SHARING DECISIONS, TEACHING IN TEAMS, AND MULTI-AGING: INDIVIDUALLY GUIDED EDUCATION, 1965-1981

Open Access
Author:
Kim, Pyeong-gook
Graduate Program:
Curriculum and Instruction
Degree:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Dissertation
Date of Defense:
May 31, 2001
Committee Members:
  • Patrick Willard Shannon, Committee Member
  • Robert F Nicely Jr., Committee Member
  • Murry R Nelson, Committee Chair
  • John Daniel Marshall, Committee Chair
  • David P Baker, Committee Member
Keywords:
  • elementary secondary education
  • comprehensive school reform
  • educational change
  • organizational change
  • school culture
  • change strategies
  • change agents
  • organizational development
  • teacher role
  • staff development
  • decision making
  • team teaching
  • individu
Abstract:
In an effort to enhance our understanding of public school reform, this study aimed: (1) to explore how Individually Guided Education (IGE) was developed and disseminated nationwide during 1965-1973; (2) to determine the extent to which Individually Guided Education was adopted, implemented, and continued by public elementary schools nationwide during 1969-1981; and (3) to identify what factors either facilitated or hindered the processes of mobilizing, implementing, and institutionalizing Individually Guided Education during 1969-1981. This historical case study relied upon primary source materials, including, but not limited to: Quarterly/Semi-annual/Annual Progress Reports on the Wisconsin Research and Development Center, Theoretical/Technical Reports, Working Papers, manuals for IGE implementation, documents on leadership development conferences and inservice teacher training workshops, curricular materials published at the Center; evaluation reports on nationwide installation and continuation of IGE; more than 120 doctoral dissertations at 37 colleges and universities in 23 states; ERIC documents; and written interviews with IGE creators. Based on their degree of implementation, IGE schools were categorized into four groups in ascending order: opportunistic, nominal, marginal, and true IGE schools. These groups accounted for about 20%, 40%, 20%, and 20% of the total IGE schools, respectively. In these groups of IGE schools, different factors either facilitated or hindered the processes of mobilizing, implementing, and institutionalizing IGE. Four factors played a major role in the phase of mobilization for IGE: locus of decision, need for a change, readiness, and resources. In the phase of implementation, four factors supported or constrained the processes of implementing IGE in successful and less successful IGE schools: staff development, role relationship change, shared decision-making, and district support. Three factors facilitated the successful institutionalization of IGE: external support, continued inservice for the staff, and creative modification of the IGE program. Opportunistic IGE schools were characterized by top-down decisions, the staff feeling no need for a change, the staff unprepared, and no resources. These opportunistic IGE schools were known to have adopted, but did not implement IGE at all. Nominal IGE schools were known for top-down decisions, the staff feeling no need for a change, the staff unprepared, and few resources in the stage of mobilization. Without a good start in the phase of mobilization, nominal IGE schools showed the following characteristics in the implementation phase: little staff development, no change in role relationship and shared decision-making, and no district support. Failing to change the traditional organization and instructional practices, nominal IGE schools discontinued IGE after a period of unsuccessful implementation. Marginal IGE schools were characterized by top-down decision, the staff feeling no need for a change, the staff unprepared, but some resources utilized in the mobilization phase. In the phase of implementation, marginal IGE schools showed some staff development, mild change in role relationship and shared decision-making, and little/some district support. Although these marginal schools implemented IGE to a higher degree than nominal IGE schools, most of them ultimately failed to institutionalize IGE. Unlike the above schools, in true IGE schools the adoption decision was made jointly between the principal and staff, the staff sought a change, the staff was ready for change, and the school acquired sufficient resources during the mobilization phase. Further, in the stage of implementation, true IGE schools showed sufficient staff development, role relationship change, shared decision-making, and district support. In the institutionalization phase, true IGE schools had adequate external support, engaged in continued inservice, and modified IGE creatively. This study found that only about 20% of the total IGE schools successfully replaced age-graded, self-contained classrooms. In order to explain the reasons for this low degree of IGE reform in the majority of IGE schools, and the reasons for the high degree of IGE reform in true IGE schools, this study reveals key factors that are important to consider in different phases of innovation in order to increase the possibility of institutionalizing current school reform programs.