Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Committee Member

Marilyn McKinney

Number of Pages



The purpose of this study was to examine how practicing teachers acted to incorporate a more democratic writing pedagogy in their classrooms after participation in the Southern Nevada Writing Project's Summer Institute. Democracy in this study refers to a critical view of democracy. This research is a multiple case study of five teachers' practice during the first half of the school year following their participation in the Institute. The participants teach in schools of varying grade levels, SES, and achievement. Data sources included classroom observations with follow-up interviews, a final group interview, and artifacts from the Institute. These data were examined to identify common events and practices in each participant's teaching. Through a systematic analysis that involved multiple readings and codings of the data and incorporated a number of potential frameworks, four themes, each related to democratic pedagogy, were constructed: Writing Instruction, Democratic Classrooms, Influence of the Institute, and Obstacles and Supports to Change. All of the participants reported moving their practice towards a more process approach (Writing Instruction). The teachers' change was evidenced in the goals identified by the participants for their students and in their decision-making concerning teaching. In terms of their classrooms, the participants were found to exhibit each of the five "democratic supports" identified by McIntyre, Kyle, and Moore (2006) in their work on democratic pedagogy (Democratic Classrooms). Each participant was observed using both practices and principles espoused in the Institute to guide their classroom planning and practice beyond those evident in the other categories (Impact of the Institute). It was found that all of the teachers faced a unique set of challenges and support as they worked to change their practice (Obstacles and Supports to Change). The experiences of these teachers demonstrate the value and power of democratic pedagogy and the difficulty of the struggle to adopt a more democratic practice in the current educational climate. Importantly, this study highlights the role of teachers as intellectuals, provides examples of some limitations in prevailing, liberal ideals of democracy, and supports the need to make democratic practice a prominent goal in teacher education programs.


Democratic; Democratic Pedagogy; Nevada; Pedagogy; Professional Development; Project; Southern; Southern Nevada Writing Project; Writing Pedagogy

Controlled Subject

Curriculum planning; Language arts; Teachers--Training of

File Format


File Size

6481.92 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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