Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Education

Major

Education, Educational Psychology

Date of Defense

7-9-2010

Graduate Advisor

Cody Ding, Ph.D

Committee

Joseph Polman

Deborah Baldini

Kathleen Haywood

Abstract

There is a growing trend in the business literature; education is not preparing students for the Knowledge Age. The literature further states the foundation of a successful Knowledge Economy and the production of its knowledge workers is education. Considering that the school system is a foundation for learning, it is a startling revelation that education reform has not focused more explicitly on knowledge work. If we expect to be successful in the Knowledge Age, a new conception of knowledge and learning is necessary, and will aid in the development of new knowledge workers. This further necessitates a more in depth understanding of what epistemological beliefs, and corresponding pedagogical practices would foster students who can work successfully in the Knowledge Age. This collective case study explored four teachers’ understanding of knowledge and pedagogy using an adaptation (Keefer & Ruffus, 2004) of the Approach to Knowledge Scheme (ATKS) (Bereiter & Scardamalia, 1998) and the Principles of Knowledge Building (Scardamalia, 2003). Data collected from the study of two English/Communication Arts teachers and two Science teachers included unit plans, pre-observation interviews, observations and post-observation interviews. Thematic analysis was used to examine teachers’ epistemological beliefs and pedagogical practices, and revealed major themes by both sets of teachers. These themes were useful in understanding how the ideas of the Knowledge Age and knowledge workers can be implemented in schools. Content Analysis demonstrated the ATKS was a useful tool to use with teachers, with modifications. By using this theory and scheme it was possible to see how these teachers’ views impact what knowledge they found valuable; in so doing, provided an opportunity to see how knowledge work could be translated into education.

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