Date of Award

Spring 5-2009

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Dean Vazis

Second Advisor

Dr. William Blackburn

Third Advisor

Dr. John Oldani

Abstract

Developmentally responsive middle schools provide young adolescents with a culture of caring that translates into action when the adults are attentive to the needs of the students. It is necessary for teachers and counselors to address the academic, social, and emotional well being of students. A philosophy held in middle schools with advisory programs is that every child should be known well by at least one adult, and a relationship facilitated with an adult advisor and a small group of peers is noteworthy. This research included a mixed methods experimental one-group pretest-posttest formulated to answer the following question: How do teachers and counselors react to a professional development course designed to influence opinions and beliefs? A course was created by the researcher after a thorough review of the literature in the areas of middle school advisory, adult teaching methodologies, and professional development practices for educators. Adult teaching methodologies and professional development practices were utilized during the four month course on middle school advisory. Participants were involved in many research based adult learning activities such as reflecting on current practice and beliefs, engaging in dialogue by means of a protocol, providing feedback through questionnaires and .an exit slip, collaborating, and reading current structures and practices. The participants in the study were teachers and counselors from one middle school. The group of learners encompassed a broad range of ages, years of experience in education, and educational levels. The participants were selected by the convenience method due to the researcher being the principal of the school. Sixty-one participants returned the prequestionnaire and sixty-three teachers and counselors returned the postquestionnaire. Through the analytical process of interpreting the data, the findings indicated that teachers and counselors changed their beliefs. The data suggested that participants wanted to implement a middle school advisory, believed. that middle school students need an advisor, and wanted to be advisors. As the data was further examined, it became apparent that some groups did not embrace advisory as much as the others. Principals and other facilitators could learn from this study, specifically by utilizing solid research based practices for school staff development.

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