Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2018

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Ben Kirshner

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Dutro

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Meyer

Fourth Advisor

Tim Kuhn

Fifth Advisor

Antero Garcia

Abstract

The three articles in this dissertation explore in-service educator learning through participatory approaches, with an aim toward equity in education. Combining sociocultural theories of learning as increasing participation within social and cultural practices (Gutiérrez, & Rogoff, 2003), and the political commitments of participatory action research (Strand et al., 2003), I hope to contribute to discussions on approaches to teacher education which center equity and justice. The articles in this dissertation demonstrate that participatory approaches can support educators at different levels throughout the system- within a single school and with leaders across states. Participatory approaches to inquiry, with the intentional use of mediational tools, can support shifts in educators’ research use (Weiss, 1979), equity literacy (Gorski & Swalwell, 2015), and practice-linked identities (Nasir & Hand, 2008). While national political discourse focuses on standardization, it is crucial to consider how education research can support educator learning, agency, and action. Participatory approaches to teaching and learning can shift the focus to collaboration, inquiry, and community: ingredients to work toward social change.

In the first article, “Going on a Statewide Listening Tour: Involving Education Leaders in the Process of Research to Enhance the Practical Value of Qualitative Research,” my colleagues and I illustrate how researchers can design for practitioners’ research use by involving education leaders in the process of conducting qualitative research. We found that science leaders became more engaged with research findings from their own collaborative research projects than from other sources, and that engaging in participatory research enhanced the practical value of the research. In the second article, “From Fiction to Action: Queer Reading for Educator Equity Literacy,” I explore how educators utilized a queer reading lens to discuss young adult (YA) novels; data from a discussion about the popular YA novel Every Day by David Levithan showed how they engaged in a process of becoming literate to the structures and systems that maintain inequity. And in the third article, “Educator as Ally: Developing Identity Resources Through Collaborative Inquiry,” I share illustrative cases which demonstrate how educators began to shift their actions as their identities expanded, through allying with students and colleagues.

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