An Investigation of Teachers’ Knowledge, Experiences, Interpretations, and Perceptions of Education Law and Their Decision-Making Processes During the Legal Navigation of the Education Profession: A Collective Case Study
Document Type Article
The purpose of this collective case study was to discover, describe, and understand 11 public, general, K–12 in-service teachers’ knowledge, experiences, interpretations, and perceptions of education law. In addition, the study investigated teachers’ critical decision-making processes during their daily activities and responsibilities in the education profession in selected areas such as student bullying, fights, grades, students with disabilities, and teachers’ and students’ rights. Three theories that guided the study were constructivism (Young & Collin, 2004), cognitive dissonance (Chapanis & Chapanis, 1964), and self-efficacy (Bandura, 1977). Through purposeful sampling, 11 K–12 in-service teachers from the United States with at least one year of teaching experience with or without education law training (workshops, courses, or both) were used in the study. Data were collected using interviews, vignettes, and questionnaires. Data analysis methods included coding; finding patterns; developing categories, themes, matrices and charts; using QSR NVivo analysis software; and, within and cross-case analysis (Merriam, 1988; Miles & Huberman, 1994; Sorensen, 2008; Yin, 2009). Trustworthiness was established through member checking, triangulation, thick description, and reflexivity (Creswell, 2013; Merriam, 1988; Yin, 2009). Results of the study revealed educators from various backgrounds have some commonalities regarding their knowledge, interpretations, and perceptions of education law and their decision-making processes in selected areas of education law. It is recommended pre-service and in-service educators receive education law training for initial and renewal certification. Future research should investigate other stakeholders’ (teacher education faculty, teacher assistants, and substitutes) education law experiences, interpretations, knowledge, perceptions, and decision-making processes.