Teachers' understanding and implementation of Van Dijk's learning theory for students who are deaf-blind.
Committee ChairBos, Candace S.
Downing, June E.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis research study investigated the relationship between teachers' understanding of the theoretical principles underlying the Van Dijk Curriculum for students labelled deaf-blind and teachers' implementation of related instructional strategies. This study was conducted at the Rafael School located on the campus of the Instituut voor Doven, a school for deaf children, in The Netherlands. Six teachers who were specifically trained for at least three years in the Van Dijk Curriculum at the Rafael School were observed and interviewed during an academic school year. A comprehensive system was developed to examine the dynamic relationship between teachers' understanding and implementation. Using qualitative research methodology, teacher implementation was documented through observations and teacher understanding was documented through interviews. A systematic coding procedure was used to analyze the data. In general, the findings indicated that a relatively consistent relationship was found between teacher understanding and implementation for five of the six teachers. The one exception was a teacher who demonstrated that she understood the theory underlying the curriculum but was not a high implementor of the related instructional strategies. Possible explanations regarding this particular teacher's incongruent relationship of understanding and implementation are presented. This study demonstrates that a systematic procedure can be developed to investigate the relationship of a curricular theory applied to practice. Furthermore, this study provides insight into how teachers' understanding of theory translates into practice. The particular conditions and circumstances under which the relationship of teachers' understanding and implementation was investigated in this study suggest that a shared philosophy, a theory-based curricular model with integrated strategies, and ongoing staff collaboration and administrative support seem to impact this dynamic relationship.
Degree ProgramSpecial Education and Rehabilitation