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Collaborative inquiry, teacher efficacy, and writing achievement at Lake Shore Elementary School

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A teacher's belief in what he or she can do is often a predictor for how well students may do in their classroom. Working together in a collaborative setting while

A teacher's belief in what he or she can do is often a predictor for how well students may do in their classroom. Working together in a collaborative setting while looking at student work, determining next steps, and setting goals for student achievement can provide the impetus for teachers to change practices, implement different strategies and find success in the classroom. Collaborative practitioner inquiry focused in a single content such as written expression can bring about positive change for student achievement and teacher efficacy. In this study, a collaborative practitioner inquiry process was used to enhance teacher efficacy and increase student achievement in writing. This process was implemented school wide as an integral part of the school's instructional program. Teachers met once each month in Data Writing Team groups to look at student writing in their own classrooms and across their grade level. Based on the writing samples, teachers created SMART goals, determined levels of proficiency, and identified instructional strategies to implement. Data were collected through the administration of a teacher efficacy survey, focus group and individual interviews, student achievement data from pre- and post- writing samples, and observations and interpretations in a research journal. Findings concluded that collaborative practitioner inquiry contributed measurably to most Lake Shore Elementary School teachers' efficacy as teachers of writing especially by enhancing their convictions that they could teach writing and solve instructional roadblocks individually and collectively. In addition, collaborative practitioner inquiry contributed to substantial improvement in Lake Shore students' writing achievement. Teachers' accountability and purposes for instruction were enhanced through opportunities to work collaboratively together. Finally, collaborative practitioner inquiry contributed to students' writing achievement by adding to teachers' understanding of writing instruction and fostering continuously improved teaching practices. As a result of conducting this study, I learned that teachers who have the time to meet, talk, and think together form a greater focus as a grade level and, in turn, a purpose for what they do in the classroom. When teachers find success in their instruction their efficacy increases and as found during this study student achievement increases.

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Date Created
  • 2011

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Parent involvement as an instructional strategy: academic parent-teacher teams

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Families and schools share the monumental responsibility of educating children. Children and parent-teacher conferences remain the primary means by which parents and teachers share academic information. Given the limited effectiveness

Families and schools share the monumental responsibility of educating children. Children and parent-teacher conferences remain the primary means by which parents and teachers share academic information. Given the limited effectiveness of these conferences, a more compelling alternative for home-school collaboration on academic matters is warranted. The purpose of this action research study was to examine an alternative approach to parent-teacher conferences, Academic Parent Teacher Teams (APTT). APTT is a classroom-based parent involvement model composed of three 75-minute parent-teacher team meetings and an individual 30-minute parent-teacher session. Team meetings are highly structured and include six components: personally inviting parents by the teacher; sharing whole-class and individual student data; setting 60-day academic goals; coaching parents in `teaching' skills; distributing take-home practice materials; and networking. Quantitative data included pre- and post-intervention parent surveys, and pre- and post-intervention student scores on high frequency words and oral reading fluency. Qualitative data included field notes from APTT meetings, pre- and post-intervention teacher reflections, and teacher, parent, and student interviews. Findings from this study supported previous research that suggested most parents have high aspirations for their children's academic success. Findings also indicated parents understood their involvement was important to support academic growth. Increased quality and quantity of parent-teacher communication and interaction improved parents' ability to support student learning at home. Parents increased involvement in children's academics was related to teachers' provision of detailed information and training of parents. Qualitative results showed parents' teaching efforts contributed to students' improvement in reading. To understand this outcome, effectual congruence (EC) was offered as an explanation. EC occurred when parents and teachers agreed on an action plan for student achievement, when there was a mutual commitment to taking specific actions and when each person's role was clearly defined and implemented. EC became the process that supported achievement growth. These results demonstrated that relationships between parents and teachers are complex. Further, when teachers and parents were fully invested in collaboration it produced powerful results for students. This study provided critical information for parents, teachers, administrators and policy makers attempting to implement more effective parent involvement initiatives.

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Date Created
  • 2011

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The effect of a community of practice on English language development teachers

Description

.ABSTRACT The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) empowered a task force to design a new instructional model for English Language Development (ELD) students. The task force created a four-hour, language

.ABSTRACT The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) empowered a task force to design a new instructional model for English Language Development (ELD) students. The task force created a four-hour, language intensive instructional model which required ELD-indentified students to be immersed in grammar, reading, pre-writing, vocabulary and oral English conversation. This model also mandated a specific number of instructional minutes were to be assigned to each of the model's five components. Moreover, these instructional minutes were to be accounted for by ELD teachers as they developed lesson plans to teach these students. To address the substantial professional development requirements entailed by these mandates, Wenger's Community of Practice (CoP) framework was employed. A CoP was formed to assist nine ELD teachers to (a) meet mandates of the instructional model, (b) participate in professional development opportunities to gain language-based instructional strategies, (c) plan lessons together and eventually, (d) allow them to become more efficacious in their abilities to meet and implement the mandated ADE Sheltered English Instruction (SEI) instructional model developed by the ADE task force. Quantitative and qualitative data were gathered throughout the study by means of a pre- and post-questionnaire, audio taping and transcribing CoP sessions and field notes. Findings suggest the CoP served as an effective forum for increasing ELD teachers' sense of efficacy towards becoming an effective ELD teacher. Moreover, the CoP helped increase understanding of the requirements of the instructional model, participate in professional development specific to their needs and collaborate, which was largely responsible for increasing teacher efficacy.

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Date Created
  • 2011