Teacher learning in a desegregated school district

Mary Lou P Macdonald, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to determine whether teachers sought new learning opportunities in order to better manage the educational, social, and institutional changes they experienced when their school district was desegregated. Data were collected in two ways. A survey questionnaire was administered to 170 teachers in three different schools in the district. The questionnaire, developed by the researcher, was divided into two parts. The first part included questions on teachers' participation in formal and informal learning experiences. The second part included questions based on major adult learning theories, and sought to determine if changes had occurred in respondents' behaviors, perspectives, and sense of autonomy since the implementation of desegregation. Additionally, interviews were conducted with volunteer teachers from the same three schools utilizing questions from an interview guide developed by the researcher.^ Quantitative data from Part I of the questionnaire were analyzed by percentages of respondents engaged in new learning. Data from Part II of the questionnaire were grouped into categories of high, medium, and low and analyzed by percentage of respondents who valued the learning. An analysis of variance was also used to interpret relationships between and among each learning theme and respondents' level of instruction, sex, age group, number of years teaching, and respondents' possible change in teaching assignment since the implementation of desegregation. Qualitative data were organized by themes which emerged from the interviews, and were used to verify data collected from the questionnaires.^ The most significant findings were (a) staff were engaged in formal and informal learning experiences to a high degree as a direct result of the implementation of desegregation, (b) only half of the staff responded positively to other types of adult learning: identifying and solving problems, changing perspectives, increasing sense of autonomy, engaging in dialogue and communication, (c) high school teachers responded less positively to learning of all kinds than did elementary and junior high school teachers.^ It was the researcher's conclusions that teachers should be empowered to expand their roles and area of expertise through education of all kinds, that opportunities for greater communication among teachers be provided, and that high schools be restructured to become real learning communities. ^

Subject Area

Educational administration|Education|Adult education

Recommended Citation

Macdonald, Mary Lou P, "Teacher learning in a desegregated school district" (1990). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI9109262.