Date of Award

Spring 2005

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Pink, William

Second Advisor

Whipp, Joan

Third Advisor

Burant, Terry


The problem of underachievement in schools in Nagaland has resulted in the few studies that have been done examining the problems that have caused and sustains this situation. In an attempt to look at what is being done well in view of building on the strengths of the system this interpretative study explores how highly esteemed high school teachers of students of the Naga tribe in northeast India teach. Through an elaborate process of community nominations parents and educators nominated who they believed were some of their most successful teachers. Four such highly valued exemplary teachers were the informants. Triangulation of data was done using multiple in-depth interviews with the informants, observation of classroom instruction and examination of documents. The interpretation of data was done broadly based on Strauss and Corbin's grounded theory method. The findings of the study indicate that the classroom instructional practice of the exemplary teachers is very complex. In a system that emphasizes high stakes the exemplary teachers are highly creative. They prepare students to take an exam that emphasizes retention and reproduction by developing in them high level skills of understanding and application. In a classroom that is deeply affected by the external and local influences the exemplary teacher is able to achieve high-skilled instructional behavior in students through well organized classroom instruction. They offer differentiated instruction to individual students and creatively open up a prescribed curriculum using culturally harmonious motivational strategies. Looking upon their teaching profession as a "vocation" they strive to "prepare students for life" in a globalized context. The exemplary teachers are actively involved in leadership and service roles in the community to the admiration of parents and others. The exemplary teachers have many years of experience and a proven record of classroom success.



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