Teachers’ agency, efficacy, engagement, and emotional resilience during policy innovation implementation
This multiple case study investigated 143 teachers’ responses to focus group questions about their experiences with the simultaneous implementation of three disruptive innovations as part of the U.S. Race-to-the-Top (RTTT) agenda: the Common Core Learning Standards, data-driven instruction, and annual professional performance reviews. We asked: How do teachers describe their experiences implementing these three RTTT innovations? How do teachers describe supports for their adaptation to these innovations? And, for each of these questions, and since the study purposefully included schools with above-predicted student outcomes (i.e. odds-beaters) as well as a comparison set of typically performing schools, we inquired: In what ways do odds-beating school teachers’ experiences differ from their peers in typically performing schools? Guided by an emergent framework that emphasizes the relationships among teacher agency, engagement, efficacy, and emotional resilience and how these vary in different school contexts, findings suggest that district office innovation leadership and resource allocations, school leadership structures and strategies, and collaborative teams and communities of practice vary and relate to teachers’ experiences of innovation implementation. This study advances an empirically-grounded and theoretically rich framework for investigation of teachers’ performance adaptation during policy innovation implementation and suggests implications for future research, policy, and practice.
KeywordsCommon Core State Standards Teacher evaluation Data-driven instruction Teacher agency Teacher efficacy Teacher engagement Teacher emotional resilience Case study Policy implementation
This article was crafted with the help of doctoral student Mary Jo Morgan who extracted codes and assisted with the first stages of analysis. We would like to also recognize the following people for their assistance with recruitment, data collection, and data analysis in the larger study from which this one emerged: Francesca Durand, Linda Baker, Kathryn Schiller, Kathy Nickson, Michael Lawson, Shari Keller, Hal Lawson, Dorothy Porteus, Karen Gregory, Ben Malczyk, Michelle Bianchi, Sarah Zuckerman, Fang (Lisa) Yu, Sharon Wiles, Nisa Felicia, Juliana Svistova, Lynn Lisy-Macan, Deb Byrne, Piera Camposeo, John Costello, Heather Kurto, Aaron Leo, Christl Mueller, Gretchen Oliver, and Kemm Wilson. Most importantly, we would like to acknowledge all of the teachers, teaching aides, support staff, ENL teachers, and special education teachers who took time to share their experiences with our research team.
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