Date of Award

2019

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Urban Education

Department

College of Education and Human Services

First Advisor

Brian Harper

Second Advisor

Anne Galletta

Subject Headings

Education

Abstract

The International Baccalaureate Diploma Program (IBDP) has grown exponentially around the world and particularly within the United States over the past decade, and numerous studies have been conducted on a wide range of issues related to the IBDP and the other three IB Programs—the Primary Years, Middle Years, and Career-related Programs. Much of the research, naturally, focuses on student achievement within the IBDP and the ways in which the Program benefits students who participate. Fewer studies have been done on teacher perceptions of the IBDP. Typically, when teacher perceptions are investigated, the focus is on their perceptions of student achievement, rather than on teachers’ perceptions of their experience in the IBDP. The purpose of this case study was to explore the perceptions and experience of IB-trained teachers who currently teach in the IB Diploma Program (IBDP) or who have taught in the program at some point since its implementation in a high school of an inner-ring suburb of a medium-sized, Midwestern city in order to understand better the potential impact of an IB Diploma Program (IBDP) on teacher attitudes, approach, and pedagogy over its first seven years. Seventeen IBDP teachers were interviewed for their perceptions of the IBDP curriculum, autonomy for teachers, equity for students, and student emotional and psychological well-being; in addition, their perceptions of interactions with colleagues and other stakeholders, as well as of how their perceptions evolved over the time that each has spent as an IBDP teacher, were analyzed. Teachers evinced generally positive perceptions of the IBDP curriculum, particularly in relation to the Advanced Placement (AP) curriculum; they found equity to be an issue that the school and district proactively address; they found student stress to be a significant concern, though they felt that it can also promote growth; and they conveyed various perceptions of informal interactions with colleagues, positive perceptions of interactions with formal IB trainings, students, and parents, and generally positive perceptions of interactions with administrators whose support and involvement they encourage. An application of symbolic interactionism reveals insight into these teachers’ perceptions and helps to show the degree to which the teachers’ perceptions are fluid, complex, and varied.

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