Date of Award

Summer 2017

Document Type

Masters Plan B

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Science & Mathematics Teaching Center

Advisor

Ana Houseal

Second Advisor

Alan Buss

Third Advisor

Brian Barber

Fourth Advisor

Jay Norton

Abstract

Teacher beliefs are personal constructs that develop over a lifetime and are influenced by a teacher’s personal experiences, experience with schooling and instruction, and experience with formal knowledge. A teacher’s belief system has a greater impact on their practice than their subject matter knowledge, which translates into the design of classroom materials. This study was conducted to explore the impact of my teacher beliefs and understanding of threedimensional learning on the development of a theme-based, integrated, standards aligned unit. Teacher beliefs can be changed through the implementation of authentic professional learning communities (PLCs). PLCs are defined as the ongoing collaboration of educators in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to improve student achievement. Throughout the study, a reflective process was used to identify my core teacher beliefs: the use of high quality text, integration, collaboration, understanding by design, and place-based principles. Findings indicate that curriculum development and collaboration are challenging, but worthwhile, and deeper understanding of my beliefs was essential to my persistence throughout the process.

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