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Title:Will it work with my kids: Teachers' practical concept of effective reading instruction
Author(s):Waggoner, Martha A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Pearson, P. David
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Elementary
Education, Reading
Abstract:This study explored six experienced, elementary classroom teachers' concept of effective reading instruction. In order to describe how teachers construct a repertoire of effective reading instruction practices, I observed reading instruction in each classroom and interviewed each teacher several times.
The analysis of the observation and interview data revealed that teachers construct a practical concept of instructional effectiveness, framed by the context in which they teach and validated by direct, anecdotal information. The teachers' concept of effectiveness is guided by a theory of learning they have developed from their classroom experience. This theory emphasizes the importance of guided and independent practice in reading more than direct instruction to improve students' reading performance. The teachers evaluated their own practices by the degree to which the practices encouraged students to enjoy reading widely. The most powerful evidence of effective practices, for teachers, were examples of students who had made remarkable improvement in reading after having little success in other teachers' classes.
The teachers' concept of effectiveness was manifest in the framework they use to select practices for their instructional repertoire. The essential components of the framework are: (a) a theory that students learn to read better by reading more; (b) a reliance on student interest and engagement as the main criterion for judging a practice; (c) a tendency to modify practices to fit specific classroom conditions; and (d) a belief in cases of extraordinary student improvement as evidence of effective practice. This framework was the primary basis on which teachers made instructional decisions.
This study suggests that a concept of effective instruction that depends entirely on standardized tests results is not adequate for teachers' instructional practice decisions. Teachers found their observations of students' responses and engagement more useful information for constructing an instructional repertoire. A concept of effectiveness which does not take into account the teachers' concerns about encouraging students to read independently is unlikely to be adopted by teachers.
Issue Date:1994
Rights Information:Copyright 1994 Waggoner, Martha A.
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9503342
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9503342

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