Title page for ETD etd-04302004-131822

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Mosher, Kathryn Teresa
URN etd-04302004-131822
Title A Narrative Inquiry of Parent Understanding of School Culture: One School's Story
Degree Master of Science
Department Human Development
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Fu, Victoria R. Committee Chair
Hill, Lynn T. Committee Member
Stremmel, Andrew J. Committee Member
  • parents
  • school culture
  • qualitative inquiry
Date of Defense 2004-04-26
Availability restricted
The purpose of this study was to conduct a qualitative inquiry into how parents at the Virginia Tech Child Development Laboratory School in Blacksburg, VA define and attempt to understand their school culture. This study was guided by the following points of inquiry: 1) to understand the ways the parents articulate their conceptualization of the lab school culture, 2) to examine how parents negotiate change in the school, 3) to identify any social, political, and/or historical factors that caused this transformation, and 4) to inform best practice in the school. Participant observation, interviews, a reflective journal, and thematic analysis were used to gain a deeper understanding of this topic. Particular attention focused on social, political, and historical factors that influenced parent understanding of the school culture. Analysis of the interviews conducted with 11 parents who currently have children enrolled in the school and entries from my personal research journal reveal the need for dialogue and careful listening of parents thoughts, beliefs, values, and goals related to the lab school in order to achieve a sense of shared understanding (Bruner, 1990) and intersubjectivity (Vygotsky, 1978) around this notion of our school culture. Suggestions for building a shared culture for learning and teaching involving all the protagonists-- children, parents, teachers, staff -- are discussed. Implications for future research on understanding school cultures are presented for consideration.
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