The Change Process of an Elementary-School Teacher in a Practitioner Research Group

4 pages
954 words
Vanderbilt University
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What is the topic/focus of the article?

The article examines the process of teacher change, the importance of teacher change, and the active role of teachers as change agents. Additionally, it looks at the importance of teacher-driven professional development in improving teaching and learning as opposed to teacher change driven by non-teachers or other professionals (Vetter, 2012). Specifically, the current research was carried out to investigate the kinds of professional spaces that support teachers as they undergo their professional development and change. To better understand these issues, the study examined the change process of one teacher researcher as she underwent a practitioner researcher group that lasted for one year (Vetter, 2012).

What research question(s) or inquiry guided the study? What did the authors what to know and understand better?

The current study was guided by the following research question: What was the change process of one teacher researcher as she engaged in a year-long practitioner researcher group? (Vetter, 2012). The author was interested in examining the teacher change process with the aim of identifying the professional spaces that help support the teachers as they undergo professional change. Unlike past related studies reviewed, the article goes beyond investigating the attributes of the professional spaces that enhance teacher change to examining the actual change process undergone by a teacher researcher (Vetter, 2012).

What theory or concepts informed or framed their research?

Four theories that address teacher change informed the current study. First, John Deweys philosophy of education and experience was utilized by the author. Dewey encouraged teachers to undertake teacher inquiry actions that begin with a problem situation, followed by the development of questions and generation of solutions and ends with an assessment of possible approaches to solving the identified problem. Deweys theory posits that educators experience a continuous change of practice by experimenting with classroom environments (Vetter, 2012).

Second, Schons theory of learning, change, and reflection framed the research. According to the theory, teacher professional transformation takes place through a reflection of individual classroom experiences, which helps to analyze, adapt, and challenge personal assumptions. Schon further stated that reflection is critical to the educator in evaluation, understanding, and learning from experiences (Vetter, 2012). Third, Kegans (1994) constructive developmental theory was utilized by the researcher. According to Kegans theory, teacher change is driven by the teachers urge to change, a change in teachers values, and a shift in the way they know. Lastly, the researcher framed the research using positioning theory. The theory posits that teachers can position themselves as leaders in their educational institutions through curriculum development opportunities and opportunities for presentation of research.

The methods used in the study: Participants, sampling, data collection methods, and time.

The author enrolled five participants for the study (Vetter, 2012). Even though the author did not explicitly state the type of sampling used to select the participants, it can be inferred that purposeful sampling was used to pick the subjects of the study. This is because the author identified and selected information-rich samples related to the phenomenon under investigation.

To understand the participants change process as a leader of teacher professional development in writing instruction, the researcher collected data over a period of three years using the various methods. First, audio tape recorders were used to collect data. Specifically, ten audio-recorded discussions of the monthly meetings and three audio-recorded group interviews (Vetter, 2012) were gathered from the Triad Teacher Researchers meetings. Second, data were collected using observations and field notes. These methods were primarily used to gather monthly meetings data (Vetter, 2012).

If data was collected, how was it analyzed and or coded?

Data was collected over a period of three years and analyzed using different qualitative data analysis methods. First, content analysis method was used. This approach resulted in the identification of four themes: envisaging new positions, endorsing and embracing new post, keeping a new role despite resistance, and appreciating the results of the new post. Second, constant comparative method and grounded theory to explore data (Vetter, 2012).

What were the results of this research? Were the research questions answered?

The results of the study revealed that the participant became the chief agent of her professional change through four interconnected processes. First, participants transformation occurred through contemplation and imagining of a new position. This was made possible through the proper articulation of the kind of teacher leader the participant wished to become. The participant wanted to be a leader capable of addressing teachers needs and one who does not dictate. Second, the participant tried out behaviors associated with her anticipated position resulting in solidification of the new position. Third, the participant resisted acts meant to make her forfeit her new role by amending her expectations. Consequently, the participant was able to keep her new position. Lastly, the participant was able to meet the goals of the new position, which encouraged her to continue with the new role. The research question was answered because the researcher was able to demonstrate the change process underwent by the participant in a year-long practitioner researcher group (Vetter, 2012).

What did you learn that would help you plan your teacher research project?

After carefully reading the article, I learned crucial things which will be helpful in planning my research project. First, I learned that a good research study must have a good background, which must end with the identification of the gap in the literature. Second, I understood that a good research question should address the identified knowledge gap. Additionally, I learned that the research question should guide the literature review. Furthermore, I came to understand that a good conclusion must integrate previous studies and personal opinions.


Vetter, A. (2012). Teachers as architects of transformation: The change process of an elementary-school teacher in a practitioner research group. Teacher Education Quarterly, 39(1), 27-49.


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