A DESCRIPTION AND ANALYSIS OF THE CHANGE PROCESS INVOLVED IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PENNSYLVANIA COMPREHENSIVE READING COMMUNICATION ARTS PLAN AT THE THOMAS DUNLAP SCHOOL

SYLVIA B JONES, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

With ever-increasing frequency schools are called upon by society to make changes necessary to raise the achievement level of students. In order to meet this charge, school administrators, especially principals must become more proficient in dealing with the process of change involved in implementing new educational innovations. To this end, the following study was undertaken. ^ The purpose of this study was to present a detailed descriptive and analytical account of what took place when the researcher, a principal of a small elementary school in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania attempted to introduce and implement the Pennsylvania Comprehensive Reading Communication Arts Plan (PCRP) in her school. ^ The study focused on the implementation process of the PCRP as it occurred over a three year period of time at the school. The PCRP, the innovation in the study, was used to supplement and enrich the school's existing reading program. Dr. Morton Botel, the author of the PCRP, stated the following two basic goals of the plan...to develop pupils' skills in listening, reading and in oral and written expression, and to foster positive attitudes toward reading and the effective use of language. Also fundamental to the PCRP were the "four critical experiences": (1) Responding to Literature (heard, read, visualized or dramatized) (2)Sustained Silent Reading of Self Selected Books; (3)Composing (oral and written); (4)Investigating and Mastering Language Patterns: Sound/Spelling--Syntax and Meaning. ^ Six guiding questions posed at the beginning of the study were: (1)What are the role and responsibilities of the principal, serving as a change agent, in effectively implementing change in his school? (2)What factors serve to promote the successful implementation of change? (3)What factors serve to hinder the successful implementation of change? (4)What factors may be used as indicators of the extent to which a change is implemented? (5)How effective is the field study research mode using participant observation techniques in conducting such a study? (6)What are the unanticipated outcomes resulting from the implementation?^ The study was conducted using a field study research mode employing the techniques of participant observation. Data collection procedures included informal and formal discussions, interviews and classroom observations. Information was also collected through the use of school records and documents. Included in the study were the thirteen classroom teachers, the Library Instructional materials Assistant (LIMA) and the Language Skills Teachers, plus a student population of approximately 450 elementary children in kindergarten through sixth grade.^ The results of the study led to some revealing conclusions. It was concluded that the role of the principal is a key element in the change process and his responsibilities vary according to the different roles he often has to assume as the change process evolves. It was also concluded there are various factors that will often serve to promote or hinder the implementation process. Also certain factors such as the quantity and the quality of the teachers' implementation effort can be used in determining the extent to which an innovation is implemented. The conclusion was also made that the field study method using participant observation techniques can be useful in studying the process of change. ^

Subject Area

Education, Elementary

Recommended Citation

SYLVIA B JONES, "A DESCRIPTION AND ANALYSIS OF THE CHANGE PROCESS INVOLVED IN THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE PENNSYLVANIA COMPREHENSIVE READING COMMUNICATION ARTS PLAN AT THE THOMAS DUNLAP SCHOOL" (January 1, 1981). Dissertations available from ProQuest. Paper AAI8117671.
http://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI8117671

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