Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Carol Smith


As a student in the Critical and Creative Thinking Program I have learned about ways of thinking that have greatly impacted how I teach my high school students as well as how I think about my own teaching. Over the past year I have sought out teachers to interview to help me expand my understanding about how teachers make thoughtful decisions given the complex realities they face. Through analyzing these teachers' reflections on their thoughts and experiences I have discovered ways of opening my own thinking as well as patterns in productive teacher thinking that could help many other teachers grow and improve. This paper explores how teachers think about their experiences through the lens of adaptive expertise and problem solving. It describes how these teachers think through three complex, and related, areas of teaching: instructional choices, trying new ideas and taking classroom risks. The narratives from these teachers provide the reader with examples of both questions these teachers used to think through their choices, as well as real classroom examples of the mistakes and successes teachers had as a result of these choices. These teachers' descriptions of their work are not meant to provide a model of how to run a classroom, but instead to provide several models of how educators have navigated the complexities of teaching.


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