Date of Award




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Education Theory and Practice


Curriculum and Instruction

Content Description

1 online resource (vi, 219 pages) : illustrations

Dissertation/Thesis Chair

Arthur Applebee

Committee Members

Jane Agee, Judith Langer


academic departments, collaboration, culture, grade level teams, rural, sociocognitive, Teaching teams, Social groups, Education, Rural, School management and organization, Educational leadership

Subject Categories

Education | Educational Leadership


This ethnographic case study examined the roles of district and school macro-culture and teacher sub-group micro-culture in influencing the nature and extent of teachers' professional collaboration. Informed by the sociocognitive theory that learning is rooted in social relationships and develops through interpersonal discourse and activity, the study focused on educators in a middle and high school in one small, rural district. The 41 educators who participated in the study included three administrators, 24 high school faculty members, and 17 middle school teachers. Data collection methods incorporated a general questionnaire, field notes, observations of meetings and gatherings, and extensive interviews. Most of the 21 educators who were interviewed were members of the four sub-groups chosen for in-depth study: the sixth grade and eighth grade teacher teams in the middle school and the English and science departments in the high school. Analysis looked closely at the consistencies and contrasts in the emerging patterns of professional discourse and activity, particularly seeking understanding of the interwoven factors of decision-making and leadership styles, school context dynamics, communication networks and silos, and teacher feelings of professional home.