UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Collaboration in elementary science teaching : a case study of teachers' appreciative systems Marin, Patricia Margaret


This was a naturalistic investigation of the nature of elementary science teaching practice. The main purpose of the study was to portray, through description and comparison of teacher appreciations, now four elementary teachers of science perceived their worlds of practice. This study was based on the assumption that persons construct their realities and that teachers, as practitioners, also make their worlds of practice. Following Vickers (1983) and Schon (1987), "appreciation" was therefore used as a construct for examining and depicting key features of the teachers' practice. Appreciations of the teachers became the basis for exploring the nature and significance of their collaborative teaching. Findings of this exploratory study indicate that each teacher had a coherent but distinct set of appreciations of practice which included perceptions of professional identity and of preferences for practice. These appreciations appeared to colour a teacher's "style" of practice and expectations of self and of pupils. While the distinctiveness of a teacher's appreciations suggested that each teacher had a unique style of practice, teachers with similar or differing appreciations of practice engaged in productive, collaborative relationships with colleagues. Based on their appreciations of practice, teachers in the study seemed to have three major areas of concern and these were related to their instructional services to pupils, unit design and professional self-renewal. It is being suggested in this investigation that teacher collaboration was a strategy used by these teachers to enable them to handle their concerns practicably and efficiently. The implications of these findings are presented in terms of contributions to the practice of teaching and to theory and research on teaching/ in particular studies of the "culture" of teaching.

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