Teachers as professionals: An exploration of teachers' perceptions of professionalization

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Teaching and Leadership


Nancy Gadbow


Staff development, Adult education, Continuing education, Teacher education, Teacher professionalization

Subject Categories

Teacher Education and Professional Development


This study explores the process of professionalization as perceived by a selected group of thirty-seven New York public school teachers. A qualitative, case study approach using open-ended interviews was chosen to identify patterns and commonalities of subjects' experiences and perspectives. Data collection and analyses were combined in the constant comparative method. Interview transcriptions were coded, then information was clustered into major themes.

The findings are presented under six themes. A cluster of professional needs emerged into a theme of teacher expertise and the need for continual learning. The second major theme clustered as a series of procedures related to teacher centering as the preferred mode of professional development. A third theme, a cluster of processes, reveals the findings related to teacher collaboration. Teacher professional responsibility, a cluster of qualities, is presented as the fourth theme perceived as important to teacher professionalization. Finally, themes five and six, supportive relationships and emerging leadership, are presented as a series of cyclical conditions.

The findings also revealed the importance of the teacher center, a vehicle of adult continuing education, to the professionalization process of the participants.

Implications for teachers, teachers of teachers, teacher center directors, and other adult educators are suggested. Suggestions are also made for further research.


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