I am excited to announce that after more than a year of planning, research, and writing, my doctoral dissertation has been published!
Teacher as Leader: A Gestalt Pedagogical Approach to Career and Technical Programs in Postsecondary Education
Community colleges and career and technical education programs offer incredible opportunities for a wide range of students. Faculty members in these learning communities deploy different instructional strategies in an effort to reach students of all ages most effectively, experience levels, educational backgrounds, and socioeconomic classes. The purpose of this qualitative dissertation in practice was to explore how instructors in postsecondary career and technical education programs deploy instructional strategies that align with the theoretical frameworks of Gestalt pedagogy and organizational development. The aim of this research was to develop philosophical and practical recommendations for faculty members wishing to adopt a Gestalt Pedagogical approach. Broadly, the research sought to position teachers as leaders within their classes and used leadership theory as a lens for inquiry. Through a series of semi-structured interviews with community college faculty members, the researcher found that teacher-leaders approach teaching from a position of care and service, while working to develop professionalism and soft skills in their students. Findings are presented with regard to individual behaviors, instructional strategies and tactics, and broad philosophical orientations. These findings were then analyzed for connections to the Gestalt school(s) of thought. Finally, this project provides a theoretical foundation for the development of teacher training programs, continuing education sessions, and/or course materials for aspiring teachers in college or graduate schools. Recommendations for adoption and implementation are discussed, along with recommendations for future lines of inquiry.
Keywords: higher education, teacher-leadership, Gestalt, postheroic leadership