Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Maureen D. Neumann


Although Catholic schools are the largest sector of the national private and faith-based educational market, the overall student enrollment in Catholic K-12 schools has steadily declined. In order for Catholic schools to remain sustainable and competitive among the many different educational options in the twenty-first century, they must set themselves apart from other schools by offering unique learning opportunities that support twenty-first century education while promoting Catholic educational values. Recognizing the need for updated teaching practices, balanced pedagogy with Catholic educational values, and focused research on Catholic education, this two-year multiple-case study explored the instructional practices of eight middle level Catholic teachers during an initiative focused on shifting instructional strategies to support twenty-first century education supported by educational technology integration. Teaching practices were documented through participant observations, interviews, survey, and historical and field evidence.

Data illuminated much variability in teachers' interpretations of twenty-first century education, classroom practice, and levels of technology integration. All teachers encouraged creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration in their instruction, however these specific domains of learning were primarily supported through an emphasis on lower order cognitive skills and processes. Although evidence suggested consistent technology integration in classrooms, technology was primarily used to substitute or augment instruction as opposed to the transformation of teaching and learning to support twenty-first century education. Data also revealed a balance between Catholic educational values and new teaching pedagogies except in Religion classes or instruction. This finding suggested content subject culture was a confounding aspect to instructional practices. This study highlights suggestions for teacher practice that include rethinking the purpose and structure of assessment, balancing personal opinions of technology with twenty-first century instruction, and shifting teacher-student classroom roles to foster teaching and learning environments that support creativity. Furthermore, additional implications for teachers and policy makers center on collaboration as a model for student learning, and to promote a shared vision for Catholic education in the twenty-first century. The implications for future research focus on expanding the study to include school level influencing factors and participants, centering on Religion class as the context, and the inclusion of students' perspectives.



Number of Pages

222 p.

Included in

Education Commons