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THE EFFECT OF SCHOOL CULTURE ON SCIENCE EDUCATION AT AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: AN ETHNOGRAPHIC CASE STUDY

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Date Issued:
2006
Abstract/Description:
This ethnographic case study investigated one elementary school to understand how the school's culture influenced its science curriculum design and instruction. The main data was formal and informal semi-structured interviews with key teachers to understand their values, beliefs, practices, materials, and problems with science instruction. To triangulate these data, the researcher observed classroom practice, school-wide activities, and collected artifacts and documents. Data were analyzed using a theoretical framework that emphasizes that culture cannot be reduced to beliefs, values, practices, materials or problems, but rather each aspect of culture is interdependent and mutually reinforcing. The main finding suggests that the school's culture is organized to accomplish other curricular goals than effective science education. Science is rarely taught by most teachers and rarely taught well when it is. While the teachers know the rhetoric of effective science education and value it enough to not dismiss it entirely, most value it less than most other subjects and they are not proficient with science instruction and materials. This study builds upon the literature by reiterating that school culture plays a central role in elementary science education, but adds to that literature by emphasizing that culture cannot be reduced to one or a few factors and must be seen as an organic whole.
Title: THE EFFECT OF SCHOOL CULTURE ON SCIENCE EDUCATION AT AN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: AN ETHNOGRAPHIC CASE STUDY.
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Name(s): Meier, Lori, Author
Boote, David, Committee Chair
University of Central Florida, Degree Grantor
Type of Resource: text
Date Issued: 2006
Publisher: University of Central Florida
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This ethnographic case study investigated one elementary school to understand how the school's culture influenced its science curriculum design and instruction. The main data was formal and informal semi-structured interviews with key teachers to understand their values, beliefs, practices, materials, and problems with science instruction. To triangulate these data, the researcher observed classroom practice, school-wide activities, and collected artifacts and documents. Data were analyzed using a theoretical framework that emphasizes that culture cannot be reduced to beliefs, values, practices, materials or problems, but rather each aspect of culture is interdependent and mutually reinforcing. The main finding suggests that the school's culture is organized to accomplish other curricular goals than effective science education. Science is rarely taught by most teachers and rarely taught well when it is. While the teachers know the rhetoric of effective science education and value it enough to not dismiss it entirely, most value it less than most other subjects and they are not proficient with science instruction and materials. This study builds upon the literature by reiterating that school culture plays a central role in elementary science education, but adds to that literature by emphasizing that culture cannot be reduced to one or a few factors and must be seen as an organic whole.
Identifier: CFE0001412 (IID), ucf:47061 (fedora)
Note(s): 2006-12-01
Ed.D.
Education, Department of Educational Studies
Doctorate
This record was generated from author submitted information.
Subject(s): School Culture
Science Education
Teacher Behavior
Elementary School Teachers
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/ucf/fd/CFE0001412
Restrictions on Access: public
Host Institution: UCF

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