Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2015

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Education and Human Development

First Advisor

Carole Pelttari


The purpose of this qualitative case study was to answer the question, which instructional model, self-contained or departmentalized, do fourth grade teachers believe is more beneficial to use in a rural elementary school? I used purposeful sampling to select only the teachers who have taught in both the traditional self-contained and the departmentalized instructional models at the school district where the teachers work. Through the use of a survey, interviews, and a focus group, the two fourth grade teachers expressed their opinions on the advantages and drawbacks of both classroom designs. The main conclusion of this study is while there are pros and cons to both instructional models; overall the departmentalized instructional model is preferred. Departmentalization allows teachers to become experts in one or two subject areas, while encouraging communication and collaboration between teachers. In the departmentalized environment teachers and students become a community of learners. There still needs to be further research done on departmentalization to determine how realistic it is as an alternative reform option.

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