Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Middle-Secondary Education and Instructional Technology

First Advisor

Dr. Amy Seely Flint

Second Advisor

Dr. Mary Ariail

Third Advisor

Dr. Tasha Tropp Laman

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Peggy Albers

Fifth Advisor

Dr. Katharine Kurumada

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative case study was to uncover the ways that women elementary school teachers negotiate their identities within the context of writer’s workshop by exploring issues of gender, literacy, and identity. The two central participants were women elementary school teachers who were involved at their Professional Development School with university partnership and were learning how to implement a writer’s workshop instructional model. This study considers how the participants’ involvement in professional development with a university faculty member shaped their identities as women and professionals. The theoretical framework is critical theory and identity theory in which literacy and identity are deeply connected (Moje & Luke, 2009). Furthermore, this study is situated in the literature exploring teachers’ roles and identities historically in order to position them today (Carter, 2002; Hoffman, 2003; Biklen, 1995). The questions this study will explore include: (a) How have the participants’ identities been affected by their involvement in the Corey Richardson Writing Collaborative? (b) How does gender mediate their professional identities? This case study used in depth interviews, document analysis, and observations to generate detailed data. Themes that were prominent in the data were gender and teaching, dealing with mandates, issues of expertise, caring, and writing as resistance. The conclusions of this study reveal that the within the context of caring professional development, teachers were able to take up writer’s workshop as a means of resisting a system that was often frustrating and oppressive. They negotiated their gendered roles as teachers in complex ways and used literacy as a way to reclaim their own power.

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