Teachers of students who are deaf and hard-of-hearing: Change in reading instruction through collaborative professional development
AdvisorAntia, Shirin D.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractStudents who are (D/HH) have a history of low-reading proficiency. Factors external to the student, such as the reading and spelling instruction the child receives once he or she enters school, are thought to be contributors to low-reading proficiency (Limbrick, McNaughton, & Clay, 1992; Lytle & Rovins, 1997; Paul, 1998). Because of constraints in teacher preparation programs, much of what teachers of students who are Deaf or Hard-of-Hearing (D/HH) learn about reading instruction will be "on-the-job." Therefore, professional development and in-service training programs assume an important role in providing teachers with the necessary theoretical knowledge and practical skills for early reading and spelling instruction. Research indicates that professional development efforts that focus on improvement in student learning outcomes and that are interactive and ongoing produce the greatest benefits for students and teachers (Bos, 1995; Gersten, Morvant, & Brengelman, 1995; Richardson, 1994). The main focus of this study was to examine teacher change in attitudes, knowledge, and practices pertaining to early reading and spelling instruction with students who are D/HH. Additionally, the learning outcomes of the students in response to their teachers' participation in this project were examined. Three teachers participated in a collaborative professional development project that included a three-week course in assessment and instruction of early reading and spelling for at-risk students, and a year of collaboration. The research design combined qualitative and quantitative data collection methods. Analysis of the data showed that two of the teachers grew substantially in their knowledge of the structure of language. While the third teacher did not improve on the knowledge assessment, growth in knowledge was apparent from her practices and comments in journals and during dialogues. All three teachers agreed more with explicit methods than implicit, whole language methods, although their beliefs about implicit methods did not decrease during the year. Teachers perceived the collaboration with the researcher and opportunities for problem solving and dialogue about students and instructional practices to be beneficial. The teachers also identified specific resources that were particularly useful to them individually. The students who received explicit instruction of phonological awareness skills during the year improved on early reading tasks.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Specia Education, Rehabilitation, and School Psychology