Teachers, researchers and policy-makers in the areas of literacy and language development have recently touted teacher collaboration as an innovative approach to better serving elementary English learners. Collaborative planning and instructional approaches are becoming widespread in educational practice. And though research seems promising in terms of benefits for teachers and students, there is scant information about the collaborative meaning-making practices of teacher teams and the instructional decisions that result. In the current study I explore the practices and perceptions of one first-grade team as they collaborate to plan instruction for their English-learning students. My study is situated within a sociocultural framework (Vygotsky, 1978; Johnson, 2009) and uses case study methodology to provide an in-depth exploration of the actions and perceptions of teachers within a unique context (Merriam, 2009). I highlight three major findings: the team's planning practices were significantly influenced by multi-layered policies in both supportive and restrictive ways; the team's collaborative planning promoted practices that may improve the teachers' understandings of English learners and support improved classroom practice; and the participants, though dissatisfied with aspects of their collaborative practices, felt that overall they were better teachers because of them. Findings from this project add to the fields of professional development and literacy instruction for English learners by identifying the influences and tensions embedded in the teachers' work and exposing the everyday negotiations of complicated issues that teachers undertake.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. June 2013. Major: Education, Curriculum and Instruction. Advisor: Dr. Lori Helman. 1 computer file (PDF); vi, 165 pages, appendices A-C.
Frederick, Amy Rae.
A case study of a first-grade teacher team collaboratively planning literacy instruction for English learners.
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