Committee Chair

Tucker, James A.

Committee Member

Crawford, Elizabeth K.; Rutledge, Valerie C.; Miller, Ted L.


Dept. of Education


College of Health, Education, and Professional Studies


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


This study examines the tensions and changes experienced by teachers participating in two professional development programs in arts integration through the lens of cultural historical activity theory. Between 2007 and 2012 the Southeast Center for Education in the Arts (SCEA) at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga facilitated long-term programs aimed to build teachers’ capacity to develop and implement arts integrated instruction. Varied evaluation data were collected from each program, but the available information was inconsistent between programs, and the data gathered at the two sites did not effectively address the complexity of participants’ experiences. In order to better understand how these efforts grew and operated, this study was developed to build richer descriptions of programs as experienced by participants. The research question that drove the study was “How were professional development programs in arts integration experienced by participating teachers in two school contexts?” In order to build richer descriptions of the complex responses of varied participants in a complex system, these programs were examined qualitatively as a multiple site case study through the lens of cultural historical activity theory. The author analyzed artifacts from each program including e-mails, meeting minutes from leadership teams, and SCEA’s semi-annual reports to each school. Interviews with arts and non-arts teachers were collected from among participants. Artifacts and interviews were analyzed through the lens of activity theory to find the tensions that existed at each site. Then, a cross-case analysis was performed to identify issues that emerged in both programs. Tensions at school sites included organizational changes, changes in the tools that were used, and pressure from testing demands and other initiatives imposed by school administration. The issues that emerged across sites included teachers’ struggle with self-efficacy regarding unfamiliar disciplinary content, participants’ perceived level of stress, pressure on schools and teachers for higher scores on state mandated testing, teachers’ flexibility with new approaches, and participating teachers’ focus upon student outcomes. The author discussed recommendations for future professional development efforts targeting arts integration to more successfully navigate the tensions that will inevitably be a part of complex efforts like those described.


Ed. D.; A dissertation submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Education.




Arts -- Study and teaching; Arts in education


Arts integration; Activity theory; Arts education; Professional development

Document Type

Doctoral dissertations




xii, 182 leaves