Date of Graduation

2002

Document Type

Dissertation/Thesis

Abstract

The geological experiences of six teachers with a history of sustained participation in the RockCamp geology professional development program were investigated. The research premise was based on Gordon's (1961, 1971) and Joyce and Weil's (1996) descriptions of the usefulness of synectics to present new ways of looking at familiar situations. The overarching goal was to delineate both reasons for participation and tropologically characterizations of their recurrent (sustained) participation. Qualitative data reflecting participatory perceptions were obtained using a series of three semi-structured interviews and an individually variable number of follow-up sessions. Additional data were derived from participant-constructed concept maps and a creative writing assignment. Participants also acted as overreaders when given the opportunity to review and comment on my representation of their ideas. Key ideas to emerge from this study were unanimous agreement that efficacy, fun, social conditions, and support are reasons for RockCamp recurrence. The study group also unanimously agreed recurrence was best tropologically characterized as an activity and an object. It was discovered that the interview method was most productive way for participants to “make the familiar strange.” Concept mapping and creative writing produced mixed results. It was found that use of tropes did stimulate some, but not all, participants to more deeply explore their recurrent participation. However, the synthesis of unique individual tropes into more inclusive thematic units diluted their effectiveness. It was unexpectedly determined that the recurrent experiences of these participants can best be philosophically characterized as being the result of a learning community grounded in adult situated learning theory. When combined with RockCamp's “3C” (compare, contrast, and connect) pedagogy, and the existing literature on effective K–12 professional development, this study suggests the recurrent participation of these teachers represents a meaningful approach to constructive professional development in geology.* This dissertation is a multimedia document (contains text and other applications not available in printed format). The CD requires the following system requirements: Adobe Acrobat; Microsoft Photo Editor.

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