Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Curriculum & Instruction

First Advisor

Dr. Angela Chapman

Second Advisor

Dr. Miryam Espinosa-Dulanto

Third Advisor

Dr. James Jupp


The purpose of this dissertation is to provide a personalized narrative of one science teacher’s use of reflexive teaching as an agent of change. This dissertation is about a journey of change in instruction fostered by a change of identity as a science teacher, using the butterfly cycle as a metaphor. This dissertation narrates the identity evolution of the teacher. This study has relevance because the process utilized by the teacher provides a method of self-examination and identity construction for other elementary science classroom teachers who want to improve their science practices. This study also has relevance because it describes the process of how a classroom teacher takes ownership of self-improvement that leads to science teacher agency.

Science teacher identity and agency research has been mostly unexplored in science education, especially at the elementary level. A greater understanding of science teacher identity and agency development learned from this dissertation will provide the knowledge needed to better support novice and pre-service teachers, ultimately leading to better science educators. The nature of reflexive practice in science teaching and the development of science teacher identity and agency is the focus of this research. This paper is grounded in three main ideas: (a) self-reflexivity, drawing from the initial understanding of reflexivity (Archer, 2007; Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992; Mora, 2011, 2012) as reflection with social and scientific foundations that leads to social change (Mora, 2014), (b) self-study of teacher practices (Bullough & Pinnegar, 2001; Loughran, 2007; Pinnegar & Hamilton, 2009), as a rigorous way to understand the evolution of personal practice over time; and ( c ) metaphors to examine phenomena from a unique and creative perspective, provide structure to the data, to understand a familiar process in a new light, and to evoke emotion (Lakoff, G. and Johnson, M., 1980).

In my findings I discovered that my teaching identity is not fixed and that the journey in transforming my teaching identity from linear to authentic is endless, and the findings could be used as a starting point to introduce changes into the curricula of elementary teacher education programs for novice and pre-service teachers. This doctoral research was an empowering journey that enriched my professional life as an elementary science teacher by enabling me to examine my practices that formed my teaching identity. I hope that my newly transformed teaching identity enables me to further develop my professional practice as an assistant professor of practice, to empower the agency of my student teachers and empower readers to reflect on their own teaching identities.


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