Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Date of Award

January 2017

Degree Type


Degree Name



Special Education

First Advisor

Susan Gabel


Research indicates that teachers feel intimidated into fully implementing prescribed literacy curriculum at the expense of their own praxis which may indeed be effective in boosting student literacy achievement. This perceived intimidation may serve to compromise students’ literacy outcomes. The objective of the study was to recognize the different forms of resistance teachers demonstrate in order to take responsibility of their own pedagogical practices as it helps develop students’ literacy skills. This paper analyzes teachers’ praxis and use of integrated methods of prescribed literacy curriculum in relation to teacher resistance. It answers four key questions: 1) What forms of resistance to the prescribed literacy curriculum do teachers at this elementary school use? 2) Why do teachers use resistance? 3) What do teachers say are the implications of their resistance? 4) What are teachers’ pedagogical choices in relation to resistance?

The study gathered qualitative and qualitative data in order to detail the frequency with which teachers favor their praxis over prescribed literacy curriculum, and to address concepts such as culturally responsive teaching and social participation. The limitations inherent in the research are the lack of diversity among the 18 respondents interviewed (all of them white female teachers from a northeastern U.S. suburban school); and the possibility that respondents might be less than candid in their responses due to concerns about anonymity.

Most of the teachers reported that they felt teachers resist prescribed literacy curriculum by developing their own pedagogical practices within their classroom in order to feel responsible for developing students’ literacy skills. At the same time, participants reported that they tended to completely follow prescribed literacy curriculum consistent with their professional development training. Teachers have strategically adjusted controlled academic environments to serve students, which implies a strategy of politicizing education within their classrooms. The long standing educational systems which were believed to promote education for the sake of preparing students for service jobs and consumerism are adjustable in classrooms where teachers promote students’ social capital instead.