Date of Award

Spring 2007

Project Type


Program or Major


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

First Advisor

Judith A Robb


The purpose of this study was to determine how the substance of interdisciplinary team meetings reflects team members' beliefs regarding the middle school concept and the school practices and cultural characteristics as delineated by the National Middle School Association (NMSA, 2005), which create successful middle schools for young adolescents.

The teachers of three interdisciplinary teams in an evolving middle school in the Northeast were participants in this bounded case study where the team was the unit of analysis.

Individual team member data were collected through individual audio taped interviews and validated by questionnaire responses from each participant. Team meeting discourse data were collected through researcher observation and audio taped team meetings.

Teacher belief data about middle school were examined in relation to each of the NMSA (2005) characteristics of a successful middle school. Team meeting discourse data were then examined to determine if individual teacher beliefs were reflected in team meetings.

This research found that individual teacher beliefs were reflected in team meetings but many beliefs were not commensurate with the NMSA (2005) characteristics for a successful middle school.

The most significant finding in this study was that although teacher beliefs were not necessarily the same for all teams, teacher beliefs were reflected in the substance of team meetings if team members held similar beliefs, if there were no competing priorities, and if the school culture supported their similar beliefs.

General findings and recommendations for future research are also discussed.