Publication Date


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies

Major Advisor

Jonathan L. Brendefur, Ph.D.


Newmann, Secada, and Wehlage (1995) has shown that student achievement can be gained through the use of what is described as authentic instructional styles. These types of pedagogy maintain a focus on building knowledge through real-world application of subject matter and discussion of topics that are relevant to students’ lives. Studies have shown that an ongoing process of socialization into the school system occurs throughout a teacher’s career leading them into the use of more objectivist methods of teacher-centered instruction and rote learning of information (Hoy & Woolfolk, 1990; Staton & Hunt, 1992; Wattenburg, 2001; Zeichner, 1980). This study sought to measure whether second-career teachers, through their experience within non-teaching careers, have developed a theory of action (set of rules used to design and implement behavior) that is more aligned toward authenticity as compared to that of first-career teachers (Argyris, 1991). The analysis attempted to focus on a teacher’s theory of action because this will guide how a person perceives the world and therefore how she or he will act within it. To accomplish this, a survey was sent to secondary teachers (n=217) in a large suburban school district. Data were evaluated using a variety of analyses to determine both reliability (Chronbach’s Alpha), differences between means (t-test and ANOVA), and correlations between variables (Pearson’s correlations). Results demonstrated that there were no significant differences in the Theories of Action between first and second-career educators, indicating that both groups find this type of instruction as essential. However, one finding is that the socialization influences of the school environment do affect teachers over the course of their career whether or not they held a previous career before teaching. This study exposed, however, that second-career educators might be even more prone to the socialization influences present within the school system when compared with first-career entrants. This could possibly be due to the higher expectations that these individuals bring with them into the career and the extremely difficult challenge of making those expectations a reality (Cherubini, 2009). One implication is that because second-career teachers do possess real-world skills to impart to our students, educational leaders should find ways to decrease this socialization influence by providing targeted support for these educators.