Learning, Yang (2003) defines knowledge as human beings understanding about [ the ir] reality through mental correspondence, personal experience, a nd emotional affection with outside objec ts and situations (p. 108). He proposes that there are three indivisible facets of knowledge: explicit, implicit, and emancipatory. Explicit knowledge represents the cognitive component, as evidenced by facts, concepts, theories, models, and formulas that are transmittable in a formal and systematic format. Implicit knowledge represents the behavioral component This facet of knowledge comes from and exits in ones behavior, action, and accumulated experiences (p. 109). The third facet, emancipatory knowledge is represented by the affective component including emotions, values, beliefs, and attitudes According to this theory (Yang, 2003) learning occurs when one or more facets of knowledge change; but the facets are constantly interacting with each other and indivisible when we take a holistic perspective. He goes on to assert not only that thes e three facets are different aspects of ho w we make sense of our world but also that it is important to examine the dynamic interactions among the three facets in order to understand adult learning completely Applied to my five case studies, the connectio ns between the three facets are obvious. For example, after Mikes fellowship, he felt that his content knowledge had increased 128

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dramatically around the concept of societal collapse. This increased content knowledge (explicit) also boosted his confidence (emancipatory) in his ability to create a more engaging, rich expedition for his students (implicit). Viewed holistically, changes in the Fellows knowledge, behaviors, and values all represent a single idea of learning, just from three different facets (Yang, 2003) or perspectives. When speaking of her study into authentic professional learning, Webster Wright wrote, Continuing to learn was experienced in a holistic way rather than as differentiated and well defined factors that can be separated. It is interesting that such a range of diverse learning experiences mirrors Deweys (1927) thoughts about the value of a broad base for knowledge construction in social inquiry, through integration of theory, social practice and everyday lived experience (2009, p. 726) Six themes emerged from the post fellowship survey and case study data. These themes included passion, renewal, authenticity, confidence, inspiration, and validation. Examined separately, they would seem to be squarely situated within Yangs (2003) emancipatory facet of knowledge and adult le arning. However, taken together, with their associated codes and interactions as discussed at the end of Chapter Four, they represent a holistic picture of learning through lived experience. When compared with similar studies on self directed teacher learn ing, this study found comparable results. For example, Mushayikwa and Lubben (2009) identified seven repeating themes in their study of teachers use of self directed professional development in deprived environments. These themes included professional identity, career development, peer networking, subject content knowledge, practical knowledge and professional skills, pedagogical content 129

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knowledge, and benefits for teacher and students (See Table 2). The ideas (or codes) that went into constructing their themes are very similar to the ideas in this study that created its six themes of passion, renewal, authenticity, confidence, inspiration, and validation. We simply themed our data differently. While I approached my dat a from an interpretive, constructivist subjective, and situated context, they approached their data from a more traditional effective professional development perspective. Rather than deny, seek to control, or standardize the complexity and diversity of professional learning experiences, l et us accept, celebrate, and develop insights from these experiences to support professionals as they continue to learn (Webster Wright, 2009, p. 728) Transferability This study was written for all teacher s, administrators, p rofessional developers, policy makers and funders As discussed in Chapter Two, the current milieu of education does not tend to honor teachers as active agents in their own learning. However, I propose that if teachers were supported in their prerogative to choose some of their own learning opportunities, the effects could be surprising. The results of this st udy showed that participation in self designed, extraordinary professional development can lead to increased content knowledge, increased teacher and self efficacy (as defined by Mushayikwa and Lubben, 2009), the creation of more engaging lessons for students steeped in real world challenges, and generally more inspired and happy teachers. While I understand that the goal of most professional development programs is seldom to produce happier, more inspired teachers, what is wrong with that goal? Going back to my discussion in Chapter Two, there are strong 130

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connections between motivation, learning, and cognition (Boekaerts, 2001; Pintrich & Schrauben, 1992; Schiefele & Rheinberg, 1997) This connection between motivation and learning could help explain why some teachers do the extra work it take s to have experiences like the ones described in this study. The teachers who apply for professional learning grants are already self selecting into a subset of teachers. The teachers in this study further self selected by choosing to design their own lear ning experiences that involved travel to places they had never been and meeting with people they did not know. Not every teacher is likely to do what these teachers did. Nevertheless, I believe that any teacher, who followed their passion and designed their own perfect learning experience, could meet with similar outcomes as the ones described in this study. Limitations of the Study One main limitation of t his hermeneutic phenomenological case study of secondary STEM and social studies teachers was its small sample size. While the Fellows in this study expressed powerful outcomes as a result of their extraordinary professional learning experiences, there were only five teachers in the study. Also, while the post fellowship survey data broadened the scop e of the outcomes beyond just STEM and social studies teachers, it did not provide explanatory data for the respondents who disagreed or strongly disagreed with their fellowships influence on their attitudes about teaching. Therefore, I was unable to prov ide an alternative descriptive outcome to the overwhelmingly positive outcomes experienced by the survey respondents who did respond and the five Fellows who were the subjects of the case studies. 131

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Significance of the Study This study created a new catego ry of professional learning that I have dubbed self designed extraordinary professional learning. It has provided first, a working definition of a term that has not been used in the research. Secondly, it has shed light on the potential learning that can happen when a teacher is supported in following their passion in a purposeful way. This study has also added to the voluminous body of extant literature around effective professional development and provided a new perspective on the definition of effective. Implications for Research According to the teachers in this study, these experiences produced power ful changes in their knowledge, behaviors, and values related to teaching. More research is needed to understand the mechanism that spurred these teachers to do the extra work that it took to apply for a grant. In other words, what was it about these teachers context that encouraged them to put forth the extra effort to try for an opportunity like thi s? Guskey wrote, [R]eal world contextual differences profoundly influence the effectiveness of professional development endeavors. It seems clear, therefore, that differences in communities of administrators, teachers, and students uniquely affect profess ional development processes and can strongly influence the characteristics that contribute [to] professional developments effectiveness (Guskey, 2003b, p. 16) All of the teachers in this study come from Expeditionary Learning (EL) schools that support experiential, contextual, real world learning. Going back to Outward Bounds Process Model (Figure 1), EL explicitly purports experiential 132

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learning theory as the basis for both student learning and teacher professional development. This explicit espousal o f the importance of experiential learning and the role of unique physical and social environments in the learning process may have influenced the teachers in this study to seek out unstructured, destination based fellowships. More research is needed within nonEL schools regarding self designed extraordinary professional learning to determine if school culture supports or diminishes a teachers willingness to design such experiences For example, how did the EL context affect the Fellows decisions to desig n destination based profession al development that included no structured learning experiences, such as classes or workshops? Do teachers in non EL schools design professional development experiences for themselves that include more structured experiences? Also, what role do administrators attitudes toward such experiences play in a teachers decision to self design extraordinary professional learning for themselves? Implications for Practice I am also interested in the role that inspiration and p assion, as nontangible outcomes, played in this study. What would it mean to teacher learning if all professional development providers took lessons from these Fellows experiences? What would it do to the environment of teaching if the teachers where excited ever y time they knew that they had a PD day coming up? W hat effect would this have on student learning? Brilhart (2010, p. 176) wrote, [L]earning about self is a central par t of learning to teach, and the integration of ones personal identity and professional knowledge is crucial to the way in which teachers develop and mature as teachers. A teachers practical knowledge of 133

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teaching is an integration of both personal knowledg e and professional knowled ge . The teachers in this study learned a lot about themselves, in many instances, and what they learned then changed how and what they taught. I am not purporting that every professional development experience be centered around travel, nor am I asserti ng that every teacher be responsible for designing every professional learning experience for themselves. What I am suggesting is that PD providers, administrators, content specialists, and others involved in creating professional development for teachers consider creating inspiring experiences that validate teachers as professionals I am advocating t hat they respect teachers prior knowledge and work with teachers to identify places for growth rather than treating teachers as blank slates. I am asking t ha t they consider asking of teachers, Is this working for you? Are you perceiving this as valuable? If not, how can we make this more engaging and useful for you? The Fellows in this study produced tangible classroom products because of their new ideas a nd connections and because of their newly rekindled passion for teaching. While all of the teachers in this study are in Expeditionary Learning (EL) schools that does not necessarily mean that their implementation experiences were unique. I realize that ma ny teachers find themselves in teaching environments where they are expected to follow a curriculum tightly. EL teachers do not use textbooks other than as supporting materials for studentlead learning. C reating experiential learning opportunities for students independent of a textbook scope and sequence is simply not possible in certain schools and/or districts. Yet, teachers experiences make them who they are (Bullough Jr & 134

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Baughman, 1997; Connelly & Clandinin, 1990; Shulman, 1986) Their experiences give them stories that allow them to delve deeper into a topic or give them the content knowledge they need to confidently ask questions that are more open ended. I believe that an inspired teacher is a more engaged, effective teacher, whether they get to write their own curriculum or not. A teachers self concept is constantly in flux, not a stagnant point or a pinnacle. Our experiences mold us, like clay. It is possible that some of these conceptions reify, or harden like what happen s in a kiln while others simply remain malleable forever. McLain (2012) talked about this when he had the teachers use a list of words to describe themselves then had them go back and do it again after their extraordinary experience. Our sense of self shifts around, depending upon our lived experiences. What would happen to our nations classrooms if all of our teache rs showed up inspired and passionate every day? Conclusion This hermeneutic phenomenological case study examined the teacher reported outcomes of self designed, extraordinary professional development. Extraordinary professional development was defined as t hat which goes beyond what might be considered typical, ordinary, or within the comfort zone of a teacher or group of teachers (McLain, 2012) T he extraordinary experiences in this study also produced extraordinary outcomes, or those that would be considered outside the typical or ordinary outcomes of professional development. Teachers who designed their own extraordinary p rofessional learning reported being more passionate about their content renewed as an educator convinced of their classroom activities authenticity, more confident in their abilities to deal 135

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with challenges, inspired to do more, and validated as a profe ssional as a result of the experience. These outcomes are not typ ical and represent a significant perspective shift in relation to what is possible for the future of teacher professional learning. 136

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Epi logue It should be noted that as of the 2014 funding cycle, Fund for Teachers has changed the way that it distributes its grant money. As of now, all full time teachers are eligible for funding, regardless of the state in which they live and work. This means that any teacher can refle ct on their passions, design their dream learning experience, and try to secure funding to make it a reality. The Fellows in this study would say that the process is difficult. A teacher must organize their thoughts in such a way that they can be presented cogently and evaluated on their merits. The experience must be directly tied to the teachers own learning and classroom, as well as to the learning of their students and to the benefit of their school community (here I am defining learning holistically as in Yang, 2003). However, as I believe the Fellows in this study would also say, there is no reason not to try. The results could be extraordinary. 137

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APPENDIX C FFT and Doctoral Student Worrell, Perrin Tue 8/13/2013 9:23 AM Fellow, Fund for Teachers is lucky enough to have been selected by a woman named Sharon Unkart to be the focus of her doctoral dissertation. Part of her research involves conducting phone and in person interviews with Fellows. Since Sharon is located in Colorado, we have selected some of our Colorado Fellows that meet her dissertation criteria. You are one such Fellow. We hope that you can put aside a little time t o talk with Sharon to help provide her what she needs. The chance to have some concrete data through her research is something we are really looking forward to having, as it is a common request from donors. It is also not something we normally have as a resource. Any help you can provide is greatly appreciated. Sharon did ask me to tell you that she will be describing the study in detail as well as sending some things in writing, so you won't have to "just remember" everything from your conversations w ith her. Please let me know if you have any questions. All the best, Perrin | 159

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APPENDIX D From: Unkart Sharon Sent: Tuesday, August 20, 2013 2:47 PM To: Subject: Invitation to participate in my doctoral research study on FFT fellows Hi I hope this email finds your school year off to a positive and exciting start! You recently received an email from Perrin Worrell at Fund For Teachers (FFT) letting you know that I would be contacting you. As you might guess from the subject line, I am writing to invite you to participate in my doctoral research study on the personal and professional outcomes of participating in a FFT fellowship. : ) As part of the requirements of my university, I have attached a consent form that outlines the details of the study. It is in a required format that I had to submit to our Institutional Review Board (IRB) to insure that all human subjects in my study were protected and informed. Please take some time to look over the form. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me either at this email address or on my cell (number below). If you agree to participate in my study, I will need to get a signed copy from you once you have had a chance to look it over and we have discussed any questions you may have. I will keep that signed copy in a secure filing cabinet at my home until 3 years after the completion of my study. If you do agree to participate in my study, we will then schedule our first interview in the near future. Looking forward to working with you, Sh aron 160

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APPENDIX E Faceto face and Email Consent Form Protocol #: 131431 Version Date: July 18, 2013 Version #: 2 Study: Understanding the outcomes of self designed, extraordinary professional development experiences on secondary STEM and social studies teache r s Principal Investigator: Sharon Unkart You are being asked to participate in a research study. This form provides you with information about the study. A member of the research team will describe this study to you and answer all of your quest ions. Please read the information below and ask questions about anything you dont understand before deciding whether or not to take part. Why is this study being done? The aim of this qualitative phenomenology study is to examine the personal and profes sional outcomes of self designed, extraordinary professional development. I would very much like to include you in my study. You are being asked to participate in this research study because you created your own professional development experience that was funded through Fund for Teachers (FFT). FFT is not providing funding for this study nor are they involved in any way other than to (a) supply t heir preexisting anonymous survey data and (b) help identify potential study participants in the Front Range area. Other people in this study Up to 20 people will participate in this study. Only secondary STEM and social studies teachers who have complet ed a self designed professional development experience through Fund for Teachers are eligible for this study. What happens if I join the study? If you join the study you will allow investigators to examine your FFT grant application; share your trip jour nal or blog, photos, and/or videos with the investigators; and agree to participate in up to three audio and video taped interviews (lasting approximately 45 minutes each) during the course of the study to run from August 2013 to October 2013. What are the possible discomforts or risks? 161

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Study participants may feel discomfort or embarrassment when describing their experiences. What are the possible benefits of the study? This study is designed for the researchers to learn more about the effects of experiential professional development for teachers and its potential to positively affect teachers sense of personal and professional self as well as their knowledge, behaviors, and attitudes. The be nefits and outcomes of experiential professional development are not well documented in the literature and this study aims to make significant contributions to the body of literature around experiential learning and professional development. The participa nts will benefit from the study through a greater understanding of their own learning styles and social construction of understanding around experiential professional development. Will I be paid for being in the study? You will not be paid to be in the s tudy. Will I have to pay for anything? It will not cost you anything to be in the study. Is my participation voluntary? Taking part in this study is voluntary. You have the right to choose not to take part in this study. If you choose to take part, you have the right to stop at any time. If you refuse or decide to withdraw later, you will not lose any benefits or rights to which you are entitled. Who do I call if I have questions? The researcher carrying out the study is Sharon Unkart. You may ask any questions you have now. If you have questions, concerns, or complaints later, you may call or email me at 720 3413957, or Dr. Alan Davis at 3033156322, You will be given a copy of this form to keep. You may have questions about your rights as someone in this study. You can call or email me with questions. You can also call the Colorado Multiple Institutional Review Board (COMIRB) at 303 7241055. Who will see my research information? We will do everything we can to provide confidentiality. It cannot be guaranteed. 162

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Both the data that identify you and the consent form signed by you may be looked at by othe rs. They are: People at the Colorado Multiple Institutional Review Board (COMIRB) Officials at the University of Colorado Denver who are in charge of making sure that we follow all the rules for research We might talk about this research study at meetings We might also print the results of this research study in relevant journals. Pseudonyms will always be used for the names of research subjects, like you. Data Management All paper documents (i.e. travel journals, researcher field notes/observations, transcribed interviews, and consent forms), copies of your photos/videos, and all audio and video recordings will be kept in a secure location in Sharon Unkarts personal residence. All materials will be disposed of according to Office of Human Research Protections (OHRP) regulations. Use of photos and/or videos as data We plan to look at participants photos and/or videos as evidence, demonstration, and/or support of what you write and say, as you would in a conversation about any trip experience. We will not publish any photos/videos unless we get your explicit written permission first. Agreement to be in this study I have read this paper about the study or it was read to m e. I understand the possible risks and benefits of this study. I know that being in this study is voluntary. I choose to be in this study. I will get a copy of this consent form. Signature: _____________________________________________Date: ______________ Print Name: _________________________________________________ Consent Form explained by: ______________________________Date: ______________ Print Name: _________________________________________________ Investigato r: ___________________________________________Date: ______________ 163

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APPENDIX F Study title: Understanding the outcomes of self designed, extraordinary professional development experiences on secondary STEM and social studies teachers Principal Investigator: Sharon Unkart Protocol No: 131431 Version date: July 18, 2013 Version No: 2 Participant Interview Question Guide 1. Why did you decide to design your own professional development experience? 2. What did you include in your experience? Why? 3. What outcomes were you hoping for as a result of the experience? 4. What were your greatest hopes and fears for the experience? 5. What did you learn during the experience (physically, intellectually, and/or emotionally)? 6. How has the experience affected your teaching? 7. How has the experience affected you as a professional (i.e. those other things you do as a professional teacher, beyond teaching)? 8. How has the experience affected you personally? 9. What were your biggest take aways from the experience? 10. In hindsight, is there anything you wish you had included in the experience that you did not or could not do? If so, please share those experiences and why you didnt include them. 11. Are there any aspects of the experience that y ou feel are important that we have not yet discussed? If so, please share them. 164