Date of Award

Spring 2016

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Libby Manning

Abstract

With change process theory as a framework, the researcher used the diagnostic tools of the Concerns-Based Adoption Model to investigate both the concerns and behaviors of teachers of students with visual impairments (TVIs) during the transition to Unified English Braille (UEB). Quantitative data from the Stages of Concern Questionnaire and qualitative data from Open-Ended Concerns Statements and Levels of Use interview transcripts were consolidated to address the research questions: (1) What are TVIs' attitudes and beliefs toward the transition to UEB? and (2) To what extent are TVIs currently using UEB?

Participants were limited to TVIs in one southern state. Thirty-four TVIs responded to the survey, and 12 of the respondents participated in focused interviews.

The following conclusions were drawn from the findings: • At this point in the implementation process, many TVIs, even those with experience using UEB, have unresolved self concerns about the transition. This may indicate inadequate or ineffective training and support. • TVIs have unusually high Collaboration concerns in relation to their other concerns, and a progression to more intense Collaboration concerns with increasing experience with UEB. • TVIs who designated themselves non-users of UEB appear to be negative about the transition. The subgroup profile has strong indicators of possible resistance. • The TVIs who participated in interviews had slightly higher Levels of Use of UEB than predicted for first-year users of an innovation; however, there is some indication that use is "running ahead" of concerns (i.e., TVIs still have intense self concerns that have not been resolved).

The key concerns expressed by the TVIs included: the need for training on both changes in braille code and instructional strategies for teaching UEB; which code(s) will be used for mathematical and science notation; the TVIs' own abilities to learn and teach UEB; the time required to learn and teach the new code; the availability of resources in UEB; and how UEB may impact their students.

The diagnostic data gathered in this study may be used in a prescriptive manner to design interventions to support TVIs and ensure a successful implementation process. Recommendations for interventions based on the findings are provided.

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