The literacy-related beliefs and practices of three primary bilingual teachers
AuthorOrtiz, Mary L.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractMy purpose for this qualitative study was to investigate teachers' participation in a collaborative staff development program designed to facilitate reflections about literacy related beliefs and practices. It involved three teachers and a researcher in a four-month Reflective Staff Development Program (RSDP). The RSDP inquiry illustrates the shifts that occur in teachers' reflective language and practice. Three case studies were developed, requiring sorting through the teacher participants' literacy-related beliefs and practices in three research phases: (1) Asking the question: What are the teacher-participants' beliefs and practices in relation to their literacy instruction before, during, and after the RSDP? (2) Conducting the fieldwork using a constant comparative analysis within the RSDP. (3) Analyzing and interpreting the data to find answers to the question. During the RSDP, the teacher-participants revealed literacy-related beliefs and practices within four activities: autobiographies, interviews, group reflective sessions, and literacy lessons. These activities are the data sources, which were analyzed and resulted in the creation of a matrix for each teacher. The matrices showed that, throughout the RSDP, the teachers expressed language or behaviors with new perspectives, termed as "moments of realization." The horizontal matrix dimension is a picture of two extreme perspectives in the teacher-participants' beliefs and practices, the skills, and constructivist models. The perpendicular dimension depicts the teachers' discourse as questioning or not questioning. The plots illustrate their shifts in beliefs and practices. Further analysis of the teachers' interactive discourse demonstrated that their group discussions exhibited common characteristics, which contributed to their shifts: (1) The teacher-participants demonstrated moments of realization that included four types of verbal interactions: discussion of a literacy-related belief and/or practice, discomfort about the belief and/or practice, the moment of realization, and discussions justifying the changed perspective. (2) The teacher-participants' RSDP process demonstrated three periods: "introductory," "breakthrough," and "empowerment." (3) The teacher-participants' shifts moved in a non-linear direction after observing the videotaped literacy lessons. The findings suggest that this inquiry contributed to the teacher-participants' consideration of alternative perspectives and implementation of revised reading instructional practices. These results support the idea that school leaders should implement in-services, such as the RSDP, to improve communication to enhance instructional practice.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Language, Reading and Culture