Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy





First Advisor

Michael P. Clough

Second Advisor

Joanne K. Olson


This year-long study explored how ten teachers—five first year, five second year—acclimated to their new school environment after leaving a master’s level university science teacher preparation program known for being highly effective. Furthermore, this study sought to explore if a relationship existed between teachers’ understanding and implementation of research-based science teaching practices, the barriers to enacting these practices—known as institutional constraints, and the constructive-developmental theory which explores meaning-making systems known as orders of consciousness. As a naturalistic inquiry mixed methods study, data were collected using both qualitative (e.g., semi-structured interviews, field notes) as well as quantitative methods (e.g., observation protocols, subject/object protocol). These data sources were used to construct participant summaries and a cross-case analysis. The findings from provide evidence that teachers’ orders of consciousness might help to explain why understanding research-based science teaching practices are maintained by some new teachers and not others. Additionally, this study found the orders of consciousness of teachers relates to the perceptions of institutional constraints as well as how a teacher chooses to navigate those constraints. Finally, the extent to which teachers implement research-based science teaching practices is related to orders of consciousness. While many studies have focused on what meaning teachers make, this study highlights the importance of considering how teachers make meaning.

Copyright Owner

Jesse Wilcox



File Format


File Size

263 pages