Date of Award

Fall 2019

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Studies

First Advisor

Leigh D'Amico


The purpose of this action research case study was to examine how a job-embedded professional development approach influenced high school social studies teachers' perceptions and practices related to a workshop model of instruction. Three research questions guided this work: (1) How do teachers' perceptions related to the workshop model used within social studies classrooms change over time? (2) How do teachers' practices related to the workshop model used within social studies classrooms change over time? (3) How do teachers' perceptions of disciplinary literacy and the workshop model influence their classroom practices?

Participants included two high school Modern World History teachers who participated in weekly professional development experiences related to the workshop model over a 12-week period. Teachers subsequently employed the strategies that they learned during the professional development sessions in their own classes. Qualitative data sources were collected, including three semi-structured interviews with each participant, three classroom observations of each participant, lesson artifacts from observations, professional development meeting minutes, and teacher-developed artifacts. The researcher also maintained a journal as a secondary source.

Data were analyzed using a constant comparative approach and ultimately resulted in three broad themes: setting expectations, promoting engagement, and sustaining engagement through responsive instruction. Overall, teachers' perceptions about the workshop model improved over the course of the study, with both participants citing its benefits in promoting student engagement in their classrooms. Consequently, as the study progressed, participants employed a more inquiry-based approach that emphasized the development of students' literacy skills. Although both teachers stated at the outset of the study that it was their role to prepare students for postsecondary success, by the end of the study, they were able to identify and implement specific strategies that supported that goal (e.g., developing arguments, evaluating sources). Although the study focused on the implementation of this approach within one instructional setting, its structure might be useful for other practitioners who would like to consider the same questions within their own contexts.