Out on a Limb on Our Own: Uncertainty and Doubt Moving from Subject-Centered to Interdisciplinary Teaching


by Denise G. Meister & Jim Nolan Jr. ó 2001

This paper describes and interprets how five teachers of high school freshmen defined and made meaning of a change process in which they were involved. The restructuring initiative, which was administratively imposed, involved teaming, interdisciplinary teaching, and block scheduling. The study took place during the 1st year of implementation, 6 months after the team had received the mandate and prepared for the restructuring. The tools of inquiry included the following methods: (a) analysis of three in-depth phenomenological interviews, (b) participation observation, and (c) analyses of documents such as minutes from team meetings and curriculum planning sessions.

Although several interrelated themes emerged, uncertainty and doubt became the pervading theme that had a critical and sometimes debilitating effect on the teaching teamís ability to move from subject-based to interdisciplinary teaching. This uncertainty and doubt was magnified and perpetuated because of the deficit model utilized to implement the initiative: lack of teacher input in to decision to restructure, the schoolís history of adopting trends, lack of professional development, lack of a written curriculum, lack of administrative leadership, and the pull between loyalty to subject and allegiance to tea



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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 103 Number 4, 2001, p. 608-633
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 10778, Date Accessed: 10/21/2017 1:41:42 PM

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