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Grade Level Inclusion Meetings How Dialogue Shapes Teacher Problem and Response Constructions


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GR AD EL EV EL I NC L USI ON TE AM ME ET I NG S: HO W DI AL OG UE SHA PES T EA CH ER P RO B L EM AN D R ESPO NSE CONSTRUCTI ONS By PAMEL A WI L L I AMSON A DI SSER TATI ON PRESENTED TO THE G RADUATE SCHOOL OF T HE UNI VERSI TY OF FL ORI DA I N PARTI AL FUL FI L L MENT OF T HE REQUI REMENTS FOR THE DE GREE OF DOCTOR OF PHI L OSOPHY UNI VERSI TY OF FL ORI DA 2006

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ii ACKNOWL EDGMENTS I wo uld fi rs t li ke to a c kn ow le dg e the fa c ult y a nd le a de rs hip of Ho pe we ll Elementar y Wit hout their contributions, this work would not have be en possible. I would like to thank and ac knowledg e my committee member s for their suppor t and e nc ou ra g e me nt. Dr Jam e s Mc L e sk e y my c ha ir h a s b oth e nc ou ra g e d a nd re dir e c te d my sp ir ite d o pin ion s a bo ut w ha t is jus t a nd fa ir fo r c hil dr e n w ith in o ur e du c a tio na l sy ste m. Dr. Dor ene Ross, my cocha ir, showed me dur ing my underg radua te work w hat g ood te a c hin g loo ks lik e H e r j us tri g htfo rme qu e sti on s o ve r t he y e a rs ha ve e na ble d me to thi nk mor e de e ply a bo ut t e a c hin g a nd my re se a rc h. To Dr E liza be th B on dy I a m de e ply g rate ful for he r invitation to joi n her in he r work a t Hopewe ll Elementary Whether she wa s ta kin g fi ft hg ra de g ir ls t o b e fi tte d f or the ir g ra du a tio n d re sse s o r t uto ri ng a sma ll g ro up of stu de nts in m a th, he r t ir e le ss e ne rg y a nd c a re we re ins pir ing I a lso wa nt t o thank Dr. Ma ry Br ownell for the opportunities she g ave me while working at the Center on Personnel Studies in Special Educa tion. From those experienc es I lear ned much. To my husband, Joe, and my daug hters, Caitlin and J ennife r, words c an neve r re a lly e xpre ss w ha t th e ir su pp or t ha s me a nt t o me T he y a ll m a de my dr e a m th e ir dr e a m, and for that and many other thing s, I will be fore ver g rate ful. To my friend, A nna L ang ford, I am dee ply g rate ful. She ca me out of re tirement afte r only a fe w day s to care fully revie w all my transcr ipts for ac cura cy To my dear fr i en d s an d co l l ea gu es — Dr T ar ch a R en t z Dr Ka re n Ku h el Dr M i rk a K o ro -Lju n gb er g, Dr. Reg ina B ussing, B onnie Sear s, and L isa L ang ley —they have inspire d me and

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iii encour ag ed me throug hout this j ourney Finally I dedica te this work to two women who are not here to celebr ate with me, my g randmother Mae Rog ers, a nd my friend L inda Wil son, the two wisest women I have e ver know n and loved.

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iv TAB L E OF CONTENTS P age A C K N O W L E D G M E N T S ................................................ ii L I S T O F T A B L E S ...................................................... vi A B S T R A C T .......................................................... vii CHAPTER 1 I N T R O D U C T I O N................................................... 1 B a c k g r o u n d o f t h e P r o b l e m ........................................... 5 P u r p o s e o f t h e S t u d y ................................................. 6 S i g n i f i c a n c e o f t h e S t u d y ............................................. 6 D e f i n i t i o n s o f K e y T e r m s ............................................. 7 2 R E V I E W O F T H E L I T E R A T U R E ...................................... 9 E d u c a t i o n a l T e a m s ................................................. 12 C o m m u n i t i e s o f P r a c t i c e ............................................. 37 I m p o r t a n c e o f t h e S t u d y ............................................. 45 3 THEORETI CAL ORI ENTATI ON AND METHODO L OGY . . . . . . . . 48 T h e o r e t i c a l O r i e n t a t i o n .............................................. 49 I nfluenc e of the Theore tical Perspec tive on the Study . . . . . . . . . . . 51 M e t h o d o l o g y ...................................................... 51 S t u d y D e s i g n ...................................................... 56 O v e r v i e w o f t h e D i s s e r t a t i o n ......................................... 71 4 P R O B LE M A N D R E S P O N S E C O N S T R U C T IO N S G E N E R A T E D IN G R A D E L E V E L I N C L U S I O N M E E T I N G S ............................. 72 I n t r o d u c t i o n ....................................................... 72 Ge n er al De s cr i p t i o n o f Inc l u s i o n M ee t i n gs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 73 Student Problems Discussed/Addressed . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76 Re sp on se s/Su g g e sti on s to Ad dr e ss P ro ble ms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85 Sum ma ry of F ind ing s a bo ut P ro ble ms a nd Re sp on se s to Pr ob le ms . . . . . . 95

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v 5 D I S C O U R S E A N A L Y S I S F I N D I N G S ................................. 97 T ea ch er P er ce p t i o n s o f t h e V al u e o f Inc l u s i o n M ee t i n gs . . . . . . . . . . 97 D i s c o u r s e A n a l y s i s ................................................ 104 Summary of Unproduc tive and Productive D ialog ic Strateg ies . . . . . . . 141 6 D I S C U S S I O N A N D I M P L I C A T I O N S ................................. 144 P ro b l em s Ad d re s s ed / De s cr i b ed at I n cl u s i o n M ee t i n gs . . . . . . . . . . 148 R es p o n s es t o P ro b l em s De s cr i b ed / Ad d re s s ed at I n cl u s i o n M ee t i n gs . . . . . 151 E x t e n d i n g E x i s t i n g L i t e r a t u r e ........................................ 162 I m p l i c a t i o n s ...................................................... 169 I m p l i c a t i o n s f o r P r a c t i c e ............................................ 169 I m p l i c a t i o n s f o r R e s e a r c h ........................................... 172 R E F E R E N C E S ....................................................... 174 B I O G R A P H I C A L S K E T C H ............................................. 181

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vi L I ST OF TAB L ES T ab l e p age 3 1 F a c u l t y ’ s y e a r s o f e x p e r i e n c e ......................................... 63 3-2 Summary of students’ disability classifica tion by g rade level . . . . . . . . 63 51 Exc ha ng e ty pe s, sp e e c h f un c tio ns a nd ty pe s o f m od a lit y . . . . . . . . . 108 5-2 Semantic re lations betwee n sentenc es and c lauses . . . . . . . . . . . . 109 5 3 S e c o n d g r a d e i n c l u s i o n t e a m m e e t i n g .................................. 111 5 4 R e s o u r c e i n c l u s i o n t e a m m e e t i n g ..................................... 114 5-5 Success f or all inclusion team mee ting e x cer pt . . . . . . . . . . . . . 119 5 6 T h i r d g r a d e i n c l u s i o n t e a m m e e t i n g ................................... 123 5 7 F i r s t g r a d e i n c l u s i o n t e a m m e e t i n g .................................... 128 5-8 Kinderg arte n inclusion team meeting . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 132 5 9 F o u r t h g r a d e i n c l u s i o n m e e t i n g ...................................... 134 5 1 0 F i f t h g r a d e i n c l u s i o n t e a m m e e t i n g ................................... 138

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vii AB STR AC T Abstrac t of Dissertation Prese nted to the Gra duate School of the Unive rsity of F lorida in Partial Fulf illment of the Requirements for the Deg ree of Doc tor of Philosophy GR AD EL EV EL I NC L USI ON ME ET I NG S: HO W DI AL OG UE SHA PES T EA CH ER P RO B L EM AN D R ESPO NSE CONSTRUCTI ONS B y Pamela Willi amson Aug ust 2006 Chair: J ames McL eskey Coc ha ir : D or e ne Ros s Major De partment: Specia l Education The purpose of this study was to better understand w hat kinds of problems of prac tice ar e pre sented a t gr adelevel inclusion meeting s, and how intera ctions during these mee tings influenc ed proble m and re sponse construc tions. Teams wer e compr ised of g ener al educ ation teac hers, spe cial educ ation teac hers, lea dership tea m members, and other prof essional educ ators. Da ta included ve rbatim transc ripts from eig ht inclusion meeting s and 21 follow-up te ache r interview s. Two data a naly sis methods were use d inc lud ing ind uc tiv e a na ly sis a nd dis c ou rs e a na ly sis Re se a rc h q ue sti on s g uid ing thi s study included the f ollowing: What kinds of problems ar e desc ribed a t inclusion me e tin g s? What kin ds of re sp on se s a re de ve lop e d b y the g ro up in r e sp on se to p ro ble ms prese nted? What value do these me eting s have f or tea cher s? How does dia logue c o n s t r u c t e d d u r i n g i n c l u s i o n m e e t i n g s s h a p e p r o b l e m c o n s t r u c t i o n a n d g r o u p r e s p o n s e s ?

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vii i Two domains of student proble ms emerg ed: problems with ac ademics a nd pr ob le ms w ith be ha vio r. Te a c he rs de sc ri be d tw o ty pe s o f s tud e nts wi th a c a de mic problems: students who worke d hard but we re f ailing to pr og ress a nd students who exhibi ted inconsistent eff ort. Tea cher s descr ibed four kinds of c halleng ing stude nt be ha vio rs inc lud ing a tte nd a nc e pr ob le ms, be ha vio r p ro ble ms w ith a c a de mic pr ob le ms, pe rs ist e nt a nn oy ing sma ll b e ha vio rs a nd a g g re ssi ve be ha vio rs Re sp on se s to the se pr ob le ms f ro m te a ms i nc lud e d r e sp on se s a t th e fa mil y -l e ve l, c la ssr oo mle ve l, a nd sc ho olle ve l. Discourse analy sis revea led two kinds of problem c onstructions: parallel pr oblem constructions in which inclusion meeting participa nts discussing the sa me student constructe d differ ent problems, and c oconstructe d problems in which mee ting participa nts, through moda liz ed exchang es, construc ted the same problem. Responses to problems wer e construc ted in a var iety of wa y s. Unproductive response s were unfocuse d, tense, or g ener ated wa y s to address pr oblems that were inconsistent with the problem itself, wher eas pr oductive re sponses wer e foc used, supportive, and matc hed the pr oblem prese nted by the teac her w ith a concomitant solution. Discourse fe ature s of unproduc tive dialog ues included hig h numbers of asser tive and eva luative statements that we re not modalized, wher eas muc h of the p r o d u c t i v e t a l k d u r i n g i n c l u s i o n m e e t i n g s w a s h i g h l y m o d a l i z e d a n d t e n t a t i v e In addition, unproductive talk c ontained pre mature te rminations of problem and solution c on str uc tio ns w he re a s p ro du c tiv e ta lk b ro ug ht p ro ble ms a nd so lut ion s to log ic a l e nd s. I mplications for pra ctice a nd future r esea rch a re discusse d.

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1 CH APT ER 1 I NTRODUCTI ON The move towa rd including students with disabili ties in ge nera l educa tion c l a s s r o o m s h a s b e e n o n e o f t h e m o r e s i g n i f i c a n t s c h o o l r e f o r m s i n r e c e n t h i s t o r y. Empirical evide nce f rom studies examini ng state-r eporte d data f rom the An nu al R e po rt t o Congress on the Implem entation of the Individuals wit h Disabilit ies Education Act sug g ests that more students with hig h incidence disabiliti es we re pla ced in g ener al educa tion classrooms during the last dec ade tha n in previous y ear s (Danie lson & B e l l a m y, 1 9 8 9 ; K a t s i ya n n i s Z h a n g & A r c h w a m e t y, 2 0 0 2 ; M c L e s k e y, H o p p e y, Wil liamson, & Rentz, 2004; W illiamson, McL eskey Hoppey & Re ntz, 2006). Mandates in the No Child L eft B ehind Act of 2001 (NCL B) (2002), whic h require schools to ensure the a de qu a te y e a rl y pr og re ss ( AY P) of stu de nts a s me a su re d b y sta te a c c ou nta bil ity prog rams, will likely serve to continue trends towa rd inclusive plac ements in reg ular educa tion classrooms into the forese eable future ( Ysseldy ke, Ne lson, & Christenson, 2004). This leave s g ener al educ ation teac hers with the c halleng e of le arning how to meet the ac ademic a nd social nee ds of an incr easing ly diverse g roup of students. Ev ide nc e su g g e sts tha t te a c he rs fi nd it c ha lle ng ing to w or k w ith stu de nts wi th dis a bil iti e s in g e ne ra l e du c a tio n c la ssr oo ms, a s th e y of te n f e e l th e y la c k s pe c if ic knowledg e to do so eff ectively (B ondy & Williamson, 2006; Browne ll, Yeag er, Sindelar vanHove r, & Riley 2004; Chalfant, Py sh, & Moultrie, 1979; Va ug hn, Schumm, J allad, Slu sh e r, & Sa ume ll, 19 96 ). Pr of e ssi on a l de ve lop me nt i s c e rt a inl y a n im po rt a nt v e hic le to

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2 reme dy this perce ived g ap in teac her know ledg e (Mc L eskey & Waldron, 2002) ; howeve r, scholar s have a rg ued that tea cher s need more than short-ter m professional development to mee t the day -to-day challeng es of diver se cla ssrooms. For e x ample, L ittle (2003) ar g ued that “c onditions for teac hing a nd lear ning a re stre ng thened whe n teac hers c ollectively question ineffe ctive tea ching routines, examine new c onceptions of teac hing a nd lear ning, f ind ge nera tive means to ac knowledg e and r espond to diffe renc e and conf lict, and eng ag e ac tively in supporting one another ’s profe ssional gr owth” (p. 913). Similarly Supovitz (2002) a sserted tha t interac tions among small g roups of teac hers ( e.g ., teams) “ will not only maxi miz e their c ollective knowledg e and skills but fac ilitate their curr icular a nd pedag og ical strate g ies and the influe nces of these e ffor ts on stu de nt l e a rn ing ” (p 1 59 2) T hu s, te a ms m a y c re a te on g oin g op po rt un iti e s c on du c ive to teac her le arning and proble m solving (Chalfa nt & Py sh, 1989; Darling Hammond & Sy kes, 1999; L ittle, 2003; P ug ach & J ohnson, 1989; Supovi tz, 2002). Tea ms have long been use d to addre ss problems in educa tion such as re ducing the numbers of students re fer red f or spec ial educa tion services ( Fuc hs, Fuc hs, & B ahr, 1990; Safra n & Saf ran, 1996; Sindelar, G riffin, & Smit h, 1992) and a ddressing the unique needs of culturally and ling uistically diverse stude nts (Har ris, 1995; Hoover & Colli er, 1991). F urther, te ams have also bee n used to support teac her le arning for both pre service or ea rly car eer teac hers ( Br ownell et al., 2004; Sutherland, Sca nlon, & Sper ring 2005) and in-ser vice tea cher s (Eng lert & Roz endal, 2004; L ittle, 2003; S upovitz 2002). Evidence sug g ests that teac hers ha ve strong ly endorse d the use of te ams to assist with inclassroom proble ms (Ba hr, Whitt en, Dieke r, Koc are k, & Ma nson, 1999; Krug er, 1997; K r u g e r S t r u z z i e r o & W a t t s 1 9 9 5 ; S a f r a n & S a f r a n 1 9 9 6 ; S i n d e l a r e t a l 1 9 9 2 ) In a dd iti on to s tr on g ly e nd or sin g the us e of te a ms, a stu dy of 16 1 te a c he r a ssi sta nc e te a ms

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3 re ve a le d th a t te a c he r s a tis fa c tio n w ith c oll a bo ra tiv e pr ob le m so lvi ng wa s r e la te d to teac hers’ perc eived notion that they wer e helping themselves or the ir collea g ues (Kr ug er et al., 1995). This sug g ests that teac hers a pprec iate the oppor tunity to help eac h other. Som e re se a rc h e vid e nc e su g g e sts tha t th e su pp or t te a c he rs re c e ive thr ou g h te a ms may be instrumental to establishing contexts t hat eng ender teac her le arning (B rowne ll et al., 2004; Fr iend & Cook, 2003; Krug er, 1997; Kr ug er e t al., 1995; Safran & Safra n, 1996). B rowne ll and her c olleag ues (2004) found that tea cher participa nts in teache r lear ning c ohorts benef ited from both psy cholog ical and instruc tional support as they wer e lear ning how to teach stude nts with disabili ties. Other studies have sug g ested that socia l support is important (Krug er, 1997; Kr ug er e t al., 1995). Social support ca n be def ined as “the e x tent to which org anizational conditions help facilitate the implementa tion and outcomes of a n innovation” (Kr ug er e t al., 1995, p. 204). Using survey s, Krug er ( 1997) examined the rela tionships between the ty pes of soc ial support teac hers e x perie nced when a sking f or help with cha lleng ing c lassroom dilemmas throug h teac her a ssistance te a ms ( Kr ug e r, 19 97 ). Ev ide nc e su g g e ste d th a t te a c he rs fe lt t he mos t e ff ic a c iou s w ith respe ct to overa ll problem solving and pla nning inclass interve ntions when they perc eived the te ams’ appr ecia tion for the wor th of their ef forts. This sug g ests that eac h team member must feel value d by his or her c olleag ues. Thus, while these studies ide nti fy imp or ta nt c on te xtua l in fo rm a tio n ( i.e ., the kin ds of su pp or ts n e e de d to fa c ili ta te teac her le arning ), they offe r little description of the kinds of lea rning opportunities interac tions among te ache rs af ford. Pe rh a ps mo st i mpo rt a ntl y e vid e nc e su g g e sts tha t w he n te a c he rs pa rt ic ipa te in te a ms t ha t f oc us the ir e ff or ts o n s tud e nt l e a rn ing c ha ng e s in pr a c tic e a nd imp ro ve me nt i n student achie vement do occ ur (Ve scio, Ross, & Ada ms, 2006). Howeve r, evide nce

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4 su g g e sts tha t w he n th e fo c us of te a ms i s n ot o n s tud e nt l e a rn ing s tud e nt a c hie ve me nt i s unaff ecte d (Supovitz 2002). Thus, it is important to ex amine fa ctors that ena ble that kind of fo c us Tea cher s have sug g ested that tea ms offer them chanc es to lear n about teac hing (Snow-Ge rono, 2005). How ever curr ent re sear ch sheds little light on wha t teache rs lear n a nd the kin ds of int e ra c tio ns tha t f a c ili ta te te a c he r l e a rn ing L itt le (2 00 3) se t ou t to examine the contents of the “ black box” (p. 915) of teac her inter actions during team meeting s of hig h school teac hers. Using discourse a naly sis, L ittle described how teac hers repr esente d their cla ssroom prac tice in out-ofclassroom talk. She justified looking at t ea ch er -t o -t ea ch er i n t er ac t i o n s as a m ea n s fo r b et t er u n d er s t an d i n g t ea ch er l ea rn i n g, noting that if the se conte x ts crea te teac her le arning “it oug ht to be evident in the ong oing encounte rs that teac hers ha ve with one a nother” (L ittle, p. 914). Finding s reve aled that lea rning opportunities during meeting s were influence d by (a) the kinds of situations teache rs broug ht to meetings, ( b) the lang uag e tea cher s used to talk about their work, a nd (c) g roup dy namics. Specific ally teac hers use d what L itt le (2 00 3) te rm e d te a c he r s ho rt ha nd to d e sc ri be pr ob le ms. Th us la ng ua g e wa s h ig hly c o n t e x t u a l i z e d l o a d e d w i t h m e a n i n g s t h a t o n l y g r o u p m e m b e r s c o u l d f u l l y a p p r e h e n d In addition, hidden g roup dy namics allowe d some problems to be fully explored, as others wer e pushed a side. This led L ittle to conclude that “the forc e of tra dition and the lure of innovation seem simultaneously and complexly at play in the teac hers’ ever y day talk” (pp. 939-940)

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5 Background of the Pr oblem The No Child L eft B ehind Act of 2001 (2002) manda tes that the per formanc e of a ll s tud e nts wi th d isa bil iti e s b e a sse sse d a g a ins t g e ne ra l e du c a tio n s ta nd a rd s a nd tha t a ll Ti tle 1 s c ho ols me e t A YP f or a ll s ub g ro up s o f s tud e nts in c lud ing stu de nts wi th disabiliti es (U.S. De partment of E ducation [USDE] 2001, 2003). This dissertation study will be conducte d at Hopew ell Elementar y School (a pseudony m), an urba n school located in a medium-sized school district in t he southea stern United States. Students at the school ar e lar g ely Afric an Amer ican ( 98%), with most students qualify ing f or fr ee or reduc ed lunch. Althoug h Hopewe ll Elementary far ed ver y well the last 2 y ear s in meeting state ac countability standards, the school failed to mee t national acc ountability standards of AYP for students with disabili ties as def ined in NCL B. This fa ilure likely spurre d the pr inc ipa l’ s d e c isi on to a ba nd on a ll s e lf -c on ta ine d c la ssr oo ms f or stu de nts wi th disabiliti es in favor of including all students with disabili ties in ge nera l educa tion classrooms. Thus, prof essional deve lopment around the topic of inclusion beca me a n e c e s s i t y. Professional deve lopment effor ts during the 2004-2005 school y ear included a y ear -long rig orous profe ssional development prog ram tailore d to meet the nee ds of H o p e w e l l E l e m e n t a r y t h r o u g h t h e c o l l a b o r a t i o n o f s c h o o l f a c u l t y a n d a n e a r b y u n i v e r s i t y. Ex isting school structur es we re a lso chang ed. F or example, fac ulty meeting s were chang ed to best-pr actice s meeting s where teac hers pr esente d new idea s to colleag ues reg arding what wa s working in their classrooms. I n addition, the school beg an holding g rade -leve l inclusion meetings to discuss problems with individual students. A study at the end of the school y ear reg arding teac her pe rce ptions of school eff orts aimed at including stude nts with disabili ties in ge nera l educa tion classrooms reve aled that tea cher s

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6 wanted mor e opportunities to discuss problems of pra ctice the y wer e experienc ing r elated to inclusion. Thus, during the 20052006 school y ear the y ear of this study the school c on tin ue d te a m in c lus ion me e tin g s to pr ov ide a n o pp or tun ity fo r t e a c he rs to d isc us s problems of pra ctice w ith colleag ues, member s of the school’s le ader ship team, and other profe ssional educa tors. P ur pos e of t he St udy The purpose of this study is to better under stand what kinds of proble ms of prac tice ar e pre sented a t gr adelevel inclusion meeting s, and how intera ctions during these mee tings influenc e tea cher s’ problem a nd response constructions. This study answe rs L ittle’s (2003) ca ll to ex tend her work with hig h school teams to other te aching c on te xts ( i.e ., a n u rb a n, inc lus ive e le me nta ry sc ho ol) Sp e c if ic a lly th is s tud y se e ks to a dd re ss t he fo llo wi ng re se a rc h q ue sti on s: • W h a t k i n d s o f p r o b l e m s a r e d e s c r i b e d a t i n c l u s i o n m e e t i n g s ? • Wha t ki nd s o f r e sp on se s a re de ve lop e d b y the g ro up in r e sp on se to p ro ble ms prese nted? • Wha t va lue do the se me e tin g s h a ve fo r t e a c he rs ? • How does dia logue constructe d during inclusion meeting s shape pr oblem c o n s t r u c t i o n a n d g r o u p r e s p o n s e s ? Sig nific anc e of t he St udy There is a g rea t need f or prof essional deve lopment that enables te ache rs to lear n ho w t o e ff e c tiv e ly wo rk wi th s tud e nts wh o s tr ug g le in c la ssr oo ms. Ma ny sc ho ols e sp e c ia lly tho se se rv ing the ur ba n p oo r, a re un de r i nc re a sin g pr e ssu re s to e ns ur e stu de nts wi th d isa bil iti e s ma ke AY P. T hu s, re se a rc h th a t il lum ina te s h ow thi s is be st a c hie ve d is ne e de d. Ma ny sc ho la rs ha ve su g g e ste d th a t pr of e ssi on a l de ve lop me nt t ha t is e mbe dd e d in the daily routines of tea cher s holds the most promis e (Cochr an-Smith & L y tle, 1999;

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7 Mc L e sk e y & Wal dr on 2 00 2) A lth ou g h th e lit e ra tur e su g g e sts tha t te a ms m a y be we ll equipped f or this kind of profe ssional development, little is known about how the dialog ue of the se mee tings a chieve s these ends ( L ittle, 2003). Specifica lly we know tha t when tea ms focus on student lear ning, stude nt ac h i ev em en t i m p ro v es Ho we v er l es s i s k n o w a b o u t h o w d i al o gu e d u ri n g m ee t i n gs enable s clea r desc riptions of problems of pra ctice so tha t teams ca n g ener ate mea ningf ul int e rv e nti on s f or te a c he rs a nd stu de nts T hu s, re se a rc h th a t il lum ina te s st ra te g ie s to improve the produc tive nature of dialog ue during team mee tings is nee ded. I n the cha pters that follow, I descr ibe the ava ilable literature on teams and c omm un iti e s o f p ra c tic e tha t a re re le va nt t o th is s tud y d e sc ri be the me tho ds us e d to study inclusion team meeting dialog ue, discuss the kinds of proble ms of prac tice and re sp on se s th e se me e tin g c re a te d isc us s th e wa y s in wh ic h d ia log ue sh a pe s b oth the se constructions of pr oblems and re sponses, and discuss the implications of this rese arc h for the pr of e ssi on a l de ve lop me nt o f t e a c he rs De f i n i ti o n s o f Key T er ms Inclusi on Team Mee tings I nclusion team mee tings a re c onceptua liz ed as pr oblem-solving me eting s in which g ra de -l e ve l te a c he rs a lon g wi th s pe c ia l e du c a tio n te a c he rs le a de rs hip te a m me mbe rs and other profe ssional educa tors collabora te to rec ommend next s teps for te ache rs to try wi th s tud e nts wh o a re e xpe ri e nc ing pr ob le ms i n c la ssr oo ms. Leadership T eam Mem bers L eade rship team member s include the princ ipal, behavior resour ce te ache r, curr iculum resourc e tea cher the fine a rts fac ilitator, the g uidance counselor, a nd the rea ding c oach.

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8 Other P rofessional Edu cator s Ot he r p ro fe ssi on a l e du c a tor s in c lud e the sc ho ol p sy c ho log ist th e pr of e sso r i n re sid e nc e fr om a loc a l un ive rs ity a nd oc c a sio na l st a ff me mbe rs fr om t he sc ho ol d ist ri c t.

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9 CH APT ER 2 REV I EW O F TH E L I TE RA TU RE Historically school-base d teams have been use d as an a lternative to tra ditional profe ssional development (Chalf ant et al., 1979; Sindelar e t al., 1992). Specific ally the purpose of teams wa s to discuss students whom teacher s found difficult to teac h and pr ov ide a ssi sta nc e to t e a c he rs T he sp e c ia l e du c a tio n li te ra tur e su g g e sts tha t te a ms evolved a ccor ding to two ve ry differ ent philosophies (Sindelar et a l.). One kind of te am wa s mo de le d a ft e r t he me nta l he a lth c on c e pti on of c on su lta tio n ( Sin de la r e t a l.) T his approa ch wa s based on a conce ption of teac her le arning as knowledg e-f or-pr actice (Cochra n-Smith & L y tle, 1999; Fuchs, F uchs, & Ba hr, 1990; McL eskey & Waldron, 2004), whe re te ache rs wer e taug ht to use expert-deve loped interve ntions for students they we re ha vin g dif fi c ult y te a c hin g T he oth e r b ra nc h o f t e a ms d e ve lop e d a s a kn ow le dg e -i n p r a c t i c e c o n c e p t i o n ( C h a l f a n t e t a l 1 9 7 9 ; C o c h r a n S m i t h & L yt l e 1 9 9 9 ; M c L e s k e y & Wal dr on 2 00 4) T e a ms o f t e a c he rs we re de e me d q ua lif ie d to so lve the ma jor ity of the ir pr e ssi ng c on c e rn s th ro ug h c oll a bo ra tio n w ith the ir pe e rs Wh e n n e e de d, te a ms w ou ld so lic it h e lp f ro m e xpe rt s. Some scholars ha ve continued to a rg ue that prof essional deve lopment for tea cher s must be situated in prac tice (B uy sse, Sparkman, & Wesley 2003; Darling -Ha mmond & McL aug hlin, 1995; McL eskey & Waldron, 2002; Wilson & B erne 1999). F ullan (2001) sug g ested that tea cher s must be prepa red “ on the job for c ontext -base d solutions, which by definition require local proble m solving” ( p. 269). F urther, D arling -Ha mmond and McL aug hlin (1995) ar g ued that “pr ofessional de velopment today also means pr oviding

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10 o cc as i o n s fo r t ea ch er s t o re fl ec t cr i t i ca l l y o n t h ei r p ra ct i ce an d t o fa s h i o n n ew k n o wl ed ge and belief s about content, pe dag og y and lea rner s” (p. 597) This view sug g ests that profe ssional development for teac hers should re flec t a knowledg e-in-pr actice orientation of tea cher lear ning ( CochranSmit h & L y tle, 1999; McL eskey & Waldron, 2004) The knowle dg e-in-pr actice view of te ache r lea rning values the pr actica l knowledg e of te ache rs (Cochr an-Smith & L y tle, 1999). I t sugg ests that “tea cher s learn and bec ome better teac hers throug h experience ref lection on their pra ctice, pa rticipation in collabora tive teac her g roups, inquiry into their experience s in the classroom, the study and discussion of ca ses, and the like” (McL eskey & Waldron, 2004, p.8) Other profe ssional educa tors are viewed a s colleag ues who wor k with teache rs to improve prac tice and ultimately student learning Scholars have sug g ested that c ommuniti es of prac tice provide the context for such tea cher lear ning ( Buy sse et al., 2003; DuF our, 2004; Eng lert & Roz endal, 2004; F rane y 2002; Hollins, McI nty re, D eB ose, Hollins, & Towner 2004; Hunt, 2000; L ouis & Mar ks, 1998; Morris, Chrispeels, & Bur ke, 2003; Snow-Ger ono, 2005; Strahan, Carlone Horn, Da llas, & Ware 2003; Supovit z, 2002; Vesc io et al., 2006) Many fac ets of tea ms have be en we ll resea rche d in the literature including te am eff ectivene ss (Fle ming & Monda-Ama y a, 2001), the eff icac y of pre ref err al interve ntion teams (Saf ran & Safra n, 1996; Sindelar et al., 1992; Welch, B rowne ll, & Sherida n, 1999), the e ffica cy of consultation teams (F uchs, F uchs, & Ba hr, 1990; Fuc hs, Fuc hs, & Gilman, 1990), tea m membership (B urns, 1999; Giang rec o, Edelman, & Nelson, 1999), and fide lity of tea m implementation (Kovaleski, Gickling & Mor row, 1999). H oweve r, only two studies (Knotek, 2003; L ittle, 2003) investiga ted the influenc e of c ollaborative dialog ue during problem-solving meeting s.

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11 L itt le ’s stu dy loo ke d a t th e e ff or ts o f h ig h s c ho ol t e a c he rs wh o w or ke d to g e the r t o discuss pedag og ical proble ms within t heir c lassrooms, such as how to improve fee dback g iven to high sc hool Eng lish students. Knotek (2003) studied the dialog ue of two problem-solving teams loca ted in southern, rur al schools to look for bias inher ent in the talk of tea cher s. Thus, no studies have looked a t how dialog ue during problem-solving me e tin g s sh a pe s p os sib le le a rn ing op po rt un iti e s o f t e a c he rs The purpose of this study is to better under stand what kinds of proble ms of prac tice ar e pre sented a t gr adelevel inclusion meeting s, and how intera ctions during these mee tings influenc e tea cher s’ problem a nd response constructions. Tea cher lear ning throug h teams is bounded in at lea st three wa y s. First, the kinds of proble ms presente d at team mee tings influenc e wha t is discussed. I f par ticular proble ms are ne ver discusse d d u r i n g t e a m m e e t i n g s t h e n t e a c h e r s w i l l n o t b e a b l e t o l e a r n a b o u t t h o s e t h i n g s In addition, the kinds of response s to problems g ener ated by the team membe rs will be l i m i t ed b y wh at t ea m m em b er s k n o w a n d s h ar e. Fi n al l y t h e d i al o gu e o f t h e m ee t i n gs themselves influenc es how lea rning is shaped for participa nts. Certain ideas may be met with resistance while others a re not. Wit h this in m ind, the purpose of this chapter is to re view re levant litera ture on teac her le arning in school-base d teams. I n the first sec tion, lit era ture on tea ms will be revie wed. This includes te am deve lopment and ty pes of tea ms. Next empirica l studies on te a ms w ill be re vie we d to a dd re ss t he fo llo wi ng qu e sti on s: • Wha t ki nd s o f p ro ble ms o f p ra c tic e did te a c he rs a dd re ss d ur ing te a m me e tin g s? • Wha t ki nd s o f r e sp on se s d id t e a ms g e ne ra te to h e lp t e a c he rs wi th t he se pr ob le ms? • Wha t va lue did me e tin g s h a ve fo r t e a c he rs ? • Wha t do stu die s o n te a ms r e ve a l a bo ut t he na tur e of dia log ue wi thi n te a ms?

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12 I n th e se c on d s e c tio n o f t his c ha pte r, I wi ll d isc us s li te ra tur e re la te d to communities of prac tice. Af ter de scribing the cha rac teristics of communities of pra ctice, I will describe the empirica l studies related to the na ture of dia logue in communities of prac tice. Specif ically I will address the influe nce of dialog ue in communities of pra ctice. I conclude this chapter by situating my study in the context of the review ed litera ture. E d u ca ti o n a l T ea ms The c oncept of “tea m” has be en desc ribed in numerous w ay s throug hout the literature Abelson and Woodman (1983) sug g ested that a team wa s “two or more individuals who work and c ommunicate in a c oordinated ma nner in orde r to rea ch an ag ree d upon g oal(s)” (p. 126). F riend a nd Cook (2003) off ere d a def inition of an educa tional team as “ a set of inter depende nt individuals wit h unique skills and pe rs pe c tiv e s w ho int e ra c t di re c tly to a c hie ve the ir mut ua l g oa l of pr ov idi ng stu de nts wi th e ff e c tiv e e du c a tio na l pr og ra ms a nd se rv ic e s” (p 1 24 ). Th us c omm on a ttr ibu te s o f t he se two definitions include the pre sence of two or more people who, thr oug h communication wi th o ne a no the r, wo rk tow a rd a c hie vin g a pa rt ic ula r g oa l. Team Deve lopme nt Te a ms p ro g re ss t hr ou g h d e ve lop me nta l st a g e s a s th e y wo rk tog e the r o n p ro ble ms of pra ctice ( Fr iend & Cook, 1997, 2003). Scholars have sug g ested diff ere nt variations on how teams prog ress de velopmentally Fr iend and Cook (1997, 2003) sug g ested that t ea m s p ro gre s s t h ro u gh fi v e d ev el o p m en t al s t age s : fo rm i n g, s t o rm i n g, n o rm i n g, perf orming and adjour ning. T his sugg ests that the work of teams eve ntually ends (i.e., adjourning ). McF adzean ( 2002) deve loped a model that be tter re prese nts the ong oing na tur e of te a ms.

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13 McF adzean’ s (2002) model sug g ested a five-le vel hiera rchy which included descr iptions of chang es in team a ttention to the task, meeting proce ss, team structure te a m dy na mic s, a nd te a m tr us t a s te a ms p ro g re sse d th ro ug h th e hie ra rc hy L e ve l 1 t e a ms are “conc erne d with ge tting the job done” (p. 464). The se tea ms lack cong ruenc e of g oa ls, wh ic h c a n r e su lt i n te a ms b e ing pu lle d in dif fe re nt d ir e c tio ns ba se d u po n th e g oa ls of individual team member s. L evel 2 tea ms were conce rned w ith the tasks and meeting proce sses. They utiliz e ef ficient proc ess tools such as ag endas or timelines; however, McF adzean ( 2002) ave rre d that strict adher ence to task and proc ess g oals may cre ate a “ tr a de of f b e tw e e n ti me a nd de pth of a na ly sis /di sc us sio n” (p 4 65 ). Th us le ve l 2 t e a ms ma y re a c h s up e rf ic ia l c on c lus ion s o r d e c isi on s. L evel 3 tea ms attend to task, proce ss, and g roup cha rac teristics. Specifica lly they understand the need to ha ve individuals prese nt to provide appropr iate skills, knowledg e, expertise, and experienc e to ac complish requisite tasks. L evel 4 tea ms attend to these and also g roup dy namics. Some evidenc e sug g ests that “g roup member s tend to be more satisfied with their output if there is equality in participation . if eve ry member of the te a m is a llo we d to pa rt ic ipa te in t he pr oc e ss” (M c F a dze a n, 20 02 p 4 65 ). Th us le ve l 4 te a ms t e nd to e ns ur e tha t a ll m e mbe rs pa rt ic ipa te e ve n if thi s r e su lts in c on fl ic t. McF adzean notes tha t conflict ca n be produc tive, if “it is undertake n in a positive and c on str uc tiv e ma nn e r” (p 4 65 ). L e ve l 4 t e a ms t e nd to g e ne ra te c on tin uo us imp ro ve me nts in terms of proc ess. As problems a rise, solutions are ne g otiated. The diff ere nce be tween le vel 4 teams a nd level 5 tea ms is trust. Trust enables team member s to ex press their ide as or opinions without fear of ridicule ( McF adzean, 2002). Trust may enhanc e the possibility that novel appr oache s might be e mbrac ed and tried. F urther, Mc Fa dzean envisioned leve l 5 teams as committed to their own

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14 profe ssional gr owth and that of the ir collea g ues, an ide a sug g ested by many scholars (Cochra n-Smith & L y tle, 1999; Pugac h & Johnson, 1995). Thus, level 5 tea ms may be more a dept at g ener ating new stra teg ies and solving complex problems (McFa dzean, 2002). McF adzean’ s (2002) model of pr oblem solving tea ms sugg ests cre ativity can “ be e xpre sse d a s a c on tin uu m” (p 4 71 ), ra ng ing fr om i de a s th a t pr e se rv e e xistin g pa ra dig ms, stretch e x isting par adig ms, or brea k para digms. When par adig ms are pr eser ved, the boundarie s of the proble m do not chang e. Thus, proble ms may be examined in deepe r way s but not differe nt way s. When paradig ms are stre tched, the bounda ries of the problem-solving space are widened thus c rea ting oppor tunities for more va ried proble m solving stra teg ies. Fina lly when pa radig ms are br oken, ther e ar e no boundar ies for solving the pr oblem. T y p es o f T ea ms F ri e nd a nd Coo k ( 20 03 ) d e sc ri be d th re e ty pe s o f t e a ms f ou nd in s c ho ols re la te d to stu de nt p e rf or ma nc e in c lud ing (a ) s pe c ia l e du c a tio n te a ms, (b ) s e rv ic e de liv e ry te a ms, and (c ) problemsolving tea ms. The use of spe cial educ ation teams is mandated in the I ndividuals with Disabilit ies Educa tion Act (I DEA) ( Fr iend & Cook, 2003). Student stu dy te a ms e xist f or the pu rp os e s o f d e te rm ini ng wh e the r s pe c ia l e du c a tio n p la c e me nt i s wa rr a nte d f or re fe rr e d s tud e nts a nd ma na g ing tha t pl a c e me nt i f i t is T he se te a ms ty pically include the input of pa rents and stude nts. Thus, lit era ture re lated to these kinds of tea ms will be ex cluded f rom this review. Se rv ic e de liv e ry te a ms “ e xist to pla n a nd de liv e r e du c a tio n a nd re la te d s e rv ic e s to students” (F riend & Cook, 2003, p. 136). Ex amples of se rvice delivery teams include cotea ching teams, conte nt teaching teams, and g rade -leve l teams. Gra de-le vel teams, a s

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15 Fr iend and Cook (2003) noted, have “not re ceive d wide attention in the prof essional literature ” (p. 136) even thoug h these g roups foc us on many important aspec ts of te a c hin g su c h a s p la nn ing c ur ri c ulu m, b ud g e ts, a nd sc he du lin g I n p ra c tic e th e se meeting s often ser ve as a conduit for disseminating information, which may acc ount for the pauc ity of literatur e re lated to the study of g rade -leve l teams. Scholars ha ve sug g ested that g rade -leve l teams may have the capa city to study problems of pra ctice, particula rly when multiple team member s share the same students (F riend & Cook, 2003; Mo rr is e t a l., 20 03 ). Un lik e g ra de -l e ve l te a ms, pr ob le mso lvi ng te a ms a re wi de ly c ite d in the profe ssional literature. P r obl e m so lvi ng t e am s. Sindelar and his collea g ues (1992) noted that two differ ent team pr oblem-solving mode ls emerg ed for “diffic ult-to-teac h students in reg ular classrooms” ( p. 246): consultation models that routinely include spec ialists (e.g ., school psy cholog ists, special educ ation teac hers, spe echlang uag e patholog ists) as part of the te a m, a nd te a c he r a ssi sta nc e mod e ls t ha t e mph a size te a c he rs ’ o wn e rs hip of pr ob le ms inviting spec ialists to j oin ge nera l educa tion teache rs only as nee ded (Chalf ant et al., 1979; Safran & Safra n, 1996; Sindelar et al., 1992). I n addition to differe nces in tea m membership, these two ty pes of pr oblem-solving te ams diffe r g rea tly in underly ing a ssu mpt ion s. Consultation m odels are ref err ed to in the literature by many names including pr e re fe rr a l te a ms, int e rv e nti on a ssi sta nc e te a ms, fu nc tio na l be ha vio r a sse ssm e nt t e a ms, and mainstrea m assistance te ams. I nitially the primary purpose be hind these tea ms was to reduc e the number s of inappropr iate re fer rals for specia l educa tion services ( Fr iend & Cook, 2003; S afr an & Safra n, 1996); howeve r, the role of these te ams was late r expanded to i nc lud e e du c a tio na l se rv ic e de liv e ry (F ri e nd & Coo k, 20 03 ). Mo st c on su lta tio n mo de ls

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16 wer e cr eate d with the assumption that all resourc es ava ilable to schools should be broug ht to bear on solving student problems in classrooms (F riend & Cook, 2003). Perhaps most importantly an under ly ing a ssumption of these models is that factors within students cause proble ms in ge nera l educa tion classrooms, and that tea cher s need the a ssi sta nc e of e xpe rt s to sh ow the m ho w t o me dia te tho se pr ob le ms. Th us p ro ble msolving e ffor ts may be aimed a t fix ing the child more than f ix ing the environment for the child. Te ac he r as sis ta nc e te am m ode ls. Tea cher assistance teams we re c onceive d of as an alter native to traditional prof essional deve lopment (Chalfant & Py sh, 1989; Chalfant et al., 1979; Sindelar e t al., 1992). The g oal of tea cher assistance teams wa s to provide classroom tea cher s with help solving proble ms of prac tice to better meet the ne eds of students who wer e strug g ling. Te ams wer e desig ned to be a forum “w here classroom teac hers c an mee t and eng ag e in a positive, produc tive, collabora tive problem-solving pr oc e ss t o h e lp s tud e nts ” by he lpi ng the ir te a c he rs (C ha lf a nt & Py sh 1 98 9, p. 50 ). Te a ms emphasized teac her initiative, ac countability communication, and e ffe ctive dec ision making throug h collabora tive g roup problem solving (Sindelar e t al., 1992). Although both of these models diffe r sig nificantly in their approa ches to solving problems of pra ctice, the ir g ener al aims wer e the sa me. That is, teac hers br oug ht forwa rd their most pressing problems with particula r students, and tea ms made re commendations to m e dia te tho se pr ob le ms. Wha t f oll ow s is a re vie w o f t he e mpi ri c a l e vid e nc e fr om b oth kinds of teams re g arding the kinds of problems tea cher s broug ht to team meeting s and the kinds of re sponses and interve ntions that resulted. I n addition, available e vidence of the value of these mee tings for teac hers is re viewed. F inally empirica l evidence rela ted to dialogue in team meeting s is ex plored.

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17 W h a t E mp i ri ca l S tu d i es T el l Us a b o u t T ea ms Using multipl e data bases ( i.e., Aca demic Sear ch Premier Psy cI nfo, F irst Searc h, Wils on Web ) a nd se a rc h te rm s ( i.e ., te a c he r a ssi sta nc e te a ms, pr e re fe rr a l a ssi sta nc e te a ms, mainstream a ssistance tea ms, intervention assistance teams, problem solving teams) 87 article s, books, and dissertations wer e loca ted. Model desc riptions, thought piece s, and other wor k deeme d not to be empirica l were excluded, as we re a rticles published ea rlier than 1985. Fur ther, studies we re inc luded in this review only if they repor ted information about the kinds of proble ms teache rs pre sented, the kinds of r esponses or inter ventions r e c o m m e n d e d b y t e a m s o r i f t h e y r e p o r t e d o n t h e v a l u e o f t e a m m e e t i n g s t o t e a c h e r s In addition, articles we re inc luded if they descr ibed the influenc e of dia logue during team meeting s. The e x ception to this was a c ompilation of prog ram e ffe ctiveness infor mation on teac her a ssistance tea ms. Although da ta included in this study wer e not collec ted as pa rt of a c on tr oll e d r e se a rc h d e sig n s tud y (C ha lf a nt & Py sh 1 98 9) Si nd e la r a nd his colleag ues (1992) deter mined that the scope of this work wa s sufficient to wa rra nt inclusion in their literature r eview. F urther, this pape r re ported de tails related to the f ocus of this literature r eview. T hus, this st udy is included in this review. Summaries of the re maining 13 studies a re pr esente d in Table 2-1. Six of the 13 stu die s a re ba se d u po n s ur ve y s o r q ue sti on na ir e s, 4 a re mixe d me tho ds stu die s, a nd 3 u se qualitative methodolog ies. I n addition, all studies but one (i.e., Chalfa nt & Psy ch, 1989) wer e investig ations of the consultative pr oblem-solving te am model. What follows are de sc ri pti on s o f r e le va nt s tud ie s. Th is s e c tio n c on c lud e s w ith a su mma ry of wh a t th e se stu die s su g g e st a bo ut t he us e of te a ms f or so lvi ng pr ob le ms i n s c ho ols

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18Table 2-1.Summary of team literature Author(s)PurposeMethod ParticipantsResults related to literature review questions Bahr et al. (1999) Examine the impact of varying state mandates. Survey680 professionals from 121 intervention teams Respondents strongly endorsed teams as an effective service delivery model. Team follow-up was considered adequate. Chalfant & Pysh (1989) To compile evidence on the implementation of teacher assistance teams. Survey96 first year teacher assistance teams in five states Number of goals per student ranged from 2 to 4.9. 57% of the goals (n = 720) were related to non-academic problems including work habits, classroom behaviors, interpersonal behavior and attention. 22% of the goals (n = 275) were related to academics including interventions written for reading, printing and writing, arithmetic, and spelling. 88% of teachers comments were positive (n = 351) including comments that useful strategies were recommended, moral support of colleagues, student behaviors improved as a result of interventions, facilitation of faculty communication, improvement of skill in understanding classroom problems, expedition of special education placement. 12% of teachers comments were negative and included problems with time, failure to generate useful strategies, interference with special education referral process, lack of faculty readiness to initiate a team, little or no impact on student performance/behavior, too much paperwork, and role confusion.

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Table 2-1. Continued. Author(s)PurposeMethod ParticipantsResults related to literature review questions1919Eidle (1998)Determine emphasis of the use of prereferral intervention at the secondary level. Mixed methods 2 secondary level child study teams Team goals were unclear. Teams displayed limited use of problem-solving. High frequency of external interventions recommended by teams. Limited preventive functioning. Eidle, Truscott, & Meyers (1998) Examined the extent to which child study teams addressed behavioral/socialemotional referral issues Qualitative 4 prereferral intervention teams 14 team members 15 nonteam member teachers Students were referred for academic difficulties, socialemotional behaviors, poor peer relations, attendance/truancy, family issues, attending/focusing, suspected special education needs, physical concerns, community issues, drug use. Interventions recommended included parent contact, meet with student, collect more information, classroom/behavior modifications, in-school social programs, meet with teacher, provide a case manager, tutoring/remedial assistance, psychoeducational testing, retention, in-school counseling, refer to special education, refer to court system, refer to physician.

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Table 2-1. Continued. Author(s)PurposeMethod ParticipantsResults related to literature review questions2020Harrington & Gibson (1986) Examined teacher perceptions of preassessment teams Survey41 teachers who referred students with learning disabilities Teachers did not think recommendations were successful in addressing the problem referred. Teachers had mixed reactions as to whether teams provided new intervention ideas or whether teams explored a sufficient variety of intervention options. Teachers tried most of modifications recommended by teams prior to making team referrals (i.e., the 5 most frequently reported modifications by teachers before meetings included adapting materials, alternative teaching approaches, behavior management, alternate instructional materials used, and seating changes. Team recommended modifications included adapting materials, alternate instructional materials, behavior management techniques, remedial reading, and alternative teaching approaches). Teachers wanted help developing modifications they already selected.

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Table 2-1. Continued. Author(s)PurposeMethod ParticipantsResults related to literature review questions2121Knotek (2003)Investigated how social processes in the context of multidisciplinary teams inhibited teams thorough and unbiased discussion of African American students psychoeducational functioning Microethnography 2 rural schools with 4 to 8 professionals (African American and White) including teachers, administrators, counselors, and psychologists. The locus of described problems was within children. High-status members (i.e., principal and those with specialized degrees) swayed discussion at the problem conception level. If the student presented with behavior problems, interventions were designed to document rather than correct behaviors. Further, academics were never considered to be the antecedent of behaviors. If students were from poor families, students tended to be referred for after-school tutoring and special education services. Kruger (1997)Investigated the relationship between social support and selfefficacy in problems solving Survey27 teacher assistance teams in elementary schools including 125 team members and 129 teachers who made referrals Team members perceptions that their skills and abilities were appreciated by co-workers were more important than the perception they could depend on co-workers for help. Strong link between reassurance of worth and efficacy in planning and evaluating interventions for students with behavior problems.

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Table 2-1. Continued. Author(s)PurposeMethod ParticipantsResults related to literature review questions2222Kruger & Struzziero (1995) Investigated the relationship between organizational support and satisfaction with collaborative problem-solving teams Survey27 teacher assistance teams in elementary schools including 161 team members and 127 teachers who made referrals Team satisfaction was related to positive feedback from teachers that recommendations were helping and administrative support for release time to work with teams. Meyers et al. (1996) Described typical procedures and collaborative problem-solving processes used by prereferral intervention teams Mixed methods 134 survey respondents including 62 team members and 72 referring teachers 91 interviews including 57 team members and 34 referring teachers Students were referred to teams for academic problems (primarily reading difficulties), learning problems (organizational skills, language skills), behavioral problems (acting out, negative attitude, self-destructive behaviors), family problems (lack of support, poor attendance, chaotic home life) Recommendations made by teams were focused on outof-classroom issues, including special education placement, resource room placement, counseling, speech and language intervention, family intervention.

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Table 2-1. Continued. Author(s)PurposeMethod ParticipantsResults related to literature review questions2323Team process problems included insufficient development of the problem, lack of data to make decisions, no clear action plan for each case Teachers felt they were not adequately involved, were not respected, interventions were difficult to implement. Pobst (2001)Explored how teachers perceived the prereferral intervention process Mixed methods Survey of 154 teachers 30 teachers interviewed Teachers were involved in presenting their case. Interventions developed by teams were poor and inadequate in mitigating problems. Teachers were not taught prerequisite knowledge to implement recommendations properly. Teams were perceived as gatekeepers, not sources of professional development for teachers. Rankin & Aksamit (1994) Investigated perceptions of student assistance teams by school personnel Mixed methods 563 educators including 46 building coordinators, 219 team members, 298 general educators Teachers at the secondary levels were less satisfied with teacher assistance teams than were elementary teachers. Teachers were satisfied based upon their comfort referring students, support they felt, and the degree to which they implemented team suggestions.

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Table 2-1. Continued. Author(s)PurposeMethod ParticipantsResults related to literature review questions 2424Rubinson (2002) Investigated implementation of interdisciplinary planning teams in urban high schools designed to support students at risk for failure Qualitative12 high school teams Teams fluctuated over time from 62 in year 1 to 117 by year 3. Teams were composed of counselors, administrators, school psychologists, social workers, special education teachers, and paraprofessionals. Teams that evolved into direct intervention groups suggested solutions such as counseling, remedial programs, parent and student conferencing, and placements in alternative schools. Some team members became mentors for troubled students. Another team provided in-class counseling sessions in a classroom where experienced teachers were having difficulty with discipline. Direct intervention teams attributed problems to withinchild etiology. Truscott et al. (2005) Described state departments of educations position on prereferral intervention teams and determined the prevalence and workings of existing teams in elementary schools SurveysState educational department officials (n = 51) 4 randomly selected elementary school educators per state Teacher goals included helping classroom teachers, matching student skill level with instructional strategies, preventing problems in future students, and improving instruction. Common interventions recommended by teams included academic interventions (decrease amount of work, oneon-one instruction, change curriculum), changes in classroom structure (seat changes), and interdisciplinary support (counseling, remedial programs).

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25 K inds of pr obl e m s r e por te d t o t e am s. Three studies reve aled infor mation about the kin ds of pr ob le ms t e a c he rs wa nte d a ssi sta nc e wi th i n th e ir c la ssr oo ms ( Cha lf a nt & Py sh, 1989; Eidle, Truscott, & Mey ers, 1998; Mey ers, Va lentino, Mey ers, B oretti, & B re nt, 19 96 ). Us ing de sc ri pti ve inf or ma tio n g a the re d a s p a rt of the mon ito ri ng pr oc e ss for tea cher assistance teams, Chalfa nt and Py sh (1989) c ompiled data fr om 96 first-y ear teac her a ssistance tea ms located throug hout the United States. Althoug h kinds of problems broug ht to meetings by teac hers we re not spec ifically repor ted, the author s noted that the kinds of student problems tea ms were desig ned to addr ess included lear ning a nd behavior difficulties, including students who might be de scribed a s having poor work ha bits; social, conduct, and be havior proble ms; low selfestee m; slow learning rate s; poor motivation; l ang uag e proble ms; inefficient lear ning sty les; experiential depriva tion; or a mismatch betwee n the cur riculum and the individual’s sty le. (p. 49) Tw o in ve sti g a tio ns c oll e c te d e vid e nc e on the kin ds of pr ob le ms t e a c he rs c ite d in ref err als to problem-solving teams (Eidle e t al., 1998; Mey ers e t al., 1996). Eidle and he r c oll e a g ue s ( 19 98 ) i nv e sti g a te d e le me nta ry a nd se c on da ry c hil d s tud y te a ms i n a sma ll urban district with pre dominately white, middle class students. They identified two pr ima ry re a so ns te a c he rs ma de re fe rr a ls t o te a ms i nc lud ing so c ioe mot ion a l pr ob le ms, which contr ibuted approximately 40% of the r efe rra ls, and ac ademic pr oblems, which contributed a nother 50% of all ref err als. Remaining ref err als wer e re lated to nondesc ript fa mil y iss ue s. Although the majority of re fer rals we re f or ac ademic c oncer ns, Eidle and her c oll e a g ue s ( 19 98 ) w e re int e re ste d in so c ioe mot ion a l c on c e rn s, a nd thu s r e po rt e d o nly details about the na ture of those ref err als. Refe rra ls for ele mentary students included conce rns about pee r re lations and attending /focusing wher eas c oncer ns for sec ondary students included drug use/abuse a nd community delinquency issues.

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26 Mey ers a nd her c olleag ues (1996) investiga ted the implementation of pre ref err al te a ms i n a la rg e u rb a n s c ho ol d ist ri c t, w hic h s e rv e d a mul tie thn ic po pu la tio n o f s tud e nts including la rg e propor tions of students from Hispanic, Af rica n Americ an, white, Caribbea n, easte rn Europe an, and A sian cultures. The socioec onomic status (SES) of students rang ed fr om low SES to middle class. Tea cher s made re fer rals to teams for conce rns, such a s difficulties with aca demics (e specia lly rea ding) lear ning (org anizational skill s, lang uag e skills), behaviora l issues (acting out, neg ative attitude, se lf -d e str uc tiv e be ha vio rs ), a nd fa mil y iss ue s ( la c k o f s up po rt p oo r a tte nd a nc e c ha oti c home situation). Of these studies, only Mey ers a nd her c olleag ues (1996) repor ted about how students were descr ibed during team mee tings. De scriptions of students included prior school rec ords, g rade s and scor es on ac ademic a ssessments, and interve ntions that were attempted by teac hers pr ior to ref err als. Acc ording to resea rche rs, problem de scriptions ba se d u po n th e se da ta we re of te n la c kin g Sp e c if ic a lly p ro ble m de sc ri pti on s r a re ly included cla ssroom data; abse nt were teac her de scriptions and per ceptions of student problems. Resea rche rs sug g ested that “ this inhi bited the problem-de finition stage of the collabora tion process” (Mey ers e t al., 1996, p. 140). K inds of int e r ve nt ion s su gg e st e d by t e am s. The majority of studies that repor ted kinds of interve ntions recommende d by teams we re inve stiga tions of prere fer ral teams. The pur pose of pr ere fer ral tea ms was to provide a ssistance to tea cher s so that students were better se rved a nd inappropria te re fer rals to spec ial educa tion were reduc ed (Trusc ott, Cohen, Sams, S anborn, & Fr ank, 2005). Ma ny investiga tors repor ted that the majority of re commendations made by teams we re e x terna l to classrooms (Eidle, 1998; Mey ers e t al., 1996; Truscott et al., 2005) a nd focuse d on problems conc eived of as being

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27 within the student, rather than a mismatch of instruc tion to st udent nee ds (Knotek, 2003; Rubinson, 2002; Truscott et al., 2005). Eig ht studies reported e x terna l classroom interventions, including rec ommendations for a dditional special educ ation service s (Eidle et a l., 1998; Mey ers e t al., 1996; Pobst 2001; Truscott et al., 2005), soc ioemotional service s such as c ounseling and mentoring (Mey ers e t al., 1996; Rubinson, 2002), fa mily interventions (Mey ers e t al., 1996; Rubinson, 2002), and remedia l prog rams (Rubinson, 2002). Eidle (1998) use d mix ed methods to deve lop what she ter med a thoroug h needs assessment of two se condar y prer efe rra l teams. She examined school rec ords of re fer red students, interviewe d team and nonte am member s, observe d team mee tings, a nd su rv e y e d th e e nti re fa c ult y of bo th s c ho ols F ind ing s f ro m th is s tud y su g g e ste d th a t te a ms wer e re commending many more e x terna l interventions than in-cla ssroom interventions. I n another study Eidle and he r collea g ues (1998) examined the possibili ty for teams to be used to pr event student proble ms. They collecte d data f rom survey s and observa tions of team meeting s and cla ssified rec ommended interve ntions int o two g ro up s: i nte rv e nti on s th a t w e re fo c us e d o n “ tr e a tin g ” (p 2 10 ) s pe c if ic dis or de rs a nd e a rl y interventions aimed a t ensuring problems did not become w orse. Tr eating interventions wer e primar ily external to classrooms (i.e., r efe rra l for spec ial educa tion, counseling and court involvement), w here as ea rly interventions included c lassroom beha vior modifications and mee ting with tea cher s, but also a hig h number of e x terna l strateg ies su c h a s u sin g insc ho ol s oc ia l pr og ra ms, tut or ing or re me dia l se rv ic e s, a nd oth e r i nho us e psy choeduc ational testing Both tre atment interve ntions and ear ly interventions wer e predominate ly external to classrooms, and thus unlikely to provide assistance to teache rs with day -to-day problems.

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28 Rubinson (2002) studied the implementation of problem-solving teams in urban high sc hools. Direct inter vention teams, the most preva lent ty pe of te am that emer g ed, “provide d a venue for discussion of pr oblem students that resulted in solutions such as counseling reme dial prog rams, par ent and student c onfer encing and alter native place ments in other schools” ( Rubinson, p. 198). I n addition, she repor ted re c omm e nd a tio ns fo r “ no ve l” (p 1 98 ) i nte rv e nti on s in c lud ing me nto ri ng stu de nts deeme d at-risk a nd push-in counseling sessions in a classroom with a lot of c halleng ing behavior s. Us ing su rv e y s a nd int e rv ie ws M e y e rs a nd he r c oll e a g ue s ( 19 96 ) w a nte d to provide de scriptions of ty pical proc edure s and collabor ative proble m-solving pr ocesse s used by prer efe rra l intervention teams in urba n schools. Recommenda tions included specia l educa tion placement c hang es, counse ling, spe ech a nd lang uag e interve ntions, and family interventions. I n addition, teams rec ommended students spend time in resour ce rooms without placement c hang es. Resea rche rs conc luded that “de spite the stated g oal that these tea ms could help preve nt problems associate d with special e ducation, most of the observe d rec ommendations were not desig ned to improve c lassroom instruction for the child” ( p. 140). Pobst (2001) re ache d simil ar c onclusions in her study of urba n educa tors. I n addition to Eidle et al. (1998) r eporting that teams re commended the use of classroom be havior modifica tion, two studi es re ported in-c lassroom interventions including the use of a cade mic acc ommodations (Truscott et al., 2005), a nd the use of g oals rela ted to encour ag ing pr oductive cla ssroom behaviors ( Chalfant & Py sh, 1989). Truscott and his collea g ues (2005) survey ed 200 educ ational profe ssionals in elementary schools (i.e., 4 e lementar y school educ ational profe ssionals per state) to determine the

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29 kin ds of re c omm e nd a tio ns ma de to t e a c he rs by pr e re fe rr a l in te rv e nti on te a ms t o a ssi st students with difficulties in classrooms. The most fre quent kinds of interve ntions repor ted wer e out-ofclassroom interve ntions including re quests for a dditional special e d u c a t i o n s e r v i c e s a n d s p e c i a l e d u c a t i o n t e s t i n g A l t h o u g h s u g g e s t e d l e s s f r e q u e n t l y, in-classroom inter ventions included dec rea sing the amount of work e x pecte d, one-onone instruction, and cha ng es to curr iculum. I n addition, teams repor ted sug g esting teac hers chang e sea ting a rra ng ements in classrooms. Thus, these rese arc hers c oncluded that rec ommendations seldom reque sted substantive instructional modifications from teac hers. Chalfant and Py sh (1989) re ported on their w ork with 96 first-y ear teac her assistance teams. These teac herled teams wr ote g oals to match problems pre sented by teac hers. The number of g oals per stude nt rang ed fr om 2 to 4.9, with more than half of a ll g oa ls b e ing wr itt e n to a dd re ss n on a c a de mic be ha vio rs s uc h a s w or k h a bit s (i.e., c ompleting a ssignments on time, working independe ntly making an ef fort to do the work, following direc tions, orga nizi ng work, incr easing the ra te of wor k). Around a fo ur th o f t he g oa ls w e re wr itt e n f or c la ssr oo m be ha vio rs w ith sma lle r n umb e rs of g oa ls written for interper sonal beha viors, and attention proble ms. I nterve ntions were de signe d to primarily take plac e in classr ooms. Te ac he r pe r c e pt ion s o f the va lue of t e am s. Empirical evide nce f rom rese arc h done on tea ms sugg ests there are benef its and problems associa ted with the work of teams. Some studies reve aled that tea cher s endorse d the use of te ams for a ddressing problems of pra ctice ( Ba hr et a l., 1999; Chalfant & Py sh, 1989; Krug er, 1997; Kr ug er e t al., 1995; Rankin & A ksamit, 1994). Fa ctors positively associate d with the endorse ment of tea ms for problem solving included support for teac hers a nd intervention

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30 eff ectivene ss. Additional evidence sug g ested that proble ms associated w ith team-base d approa ches inc luded conc erns r elated to time and la ck of input fr om refe rring teac hers (E idl e 1 99 8; H a rr ing ton & Gi bs on 1 98 6; K no te k, 20 03 ; Me y e rs e t a l., 19 96 ; Po bs t, 2001; Rubinson, 2002). I n addition, teache rs cited pr oblems with the utili ty of rec ommendations for interve ntion (Harr ington & Gibson, 1986; Mey ers e t al., 1996; Pobst, 2001; Rubinson, 2002; Truscott et al., 2005). Support and intervention ef fec tiveness wer e cited a s rea sons teache rs endor sed the use of te ams. Studies sugg ested that support include d many things, such a s colleg ial support, org anizational support, administrative support, and support for lear ning. F or example, resea rche rs re ported that tea cher participa nts in 96 first-y ear teac her a ssistance teams value d the moral support of c olleag ues, and sug g ested that fe eling s of support wer e linked to improved fa culty communication, as we ll as profe ssional development of skills for problem solving ( Chalfant & Py sh, 1989). Rankin and Aksa mit (1994) found tha t te a c he rs we re c omf or ta ble re fe rr ing stu de nts to p ro ble mso lvi ng te a ms a nd fe lt supported in their wor k with students by team collea g ues. Krug er a nd his colleag ues (1995) investiga ted the role of org anizational support in relationship to teache r assistance team satisfa ction. Org anizational support is the e x t e n t t o w h i c h o r g a n i z a t i o n s a r e s u p p o r t i v e a n d r e a d y f o r i n n o v a t i o n s In t h i s s t u d y, org anizational support included administrative support, socia l support, support for perc eived pur poses, and tra ining ( i.e., for w ork on tea cher assistance teams). The y survey ed 125 member s of teac her a ssistance tea ms along with 129 ge nera l educa tion te a c he rs wh o ma de re fe rr a ls t o te a ms. F ind ing s su g g e ste d th a t or g a niza tio na l su pp or t, p a r t i c u l a r l y f r o m a d m i n i s t r a t o r s w a s r e l a t e d t o o v e r a l l t e a m s a t i s f a c t i o n S p e c i f i c a l l y, po sit ive fe e db a c k f ro m a dmi nis tr a tor s, a s w e ll a s r e c e ivi ng re le a se tim e fo r m e e tin g s, wa s d e e me d im po rt a nt.

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31 I n a follow up study Krug er ( 1997) investig ated the r elationship betwee n or g a niza tio na l su pp or t a nd sa tis fa c tio n w ith c oll a bo ra tiv e pr ob le m so lvi ng te a ms. I n th is study he found tha t team member s wanted to be perc eived a s being helpful, which he int e rp re te d a s a ff ir min g se lf -w or th. He fo un d th a t r e a ssu ra nc e of wo rt h w a s r e la te d to teams’ e ffica cy in planning a nd evalua ting inter ventions for students with beha vior problems. Thus, when te ams wer e supported by administration and thoug ht of as being helpful to collea g ues, tea ms were more e ffica cious and a ble to provide he lpful interventions for stude nts and teac hers. Som e inv e sti g a tio ns re ve a le d th a t te a m su g g e sti on s f or int e rv e nti on s to a dd re ss problems wer e helpf ul. Ba hr and his collea g ues (1999) investiga ted the pra ctices of school-base d intervention tea ms in the midwest and found that tea cher s were satisfied with interventions develope d by teams. Chalfa nt and Py sh (1989) re ported a simil ar fi nd ing I n a dd iti on e vid e nc e fr om t he ir stu dy su g g e ste d th a t in te rv e nti on s le d to improvements in student perf ormanc e with the majority of interve ntions being de emed “succ essful” ( p. 52) by teac hers ( i.e., 133 of 200 students helpe d within the building). P r o b l e m s w i t h t e a m p r o b l e m s o l v i n g a p p r o a c h e s w e r e a l s o r e p o r t e d S p e c i f i c a l l y, team member s repor ted conc erns r elated to time and la ck of input fr om refe rring teac hers, whe rea s ref err ing te ache rs cited pr oblems with the utili ty of re commendations for inter vention. Some participants in first-y ear problem solving te ams repor ted that there was insuffic ient time for tea m meeting s and intera ction (Chalfa nt & Py sh, 1989). Mey ers and her colleag ues (1996) had similar finding s. They sug g ested that this resulted in too many case s being prese nted at mee tings a nd led them to conclude that “most teams spent too lit tle tim e on the pr ob le mde fi nit ion sta g e a nd in ste a d, c ho se to r us h in to rec ommendations prematur ely ” (Me y ers e t al., p. 137).

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32 Another r elated c oncer n was that interve ntions developed by teams we re not useful to teac hers. Some proble m-solving tea ms ge nera ted interve ntions that had litt le or no impact on student perf ormanc e (Chalf ant & Py sh, 1989; Harr ington & Gibson, 1986). Ha rr ing ton a nd Gi bs on (1 98 6) re po rt e d th a t th e kin ds of int e rv e nti on s su g g e ste d b y te a ms wer e ver y simil ar to wha t teache rs had trie d befor e coming to teams for a ssistance. F or e xamp le th e mos t f re qu e nt m od if ic a tio ns re c omm e nd e d f or us e wi th s tr ug g lin g stu de nts by both teache rs and tea ms included ada pting mate rials, using alterna te instructional ma te ri a ls, a nd us ing be ha vio ra l ma na g e me nt t e c hn iqu e s. Other te ache rs sug g ested that pre ref err al teams we re be tter g ateke eper s than resour ces f or prof essional deve lopment (Pobst, 2001). Teac hers r eporte d they wer e not provided with the ne cessa ry prer equisite skills t o proper ly implement strateg ies su g g e ste d b y te a ms. Th us te a c he rs fe lt t ha t r e c omm e nd e d in te rv e nti on s w e re ina de qu a te and poorly develope d. Resear cher s repor ted that many interventions re commended by teams foc used on addre ssing pr oblems perc eived of as within the child (i.e., r efe rra ls to special educ ation, counseling ) (Eidle, 1998; Eidle, Tr uscott, & Me y ers, 1998; Knotek, 2003; Rubinson, 2002; Truscott et al., 2005). Re sear cher s posited that interventions focuse d on withinchild differ ence s left teac hers wonde ring what to do in their cla ssrooms (Mey ers e t al., 19 96 ; Ru bin so n, 20 02 ; T ru sc ott e t a l., 20 05 ). Ma ny re se a rc he rs a ttr ibu te d th is c on c e rn to the fa ct that investig ated tea ms lacked me aning ful input from classroom tea cher s (H a rr ing ton & Gi bs on 1 98 6; M e y e rs e t a l., 19 96 ; Po bs t, 2 00 1; R ub ins on 2 00 2; T ru sc ott et al., 2005). Spec ifically team mee tings we re of ten held at times whe n ref err ing te ache rs c o u l d n o t a t t e n d ( M e ye r s e t a l 1 9 9 6 ; R u b i n s o n 2 0 0 2 ) o r i n c l u d e d t e a c h e r s m i n i m a l l y. For example, one study repor ted that teac hers’ participa tion in team discussions was

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33 limit ed to desc ribing the student being ref err ed (Pobst, 2001). Thus, many rese arc hers sug g ested that if tea cher s were more involved in the proc ess, emphasis mig ht shift from external interventions to more c lassroom-ce ntere d interventions (Eidle, B oy d et al., 1998; Mey ers e t al., 1996; Rubinson, 2002). Influe nc e of dia log ue in pr obl e m -s olv ing te am s. Only one study looked at the influence of dialog ue in problem-solving team discussions. Specifica lly Knotek (2003) wa s i n t er es t ed i n l o o k i n g fo r e t h n i c b i as i n p ro b l em -s o l v i n g t ea m d i s cu s s i o n s Al t h o u gh he conc luded that there was no e thnic bias, evidenc e sug g ested the “ social conte x t of the team produc ed bias in the proble m solving proc ess” ( p. 2). Specific ally the “soc ial mil ie u” (p 2 ) o f t he stu dy te a m sh a pe d th e e nti re pr oc e ss f ro m de sc ri pti on of stu de nts throug h conce ptualizations of problems. Knotek (2003) asser ted that bef ore me eting s even be g an, tea cher s were positioned to a sc ri be pr ob le m st a tus to e ith e r t he mse lve s o r t he ir stu de nts K no te k c ha ra c te ri zed thi s as “a n inhere nt bind” (p. 7), be cause teac hers’ perf ormanc es we re na turally evalua ted during multidi sciplinary team mee tings. Thus, Knote k sug g ested that it was not su rp ri sin g tha t st ud e nts be c ome the loc us of the pr ob le m in ste a d o f t e a c he rs a nd the ir prac tice. Knotek (2003) noted that hig h-status members ( i.e., per sons of authority and persons with adva nced de g ree s confe rring specia l status) differ entially influence d meeting dialog ue. He sug g ested that these members use d ever y day terms to convey specia liz ed mea nings to tea m members For example, when the pr incipal at a me eting sug g ested that the student c ame f rom a backwards family, the te a m un de rs too d th is t o car ry a neg ative connota tion that sugg ested the f amily was pa rt of the pr oblem. Fur ther, Knotek sug g ested that whe n a hig h-status member introduc ed a pr oblem in a par ticular

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34 way the team c ontinued to elabora te in kind. As an example, he c ited a sample of dia log ue du ri ng wh ic h th e pr inc ipa l us e d a lig ht b ulb a na log y to d e sc ri be a stu de nt. Members of the team picke d up on this langua g e cue and continued to va riously descr ibe the student as having “off and on” da y s, or day s when the “ bulb flickers” (Knotek, p. 9) Knotek (2003) found that whe n students were char acte rized by teac hers a s having behavior problems, “a cade mic conce rns wer e ra rely conce ived of a s an ante cede nt to the behavior s” (p. 10) and that “inter ventions [developed] were mor e conc entra ted on aff irming the initial diagnosis” ( p. 10). He also sug g ested that whe n students came f rom low SES backg rounds, there wer e two interve ntions “of choice ” (K notek, p. 10), i n cl u d i n g gi v i n g t h e s t u d en t a b u d d y an d s en d i n g t h e s t u d en t t o af t er -s ch o o l t u t o ri n g. Thus, Knotek found tha t “when the se fa ctors [behavior pr oblems and low SES] wer e prese nt, singly or tog ether the SST’s [ student study team] problem-solving pr ocess wa s less ref lective a nd more re flexive than it was for students who we re r efe rre d primarily for aca demic proble ms or who wer e fr om highe r SES backg rounds” ( p. 10). S u mmar y o f th e R es ea rc h o n T ea ms Th e kin ds of pr ob le ms t e a c he rs a dd re sse d th ro ug h p ro ble mso lvi ng te a ms a c ro ss a ll s tud ie s w e re re ma rk a bly c on sis te nt. Te a c he rs re po rt e d n e e din g a ssi sta nc e wi th students who had a w ide ra ng e of issues, including problems re lated to ac ademics, soc ioemotional fac tors, and fa mily conce rns. When compar isons were made, ther e we re g re a te r n umb e rs of a c a de mic pr ob le ms r e po rt e d th a n p ro ble ms w ith be ha vio r ( Cha lf a nt & Py sh, 1989; Eidle, Boy d et al., 1998). Responses to teac hers’ conce rns wer e also c onsistent across studies, with many studies sugg esting that external interventions we re diff ere ntially sug g ested ove r classroom interve ntions. Although some of this would be e x pecte d as one f unction of

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35 pr e re fe rr a l te a ms, the mos t pr e va le nt t y pe of te a m de sc ri be d in a rt ic le s r e vie we d, wa s to ref er students for specia l educa tion testing, whe n nece ssary Howeve r, many rese arc hers sug g ested that this was c ause f or conc ern ( Eidle, Truscott, & Mey ers, 1998; Mey ers e t al., 1996; Pobst, 2001; Truscott et a l., 2005). For example, Mey ers a nd her c olleag ues no te d th a t “ de sp ite the sta te d g oa l th a t th e se te a ms c ou ld h e lp p re ve nt p ro ble ms associate d with special e ducation, most of the obser ved re commendations we re not desig ned to improve c lassroom instruction for the c hild” (p. 140). Thus, pr oviding te a c he rs wi th s ug g e sti on s f or c la ssr oo ms w a s d e e me d im po rt a nt. Ma ny re se a rc he rs re c omm e nd e d th a t te a c he rs be mor e inv olv e d in pr ob le msolving discussions (Eidle, 1998; Mey ers e t al., 1996; Pobst 2001; Rubinson, 2002; Truscott et a l., 2005). Many specula ted that teac her involveme nt in problem-solving meeting s would miti g ate the tr end of g ener ating predominantly external interventions based upon w ithin-child problem descr iptions (Eidle, Truscott, & Me y ers, 1998; Mey ers et al., 1996; Pobst, 2001; R ubinson, 2002; Truscott et al., 2005). Knote k’s (2003) study offe rs a pr ovocative r esponse to this call. His finding s sugg ested that tea cher s were inhere ntly put in the positi on of having their per formanc es eva luated, along with the student’s, during problem-solving meeting s. Thus, his study sug g ested that tea cher inv olv e me nt a lon e ma y e xac e rb a te thi s c on c e rn ra the r t ha n mi tig a te it. Th is s ug g e sts problem-solving meeting s should include teac hers a nd be saf e plac es whe re pr oblems can be discussed w ithout fear of evalua tion (Mey ers e t al., 1996). Empirical evide nce f rom rese arc h done on tea ms sugg ests there are benef its and problems associa ted with the work of teams. Some studies reve aled that tea cher s endorse d the use of te ams for a ddressing problems of pra ctice ( Ba hr et a l., 1999; Chalfant & Py sh, 1989; Krug er, 1997; Kr ug er e t al., 1995; Rankin & Aksa mit, 1994).

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36 Fa ctors positively associate d with the endorse ment of tea ms for problem solving included support for tea cher s and interve ntion effe ctiveness. Additional evide nce sug g ested that problems associa ted with team-ba sed appr oache s included conc erns r elated to time and lack of input from ref err ing te ache rs (Eidle, 1998; Ha rring ton & Gibson, 1986; Knotek, 2003; Mey ers e t al., 1996; Pobst 2001; Rubinson, 2002). I n addition, teache rs cited problems with the utility of re commendations for intervention (Ha rring ton & Gibson, 1986; Mey ers e t al., 1996; Pobst 2001; Rubinson, 2002; Truscott et a l., 2005). Only one study of problemsolving tea ms looked at the role of dialog ue. Specifica lly the dialog ue of pr oblem-solving me eting s was examined to deter mine whether conver sations were rac ially biased (K notek, 2003). Althoug h no rac ial bias was fo un d, e vid e nc e su g g e ste d th a t di sc us sio ns we re inf lue nc e d b y hig hsta tus me mbe rs Specifica lly ever y day terms uttere d by highstatus members ac quired spec ialized meaning s within the gr oup. I n addition, evidence sug g ested bias in the kinds of int e rv e nti on s r e c omm e nd e d b y the te a m f or tw o g ro up s o f s tud e nts : st ud e nts wi th be ha vio r p ro ble ms a nd stu de nts fr om l ow SES h ou se ho lds I nte rv e nti on s f or stu de nts wi th b e ha vio r p ro ble ms w e re a ime d a t do c ume nti ng ra the r t ha n mi tig a tin g pr ob le ms, wh e re a s st ud e nts fr om l ow SES h ou se ho lds we re re fl e xive ly g ive n th e sa me interventions ea ch time (i.e., a buddy and af terschool pr og ramming ). Some evidence was found to sug g est that teams nec essar ily provide opportunities fo r t e a c he r l e a rn ing (C ha lf a nt & Py sh 1 98 9) A dd iti on a l e vid e nc e su g g e ste d th a t du e to str uc tur a l e le me nts in w hic h te a ms w e re op e ra tin g (i .e ., me e tin g du ri ng te a c he r c la ss times, consultation models), teache r lea rning opportunities were diminis hed. The litera ture on tea ms also sugg ests that teac hers ne ed a sa fe pla ce w here they can disc uss pressing problems of pra ctice. Ma ny scholars ha ve sug g ested that

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37 communities of prac tice provide safe situated lear ning oppor tunities for teac hers. Thus, I turn to the literature on communities of prac tice. Com m uni ties of Pr actic e Buy sse and he r collea g ues (2003) define communities of prac tice as “ a g roup of pr of e ssi on a ls a nd oth e r s ta ke ho lde rs in p ur su it o f a sh a re d le a rn ing e nte rp ri se c omm on ly focuse d on a par ticular topic” (p. 266). Communities of prac tice ar e also re fer red to a s profe ssional learning communities (DuFour 2004), cr itical friends g roups (B ambino, 2002; Costa & Ka llick, 1993; Dunne, Nave & L ewis, 2000), tea cher communities (L ittle, 20 03 ), a nd te a c hin g te a ms ( Du F ou r, 20 04 ). B uy sse a nd he r c oll e a g ue s ( 20 03 ) s ug g e st tha t th e re a re tw o th e or e tic a l c on str uc ts u nd e rl y ing c omm un iti e s o f p ra c tic e T he fi rs t underly ing c onstruct is the notion of situated lear ning. Situated lea rning sug g ests that lear ning is loca l, gr ounded in the eve ry day lived experience s of people. T his means that lear ning oc curs not in isolation, but through “ social proc esses that re quire ne g otiation and problem-solving with others” ( Buy sse et al., 2003, p. 267) I deally teac hers a nd rese arc hers c ollaborate with one another in pursuit of share d g oals. The other important c on str uc t is re fl e c tio n, wh ic h in c lud e s th e “ dia log ic e xplor a tio n o f a lte rn a tiv e wa y s to solve problems in a prof essional situation” (B uy sse et al., p. 268) Thus, talking a bout problems of pra ctice w ith colleag ues is an important fe ature of communities of pra ctice. Som e sc ho la rs ha ve su g g e ste d th a t c omm un iti e s o f p ra c tic e a re a po we rf ul w a y to me dia te the pr ob le m of the re se a rc h to pr a c tic e g a p ( B uy sse e t a l., 20 03 ; E ng le rt & Roz endal, 2004; McL eskey & Waldron, 2004) by aff ording essential collabor ations be tw e e n te a c he rs a nd re se a rc he rs to o c c ur be c a us e a s E ng le rt a nd Roze nd a l a sse rt “ B oth te a c he rs a nd re se a rc he rs un de rs ta nd tha t r e se a rc h d on e in c on tr oll e d c on te xts th a t li mit the va ri a tio n f ou nd in r e g ula r c la ssr oo m c on te xts ha s in he re nt l imi ta tio ns wh e n r e su lts

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38 a re a pp lie d to c la ssr oo ms” (p 2 4) O the r s c ho la rs hig hli g ht c omm un iti e s o f p ra c tic e a s a re fo rm e ff or t g e ne ra te d in re sp on se to t he sta nd a rd s mo ve me nt a nd e ff or ts t o profe ssionaliz e tea ching (Wilson & Be rne, 1999) and more rec ently highstakes acc ountability pressure s (Vesc io et al., 2006). Reg ardle ss of the ra tionale, communities of pra ctice a ffor d opportunities for e du c a tor s a nd re se a rc he rs to w or k to g e the r t o c oc on str uc t kn ow le dg e tha t c on tin uo us ly improves teac hers’ prac tice and e nhance s student learning I n a re view of the literature Vesc io and her colleag ues (2006) conclude d that althoug h there are few published studies connec ting c ommuniti es of pr actice with student achieve ment, results from those studies sug g est that student achie vement improves ove r time. Fur ther, they conclude that te a c hin g pr a c tic e is i nf lue nc e d in po sit ive wa y s a s sc ho ol c ult ur e s c ha ng e to b e c ome mor e stu de nt c e nte re d a nd fo c us e d o n c on tin uo us le a rn ing fo r t e a c he rs a nd stu de nts Cr e a tin g c ult ur e s o f c oll a bo ra tio n th a t f oc us on stu de nt l e a rn ing is i mpo rt a nt t o th e se su c c e sse s. DuFour (2004) notes tha t one of the “ big ide as” of communities of prac tice is the c re a tio n o f “ str uc tur e s th a t pr omo te a c oll a bo ra tiv e c ult ur e ” (p 9 ). He g oe s o n to su g g e st that “powe rful collabor ation” includes a sy stematic appr oach of teac hers wor king tog e the r “ to a na ly ze a nd imp ro ve the ir c la ssr oo m pr a c tic e ” by wo rk ing in “ te a ms, eng ag ing in a n on-g oing c y cle of questions that promote dee p team lea rning ” (p. 9) I mpl ic it i s th e no tio n th a t th is l e a rn ing is a c hie ve d th ro ug h d ia log ue H ow e ve r, lit tle is known about the spe cific dia logic interac tions that influence lea rning (L ittle, 2003). As Snow-Ger ono (2005) state s, “The pr ocess of dialog ue is an important aspe ct of collabora tion that is not repr esente d simply by the notion of people or an expanded

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39 community ” (p. 251) I n this nex t section, I will ex plore wha t the empirica l literature on lear ning c ommuniti es re veals a bout dialogue Dialogue Using multipl e data bases ( i.e., Aca demic Sear ch Premier Psy cI nfo, F irst Searc h, Wil sonWeb) and multiple combinations of various sea rch te rms (i.e., c ommuniti es of pr a c tic e te a c h c omm un ity p ro fe ssi on a l le a rn ing c omm un iti e s, c ri tic a l f ri e nd s g ro up s) with the qualifier of dialogue, fi ve e mpi ri c a l st ud ie s w e re loc a te d th a t sp e c if ic a lly a dd re sse d th e na tur e of dia log ue a s p a rt of the stu die s’ fi nd ing s. Pa pe rs we re e xclu de d if they disclosed nothing a bout the context or quality of dialog ue (i.e ., quantitative studies using que stionnaires). Of the five pa pers loca ted, only 1 paper focuse d exclusively on dialog ue (L ittle, 2003). The use of dialog ue has be en studied by scholars using differ ent me tho ds inc lud ing (a ) i nte rv ie w s tud ie s, (b ) c a se stu die s, a nd (c ) d isc ou rs e a na ly sis Stu die s a re re vie we d h ig hli g hti ng wh a t e a c h r e ve a ls a bo ut t he na tur e of dis c ou rs e in le a rn ing c omm un iti e s. Teacher perce ptions of the value of d ialogue. Strahan (2003) investiga ted the dy na mic s im po rt a nt t o le a rn ing c omm un iti e s a t th re e low -i nc ome hig hmin or ity population elementar y schools wher e, over a 3-y ear period, student ac hievement improved sig nificantly He wa nted to better unde rstand the c ontribution school culture ma de to t he sc ho ols ’ s uc c e sse s. Hi s a na ly sis of 79 te a c he r i nte rv ie ws su g g e ste d th a t da ta direc ted dialog ue and “ purposef ul conver sations” (p. 127) w ere instrumental to the schools’ succ ess. Strahan ( 2003) wrote that “par ticipants stressed the importanc e of the time they spent conve rsing in gr adelevel mee tings, site-ba sed staff development sessions, mentoring discussions, and informal g et-tog ether s” (p. 143) I n particula r, during wee kly g rade -leve l meeting s, teac hers de veloped stra teg ies to promote student

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40 eng ag ement in balanc ed litera cy activities and discussed the prog ress of stude nts using various for ms of assessment data Tea cher s reve aled that f or them, this kind of dialog ue was va luable. Snow-Ger ono (2005) e x plored tea cher s’ per ceptions of the be nefits of profe ssional learning communities at one prof essional deve lopment school. Opportunities fo r c oll a bo ra tiv e dia log ue a t th e sc ho ol i nc lud e d te a m me e tin g s, stu dy g ro up me e tin g s, teac hing pa rtners, a s well as wor king w ith other educ ation profe ssionals across sc hool sites. Teac hers r eporte d they had “a n appre ciation for dia logue ” (Snow-G erono, p. 251) sug g esting they lear ned better throug h talking a bout prac tice. I n a dd iti on te a c he rs no te d th a t di a log ue c re a te d o pp or tun iti e s f or te a c he rs to discuss “tensions inhere nt in education and ide ologic al fra meworks a nd embra ce problem-posing as a me ans for profe ssional development” ( Snow-Ger ono, 2005, p. 251). Tea cher s expressed a ne ed for safe ty to enable ope n dialog ue. Te ache rs noted that eve n dialog ue that wa s formed a s dissent from others in the g roup wa s deeme d valuable to the lear ning e x perie nces of these tea cher s. They explained that it was sometimes dissonant voices that c aused othe rs in the g roup to stretch a nd g row a s teac hers. Dialogue du ring inq uiry. Ho lli ns a nd he r c oll e a g ue s ( 20 04 ) i nv e sti g a te d th e us e of a f ive-step struc tured study g roup appr oach a imed at “de veloping habits of mind” (p. 247) ne cessa ry for improving the literac y acquisition of students attending a hig hpo ve rt y lo wpe rf or min g e le me nta ry sc ho ol. Re se a rc he rs e nv isi on e d th a t “ te a c he rs wo uld rely on collabora tion and within-g roup direc ted inquiry for c onsistently improving literac y acquisition” (Hollins et al., p. 255). Spec ifically their model of a structure d dialog ue appr oach inc luded steps to (a) define challeng es, (b) identify approa ches to mee t the cha lleng es, (c ) selec t and implement an appr oach, ( d) eva luate implementation, and

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41 (e) formulate a theory to guide prac tice g oing f orwa rd. Qua litative data collec ted inc lud e d te a c he r i nte rv ie ws me e tin g tr a ns c ri pti on s f ro m th e stu dy g ro up s, re c or de d f ie ld notes, and “ informal conve rsations” (H ollins et al., p. 254). I n addition to teache rs, the princ ipal attended study g roups. Althoug h not the or ig ina l f a c ili ta tor th e pr inc ipa l f un c tio ne d to “ re fo c us the te a c he rs wh e n th e y be g a n to d i g r e s s f r o m t h e p u r p o s e o f t h e s e s s i o n s i m p r o v i n g A f r i c a n A m e r i c a n s t u d e n t s ’ l i t e r a c y” (Hollins et al., 2004, p. 256). Ultimately the principa l stepped into the fac ilitator role, something the rese arc hers de emed “ promising” (Hollins et al., p. 259) in terms of the potential to sustain study g roups as a perma nent pra ctice a t the school. Resea rche rs repor ted that teac hers’ dia log ue du ri ng stu dy -g ro up me e tin g s p ro g re sse d f ro m a fo c us on da ily challeng es and de fending their own pra ctices to see king insig hts from the literature sharing sug g estions for instructional strate g ies, collabora ting to deve lop new a pproac hes and e x pressing appre ciation for time to dialog ue and pla n toge ther. (p. 260) Th us s tud y g ro up s o ff e re d a n im po rt a nt o pp or tun ity fo r t e a c he rs a nd the pr inc ipa l to approa ch lea rning differ ently by collabora ting with one a nother. Eng lert and Rozendal (2004) discussed the c hara cter istics of a community of pr a c tic e wh e re the y we re c oll a bo ra tor s w ith e le me nta ry sc ho ol t e a c he rs T he g oa l w a s to acc eler ate pr og ress of stude nts deemed nonr eade rs and wr iters. They noted that seve ral “par ticipatory mecha nisms” (p. 31) for dialog ue we re c rea ted, including teac her/re sear cher meeting s and discussions about videotape s made of te ache r participa nts in their classrooms teac hing. Resear cher s noted that ana ly sis of the transc ripts from teac her/re sear cher m ee t i n gs

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42 sh ow e d a fl ow of re le va nt c on ve rs a tio n th a t f e a tur e d th e fo llo wi ng ke y a sp e c ts: focus pr ovided by the senior r esea rch w ho functioned a s the g roup lea der, clar ification throug h questioning a nd teac her r efle ction, ag ree ment and discussion among teac hers ( with gr oup problem solving a nd sharing centr al). (p. 32) T h ey n o t ed t h at t h e gr o u p l ea d er wa s re s p o n s i b l e f o r m ai n t ai n i n g gro u p fo cu s an d t i m i n g. I mportant dialog ic fe ature s of videotape discussions included opportunities for re flec tion on prac tice and br ainstorming. I n addition, resea rche rs sug g ested that que stions were used to make c lear teac her de cisions and proc edure s repr esente d in video tapes. P roblem -solving d ialogue. L ittle’s (2003) investig ation was the only study located tha t examined the way s dialog ue found w ithin communit ies of pra ctice sha ped lear ning f or tea cher s. Specifica lly L ittle sought to study “wha t teache r lea rning opportunities and dy namics of pr ofessional pra ctice a re e vident in teache r-led g roups that c on sid e r t he mse lve s c oll a bo ra tiv e a nd inn ov a tiv e ” (L itt le p 9 15 ). Pr ima ry da ta fo r t his study wer e audioand videotape d rec ording s of teac her me eting s among Eng lish teache rs a nd ma th t e a c he rs a t tw o p ub lic hig h s c ho ols Using discourse a naly sis, L ittle (2003) found that tea cher meeting s posed unique challeng es for teac her le arning opportunities. Challeng es included c oncer ns about time, problem desc ription, and g roup intera ction patterns. Me eting s in this s tudy wer e descr ibed as “ both fleeting and incomplete” (p. 925). F or example, only 30 minutes of a 90-minute meeting was de dicated to discussing problems. I n another example, the me e tin g c he c kin p ro c e du re too k n e a rl y ha lf of the tim e a llo tte d f or the me e tin g ; th us it wa s im po ssi ble fo r t e a c he rs to t ho ro ug hly dis c us s p ro ble ms. I n addition, teache rs used wha t L ittle (2003) desc ribed a s teac her shor thand when descr ibing pr oblems in classrooms. That is, meaning s were situated and loca liz ed, re n d er i n g i t s o m ew h at d i ff i cu l t t o “u n p ac k ” ( p 9 3 6 ) a l l t h at wa s d i s cu s s ed Al t h o u gh

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43 lear ning oppor tunities mi g ht be embedde d in this ki nd of talk, L ittle was conc erne d that t en s i o n cr ea t ed b et we en wh at s h e d es cr i b ed as “ge t t i n g t h i n gs d o n e” an d “f i gu ri n g t h i n gs out” (p. 931) impede d teac her le arning Fur ther, L ittle sugg ested that whe n this shorthand wa s u se d to “ re c on te xtua lize ” c la ssr oo m di le mma s, ma ny sa lie nt d e ta ils we re los t. L itt le c on c lud e d th a t “ te a c he rs e mpl oy [ed ] ta lk a bo ut c la ssr oo ms t o ju sti fy the mse lve s a nd the ir c ho ic e s to on e a no the r” (p 9 37 ), wh ic h s e ve re ly un de rm ine s p os sib ili tie s f or te a c he rs to lear n. I ntera ction problems noted by L ittle (2003) included moveme nt of meeting topics from one c oncer n to another. She c ited an example wher e the c oncer ns of an inter n took up the g roup’s time. She explained that, “moments for e x tended c onsideration of pr actice a re c oc on str uc te d in wa y s w ho se me a nin g a nd sig nif ic a nc e a re no t im me dia te ly a pp a re nt” (p 9 29 ). She a lso e xpla ine d th a t f or int e ra c tio ns to b e tr uly me a nin g fu l, teac hers ha d to open themselves to being vulnera ble by asking colleag ues to critique pr a c tic e T hu s, bo th t he te a c he r a nd int e ra c tio ns a mon g te a m me mbe rs e ith e r i nv ite d th is kin d o f i ntr os pe c tio n o r n ot. Summ ary of the Rese arch on Dialogue in Comm uni ties of Pr actic e B oth Str a ha n ( 20 03 ) a nd Sno wGe ro no (2 00 5) str e sse d th e va lue of dia log ue to their study participa nts. For e x ample, Straha n (2003) c oncluded that the c onversa tions wer e “pur poseful” f or the fa culties of these schools and that “this continuous dialog ue helped to cultivate c ollective ef fica cy at ea ch school a nd provided a rene wable sour ce of e ne rg y fo r p a rt ic ipa nts ” (p 1 43 ). Simi la rl y Sn ow -G e ro no (2 00 5) c on c lud e d th a t pe op le a nd dia log ue we re imp or ta nt t o th e pr of e ssi on a l de ve lop me nt o f h e r p a rt ic ipa nts Te a c he rs ne e de d to fe e l sa fe to o pe n th e mse lve s to dif fe re nt p os sib ili tie s. Ho we ve r, the se

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44 de sc ri pti on s d id n ot p ro vid e de ta ils on ho w t his kin d o f d ia log ue wa s g e ne ra te d in communities of prac tice, only that it was important to teache rs. Evidence from implementation studies (Eng lert & Roz endal, 2004; Hollins et al., 2004) sug g ested that dialog ue is most productive whe n it is focused by fac ilitators, such a s p ri nc ipa ls o r r e se a rc he rs T he Ho lli ns stu dy su g g e sts tha t us ing dia log ic str uc tur e s, su c h a s p ro ble mso lvi ng ste ps mi g ht b e e sp e c ia lly us e fu l f or ne w t e a ms a s th e y be g in collabora ting. Thus, these studies provide insights into fac tors that fac ilitate productive dialog ue (i.e ., strong fac ilitators, guiding dialog ic structure ), and the kinds of lear ning tha t c a n o c c ur in c omm un iti e s o f p ra c tic e (i .e ., ins tr uc tio na l st ra te g ie s) T he y a lso su g g e st a mea ns to promote teac her r efle ction (i.e., re view videotape rec ording s of teac hing episodes). L ittle’s (2003) study of the dialog ue of te ache r mee tings a imed at improving prac tice re veale d three challeng es: time, problem desc riptions, and g roup intera ction patterns. The re w as too littl e time during meeting s for proble ms to be well define d. Another c halleng e with problem de scriptions was that they contained w hat L ittle termed teac her shor thand. That is, words took on conte x tualized meaning s known to the g roup. L itt le su g g e ste d th a t th is r a ise d c on c e rn s a bo ut t e a c he rs ’ p ro ble m de sc ri pti on s th a t in repa ckag ing ta lk so densely fine-g raine d details appa rent during the live intera ction wer e lost. Thus, perhaps unwitting ly teac hers pr esente d themselves in as fa vorable light there by limit ing possibilities to truly improve pra ctice. F inally L ittle concluded that while meeting s may provide opportunities for lear ning, the y can a s easily make opportunities dissipate with one conver sational turn.

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45 Im por ta nc e of t he St udy Ev ide nc e fr om t his lit e ra tur e re vie w s ug g e sts tha t th e kin ds of stu de nt p ro ble ms teac hers a sk teams for a ssistance with include a cade mic conce rns, socio-e motional conce rns, and f amily conce rns. A consistent theme thr oug hout the literature was that problems within team contexts were of ten poorly define d. Notably absent we re pr oblem descr iptions related to problems with teac hing. Seve ral fa ctors influenc ed proble m de sc ri pti on s in c lud ing la c k o f t e a c he r i np ut d ue to t he str uc tur e s o f s ome pr ob le msolving tea ms and lack of adequa te time to thoroug hly explore problems. Moreove r, when tea cher s were included as me mbers of pr oblem-solving te ams, studies sugg ested that teac hers we re motivated to pre sent themselves in the be st possibl e lig ht. This led scholars to que stion whether or not team meeting s can truly provide opportunities for meaning ful cha ng es in prac tice. Stil l, t e a c he r r e po rt s su g g e st t he ir str on g e nd or se me nt o f t he us e of te a ms f or bo th lear ning a bout prac tice throug h dialog ue and a ddressing pressing problems of pra ctice. Th us it is i mpo rt a nt t o lo ok fo r w a y s to imp ro ve the qu a lit y of pr ob le m de sc ri pti on s so that lear ning oppor tunities are e nhance d for tea cher s, which ultimately will enhance student learning I n addition, resea rch tha t describe s way s to bring f ocus to problem dis c us sio ns c ou ld p ote nti a lly mit ig a te tim e c on str a int s. Evidence from the litera ture on re sponses to teac her c oncer ns sugg ested a dif fe re nti a l r e lia nc e on int e rv e nti on s th a t w e re ou tsi de of c la ssr oo ms. Whil e so me evidenc e sug g ested that tea cher s were able to succ essfully use tea m-rec ommended int e rv e nti on s, oth e r e vid e nc e su g g e ste d th a t r e c omm e nd a tio ns did lit tle to m iti g a te problems of pra ctice. T his may have be en due, in pa rt, to the notion that many

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46 interventions sug g ested by teams for use in classrooms we re thing s teac hers ha d tried befor e re fer ring the student to teams for a ssistance. As with problem desc riptions, responses to problems desc ribed in the litera ture wer e influenc ed by structura l fac tors of tea ms studied, such as the abse nce of meaning ful participa tion of ref err ing te ache rs. I n addition, the function of tea ms investigate d nece ssarily skewe d interventions towar d out-of-c lassroom sug g estions (i.e., pre ref err al teams func tion, in part, to refe r students for spe cial educ ation testing) Thus, better understanding s of contextualiz ed re sponses to problems wher e tea cher s are active pa rt ic ipa nts in g e ne ra tin g re sp on se s in ste a d o f p a ssi ve re c ipi e nts of int e rv e nti on s w ou ld illumi nate the possibilities teams have f or sug g esting meaning ful interventions for pressing problems of pra ctice. L iterature that examined dialogue within the context of teache r problemsolving me e tin g s su g g e ste d ma ny c on c e rn s r e la te d to the po ssi bil ity tha t te a c he rs mig ht l e a rn to improve pra ctice thr oug h meeting s. Resear cher s sugg ested that tea cher problem de sc ri pti on s in he re ntl y pr e se nte d te a c he rs in f a vo ra ble wa y s. F ur the r, la ng ua g e us e d to de sc ri be pr ob le ms w a s o ft e n lo c a lize d a nd e mbe dd e d in the so c ia l c on te xts of me e tin g s. Th us th e se stu die s la c ke d s ug g e sti on s o n h ow dia log ue us e d d ur ing me e tin g s c ou ld imp ro ve the qu a lit y of le a rn ing op po rt un iti e s f or te a c he rs a nd ind ir e c tly th e stu de nts they teac h. Th is c ur re nt s tud y is i mpo rt a nt f or thr e e re a so ns F ir st, thi s st ud y se e ks to e l a b o r a t e o n t h e i n f l u e n c e o f t e a c h e r s ’ p a r t i c i p a t i o n i n p r o b l e m s o l v i n g d i s c u s s i o n s In pa rt ic ula r, thi s st ud y wi ll e xami ne wh e the r o r n ot p ro ble m de sc ri pti on s a re su ff ic ie ntl y articula ted to allow opportunities for tea cher s to learn ne w things a bout prac tice. Second, thi s st ud y se e ks to c on tr ibu te to t he lit e ra tur e the kin ds of re sp on se s g e ne ra te d to

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47 pr ob le ms o f p ra c tic e wh e n g ra de -l e ve l te a c he rs s pe c ia l e du c a tio n te a c he rs le a de rs hip team member s, and other pr ofessional e ducator s work tog ether collabora tively as par t of g ra de -l e ve l in c lus ion te a ms. Perhaps most importantly this study seeks to better understand how dialog ue inf lue nc e s b oth pr ob le m a nd so lut ion c on str uc tio ns I n p a rt ic ula r, us ing dis c ou rs e analy sis at the clause level of spe ech w ill produce insig hts into how statements and qu e sti on s sh a pe le a rn ing op po rt un iti e s. Th ro ug h th is f ine -g ra ine d a na ly sis s tr a te g ie s to improve the qua lity and powe r of tea m meeting s for tea cher lear ning w ill be reve aled.

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48 CH APT ER 3 THEORETI CAL ORI ENTATI ON AND METHODO L OGY Scholars have sug g ested that tea cher development oppor tunities ex ist withi n the ordinary work of te ache rs (L ittle, 2003). The purpose of this study is to better under stand what kinds of proble ms of prac tice ar e pre sented a t gr adelevel inclusion meeting s, and ho w i nte ra c tio ns du ri ng the se me e tin g s in fl ue nc e te a c he r p ro ble m a nd re sp on se constructions. Ther e ar e thre e influenc es on wha t might be a vailable f or tea cher s to learn during inclusion meeting s. F ir st, po ssi ble le a rn ing op po rt un iti e s a re bo un de d b y the kin ds of pr ob le ms discussed during meeting s. Thus, in order to unde rstand wha t kinds of learning op po rt un iti e s e xist a t me e tin g s, it i s im po rt a nt t o b e tte r u nd e rs ta nd the kin ds of pr ob le ms teac hers a re discussing at inclusion meeting s. Second, lea rning opportunities are bounded by the kinds of knowledg e and e x perie nces me eting participa nts hold. I f mee ting pa rt ic ipa nts a re un a wa re of pa rt ic ula rl y he lpf ul s tr a te g ie s, the y c a nn ot s ug g e st t he m. Th us it is i mpo rt a nt t o u nd e rs ta nd wh a t ki nd s o f s ug g e sti on s a re ma de a t th e se me e tin g s. Finally the ac tual dialog ue among participa nts may shape the way s problems and sug g ested solutions to those problems are constructe d. Thus, in order to unde rstand how dia log ue sh a pe s p ro ble m a nd re sp on se c on str uc tio ns du ri ng inc lus ion me e tin g s, thi s stu dy se e ks to a dd re ss t he fo llo wi ng re se a rc h q ue sti on s: • W h a t k i n d s o f p r o b l e m s a r e d e s c r i b e d a t i n c l u s i o n m e e t i n g s ? • Wha t ki nd s o f r e sp on se s a re de ve lop e d b y the g ro up in r e sp on se to p ro ble ms p r e s e n t e d ?

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49 • Wha t va lue do the se me e tin g s h a ve fo r t e a c he rs ? • How does dia logue constructe d during inclusion meeting s shape pr oblem c o n s t r u c t i o n a n d g r o u p r e s p o n s e s ? Theoretic al Orientation Since meeting s are inhere ntly socially constructe d dialog ue, this study was c on du c te d p ri ma ri ly thr ou g h a so c ia l c on str uc tio nis t le ns So c ia l c on str uc tio nis t epistemolog ies ty pically draw upon the work of constructivists, believing that objects do not possess meaning until human consciousness intera cts with them (Crotty 1998; Schwandt, 2000). Thus, instea d of discover ing ne w knowledg e, knowledg e is construc ted wi thi n s itu a te d r e a lit ie s a s w e int e ra c t w ith ob je c ts. F ur the rm or e s oc ia l c on str uc tio nis ts, in particular posit that these constructe d rea lities occur “ ag ainst the bac kdrop of sha red understanding s, prac tices, lang uag e, and so f orth” (Schw andt, p. 197). Social constructionists believe that humans a re bor n into particular c ultures th r o u g h w h ic h w e a r e g r a d u a ll y s o c ia li ze d ( B e r g e r & L u c k ma n 1 9 6 6 ; C r o tt y 1 9 9 8 ) We depend upon c ulture to g uide and dire ct our be havior; it enable s us to see par ticular things while ig noring others (Crotty ). Culture includes soc ially constructe d instit utions such as g overnme nts and schools. Culture and institutions are cre ated a nd rec rea ted throug h lang uag e, habits of a ction, and leg itimation. As a sy ste m of sig ns la ng ua g e is t he me a ns by wh ic h e ve ry da y lif e is s ha re d w ith others (B erg er & L uckman, 1966) Be rg er a nd L uckman c onsider fa ceto-fac e interac tions to be prototy pical for all lang uag e. Throug h interac tions, mul tiple rea lties are c on str uc te d b y ind ivi du a ls. Ho we ve r, “ the re is a n o ng oin g c or re sp on de nc e be tw e e n my meaning s and [others’] meaning s in the world” ( Be rg er & L uckman, p. 23) As individuals int era ct, individual subjectivities are ma de ava ilable throug h both verba l and no nv e rb a l e xch a ng e s. Wha t w e kn ow a bo ut o the rs in f a c e -t ofa c e int e ra c tio ns is

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50 prer efle ctive and c ontinuous as we experienc e the inter action. Thus, it is possibl e for us to interpret e vents diffe rently when we ref lect upon them than we did during actua l lived experience s. L ang uag e is coe rcive and inher ently constrains possible intera ctions (B erg er & L uckman, 1966) For example, both gr ammar a nd prag matics influence speec h production. F urther, our historical use of la ng uag e shape s our future use of lang uag e. F or example, all interac tions are influe nced by ty pificatory or cla ssification scheme s that have be en construc ted over time. Others with whom we inter act a re a pprehe nded as the pla y e rs of pa rt ic ula r s oc ie ta l r ole s, wh ic h th e re by a ff e c ts o ur dia log ic int e ra c tio ns wi th them (B erg er & L uckman) A principa l may be appr ehende d by her f aculty as “a school le a de r, ” “ a n A fr ic a n A me ri c a n, ” a nd “ a wo ma n, ” sim ult a ne ou sly H e r f a c ult y wi ll int e ra c t w ith he r b a se d u po n th e ir ow n ty pf ic a tor y sc he me s r e la te d to the se ro le s. Ty pificatory scheme s are rec iproca l. I n other wor ds, the school leade r holds ty pificatory scheme s about her f aculty as we ll. I mportantly fac e-to-f ace interac tions are f luid and “wha tever patterns a re int ro du c e d w ill be c on tin uo us ly mod if ie d th ro ug h th e e xce e din g ly va ri e g a te d a nd su btl e int e rc ha ng e of su bje c tiv e me a nin g s” (B e rg e r & L uc kma n, 19 66 ). Th e se sc he me s w ill continue, unless ac tions occur to cha ng e them and “ will determine [our] actions in the situation” (B erg er & L uckman, p. 31) I n addition to ty pificatory scheme s, habituliz ation is important to the crea tion and rec rea tion of culture. Actions repe ated of ten enoug h become habitualized and “ha bitualiz ation car ries with it the important psy cholog ical g ain that choice s are narr owed” (B erg er & L uckman, 19 66 p 5 3) A lth ou g h th is c a n le a d to “ de lib e ra tio n a nd inn ov a tio n, ” it c a n a lso le a d to reific ation (B erg er & L uckman, p. 53) Thus, while there may be multiple way s to solve

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51 problems of pra ctice, the habit of solving pr oblems in particular way s can r esult in the lim ita tio n o f p os sib ili tie s. Acc ording to social construc tionist s, knowledg e is socially distributed (Be rg er & L uckman, 1966) This “social stock of knowledg e” is diff ere ntiated base d upon “deg ree s of fa miliarity ” (B erg er & L uckman, p. 43) I t is from this st ock of know ledg e that ty pif ic a tio n s c he me s a re dr a wn a s w e ll a s “ re c ipe s” fo r s olv ing pr ob le ms a re a va ila ble and take n for g rante d “until a problem a rises that ca nnot be solved in terms of [the rec ipe]” (B erg er & L uckman, p. 44) As novel problems a re r esolved, ne w meaning s are leg itimated. Influe nc e of t he The or e ti c al P e r spe c ti ve on t he St udy The e pistemologica l stance, the oretica l perspec tive, methodology and methods “inform one another ,” ther eby limit ing c hoices that c an be ma de during the re sear ch proce ss (Crotty 1996, p. 4). Since the the oretica l stance f or this work is social c on str uc tio nis t ba se d u po n c on str uc tiv ism it fo llo ws tha t da ta c oll e c te d mu st b e so c ia lly constructe d. Thus, primary data we re c ollected dur ing inc lusion team meeting s as participa nts socially constructe d their re alities with problems of pra ctice. B erg er a nd L uckman ( 1966) explained that throug h ref lection, we ha ve “be tter knowledg e” ( p. 29) of ourselves. Thus, se condar y data we re c ollected in the f orm of follow-up te ache r int e rv ie ws to b e tte r u nd e rs ta nd ho w p a rt ic ipa nts c on str uc te d th e ir e xpe ri e nc e s o f t he se meeting s. Met hodol ogy Tw o a na ly sis me tho ds we re us e d f or thi s st ud y —in du c tiv e a na ly sis a nd dis c ou rs e analy sis. I selec ted Hatc h’s (2002) me thod for thre e re asons. Fir st, although H atch’ s iteration of inductive a naly sis draws hea vily on the methods of other s (Spradley 1979;

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52 Str a us s & Cor bin 1 99 8) h is v e rs ion is a da pta ble to p a ra dig ms o uts ide of po stp os tiv ist a ssu mpt ion s, su c h a s c on str uc tiv ism a nd so c ia l c on str uc tio nis m. S e c on d, I wa s tr y ing to be tte r u nd e rs ta nd kn ow le dg e e mbe dd e d in the c on te xt of inc lus ion me e tin g s. Specifica lly I wanted to be tter under stand the kinds of problems of pr actice and the kinds of response s to those problems that wer e socia lly constructe d by inclusion team members a t an urba n elementa ry school, and how those pr oblems and re sponses wer e leg itimi zed. I nductive ana ly sis allowed the possibility for the story to emerg e fr om the da ta T hir d, I ne e de d a me tho d s uit a ble fo r a la rg e qu a lit a tiv e da ta se t a s I e nd e d u p w ith ov e r 4 00 pa g e s o f s ing le -s pa c e d tr a ns c ri pts T hu s, Ha tc h’ s me tho d o f i nd uc tiv e a na ly sis was a natura l fit, as he sug g ested that it was “ well suited for studies that e mphasize the discovery of cultura l meaning from lar g e data sets” (p. 179) I n a dd iti on to a dd re ssi ng the c on te nt o f p ro ble ms a nd re sp on se s to tho se pr ob le ms constructe d by inclusion teams, I was a lso interested in under standing way s the dialog ue of inc lus ion me e tin g s sh a pe d th e c on str uc tio n o f p ro ble ms a nd re sp on se s to tho se problems. Specific ally I was intere sted in better unde rstanding how questions and statements influenc ed both the construc tion of the problems by teac hers, a nd the concomitant sug g estions for ac tion, thereby influencing possible learning opportunities for tea cher s. I n addition, I wanted to f ind a discourse analy sis method that was compatible for use with other methods. I mportantly Fa ircloug h (2003) a sserted tha t the lang uag e of te x ts, including spoken words, ha ve ca usal eff ects that “ can br ing a bout chang es in our knowledg e (w e can le arn thing s from them), our beliefs, our attitudes, values and so f orth,” whic h are “ me dia te d b y me a nin g -m a kin g ” (p 8 ). I n a dd iti on h e no te d th a t “ it o ft e n ma ke s se ns e to use discourse analy sis in conjunction with other forms of a naly sis” (F airc lough, p. 2) as

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53 it i s b e st “ a pp lie d to sa mpl e s o f r e se a rc h ma te ri a l r a the r t ha n la rg e bo die s o f t e xt” (F airc lough, p. 6) Finally Fa ircloug h sug g ested that inductive a naly sis is a method c omp a tib le wi th h is f or m of dis c ou rs e a na ly sis T hu s, F a ir c lou g h’ s me tho d o f d isc ou rs e analy sis was selec ted. K e y C onc e pt s R e lat e d t o I nduc ti ve Ana lys is I n this section, I will discuss and define ke y conce pts associated w ith Hatch’s ( 2 0 0 2 ) i n d u c t i v e a n a l y s i s m e t h o d T e r m s a n d c o n c e p t s w i l l b e d e f i n e d a n d d e s c r i b e d In addition, the purpose be hind eac h conce pt will be expl ored. Induc ti ve ana lys is. I nductive ana ly sis leads from the pa rticular to the g ener al (Ha tch, 2002; Spradley 1979). I t pulls particular piec es of e vidence toge ther to construc t a m ea n i n gfu l wh o l e. T h e p u rp o s e o f i n d u ct i v e a n al y s i s i s t o en ab l e t h e a n al y s i s t o em er ge from the da ta ra ther than imposing a cla ssification scheme upon the data. D ata a re examined for patter ns of meaning which ar e then use d to construct g ener al explanatory statements re g arding what wa s happening in the data. This allows for multipl e, contextualiz ed possibiliti es to emer g e fr om the data. F r am e s o f ana lys is. F ra me s o f a na ly sis a re se le c te d b y the re se a rc h a ft e r a c los e re a din g of the da ta a s th e y mus t be e sta bli sh e d “ wi th a so lid se ns e of wh a t is inc lud e d in the data se t” (Ha tch, 2002, p.162). F rame s of ana ly sis can be thoug ht of as conc eptual cate g ories and c an ra ng e fr om framing analy sis around par ticular wor ds to “blocking off c omp le te int e rc ha ng e s b e tw e e n in te ra c ta nts ” (H a tc h, p. 16 3) T he y c a n a lso be re la te d to “ c omm e nts on sp e c if ic top ic s” (H a tc h, p. 16 3) I mpo rt a ntl y f ra min g de c isi on s mu st e nc omp a ss a ll o f t he dim e ns ion s to be e xplor e d. F ra me s ma y sh if t th ro ug ho ut t he pr oc e ss of ana ly sis.

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54 F ra me s o f a na ly sis se rv e thr e e imp or ta nt p ur po se s. F ir st, the y re du c e the qu a nti ty of data by limit ing intense analy sis to data which ar e re levant to answe ring posed re se a rc h q ue sti on s; o the rw ise a s H a tc h ( 20 02 ) c on c lud e s, “ the re wi ll b e no wa y to b e g in to searc h for mea ning in a mass of data ” (p. 164) Second, fr ames of a naly sis provide the re se a rc he r w ith a wa y to b e g in l oo kin g c los e ly a t th e da ta F ina lly th e y e na ble rese arc hers to “move to the next s tep of c rea ting domains” (Ha tch, p. 164). Do m ain s. Domains are larg e units of cultura l knowledg e (Spra dley 1979). The pu rp os e of do ma in a na ly sis is t o “ de ve lop a se t of c a te g or ie s o f m e a nin g . th a t r e fl e c ts re la tio ns hip s r e pr e se nte d in the da ta ” (H a tc h, 20 02 p 1 04 ). Do ma ins pr ov ide ins ig hts int o ty pif ic a tio ns he ld b y pa rt ic ipa nts D oma ins a re or g a nize d a ro un d s e ma nti c rela tionships. S pradle y identified nine domains usef ul to resea rche rs including inclusion (X is a kin d o f Y ), sp a tia l ( X i s a pla c e in Y ), c a us e -e ff e c t ( X i s a re su lt o f Y ), ra tio na le (X is a r eason f or doing Y), loca tion action (X is a plac e for doing Y ), func tion (X is used for Y) means-e nd (X is a wa y to do Y), and a ttribution (X is a kind of Y). Subdo m ain s. Subdomains, or cover terms (Spradle y 1979), ar e simply the names of pa rt ic ula r c a te g or ie s. Th e ir pu rp os e is t o p ro vid e a n o ve rv ie w o f w ha t is inc lud e d in t h e c a t e g o r y. Inc lude d t e r m s. I ncluded ter ms are c odes that ar e subsumed within eac h subdomain. They repr esent smaller chunks of mea ningf ul data. I ncluded ter ms must be semantica lly rela ted to other include d terms within a par ticular domain. The y serve the pu rp os e of fr a g me nti ng da ta fo r a na ly sis Ne ga ti ve e xa m ple s. Neg ative examples are those bits of data that ser ve as disconfirming evidenc e. Resea rche rs must deductively sear ch for them throug hout the

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55 analy tical proc ess. They serve the purpose of ensuring the re sear cher is alert to any nece ssary shifts in analy sis away from interpr etations that are not supported by the data. K e y Te r m s o f Dis c our se Ana lys is Ne xt, ke y te rm s o f F a ir c lou g h’ s ( 20 03 ) m e tho d o f d isc ou rs e wi ll b e de fi ne d. Al l de fi nit ion s a re a ttr ibu te d to him Clause. Cla us e s a re sim ple se nte nc e s a nd a re ma de of thr e e pa rt s: ( a ) p ro c e sse s, us ua lly ve rb s, (b ) p a rt ic ipa nts o r o bje c ts, a nd (c ) c ir c ums ta nc e s, c omm on ly a dv e rb s. Dialogue. Dialog ues ar e a pa rticular g enre of text, and meeting s are a subset of that g enre (F airc lough, 2003) During a dialog ue, spea kers a re e x pecte d to take turns and use those turns in var ious way s to ask questions, make re quests, complain, etc. T hey are also expected to spea k without interruption, select a nd chang e topics, and of fer interpre tations or summaries of wha t has bee n said during dialog ue. Eva lua ti on. Ev a lua tio ns a re po rt ion s o f t e xt tha t ha ve to d o w ith va lue s, inc lud ing e xplic it s ta te me nts (e .g ., the stu de nt i s st ru g g lin g ) a nd va lue a ssu mpt ion s, which ar e g ener ally implicit. For example, there a re ma ny value a ssumptions that might acc ompany “the student is strug g ling.” Exc hang e ty pe s. An exchang e in discourse terms is a “se quence of two or more conver sation ‘turns’ or ‘ moves’ with alter nating speake rs wher e the oc curr ence of move 1 le a ds to t he e xpe c ta tio n o f m ov e 2, a nd so fo rt h— wi th t he pr ov iso tha t w ha t is ‘expected’ does not alwa y s occur ” (F airc lough, 2003, p. 106) Two primar y kinds of ex ch an ges i n d i al o gu e i n cl u d e k n o wl ed ge e x ch an ges an d ac t i v i t y ex ch an ges Kn o wl ed ge exchang es foc us upon the exchang e of infor mation, such as asking for a nd g iving information, making claims, stating f acts, a nd so forth. Knowle dg e exchang es ca n be ini tia te d b y bo th t he kn ow e r a nd the pe rs on wh o w a nts to k no w. Th e fo c us of a c tiv ity

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56 exchang es is on people doing things or g etting othe rs to do things. Ac tivity exchang es ty pically do not involve just t alk; they are action base d. G r am m at ic al m oo d. Gra mmatical mood is the differ ence betwee n decla rative, int e rr og a tiv e a nd imp e ra tiv e se nte nc e s. Modality. “The modality of a c lause or se ntence is the relationship it sets up betwee n the author a nd repr esenta tions” (Fa ircloug h, 2003, p. 219). Specific ally for activity exchang es, modality char acte rizes how committed the speake r is the obliga tion or nec essity of the a ction. For knowledg e exchang es, it char acte rizes how committed the speake r is to truth. I n both case s, modaliz ed spee ch hedg es the spea ker’ s motives. For example, if I say “He may have le arning disabiliti es,” I am holding out the notion that he ma y ha ve le a rn ing dis a bil iti e s o r h e ma y no t. Spe e c h func ti ons There are four pr imary speec h functions including (a ) d e ma nd s, (b ) o ff e rs ( c ) q ue sti on s, a nd (d ) s ta te me nts A ll t e rm s e xce pt qu e sti on s wi ll de fi ne d b ri e fl y a s qu e sti on s are self evide nt. Speech de mands include polite dema nds such as r equests. I n addition, demands include suc h things a s order reque sting, e tc. Offe rs include suc h things a s promising, thre atening apolog izi ng thanking etc. The re a re thr e e pr ima ry kin ds of sta te me nts inc lud ing (a ) s ta te me nts of fa c t ( e .g ., wh a t is w a s, has bee n the ca se), ( b), irre alis statements (i.e., pr edictions and hy pothetical stateme nts), and (c ) eva luations (e.g ., should and other judg mental forms). Stud y Design Th is n e xt se c tio n w ill e xpla in h ow thi s st ud y wa s d e sig ne d. Spe c if ic a lly I wi ll de sc ri be the c on te xt of the stu dy in c lud ing the se le c tio n o f s tud y pa rt ic ipa nts I mportantly since I have be en involved with the school whe re this study was c onducted fo r 3 y e a rs my pe rs on a l su bje c tiv ity sta te me nt i nc lud e s d e ta ils of thi s in vo lve me nt. I wi ll

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57 a lso de sc ri be da ta c oll e c tio n a nd a na ly sis pr oc e du re s, in a dd iti on to m e tho ds us e d to e ns ur e the tr us tw or thi ne ss o f t he re pr e se nta tio ns c on ta ine d in thi s r e po rt F ina lly I wi ll d e s c r i b e t h e m e t h o d o l o g i c a l w e a k n e s s e s o f t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n s t u d y. P ersonal Sub jec tivity Although I will dutifull y exercise a ll manner of te chniques to ensur e the c re dib ili ty of my da ta re pr e se nta tio ns I do so kn ow ing fu lly tha t it is i mpo ssi ble to divorce one’s se lf from the r esea rch pr ocess. Thus, it is important to recog nize how participa nts’ rea lities differ f rom my own. B y examining my own subjective r ealities around the topic of problem solving and re lated tea ching prac tices, both my rea ders a nd I will be more e quipped to understand w hat may influence my interpre tations of data. Having worke d in the field of human r esourc es for near ly 13 y ear s, I came to the rea liz ation that I wanted to be come a teac her w hile volunteering in my oldest daug hter’s kinderg arte n classroom. I was a mazed by what I saw—c hildren who c ould not hold a p en ci l n ex t t o m y d au gh t er wh o en t er ed k i n d er gar t en re ad i n g— t h e c o n t ra s t wa s s t ar t l i n g. Soon therea fter, my family and I started a journey that beg an with me re enter ing the University of F lorida to first finish my bache lor’s deg ree and then my master’ s deg ree B e ing a pa re nt m a de me ta ke my e du c a tio n v e ry se ri ou sly A ft e r a ll, I wa nte d th e be st te a c he rs fo r m y ow n c hil dr e n, a nd I re a so ne d th a t ot he r f a mil ie s w ou ld e xpe c t th e sa me for their children. On e se me ste r b e fo re fi nis hin g my ma ste r’ s d e g re e I a c c e pte d a po sit ion a s a fi rs tg ra de g e ne ra l e du c a tio n te a c he r i n a c ota ug ht, inc lus ive c la ssr oo m. I n th is c la ssr oo m, students with vary ing la bels including mental re tarda tion and autism were educa ted a lon g sid e ty pic a lly de ve lop ing pe e rs fo r h a lf of the sc ho ol d a y H a vin g do ne my internship at that school with that class’s buddy rea ders, I had a little experienc e with the

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58 children I would soon be tea ching This experience left me with the impression that students with disabili ties were like many other c hildren I knew. The y had distinct persona lities and families who loved them. My cotea cher was a veter an spec ial educa tion teache r. She noticed suc h a dif fe re nc e in w ha t he r s tud e nts c ou ld d o f ro m sp e nd ing on ly a sh or t a mou nt o f t ime wi th ty pically developing first g rade rs during a we ekly classroom scouting experience that she, along with the teac her I repla ced, w ent to the principa l to crea te an inclusive prog ram the f ollowing y ear They succe ssfully completed one y ear as cote ache rs when the fi rs t g ra de te a c he r m ov e d, a nd I wa s h ir e d to fi ll h e r v e ry big sh oe s. We w e re we ll supported, having two full-time para profe ssionals to help. We h a d a wo nd e rf ul y e a r t og e the r a s w e wo rk e d th ro ug h o ne pr a c tic a l di le mma afte r anothe r. We had to deve lop a classr oom community wher e eve ry one wa s respe cted. F or the ty pic a lly de ve lop ing c hil dr e n, thi s me a nt f os te ri ng un de rs ta nd ing s o f w he n to he lp a nd wh e n to sim ply e nc ou ra g e We ha d to de ve lop op tim a l le a rn ing e nv ir on me nts for a ll of our childre n. As it turned out, I had seve ral “ ty pical” stude nts who benef ited from the spe cial educ ation teac her’ s instruction, while a student with mental re tarda tion joined one of my rea ding g roups. We had to g ener ate buy -in from pa rents who questioned whe ther our pr og ram would mee t the needs of their childre n. The pa rent of one child identified f or the g ifted prog ram wa s espec ially conce rned. A fter one observa tion in our classroom, she we nt on to become our room pare nt and one of our bigg est allies. Unfor tunately I like my prede cessor ended up moving at the end of the school y ear My second te aching position was in a private sc hool in California. I was a ttracte d to t he sc ho ol a s it e sp ou se d a ph ilo so ph y of e du c a tin g the wh ole c hil d. Un lik e mos t

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59 p ri v at e s ch o o l s i n t h at ar ea ch i l d re n we re n o t ad m i t t ed t o t h e s ch o o l o n t h e b as i s o f h i gh te st s c or e s. Ra the r, fa mil ie s w e re int e rv ie we d a nd c hil dr e n w e re a dmi tte d to the sc ho ol i f their fa milies were c ommitt ed to the value s of the school (i.e ., educa ting the w hole child, deempha sis on labeling a nd passing standardized tests). F amilies who could not aff ord the tuition were of fer ed g ener ous scholarships. Thus, the school wa s quite diverse, a nd a lth ou g h th e re we re no la be ls a llo we d a t sc ho ol, I ta ug ht c hil dr e n w ho m I a m su re wo uld h av e b ee n l ab el ed wi t h a d i s ab i l i t y i n an o t h er s et t i n g. I n ad d i t i o n t o t ea ch i n g l an gu age arts and w orld cultures to sixt h g rade rs, I functioned a s the eleme ntary rea ding r esourc e teac her. I pushed in to many classrooms to assist during rea ding instruc tion. After one y ear in California, we ended up moving home to Florida F or tun a te ly fo r m e th e fi rs t sc ho ol I wo rk e d a t ha d a n o pe nin g fo r a c ote a c he r i n fifth g rade Since our school wa s depar tmentalized for fourth a nd fifth g rade s, I was hire d to t e a c h la ng ua g e a rt s to tw o g ro up s o f s tud e nts a nd to t e a c h s oc ia l st ud ie s to my homeroom students. Students with specific lea rning disabiliti es we re inc luded in the g e ne ra l e du c a tio n c la ssr oo m. M y c ote a c he r, a lon g -t e rm ve te ra n o f t he sc ho ol s y ste m, ha d b e e n c ote a c hin g thi s c la ss f or a fe w y e a rs H is a ssi g nme nt c ha ng e d th a t y e a r t o include cote aching a four th-g rade class in addition to the fifth-g rade class. While I had the students for the e ntire per iod, my cotea cher and his para profe ssional joined us for only half of the schedule d periods for lang uag e ar ts. This y ear was full of ve ry differ ent dil e mma s a nd so lut ion s th a n th os e I ha d e xpe ri e nc e d in fi rs t g ra de B uil din g c omm un ity was more challeng ing be cause students chang ed cla sses. Fur ther, by virtue of the a g e of the students, there was a g rea ter e mphasis on content instruction. Throug h educa ted trial a nd e rr or it e nd e d u p b e ing a ve ry pr od uc tiv e y e a r f or us a ll.

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60 My teac hing e x perie nces g rea tly influence d my attitudes toward inclusion. I t was clea r to me that the ne eds of all students could be met, with har d work a nd problem solving skills. The emphasis my cotea cher s and I place d on problem-solving skills was es p ec i al l y i m p o rt an t W e w er e n ev er co n t en t t o l et a l es s t h an o p t i m al s y s t em go unchang ed. We sea rche d out and found the r esourc es we neede d, including c hang ing desks for la rg e tables a nd secur ing multiple copies of highinterest, low voca bulary books on topics of study We varied our instructional methods and used a mix ture of instructional g rouping s including w hole-g roup and small-g roup instruction. We infused te c hn olo g y a nd re se a rc h s kil ls i nto un its of stu dy th e re by e xpos ing stu de nts wi th disabiliti es to valuable skills t hey would need in middle school. I n short, we we re inventive and f lexi ble, and our students were succe ssful. I t was ver y hard w ork. As I enter ed my Ph.D. prog ram, I did so thinki ng I could share some of the lessons I lear ned throug h experience thus helping othe rs miss some of the bumps in the road I encounte red. A s my prog ram prog resse d, howeve r, it beca me clea r to me that ins te a d o f d e ve lop ing pr e sc ri be d p ro g ra ms f or te a c he rs I wa s mo re c omf or ta ble wi th examining structure s to facilitate tea cher lear ning. I believe tha t in most case s, teac hers may be in the best position to work throug h their own dilemmas, much a s I had during my teac hing e x perie nces. Thus, I am a pr oponent of de veloping profe ssional teache rs ins te a d o f d e ve lop ing pr og ra ms t ha t c a n b e imp le me nte d w ith fi de lit y A ft e r a ll, it i s te a c he rs wh o te a c h c hil dr e n, no t pr og ra ms. I mpo rt a ntl y I ha ve wo rk e d o n tw o s tud ie s c on du c te d a t th e sc ho ol w he re I did my dissertation study Although this study was not a dire ct extension of these pre vious studies, my participa tion on those projects inspired the c onception of this projec t. During the first study I was broug ht in to help analy ze qualitative data c ollected by others on the

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61 prac tices of two e x emplary teac hers ( Wil liamson, Bondy L ang ley & Ma y ne, 2005). Thus, I had fe w direc t interac tions with t he school’s f aculty and staff during this study During the sec ond projec t, I had fa r more c ontact with fa culty and staff The pr inc ipa l, u nd e r p re ssu re fo r n ot m e e tin g a de qu a te y e a rl y pr og re ss f or stu de nts wi th dis a bil iti e s, de c ide d to a ba nd on the pu llou t c la ssr oo ms h ist or ic a lly us e d a t th e sc ho ol i n fa vo r o f i nc lud ing stu de nts wi th d isa bil iti e s in g e ne ra l e du c a tio n c la ssr oo ms. Mu c h o f m y role wa s behind the sce nes, working direc tly with the profe ssor-in-re sidence from a loc al university who had wor ked at the sc hool for 6 y ear s. I play ed a minor r ole assisting in the fac ilitation of mont hly profe ssional development wor kshops where topics of study cente red on inc lusion. I n addition, as part of this project I participa ted in one full round of team inclusion meeting s. I nclusion meeting s were new to the sc hool that y ear and we re de sig ne d to a dd re ss t he a c a de mic or so c ia l ne e ds of pa rt ic ula r s tud e nts D ur ing tho se meeting s, I occa sionally asked que stions or offer ed sug g estions to teache rs. As a f ollowup to this professional deve lopment work, the prof essor in re sidence and I conducte d a study desig ned to explore the per ceptions of this g roup of e ducator s as they develope d an inclusive prog ram using focus g roups and one -on-one interviews a s data c ollection methods. Foc us g roups wer e fa cilitated by the teac hers themse lves; howeve r, I conducte d seven inter views with school fa culty Even thoug h I have spe nt what might be considere d a n e xten de d p e ri od of tim e wo rk ing wi th t his sc ho ol, I wo uld sti ll c ha ra c te ri ze m y prese nce the re a s somewhat of a n outsider. A s a p r o f e s s i o n a l d e v e l o p m e n t s c h o o l l o n g a f f i l i a t e d w i t h t h e U n i v e r s i t y, e du c a tor s a t th e sc ho ol w ou ld c la im t he y ha ve be e n f or tun a te to h a ve a pr of e sso r i n residenc e at the sc hool for many y ear s. As such, the prof essor in re sidence has for g ed

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62 me a nin g fu l, l on g -l a sti ng re la tio ns hip s w ith fa c ult y a nd sta ff A lth ou g h s he pr e se nte d me a s a p e r s o n w i t h s o m e e x p e r i e n c e d o i n g i n c l u s i o n a t a n o t h e r s c h o o l i n t h e c o m m u n i t y, and as a co-r esea rche r on our most rec ent projec t, I believe the se educ ators saw me more as a he lper to the prof essor in re sidence than as a n expert who might be able to help them with the problems they wer e experienc ing w ith inclusion. My interac tions were profe ssional and cor dial with fac ulty and eve n friendly at times. Howeve r, I was not a ff or de d in sid e r s ta tus a t th is s c ho ol; I wa s a ff or de d p ri vil e g e d o uts ide r s ta tus A s a pr ivi le g e d o uts ide r, fa c ult y pe rc e ive d me a s a tr us tw or thy pe rs on wi th w ho m th e y c ou ld share their stories. This af forde d me the unique position of re sear cher -lea rner (Glesne 19 99 ), a po sit ion so me wh e re be tw e e n o bje c tiv e ob se rv e r a nd su bje c tiv e c op a rt ic ipa nt. I mportantly althoug h I spoke brief ly at two of the me eting s, my dialog ue fr om those two me e tin g s w a s n ot i nc lud e d a s d a ta fo r s tud y pu rp os e s. Stud y Context The study was c onducted a t Hopewe ll Elementary School (a pseudony m), a school whose f aculty is composed of 23 g ener al educ ation classroom tea cher s, three Success f or All (Kling ner, Cra mer, & Har ry 2006) re ading tutors, seven re source teac hers ( i.e., phy sical educ ation, media, ar t, music, and danc e), thre e spec ial educa tion te a c he rs a nd a n a dmi nis tr a tiv e te a m c omp ri se d o f t he pr inc ipa l, a ssi sta nt p ri nc ipa l, g uidance counselor, f ine ar ts facilitator, re ading coac h, and cur riculum resour ce te ache r. As shown in Table 31, teac hers r ang ed in y ear s of experienc e fr om 1 y ear to more than 30. All teache rs wer e “hig hly qualified,” as def ined in the No Child L eft B ehind Act of 2001 (U.S. Depa rtment of Educ ation, 2001) and thus we re c ertified in the a rea s in which they taug ht. Of the 42 e ducator s at the school 23 we re w hite, 17 had Af rica n orig ins (i.e., Afric an Amer ican a nd islanders), 1 w as Hispanic, a nd 1 was a Pacific I slander.

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63 Table 31. Fa culty ’s y ear s of experienc e Yea rs of Servic e Are a of r esponsibility 0 – 3 3 – 10 More than 10 Total Classroom teache rs 11 6 6 23 Reading tutors 2 0 1 3 Resource teac hers 1 3 3 7 Special educ ation teac hers 2 0 1 3 L eade rship team 0 0 6 6 Total 16 9 17 42 Student enrollment was more than 400, with Afric an Amer ican students being the predominant e thnic g roup re prese nted at the sc hool. The vast majority of students wer e elig ible for f ree or fe e re duced lunc h (90.9%) Many new students bec ame membe rs of the Ho pe we ll s c ho ol c omm un ity the pr e vio us y e a r. I n a dd iti on to g a ini ng ne w s tud e nts throug h the district’s re cent sc hool rezoning, the school board na med Hopew ell a mag net prog ram for the ar ts for the fir st tim e last y ear Table 32 prese nts a summary of student dis a bil ity c la ssi fi c a tio ns by g ra de le ve l, i nc lud ing the nu mbe rs of g if te d s tud e nts T hu s, ne w s tud e nts a lon g wi th t he ne w s c ho ol p oli c y to i nc lud e stu de nts wi th d isa bil iti e s in g ener al educ ation classrooms, combined to c rea te a c halleng ing w ork environme nt for teac hers. Table 32. Summary of students’ disability classifica tion by g rade level Gr a de le ve ls Disability K 1 2 3 4 5 Total Speech impair ed 2 4 2 1 1 1 11 L ang uag e impaire d 6 6 2 4 6 4 28 Specific le arning disability 1 1 1 14 11 9 37 E m h 1 1 0 1 1 04 Emotionally handica pped 1 0 1 1 2 1 6 Dea f or ha rd of he aring 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 Orthopedic ally impaired 0 0 0 0 2 0 2 Occ upational thera py 2 2 0 1 5 1 11 Au tis tic 0 1 0 0 0 0 1 G i f t e d 0 0 1 3 1 27 Other he alth impaired 1 0 1 0 2 0 4 Total 14 15 9 25 31 18 112

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64 Uni ve r sit y c oll abo r at ion To help educ ators with all of these chang es, the school enjoy ed continued pa rticipation in a prof essional deve lopment prog ram for a sec ond y ear develope d throug h the local univer sity Topics of study during the 2004-2005 school y ear inc lud e d s e le c te d a rt ic le s o n in c lus ion f un c tio na l be ha vio r a sse ssm e nts acc ommodations, behavior mana g ement, and othe r usef ul information for e ducator s experiencing the inclusion of students with disabilit ies for the first time. Inc lusi on t e am m e e ti ngs I mportantly g rade -leve l inclusion meetings we re cre ated to addr ess the ac ademic a nd social nee ds of par ticular students. Evidenc e su g g e ste d th a t te a c he rs fo un d th e se me e tin g s to be inv a lua ble w ith te a c he rs c on sis te ntl y a g re e ing tha t mo re of the se me e tin g s w e re ne e de d ( B on dy & Willi a mso n, 20 06 ). Th e se me e tin g s c on tin ue d f or a se c on d y e a r, the y e a r i n w hic h d a ta we re c oll e c te d f or thi s s t u d y. I nc lus ion te a m me e tin g s w e re he ld w ith in g ra de -l e ve l or de pa rt me ntle ve l te a ms (i .e ., re so ur c e s, Suc c e ss f or Al l) wi th o ne te a m me e tin g pe r w e e k. Th us me e tin g s w ith eac h of the e ight tea ms were held appr ox imately ever y other month. Meeting s were schedule d afte r school and w ere supposed to last for one hour. I n addition to the gr adelevel or de partment-le vel team membe rs, inclusion meeting participa nts included vary ing members of the school’s a dminist rative te am (e .g ., principal, be havior re source teac her, curr iculum resourc e tea cher school g uidance counselor, r eading coac h), the spec ial educa tion teache r re sponsible for that g rade level, the district’s sc hool psy cholog ist, and the profe ssor in residenc e fr om the local univer sity I mportantly not all of the administrative team wa s prese nt during eac h meeting This study is situated within the c on te xt of the se me e tin g s.

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65 Data Collec tion The g ener al aims of data collection for an inductive study are to achieve ma ximum va ri a tio n. Th is n e e d f or va ri a tio n in fl ue nc e s b oth pa rt ic ipa nt s e le c tio n a nd da ta source s. St udy pa r ti c ipa nt s. All fac ulty administrative staff the district’s school p s yc h o l o g i s t a n d t h e p r o f e s s o r i n r e s i d e n c e w e r e i n v i t e d t o p a r t i c i p a t e i n t h i s s t u d y. I nformed c onsent of par ticipants, as re quired by the Univer sity of F lorida’s I nstitut ion Re vie w B oa rd (I RB ) a nd the sc ho ol d ist ri c t, w e re ob ta ine d f ro m a ll p a rt ic ipa nts Specifica lly 27 g ener al educ ation teac hers, 3 spe cial educ ation teac hers, a ll 5 members of the a dmi nis tr a tio n te a m, t he dis tr ic t’ s sc ho ol p sy c ho log ist a nd the pr of e sso r i n residenc e par ticipated in the study This repre sents almost all faculty members f rom the sc ho ol. Th e on ly fa c ult y wh o d id n ot p a rt ic ipa te we re tho se wh o w e re a bs e nt f ro m th e ir teams’ inclusion mee ting on the da y data we re c ollected. F ive par ticipants were men. To pr ote c t th e ir ide nti ty a ll p a rt ic ipa nts we re g ive n f e ma le ps e ud on y ms. Da ta so ur c e s. A total of eig ht inclusion meetings oc curr ing f rom Novembe r 2005 throug h Fe bruar y 2006, one for all six g rade levels as we ll as the extra depar tments, were audio-tape d and tra nscribed ve rbatim by me. Half of the mee tings lasted a bout 60 minutes, with the other half la sting a bout 90 minutes The numbers of pa rticipants at ea ch meeting rang ed fr om 5 to 12 (i.e., kinderg arte n = 10, first = 5, second = 9, third = 12, fourth = 5, f ifth = 11, succ ess for a ll = 5, resour ces = 10). This resulted in 287 pa g es of data. I n a dd iti on 2 1 f oll ow up int e rv ie ws we re c on du c te d w ith fa c ult y w ith a t le a st two or three teac hers f rom ea ch inclusion team re prese nted. I n addition to being va ried by g rade and subjec t taug ht, teache rs who we re inter viewed r epre sented the f ull rang e of

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66 teac hing e x perie nce f rom ea rly car eer teac hers to vete ran te ache rs. When possible, I interviewe d a vete ran te ache r and a n ear ly car eer teac her f rom ea ch tea m. This was not po ssi ble fo r a ll t e a ms i n th a t so me te a ms w e re c omp os e d e nti re ly of ve te ra n te a c he rs A ll interviews we re tra nscribed ve rbatim by a paid tra nscriptionist and were chec ked for validity by a re tired community colleg e fa culty member a nd persona l friend of mine. I nterview s were semi-structure d (Kva le, 1996) a nd lasted fr om 15 to 30 minut es, with the vast majority lasting c loser to 30 minutes. I nterview s resulted in 152 pag es of da ta. Da ta ana lys is. As noted ea rlier, two a naly sis methods were use d including ind uc tiv e a na ly sis (H a tc h, 20 02 ) a nd dis c ou rs e a na ly sis (F a ir c lou g h, 20 03 ). I wi ll descr ibe the inductive a naly sis methods used and then the discour se ana ly sis methods used. To be g in t he a na ly sis pr oc e ss, a ll t ra ns c ri pts we re re a d in the ir e nti re ty a s “ a ll ind uc tiv e a na ly sis mus t be g in w ith a so lid se ns e of wh a t is inc lud e d in the da ta se t” (H a tc h, 20 02 p 1 62 ). Ne xt, I inc lud e d a n a dd iti on a l st e p o f o pe n c od ing a ll t ra ns c ri pts (Strauss & Corbin, 1998). I added this step to make doubly sure that I was c lear on exactly what wa s included in my data se t. Fra mes of ana ly sis were identified for eac h of my rese arc h questions. Fra mes for que stion one included all talk re lated to problem descr iptions i ncluding student attributes, what ha d alre ady been tr ied to resolve the problem, and pr oblem interpre tations. Fra mes for que stion two included all talk aimed at offe ring solutions and responses that we re not ne cessa rily solutions t o problems that wer e raised. F rame s of ana ly sis for the third question included a ll talk related to the va lue of meeting s for tea cher s. Finally fra mes for the fourth question included se ctions of transcr ipts where te ache rs and other meeting participa nts co-construc ted the proble m and response to the problems.

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67 Ne xt, do ma ins we re c re a te d u sin g the da ta ma rk e d o ff a s f ra me s o f a na ly sis ; semantic re lationships were ide ntified. Salient domains ge rmane to answer ing r esea rch qu e sti on s w e re ide nti fi e d a nd oth e r d oma ins we re se t a sid e I the n r e re a d a ll d a ta ind uc tiv e ly lo ok ing fo r n e g a tiv e c a se s th a t w ou ld d isp ute my c on str uc te d d oma ins A s a result of this proce ss, I moved from one subdomain to a diffe rent domain. I n addition, two subdomains were subsumed within another subdomain. Ne x t, a master outline f or eac h subdomain was cr eate d. Data e x cer pts for ea ch subdomain we re ide ntified. To beg in my discourse a naly sis, I neede d some way to select re levant samples of data f or my detailed a naly sis (Fa ircloug h, 2003). I nductive ana ly ses sug g ested that the value tea cher s derived f rom inclusion meeting s varied. Criter ia wer e esta blished for selec ting positive and ne g ative samples of discourse using finding s from inductive analy ses of tea cher interviews. Spec ifically positive samples were selec ted if they provided e vidence of (a ) social support, ( b) lea rning opportunities, or (c) prac tical support. I n addition, positi ve samples we re se lected if the moved tea cher s toward classroom-le vel solutions. I nductive ana ly ses of tea cher interviews sug g ested that meeting s were unproductive if the y failed to g ener ate solutions. Thus, samples of dialog ue we re se lected if they failed to g ener ate c lassroom-leve l soluti ons that were acc eptable to the te ache r. Thus, four positive ex amples and f our neg ative examples wer e se le c te d, wi th o ne sa mpl e fr om e a c h o f t he e ig ht m e e tin g s. Ex cer pts were broken into cla uses for f urther a naly sis with one clause display ed per line in a table. Ne x t, excerpts wer e re ad in their e ntirety and salient text was marke d and pre serve d. Ex trane ous dialog ue dee med minimally rela ted or unre lated to problem a nd re sp on se c on str uc tio ns we re re pla c e d w ith c on te nt s umm a ri e s d e no te d b y br a c ke ts within the excerpt.

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68 Ne xt, sp e e c h f un c tio ns a nd mod a lit ie s w e re ide nti fi e d th ro ug ho ut e a c h e xce rp t. As noted in the def initions section of this cha pter, two main spee ch func tions were identified: ac tivity exchang e and know ledg e exchang e. Ac tivity exchang es ar e compose d of tw o p a rt s: t he de ma nd a nd the of fe r ( F a ir c lou g h, 20 03 ). I mpo rt a ntl y th e te rm demand, a s a lin g uis tic a l te rm is a ny nu mbe r o f v e rb s f ro m re qu e st to open. For example, “I requested that the par ent conduc t a classr oom observation” is a demand. The other part of a n activity exchang e is offe r. This might be thought of as the response to a re quest. I mportantly both demands and of fer s can be modulated. The deg ree of modulation sugg ests the deg ree to which the ac tors are committed to the obliga tion or nece ssity of the de mand or off er. Spec ifically a dema nd can be modulated in t hr e e wa y s. I t c a n b e (a ) p re sc ri pti ve (e .g ., sit do wn ), (b ) m od ula te d ( e .g ., y ou c ou ld s it down), or ( c) pr oscriptive (e .g ., don’t sit down). As noted ea rlier, the moda lity chosen by actor s portends their leve l of commitment to their demand. Similarly the offe r or response can be modulated. The of fer can be (a) underta ken (e .g ., I ’ll open the window) (b) modulated ( e.g ., I may open the window) or (c ) re fused ( I won’t open the window) (F airc lough, 2003) Offe rs and de mands wer e identified a nd labeled. The other kind of speec h function is a knowledg e exchang e or e x chang e of inf or ma tio n. Kn ow le dg e e xch a ng e s a re ma de up of tw o p a rt s: s ta te me nts a nd qu e sti on s. Statements can be (a) statements of fa ct about wha t is, was, or has be en re g arding the case (e.g ., he has pr oblems rea ding) (b) pr edictions of wha t might happe n in the future including hy potheticals (e .g ., he will make a one on the standa rdized test), and (c ) evalua tions (e.g ., he is try ing ha rd). I n addition, statements are modulated, thus providing insights into the actor ’s commitment to the truth he or she is espousing Statements can be (a ) asse rted a s true (e .g ., he is failing in math), (b) modulate d (e.g ., he may be fa iling

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69 in math), and (c ) denia ls (e.g ., he is not failing math) (F airc lough, 2003) Statement ty pes and modalities wer e identified. The other part of know ledg e exchang es is questions. Questions “elicit other’ s commitment to truth” (Fa ircloug h, 2003, p. 167). As with statements, questions ca n be (a) nonmodalized posit ive (e .g ., is the student passing) (b) modalized (e .g ., could the s t u d en t b e p as s i n g), o r ( c) n o n m o d al i z ed n ega t i v e ( i s n ’t t h e s t u d en t p as s i n g) (F a ir c lou g h) A ft e r s pe e c h f un c tio ns a nd mod a lit ie s w e re ide nti fi e d, sta te me nt ( i.e ., fa c t, irrea lis, evaluation) and que stion ty pes (i.e., y es/no interrog ative and ‘ wh’ interr og ative) wer e labe led. Once these a naly ses wer e complete d, interpre tations were written. Tr ust wor th ine ss. Although the trustworthiness of a study is ulti mately judge d fr om t he e y e s o f t he re a de r, I us e d mu lti ple too ls t o e nh a nc e the po ssi bil ity tha t my rea ders will judg e it so. The tec hniques I used to improve this possibil ity included (a) prolong ed eng ag ement, (b) peer debrie fing (c) multipl e data source triang ulation, and (d) membe r che cking I n addition, study repor ts should represe nt the entire da ta set as much as possible (Ha tch, 2003). To e nable r eade rs to interpre t how well this was a c c omp lis he d, da ta la be ls w e re c on str uc te d a s f oll ow s. F ir st, a s n ote d e a rl ie r, a ll pa rt ic ipa nts we re g ive n f e ma le ps e ud on y ms t o p ro te c t th e a no ny mit y of ma le participa nts, which wer e consistently applied throug hout this report. Since par ticipant roles ar e an importa nt fac et of this repor t, teache r data tag s were coded w ith a T, leade rship team member tag s were coded w ith an L and other profe ssional educa tors wer e code d with OPE. Data quotes include d in Chapter 4 come exclusively from i n cl u s i o n m ee t i n gs Da t a q u o t es re gar d i n g t h e v al u e t ea ch er s fo u n d i n i n cl u s i o n m ee t i n gs c ome e xclu siv e ly fr om t e a c he r i nte rv ie ws T hu s, the re is n o s pe c ia l no ta tio n to a ttr ibu te data to intervie ws or mee tings. F inally the date a pplicable da ta wer e collec ted is noted.

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70 For example, the label L inda (L ) 12.05.05 would mea n that the quote is attributed to a leade rship team member with the pseudony m of L inda and wa s uttered on De cembe r 5, 2005. Work is considered more trustworthy if there is evidence of prolong ed e ng a g e me nt ( Ha tc h, 20 03 ). I ha ve be e n in vo lve d w ith thi s sc ho ol f or 3 y e a rs T hu s, my pr e se nc e a t th e sc ho ol h a d li ke ly be c ome le ss i ntr us ive A lth ou g h th e re is e vid e nc e in meeting transcr ipts that participants wer e aw are of and in some c ases spoke to the tape rec order my ear lier par ticipation in these meeting s befor e the onse t of my study assure s me that the mee tings I observe d and re corde d wer e ty pical. I n addition to prolonge d e ng a g e me nt, pe e r d e br ie fi ng wa s a n im po rt too l f or e ns ur ing the tr us tw or thi ne ss o f t his s t u d y. As no te d e a rl ie r, the pr of e sso r i n r e sid e nc e a nd I ha ve c oll a bo ra te d o n mu lti ple rese arc h projec ts at this school. Thus, it was only natura l for me to discuss my work on this project with her. Spec ifically by phone and in pe rson, we ha ve discussed this projec t f r o m d a t a c o l l e c t i o n t h r o u g h d a t a a n a l y s i s H e r c o n t r i b u t i o n h a s b e e n i n v a l u a b l e In a dd iti on to p e e r d e br ie fi ng a s w ill be se e n in the a na ly sis c ha pte rs I too k c a re to tr ia ng ula te a s ma ny fi nd ing s a s w a s p os sib le be tw e e n th e inc lus ion me e tin g tr a ns c ri pts and tea cher interviews. F inally and per haps most importantly I did member c hecking wi th m y pa rt ic ipa nts Member c hecking was done in two way s. First, pre liminary finding s were p r e s e n t e d a t a f a c u l t y m e e t i n g w h e r e m o s t o f m y p a r t i c i p a n t s g a v e m e f e e d b a c k In a dd iti on a t th a t me e tin g I a sk e d f or vo lun te e rs wh o w ou ld b e wi lli ng to c on tin ue to c he c k my fi nd ing s w ith me by e ma il. F ou r v olu nte e rs sig ne d u p to do thi s. Th us wh e ne ve r I wa nte d to c he c k s ome thi ng ou t, I did so by e ma ili ng on e or mor e of the se vo lun te e rs

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71 Lim it at ion s. As wi th a ny stu dy th is s tud y ha d mu lti ple lim ita tio ns F ir st, thi s stu dy wa s c on du c te d a t on e ur ba n e le me nta ry sc ho ol i n th e so uth e a ste rn Un ite d St a te s. Th us r e a de rs wi ll u lti ma te ly de c ide wh e the r o r n ot f ind ing s h e re a re g e ne ra liza ble to other setting s (Glesne 1999). Second, muc h of this work is interpre tive; thus, others looking a t the same tra nscripts might c onstruct diffe rent a nd equally valid interpre tations. Finally since da ta wer e collec ted during natura lly occur ring meeting s, I did not fee l comfortable direc ting pa rticipants to behave differ ently than they normally would. Thus, unlike focus g roups wher e g round rules c an sug g est what mig ht help prese rve ever y word of da ta (e .g ., no overla pping ta lk, no sidebars, limited numbers of participa nts), teac hers be haved nor mally during meeting s. Consequently there wer e multipl e sideba rs occ urring simult aneously and lots and lots of overla pping ta lk. I n the case of one me eting talk was oblitera ted by the cutting out of dinosaurs fr om paper for an impending play Thus, even thoug h I transcr ibed the tape s my self and w orked ve ry hard to g et eve ry word ve rbatim, there wer e sec tions of meeting tapes that we re not dis c e rn a ble T his wa s f a r l e ss o f a pr ob le m w ith the int e rv ie w t a pe s, fo r o bv iou s r e a so ns Overview of the Dissertation I n C h ap t er 4 fi n d i n gs fr o m i n d u ct i v e a n al y s es o f gr ad el ev el i n cl u s i o n m ee t i n gs are prese nted. Specific ally the kinds of problems and r esponses to those proble ms are de sc ri be d. To be g in C ha pte r 5 r e su lts fr om t e a c he r i nte rv ie ws a re pr e se nte d to a dd re ss ho w t he se me e tin g s w e re va lue d b y te a c he rs O nc e thi s f ou nd a tio n is e sta bli sh e d, re su lts from discourse analy ses ar e pre sented. F inally Chapter 6 c oncludes with an ove rview of the finding s of this study implications for prac tice, and r ecommenda tions for future rese arc h.

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72 CH APT ER 4 PROBL EM AND RESPONSE CONSTRUC TI ONS GENERATED I N GRADEL EVEL I NCL USI ON MEETI NGS Introduction Since scholar s have sug g ested, ba sed upon tea cher repor ts, that problem-solving meeting s are helpful for teac hers to lea rn new way s of working (B uy sse, Sparkman, & Wesley 2003; Chalfant & Py sh, 1989), it is im portant to examine the possible learning o p p o rt u n i t i es t ea ch er s h av e d u ri n g m ee t i n gs T ea ch er l ea rn i n g d u ri n g i n cl u s i o n m ee t i n gs is influenced by three fac tors. First, possible lear ning oppor tunities are bounde d by the kinds of problems discussed during meeting s. Specifica lly if particula r problems a re not dis c us se d a t me e tin g s, op po rt un iti e s to le a rn ne w t hin g s r e la te d to tho se pr ob le ms w ou ld not exi st. Thus, in order to under stand what kinds of lea rning opportunities exi st at meeting s, it is i mportant to better unde rstand the kinds of pr oblems teac hers a re discussing a t inclusion meetings. Second, lea rning opportunities are bounded by the kinds of knowledg e and experience s meeting participa nts hold. Thus, understanding the kinds of re sponses inc lus ion te a m me mbe rs of fe r i n r e sp on se to p ro ble ms p ro vid e s in sig ht i nto me mbe rs ’ knowledg e and e x perie nces. F inally lear ning oppor tunities can be influe nced by how discussions unfold. For e x ample, if discussions rema in focused on pr oblems within the student, problems within the classroom mig ht not be discussed. The pur pose of this study wa s to be tte r u nd e rs ta nd the “ bla c k b ox” (L itt le 2 00 3, p. 91 5) of inc lus ion me e tin g s a s a means for the profe ssional development of te ache rs at an ur ban ele mentary school by

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73 understanding the kinds of lear ning oppor tunities these meeting s aff ord. Thre e re sear ch qu e sti on s g uid e d th is s tud y : • W h a t k i n d s o f p r o b l e m s a r e d e s c r i b e d a t i n c l u s i o n m e e t i n g s ? • Wha t ki nd s o f r e sp on se s a re de ve lop e d b y the g ro up in r e sp on se to p ro ble ms p r e s e n t e d ? • Wha t va lue do the se me e tin g s h a ve fo r t e a c he rs ? • How does dia logue constructe d during inclusion meeting s shape pr oblem c o n s t r u c t i o n a n d g r o u p r e s p o n s e s ? W h at fo l l o ws i n C h ap t er 4 i s a b ac k gro u n d d es cr i p t i o n o f i n cl u s i o n m ee t i n gs inc lud ing the pu rp os e be hin d th e me e tin g s a s w e ll a s th e pr oc e du re s u se d to fa c ili ta te meeting s. Next, i n response to my first two rese arc h questions, is a ty pology of the kinds of pr ob le ms a nd re sp on se s to tho se pr ob le ms d isc us se d a t e ig ht i nc lus ion me e tin g s h e ld at Hopew ell Elementar y School during the 2005-2006 school y ear These f indings he lped establish a founda tion for Chapter 5, w hich addr esses my third question. Spe c if ic a lly Ch a pte r 5 a dd re sse s h ow the dia log ue of the se me e tin g s sh a pe d b oth the c on str uc tio n o f p ro ble ms a nd the re sp on se s to tho se pr ob le ms u sin g dis c ou rs e a na ly sis (F a ir c lou g h, 20 03 ). Us ing re su lts fr om i nd uc tiv e a na ly se s ( Ha tc h, 20 02 ), a s w e ll as tea cher repor ts about the value of inclusion meeting s discussed during teac her int e rv ie ws s a mpl e s o f d isc ou rs e we re se le c te d to ill us tr a te the inf lue nc e of dia log ue in c on str uc tin g pr ob le ms a nd re sp on se s to tho se pr ob le ms d ur ing inc lus ion me e tin g s. Ge neral Desc ription of Inclusi on Meet ings I nclusion meeting s were held at Hope well Elementa ry to assist teache rs as they included students with disabiliti es in reg ular e ducation cla ssrooms in response to the school’s fa ilure to meet a dequate y ear ly prog ress for this segme nt of the school’s population. Talk about hig h-stakes te sting pe rmea ted almost ever y conver sation, as exemplified in thi s quote from a member of the leade rship team: “All childre n will be

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74 encour ag ed to do their utmost on the exam . it’s a high stake s test—do I need to sa y mor e ? ” (A nd ra [L ] 11. 29 .0 5) T hu s, me e tin g s w e re fo c us e d o n h e lpi ng stu de nts pa ss standardized exams, so they could prog ress to the ne x t gr ade le vel. Exemplary student perf ormanc e on exams would, in turn, help the school shed its label a s a school in need of improvem ent under N o Child L eft B ehind re quirements. Participants ty pically included g rade -leve l teaching fac ulty members f rom the leade rship team, spec ial educa tion faculty and other profe ssional educa tors (OPE), the profe ssor in residenc e, and the school psy cholog ist. Meetings w ere held af ter student d i s m i s s al an d l as t ed fr o m an h o u r t o an h o u r a n d a h al f. No t ab l y h al f o f t h e m ee t i n gs wer e long er tha n an hour a nd exceede d the normal tea cher workda y P urpose of Meetings Ou t of e ig ht m e e tin g tr a ns c ri pts th e re we re fi ve re fe re nc e s to the pu rp os e of the se meeting s. Meeting purposes we re va riously descr ibed by Andra a lea dership tea m member a nd meeting fac ilitator, as meeting to “talk about students who nee d extra su pp or t,” stu de nts “ wh o h a ve fl a re d u p, ” a nd to “ a dd re ss t e a c he r c on c e rn s. ” Th e mos t expli cit purpose state ment found wa s uttered by Meg an OPE, during one mee ting: “the whole purpose is to ge t ever y body ’s wisdom all in one place at one time to help fig ure out what’s up with a kid and w hat to do.” The “wha t to do” was c onstructed a s next steps for students being discussed. I mportantly it was not strictly define d as solving the problem. Mee ting Pr ocedures Most inclusion m eeting s followed a similar pr ocedur e. Ge nera lly meeting s beg an with the naming of students who we re discusse d at pre vious meeting s by the fa cilitator (i.e., princ ipal or the a ssistant principal). Ne x t, updates on students wer e provide d by

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75 homeroom tea cher s, or in the ca se of the two te ams that wer e g rouped by depar tment, by the te a c he r w ith the c on c e rn U pd a te s g e ne ra lly inc lud e d in fo rm a tio n o n a c a de mic prog ress including rea ding le vels and pe rfor mance on rec ent forma l and informal assessments, as we ll as persona l histories of students including disability status, retention status, family considera tions, and health status. As updates w ere provided, tea cher s descr ibed the kinds of proble ms of prac tice they wer e experienc ing w ith students. Ty pic a lly th e se de sc ri pti on s w e re so c ia lly c on str uc te d w ith inp ut f ro m a ll members of the team with whom the student ha d contac t. This coconstruction of problems was ma de possible due to structur al fa ctors at the sc hool, which fa cilitated stu de nt c on ta c t w ith mul tip le fa c ult y me mbe rs St ru c tur a l f a c tor s in c lud e d th e Suc c e ss for All School (Kling ner e t al., 2006) re ading model, the fine a rts school model providing two resour ce pe riods daily to all students, and the depa rtmentalization of classes by su bje c t a t th e int e rm e dia te -g ra de le ve ls. F ur the r, va ri ou s r e sp on sib ili tie s o f l e a de rs hip team member s broug ht them into reg ular c ontact with many of the students discussed during meeting s (e.g ., lunch duty disciplinary proce sses, specia l educa tion refe rra ls). During inclusion meeting s, team member s variously posed questions and off ere d sug g estions to presenting teac hers. The se exchang es sometimes took on char acte ristics of a bra instorming session. Ove rlapping talk was c ommon. I n most cases but ce rtainly not in all as noted above problem desc riptions were met with “short-ter m actions” (Me g [OP E] 1.24.06) that would be taken to media te the proble m. Occa sionally logistica l c on c e rn s su c h a s g e tti ng stu de nts to t uto ri ng on tim e or fa c ili ta tin g a n a ide ’s sc he du le ruptured pr edominantly student-ce ntere d talk. Finally time permitting, ne w cha lleng es fac ed by teac hers we re discusse d.

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76 Stud ent P roblem s Discussed/Add resse d During inclusion meeting s, teac hers discusse d two kinds of students about whom the y we re c on c e rn e d— stu de nts wh o w e re fa ili ng to p ro g re ss a c a de mic a lly a nd stu de nts with challeng ing be haviors. Since a few students were discussed at more than one meeting problems wer e used a s the unit of analy sis. A litt le more tha n half of the problems discussed we re r elated to a cade mics, with slightly less than half be ing r elated to behaviors. The se we re hig hly persona liz ed ac counts. Often, multiple inclusion team members kne w much about the stude nts they wer e discussing I mportantly there was some overla p betwee n the problems of the se students, which will be de scribed in more detail below; howe ver, ba sed upon tea cher problem desc riptions, behavior issues, whe n prese nt, were usually viewed a s the primary issue to be re solved. Thus for a naly tical pu rp os e s, stu de nts de sc ri be d a s h a vin g bo th a c a de mic pr ob le ms a nd be ha vio r p ro ble ms wer e desc ribed unde r beha vior problems. I n addition, during the initial analy sis, two additional categ ories eme rg ed that ar e not presente d here Be cause those ca teg ories conta ined so few problems (i.e., one student problem ea ch), I went bac k to the orig inal data to dete rmine whe ther or not they wer e substantively differ ent from the othe r ca teg ories; in both case s, cate g ories we re su bs ume d in to o the r c a te g or ie s. Th us th e de sc ri pti on s p re se nte d h e re re pr e se nt o nly those problems whe rein a substantive number of stude nts with those problems (i.e., more than five) wer e discussed. Ma ny stu die s h a ve su g g e ste d th a t te a c he rs se e k a ssi sta nc e wi th a c a de mic problems experienc ed by their students (Chalfa nt & Py sh, 1989; Eidle et al., 1998; Mey ers e t al., 1996). Howe ver, f indings fr om this st udy provide more contextualiz ed acc ounts of these proble ms. Descr iptions of two kinds of students chara cter ized as failing

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77 to prog ress a cade mically emer g ed during inclusion meeting discussions including students who exhibi ted hig h eff ort coupled w ith low perfor mance and students who exhibi ted inconsistent perf ormanc e. What follows is a descr iption of how meeting participa nts describe d these pa rticular stude nts and their proble ms, including e vidence teac hers c ited to justi fy their conc erns. High E ff ort C oupl ed wi th Low P erform ance One g roup of students about whom tea cher s were conce rned w as desc ribed a s try ing ha rd ac ademica lly without success. Ge nera lly students within thi s cate g ory either qu a lif ie d f or sp e c ia l e du c a tio n s e rv ic e s u nd e r h ig hinc ide nc e c a te g or ie s su c h a s sp e c if ic lear ning disa biliti es, mild mental retar dation, or spee ch and la ng uag e impairments, or we re stu de nts wh om t e a c he rs be lie ve d n e e de d s pe c ia l e du c a tio n te sti ng a nd se rv ic e s. Most of these proble ms were broug ht up by third-g rade teac hers, the y ear students fac ed mandatory rete ntion policies. For e x ample, Jenni described he r student noting, “ I know she’s g oing to be tested into the ESE prog ram, a nd she’s proba bly g oing to g o rig ht in” (1 1. 20 .0 5) T e a c he rs (i .e ., Ca rr ie Ca rm e n, Jord is) a nd Cor e y a n O PE, oc c a sio na lly discussed childre n they descr ibed as “ border line.” The se we re students who w ere tested and did not qualify for spe cial educ ational servic es. I n addition to describing student’s disability status, teache rs ty pically repor ted on the student’s history of re tention or the possibili ty of being reta ined in the future A history of re tention added to the se nse of urg ency to help students, as noted by J ordis: “Adam ha s been r etained in f irst gr ade, a nd I think his foresig ht [ assessment] was unscora ble. I t’s so bad” ( 11.30.05). Students showing little or no prog ress we re of ten desc ribed during inclusion team meeting s in terms of par ticular a cade mic tasks that wer e cha lleng ing f or them. F or example, J enni desc ribed two students whose r eading “compr ehension is ver y low rig ht

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78 now and their fluenc y . math is low too” (11.30.05). Similarly Aisha desc ribed a student with reading compre hension problems noting “I ’ll ask her a question” a bout her re ad i n g, an d h er re s p o n s e w i l l “b e r el at ed t o t h e t o p i c, b u t u n re l at ed t o t h e r ea d i n g” (11.30.05). I n addition, teache rs desc ribed memory and g ener alizing difficulties experience d by these students. F or example, Cori descr ibed her student’s problem reme mbering words whe n she re ad Even fr om one sentenc e to the next, she would be re ading along and she w ould . g o throug h the [decoding ] process, and the w ord would come up ag ain in the ne xt se nte nc e a nd sh e wo uld ha ve to g o th ro ug h th e e nti re [de c od ing ] pr oc e ss; it was like she ha d never seen the word be fore (2.7.06) Di sc us sio ns a bo ut s tud e nts a lw a y s in c lud e d s ta te me nts a bo ut s tud e nt e ff or t. Ca rr ie e xpla ine d h e r s tud e nt’ s e ff or t th is w a y : “ S h e t ri es i t ’s n o t l i k e s h e’ s n o t t ry i n g. She’s try ing but the pr og ress just isn’t coming, the g rowth just isn’t coming” (11.30.05). Of a no the r s tud e nt, Jord is a ve rr e d, “ B le ss h e r h e a rt s he tr ie s” (1 1. 30 .0 5) I n a dd iti on to descr ibing these students as hard w orking they wer e ofte n descr ibed as be ing ve ry likeable by teac hers. “ He ha s the cutest per sonality cutest. I mean it’s just adora ble” (Jeni [ T] 11.30.05). Thus, these wer e likeable students who wer e desc ribed in terms of sk ill de fi c its a lon g sid e e ff or t. Tea cher s justified their lackof-pr og ress c laims by discussing how students failed to respond to supports and interve ntions provided. Ty pical supports and inter ventions descr ibed by teac hers include d moving students to lower rea ding g roups, intensive aca demic instruction, and c urricula r modifications. F or example, J enni noted that students she consider ed to be strug g ling a cade mically “ar e now in tutoring and we ’re not se e ing muc h p ro g re ss w ith the m” (1 1. 30 .0 5) I n a dd iti on to d isc us sin g ho w s tud e nts failed to re spond to supports and interventions, teac hers a lso shared e vidence of a c a de mic c la ssr oo m st ru g g le s.

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79 Tea cher s prese nted evidenc e fr om assessments and c lass work that sug g ested stu de nts we re str ug g lin g F or e xamp le s tud e nts a t H op e we ll w e re re qu ir e d to pa rt ic ipa te in s imu la tio ns of imp e nd ing sta te a sse ssm e nts Re su lts fr om s imu la tio ns we re fr e qu e ntl y mentioned as tea ms discussed student prog ress. I n particula r, tea cher s discussed differ ence s in the raw sc ores f rom one testing point to the nex t (e.g ., “she sc ored a 34, wh ic h is low b ut I me a n s he ’s de fi nit e ly ma kin g pr og re ss, c a us e tha t’ s n ot a n e a sy te st, and to make a 55 [during the se cond simulation] that’s 21 points” [Olga [L ] 11.29.05] ). I n addition to these more f ormal kinds of asse ssments, it was not uncommon for sea soned t e a c h e r s t o u s e t h e i r o w n j u d g m e n t s a s e v i d e n c e o f c o n c e r n T h i s i s t yp i f i e d b y a statement made by J enni, a third-g rade teac her. “ She’s a ve ry hard w orker but I fore see he r m a kin g on e s [th e low e st s c or e on the sta te ’s e xam] o n b oth the re a din g a nd the ma th ag ain” ( 11.30.05). Inconsis tent Ac adem ic P erform ance Students described a s having inconsistent aca demic per formanc e we re c ha ra c te ri zed by the ir a bil ity to d o v e ry we ll a t ti me s a nd ve ry po or ly a t ot he r t ime s. Unlike students descr ibed as wor king ha rd but not making prog ress, these students were p e r c e i v e d a s b e i n g c a p a b l e b u t l a c k i n g e f f o r t T e a c h e r s d e s c r i b e d s t u d e n t s a s “ l a z y” (Paula [T] 11.29.05), “off-ta sk” (Jordis [ T] 11.30.05), and “spac ey ” (Jasmine [T] 11 .2 9. 05 ). Me dic a tio n a lso c a me up a s a top ic of dis c us sio n r e g a rd ing the se stu de nts Ca nd a c e de sc ri be d h e r s tud e nt a s f oll ow s: I rea lly do believe he is very capa ble, ‘c ause I ’ve sa t down with him one-on-one, lis te ne d to him re a d, ha d h im g o b a c k in to t he a rt ic le to p ic k th e ri g ht a ns we rs a nd he did it; bu t th e n h e ’l l si t th e re a nd be la zy wh e n y ou do n’ t pu sh him (11.30.05)

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80 I nconsistent perf ormanc e also wa s noted among subjects. For example, Bonnie de scribed on e of he r s tud e nts thi s w a y : He c ome s to re a din g h e ’s pr e pa re d, he ’s re a dy to g o, e ve ry on c e in a wh ile he ’l l day drea m and I have to sna p my fing ers to g et him back, but he doe s the work, he does the Pause Stra teg y [a reading compre hension strateg y ], he Proves ever y thing [a reading compre hension strateg y ], he does what he’ s supposed to. Then he g oes math . then he c omes to science I don’t know wha t his problem is in science, it’s the weirde st thing. (11.29.05) S t u d en t s al s o we re d es cr i b ed as “t i re d al l t h e t i m e” (O l ga [ L ] 1 1 2 9 0 5 ) o r d ra ggi n g; howeve r, eve n this behavior wa s inconsistent: “He’s not tired w hen he w ants to clown with his friends” ( J asmine [T] 11.29.05). Thus, students wer e cha rac terized as ca pable, bu t of te n o ff -t a sk a nd inc on sis te nt p e rf or me rs Sin c e the re we re fe we r d a ta po int s ( i.e ., fa ili ng te st s c or e s) to s ub sta nti a te problem cla ims for students descr ibed as ha ving inc onsistent perfor mance teac hers r elied more on prof essional judg ment acr oss multi ple teac hers to justify the exist ence of problems. For example, a fifth-g rade student had three teac hers making the same kinds of c o m m e n t s a b o u t h i m w h i l e a t h i r d g r a d e s t u d e n t h a d t w o t e a c h e r s e x p r e s s i n g c o n c e r n In a dd iti on th e on ly ob je c tiv e da ta po int de sc ri be d b y te a c he rs wa s f re qu e nc y of a bs e nc e s. Finally the disability status of one of the students was noted by teac hers: “H e’s staf fed for only social/emotional” (Ca ndace [T] 11.30.05). Cha lle ngi ng Be hav ior s Finding s from this study wer e consistent with exist ing studies sug g esting that teac hers r eporte d needing assistance with students with a wide ra ng e of be havior conce rns, or wha t some studies termed socio-e motional concer ns (Chalfant & Py sh, 1989; Eidle et al., 1998; Mey ers e t al., 1996). Unlike pre vious studies, findings desc ribed here provide salient de tails about char acte ristics of re ported proble ms, as classifica tion

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81 scheme s often lose mea ning ( Be rg er & L uckman, 1966) I n addition, findings sha red he re ill umi na te ho w t e a c he rs jus tif ie d th e c on c e rn s th e y br ou g ht f or wa rd a t me e tin g s. Tea cher s descr ibed four kinds of c halleng ing stude nt behaviors including (a) attendanc e problems, (b) be havior proble ms and low ac ademic pe rfor mance (c) persistent annoy ing small behaviors, a nd (d) a g g ressive be haviors. Abs e nc e s. Attendanc e wa s espec ially conce rning for tea cher s beca use of the hig hsta ke s te sti ng e nv ir on me nt, a s is su g g e ste d b y the c omm e nts of Jenn i: She’s bee n out three da y s this week and . I don’t want a ny body say ing to me a t the end of the y ear that I didn’t—y ou know what I mean [did not do every thing possible] L ike she’s a bsent so much, there ’s no way she’d pa ss the [st ate’ s highstakes exam]. (11.30.05) Problems were descr ibed and justified in terms of the numbers of a bsence s and interventions alre ady tried. F or example, while discussing the problem of a fifth-g rade stu de nt w ho of te n c a me to s c ho ol b ut l e ft e a rl y a ft e r s lip pin g to t he c lin ic to c a ll h is mom, a member of the leade rship team met with the mom to ask for he r help. She re po rt e d th a t th e mot he r s a id, “ I do n’ t w a nt t he c hil dr e n to be ou t. T he y c omp la in a lot a nd I ’m g oin g to s top c omi ng a t th e dr op of a ha t . b ut a pp a re ntl y s he ’s sti ll continuing to do that” (Andra [L ] 11.30.05). Teac hers r eporte d sending the truanc y office r to che ck on anothe r student with high r ates of a bsentee ism. Bonnie re ported using praise to r einforc e her student’s attenda nce. “ I actua lly paid him a compliment. Oh, J on, it’s nice to see y ou ag ain. This is ge tting better I like this. S ee, it’s nice when y ou’re here I rea lly appre ciate it” ( 11.29.05). F inally teac hers noted tha t these students had mis se d s o mu c h s c ho ol t ha t th e y we re fa ili ng ma ny of the ir su bje c ts. Be hav ior pr obl e m s a nd lo w ac ade m ic s. Sa lie nt c ha ra c te ri sti c s o f t he se stu de nts inc lud e d th e pr e se nc e of se ri ou s p ro ble ms c ou ple d w ith be ha vio r a nd a c a de mic pr ob le ms.

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82 Tea cher s sugg ested that be haviors influenc ed poor a cade mics and vice versa Be haviors wer e ofte n interpre ted by teac hers a s way s for students to esca pe ac ademic instruc tion. F or e xamp le w hil e the te a m w a s d isc us sin g ho w o ne stu de nt t hr e w a c ha ir du ri ng c la ss, Mildred noted “tha t’s his way of esc aping ” wor k ([T] 12.13.05). Stu de nts we re de sc ri be d a s “ la c kin g se lf -c on tr ol” (L e xa [T] 1 .3 1. 06 ), wi th s ome teac hers r eporting that these students often display ed ag g ressive be haviors. Te ache rs noted that many problems occ urre d during transitions and larg e-g roup tea cher prese ntations. Ag g ressive be haviors in y oung er students include d “biting” (Nicole [T] 1.24.06) and “ kicking ” (Cait [L ] 1.24.06) and for older students included “throw ing things” (L exa [ T] 1.31.06) and being g ener ally disruptive. Thus, students had fre quent encounte rs with the front of fice for be havior re fer rals, and in some c ases, suspensions. Tea cher s also mentioned problems with pee r re lations. For e x ample, a pr imary teac her sa id of one of he r students, “I ’ve be en aske d to keep [this st udent awa y ] from sever al of my other students by pare nts of my other students [in] my cente rs” ( Mandy [T] 1.10.06). F inally teac hers a lso mentioned that often these students had low ver bal abilities, with one student being descr ibed as “ nonverba l with adults” (Meg [OP E] 1.31.06). Aca demically students were descr ibed as re luctant to eng ag e in tasks. For e xamp le L e xa r e po rt e d, “ I ’m ha vin g the mos t c ha lle ng e be ing su c c e ssf ul w ith Ca rl I t is jus t . h e a vo ids a nd a vo ids a nd a vo ids ” (1 .3 1. 06 ). An oth e r t e a c he r o bs e rv e d th a t a student wanted to g o to the bathroom whe n work wa s too challeng ing. I n addition, te a c he rs no tic e d v e ry lit tle a c a de mic pr og re ss. F or e xamp le M a nd y e xpla ine d, “ I jus t tested him ag ain today um and there ’s not a lot of prog ress in re ading —he’s pr etty much plateaue d” (1.10.06)

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83 Mu lti ple kin ds of su pp or t w e re g ive n to the se stu de nts inc lud ing pe e r s up po rt tutoring, a nd aca demic modifica tions, such as brea king a cade mic tasks into smaller piece s. Howeve r, tea cher s char acte rized aca demic supports as inef fec tive in helping students, as noted by a four th-g rade teac her: This child is absolutely not functioning in the classroom. The re is nothing he ca n do on his own, and eve n with him si tting oneto-one with [the special e ducation te a c he r], he ba re ly a nd I ’m no t e xag g e ra tin g c a n w ri te his na me ; he ’s a fo ur th g rade student who’s supposed to be in fif th gr ade, a nd I just really like our inc lus ion mod e l, b ut w e a re no t me e tin g his ne e ds ; w e a re no t e ve n c omi ng c los e to meeting this child’s needs. (D ebra [T] 12.13.05) No ta bly th e on ly int e rv e nti on fo r b e ha vio r d e sc ri be d b y te a c he rs oth e r t ha n r e fe rr a ls, su sp e ns ion s, a nd tim e ou ts w a s se e ing the g uid a nc e c ou ns e lor on a lim ite d b a sis Ann oy ing and pe r sis te nt sm all be hav ior s. Students with annoy ing a nd persistent beha viors wer e desc ribed by teac hers a s “ea sily distracted” (B onnie [T] 1 1 2 9 0 5 ; J a n e [ T ] 1 2 1 3 0 5 ) a n d “ d i s r u p t i v e ” ( M a n d y [ T ] 1 1 0 0 6 ) A c a d e m i c a l l y, stu de nts we re de sc ri be d a s w or kin g a t g ra de le ve l or a bo ve Co mmo n te a c he r c omp la int s included ca lling out and talking out of turn. Tea cher s noted y oung er students ha d difficulties kee ping the ir hands to themselves a nd running in the classroom, whe rea s o ld e r s tu d e n ts w e r e d e s c r ib e d a s a v o id in g r e s p o n s ib il it y f o r th e ir o w n b e h a v io r s L e xa de sc ri be d a re c e nt i nc ide nt w ith on e of he r s tud e nts thi s w a y : He’ ll hop up and run g o g et scissors ‘c ause he ’ll want to cut his painting up or something y ou know he just . it’s not too hard to keep on top of that . I don’t us ua lly g e t hi m in tr ou ble I sa y “ Oh n o n o n o, tha t’ s n ot f or thi s p ro je c t. Remember, f or this project we ’re just using these ma terials.” ( 1.31.06) They wer e also ty pified base d on things they did not do—they wer e not ag g ressive students, a lthough they often ha d difficulties with pee rs. One te ache r descr ibed her student as follows, “The rea son y ou don’t see disc ipline refe rra ls is that it ’s no t li ke ne c e ssa ri ly dis re sp e c tf ul a ll t he tim e or a g g re ssi ve n a sty be ha vio r, it’ s ju st

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84 constant” ( Debr a 12.13.05). Jane put it this way “I t’s not like he’s hurting somebody or do ing a ny thi ng te rr ibl e b ut i t’ s th e a c c umu la tio n o f i t a ll” (1 2. 13 .0 5) T hu s, the se students were considere d a proble m on the basis of the a ccumulation of small but a nn oy ing be ha vio rs As with other kinds of student problems, the f act that the stude nt was experiencing difficulties in multipl e setting s was of c oncer n for tea cher s. For e x ample, du ri ng the fo ur th g ra de me e tin g b oth c la ssr oo m te a c he rs pr e se nt m a de sim ila r c omm e nts about one student. I n addition, teache rs noted that some of the se students had be en formally diag nosed with ADHD Sin c e the sc ho ol h a d f a r f e we r a c c omm od a tio ns a nd su pp or ts f or stu de nts experiencing behavior problems than for aca demic proble ms, families were perc eived a s the be st s ou rc e of he lp f or te a c he rs wi th t he se kin ds of pr ob le m be ha vio rs T e a c he rs howeve r, re ported be ing f rustrate d with family interac tions. For example, one pa rent wa s descr ibed as blaming the school for problems, sug g esting that her son wa s acting out beca use he w as not being challeng ed. Most pare nts did acknowledg e the pr oblems of the ir c hil dr e n. No ta bly th a t di d n ot i mpr ov e the qu a lit y of te a c he r/ pa re nt i nte ra c tio ns For example, a kinderg arte n teac her e x presse d frustra tion that her student’s mother mis se d f ou r s c he du le d me e tin g s. De br a a fo ur thg ra de te a c he r c ite d h e r e nc ou nte r w ith the pa re nt o f o ne of the se c hil dr e n th us ly : Not too long a g o, I had an hour confe renc e on a F riday with his mot her, w e’ve made r epea ted phone c alls, there’ s no rea ding home work c oming in, I mean they seem like c onscientious pare nts, they g ive y ou the rig ht words, but there ’s no follow throug h. (12.13.05) Finally at the mid-point of the school y ear teac hers r eporte d that a par ent said she continued to have difficulty finding a doctor to seek tre atment for he r son’s ADH D and had ther efor e not bee n able to help.

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85 Ag gr e ssi ve be hav ior s. Tea cher s descr ibed problems with students who display ed sig nif ic a nt b e ha vio r p ro ble ms, wh o w e re a lso on g ra de le ve l a c a de mic a lly T e a c he rs a lso noticed that once these students we re a ctively eng ag ed in work, the re w ere few er behavior problems. I t was the seve re be haviors, howe ver, tha t teache r found most troubling. F or example, one teac her de scribed a student as “making unsafe trouble” ( J ane [T] 12.13.05). Unsafe trouble included suc h things a s “hurting people” (De bra [T] 12.13.05) and “ t h r o w i n g t h i n g s ” ( M i l d r e d [ T ] 1 2 1 3 0 5 ) T e a c h e r s f e l t t h e y h a d t o k e e p a w a t c h f u l e ye on these students at a ll tim es. B ehavior s were often c ateg orized as being “ag g ressive” (De bra [T] 12.13.05) or “def iant” (L inda [L ] 1.31.06). Fre quency of disciplinary problems was discusse d by teac hers with the be haviors of one student deeme d sever e enoug h for tea cher s to recommend tha t the student be eva luated for specia l educa tion place ment in the district’s separ ate sc hool for students with sever e emotional disturbance s. Tea cher s justified their conce rns about these students by descr ibing pa renta l acknow ledg ment of ag g ression problems. The fac t that one student had be en diag nosed with ADHD a nd was take n off the me dication adde d to the perc eived ve rac ity of the claim that there was indee d a proble m with this student. Finally the pre sence of student dif fi c ult ie s in mul tip le c la ssr oo ms w a s a no the r w a y te a c he rs jus tif ie d th e ir c on c e rn s. Re s p o n s es / S u g g es ti o n s to Ad d re s s Pro b l ems Responses or sug g estions to problems with students dis cussed dur ing inc lusion me e tin g s in c lud e d ( a ) f a mil y -l e ve l r e sp on se s, (b ) c la ssr oo mle ve l r e sp on se s, (c ) s c ho ollevel re sponses, and (d) response s that sugg ested no c hang es for students. Family -leve l re sp on se s a nd c la ssr oo mle ve l r e sp on se s w e re dis c us se d f a r m or e fr e qu e ntl y tha n s c ho ol-

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86 level re sponses and re sponses that sug g ested no c hang es. What follows is a descr iption of eac h kind of response Desc riptions include details about the re sponses, the kinds of problems that wer e being addre ssed, and how te ams supported or justified their particula r re sp on se s. F am ily-Level Responses Fa culty at the school c onsidered f amilies to be important to the overa ll success of students. Thus, in response to tea cher conce rns about students, it was common for inc lus ion te a ms t o s ug g e st i nv olv ing fa mil ie s d ir e c tly in t he e du c a tio na l pr oc e ss o f t he ir c hil dr e n. I nv olv ing fa mil ie s w a s r e c omm e nd e d f or a ll s tud e ntpr ob le m ty pe s. Te a ms su g g e ste d in vo lvi ng fa mil ie s b y (a ) p ro vid ing fa mil ie s w ith a dd iti on a l ma te ri a ls t o h e lp their child at home, ( b) conve ning a family solutions t eam mee ting ( FSTM), a nd (c) using the home/school liaison to ga in acc ess to families. One r ecommenda tion made by inclusion team members f or students who we re str ug g lin g a c a de mic a lly wa s to se nd ma te ri a ls f or fa mil ie s to us e to w or k w ith the ir children a t home. Sugg ested mate rials included laminate d sight wor d car ds, sight wor d lis ts, a nd re a din g pa c ka g e s. F or e xamp le d ur ing on e me e tin g a me mbe r o f t he le a de rs hip team sug g ested sending home sig ht word lists mul tiple times: “Take y ou a re am of pa per, and um send it home as a packe t for the holiday s. Put i t on red pa per, if y ou have to or g ree n paper . just send it in a differe nt format” ( Andra [L ] 12.06.05). I n addition, there wa s d isc us sio n a t tw o in c lus ion me e tin g s a bo ut c re a tin g pa re nt w or ks ho ps to h e lp p a re nts lear n how to better he lp their children. T eac hers’ experience s enlisting par ent support ins pir e d th e se su g g e sti on s. Te a c he rs a t H op e we ll f re qu e ntl y a sk e d f a mil ie s to a ssi st t he ir c hil dr e n a t ho me wi th s c ho ol w or k w ith so me su c c e ss. Th us s e nd ing ho me ma te ri a ls f or fa mil ie s to us e

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87 wi th t he ir c hil dr e n w a s n ot a no ve l su g g e sti on to a dd re ss a c a de mic c on c e rn s f or stu de nts F or e xamp le Ca rr ie ’s re po rt of ho w s he inv olv e d a pa re nt e xemp lif ie s th is: I have be en wor king w ith mom s ince the f irst day of school, sending extra materia ls home, this is what we do in class, teac hing, y ou know, showing mom how we do it in class. Giving her more rea ding stuff g iving he r, y ou know, the v o ca b u l ar y l i s t u m S en d i n g t h i n gs h o m e t h at s h e’ s d o n e i n cl as s fo r m o m t o go over w ith her outside of c lass um I ’ve se nt home extra rea ding books so that she can be ahea d of wha t Carmen’s doing for the r eading class and she can g o over vocabula ry with her mom and re rea d stories to prac tice the f luency on the words out loud. (11.30.05) I n a dd iti on to s e c ur ing pa re nta l a ssi sta nc e a t ho me in c lus ion te a m me mbe rs fr e qu e ntl y sug g ested involving families in problem solving me eting s ref err ed to as F amily Soluti ons Tea m Meeting s (FSTMs). Convening FSTMs was the most fr equent f amily -leve l response. F STMs were re c omm e nd e d f or a va ri e ty of stu de ntpr ob le m ty pe s in c lud ing (a ) s tud e nts wi th inc on sis te nt a c a de mic pe rf or ma nc e ( b) a bs e nc e s, a nd (c ) p e rs ist e nt a nn oy ing be ha vio rs Guidelines for FSTMs wer e g ener ated a t the beg inning of the school y ear and we re available for tea cher s in a “pa cket” and in the “ha ndbook” (L inda [L ] 12.06.05). St ated pu rp os e s f or the se me e tin g s in c lud e d d isc us sio n w ith fa mil ie s a bo ut s tud e nt p ro ble ms wi th a c a de mic s, be ha vio r, a nd a tte nd a nc e M e e tin g s w e re int e nd e d to inc lud e fa mil y members, a ll teache rs who had dir ect c ontact with the student, as we ll as school administrators. FSTMs we re de signe d to be pre cursor s to EPTs, although as note d by L ind a a le a de rs hip te a m me mbe r, “ no t e ve ry F a mil y Sol uti on s w ill re su lt i n a n E PT ref err al and then te sting” (12.06.05). Of te n, te a ms s ug g e ste d c on ve nin g the se me e tin g s w he n p ro ble ms a t sc ho ol c ou ld only be handle d from home ( e.g ., behavior rela ted to medication issues, abse nces) There wer e, howe ver, othe r occ asions when F STMs were r ecommende d for c halleng ing classroom be haviors such a s moving a round during class and c alling out be cause as

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88 L inda pointed out, “beha vior is one of the thing s that the family solutions t eam c an take a le a d o n; a nd we ne e d to sit wi th a ll o f t he sta ke ho lde rs a nd c ome up wi th s tr a te g ie s to he lp t his c hil d b e su c c e ssf ul” (1 2. 13 .0 5) A rg ua bly th e “ sta ke ho lde rs ” fo r h e lp w ith classroom instruction (i.e., r eading teac her, ma th teache r, school counse lor, beha vior re so ur c e te a c he r) we re a lr e a dy a t th e ta ble du ri ng the inc lus ion te a m me e tin g T hu s, thi s re c omm e nd a tio n ma y ha ve pr olo ng e d th e a mou nt o f t ime ne e de d to fi nd wa y s to be st mitigate the problem. Th e fi na l su g g e sti on to i nv olv e pa re nts wa s f or the ho me /sc ho ol l ia iso n to vis it the par ent on beha lf of the sc hool. This recommenda tion to seek the assistance of the ho me /sc ho ol l ia iso n to br ing fa mil y me mbe rs to s c ho ol w a s ma de to a dd re ss a kinderg arte n teac her’ s conce rn that a pa rent did not show up for a meeting with teache rs on four oc casions. I n particula r, tea cher s were conce rned a bout the student’s beha vior. Th is p ro ble m w a s c omp lic a te d b y te a c he r t ur no ve r; thu s, it w a s r e a so ne d th a t th is meeting would also g ive the new teac her a n opportunity to speak dire ctly with the pare nt. Classroom -Level Re spon ses Classroom-level re sponses included sug g estions or response s to (a) c onsider how the student was f unctioning in the c lassroom, (b) c hang e tea ching methods to better addre ss student needs, and ( c) influe nce stude nt motivation. These sug g estions were made f or students with all ty pes of pr oblems except absenc es. Recommenda tions to consider how the student wa s functioning in the classroom emer g ed in two way s. First, a more formal r oute to establishing stude nt functioning was discussed for students alrea dy labeled w ith disabili ties. For a student with low aca demics a nd be ha vio r p ro ble ms, the te a m r e c omm e nd e d th e dis tr ic t’ s b e ha vio r s pe c ia lis t c ome i n t o t h e c l a s s r o o m a n d o b s e r v e t h i n k i n g t h a t “ s h e m i g h t h a v e p o i n t e r s ” ( Li n d a [ L]

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89 12 .1 3. 05 ) f or wa y s to imp ro ve pr ob le ms w ith bo th b e ha vio r a nd a c a de mic s in c la ssr oo m. Th e te a m a lso dis c us se d th e po ssi bil ity of do ing a n I nd ivi du a l E du c a tio na l Pla n u pd a te so that a for mal functional be havior a ssessment (F BA ) could be done. B y desig n, FB As define the conditions under whic h undesirable behavior s occur which is the first step toward e stablishing wa y s to better help the stude nt behave acc eptably in the classroom. The sec ond way this occurr ed wa s throug h teac hers r esponding to questions about the student’s beha vior in the classroom pose d by various tea m members. F or example, on e of the re so ur c e te a c he rs ma de the fo llo wi ng ob se rv a tio n a bo ut a stu de nt w ith persistent annoy ing be haviors in re sponse to inclusion team members’ questions: “I do ha ve mov e me nt p ro ble ms w ith him um t he fi rs t 5 o r 1 0 mi nu te s o f c la ss t ime du ri ng my direc t instruction” (L exa [ T] 1.31.06). She went on to sugg est that “may be it’s just the way it’s [ class] structured or something tha t he has trouble ha ndling it” ( L exa [ T] 1.31.06). A bit later in the disc ussion, she remembe red tha t students were coming to her a ft e r t he int e ns ive 90 -m inu te re a din g blo c k. Th is l e d to the te a m br a ins tor min g wa y s to allow all students to move (e.g ., marc hing, stre tching ) bef ore she beg an g iving dire ctions. I n another example, by answe ring the question “whe n does y our student work best” (Me g [OP E] 1.31.06), one of the r esourc e tea cher s decide d that her student ne eded sim pli fi e d ta sk s a nd dir e c tio ns g ive n o ne a t a tim e fo r t he stu de nt t o b e mos t su c c e ssf ul. An oth e r t e a c he r r e a lize d th a t he r s tud e nt p e rf or me d b e st w he n s he se t th e ton e fo r c la ss ear ly by g ree ting him at the door as we ll as when she put e x tra e ffor t forwa rd in offe ring him pa ts o n th e ba c k a nd pr a ise T hu s, ins te a d o f r e ly ing on a n o uts ide ob se rv e r t o a ssi st with defining optimal learning environments for students, teache rs deter mined their own answe rs throug h discussion and ref lection. I n addition to matching c lassroom interac tions

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90 to s tud e nt n e e ds thr ou g h d isc us sio n, inc lus ion te a ms m a de re c omm e nd a tio ns to u se dif fe re nt t e a c hin g me tho ds During sever al inclusion meeting s, teac hers br oug ht forwa rd par ticular c oncer ns about problems with students’ re ading compre hension. Thus, a lot of talk wa s constructe d around diff ere nt way s to improve students’ rea ding c omprehe nsion. Som etimes, teac hers share d way s of teac hing pa rticular thing s. After hear ing the conce rns from a n ear ly car eer te a c he r a bo ut a stu de nt w ho wa s st ru g g lin g wi th r e a din g c omp re he ns ion a te a c he r w ith more e x perie nce ma de the f ollowing sug g estion: I did n’ t st a rt wi th t he te xtboo k w ith my kid s b e c a us e to m e a 20 -p a g e sto ry is dis c ou ra g ing I re me mbe r I wa s a str ug g lin g re a de r w he n I wa s a kid I t to ok me 3 hours to rea d 17 pag es in a ba sal rea der. I ’ll never forg et that. So I didn’t start tha t w a y a nd I sta rt e d w ith the a rt ic le s o n p a pe r. Ke ish a a nd Ga ry [two stu de nts ] wer e say ing tha t once I g et down to the bottom of the pag e, [they ] can’t re member what the top of the pag e said. So we stopped, a nd we c overe d up the bottom of the pag e, and w e re ad one pa rag raph. I have the m tell me what that par ag raph said, in their own wor ds, or they could write it down in the mar g ins what the para g raph sa id, and then once they understood that par ag raph, the n we moved on to the next parag raph. A nd it wasn’t like we w ere tackling the whole thing at once, w e we re ta ckling littl e bit by littl e bit. (Carr ie [T] 1.30.05) Another e x ample occ urre d during a sec ond g rade inclusion meeting wher e it was rec ommended that tea cher s use big books and word ba nks to make words more me a nin g fu l f or wo rd -c a lli ng stu de nts I n o the r m e e tin g s, te c hn olo g y wa s su g g e ste d a s a potential help for stude nts with reading problems including the use of spe cialized computer r eading prog rams, as w ell as older te chnolog y such as r eading masters, whic h say the word pr inted on a spec ialized card via a mag netic strip. Thus, teac hers of ten sh a re d p a rt ic ula r w a y s o f t e a c hin g wi th t he ir c oll e a g ue s d ur ing inc lus ion me e tin g s. Ot he r i mpo rt a nt c la ssr oo mle ve l su g g e sti on s w e re re la te d to fi nd ing wa y s to motivate students. For e x ample, Carr ie found that re ading g uides wer e both useful a nd mot iva tin g fo r h e r s tud e nts :

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91 They have . lines, two w hite lines on the top and this translucent br ight y ellow h i g h l i g h t e d s t r i p T o s e e m y k i d s g e t s o e x c i t e d m y 1 0 r e a d i n g k i d s a n d b o y, they wer e following along and they knew whe re the ir partne r wa s, and they wer e so on-task, just to see this y ellow strip over one word, a nd they could follow along with eac h other, they knew that their partne r wa s on the rig ht thing, um. To s ee t h e e n t h u s i as m wi t h t h o s e k i d s t o d ay wi t h j u s t t h i s n ew t o o l wa s am az i n g. (1.30.05). I n another example, when an inter mediate tea cher noted that one of her students e njoy ed “clowning ” with his friends instea d of working it was sug g ested that student mig ht need to w or k w ith pe e rs to b e tte r m a int a in h is e ng a g e me nt. F ina lly a no the r r e sp on se to teac her c oncer ns was to sug g est teac hers use reinfor ceme nt for ac ademic pe rfor mance For example, one of the r eading tutors describe d a student who de cided “ to rea d stories cre atively .” He’ s a child that is capa ble of re ading and I don’t know wha t has transpire d be c a us e I kn ow tha t th e fi rs t se me ste r h e wa s d oin g re a lly we ll . [He ] wil l sound out a word . a nd he’s made the cor rec t sounds . [ now] he will just stick any word in. The ne x t thing that I know, he’ s just making up the story (Rosemary [T] 2.07.06) The tea m ag ree d with the teac her’ s own sug g estion that using e x trinsic reinfor ceme nt (i.e., M & Ms), in addition to letti ng this student write cre ative stories, mig ht help the situation. I mportantly classroom c onditions cannot alway s be cha ng ed, such a s the nee d for teac hers to g ive direc tions. Thus, the team often made sug g estions to help the student make c hang es in his or her be havior. F or example, it was sug g ested during a mee ting that for one student identified as ha ving tr ouble listening to tea cher direc tions that the teache r barg ain with the student. The ba rg ain would clar ify for the stude nt what was c oming next, and what the student nee ded to do to participa te. Meg an OPE, sug g ested model la ng ua g e fo r t he ba rg a in a s f oll ow s: Sa y we ’r e g oin g to d o th is [n a me the ta sk ] . a nd I wa nt y ou to b e a ble to d o th is wi th e ve ry bo dy A re y ou g oin g to b e a ble to— a nd y ou kn ow n a me a fe w s pe c if ic things y ou need to ha ve him do. Do y ou think this is going to work? (1.31.06)

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92 Finally it was rec ommended that ser ious attention be g iven to establishing re la tio ns hip s w ith stu de nts ; e sp e c ia lly wi th s tud e nts wh o d isp la y e d a g g re ssi ve be ha vio rs F or e xamp le te a c he rs a t th e me e tin g de sc ri be d h ow pr ob le ms w ith a g g re ssi on in t he ir c la ssr oo ms d imi nis he d o nc e the y re a c he d o ut t o th e stu de nt o n a mor e pe rs on a l le ve l. Rut h e xpla ine d h ow sh e did it: I ’ve be en g oing to se e him about twice a wee k in the morning s. I just sit down and we talk . I just check in a nd ask . do y ou play football, y ou know, what are y ou doing, c an I sit, can I watch the news with y ou, that kind of thing. N ow he ’s lik e wh e n h e do e s c ome to m e it’ s sp e c ia l, a nd I ma de him a le a de r o f a te a m, and um he’ s doing g rea t for me. He smiles, and he’s ha ppy when I see him. Thus, the re commendation wa s to simpl y g et to know the child better and g ive him or her extra, more positive attention. School-Level Responses O c c a s i o n a l l y i n c l u s i o n t e a m m e m b e r s r e c o m m e n d e d c h a n g e s i n p l a c e m e n t s In particula r, plac ement cha ng es we re r ecommende d for students who we re strug g ling aca demically with and without behavior pr oblems. I n addition, inclusion team members sug g ested c hang es in place ment for students who we re de emed ove rly ag g ressive. First, whe n teac hers e x presse d conce rns that students wer e not prog ressing a c a de mic a lly in c lus ion te a m me mbe rs su g g e ste d th a t E PT m e e tin g s b e c a lle d to be g in the spec ial educa tion refe rra l proce ss. This recommenda tion was made multiple times du ri ng a me e tin g wi th s e c on dg ra de te a c he rs th e y e a r b e fo re stu de nts we re su bje c t to rete ntion for fa iling to pass the state exam. W ith the exception of one tea cher secondg rade teac hers we re not in the ha bit of ref err ing stude nts for spec ial educa tion; thus by third g rade there was a backlog of students nee ding to be tested. This prompted a le a de rs hip te a m me mbe r t o c a jol e te a c he rs to “ g e t th e re fe rr a ls i n e a rl y g o o n— I wo uld want y ou all to go on a nd do y our re fer rals, do not have them stacking up so that we ha ve 20 or more sitting rig ht now sitti ng in the third g rade hopper” (Andra [L ] 12.06.05).

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93 Ot he r p la c e me nt c ha ng e s su g g e ste d b y inc lus ion te a m me mbe rs we re re la te d to stu de nts wi th b e ha vio rs tha t in c lus ion te a m me mbe rs de sc ri be d a s “ e xtre me .” F or the se c a se s o f e xtre me be ha vio rs in c lus ion te a m me mbe rs su g g e ste d p la c e me nts in a lte rn a te schools for students with seve re be havior proble ms be consider ed. I n a re lated rec ommendation, inclusion team members a lso sugg ested that students with cha lleng ing behavior s participate in a district problem ca lled Charac ter Counts, which empha siz ed behavior modification. No Rec om m endations f or Change There wer e two cir cumstance s when inclusion team membe rs re commended no chang es—ca ses wher e it was c lear ly demonstrated tha t teache rs wer e doing ever y thing possible to help students who were strug g ling a nd case s where pare nts indicated an un wi lli ng ne ss t o h a ve the ir c hil dr e n te ste d a nd /or sta ff e d f or sp e c ia l e du c a tio n s e rv ic e s. I mportantly most of these re commendations we re ma de during the third g rade inclusion meeting the g rade at which students could be reta ined for f ailure to pa ss the state’s hig hstakes asse ssment. Be cause of the g ravitas of possible retention, many of the school’ s strong est teac hers we re pla ced a t that gr ade le vel. Confidence in these tea cher s is evident in comments made a t the beg inning of this meeting by Andra one of the leade rship team me mbe rs : One thing about this team, Pam, that y ou may not know is they are hardworking g ro up of y ou ng la die s. Th e y ta ke e ve ry thi ng the y do se ri ou sly s o I wo uld a lmo st te ll y ou tha t a s w e g o a ro un d th e ta ble th e y wi ll h a ve dis c us se d a nd the y a lmo st have a consensus a bout the children tha t we will need to talk a bout this afternoon as fa r as who w ill need extra support. (11.30.05) I n addition, beca use of the hig h-stakes te sting e nvironment, third-g rade teac hers display ed heig htened a nx iety over c oncer ns about the lac k of prog ress be ing ma de by some of their students. Thus, one response from the tea m was to sug g est that teac hers

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94 continue to have high but r ealistic expectations for stude nts. For e x ample, Jenni descr ibed all of the inter ventions she was doing with a par ticular student she ha d c on c e rn s a bo ut: I ’m doing a lot of hands on; I pull them into I AI (intensive ac ademic instruc tion) all the time, Cate’s in af ter-sc hool tutoring. I know she’s g oing to tutoring outside the sc ho ol o n Sa tur da y s. I t’ s k ind of on e of tho se thi ng s w he re I do n’ t w a nt t o overw helm her so much. She tr ies so hard. Tha t kid never g ives up. (11.30.05) J enni went on to explain to the inclusion team that she wante d to be sure tha t she was doing e very thing possible, to which Me g an OPE, re plied, “May be the c hildren ar e making the prog ress they can ma ke rig ht now” (11.30.05) Thus, teac hers we re r eminded that it might not be re asonable to expect a student with learning disabiliti es to prog ress a t the same r ate a s ty pical students and that pr og ress mig ht better be define d in smaller inc re me nts Another somew hat re lated re sponse to teac her c oncer ns about students who wer e failing to prog ress wa s to simpl y rec ommend that all interventions and supports in plac e at the time of the me eting be continued. T his recommenda tion sometim es occ urre d when the student was a lrea dy labeled w ith a lear ning disa bility and the tea m concluded tha t ever y thing possible both inside and outside the c lassroom was be ing done to help the student, including a cce ss to accommodations for the state’s hig h stakes asse ssment. On oth e r o c c a sio ns th e re c omm e nd a tio n to do no thi ng mor e wa s su g g e ste d w he n p a re nts declined to ha ve students tested for specia l educa tional service s, as is noted by one of the sc ho ol’ s le a de rs in t he fo llo wi ng e xce rp t: She’s [the mother] not oblivious t o the [high-stake s test] or wha t’s coming up, and she know s what a one [t he lowest scor e on the state ’s standar dized a sse ssm e nt] m a y me a n o n h e r c hil d’ s te st, the n I ’m no t ov e rl y [co nc e rn e d] a s I am with these [others]. I am conc erne d, but not overly beca use she knows w hat her c hild face s. (Andra [L ] 11.30.05)

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95 Thus, the inclusion team re commended tha t the teac her c ontinue with the a c c omm od a tio ns a nd su pp or ts a lr e a dy in p la c e fo r t ha t st ud e nt. S u mmar y o f Fi n d i n g s a b o u t Pr o b l ems a n d Re s p o n s es to Pro b l ems I nclusion team par ticipants offe red hig hly persona liz ed ac counts of students they wer e conc erne d about in classrooms. Te ache rs desc ribed wha t they understood about stu de nts ’ a c a de mic pe rf or ma nc e r e po rt ing da ta fr om f or ma l a nd inf or ma l a sse ssm e nts They repor ted what they knew a bout students’ peer rela tionships and families. Often, teac hers of fer ed interpr etations of why particula r problems we re oc curr ing. Th e kin ds of pr ob le ms d isc us se d b y te a c he rs du ri ng inc lus ion me e tin g s f e ll i nto two broad c ateg ories—proble ms related to a cade mics and problems re lated to beha vior. Spe c if ic a lly in c lus ion te a m me mbe rs dis c us se d s tud e nts wh o w e re fa ili ng to p ro g re ss, including stude nts who put forth eff ort and students whom tea cher s considere d to put fo rt h in te rm itt e nt e ff or t. C on c e rn s a bo ut b e ha vio rs inc lud e d c on c e rn s f or stu de nts wi th low a c a de mic su c c e ss c ou ple d w ith be ha vio r p ro ble ms, pe rs ist e nt a nn oy ing sma ll behavior s, and ag g ressive be haviors. I n r e sp on se to p ro ble ms, inc lus ion te a m me mbe rs of fe re d a ra ng e of po ssi ble so lut ion s, wh ic h w e re c on sid e re d a pp ro pr ia te ba se d u po n p re vio us su c c e sse s w ith rec ommendations for other students (e.g ., teac hing stra teg ies, family strateg ies) or e sta bli sh e d g uid e lin e s f or e na c tin g pa rt ic ula r r e sp on se s ( e .g ., F STM s) Re sp on se s to pr ob le ms d isc us se d in c lud e d r e c omm e nd a tio ns fo r i nte rv e nti on a t th e fa mil y le ve l, classroom leve l, and school leve l. Tea ms sugg ested involving families by (a) providing families with additional materia ls to help their child at home, (b) convening a fa mily solutions t eam mee ting (F STM ), a nd (c ) u sin g the ho me /sc ho ol l ia iso n to g a in a c c e ss t o f a mil ie s. Cla ssr oo m-

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96 level re sponses included sug g estions or response s to (a) c onsider how the stude nt was functioning in the classroom, (b) chang e tea ching methods to better addr ess student needs, a nd (c) influence student motivation. S chool-leve l responses include d r e c o m m e n d a t i o n s t h a t p l a c e m e n t c h a n g e s b e c o n s i d e r e d f o r p a r t i c u l a r s t u d e n t s F i n a l l y, there wer e also re sponses that ca lled for tea cher s to simpl y continue all that they wer e doing f or students. Two cir cumstance s occa sioned rec ommendations for no chang e—ca ses wher e it was c lear ly demonstrated tha t teache rs wer e doing ever y thing possible to help students who were strug g ling a nd case s where pare nts indicated an un wi lli ng ne ss t o h a ve the ir c hil dr e n te ste d a nd /or sta ff e d f or sp e c ia l e du c a tio n s e rv ic e s.

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97 CH APT ER 5 DI SCOURS E ANAL YSI S FI NDI NGS Since discourse analy sis is best used in combination with ot her me thods (F airc lough, 2003) inductive ana ly sis (Hatch, 2002) of tea cher interviews wa s conducte d to b e tte r u nd e rs ta nd the pe rc e pti on s te a c he rs he ld a bo ut t he va lue of inc lus ion me e tin g s. Tea cher interviews r evea led two important perc eptions teac hers ha d of inclusion me e tin g s. F ir st, te a c he rs de sc ri be d b e ne fi ts, or wh a t on e pa rt ic ipa nt r e fe rr e d to a s “ tr ic kle downs,” they derive d from their pa rticipation in these mee tings. I n addition, teache rs de sc ri be d p ro ble ms t he y pe rc e ive d w ith me e tin g s. Cha pte r 5 op e ns wi th t he se descr iptions, as these ana ly ses provide a foundation for the re st of the cha pter. Specifica lly the purpose of Chapter 5 is to addre ss how dialog ue during inclusion meeting s shaped both the c onstruction of problems a nd problem re sponses using discourse a naly sis (Fa ircloug h, 2003). F ollowing the de scription of tea cher perc eptions of the va lue of inclusion meeting s, I briefly descr ibe how sele cted sa mples of text were ide nti fi e d a nd ho w I e mpl oy e d d isc ou rs e a na ly sis on the se sa mpl e s ( g re a te r d e ta il o n b oth of these c an be f ound in Chapter 3). N ext, I use discourse analy sis to ex plain how dialog ue shape s both problem constructions and r esponses to problems within inclusion meeting s. Finally a summary of important dialog ic fe ature s of produc tive meeting dialog ue is provided. Teacher P erc eptions of the Value of In clusion Mee tings Participants desc ribed the va lue of mee tings in terms of be nefits der ived from meeting s and the proble ms that decre ased the value of cer tain meeting s. The desc ription

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98 of pa rt ic ipa nts ’ p e rc e pti on s o f t he va lue of va ri ou s me e tin g s h e lps to c la ri fy be ne fi ts teac hers f elt they experience d from mee tings a nd problems that made me eting s seem un pr od uc tiv e fo r t e a c he rs Benefits of Inclusi on Meet ings An a ly sis of te a c he r i nte rv ie ws su g g e st t ha t te a c he rs pe rc e ive fo ur ma in b e ne fi ts from inclusion meeting s including ( a) f eeling social support for their work f rom colleag ues, (b) lear ning ne w things a bout the profe ssion of teac hing, ( c) g aining prac tical help with problems, and ( d) promoting improved pra ctice thr oug h ref lection. Social su pport. One of the kinderg arte n teac hers pointed out that tea cher s need “ca re a nd support . reg ardle ss of how long y ou might be in a profe ssion” (Da na [T] 3.08.06). Ever y teac her inter viewed sta ted they used collea g ues as a source of support for dealing with problems of pra ctice a nd many teac hers f elt that inclusion meeting s were an important space for that inter action to occ ur. More specific ally teac hers we re de scribing what Kr ug er ( 1997) terme d so c ial su pp or t I n addition to feeling car ed for by colleag ues and other s, social support includes g uidance and re liable alliance (Krug er) Tea cher s at Ho pe we ll E le me nta ry g uid e d e a c h o the r i n h a nd lin g the c omp le xitie s o f w or kin g wi th s t u d e n t s F o r e x a m p l e C a r r i e p u t i t t h i s w a y: I ha ve a c hil d in pa rt ic ula r i n my c la ss w ho g oe s to lik e thr e e dif fe re nt t e a c he rs so it was nice to hea r their input as we ll . the differ ent things tha t we’ve been t r yi n g t o d o . w e s e e e a c h o t h e r h e r e a n d t h e r e i n t h e h a l l w a y. W e d o n ’ t a l w a ys ha ve tim e to m e e t, b ut i t ma ke s it ve ry nic e to b e a ble to s it d ow n a nd ta lk w ith the other te ache rs with administration there a nd with an outside hand to say y es y ou’re on the rig ht path or no, may be we should go this way (12.05.05) Krug er ( 1997) sug g ested that “ reliable alliance occur s when pe ople fe el they can depend on othe rs for a ssistance” (p. 168). Jordis ex plained it this way : “We’re all on the sa me bo a t. We ’r e tr y ing to f ig ur e ou t w a y s to g e the r t o h e lp o ur kid s to be su c c e ssf ul” (12.07.05). Jane explained the importance of social support this way : “The w ay I fee l

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99 when I g et out of the mee ting is like I have suppor t. I have pe ople bac king me up, and be ing a ne w t e a c he r, I do n’ t a lw a y s k no w t he ri g ht t hin g to d o w he n a pr ob le m c ome s” (12.15.05). Le ar ning ne w thi ngs Te a c he rs re po rt e d th a t in c lus ion me e tin g s e na ble d th e m to lear n many things including more a bout (a) the ir students, (b) c lassroom manag ement and tea ching strateg ies, and (c ) spec ial educa tion procedur es. Sever al teac hers e x plained that inclusion meeting s allowed them to lea rn more a bout how students behave d during other pa rts of the school da y For example, Dana sa id that she espec ially liked the m e e t i n g s b e c a u s e “ yo u g e t t o k n o w e a c h c h i l d ” ( 3 0 8 0 6 ) R u t h p u t i t t h i s w a y: What those meeting s do is they g ive y ou the whole pe rson from diff ere nt perspe ctives. The w hole child, it’s not just Deonte was a littl e pill in dance, a nd bounced of f the wa lls. He had a teac her ove r her e say ing w ell, he did this for me, a nd I wa s so pr ou d o f h im . y ou e nd up wi th a mor e fu ll p ic tur e . it ’s g ot t o develop e mpathy and compa ssion and the desire to look at the whole child. Tha t’s what has be en drive n home to me is I just don’t know these childre n, I just don’t know them. And so those mee tings a re g old. (3.13.06) Th us te a c he rs lik e Da na a nd Rut h b e lie ve d th e se me e tin g s h e lp t he m c on ne c t w ith students by g aining insights into the lives of childre n outside the walls of their ow n classrooms. Ad dit ion a lly te a c he rs g a ine d im po rt a nt i nf or ma tio n a bo ut p a rt ic ula r s tud e nts wh ic h in fl ue nc e d th e wa y s te a c he rs we re te a c hin g the se stu de nts F or e xamp le B on nie s h a r e d t h e f o l l o w i n g s t o r y: I just learned [at the mee ting] that one of the stude nts that we had ta lked about . was a lmost completely blind in one ey e. And that would e x plain why she has difficulties finishing stuff . now I ’m working with her a nd rea ding a loud more and like she c an hea r, so she foc uses more on he r listening skills. . I can pa rtner her of f with somebody (12.07.05) Early car eer teac hers, in par ticular, see med to repor t learning new tea ching strateg ies. Aisha, a ne w intermedia te teac her, r eporte d using r eading g uides with her

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100 students, as rec ommended by one of he r more e x perie nced c olleag ues during an inclusion me e tin g Ro se ma ry a re a din g tut or r e po rt e d le a rn ing ho w t o u se wh ite bo a rd s e ff e c tiv e ly for r eading instruction. I n another example, Alice desc ribed he r experienc es of the me e tin g thi s w a y : There was a g ener al conc ern a nd willingness to help me f ind perha ps alterna tive teac hing me thods or other sug g estions to help me in the classroom. . I felt the atmosphere of the mee ting wa s very helpful, to say the least. And I did ge t one or two ideas that I can br ing ba ck. (1.25.06) Unlike teac hing me thods, classroom manag ement methods we re le arne d by teac hers a t a ll p ha se s o f c a re e r. Ros e ma ry a n e a rl y c a re e r t e a c he r, re po rt e d th a t sh e le a rn e d w a y s to help a student be come be tter at ra ising he r hand dur ing c lass, wher eas L exa, an e xpe ri e nc e d te a c he r, re po rt e d le a rn ing a wa y to h e lp s tud e nts wi th A DH D c on tr ol t he ir mot or ne e ds in a mor e a c c e pta ble wa y B e c a us e muc h o f t he dia log ue wa s r e la te d to students with disabili ties, teac hers r eporte d lear ning a bout proce dures r elated to the staffing and deliver y of spec ial educa tion services. Gene ral e ducation tea cher s repor ted lear ning a bout (a) spe cial educ ation ref err al proce dures, ( b) individual educa tion plans (I EP), (c) testing a ccommodations, and (d) manif estation hea ring s. Macy an ea rly car eer teac her, r eporte d she better understood her oblig ations to refe r students who we re strug g ling in her secondg rade classroom a fter t h e i n c l u s i o n m e e t i n g A l i c e s a i d t h i s o f w h a t s h e l e a r n e d a b o u t t h e p u r p o s e o f IE P s : “ It ha s ma de me mor e a wa re of pe rh a ps loo kin g int o, we ll [in te rv e nti on s] ba se d w ha t th e ir I EP prescr ibes.” De bra, a veter an tea cher repor ted I ’m still l ear ning f rom the proc edure s when it comes to spec ial ed and the inclusion prog ram we have, so just that my questions are answe red w heneve r I have a ny and I ’m lear ning mor e wha t kind of acc ommodations children ar e allowed to have for the [state’s hig h-stakes te st] (12.14.05) And finally teac hers r eporte d lear ning a bout manifestation hea ring s, which ar e ca lled when students with disabilities have over 10 day s of suspension to determine if behavior s

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101 resulting in suspension are r elated to the disa bility Thus, inclusion meeting s g ave g ener al educ ation teac hers oppor tunities to better understand the policies and pra ctices sp e c if ic a lly re la te d to stu de nts wi th d isa bil iti e s. P r ac ti c al h e lp. Many teac hers r eporte d satisfac tion with inclusi on meeting rec ommendations. For e x ample, Jane put it thi s way : “I was ha ppy with the solutions of the me e tin g a nd the fe e db a c k th a t I g ot a nd wh e n w e ta lke d a bo ut t he tw o s tud e nts tha t I broug ht up” (12.15.05). I n addition to feeling satisfied, tea cher interviews sug g ested that teac hers g leane d prac tical help fr om the meeting s. For e x ample, Carme n noted, “I did try to move her in a differ ent g roup and use some of the sug g estions about keeping her focuse d.” I n another example, L exa shared how discussion at the meeting g ave he r a ssi sta nc e in h e r c la ssr oo m: We had talked in the mee ting a bout how students are so fidg ety beca use they have been f orce d to sit and be still and taken throug h this lock step rea ding pr ocess f or an hour a nd a half and then I ’m g etting the m immediately afte r . I told them, I said, look if we c an g et throug h the explanations of what we ’re g oing to do a nd can f ollow directions, I will do Kara te with y ou . they listened hard a nd they worke d hard. ( 12.28.06) I n a dd iti on D e br a re po rt e d th a t in t a lki ng a bo ut R on a ld y e ste rd a y [at the inc lus ion me e tin g ], I ma de su re a g a in tod a y . th a t I sa t w ith him on a on e to o ne a nd wo rk e d th ro ug h p a rt of it w ith him a nd jus t, i t r e inf or c e d w ha t w e dis c us se d y e ste rd a y . it ’s mor e su c c e ssf ul i f it’s ge ntle. (12.14.05) Th us te a c he r i nte rv ie ws su g g e st t ha t ma ny te a c he rs we re g ive n p ra c tic a l he lp w ith tho rn y pr ob le ms o f p ra c tic e du ri ng inc lus ion me e tin g s. P r om pt ing im pr ov e d pr ac ti c e th r oug h r e fle c ti on. Tea cher s repor ted that i n cl u s i o n m ee t i n gs h el p ed t h em t o i m p ro v e t h ei r p ra ct i ce t h ro u gh i m m ed i at e a n d l o n gterm re flec tion. Teac hers sug g ested that mee ting inter actions promoted tea cher ref lection. Specifica lly Dana repor ted the value of questions at the mee tings be cause “it makes y ou

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102 ref lect on it [problems] in a diffe rent wa y ” (3.01.05) Fur ther, tea cher s repor ted c on tin ue d r e fl e c tio n a bo ut d isc us sio ns lon g a ft e r m e e tin g s w e re ov e r. Ca rr ie e xpla ine d it t h i s w a y: We w e re in t he re fo r a fa ir ly lon g tim e a nd y ou kn ow we a ll j us t ki nd of g ot t o h it the tip of the ic e be rg y ou kn ow no t r e a lly g o in de pth bu t um ju st t ha t li ttl e tip allows eve ry one else to proce ss it a litt le bit more, and e ven if y ou know there ’s not any thing to say rig ht then and ther e, we ’re still proce ssing it y ou know that day or eve n y ou know a we ek later (12.05.05) P roblem s w ith Inclu sion Meetings I n a dd iti on to r e po rt ing be ne fi ts, te a c he rs re po rt e d p ro ble ms w ith me e tin g s. Specifica lly teac hers f ocused on two inter rela ted issues—time limi tations and not finding solutions t o problems. Time pressures The kinds of time pre ssures that eme rg ed fr om teache r int e rv ie ws inc lud e d ( a ) m e e tin g s b e g inn ing a nd e nd ing la te ( b) ha vin g too ma ny stu de nts to d isc us s, a nd (c ) n ot h a vin g e no ug h ti me to d isc us s a ll p ro ble ms f ull y O bv iou sly the se issues were interre lated. As one of the re source teac hers c ommented, “We see m to have a lon g lis t of pe op le e a c h ti me we ’v e me t. We pr ob a bly ne e d to pa re tha t do wn so tha t ti me isn’t wasted a nd that ever y body is heard” (Ruth [ T] 3.13.05). Another tea cher c omm e nte d, “ We t e nd to s pe nd a lot of tim e on tw o o r t hr e e stu de nts a nd the n th e re ’s six more students we don’t g et to talk about. And so that’s a lway s frustra ting” (L exa [ T] 2.28.06). Some teache rs complained tha t meeting s were too long a nd often ra n over the time allotted, while other tea cher s were conce rned tha t they did not rece ive assistance from the tea m on pressing issues beca use time ran out. F or example, one of the int e rm e dia te te a c he rs de sc ri be d ti me pr e ssu re s a s f oll ow s: “ I did n’ t w a nt t o s pe nd mos t of the time on my kids, and I think that every body kind of felt the sa me way that there

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103 was so much to say and so much to talk about” (Carr ie [T] 12.05.05). Another comment made by Nicole sug g ests her c oncer n about taking too much time on the discussion of her student. “I was g etting the evil ey e fr om the other tea cher s beca use we wer e talking about him [ her student] for so long but there is so much to talk about” (3.01.06). F urther, a lth ou g h a n u nd e rl y ing g oa l of the se me e tin g s w a s th a t th e mos t pr e ssi ng pr ob le ms teac hers we re ha ving w ould be discussed a t these mee tings, tea cher interviews sug g ested that this goa l was subver ted due to the struc ture of a sking a bout new conc erns a t the end of the me e tin g I n a dd iti on to p ro ble ms w ith tim e te a c he rs a lso c ite d th e fa ilu re to g e ne ra te so lut ion s a s a pr e ssi ng pr ob le m. F ail ur e to ge ne r at e so lut ion s. Tea cher s attended the se mee tings be cause they wa nte d “ so lut ion s. ” Ca rm e n e xpla ine d th a t “ it s e e ms l ike wh e n w e ta lk a bo ut t he stu de nts . we talk more about the proble ms than solutions ” (2.01.06) Fur ther, solutions were bounded by what mee ting pa rticipants knew. O ne tea cher descr ibed inclusion meeting s as “ ju s t k in d o f a r e h a s h in g o f w h a t w e a lr e a d y k n o w a n d w h a t w e ’ v e a lr e a d y tr ie d ” ( L e xa [ T ] 2 2 8 0 6 ). An o t h er t ea ch er ex p l ai n ed t h at fo r h er d i s cu s s i o n s n ev er we n t d ee p en o u gh stating, “ I don’t rea lly g et things [solutions] that rea lly g et at the mea t of the problem most of the time” (Da na [T] 3.08.06). Other te ache rs re ported that sometimes solutions sugg ested by the team we re simply not acc eptable to them. F or example, a tea cher reje cted tea m sugg estions that she implement a token ec onomy and/or point sheets for a student with beha vior problems, as sh e fe lt t ha t th e se re c omm e nd a tio ns wo uld no t w or k in he r c la ssr oo m be c a us e the y wo uld require more time than she f elt had. F urther, she went on to state that she f elt these we re s p e c i a l e d u c a t i o n i n t e r v e n t i o n s a n d s h e w a s t e a c h i n g a g e n e r a l e d u c a t i o n c l a s s F i n a l l y, teac hers e x plained that sometimes, par ticular kinds of g roup intera ctions made finding so lut ion s q uit e dif fi c ult

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104 Tea cher s reve aled that pr oblems with gr oup interac tions sometim es made finding solutions di fficult. Specif ically conce rns about interpe rsonal re lationships and blaming wer e two proble ms cited by teac hers. One teac her e x plained, “Y ou know, y ou don’t want to offend a ny body beca use sometimes I think they do take of fense that may be we fee l they ’re not doing wha t they need to be doing a nd that’s not it at all” (Rosemar y [T] 3.13.06). Tea cher s expl ained that e ven thoug h students were supposed to be the r eason for inclusion mee tings, sometimes inclusion team mee tings be came a blaming g ame of he didn’t, she didn’t whe n it really should be more dire cted a t the student and not oth e r c ir c ums ta nc e s a s to ma y be so me bo dy did n’ t do thi s o r s ome bo dy sh ou ld have done that. I think we nee d to stay more foc used on wha t, on what our purpose is—solving a problem. And sometimes I walk out and I rea lly don’t fee l like I have a ny answe rs. (Core y [T] 3.13.06) A n o t h e r t e a c h e r p u t i t m o r e b l u n t l y: Well, there have been some meeting s where it’s been pr etty tense. I fee l like the re ’s te ns ion in t he a ir a mon g the te a c he rs a nd a dmi nis tr a tio n. . We ta lk about the students, and it’s like we ’re being g rilled about their pr og ress ra ther than just having a conve rsation. (Car men [T] 2.01.06) Some teache rs found inclusion meeting s helpful in mitigating their problems of pr actice wh ile oth e r t e a c he rs fo un d th e m un he lpf ul. No ta bly s ome tim e s te a c he rs wi thi n th e sa me meeting had diffe rent opinions. Possibl e re asons for this include ( a) w hether the teac her had a pr oblem to present, ( b) how he lpful teac hers pe rce ived sug g estions to be, and (c ) me e tin g dy na mic s. I n th e ne xt se c tio n, I de sc ri be ho w I a pp lie d d isc ou rs e a na ly sis to better unde rstand how this occ urre d. Di sc our se Ana lys is Discourse analy sis, as descr ibed by Fa ircloug h (2003) wa s applied to samples of dialog ue fr om eig ht inclusion team meeting s (i.e., one f rom ea ch g rade -leve l inclusion te a m me e tin g ) a t H op e we ll E le me nta ry Sc ho ol. Wha t f oll ow s is a de sc ri pti on of (a ) m y

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105 sampling te chnique, ( b) the discour se fe ature s I highlig hted in my analy sis, and (c) the actua l analy sis of selecte d samples. Sam pling Te c hnique An imp or ta nt i ssu e fo r d isc ou rs e a na ly sis is s pe c if y ing ho w s a mpl e s o f d isc ou rs e wer e sele cted f or deta iled analy sis (Fa ircloug h, 2003). Criteria w ere established for selec ting positive and ne g ative samples of discourse using finding s from inductive analy ses of tea cher interviews. Spec ifically positive samples were selec ted if they provided e vidence of (a ) social support, ( b) lea rning opportunities, or (c) prac tical support. I n addition, positi ve samples we re se lected if the moved tea cher s toward classroom-le vel solutions. I nductive ana ly ses of tea cher interviews sug g ested that meeting s were unproductive if the y failed to g ener ate solutions. Thus, samples of dialog ue we re se lected if they failed to g ener ate c lassroom-leve l soluti ons that were acc eptable to the te ache r. Ex cer pts were broken into cla uses for f urther a naly sis with one clause display ed per line in a table. Ne x t, excerpts wer e re ad in their e ntirety and salient text was marke d and pre serve d. Ex trane ous dialog ue dee med minimally rela ted or unre lated to problem a nd re sp on se c on str uc tio ns we re re pla c e d w ith c on te nt s umm a ri e s d e no te d b y br a c ke ts within the excerpt. Di sc our se F e at ur e s Discourse fea tures re veal diff ere nt aspec ts of meaning behind spoken lang uag e. For the purpose of this study I selec ted five f eatur es of discour se including identification of (a ) s pe e c h f un c tio n, (b ) s ta te me nt a nd qu e sti on ty pe s, (c ) m od a lit y ( d) se ma nti c rela tions between se ntence s and cla uses, and ( e) soc ial actor s. Next, each fe ature will be descr ibed. I n addition, the purpose be hind choosing eac h discourse f eatur e to foc us on

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106 will be illumi nated. F inally the way s these fe ature s were marke d in the analy sis tables will be noted. Spe e c h func ti ons Speech f unctions reve al the purpose behind the dialog ue. F or example, during a knowledg e exchang e, ac tors take turns a sking que stions and making sta te me nts T he pu rp os e is t o “ kn ow ” so me thi ng B y c on tr a st, du ri ng a n a c tiv ity exchang e, one a ctor a sks the other to do something I mportantly both kinds of exchang es c a n b e ini tia te d b y e ith e r t he a c tor or the oth e r w ith wh om t he a c tor is i nte ra c tin g T hu s, by identify ing the speec h function of a n interac tion, interpretations ca n be made about the implicit and expl icit purposes of the e x chang e. The two main spee ch func tions (i.e., knowledg e exchang e and a ctivity exchang e) wer e identified a nd noted under “discourse fea tures” in italics in all tables display ing excerpts of dialog ue. Knowle dg e exchang es ar e compr ised of questions (i.e., y es/no interrog atives or “ wh” inter rog atives) a nd statements (i.e., de clar ative sente nces) wher eas a ctivity exchang es ar e compr ised of dema nds (i.e., impera tives) and of fer s (i.e., stateme nts related to c ommitm ent to act) Activity exchang es often imply more than j u s t an ex ch an ge o f w o rd s T h er e i s an ex p ec t at i o n t h at s o m eo n e w i l l d o s o m et h i n g. Kn ow le dg e e xch a ng e s, on the oth e r h a nd a re g e ne ra lly a n e xch a ng e of wo rd s. I mportantly both halves of these exchang es ar e not alwa y s found, as dialog ue is unique in that expectations for exchang e ar e not alwa y s met (Fa ircloug h, 2003). Thus, I marke d the initiation of particular speec h functions in addition to chang es in speec h function. St at e m e nt and qu e st ion ty pe s. Ne xt, I ide nti fi e d th e kin ds of sta te me nts (i.e., stateme nts of fac t, irrea lis statements, evaluations) a nd questions (i.e., “w h” or y e s/n o in te rr og a tiv e s) re pr e se nte d in the dia log ue I rr e a lis sta te me nts inc lud e sta te me nts tha t a re fu tur e or ie nte d ( e .g ., She wi ll c ome to t he me e tin g ) a nd hy po the tic a l st a te me nts

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107 (e .g ., I mig ht n e e d to a sk fo r h e lp w ith thi s st ud e nt, if no thi ng I do he lps ). Th e pu rp os e behind identify ing sta tement and que stion ty pes is to aid with identification of patter ns wi thi n th e dis c ou rs e T he se la be ls a re ide nti fi e d in the “ dis c ou rs e fe a tur e s” c olu mn o f a ll excerpts of dialog ue. Modality. “Modality is a very complex aspect of mea ning” making (F airc lough, 2003, p. 168). Althoug h there are expli cit marke rs of modality such as modal ve rbs (e.g ., can, w ill, may must, would, should), modalit y is best understood as making speec h more tenta tive. I mpo rt a ntl y a ll s pe e c h c a n b e mod a lize d. I n th e c a se of a c tiv ity exchang es, modality sug g ests the deg ree to which the ac tors are committed to the obliga tion or nece ssity of the de mand or off er. Spec ifically a dema nd can be verba liz ed in t hr e e wa y s. I t c a n b e (a ) p re sc ri pti ve (e .g ., sit do wn ), (b ) m od a lize d ( e .g ., y ou c ou ld s it down), or ( c) pr oscriptive (e .g ., don’t sit down). (Note: modalizing a n imperative switches the c ommand to an opinion). Simi larly the offe r or r esponse c an be ve rbalized in three w ay s. The off er c an be ( a) unde rtake n (e.g ., I ’ll open the window) (b) modalized (e.g ., I may open the window) or (c ) re fused ( I won’t open the window) (F airc lough) Sta te me nts a nd qu e sti on s c a n b e mod a lize d. Sta te me nts of fa c t a re g e ne ra lly asser ted (e .g ., She has a le arning disability ), whe rea s irrea lis statements tend to be modalized (e.g ., She may have a lear ning disa bility ). Statements ca n also be de nied ( e g T h e s t u d e n t i s n o t q u a l i f i e d ) Q u e s t i o n s c a n b e ( a ) n o n m o d a l i z e d p o s i t i v e ( e g Is he y our student? ), (b) modalized (e.g ., Could it be that he’ s overwhe lmed? ), or ( c) nonmodalized neg ative (e .g ., I sn’t he one of y our succ ess stories? ). The a ctor’s c hoice of mod a liza tio n is no te d in pa re nth e sis in a ll t a ble s w ith e xce rp te d d ia log ue s a dja c e nt t o sentenc e and que stion ty pes. I n Table 51, I prese nt a summary speec h functions and c on c omi ta nt m od a lit ie s u se d in my a na ly sis

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108 Ta ble 51. Exc ha ng e ty pe s, sp e e c h f un c tio ns a nd ty pe s o f m od a lit y Kn o wl ed ge e x ch an ge Sta te me nts : T he a c tor ’s c omm itm e nt t o tr uth A s s e r t T h e s t u d e n t h a s a d i s a b i l i t y. Mo da lize Th e stu de nt m a y ha ve a dis a bil ity De ny Th e stu de nt d oe s n ot h a ve a dis a bil ity Qu e sti on s: T he a c tor e lic its the oth e r’ s c omm itm e nt t o tr uth No nmo da lize d p os iti ve I s y ou r c la ssr oo m to o s tim ula tin g fo r t he stu de nt? Modalized Might y our cla ssroom be too stimulating for the stu de nt? No nmo da lize d n e g a tiv e I sn ’t y ou r c la ssr oo m to o s tim ula tin g fo r t he stu de nt? Ac t i v i t y E x ch an ge De ma nd : T he a c tor ’s c omm itm e nt t o th e ob lig a tio n/n e c e ssi ty Pr e sc ri be Ca ll t he pa re nts Mo da lize Yo u c ou ld c a ll t he pa re nts Pr os c ri be Do n’ t c a ll t he pa re nts Offe r: The a ctor’s c ommitm ent to act Un de rt a kin g I wi ll c a ll t he pa re nts Mo da lize d I ma y c a ll t he pa re nts Re fu sa l I wi ll n ot c a ll t he pa re nts Note. This table was a dapted f rom Fa ircloug h (2003). Se m ant ic r e lat ion s be twe e n se nt e nc e s a nd c lau se s. At the c la us e le ve l, semantic re lations were identified. The ide ntification of sema ntic rela tions between sentenc es and c lauses ena bles ana ly sts to better understa nd the meaning behind the speec h. For example, identify ing se mantic re lations can sug g est whethe r the a ctor wa s g iving his or he r opinion about something or prese nting e vidence as fa ct. Table 5-2 prese nts an overvie w of the kinds of r elationships betwee n sentenc es and c lauses that ca n be identified in dialog ue. I mportantly the examples prese nted in this table ref lect c omp le te se nte nc e s w he re a s si nc e dia log ue is r a re ly utt e re d in c omp le te se nte nc e s, se ma nti c re la tio ns hip s in my a na ly sis a re no te d b e tw e e n c la us e s.

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109 Table 52. Semantic re lations betwee n sentenc es and c lauses Re la tio ns hip Exa mpl e s ( Marke rs are italicized) Causal Reason Consequence Pur po se He is not as much of a conc ern be c au se he ’s on g ra de -l e ve l. The mother is c oncer ned, so we’ re g oing to a ssess her. In or de r to g e t th ro ug h a ll o f t he stu de nts w e ne e d to sta rt Conditi onal If he do e s th is a g a in, we wi ll h a ve to s us pe nd him Tempora l We were conce rned when her mother called. Additive He’ s lazy and a lot of trouble. Elabora tion (including exemplification and re wo rd i n g) Ou r m e e tin g sta rt e d la te – it sta rt e d a t 2: 15 a nd it s ho uld have sta rted a t 2:00. C o n t ra s t i v e/ co n ce s s i v e He i s ch al l en gi n g bu t sma rt Note. This table is a modification of one found in Fa ircloug h (2003). Soc ial ac to r s. Spe a ke rs ma ke c ho ic e s a bo ut h ow so c ia l a c tor s a re re pr e se nte d in dialog ue (F airc lough, 2003) Actors in dialog ue ar e re prese nted by either nouns or pronouns. I n addition, throug h dialog ue socia l actors a re e ither ac tivated (i.e, “ the one who does thing s and make s things happe n”) ( Fa ircloug h, p. 145), or pa ssivated (i.e., “ the one af fec ted by proce sses”) ( Fa ircloug h, p. 145). On the importanc e of a ctors being a c tiv e or pa ssi ve F a ir c lou g h e xpla ins : The sig nificanc e of ‘ activation’ a nd ‘passivation’ is ra ther tra nspare nt: where social ac tors are mainly activate d, their ca pacity for a g entive ac tion, for making things ha ppen, for controlling others and so f orth is acc entuated, w here they are mainly passivated, wha t is acce ntuated is their subjec tion to processes, them being aff ecte d by the ac tions of others (p. 150). I mportantly in order to maintain the r eada bility of the a naly sis tables, pronouns rela ted to the student being discussed we re g ener ally not noted. Thus, salient pronouns rela ted to the intera ction wer e identified, a long w ith their state (i.e., a ctivated or passive), as a w ay to interpret who w as re sponsible for ac tion. Finally tables we re c onstructed with a spac e betwe en diffe rent a ctors in the dialog ue.

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110 Di sc our se Ar ound P r obl e m Co nst r uc ti ons Analy sis revea led two kinds of problem c onstruction: para llel problem c on str uc tio n a nd c oc on str uc te d p ro ble ms. B oth pr ob le m ty pe s w ill be de sc ri be d in te rm s of re levant discourse fea tures. I n addition, interpreta tions are pr ovided. P ar all e l pr obl e m c ons tr uc ti on. T h e i n t er ac t i o n i n T ab l e 5 -3 o cc u rr ed d u ri n g a second g rade inclusion meeting The e x chang e wa s betwee n one of the school’s leade rship team member s and one of the classr oom teache rs. Following a proc edure ty pical for these mee tings, this student had bee n discussed at a n ear lier mee ting a nd the prog ress of this student was be ing upda ted. I n this ex cer pt, the teac her a nd the leade rship team member eac h asser t an interpre tation of the problem, but their inter preta tions of the problem ar e par allel ra ther than coc onstructed. This mea ns that while they both ag ree there is a problem, they do not a g re e on the su bs ta nc e of the pr ob le m. T he te a c he r n ote s th a t th e stu de nt i s, fo r t he mos t part, a cade mically on-g rade level (lines 34), a point with which the a dminist rator a g ree s (line 41). The teac her se es the student as a behavior al cha lleng e (infe renc e made based up on lin e s 5 -1 6 a nd 31 -3 7) ; w he re a s th e a dmi nis tr a tor no te s th a t th is s tud e nt’ s p ro ble ms ha ve no t r e su lte d in dis c ipl ina ry a c tio n b e y on d c on ta c tin g the pa re nt ( lin e s 2 124 ). Th us the per spectives on the se verity of the proble m differ betwee n the teac her a nd the administrator. The tea cher believes tha t the way to make the situation better is to have the par ent in t o w itn e ss h e r s on ’s be ha vio r ( lin e s 3 137 ). Th e te a c he r s ta te s th a t sh e tr ie d mu lti ple times in mul tiple way s to ge t the pare nt to come to school (i.e., a ctivity exchang e lines 7, 9, and 31). I ntere stingly the administrator doe s not respond to this sugg estion for solving “the pr oblem.”

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111 Table 53. Second g rade inclusion team meeting L ine Transc ript excerpt Discourse fea tures Knowledge exc hange 1 Lin da: ne xt ch ild is G e ra ld T ho ma s a nd Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 2 I think this is Ms. Fordham’ s Statement of fa ct (modalized) 3 Gr eta: Ge ra l d i s s t ro n g i n m at h re ad i n g, s p el l i n g, Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 4 his wr iti ng is w e a k. Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 5 Um I ’v e sp ok e n w ith the mot he r Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 6 as re cently as last Fr iday and Tempora l Activity e xchange 7 I asked he r plea se come in. I (ac tivated) Demand ( presc ribed) Her (passive) 8 I ’ve se nt severa l written notes. I (ac tivated) Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) Activity e xchange 9 Please c ome in for a n appointment. Demand ( presc ribed) 10 I sc he du le d a n a pp oin tme nt w ith he r Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 11 one morning this last week, Tempora l 12 I think it was Monday Statement of fa ct (modalized) 13 or Tuesda y of last wee k, Elabora tion 14 she did not keep the appointment. She (ac tivated) Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( re fu sa l) 15 She assure d me on Fr iday She (ac tivated) Under taking 16 that she would come in sometime this week. She (ac tivated) Under taking 17 Lin da: ok a y th is m om w or ks a t L on g wo od Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 18 and um that’s whe re I ’ve ha d succe ss rea ching her Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 19 a nd sh e ha s b e e n r e sp on siv e um. Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 20 I ’v e c a lle d h e r a t w or k Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 21 beca use at the point whe re I ’m ca lling, Reason 2 2 i t ’ s n e v e r a t t h e p o i n t S t a t e m e n t o f f a c t ( d e n y) 23 wh e re it’ s c ome Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 24 or there will be an outside dete ntion. I rre alis statement 25 An d I did no te tha t Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 26 y ou have on he re You ac tivated 27 tha t he ’s ve ry a c tiv e Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) Activity Ex change 28 and have y ou had a c onversa tion with mom Yes/no interr og ative You (a ctivated) 29 or is that still on the list Yes/no interr og ative

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Table 53. Continued. 112 L ine Transc ript excerpt Discourse fea tures 30 Gr eta: I have me ntioned it to her, Under taking Activity Ex change 31 I ’ve r equeste d I (ac tivated) Demand ( modalized) 32 on sever al occ asions Elabora tion 33 that she come and She (passive) Demand ( presc ribe) 34 do an obser vation of him Demand ( presc ribe) 35 throug h my window Elabora tion 36 with him not being aw are of it, Conditi on of dema nd 37 a nd sh e ha s f a ile d to do tha t. Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( re fu sa l) Activity Ex change 38 Lin da: so what ar e y ou sug g esting ‘wh’ inter rog atory (modalized) You ac tivated 39 wher e do y ou see ‘wh’ inter rog atory (modalized) Social actor (y ou ac tivated) 40 us moving for war d with this st udent Elabora tion Us passive 41 beca use he is an ong rade -leve l student Reason Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) Note: Key marke r of discour se fe ature underlined; major spe ech f unction italicized. Notably near ly ever y line of dialog ue fr om the teac her is either a dema nd statement (i.e., 5 de mand statements) or a stateme nt of fac t (i.e., 8 statements of f act) F ur the r, ve ry fe w o f t he se sta te me nts a nd de ma nd s w e re mod a lize d ( i.e ., 2) T his sug g ests that the teac her is ver y committed to her position. High number s of demand statements and state ments of fa ct that ar e not modalized are ty pical of spe ech pa tterns for a uth or ity fi g ur e s ( F a ir c lou g h, 20 03 ). Th is c ou ld b e int e rp re te d th a t by he r a uth or ity a s a teac her of many y ear s, she has c lear ly define d both the problem (i.e., the student has behavior problems) a nd the solution (i.e., the par ent is responsible for corr ecting her son’s beha vior) to her own satisfac tion and does not nee d others to help her with this. Fr om her pe rspec tive, all she nee ds help with is making the pa rent c ome in to observe he r

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113 so n. Ta ke n to g e the r, thi s e vid e nc e su g g e sts tha t sh e is c los e d to op po rt un iti e s to vie w t his problem diffe rently (e.g ., chang es in her pr actice might influenc e this child’s beha vior). The a dminist rator, f or her part, c ounters the tea cher ’s statements of f act that the pare nt is not responsive with her own e x perie nces c ontacting this parent (lines 1720). Of particula r intere st is li ne 26, whe n the administrator a ctivates the te ache r (i.e., soc ial actor “ y ou ” a s a re fe re nt f or the te a c he r) a s b e ing re sp on sib le fo r t he sta te me nt t ha t th e “ c hil d is very active.” This sugg ests the administrator may not share this conc ern. F or example, she could ha ve simply stated that the “ child is active” without attribution t o the teac her, wh ic h w ou ld h a ve su g g e ste d th a t pe op le oth e r t ha n ju st t he te a c he r t hin k th is c hil d is active. T his interpreta tion takes on additional meaning when in lines 38-39 a re considere d. Using an ac tivity exchang e (line 38) the administrator a ctivates the te ache r as the socia l actor, not the inc lusion team (line 40), in see king sug g estions for potential solutions t o the problem. F or example, she could ha ve said, “ Where should we g o from here ? ” as w as said at other meeting s thereby activating the entire team in problem solving. Thus, the a dminist rator se ems to allow the tea cher to own both the problem and the re sp on sib ili ty fo r f ind ing a so lut ion to t he pr ob le m. I n s umm a ry th is i nte ra c tio n f a ile d a t th e pr ob le m c on str uc tio n le ve l. Wh ile bo th parties c lear ly constructe d problems, problems we re c onstructed in a pa rallel fa shion there by reduc ing a ny opportunity for pr oblem solving that mig ht have he lped the tea cher and, more importantly the student. Neither actor has alter ed her “fa ct base d” interpre tation of the problem. Thus, e ven thoug h activity exchang es ar e initiated, the dis c ou rs e do e s n ot l e a d to a c omm on c on str uc tio n o f t he pr ob le m no r c omm itm e nt t o a c t. Co co n s tr u ct ed p ro b l em. T h e i n t er ac t i o n d i s p l ay ed i n T ab l e 5 -4 i s an ex ch an ge betwee n the one of the other pr ofessional e ducator s (OPE) at the me eting and one

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114 Table 54. Resource inclusion team meeting L ine Transc ript excerpt Discourse fea tures Knowledge exc hange 1 Meg: I ’m wo nd e ri ng ho w f a r w e c a n g e t I rr e a lis sta te me nt we a ctivated 2 he re tod a y on Clo vis Te mpo ra l 3 Seems like there ’s mix ed beha vior Statement of fa ct (modalized) 4 that we’ re g etting. we a ctivated Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 5 A c o u p l e o f yo u a r e n o t r e a l l y h a v i n g S t a t e m e n t o f f a c t ( d e n y) 6 a lot of diffic ulty with him and Additive 7 a c ou ple of pe op le a re ha vin g Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 8 a lot of diffic ulty with him. Additive 9 I wonder if the spac e is difficult Yes/no interr og ative (modalized) 10 for some c hildren to manag e, L exa? L exa activated 11 I just – it seems to me that spac e Statement of fa ct (modalized) 12 and the table s with the (indistinct) Additive 13 that that could be I rre alis statement (modalized) 14 and all the mate rials Additive 15 Lexa: um hmm Ag ree ment 16 Meg: e sp e c ia lly 17 Lexa: (over lapping with Meg ) 18 I think all the materials ar e exciting to him Statement of fa ct (modalized) [L exa elabora tes on the set up] 19 I thi nk tha t uh um t he pr int ing sta tio n is wher e Statement of fa ct (modalized) 20 I have to g ive my focus, I activate d Under taking (modalized) 21 ‘ca use that’s a very difficult technic al proc ess Reason 22 and it takes a lot of me g iving the kids a lot of fee dback Additive I rr e a lis sta te me nt ( a sse rt ) 23 [L exa elabora tes on kee ping he r attention on th e p r o je c t] 24 but ever y time Tempora l 25 I take my ey es off of Clovis, I activate d I rr e a lis sta te me nt ( a sse rt ) 26 he ’s ou t of his se a t, Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) [L exa cites examples of his behavior. She inv e sti g a te s a n in c ide nt a nd de te rm ine s h is behavior was a ccide ntal, but he was still not w h e r e h e s h o u ld h a v e b e e n ].

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Table 54. Continued. 115 L ine Transc ript excerpt Discourse fea tures [L exa elabora tes with multi ple additional e xa mp le s ]. 27 if I have to g ive other students my attention Conditi onal I rr e a lis sta te me nt ( a sse rt ) 28 and take my attention off of Additive 29 wh a t he is s pe c if ic a lly do ing Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 30 or his ta ble is s pe c if ic a lly do ing Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 31 I lose him. I activate d Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 32 Meg: may be that’s e specia lly hard f or him I rre alis (modalized) 3 3 t h at t h er e a re t h es e s ev er al d i ff er en t t h i n gs g oing on Conditi on 34 and y ou’re having to focus Additive I rr e a lis sta te me nt ( a sse rt ) 35 Lexa: y e a h ( so un din g sy mpa the tic to stu de nt’ s p ro ble m) Ag ree ment 36 Meg: which is how Reason 37 Lexa: it’s a lot easier doing a lock-step pr oje c t Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 38 wher e eve ry body does one step a t a time Conditi on 39 and eve ry body is on the same Additive Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 40 Meg: and I think in dance they ’re kind of moving tog ether Statement of fa ct (modalized) 41 rig ht, or moving e very one tog ether Tag question 42 so that’s difuhtha t may be Statement of fa ct (modalized) 43 Lexa: may be it’s just the way it’s structured I rre alis statement (modalized) 44 or so me thi ng tha t he ha s tr ou ble ha nd lin g it Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) Note: Key marke r of discour se fe ature underlined; major spe ech f unction italicized. teac her. I nstead of pa rallel proble m construction, this interaction is an e x ample of a coconstruc ted problem whe re the OPE fac ilitates the teac her’ s thinking about he r pr ob le ms w ith a pa rt ic ula r s tud e nt.

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116 This interac tion beg ins with a knowledg e exchang e, whe re the OPE summarizes tha t th e pa rt ic ula r s tud e nt b e ing dis c us se d is su c c e ssf ul i n s ome pla c e s a nd no t in oth e rs What is particularly interesting is the use of pronouns. F rom the beg inning, the O PE uses we (line 1). This under score s that from the pe rspec tive of the OPE, she is an a ctive participa nt, along with the teac her, w orking throug h this problem. I t is also clear that the OPE has some idea s about what c ould be ca using pa rt of the problem (i.e ., the setting ) (line 9) Howeve r, instead of asking a dire ct question, she asked a modalized question. Modaliz ation of this question enabled the teac her to e ither a g re e or dis a g re e wi th t he OPE ’s a sse ssm e nt m or e e a sil y tha n a lte rn a te c on str uc tio ns This was par ticularly important g iven the OPE’s e arlier statements of fa ct (line 5-8) whe re s he n ot ed t hat so me t eache rs w ere n ot hav in g prob lem s w it h t he s tu den t. By mod a lizin g he r q ue sti on th e OPE re du c e d th e lik e lih oo d th a t th e te a c he r m ig ht b e c ome defe nsive. I n addition to continuing to pre sent her hy pothesis using modalized sta te me nts th e OPE ins e rt s h e rs e lf a s a n a c tiv a te d s oc ia l a c tor us ing a n “ I sta te me nt” (line 11). As w ith modaliz ing spe ech, using “I statements” g ives the tea cher a saf e spac e i n t h e d i al o gu e t o co n s i d er wh at t h e O P E i s s u gges t i n g. I ntere stingly the teac her r esponds with modalized speech of her ow n (lines 18-19); thus, she tenta tively ag ree s with the OPE that part of this student’s problem could be the ope n space in her c lassroom. She elabor ates on wha t happens whe n she takes he r attention aw ay from this student (lines 19-30). The way the teac her w raps up thi s p a rt of he r n a rr a tiv e is v e ry po we rf ul— ins te a d o f b la min g the stu de nt, sh e a sse rt s that she is the per son who loses “him.” F urther, a s the OPE sug g ests that the lear ning conditions are pa rt of the pr oblem (lines 32-34), the teac her a g ree s with her. With the teac her le ading the way the conve rsation takes a productive turn towa rd discussing the

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117 conditions under which this student works be st (line 37). At this point in t he dialog ue, the OPE is taking a confirma tory position i n rela tion to what the teac her sug g ests by citing examples from other c lasses, which suppor t the teac her’ s hy pothesis (line 40-42). There are two salient fea tures of this intera ction. First, ther e is the hig h number of modalized irrealis statements c ompare d to the former example of para llel problem construction whe re the re w ere a hig h number of a sserted state ments of fa ct. Absent is the trading of asse rtive statements, one afte r the other I nstead, the ta lk here is tentative and specula tive. This give s the teac her r oom to think about what the OPE is say ing to he r and compar e it to her e x perie nce w ith this child. Second, the tea cher uses the pronoun I there by taking responsibility for wha t happens w ith the student instead of blaming him (e.g ., I lose him). She acc epts the possibili ty and ac knowledg es that there are some things within her power that could be chang ed to ena ble the student to be more succe ssful (e.g ., may be it’s just the way it’s [ the lesson] st ructure d). Re s p o n s es to Pro b l ems T ea ch er i n t er v i ew s s u gges t t h at m an y o f t h e p ro b l em s wi t h i n cl u s i o n m ee t i n gs wer e re lated to solutions not being g ener ated. I n the next section, I prese nt three pa irs of dialog ue (i.e ., one positive and one neg ative) tha t illus trate how socially constructe d dialog ue influenc es (a ) foc us, (b) support, a nd (c) coher ence of problems a nd solutions there by producing very differ ent re sponses to problems of pra ctice. F ocus re prese nts the e xten t to wh ic h me e tin g pa rt ic ipa nts re ma ine d tr ue to t he top ic of c on ve rs a tio n. Th e fi rs t excerpt re prese nts an unfocuse d response to a teac her’ s conce rn with a pa rticular stude nt in her c lassroom. The se cond excer pt repre sents a more focuse d discussion related to the teac her’ s conce rn.

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118 Cha sing r abbi ts During teac her inter views, one of the teac hers sug g ested that so me tim e s in c lus ion me e tin g s w e re a bit lik e “ c ha sin g ra bb its .” Th is m e ta ph or re pr e se nts what sometimes happe ned during inclusion meeting s—the focus of the meeting veer ed off in many direc tions, much like “cha sing r abbits.” The f ollowing e x cer pt (Table 55) repr esents one suc h case This interac tion beg ins with a knowledg e exchang e whe re Me g an OPE at the meeting is asking f or the na mes of students about whom re ading tutors are conce rned. Be fore the problem is well ar ticulated, the f ocus of the disc ussion moves away from dis c us sin g the pr ob le ms o f o ne stu de nt, to d isc us sin g the pr ob le ms o f m a ny stu de nts (lines 11-12). T his theme is repe ated late r in the discussion as the tea m discussed cre ating a wor kshop for pa rents whose children ha ve similar problems (lines 3254). I n addition, numerous turns cha ng e the dialog ue fr om one topic to another and none of the turns move the dialog ue bac k to the teac her’ s orig inal conce rn—that the teac her w as having difficulties with a little g irl who was not prog ressing in rea ding like she should. For example, one turn take s the discussion toward the pa rent’s involveme nt wi th t he stu de nt’ s e du c a tio n ( lin e s 1 426 ). Sub se qu e nt t ur ns ta ke the dia log ue to dis c us sio ns a bo ut t he log ist ic s o f t he tut or ing sc he du le a ne w r e a din g tut or tha t ha s ju st b ee n h i re d t o t h e l ea d er s h i p t ea m m em b er ’s co n ce rn ab o u t h o w f ar b eh i n d a l ar ge number of stude nts are in one particula r tea cher ’s re ading class. Althoug h discussion of these topics may be important, the tea cher expressed conc ern tha t she left this meeting without any next s teps to try with this st udent. Thus, if tea cher s g o in expecting to g et help with pressing problems of pra ctice, “ chasing rabbits” may leave teac hers f eeling as though the y do not ge t much from these meeting s. I n addition, meeting s that lack foc us may take long er tha n more tig htly focuse d meeting s resulting in fewe r students being

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119 Table 55. Success f or all inclusion team mee ting e x cer pt L ine Transc ript excerpt Discourse fea tures Knowledge exc hange 1 Meg: I s there a particula r child Yes/no interr og ative 2 y ou should be worr ied about now Demand ( modalized) 3 Core y: Ok a y th e re ’s Ke ir a Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 4 u m s h e ’ s n o t o n m y t u t o r i n g l i s t r i g h t n o w S t a t e m e n t o f f a c t ( d e n y) [Ta lk a bo ut w ho tut or s th is s tud e nt] 5 Lin da: sh e ’s low a c a de mic Ev a lua tio n ( a sse rt ) 6 Core y: L ow ac ademic uh Ag ree ment 7 bu t I do kn ow tha t w e ’v e be e n p ull ing he r Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 8 as a ba ck up at this point Conditi on [ Core y de sc ri be s in de ta il t his stu de nt’ s sp e c if ic re a din g pr ob le m] 9 Meg: and she’ s a first g rade r? Yes/no interr og ative (nonmodalized positive) 10 Core y: Mm hmm. Ag ree ment 11 Meg: well, this is soundi ng like a couple of children Ev a lua tio n ( a sse rt ) 12 who we w ere talking a bout ear lier Elabora tion Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) [ Meg elabor ates on whic h children a re like the one Corey has broug ht up and that she wishes the rea ding c oach w as at the me eting to talk] 13 Core y: it’ s li ke te a c hin g the m a fo re ig n la ng ua g e Ev a lua tio n ( a sse rt ) 14 Lin da: isn ’t sh e on e tha t w e ha ve a fa mil y su pp or t Yes/no interr og ative (nonmodalized neg ative) 15 Core y: y e s, we ’v e ha d a so lut ion s te a m me e tin g Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) with the mother Elabora tion 16 Lin da: ha d a so lut ion s te a m Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) [ Core y el ab o ra t es o n d et ai l s o f t h at m ee t i n g] 17 Andra: who’s Ke ira’s te ache r “wh” interrog atory (nonmodalized positive) 18 Core y: Mr. Odom Mr. Odom (pa ssive)

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Table 55. Continued. 120 L ine Transc ript excerpt Discourse fea tures 19 Andra: okay um Under stood 20 Lin da: she picks up She – activate d Statement of fa ct 21 ever y afte rnoon Tempora l 22 Andra: oh, g ood. Evaluation 23 How do we find her, in f ront? “wh” interrog atory (nonmodalized positive) Activity e xchange 24 Lin da: mm hmm (laughs) J ust go up the re Demand ( presc ribe) 25 ever y afte rnoon Tempora l 26 Core y: I was c alling he r workpla ce Offe r (unde rtaking ) [Ta lk a bo ut t his stu de nt b e ing on the ba c kup lis t instead of the r eg ular list and the extra re ading tutor who will start soon] [Ta lk a bo ut w he re the re a din g c oa c h is ] [Talk about where funds for the new tutor a re c omi ng fr om a nd the imp lic a tio ns of be ing a ble to tut or mor e stu de nts ] [ Core y informs the principa l about how the tutors use a ba ck-up list of students when the ir reg ular stu de nt i s a bs e nt] [ Andra share s a story of her observing in a classroom whe re students ha ve not bee n assessing well. She expresses g rea t conce rn.] 27 I don’t know if Ka y la’s in this, I rre alis statement Conditi onal 28 bu t th a t th a t’ s th e ba sic Ev a lua tio n ( a sse rt ) 29 just ge tting y our initial sound – consonant sound Elabora tion 30 so, if these ba bies are not at that point, Conditi onal E v a l u a t i o n ( d e n y) 31 the y ha ve to h a ve tha t ki nd of um h e lp Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 32 Lin da: one of the things Elabora tion 33 that we lef t this m eeting at the end We ac tivated Elabora tion

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Table 55. Continued. 121 L ine Transc ript excerpt Discourse fea tures 34 we talke d about possibly having a “ma ke it take it” We ac tivated I rr e a lis sta te me nt 35 and inviting Additive 36 beca use we did have suc h a hig h number of children Reason We – passive Evaluation 3 7 w h o w e r e n o t g e t t i n g t h e p h o n i c s S t a t e m e n t o f f a c t ( d e n y) 38 having a wor kshop I rre alis statement desig ned just for those pa rents I rre alis statement 39 and it we we 40 Core y: Right Ag ree ment 41 Lin da: wher e we left this We ac tivated Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 42 the me e tin g y ou kn ow wa s o ve r Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) Tempora l 43 but whether we would do it during the school day Conditi on We ac tivated I rre alis statement 44 like at ten in the morning or um have an afte rnoon Tempora l elabora tion (o ve rl a pp ing ta lk, ind ist inc t sp e a ke r a nd wo rd s) 45 Core y: that’d be a g ood time to do it Evaluation 46 Lin da: y eah, but to make it fun I rre alis statement 47 and also to have them leave with something I rre alis statement 48 that they could work on They – activate d I rre alis statement 49 beca use it is way um off the mar k at this point Reason Evaluation 50 Core y: I ’m working on some strateg ies for the pa re nts I – activate d Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 51 to take with them I rre alis statement 52 when we have our meeting solution t eam m ee t i n gs Tempora l We – activated I rre alis statement 53 and to come up w ith a um a spec ific g oal I rre alis statement 54 for them to wor k with the child I rre alis statement Not e : Key marke r of discour se fe ature underlined; major spe ech f unction italicized.

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122 dis c us se d. Th us ma int a ini ng me e tin g fo c us mig ht m iti g a te pe rc e pti on s th a t me e tin g s la st too long a nd that sometimes too few c hildren ar e discussed. St ay ing foc use d. As was noted in the pr ece ding e x ample, maintaining the foc us of the discussion on the proble ms of one tea cher and one stude nt was sometimes challeng ing. I n the following excerpt (Ta ble 5-6), a n OPE ensure s that the dialog ue comes ba ck to what is important—discussing how best to help a student who strug g les wi th r e a din g c omp re he ns ion A lth ou g h th e c on ve rs a tio n d oe s c ha ng e top ic s a bit th e re is far less offtopic dialog ue (i.e ., not expl icitly rela ted to the problem) tha n in the previous sample. This exchang e take s place during the third g rade inclusion team meeting The dia log ue c e nte rs on dis c us sin g the re a din g c omp re he ns ion pr ob le ms o f a stu de nt i n Aisha’s c lassroom. Aisha is a fir st y ear teac her. D ialog ue pre ceding this ex cer pt included the sug g estion of a lea dership tea m member to conve ne a F amily Soluti ons Team meeting to discuss this child’s acade mic and beha vior problems. Thre e people the c la ssr oo m te a c he r, a sp e c ia l e du c a tio n te a c he r, a nd a me mbe r o f t he le a de rs hip te a m, a ll have dir ect e x perie nce w ith this student’s rea ding dif ficulties. Thus, the excer pt opens with a knowledg e exchang e. This excerpt opens with the lea dership tea m member de scribing the memory problems (line 7) of this student. W e ca n infer f rom lines 3-4 and a g ain throug h lines 10-11 that this student is sent to t he off ice on a reg ular ba sis. Thus, it i s likely this student is being sent to the offic e as a result of he r beha vior. I t is clear f rom the excerpt that the student g oes to the off ice a nd does school wor k there

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123 Table 56. Third g rade inclusion team meeting L ine Transc ript excerpt Discourse fea tures Knowledge exc hange 1 Lin da: And she doe s not have a ny compre hension. S t a t e m e n t o f f a c t ( d e n y) 2 I n my office with her, Elabora tion 3 y ou’re wonder ful Mrs. Cooper, Evaluative 4 about sending work with her Elabora tion 5 s h e c a n n o t r e a d S t a t e m e n t o f f a c t ( d e n y) 6 and if y ou rea d it to her, I rre alis statement 7 s h e c a n n o t h o l d i t f o r ( i n d i s t i n c t ) S t a t e m e n t o f f a c t ( d e n y) 8 Aisha: y ou have to sit on top of her You – ac tivated I rre alis statement 9 Lin da: S h e d o e s n o t k n o w w h a t t o d o S t a t e m e n t o f f a c t ( d e n y) 10 and I say this is why I – activate d Evaluation 11 y ou need to be in the classroom Demand ( proscr ibe) 12 Meg: umm 13 Lin da: beca use she c annot Reason S t a t e m e n t o f f a c t ( d e n y) 1 4 yo u c a n ’ t e x p l a i n m o r e t h a n a s e n t e n c e S t a t e m e n t o f f a c t ( d e n y) 15 She do e s th a t on e Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 16 and then she comes ba ck Additive I rre alis statement 17 and g ets more instruction Additive I rre alis statement 18 and the she g oes bac k Additive I rr e a lis 19 Aisha: mm hmm Ag ree ment 20 Lin da: I mean she cannot do multiples of the same thing Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 21 Aisha: I g ive her one thing at a time. I – activate d Statement of fa ct 22 I just write down the steps I – activate d Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 23 on how to answe r questions I rre alis statement 24 just li ke the a rticles, Elabora tion 25 just li ke re ad the que stions. Demand ( presc ribe) 26 Al ri g ht, y ou ’r e do ne wi th t ha t on e Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt )

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Table 56. Continued. 124 L ine Transc ript excerpt Discourse fea tures 27 g o to direction number two. Demand ( presc ribe) 28 What does direction number two tell y ou to do “wh” interrog atory (nonmodalized positive) 29 Carr ie: um, just wit h my rea ding c lass, Elabora tion 30 this is s omething I have be en doing I – activate d Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 31 it g oe s b a c k to wh a t Me g a bo ut I rr e a lis (a sse rt ) 32 may be it’s too much, Evaluation (modalized) 33 if y ou know, they can’ t rea d a wor d, Conditi onal Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 34 then this whole passag e is obviously too much. Conditi onal Evaluation 35 [Ca rr ie e xpla ins a re a din g str a te g y sh e us e s w ith he r s tud e nts ] 36 Lin da: That’s whe re the Prove I t strateg y comes in, Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 37 finding which question g oes with I rre alis statement 38 and then ha ving to g o back in to the pa rag raph Additive I rre alis statement 39 find it, Demand ( presc ribe) 40 and prove y our answe r. Demand ( presc ribe) 41 Has he r par ent bee n at any of the F CAT me e tin g s? Yes/no interr og ative Parent – a ctivated 42 Aisha: No. 43 I actua lly had a phone confe renc e with her mom I activate d Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) Her mom (passive) 44 Lin da: I kn ow y ou ’v e ha d s e ve ra l of tho se Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 45 I mean y ou know, Elabora tion Activity e xchange 46 it’s time to get he r in here Demand ( presc ribe) 47 Meg: I just want to I – activate d I rre alis statement 48 I just wish I rre alis statement 49 I think we should consider this sort of proc ess We – activated Demand ( modalized) 50 or something like it, Elabora tion 51 tha t Ca rr ie is d e sc ri bin g fo r t he se kid s Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt )

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Table 56. Continued. 125 L ine Transc ript excerpt Discourse fea tures 52 wh o a re str ug g lin g so muc h Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 53 y ou know to keep ha mmering awa y on I rre alis statement 54 Lin da: Ab so lut e ly a bs olu te ly Ag re e me nt Note: Key marke r of discour se fe ature underlined; major spe ech f unction italicized. Aisha ag ree s that there se ems to be a me mory problem with this student. S he g oes on to describe how she pa rses dire ctions for this student. I ntere stingly Carrie a more seasone d colleag ue of A isha’s, sug g ests that the problem is more tha n this student’s inability to answer questions (infer red f rom lines 29-35). She c onstructs the problem a s be ing re la te d to the a ssi g nme nt ( i.e ., the pa ssa g e is t oo dif fi c ult fo r t he stu de nt) Ca rr ie g oes on to descr ibe spec ifically how to g o about helping students work throug h longe r, more diff icult rea ding pa ssag es by chunking the text. I ntere stingly the member of the lea dership tea m who fre quently has this student in her off ice br ings the dialog ue bac k to the pare nt (line 51). F urther, she seems to have missed Carrie’ s premise that the pa ssag es ar e too difficult for the student to rea d independe ntly as the re ading strateg ies she sug g ests work for students who can r ead (infer red f rom lines 36-40). Althoug h discussing the pare nt’s role in the student’s e du c a tio n is imp or ta nt, in o rd e r t o ma int a in t he fo c us on re a din g ins tr uc tio n, the OPE shifts the dialog ue bac k using “ I statements” ( i.e., statements that beg in with the pronoun “I ”) a nd irrea lis statements. She softens her de mand (i.e., “ I think” on line 48) bef ore making asser tions that it is important to consider how students with rea ding compre hension problems ar e being taug ht. Thus, she fac ilitates maintaining the f ocus on instruction until agr eeme nt with how to procee d with instruction is reache d. L ater the fo c us of the dia log ue is t ur ne d b a c k u po n p a re nta l in vo lve me nt.

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126 This excerpt illustrates a wa y to work throug h the cha lleng e of e nsuring cohesive conver sations about the problems of students. Of ten students, such as the stude nt discussed in the for mer e x cer pt, have multiple conce rns that nee d to be addr essed (e.g ., behavior and low ac ademics) Arg uably more a ppropriate rea ding instruc tion might influenc e beha vior problems the student is experiencing Thus, by focusing the dialog ue to addr ess ea ch conc ern sy stematically (i.e., not allowing prema ture ter mination of a top ic a l di sc us sio n) te a c he rs c a n le a ve the se me e tin g s w ith a se ns e of wh a t to do in their cla ssrooms. Tense dialogu e. Some teache rs expressed c oncer ns that inclusion meetings w ere sometimes “tense.” The intera ction in Table 5-7 c ould be cha rac terized as tense I mpo rt a ntl y th is m e e tin g ha d a dif fi c ult sta rt a s it wa s h e ld a ft e r a sc ho ol h oli da y T hu s, there was some c onfusion as to whethe r or not the mee ting would take place I n addition, the meeting started late and seve ral ke y people we re e ither late to the me eting or did not come a t all. The following excerpt is from a disc ussion about a student that the tea cher ch ar ac t er i z ed as “n o t m ak i n g p ro gre s s ” T h e e x ce rp t b egi n s wi t h a k n o wl ed ge e x ch an ge about the kinds of interve ntions the teache r has trie d and evolve s into a response to the problems the tea cher articula ted about the student’s be havior. Meg one of the OPEs in the gr oup, was a sking Ma ndy whether or not she had tried to use a point shee t with this particula r student (lines 1-6) I ntere stingly Mandy interrupts Meg two times (lines 3 and 5), a s Meg is try ing to a sk her the que stion. I n her n ex t t u rn M an d y s h i ft s t h e c o n v er s at i o n fr o m wh at s h e h as b ee n d o i n g (i e. m ak i n g a point sheet and sending it home) to what the pa rent did not do (i.e., r eturn the sig ned point sheet). Mandy makes c lear that she expects the par ent “to support the pr ocess,” and when the pa rent fa iled to do so, Mandy stopped using the point sheet. Mandy ’s dialog ue

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127 s u g g e s t s t h a t s h e f e e l s v e r y s t r o n g l y t h a t t h e p a r e n t s h o u l d h e l p e s t a b l i s h “ a c c o u n t a b i l i t y” for this student’s beha vior. Meg for he r par t, modaliz ed her speec h patterns while still sugg esting that using a point sheet mig ht be ver y helpful to this student, even without pare ntal support. She us e s “ I sta te me nts ” (l ine s 1 9, 23 ) a nd e mpa thy (l ine s 2 427 ) t o mi nim ize the po ssi bil ity that Mandy will reac t defe nsively to her c omments. Further Meg even sug g ests that Mandy ’s expectations would be a ppropriate for some pa rents, such a s herse lf (line32-33) Me g g oe s o n to tr y to a c tiv a te Ma nd y u sin g mod a lize d la ng ua g e (i .e ., ir re a lis sta te me nts ) (lines 35-45) to c onsider using point sheets, without parenta l participation, strictly in the c la ssr oo m in re sp on se to d e fi ne d a pp ro pr ia te be ha vio rs T his su g g e sti on is i mme dia te ly met with a “y es, but” (line 46) which ca n be interpr eted a s a re jection of this idea. Ma nd y c la ri fi e s h e r r e je c tio n b y a sse rt ing tha t sh e wo uld no t be a ble to t e a c h h e r c la ss and mana g e this student’s point sheet (lines 51-53) Mandy g oes on to ref use anothe r sug g estion from other pr ofessional e ducator s in the g roup to manag e both tasks: keeping a po int sh e e t a nd te a c hin g he r c la ss. Andra one of the leade rship team member s prese nt at this meeting, ha d only been listening throug h line 53. Perhaps r esponding to this t eac her’ s unwillingness to try so me thi ng ne w w ith thi s st ud e nt, An dr a ha rk e ns ba c k to wh e n M a nd y ha d a n in te rn in her c lassroom. She then asks a very pointed question (i.e., we re y ou not kind of one-onone with him at that time). Be fore g iving Ma ndy an opportunity to respond, she g oes on to s ta te he r o pin ion (i .e ., e va lua tiv e sta te me nt) tha t th a t w ou ld h a ve be e n “ a g oo d ti me to g ive him more attention” ( line 60). Thus, Andra ’s eva luative statements (lines 6770) su g g e st t ha t sh e wo nd e rs wh e the r o r n ot t his te a c he r d id e no ug h to he lp t his stu de nt.

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128 Table 57. First g rade inclusion team meeting L ine Transc ript excerpt Discourse fea tures Knowledge exc hange 1 Meg: is there a ny uh Yes/no interr og atory (nonmodalized positive) 2 have y ou done any thing with um some kinds of may be either a point sheet Yes/no interr og atory You – ac tivated 3 Mandy: (over lapping ) y es Ag ree ment 4 Meg: wher e he e arns something I rre alis statement 5 Mandy: (over lapping ) y es Ag ree ment 6 Meg: for display ing a ppropriate behavior Elabora tion 7 Mandy: y es. Ag ree ment 8 The point sheet um did not come ba ck sig ned, Activity e xchange S t a t e m e n t o f f a c t ( d e n y) 9 he too k it ho me Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 10 but it never c ame ba ck sig ned, Offe r (r efuse d) 11 rar ely even c omes bac k so there um Elabora tion 12 there ’s no point in continuing that Evaluation (nonmodalized neg ative) 13 if there ’s not g oing to be – Conditi on 14 the point of the point sheet is that the par ent he lps Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) Parent – a ctivated 15 to support the proce ss Elabora tion 1 6 u m a n d t h a t i t ’ s n o t j u s t a r e w a r d a t s c h o o l S t a t e m e n t o f f a c t ( d e n y) 17 tha t it ’s it’ s a n a c c ou nta bil ity Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 1 8 a n d yo u k n o w t h a t i s n o t h a p p e n i n g a n d s o S t a t e m e n t o f f a c t ( d e n y) 19 Meg: I think that it would be ideal I rre alis statement (modalized) 20 if the par ent would work w ith y ou on this kind of sy ste m, Conditi on 21 but if y ou’re not ge tting any thing ba ck Concessive 22 Mandy: no Ag ree ment Activity e xchange 23 Meg: I would still if y ou couldn’t – You – ac tivated Conditi on 24 I ’m su re tha t he ’s pu sh e d y ou Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 25 past y our fr ustration point, y ou know, Tempora l 26 a bunch of times Elabora tion

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Table 57. Continued. 129 L ine Transc ript excerpt Discourse fea tures 27 from wha t y ou’re descr ibing, You – ac tivated Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 28 but I wonder Modalized 29 if there ’s not something tha t y ou could set up um I rre alis statement You – ac tivated 30 that doesn’t involve the pa rent, Conditi on 31 it would be ideal to involve the par ent, I rre alis statement 32 if it were me, Conditi on 33 I ’d be the re, I – activate d 34 but I wonder Elabora tion (rewor ding of lines (28-29) 35 if there ’s something that y ou could set up Activity e xchange Conditi on You – ac tivated 36 so that if he display s behavior X Conditi on I rre alis statement 37 which is something tha t y ou rea lly want to see Conditi on 38 in line or in rea ding g roup, Elabora tion 39 or wha tever it is, Elabora tion 40 some specif ic setting during the day Elabora tion 41 if he display s this, Conditi on I rre alis statement 42 and then y ou’ve g ot what “this” is with him, Additive I rre alis statement 43 then this is what happens, y ou know, Conditi on 44 so there’ s the point sheet Consequence Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 45 and it g ets to something a nd then Additive I rre alis statement 46 Mandy: y es but the point sheet is divided Disag ree ment Statement of fa ct 47 into 15 minut e incr ements. Elabora tion 48 David would nee d them I rre alis statement 49 in about 2 and a ha lf minute increme nts elabor ation 50 Meg: he mig ht Statement of fa ct (modalized) 51 Mandy: so I c ou ldn ’t do tha t Of fe r ( re fu sa l) 52 all day long Tempora l 53 and still teach my class Additive Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt )

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Table 57. Continued. 130 L ine Transc ript excerpt Discourse fea tures [An oth e r e xch a ng e a bo ut a dif fe re nt w a y to acc omplish a point sheet occur s with simi lar re su lts ] 54 Andra: when ther e wa s an intern Tempora l Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 55 there with y ou Conditi on 56 and she ha d more of the control Additive Evaluation 57 with all of the other c hildren, Elabora tion 58 wer e y ou not kind of one on one w ith him y es/no interrog ative (nonmodalized neg ative) 59 at that time, Tempora l 60 that was a g ood time to give him more attention Evaluation 61 during that period of time Tempora l 62 Mandy: well y es, Conditi onal ag ree ment 63 that y es, but Disag ree ment 6 4 t h a t ’ s n o t h a p p e n i n g n o w S t a t e m e n t o f f a c t ( d e n y) 65 Andra: I know, Ag ree ment 66 but I would see – Conditi onal 67 it seems like there should have be en more pr og re ss Evaluation (modalized) 68 by this point in time Tempora l 69 with two people being there Conditi on 70 that y ou would have g iven him more re al time Evaluation Note: Key marke r of discour se fe ature underlined; major spe ech f unction italicized. Two thing s stand out from this interaction. F irst, the teac her ha s limi ts on what s h e w o u l d co n s i d er t o b e a cc ep t ab l e i n t er v en t i o n s i n h er cl as s ro o m T h u s ev en t h o u gh Meg used many of the same techniques tha t aided L exa’s thinking in the pre vious e xamp le (i .e ., mod a lize d s pe e c h, “ I sta te me nts ” ), the y we re no t su ff ic ie nt t o o ve rc ome this teache r’s re sistance. This sug g ests that althoug h dialog ue ca n sometimes shape wha t happens, de eply held positions may not be moved. Secondly the intera ction betwee n Andra and Mandy prese nted some aw kwar d moments for the inclusion team. Statements that ne g atively evalua te team membe rs do

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131 not produce problem solving dia logue Rather, they serve only to increa se the likelihood that teac hers e ntrenc hed in their own positions will stay there Sup portive dialogue. Tea cher s indicated that one important benef it of inclusion me e tin g s w a s f e e lin g the su pp or t f ro m th e ir c oll e a g ue s. Th e e xch a ng e in T a ble 58 is from a kinde rg arte n inclusion meeting wher e support wa s g iven to a cla ssroom teac her throug h solutions-oriented dialog ue. The student being discussed had be havior c halleng es and low ac ademic skills. Although his be havior wa s manag ed by his classroom teac her, he wa s o ft e n in tr ou ble in h is o the r c la sse s. Sin c e re so ur c e s f or kin de rg a rt ne rs we re fi rs t thi ng in t he mor nin g te a c he rs su g g e ste d to the c hil d’ s g ra nd mot he r t ha t sh e br ing him to school afte r re source class ea ch day Howeve r, bec ause of her job, she w as unable to do this. This was an espe cially challeng ing situation that had be en discussed on ma ny other occa sions. During the inclusion team mee ting, a leade rship team member who was responsible for deploy ing r eading tutors had an idea She sug g ested that she r ear rang e the sc he du le of on e of he r t uto rs s e nd ing the tut or to t he te a c he r’ s r oo m to be wi th t his student first thing in the morning What follows is t he neg otiation of the student’s schedule Th is i nte ra c tio n h ig hli g hts ho w m a te ri a l su pp or t c a n c ome fr om c oll e a g ue s in re so lvi ng c ha lle ng ing pr ob le ms o f p ra c tic e T wo thi ng s st a nd ou t in thi s in te ra c tio n. F ir st, since plans a re be ing ma de, ther e ar e a numbe r of irr ealis statements (lines 1, 5, 1718, 23-24). F urther, pla ns are concr ete; that is they are stated spec ifically and re iterate d by differ ent member s of the inclusion team (e .g ., Nicole a nd Cait’s exchang e in lines 17-22). Also notable is that the classr oom teache r see ms to be leading on this int era ction. Since sh e is r e sp on sib le fo r e ns ur ing tha t th e se pla ns a re e na c te d, thi s se e ms e sp e c ia lly important.

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132 Table 58. Kinderg arte n inclusion team meeting L ine Transc ript excerpt Discourse fea tures Activity e xchange 1 Meg: so we’ll try this tom orrow I rre alis statement 2 Nicole: well tomorrow he has Wednesday s at 8:30 Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 3 he has Elabora tion 4 Cait: the c ou ns e lin g Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 5 Nicole: the counse ling a nd that takes him from PE I rre alis statement 6 which is not his best area Evaluation (over lapping talk) 7 Nicole: but y ou know, Mr. Hog an, Contrastive 8 I g a ve him the op po rt un ity to g ive up Do na ld Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 9 a nd he sa id n o, Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 10 tha t he do e s r e a lly we ll i n h is c la ss Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 11 Unkn own speaker: Do na ld l ike s mu sic Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 12 Nicole: So may be Modal (over lapping talk) 13 like Mr. Hog an, Comparison 14 he a c tua lly sa id Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 15 he’d ha te to lose him I rre alis statement 16 Unkn own speaker: He ha s to go the re Demand ( modalized) 17 Nicole: so may be Wednesda y s is the day I rre alis statement 18 that he could stay in resourc e I rre alis statement 19 Cait: Wednesday music Elabora tion 20 Nicole: Wednesday music Elabora tion 21 and then c ounseling 22 Cait: the counse ling Elabora tion 23 so tomorrow’s take n car e of Consequence I rre alis statement 24 Wednesday s are taken c are of I rre alis statement Note: Key marke r of discour se fe ature underlined; major spe ech f unction italicized.

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133 Sol ut ion de fer r e d. Tea cher interviews r evea led that sometimes teac hers f eel they spend more time talking about problems than they do talking a bout soluti ons. The i n t e r a c t i o n i n T a b l e 5 9 r e p r e s e n t s o n e s u c h c a s e N o t i c e t h a t t h e t e a c h e r p r o v i d e s o n l y a partial de scription of the proble ms she is ex perie ncing with one of he r students. This excerpt opens with the tea cher J ane, de scribing the problems she is having with the student including ta lking out and f ailing to sit still. J ane g oes on to imitate the dialog ue of a ty pical exchang e she ha s with the student. I t is clear f rom line 17 that the teac her is ver y frustra ted by constant interr uptions from this st udent. I nstead of a sking probing questions about what the tea cher has just describe d (e.g ., when doe s he do the best job in y our room, or w hat things ha ve y ou alre ady tried to help this student), a member of the leade rship team, L inda, asks a que stion about the student’s specia l educa tion status (line 24) and anothe r about the kinds of inter actions tea cher s have ha d with pare nts. This turning point in the dialog ue for eg rounds the fa mily and pushes teac hing pr actice s to the backg round of the c onversa tion. Be g inning on line 27, a nother tea cher Debr a, answ ers the a dminist rator’ s qu e sti on a bo ut p a re nt c on ta c ts s he ha d w ith the fa mil y Sh e a sse rt s th a t a ft e r m ult ipl e interac tions with t he par ents (line 30 and line 32) there is stil l “no re ading homework coming in.” Her evalua tion is t hat “they seem like c onscientious pare nts,” but they lack “follow throug h.” Howe ver, Jane g oes on to note that ac cording to this st udent’s sister, Jane ’s stu de nt i s b e ing pu nis he d a t ho me T hu s, the re ma y be “ fo llo w t hr ou g h” a t ho me in the form of punishment, but the student’s re ading work is still not being returne d. I n lines 42 throug h 56, L inda turns the foc us of the dialog ue towar d ref err als. She asser ts that since she ha s not seen this student, the sever ity of the proble m is mi nimal

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134 Table 59. Four th-g rade inclusion meeting L ine Ex cer pt Discourse fea tures Knowledge exc hange 1 Jane: He ’s ve ry dis ru pti ve Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 2 c a n ’ t s i t s t i l l S t a t e m e n t o f f a c t ( d e n y) 3 alway s running ever y body Elabora tion 4 he jus t ta lks ou t, Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 5 hey what ar e y ou doing? Statement of fa ct (desc ription of what wa s said) 6 I ’ll say I rre alis statement 7 Andy be quiet. Demand ( presc ribe) 8 Wel l B e lla ma de me do it, Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 9 and we ll it’s li ke, Statement of fa ct (modalized) 10 I mean, y ou know, 1 1 a n d i t ’ s n o t j u s t l i k e a c o u p l e o f t i m e s S t a t e m e n t o f f a c t ( d e n y) 12 I t’s like, Statement of fa ct (modalized) 13 if I teac h a 20 minute lesson, I rre alis statement 14 he’ll stop my lesson five or six ti mes I rre alis statement 15 beca use of something rea son 16 I mean, Elabora tion 17 it’s just ridiculous. Evaluation 18 so me bo dy loo ke d a t hi m Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 19 or so me bo dy smi le d a t hi m, Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 20 so me bo dy did so me thi ng to h im l a st w e e k Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 21 and y ou know, Elabora tion 22 he ’s a lw a y s g ot a n e xcu se Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 23 a nd it’ s Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 24 Lin da: is he exceptional student educa tion Yes/no interr og atory 25 Jane: no 26 Lin da: have y ou met with the pare nts Yes/no interr og atory (nonmodalized) 27 Debra: oh I ha ve Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 28 repe atedly Elabora tion 29 Not too long a g o, Tempora l 30 I ha d a n h ou r c on fe re nc e on a F ri da y Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 31 with his mot her, Elabora tion 32 we ’v e ma de re pe a te d p ho ne c a lls Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt )

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Table 59. Continued 135 L ine Ex cer pt Discourse fea tures 3 3 t h e r e ’ s n o r e a d i n g h o m e w o r k S t a t e m e n t o f f a c t ( d e n y) 34 coming in, Elabora tion 35 I mean they seem like c onscientious pare nts, Statement of fa ct (modalized) 36 they g ive y ou the rig ht words, Statement of fa ct 3 7 b u t t h e r e ’ s n o f o l l o w t h r o u g h S t a t e m e n t o f f a c t ( d e n y) 38 Jane: and his sister tells me Statement of fa ct (modalized) 39 tha t he ’s be ing pu nis he d a t ho me Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 40 Lin da: is it (indis tinct name) Yes/no interr og ative 41 Debra: no Sha ke ri a Di sa g re e me nt 42 Lin da: he’s obviously not a beha vior problem Evaluative state ment 4 3 ‘ c a u s e I’ v e n o t s e e n h i m S t a t e m e n t o f f a c t ( d e n y) 44 Jane: oh y ou ’v e se e n h im a c ou ple of tim e s Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 45 Lin da: on ref err al Yes/no interr og ative 46 Jane: uh huh Ag ree ment 47 Lin da: I d o n ’ t r e m e m b e r t h e n a m e S t a t e m e n t o f f a c t ( d e n y) 48 okay 4 9 a n d w h a t t yp e o f u m r e f “ w h ” i n t e r r o g a t o r y 50 do y ou know what um Yes/no interr og atory 51 Jane: (interr upts, makes L inda’s spee ch inaudible) 52 it’s usually the same old thing Statement of fa ct (modalized) 5 3 U m I m e a n h e ’ s n o t l i k e S t a t e m e n t o f f a c t ( d e n y) 5 4 i t ’ s n o t l i k e h e ’ s h u r t i n g s o m e b o d y S t a t e m e n t o f f a c t ( d e n y) 55 or doing any thing ter rible, Elabora tion 56 but it’s the acc umulation of it all Contrastive Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) Activity e xchange 57 Lin da: I think y ou should fill out Demand ( modalized) 58 a F amily Soluti ons Team on him Elabora tion 59 Jane: okay Under taking

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Table 59. Continued 136 L ine Ex cer pt Discourse fea tures 60 Lin da: a re quest for a Fa mily Soluti ons Team m ee t i n g, El a bo ra tio n ( re sta te me nt) 61 beca use y ou’ve a lrea dy had Reason Statement of fa ct 62 confe renc es with the par ents, Elabora tion 63 no w w e ne e d to ha ve the oth e r s ta ke ho lde rs the re Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 64 I s he on g rade -leve l in reading and in math? Yes/no interr og atory 65 Jane: y es, y es Ag ree ment 66 Lin da: we ne e d to g e t to Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 67 Jane and Debra: y es, y es Ag ree ment 68 Lin da: so, what we ’re – Consequence 69 be ha vio r i s o ne of the thi ng s Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 70 that the Fa mily Soluti ons Team c an lea d on I rre alis statement 71 a nd we ne e d to sit Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 72 with all of the stakeholde rs Elabora tion 73 and come up with strateg ies Additive 74 to h e lp t his c hil d b e su c c e ssf ul Pur po se 75 Jane: okay Ag ree ment 76 Debra: okay Ag ree ment Note: Key marke r of discour se fe ature underlined; major spe ech f unction italicized. (lines 42-43). Jane disputes this (line 44). Throug h her r esponse, Jane somewha t turns the foc us back to he r cla ssroom. She notes that the problem with this student’s behavior in her c lassroom is the “ac cumulation of it all” (line 56) Once ag ain, J ane pr ovides an opportunity to discuss specifica lly what is happe ning in he r cla ssroom. Howeve r, once a g a in, L ind a mov e s th e c on ve rs a tio n a wa y fr om t he c la ssr oo m a nd tow a rd the fa mil y (lines 57-58). This repre sents a fa iled response in that there a re no “ next s teps” for this teache r to take with this student. I n order for this to have oc curr ed, questions re g arding details of

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137 pr ob le ma tic c la ssr oo m in te ra c tio ns sh ou ld h a ve be e n a sk e d. I n a dd iti on b a se d u po n th is classroom tea cher ’s desc ription, health issues (i.e., AD HD) mig ht have be en discussed a nd we re no t. F ina lly it is u nc le a r h ow br ing ing the fa mil y a bs e nt d ia log ue a bo ut h e a lth issues, in for a f ormal mee ting mig ht help this teache r, as this exchang e sug g ests that teac hers ha ve alr eady been in c lose contac t with the family As much conta ct as ther e has been, it could ha ve had a deleter ious effe ct on the re lationship teache rs had with the fa mil y I f f a mil y ’s fe e l th e y a re be ing “ c on sc ie nti ou s” a nd a lr e a dy ha ve c on se qu e nc e s in place at home for behavior problems at school (e .g ., punishment), then holding a nother me e tin g wi th p a re nts ma y a lie na te the m. Sol ut ion addr e sse d. Tea cher s repor ted that they appre ciated w hen mee tings we re oriented more on solutions t han the pr oblem. The ne x t excerpt (Ta ble 5-10) oc curr ed du ri ng the fi ft hg ra de inc lus ion me e tin g I n th e e xce rp t, a me mbe r o f t he le a de rs hip te a m, Andra is facilitating finding solutions for a student who has trouble with aca demics, but not behavior, a bout whom teache rs ar e conc erne d. I n this ex cer pt, Andra, a member of the leade rship team, is asking the inclusion team wha t more ca n be done f or the student under discussion. Unlike the previous example, Andra a sks a g rea t number of que stions including interrog atories of both ty pes (i.e., “ wh” a nd y es/no) (lines 2, 4, 36, 37, 41, 45, 50) that are specific ally rela ted to the instruction this st udent is rec eiving I n addition, she eng ag es the e ntire inclusion team by asking for r ecommenda tions (line 4). Thus, many people talk including two additional members of the leade rship team (A nne and L inda), thre e cla ssroom teac hers ( Paula, Bonnie J ean) and one spe cial educ ation teac her ( J asmine). I n li ne s 2 3 a nd 24 A nd ra su mma ri zes wh a t is be ing do ne fo r t his stu de nt, acknow ledg ing tha t ty pical ac ademic inter ventions are in place, a nd pushes for a dditional

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138 Table 510. Fifth-g rade inclusion team meeting L ine Transc ript excerpt Discourse fea tures Knowledge exc hange 1 Andra: any thing be fore we c lose out, Tempora l I rr e a lis 2 what ca n be done f or Janet though, “wh” interrog atory (modalized) 3 other than ta lking ba ck with Marg e. Elabora tion Marg e (pa ssive) 4 Any rec ommendations Yes/no interr ag otory (nonmodalizaed positive) 5 Bonn ie: What gr adelevel is she on “wh” interrog atory (nonmodalizaed positive) 6 Anne: 4.2. 7 I wonder if she passe d 4.1 Yes/no interr og atory (modalized) 8 Th e re ’s so me g lit c h – Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 9 I want to say she passe d 4.1 Statement of fa ct (modalized) 10 but then she scor ed a f ifty something Contrastive Statement of fa ct 11 on her e nd of the y ear test Elabora tion 12 P aula: she’s low Evaluation 13 Anne: swee t gir l, Evaluation 14 bu t I wo rk wi th h e r Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 15 Lin da: do y ou know what major she’s in Yes/no interr og atory 16 Bonn ie: sh e ’s in d ra ma Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 17 Lin da: sh e wa s k e y bo a rd Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 18 when she came in last y ear Tempora l Statement of fa ct 19 and she ha d an auditory problem Additive Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 20 Bonn ie: I eat lunch w ith her I (ac tivated) Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 21 on a re g ular ba sis Tempora ral ( o v e r l a p p i n g t a l k a b o u t l u n c h a n d IA I)

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Table 510. Continued. 139 L ine Transc ript excerpt Discourse fea tures 21 Jasm ine: I mean it’s g ener ally Statement of fa ct (modalized) 22 almost one on one with her Conditi on 23 Andra: tha t’ s th e e xtra su pp or t Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 24 tha t w e ha ve in p la c e Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 25 um for our uppe r g rade children Elabora tion 26 so y ou g ot that in place. Consequence 27 She ’s in t he low e r g ro up Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 28 and so she’ s g oing to the c omputer lab, Consequence Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 29 I don’t know wha t else Evaluation 30 that we’ re of fer ing a t this poi nt I rre alis statement 31 any other re commendations I nterrog atory (nonmodalized positive) 32 any thing with the Ac cele rate d Reading or Elabora tion 33 Bonn ie: I encour ag e it I (ac tivated) Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 34 I me a n I do ha ve kid s Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 35 that take AR tests Elabora tion 36 Andra: who’s wor king w ith her, “wh” interrog atory (nonmodalized positive) 37 is she on a consult basis Yes/no interr og atory (nonmodalized positive) 38 Jasm ine: su pp or t f a c ili ta tio n. Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 39 Andra: okay 40 Jasm ine: I se e the m 45 min ute s e ve ry da y Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 41 Andra: oh, y ou do Yes/no interr og atory (nonmodalized positive) 42 Jasm ine: mm h mm 43 Andra: okay 44 So she’s working with J asmine. Consequence Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 45 Do y ou have a specific are a Yes/no interr og atory (nonmodalized positive)

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Table 510. Continued. 140 L ine Transc ript excerpt Discourse fea tures 46 y ou’re working one on one w ith her Elabora tion 47 Jasm ine: no Deny 48 Bonn ie: re a din g Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 49 Jasm ine: wo rk ing on c la ss w or k Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 50 Andra: in the rea ding c lassroom Elabora tion 51 do work in Mar y Ellen’s room with her ? Yes/no interr og atory (nonmodalized positive) 52 Jasm ine: no deny 53 Je an: She teac hes re ading at that time I rre alis statement 54 Andra: y ou have y our own re ading g roup Yes/no interr og atory (nonmodalized positive) 55 Jasm ine: s h e ’ s n o t i n m y r e a d i n g c l a s s S t a t e m e n t o f f a c t ( d e n y) 56 Andra: okay 57 Jasm ine: I se e he r i n th e c la ssr oo m ( ind ist inc t) Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) (over lapping talk) 58 Anne: I g ott a g o b a c k a nd loo k Sta te me nt o f f a c t ( a sse rt ) 59 ‘ca use I think there wa s something a bout 4.1, Statement of fa ct (modalized) 60 there was a whole issue about that but Statement of fa ct Contrastive 61 Jasm ine: Yea h, 62 we’ re a bout to move up to 4.2 soon I rre alis statement 63 Anne: so I think it m ight I rre alis statement 64 Andra: that might be a better f it I rre alis statement 65 considering J asmine’s ther e. Reason

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141 rec ommendations from the tea m (line 31). When the tea m does not respond, she be g ins asking additional questions to sti mulate more discussion. When she finds out the spec ial educa tion teache r, Jasmi ne, is working with the student, she asks if they are working on any thing in par ticular (lines 4546). Andra ’s questions focus in on wha t is being done for this student in rea ding (line 50-51) which is the ar ea of strug g le for this student. This cause s discussion, noted as over lapping talk, about moving this student to the class be ing ta ug ht by the spec ial educa tion teache r. I t is on thi s student’s rea ding le vel, and the c lass is a small one wher e the stu de nt w ill re c e ive mor e ind ivi du a l in str uc tio n. Th us th e te a m de c ide s to mov e thi s stu de nt t o a dif fe re nt r e a din g g ro up a s a wa y to i nte ns if y he r r e a din g ins tr uc tio n. Th us unlike the pre vious ex ample, the solution (i.e., cha ng e re ading g roups) matc hes the p ro b l em (i e. t h e s t u d en t i s s t ru ggl i n g i n re ad i n g). T h i s co n gru en ce i s ac h i ev ed t h ro u gh the a sk ing of ins tr uc tio na lly re le va nt q ue sti on s. Two thing s stand out in this interac tion. First, this ex ample hig hlights the importance of asking specific questions relate d to the problem. I n this case, the pr oblem was that the student wa s not doing we ll in her rea ding c lass. Finally this ex cer pt illust rate s the power of asking the g roup to participa te. B y simply asking others in the room for sug g estions, new possibiliti es opene d up. Summ ary of Unp roductive and Pr oductive Dialogic Strate gies Finding s from discourse analy ses on samples of dia logue from inclusion team meeting s sugg est that unproductive pr oblem-solving dia logue contains (a ) hig h numbers of statements whic h are asser ted as fa cts, (b) pointed state ments of eva luation, and (c) prema ture ter minations of problem and solution constructions. Hig h numbers of a sse rt e d s ta te me nts of fa c t su g g e st t ha t me e tin g pa rt ic ipa nts a re c los e d to a lte rn a te

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142 possibili ties of both problem and solution construction, which is inher ently not collabora tive. Evaluative state ments, espec ially those which a re not modalized, also run c ounter to p ro du c tiv e dis c us sio ns Su c h s ta te me nts se rv e to m a ke dis c us sio ns te ns e T he y a lso serve to elicit defe nsive postures fr om those at whom statements ar e dire cted. This ser ves to close possibilit ies within the dialog ue down, r ather than opening them up for f urther discussion. Finally unproductive dia logue contains pre mature te rminations of problem and solution construction. W hen proble ms and solutions are not fully explored, the resulting dialog ue may be unfoc used, filled with unproduc tive turns that leave teac hers without sh or tte rm so lut ion s f or pr e ssi ng pr ob le ms. I n a dd iti on w he n p ro ble ms a re no t f ull y discussed, propose d solutions m ay not match ac tual problems. I n either c ase, te ache rs leave without new way s to mit iga te problems of pr actice Finding s from discourse analy ses sug g est that productive dia logic fea tures for problem-solving meeting s include (a ) the use of tentative lang uag e, (b) asking questions hig hly re la te d to te a c he r c on c e rn s, (c ) t he us e of su mma ry sta te me nts to c la ri fy a c tio ns and (d) reque sts for entire g roup par ticipation. The use of tentative lang uag e, including modalized questions and statements, g ives all meeting participa nts room to consider wha t is b e ing su g g e ste d. Mo da lize d s pe e c h mo ve s a wa y fr om s tr on g op ini on or jud g me nt. Asking questions which ar e hig hly rela ted to teac her c oncer ns helps focus the dia log ue of pr ob le mso lvi ng me e tin g s. B y a sk ing qu e sti on s a ime d a t c la ri fy ing c on c e rn s, teac hers c an lea ve mee tings with idea s to address pr oblems of pra ctice. I n addition, using s u m m a r i e s a s n e x t s t e p s a r e a g r e e d u p o n r e d u c e s t h e l i k e l i h o o d o f m i s u n d e r s t a n d i n g s It he lps e ns ur e tha t a ll m e e tin g pa rt ic ipa nts ha ve sim ila r e xpe c ta tio ns

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143 Finally eng ag ing the entire g roup in the problemsolving proc ess enha nces g roup productivity This occur s when fa cilitators direc tly ask for team input. Direc tly asking for all team member s to participate g ener ates input that might other wise be missed. Challeng ing pr oblems are more re adily addre ssed when e very one is eng ag ed in the pr ob le mso lvi ng pr oc e ss.

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144 CH APT ER 6 DI SCUS SI ON AND I MPL I CATI ONS There is gr eat ne ed for profe ssional development that ena bles teac hers to lea rn how to eff ectively work with students who strug g le in classrooms (B rowne ll et al., 2004; Chalfant & Py sh, 1989; Vaug hn et al., 1996). Schola rs have sug g ested that prof essional development e mbedded in eve ry day prac tice may provide the kind of e x perie nces teac hers ne ed to explore problems of pr actice in meaning ful way s (Cochra n-Smith & L y tle, 1999; L ittle, 2003; S upovitz 2002). Some evidenc e sug g ests that when tea cher s work tog ether in small groups, w hich ar e foc used on student ac hievement, both tea ching p r a c ti c e s a n d s tu d e n t a c h ie v e me n t i mp r o v e o v e r ti me ( H o ll in s e t a l. 2 0 0 4 ; S u p o v it z, 2002; Vescio e t al., 2006). L itt le (2 00 3) inv e sti g a te d h ow te a c he rs re pr e se nte d p ro ble ms o f p ra c tic e to colleag ues during team proble m-solving discussions. Her work sug g ests that there are occa sions during me eting s when tea cher s “disclose a problem of tea ching prac tice and inv ite c omm e nta ry fr om o the rs a s p a rt of on g oin g o rd ina ry g ro up wo rk ” (p 9 30 ). Th us on the one ha nd, this work confirme d “the optimistic premise” ( p. 925) that small g roup me e tin g s se rv e d th e pu rp os e of c oll a bo ra tiv e pr ob le m so lvi ng O n th e oth e r h a nd L itt le f o u n d t h a t t e a c h e r d i s c u s s i o n s o f p r o b l e m s s o m e t i m e s r e m a i n e d a t a s u p e r f i c i a l l e v e l In particula r, tea cher s prese nted problems in way s to “justify themselves and the ir choice s to one another ” (p. 937) and g roup member s failed to ask que stions to help colleag ues fu lly pu rs ue sta te d p ro ble ms. Th is l e d L itt le to c on c lud e tha t “ on g oin g int e ra c tio ns bo th

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145 open up and c lose off oppor tunities for teac her le arning and conside ration of pr actice ” (p. 939). Thus, it is important to better under stand the nature of how tea m interac tions du ri ng pr ob le mso lvi ng dis c us sio ns g e ne ra te pr od uc tiv e a nd un pr od uc tiv e dia log ue T his in t ur n, wo uld e xpla in w hy so me me e tin g s a re mor e e ff e c tiv e tha n o the rs Th us th e pu rp os e of thi s st ud y wa s to be tte r u nd e rs ta nd wh a t ki nd s o f p ro ble ms of pra ctice a re pr esente d at g rade -leve l inclusion meetings, a nd how intera ctions during these mee tings influenc e tea cher s’ problem a nd response constructions. I nclusion meeting s functioned to provide teac hers a ssistance with pre ssing pr oblems of pra ctice thr ou g h c oll a bo ra tiv e pr ob le m so lvi ng T e a ms w e re c omp ri se d o f g ra de o r d e pa rt me ntlevel tea cher s, special e ducation tea cher s, leade rship team member s, and other p ro fe s s i o n al ed u ca t o rs T h e r es ea rc h q u es t i o n s gu i d i n g t h i s s t u d y i n cl u d ed t h e f o l l o wi n g: What kinds of problems are descr ibed at inclusion meeting s? What kinds of responses ar e de ve lop e d b y the g ro up in r e sp on se to p ro ble ms p re se nte d? What va lue do the se m ee t i n gs h av e f o r t ea ch er s ? Ho w d o es d i al o gu e c o n s t ru ct ed d u ri n g i n cl u s i o n m ee t i n gs s h a p e p r o b l e m c o n s t r u c t i o n a n d g r o u p r e s p o n s e s ? This study was a pproac hed fr om primarily a socia l constructionist perspec tive (B e rg e r & L uc kma n, 19 66 ) i n th a t th e pr ima ry da ta so ur c e we re ve rb a tim tr a ns c ri pts from eig ht inclusion meetings he ld at Hopewe ll Elementary school from the f all of 2005 throug h the spring of 2006. These data we re suppleme nted with 21 teac her inter views repr esenting a wide spe ctrum of tea cher s based upon tea ching assig nment, y ear s of service and ra ce to be tter under stand their per spectives of inclusion meeting s. I nductive ana ly sis (Hatch, 2002) and discourse analy sis (Fa ircloug h, 2003) we re used to addre ss resea rch que stions. Using inductive a naly sis as descr ibed by Hatch, I beg an my analy sis by rea ding a ll data from be g inning to end. Since Hatch stre ssed the

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146 importance of knowing the data se t well befor e proc eeding to the next s tep, all data w ere op e nc od e d. F ra me s f or a na ly sis we re us e d to ide nti fy da ta fo r a dd iti on a l a na ly sis Fr ames for Question 1 included a ll talk related to proble m descriptions including student a ttr ibu te s, ho w p ro ble ms h a d b e e n p re vio us ly a dd re sse d, a nd pr ob le m in te rp re ta tio ns Fr ames for Question 2 included a ll talk offer ed in re sponse to problems, including response s that seemed of f targ et. Fr ames for Question 3 included a ll talk related to the value of meeting s to teache rs. Fina lly fra mes for the fourth question included se ctions of transcr ipts where te ache rs and other meeting participa nts coconstruc ted problems and response s to problems. Domains and subdomains wer e identified. The end re sults were ty po log ie s o f p ro ble ms p re se nte d a t in c lus ion me e tin g s a nd re sp on se s to tho se pr ob le ms. I nductive ana ly ses wer e conduc ted on teac her inter view tra nscripts to better understand how teac hers va lued inclusion meeting s. Using r esults from inductive a na ly se s, I se le c te d s a mpl e s o f d ia log ue on wh ic h to pe rf or m di sc ou rs e a na ly sis Cr ite ri a we re es t ab l i s h ed fo r s el ec t i n g p o s i t i v e a n d n ega t i v e s am p l es o f d i s co u rs e u s i n g fi n d i n gs from inductive a naly ses of tea cher interviews. Spec ifically positive samples were selec ted if they provided e vidence of (a ) social support, ( b) lea rning opportunities, or (c) prac tical support. I n addition, positi ve samples we re se lected if they moved teac hers toward c lassroom-leve l soluti ons. I nductive ana ly ses of tea cher interviews sug g ested that meeting s were unproductive if the y failed to g ener ate solutions. Thus, samples of dialog ue we re se lected if they failed to g ener ate c lassroom-leve l soluti ons that were acc eptable to the te ache r. Thus, four positive ex amples and f our neg ative examples wer e selec ted, with one sample f rom ea ch of the eig ht meeting s. Next, I identified spee ch functions, statement a nd question ty pes, modality semantic re lations betwee n sentenc es and cla uses, and soc ial actor s within each dia logue sample (F airc lough, 2003)

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147 Two main spee ch func tions were ide ntified. Knowledg e exchang es occ ur whe n the purpose be hind the talk is to know something. Knowle dg e exchang es consist of qu e sti on s ( i.e ., y e s/n o in te rr og a tiv e s) or “ wh ” int e rr og a tiv e s a nd sta te me nts (i .e ., de c la ra tiv e se nte nc e s) T he pu rp os e be hin d a n a c tiv ity e xch a ng e is t o g a in commitments for ac tion. Thus, activity exchang es imply more than just an e x chang e of words. Ac tivity exchang es consist of dema nds (i.e., impera tives) and of fer s (i .e ., sta te me nts re la te d to c omm itm e nt t o a c t) I mpo rt a ntl y b oth ha lve s o f t he se exchang es ar e not alwa y s found, as dialog ue is unique in that expectations for e x chang es are not alway s met (Fa ircloug h, 2003). Statement ty pes identified include d statements of fa ct, irre alis statements, and evalua tions. I rre alis statements are future or iented (e .g ., She will be discussed at the me e tin g ) a nd hy po the tic a ls ( e .g ., I ma y ne e d to re fe r h e r f or sp e c ia l e du c a tio n s e rv ic e s, if thi s d oe s n ot h e lp) T he pu rp os e be hin d id e nti fy ing qu e sti on a nd sta te me nt t y pe s is to a id pa tte rn ide nti fi c a tio n w ith in t he te xt. The modality of ea ch question and state ment was identified. A lthough ther e ar e e xplic it m a rk e rs of mod a lit y (e .g ., c a n, wi ll, ma y mu st, wo uld s ho uld ), mod a lit y is b e st un de rs too d a s ma kin g sp e e c h mo re te nta tiv e T hu s, in t he c a se of a c tiv ity e xch a ng e s, modality sug g ests the deg ree to which the ac tors are committed to the obligation or nece ssity of the de mand or off er. D emands c an be ve rbalized three way s. I t can be (a) presc riptive (e.g ., sit down), (b) modalized (e .g ., y ou could sit down), or (c) proscr iptive (e.g ., don’t sit down). Simi larly the offe r or r esponse c an be ve rbalized in three w ay s. The off er c an be ( a) unde rtake n (e.g ., I ’ll open the window) (b) modalized (e.g ., I may open the window) or (c ) re fused ( I won’t open the window) (F airc lough, 2003).

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148 Sta te me nts a nd qu e sti on s c a n b e mod a lize d. Sta te me nts of fa c t a re g e ne ra lly asser ted (e .g ., She has a le arning disability ), whe rea s irrea lis statements tend to be modalized (e.g ., She may have a lear ning disa bility ). Statements ca n also be de nied ( e g T h e s t u d e n t i s n o t q u a l i f i e d ) Q u e s t i o n s c a n b e ( a ) n o n m o d a l i z e d p o s i t i v e ( e g Is he y our student? ), (b) modalized (e.g ., Could it be that he’ s overwhe lmed? ), or (c) nonmodalized neg ative (e .g ., I sn’t he one of y our succ ess stories? ). Semantic re lations betwee n clause s were identified to better unde rstand the meaning of the uttera nce. Re lationships identified included ca usal (i.e., r eason, c o n s e q u e n c e p u r p o s e ) c o n d i t i o n a l ( i e m a r k e d b y if ), te mpo ra l ( i.e ., ma rk e rs imp lic a te time), additive (i.e., ma rked w ith and ), ela boration (i.e., inc luded exemplification and r e w o r d i n g ) c o n t r a s t i v e / c o n c e s s i v e ( i e m a r k e d b y bu t to signa l a qualifier of the statement). Represe ntations of social ac tors in dialogue wer e identified. Spec ifically nouns and pronouns dire ctly rela ted to the intera ction wer e identified. I n addition, whether actor s were activate d (i.e., re sponsible for ac tion) or passivated ( i.e., re cipients of ac tion) wer e noted. This wa s used to identify who was r esponsible for a ction within the discourse sa mple. P roblem s Addressed/Descr ibed at Inclu sion Meetings Pr ob le ms d isc us se d d ur ing inc lus ion me e tin g s w e re c on sis te nt w ith pr ob le ms teac hers sha red dur ing te ache r interview s when they wer e aske d to discuss a rec ent c la ssr oo m di le mma I n mo st c a se s, te a c he rs dis c us se d v e ry sim ila r p ro ble ms t o th os e raised dur ing inc lusion meetings. The notable exception her e wa s that ear ly car eer teac hers f reque ntly raised pe dag og ical issues, such a s how to proper ly g roup students or teac h particula r conc epts, wher eas e x perie nced te ache rs uniformly share d conce rns about

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149 particula r students. This sugg ests that inclusion meeting s, particular ly for e x perie nced teac hers, may be fr uitful places f or prof essional deve lopment to occur. Pr ob le ms o f p ra c tic e te a c he rs br ou g ht b e fo re inc lus ion te a m me e tin g s f e ll i nto two larg e ca teg ories: problems with ac ademics a nd problems with behavior s. Teac hers repor ted two kinds of students about whom they had ac ademic c oncer ns, including students perc eived a s putting for th effor t but who were failing to prog ress, a nd another g roup of students tea cher s descr ibed as ha ving inc onsistent acade mic perf ormanc e. I mportantly teac her de scriptions were highly persona liz ed coc onstructions that convey ed mul tip le c ha ra c te ri sti c s o f s tud e nts wh o h a d a c a de mic pr ob le ms i nc lud ing (a ) d isa bil ity status, (b) re tention status, and (c) aca demic prog ress. Te ache rs justified conce rns about stu de nts in m ult ipl e wa y s in c lud ing (a ) e vid e nc e of a c a de mic pr og re ss f ro m a sse ssm e nts and cla ss work, (b) lack of response to supports and interventions tea cher s tried bef ore me e tin g s, a nd (c ) e vid e nc e tha t th e pr ob le m e xiste d in mul tip le c la ssr oo ms. Th us teac hers de scribed stude nts as either putting forth ef fort with little prog ress, or the y descr ibed students as doing well on some day s, or eve n in some subjects, but not on oth e rs T e a c he rs no te d th a t st ud e nts wi th i nc on sis te nt p e rf or ma nc e ha d to be “ fo rc e d” to g et work done Tea cher s descr ibed four kinds of c halleng ing stude nt behaviors including (a) attendanc e proble ms, (b) beha vior problems and low a cade mic perf ormanc e, (c) persistent annoy ing sma ll behaviors, and ( d) ag g ressive be haviors. Attenda nce problems wer e espe cially conce rning for tea cher s in high-sta kes testing g rade s. Teac hers justified conce rns about abse nces by noting the pa tterns of a bsence s and the wa y s they tried to addre ss the problem. Tea cher s repor ted a wide rang e of inter ventions for

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150 absenc es including sending the truanc y office r to homes and pr aising the student for be ing a t sc ho ol. Te a c he rs a lso dis c us se d s tud e nts wh o h a d b e ha vio r p ro ble ms a nd a c a de mic pr ob le ms. Te a c he rs su g g e ste d th a t be ha vio rs inf lue nc e d p oo r a c a de mic s a nd vic e ve rs a a nd of te n in te rp re te d p oo r b e ha vio r a s a me a ns fo r t he c hil d to e sc a pe a c a de mic sit ua tio ns the y fo un d to o c ha lle ng ing T e a c he rs jus tif ie d th e ir c on c e rn s a bo ut t he se students by repor ting ( a) students’ a cade mic prog ress, (b) failed inter ventions and support alre ady offe red, a nd (c) students’ rec ords of disciplinary actions. I n addition, te a c he rs re po rt e d o n th e dis a bil ity sta tus of the se stu de nts Tea cher s also descr ibed problems with students who had pe rsistent and annoy ing small behaviors. The se students wer e desc ribed a s usually being on g rade -leve l or above w h o h a d i n f r e q u e n t d i s c i p l i n a r y e n c o u n t e r s a s t h e i r b e h a v i o r s w e r e n o t s e v e r e In addition, they wer e desc ribed a s easily distracted a nd disruptive. Tea cher s justified c on c e rn s a bo ut t he se stu de nts by su g g e sti ng tha t di sr up tiv e be ha vio rs oc c ur re d in mul tip le se tti ng s w ith mul tip le te a c he rs T e a c he rs a lso no te d th a t ma ny of the se stu de nts ha d b e e n d ia g no se d w ith AD HD T e a c he rs su g g e ste d th a t f a mil y su pp or t w a s im po rt a nt, as the school ha d few er inter ventions for these kinds of behavior s. Howeve r, tea cher s re po rt e d th a t in te ra c tio ns wi th f a mil ie s g e ne ra lly did no t mi tig a te stu de nt b e ha vio rs in c la ssr oo ms. Te a c he rs de sc ri be d c on c e rn s a bo ut s tud e nts wi th a g g re ssi ve be ha vio rs Ac a de mic a lly th e se stu de nts we re de sc ri be d a s p e rf or min g a t or ne a r g ra de le ve l, w ith te a c he rs no tin g tha t be ha vio rs dim ini sh e d w he n s tud e nts we re a c tiv e ly e ng a g e d in classroom a ctivities. Teac hers f elt that these students ca used “unsa fe” trouble, and tha t the y ne e de d to ke e p a wa tc hf ul e y e on the se stu de nts a t a ll t ime s. Te a c he rs jus tif ie d th e ir

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151 conce rns about these students by sug g esting that pare nts acknowle dg ed ag g ression problems in their childre n. I n addition, teache rs noted that one stude nt had bee n taken of f medication for ADHD, w hich teac hers f elt added to the ve rac ity of the c laim that there wa s so me thi ng wr on g wi th t he stu de nt. Responses to P roblem s Descr ibed/Ad dressed at Inclusion Mee tings Re sp on se s c oc on str uc te d b y inc lus ion te a ms t o a dd re ss p ro ble ms w ith stu de nts wer e g ener ated a t differ ent levels, de pending upon the problem. Responses w ere constructe d at (a ) fa mily levels, (b) classroom leve ls, and (c) school levels. I n addition, the re we re sp e c if ic oc c a sio ns wh e n te a ms s ug g e ste d th a t in te rv e nti on s a nd su pp or ts alre ady in place f or students be c ontinued without chang e. Notably teac hers a nd leade rs at Hopew ell Elementar y had fa r fe wer sug g estions to remedy behavior problems than a c a de mic pr ob le ms. Th is m a y be e xpla ine d b y the fa c t th a t th e sc ho ol h a d mu lti ple str uc tur e s in pla c e to a ssi st w ith a c a de mic pr ob le ms, su c h a s in te ns ive a c a de mic instruction, after -school tutoring cotea ching and tutoring for r eading Thus, g etting additional help for a cade mic strug g les in classrooms wa s relatively easy for tea cher s at Hopewe ll Elementary Al t h o u gh t ea ch er s ac t u al l y b ro u gh t s l i gh t l y m o re ac ad em i c p ro b l em s t o m ee t i n gs tha n b e ha vio r p ro ble ms, be ha vio r p ro ble ms w e re dis c us se d f or lon g e r p e ri od s o f t ime tha n a c a de mic pr ob le ms. F ur the r, te a c he rs de sc ri be d f e we r k ind s o f p ro ble ms w ith aca demics (i.e., low pe rfor ming with hig h eff ort and inconsistent ac ademic pe rfor mance ) than beha vior problems (i.e., a ttendance low aca demics with problem beha vior, pe rs ist e nt a nn oy ing be ha vio rs a nd a g g re ssi ve be ha vio rs ). Ta ke n to g e the r, thi s su g g e sts tha t de a lin g wi th p ro ble m be ha vio rs wa s c ha lle ng ing fo r t e a c he rs

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152 School-level interve ntions sugg ested for problem beha viors wer e fe w (i.e., discipline policies and counse ling) which may be why involving fa milies for classroom problems was f reque ntly sug g ested by inclusion teams. Although involving families may help students and tea cher s in the long r un, valuable instruc tional time is l ost when te a c he rs c a nn ot e ff e c tiv e ly ma na g e stu de nts in t he ir c la ssr oo ms. Th us if te a c he rs c ome to an inclusion meeting with conce rns about student beha vior, they need to lea ve the meeting with more than the pr omise of a mee ting with par ents at some point in the future. Th is s ug g e sts tha t sc ho ols a nd the ir pa rt ne rs ne e d to c ome up wi th c re a tiv e wa y s to he lp stu de nts wi th p ro ble m be ha vio rs be y on d th os e re po rt e d b y te a c he rs a nd le a de rs in t his s t u d y. F a mil y -l e ve l r e sp on se s in c lud e d in vo lvi ng fa mil ie s b y (a ) p ro vid ing fa mil ie s w ith additional materia ls to help their child at home, (b) convening a fa mily solutions t eam me e tin g (F STM ), a nd (c ) u sin g the ho me /sc ho ol l ia iso n to g a in a c c e ss t o f a mil ie s. F a mil y -l e ve l r e sp on se s w e re re c omm e nd e d b y te a ms f or stu de nts of a ll p ro ble m ty pe s. Convening FSTMs was the most fr equently sug g ested re sponse. Fa mily solutions t eam meeting s included fa milies and all school stakeholder s who had dire ct contac t with the student of conc ern. G uidelines for the se mee tings we re de veloped pr ior to the beg inning of the school y ear and we re a vailable to tea cher s in written form. Of ten, teams sug g ested c on ve nin g the se me e tin g s w he n p ro ble ms a t sc ho ol c ou ld o nly be ha nd le d f ro m ho me (e.g ., behavior rela ted to medication issues, abse nces) There wer e, howe ver, othe r occa sions when FSTMs we re r ecommende d for c halleng ing c lassroom beha viors such as mov ing a ro un d a nd c a lli ng ou t du ri ng c la ss. Classroom-level re sponses included sug g estions or response s to (a) c onsider how the student was f unctioning in the c lassroom, (b) c hang e tea ching methods to better

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153 addre ss student needs, and ( c) influe nce stude nt motivation. These sug g estions were ma de fo r s tud e nts wi th a ll t y pe s o f p ro ble ms e xce pt a bs e nc e s. Re c omm e nd a tio ns to c on sid e r h ow the stu de nt w a s f un c tio nin g in t he c la ssr oo m e me rg e d in tw o w a y s. Te a ms discussed the possibility of doing an I ndividual Educational Plan update so that a for mal functional be havior a ssessment (F BA ) could be done. B y desig n, FB As define the conditions under which unde sirable be haviors occ ur, which is the f irst step toward establishing w ay s to better help the stude nt behave acc eptably in the classroom. The sec ond way this occurr ed wa s throug h teac hers r esponding to questions about the student’s beha vior in the classroom pose d by various tea m members. As tea cher s re sp on de d to te a m me mbe r q ue sti on s a bo ut h ow a nd wh e n s tud e nts did be st i n c la ssr oo ms, pla ns we re de ve lop e d to a dju st c la ssr oo m e nv ir on me nts a nd ins tr uc tio n to maxi miz e possibiliti es that students would be succ essful. F or example, throug h dialog ue, one tea cher deter mined that she nee ded to allow her students to move and stretch be fore beg inning dire ct instruction. This plan was de veloped in conside ration of the f act that students were coming to her c lass afte r a 90minute, intense rea ding bloc k. I t w a s a lso a te a m r e c omm e nd a tio n th a t te a c he rs c ha ng e te a c hin g me tho ds T he se rec ommendations were made, in par ticular, for rea ding instruc tion. Ex perie nced te ache rs sh a re d me tho ds fo r e ff e c tiv e ly te a c hin g re a din g c omp re he ns ion wi th t he ir le ss e x p e r i e n c e d c o l l e a g u e s In a d d i t i o n s e v e r a l k i n d s o f i n s t r u c t i o n r e l a t e d t o t e c h n o l o g y, such as c omputer prog rams and la ng uag e master s, were sug g ested in re sponse to teac her conce rns about students’ re ading perf ormanc e. Finally teams made rec ommendations relate d to improving student motivation for a cade mic tasks. These r ecommenda tions were ma de, in par t, beca use sometimes classroom c onditions could not be chang ed such a s the nee d for tea cher s to give

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154 direc tions. Thus, teams rec ommended using extrinsi c re inforce ment, as we ll as making barg ains with students, to mi tiga te problems re lated to student eng ag ement and disruption. Sc ho olle ve l r e sp on se s w e re su g g e ste d f or stu de nts wi th o ne ro us a c a de mic problems and pr oblems with ag g ression. F or ac ademic pr oblems, teams sometimes re c omm e nd e d s tud e nts be e va lua te d f or sp e c ia l e du c a tio n p la c e me nt. Th is rec ommendation was fr equently made dur ing the second g rade inclusion meeting s, the y ear befor e hig h-stakes te sting c ould result in student retention. I mportantly specia l e du c a tio n te sti ng wa s n e c e ssa ry to g a in a c c e ss t o te sti ng a c c omm od a tio ns a nd ha d li ttl e be a ri ng on stu de nts ’ p la c e me nts a s th e sc ho ol w a s a lr e a dy inc lud ing stu de nts wi th disabiliti es in g ener al educ ation classrooms. I n addition, when students’ proble ms were rela ted to extreme ag g ression, tea ms recommende d that students be eva luated for place ment in separa te schools for be havior. The fina l kind of rec ommendation made by teams wa s for tea cher s to continue interventions alre ady in place f or students. This occur red most fre quently during the third-g rade meeting as this was the hig h-stakes te sting g rade Some teache rs worr ied excessively about the prog ress of the ir students, even thoug h leade rship team member s su g g e ste d th a t te a c he rs we re a lr e a dy do ing e ve ry thi ng po ssi ble to h e lp. Th is rec ommendation also applied to ca ses wher e tea cher s understood fr om pare nts that they wo uld no t g ive pe rm iss ion fo r s tud e nts to b e te ste d f or sp e c ia l e du c a tio n. Th us o n th e se rela tively rar e occ asions, teams had no f urther r ecommenda tions for teams except to kee p d o i n g wh at t h ey we re al re ad y d o i n g.

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155 How Dialogue Sh apes Constructe d Pr oblem s and Responses du ring Inclu sion Mee tings Tea cher interviews sug g ested that some tea cher s found inclusion meeting s to be productive w ay s for them to addr ess problems of pr actice wher eas othe r tea cher s did not find them to be helpful. Nota bly these diff ere nt opinions of meetings w ere sometimes fr o m t ea ch er s p re s en t at t h e s am e m ee t i n g. W h en t ea ch er s an d l ea d er s en t er ed m ee t i n gs wi th p re c on c e ive d n oti on s a bo ut h ow to s olv e pr ob le ms, me e tin g s p ro du c e d le ss dialog ue. F or their pa rt, teac hers pe rce ived meeting s as unhelpful whe n solutions sug g ested we re c ontrary to their own belief s about ac cepta ble pra ctice or when they enter ed mee tings with pre conce ived notions that the locus of the proble m was the student a nd /or his or he r f a mil y O n th e oth e r h a nd w he n te a c he rs e nte re d me e tin g s u nc e rt a in about how to manag e their c oncer ns, more dialog ue wa s produce d—dialog ue tea cher int e rv ie ws su g g e ste d w a s h e lpf ul. L eade rs, par ticularly when they wer e the only leade r at the me eting and ac ting a s fac ilitator, had the ca pacity to stifle discussion with one decisive c omment. On the other h a n d w h e n l e a d e r s e n c o u r a g e d g r o u p p a r t i c i p a t i o n a n d o f f e r e d o p i n i o n s j u d i c i o u s l y, te a c he r i nte rv ie ws su g g e ste d me e tin g s w e re pe rc e ive d o f a s mo re pr od uc tiv e T his su g g e sts that in order f or dialog ue to be a s productive a s possible, authority (i.e., e valuative statements and opinions) must be disrupted. This is likely complicated by the fa ct that be ing de c isi ve is o ft e n p e rc e ive d o f a s a va lua ble le a de rs hip tr a it. Meeting dy namics also influenc ed the pr oduction of dialog ue during inclusion meeting s. I n many of these me eting s, dialog ue involved only the pre senting teac her a nd the fa cilitator. Other me eting participa nts seemed to take on roles akin to obser vers

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156 instead of pa rticipants. Notably when tea cher s chose to obser ve, they often sug g ested that meeting s were not helpful to them. Perhaps more problematic w as that obser ving i n s t ea d o f p ar t i ci p at i n g l i m i t ed t h e e x p er t i s e i n t h e r o o m d ev o t ed t o p ro b l em s o l v i n g. I ntere stingly leade rship team member s who wer e not fa cilitating mee tings see med espec ially prone to be ing silent. Thus, it is important to eng ag e all member s in active p ro b l em s o l v i n g. Values of Meetings for Teachers An a ly sis of te a c he r i nte rv ie ws su g g e ste d th a t te a c he rs pe rc e ive d th re e ma in benef its from inclusion meetings inc luding ( a) f eeling social support for their work f rom colleag ues, (b) lear ning ne w things a bout the profe ssion of teac hing, a nd (c) rec eiving prac tical help with cha lleng ing pr oblems of pra ctice. Sup port. Support teache rs desc ribed wa s akin to what Krug er ( 1997) terme d so c ial su pp or t So c ia l su pp or t in c lud e s g uid a nc e a nd re lia ble a lli a nc e wi th o the rs Tea cher s at Hopew ell Elementar y fre quently g uided ea ch other and supported e ach othe r wi th d e c isi on s a bo ut h ow be st t o h e lp s tud e nts Le ar ning ne w thi ngs Tea cher s repor ted lear ning ne w information at inclusion meeting s about (a) students, (b) cla ssroom manag ement and te aching strateg ies, and (c) specia l educa tion procedur es. Tea cher s repor ted that throug h inclusion meeting s, they better unde rstood how students behave d outside of their own c lassrooms. I n addition, teac hers r eporte d lear ning de tails about students that chang ed the wa y s they wer e te a c hin g F or e xamp le o ne te a c he r r e po rt e d le a rn ing tha t on e of he r s tud e nts wa s le g a lly blind in one ey e. This prompted he r to provide a ccommodations that she ha d not previously used.

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157 Early car eer teac hers, in par ticular, re ported lea ning a bout new tea ching strateg ies du ri ng me e tin g s. F or e xamp le te a c he rs re po rt e d le a rn ing wa y s to us e ins tr uc tio na l a ids such as whiteboa rds and r eading g uides. Tea cher s at all phases of car eer repor ted lear ning to use new be havior mana g ement tec hniques. For example, an ea rly car eer teac her r eporte d lear ning how to help teac h a student to raise her ha nd, wher eas a n e xpe ri e nc e d te a c he r r e po rt e d le a rn ing ho w t o h e lp s tud e nts wi th A DH D c ha nn e l th e ir mot or ne e ds in p ro du c tiv e wa y s. Gene ral e ducation tea cher s repor ted lear ning a bout (a) spe cial educ ation ref err al proce dures, ( b) individual educa tion plans (I EP), (c) testing a ccommodations, and (d) manif estation hea ring s. Teac hers r eporte d understanding the re levanc e of r efe rring students for spec ial educa tion and rea ding I EPs to aid inst ruction. F inally a couple of teac hers r eporte d that, prior to inclusion meeting s, they had neve r hea rd of manif estation hear ings. The y repor ted that af ter inclusion meeting s, they understood that manife station hear ings w ere held in response to student suspensions in ex cess of 10 day s, to determine if be ha vio rs tha t c a us e su sp e ns ion s r e su lte d f ro m di sa bil iti e s. P r ac ti c al h e lp wit h pr obl e m s. Tea cher s repor ted that at inclusion meeting s, they rec eived pr actica l help with challeng ing pr oblems of pra ctice. T eac hers sha red e x amples of ho w t he y a pp lie d w ha t th e y le a rn e d in the ir c la ssr oo ms, su c h a s a llo wi ng stu de nts to mov e be fo re g ivi ng dir e c tio ns a nd mov ing stu de nts to d if fe re nt i ns tr uc tio na l g ro up s to help students focus. Te ache rs also re ported that inclusion meeting s helped them improve prac tice throug h short-term a nd longterm re flec tion. P roblem s w ith Inclu sion Meetings Tea cher s repor ted two kinds of problems with inclusion meeting s: tim e pre ssures and not finding solutions t o problems. Time pre ssures included log istical things such a s

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158 me e tin g s b e g inn ing a nd e nd ing la te a nd ha vin g too ma ny stu de nts to d isc us s. Th e y a lso included proc edura l things, such a s talking too long about a c ouple of students, which limit ed the number s of students that could be discusse d. F ail ur e to ge ne r at e so lut ion s. F a ilu re to g e ne ra te so lut ion s w a s r e la te d to mul tip le iss ue s. Som e te a c he rs no te d th a t te a ms s pe nt t oo muc h ti me dis c us sin g pr ob le ms and not enoug h time talking a bout soluti ons. Other tea cher s repor ted that team rec ommendations were not acc eptable f or them. F or example, one tea cher repor ted that the team wa nted her to use a point sheet with her student. She resisted that sug g estion be c a us e f ro m he r p e rs pe c tiv e s he did no t ha ve e no ug h ti me to d o a n a de qu a te job wi th the po int sh e e t a nd te a c h h e r c la ss. I n a dd iti on s he op ine d th a t po int sh e e ts w or ke d b e st in s pe c ia l e du c a tio n c la ssr oo ms, no t g e ne ra l e du c a tio n c la ssr oo ms. Other te ache rs re veale d that some g roup intera ctions made mee tings fe el unproductive. Te ache rs explained that meeting s sometimes beca me occ asions for blaming instea d of problem solving Finally teac hers r eporte d that some inclusion meeting s were tense a ffa irs, wher e tea cher s were g rilled about student prog ress, ra ther tha n s imp ly dis c us sin g it. F indin gs fro m Di sc our se Ana lys is All of these r esults were used to selec t samples of mee ting dialog ue, as de scribed ear lier, for discourse a naly sis. Discourse a naly sis revea led how dialog ue shape d the constructions of pr oblems and re sponses to those problems. I mportantly there wer e two me e tin g s th a t c ou ld b e c on sid e re d h ig hly pr od uc tiv e a nd tw o me e tin g s th a t w e re mos tly unproductive. The other four meeting s had moments of both. P roblem construct ions. Dialog ue shape d problem construc tions in productive and unproduc tive way s. Productive problem c onstructions resulted in problems that we re

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159 coconstruc ted during inclusion meeting s, where as unproduc tive problem construc tions re su lte d in the c on str uc tio n o f t wo dif fe re nt p ro ble ms d ur ing inc lus ion me e tin g s. Coconstructed pr oblems were char acte rized by team member lang uag e that wa s tentative and spe culative. F or example, instead of using statements of fa ct to make asser ted statements about the pr oblem (e.g ., Your room is too open for this student), an inc lus ion te a m me mbe r m a de a mod a lize d s ta te me nt ( i.e ., I wo nd e r i f t he sp a c e is difficult). B y phrasing this statement in a tentative wa y the pre senting teac her w as aff orded a collabora tive posture instead of a def ensive posture Thus, the pre senting teac her w as able to consider whe ther or not this conc ern w as consistent with her ow n experience s without concer n of disag ree ing w ith the team member ’s sug g estion. Coconstructed pr oblems were also cha rac terized by particula r ac tivation patterns among meeting participa nts. At the beg inning of the dialog ue, all tea m members we re activate d (i.e., I ’m wonder ing how far we c an g et her e today on Clovis). Thus, the entire team wa s viewed a s important to the discussion of the problem. I n addition, the prese nting tea cher acc epted r esponsibility for wha t happene d with the student being dis c us se d in the c la ssr oo m by a c tiv a tin g he rs e lf in t he dia log ue (i .e ., I los e him ). Th us the dialog ue wa s collabora tive and nonthre atening Parallel proble m constructions wer e inher ently unproductive e x chang es whe reby inclusion team participa nts addresse d conce rns re lated to the same student but arrive d at dif fe re nt p ro ble m c on str uc tio ns T he se e xch a ng e s c on sis te d o f b a c k a nd fo rt h s ta te me nts which we re a sserted a s fac t. I n addition, neither pa rty in the exchang e wa s willing to alter their fa ct-ba sed opinion about the problem. Thus, the dia logue was c losed and noncollabora tive.

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160 These unpr oductive exchang es we re c ommon among r elatively few teac hers a nd le a de rs T e a c he rs wh o s e e me d p ro ne to p a ra lle l pr ob le m c on str uc tio ns ha d tw o th ing s in c omm on F ir st, the y ha d ma ny y e a rs of te a c hin g e xpe ri e nc e Se c on d, the y e ng a g e d in thi s kin d o f t a lk p ri ma ri ly wh e n th e y we re dis c us sin g the ir ow n p ro ble ms. I n o the r w or ds these tea cher s actively eng ag ed in coc onstructions of other te ache rs' dilemmas, just not their own. I mportantly y ear s of experienc e we re not a lway s relate d to the capa city of teac hers to coc onstruction their own proble ms with others. There wer e fa r more e xpe ri e nc e d te a c he rs wh o b ro ug ht a c tua l di le mma s, no t pr e c on c e ive d p ro ble ms, to inclusion meeting s. This sugg ests that the enter ing a ssumptions of tea cher s play an important role in how proble m descriptions unfold. One lea der f reque ntly eng ag ed in unproduc tive problem construc tions. S he seeme d highly invested in her ow n perc eptions of problems and w as dec idedly less open to how others per ceive d problems. No matter how much or how littl e dire ct experienc e s h e h a d w i t h p a r t i c u l a r s t u d e n t s i t u a t i o n s s h e p o s i t i o n e d h e r s e l f a s t h e e x p e r t C l e a r l y, t h i s h ad a d el et er i o u s ef fe ct o n t h e q u al i t y o f d i al o gu e a t m ee t i n gs — es p ec i al l y m ee t i n gs wher e she w as fa cilitating. I mportantly other lea ders a nd profe ssional educa tors, when pr e se nt, a pp e a re d to mut e thi s p ro pe ns ity to s wa y dia log ue wi th h e r a sse rt e d o pin ion s. This sugg ests the hopef ul possibil ity that this kind of behavior c an be inf luence d. Response construct ions. Dialog ue shape d the social c onstructions of re sponses in productive a nd unproductive w ay s. Productive meeting s were char acte rized by dia log ue tha t w a s f oc us e d a nd su pp or tiv e I n a dd iti on s olu tio ns su g g e ste d w e re hig hly rela ted to teac her c oncer ns (i.e., provide d classroom-le vel assistance ). M ai n t ai n i n g d i al o gu e r el at ed t o t h e p ro b l em b ei n g d i s cu s s ed wa s ch al l en gi n g. I nclusion team member s were often re minded of unre lated but important ideas they

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161 wanted to discuss. I n addition, presenting problems wer e ofte n complex, requiring multipl e re sponses from tea ms (e.g ., students with acade mic and beha vior conc erns) Foc us problems wer e mitiga ted when inc lusion team members sy stematically addre ssed eac h part of the conce rn bef ore e ntertaining other pa rts (e.g ., rec ommendations for aca demic issues ar e addr essed f ully befor e discussing rec ommendations for be havior conce rns). When dialog ue moved a way from the c entra l issue being discussed, inclusion team member s nudg ed their c olleag ues bac k to the centr al conc ern w ith modaliz ed statements (e .g ., I think we should . ). Unfoc used dialog ue, on the other hand, wa s char acte rized by a ser ies of conve rsational turns that moved discussions awa y from he lpi ng te a c he rs wi th c la ssr oo mle ve l su g g e sti on s. Productive re sponses to teac her c oncer ns offe red ma terial support to tea cher s for pressing problems of pra ctice. Ma terial support include d coconstruc ting c oncre te plans of action. Since plans inhe rently convey what will happen in the f uture, these discussions co n t ai n ed h i gh n u m b er s o f i rr ea l i s s t at em en t s I n ad d i t i o n p l an s we re co n fi rm ed t h ro u gh reiter ation to ensure a ll members of the te am under stood what would occ ur next. I nstead of providing materia l support, some meeting s were char acte rized by tense dialog ue that included tea cher resistanc e and ne g ative stateme nts of evalua tion. W hen tea cher s were highly resistant to sug g estions, sugg estions were cast a side with statements that beg an with the words “y es, but.” Productive re sponses to teac her c oncer ns involved dialog ue that g ener ated interventions that wer e appr opriately targ eted to addr ess teac her c oncer ns. There wer e two discourse f eatur es that shape d matched pr oblem/response to proble m pairs, including questions that invited gr oup participa tion (e.g ., Any rec ommendations? ) and que stions tha t w e re tig htl y fo c us e d o n te a c he r c on c e rn s. As kin g fo r r e c omm e nd a tio ns re su lte d in

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162 the par ticipation, including sug g estions, of more tea m members. I n addition, questions highly rela ted to teac her c oncer ns produce d solutions t hat matche d the problem. On the other ha nd, questions that moved the conve rsation awa y from cla ssroom-level c oncer ns toward f amily -leve l conce rns re sulted in soluti ons that left teac hers with no next steps for the ir c la ssr oo ms. Th us f a mil y -l e ve l so lut ion s, wh ile imp or ta nt, sh ou ld b e c ou ple d w ith solutions for assisting tea cher s to better mana g e cla ssrooms so that valuable lea rning op po rt un iti e s a re no t lo st. Extendin g Existin g Literat ure Th is s tud y is s itu a te d in tw o a re a s o f t he e xistin g lit e ra tur e : li te ra tur e on te a ms and litera ture on c ommuniti es of pr actice S i tu a ti n g th i s S tu d y i n th e L i te ra tu re o n T ea ms K inds of pr obl e m s r e por te d t o t e am s. Finding s from this study wer e consistent wi th e xistin g stu die s su g g e sti ng tha t te a c he rs re po rt e d n e e din g a ssi sta nc e wi th s tud e nts fo r a wi de ra ng e of iss ue s in c lud ing a c a de mic a nd be ha vio r c on c e rn s, or wh a t so me studies termed socioemotional conce rns (Chalfa nt & Py sh, 1989; Eidle et al.,1998; Mey ers e t al., 1996). Unlike pre vious studies, my finding s descr ibed salient deta ils about char acte ristics of re ported proble ms, as classifica tion schemes ofte n lose meaning (B e rg e r & L uc kma n, 19 66 ). F or e xamp le s tud e nts de sc ri be d b y te a c he rs did no t si mpl y have r eading problems, they had re ading problems and wor ked re ally hard, or they had re a din g pr ob le ms a nd pu t f or th i nc on sis te nt e ff or t. O bv iou sly e ve n th ou g h th e se a re bo th aca demic proble ms with reading addre ssing them would r equire substantively differ ent approa ches. Thus, de tails conce rning the kinds of problems pre sented matter Finding s from this study are consistent with studies that have found tha t teache rs reque st assistance with attenda nce pr oblems (Mey ers e t al., 1996) and soc io-emotional

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163 behavior problems (Eidle e t al., 1998; Mey ers e t al., 1996). This study extends the literature by sug g esting that classroom tea cher s also reque sted assistance with ag g ressive student behaviors a nd with student behaviors that c aused pe rsistent minor disruptions. I n addition, this st udy provides more evidenc e about how the se problems a re re la te d to oth e r c on c e rn s. F or e xamp le b e ha vio r p ro ble ms i n th is s tud y oc c ur re d e ith e r i n iso la tio n o r w ith a c a de mic pr ob le ms. Te a c he rs su g g e ste d th a t w he n b e ha vio r p ro ble ms e x i s t e d w i t h a c a d e m i c p r o b l e m s s t u d e n t s u s e d b e h a v i o r t o a v o i d a c a d e m i c t a s k s In a dd iti on te a c he rs in t his stu dy re po rt e d th a t pe e r p ro ble ms c oo c c ur re d w ith bo th a g g re ssi ve be ha vio rs a nd pe rs ist e nt a nn oy ing be ha vio rs A s w a s su g g e ste d a bo ve th e se more fine -g raine d problem desc riptions enable be tter under standing s of the suitability of the kinds of sug g estions teams make in re sponse to problems. Kinds of responses to problem s suggested by team s. Th e ty pe s o f t e a ms stu die d e xten siv e ly tha t r e po rt e d th e int e rv e nti on s r e c omm e nd e d w e re pr ima ri ly prer efe rra l teams (B ahr, 1994; Eidle e t al., 1998; Harr ington & Gibson, 1986; Knotek, 2003; Mey ers e t al., 1996; Pobst 2001; Truscott et al., 2005). Re sear cher s repor ted that these tea ms focused on r ecommenda tions for out-of-c lassroom interventions, such a s ref err ing stude nts for spec ial educa tion services or counseling rathe r than in-c lassroom int e rv e nti on s. B oth of the se kin ds of int e rv e nti on s a lso we re re c omm e nd e d b y te a ms included in this study Tea cher s in the curr ent study focuse d much more e x tensively on in-classroom interventions. Only two previous studies re ported in-c lassroom interventions including the use of a cade mic acc ommodations (Truscott et al., 2005), a nd the use of g oals rela ted t o en co u ra gi n g p ro d u ct i v e c l as s ro o m b eh av i o rs (C h al fa n t & P y s h 1 9 8 9 ). Al t h o u gh Tr us c ott a nd his c oll e a g ue s ( 20 05 ) r e po rt e d th a t e xter na l in te rv e nti on s w e re the mos t

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164 fre quent kinds of interve ntions recommende d by teams, they repor ted less fre quent inclassroom interve ntions such as dec rea sing the amount of work e x pecte d, one-onone instruction, and cha ng es to curr iculum. These f irst two rec ommendations were not sug g ested a s rec ommendations by teams in this study wher eas the third rec ommendation (i.e., c hang e to cur riculum) wa s. This is li kely due to the fa ct that dec rea sing the amount of wo rk e xpe c te d b y stu de nts wa s a c omm on a c c omm od a tio n o ff e re d to stu de nts wi th disabiliti es. Thus, tea cher s would likely do this independently Oneon-one instruc tion was a lso common practice at the school (i.e ., intensive ac ademic instruc tion, coteac hing with special e ducator s); thus, there would be no need f or tea ms to make such re c omm e nd a tio ns I mportantly prer efe rra l teams by desig n are often c harg ed with deter mining whether students should be ref err ed for specia l educa tional service s. The fa ct that rese arc hers r eport that they do so in larg e number s is not surprising. Resea rche rs involved in many of these studies, howe ver, ha ve sug g ested that the hig h number of re c omm e nd e d e xter na l in te rv e nti on s le ft te a c he rs wo nd e ri ng ho w t o p ro c e e d in c la ssr oo ms ( Ei dle 1 99 8; E idl e e t a l., 19 98 ; Me y e rs e t a l., 19 96 ; Ru bin so n, 20 02 ; T ru sc ott et al., 2005). Thus, some sc holars sug g ested that tea cher involvement might mitiga te the trend of r ecommending so few inclassroom interve ntions (Mey ers e t al., 1996; Rubinson, 2002; Truscott et al., 2005). This study adds to what is known about whe ther or no t te a c he r i np ut g e ne ra te s mo re inc la ssr oo m in te rv e nti on s. This study sug g ests that involving tea cher s in problem-solving disc ussions produce d a lar g er va riety of re sponses to teac her c oncer ns than what is re ported in the literature for tea ms with li mited teache r par ticipation. Specifica lly eig ht studies report external classroom inter ventions, including r ecommenda tions for additional specia l

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165 educa tion services ( Eidle et al., 1998; Mey ers e t al., 1996; Pobst 2001; Truscott et al., 2005), socio-e motional services suc h as counse ling a nd mentoring (Mey ers e t al., 1996; Rubinson, 2002), family interventions (Mey ers e t al., 1996; Rubinson, 2002), and re me dia l pr og ra ms ( Rub ins on 2 00 2) a ll i nte rv e nti on s c on sis te nt w ith fi nd ing s f ro m th is study Fa mily interventions re ported in the litera ture we re mostly rela ted to confe renc ing with families. Although inc lusion teams in this study made similar sug g estions (i.e., F amily Support Meeting s), fa mily -leve l rec ommendations also included sug g estions to send home ac ademic ma terials thus eng ag ing f amilies in supporting a cade mics, not just behavior. I mportantly inclusion teams in this st udy made r ecommenda tions that invol ved te a c he rs ma kin g me a nin g fu l c ha ng e s in ins tr uc tio na l pr a c tic e s to a c c omm od a te stu de nts with problems. I n some ca ses, teams sug g ested finding out more informa tion about how stu de nts we re fu nc tio nin g in c la ssr oo ms. Pr e su ma bly th is i nf or ma tio n w ou ld b e us e d to imp ro ve c on dit ion s f or pa rt ic ula r s tud e nts T e a ms a lso fu nc tio ne d to a ssi st t e a c he rs wi th thinking more deeply about how wha t they wer e doing in the classroom influenc ed stu de nt p ro ble m be ha vio rs F ina lly th e re we re re c omm e nd a tio ns fo r t e a c he rs to u se differ ent teac hing me thods (e.g ., teac hing me thods to assist wit h rea ding c omprehe nsion) in c la ssr oo ms. Thus, evidenc e fr om this st udy sug g ests that inclusion teams, which had e x tensive teac her pa rticipation, seeme d to sugg est a wide r var iety of re commendations than prer efe rra l intervention teams re ported in the litera ture, whic h had more limit ed tea cher participa tion (i.e., meeting s held when te ache rs could not attend, tea cher s cast as pr oblem prese nters only ). F amily interventions went be y ond holding c onfer ence s and inclassroom interve ntions went bey ond what Trusc ott and his colleag ues (2005) termed

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166 “ea sy ” (p. 130) interventions (i.e., r educing the amount of wor k require d, chang ing students’ seats). I n many case s, rec ommended interve ntions pushed teache rs in new dir e c tio ns Re c omm e nd a tio ns in t his stu dy su g g e ste d te a c he rs c on sid e r w a y s to e nc ou ra g e a pp ro pr ia te c la ssr oo m be ha vio rs (e .g ., e xtri ns ic re wa rd s, ba rg a ini ng wi th students). Tea cher s were g iven re commendations to try differ ent teac hing me thods (e.g ., me tho ds to a id r e a din g c omp re he ns ion u se of te c hn olo g y ). Te a c he rs we re e nc ou ra g e d to chang e their ow n proce dures to bene fit students (e.g ., allow some movement be fore dir e c tio ns a re g ive n) St a te d d if fe re ntl y te a c he rs we re c ha lle ng e d to tr y ne w t hin g s in the ir c la ssr oo ms t o mi tig a te be ha vio r a nd a c a de mic c on c e rn s. No ta bly a lth ou g h mo st te a c he rs we re op e n to c ha ng ing pr a c tic e a fe w t e a c he rs we re re sis ta nt. Th e ir participa tion in meetings fr equently led to tense, unproduc tive dialog ue. Finally there wer e ra re oc casions whe n inclusion teams sug g ested that tea cher s c on tin ue wh a t th e y we re do ing to a me lio ra te stu de nt p ro ble ms w ith ou t c ha ng e T his re c omm e nd a tio n, mor e tha n o the rs w a s a dir e c t r e fl e c tio n o f t he e nv ir on me nt c re a te d in re sp on se to h ig hsta ke s te sti ng T e a ms m a de thi s r e c omm e nd a tio n w he n f a mil ie s, in s pit e of te a c he r r e c omm e nd a tio ns c ho se no t to ha ve the ir c hil dr e n te ste d f or dis a bil iti e s. I t is important to note that teac hers pur sued spec ial educa tional testing for the purpose of g arne ring acc ess for stude nts to use acc ommodations on the state' s highstakes exam, not fo r t h e p u rp o s e o f r em o v i n g s t u d en t s fr o m t h ei r c l as s ro o m s I n fa ct b ec au s e o f s ch o o l 's inclusion model, students were not moved to other classrooms whe n they qualified for sp e c ia l e du c a tio n s e rv ic e s. Th us te a c he rs ma de re c omm e nd a tio ns fo r t e sti ng to m iti g a te the ne g a tiv e c on se qu e nc e s o f h ig hsta ke s te sti ng fo r s tud e nts a nd the sc ho ol. I t w a s a lso ma de in r e sp on se to d e dic a te d te a c he rs w ho ha d a lr e a dy e xha us te d e ve ry a pp ro a c h to help their students succ eed. I nclusion teams re cog nized that, when students and tea cher s

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167 ha d a lr e a dy tr ie d e ve ry a c c omm od a tio n p os sib le mo re int e rv e nti on s w e re un lik e ly to make a differ ence Situatin g this Stu dy in the Com m uni ties of Pr actic e Liter ature Communi ties of pra ctice, a s descr ibed in the literature involve much more tha n teac hers wor king in tea ms (Buy sse et al., 2003; DuF our, 2004; Vesc io et al., 2006). An important component of c ommuniti es of pr actice is collaborative w ork on tea ms focused a ro un d is su e s o f t e a c hin g a nd le a rn ing T he c ur re nt s tud y pr ov ide s a n im po rt a nt a na ly sis of the na ture of pr oductive dialog ue. Evidence from empiric al studies on communities of prac tice sug g est that teac hers appre ciate a nd value dialog ue that is “purpose ful” (Stra han, 2003) a nd safe (SnowGer ono, 2005), finding s confirme d by this study I n addition, evidence sug g ests that specific structure s helped tea ms stay focuse d on issues of teac hing a nd lear ning ( Hollins e t a l., 20 04 ). Str on g fa c ili ta tor s o r s tr uc tur e d p ro toc ols he lpe d ma int a in a n a pp ro pr ia te focus ( Eng lert & Roz endal, 2004; Hollins et al., 2004). This study extends what is known by sug g esting that patterns r elated to the w ay s questions are a sked and state ments are made c an open up or close down the problem-solving dialog ue. Th is s tud y re ve a ls s ome thi ng a bo ut t he na tur e of sa fe dia log ue Sp e c if ic a lly if one or more team member s assert f actbased positions replete with evaluations of tea cher behavior s as rig ht or wrong the re sulting dialog ue is tense a nd unproductive. Te ache rs leave meeting s without solut ions for their pr oblems of pra ctice. Saf e dialog ue is ac hieved thr ou g h a sk ing qu e sti on s a nd ma kin g sta te me nts tha t a re mod a lize d ( e .g ., I s it po ssi ble . I thi nk ma y be . .) T his kin d o f t e nta tiv e la ng ua g e e na ble s te a ms t o g e ne ra te dialog ue that is open instead of closed. I t give s teac hers spa ce to c onsider wha t is being said ag ainst the context of their own experienc es. I t also allows teac hers to either ag ree or

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168 disag ree with what is being sug g ested without fea r of be ing pe rce ived as a rg umentative. Thus, when one or more me mbers eng ag e in dialog ue throug h asking questions and ma kin g mod a lize d s ta te me nts d ia log ue is m or e lik e ly to r e ma in o pe n. I t is imp or ta nt t o note, howeve r, that one me mber who ma kes multiple evaluative a ssertions of fa ct ca n c l o s e d o w n t h e d i a l o g u e e s p e c i a l l y i f t h a t m e m b e r h o l d s a p o s i t i o n o f a u t h o r i t y. This study confirms that strong fac ilitators help maintain the focus of dialog ue (Eng lert & Roz endal, 2004; Hollins et al., 2004). I n particula r, this study sug g ests that asking questions highly -re lated to problems is helpful. I n addition, when fa cilitators invite all members of inc lusion teams to participate, it improves the e ng ag ement of te am me mbe rs w hic h, in t ur n, a llo ws mor e ide a s a nd tho ug hts to b e a r o n p re ssi ng pr ob le ms. National School Refor m Fac ulty (2006) a dvocate the use of pr otocols to guide pr ob le mso lvi ng dis c us sio ns a bo ut s tud e nt w or k. Pr oto c ols pr ov ide str uc tur e s to fac ilitate effe ctive communica tion by providing speaking patterns ( e.g ., prese nting teac her spe aks first; pre senting teac her ta kes notes while c olleag ues discuss what wa s pr e se nte d) a nd tim e lim its I n th e a bs e nc e of a str on g fa c ili ta tor p ro toc ols ma y e na ble productive dia logue to occur I n addition to facilitators, tea cher s’ contributions to discussions shaped lear ning opportunities. L ittle (2003) found that tea cher problem desc riptions inherently put teac hers in a f avora ble light, a finding not confirmed in my study Rather, this study sug g ests that if teac hers e x presse d a g rea t deal of c erta inty by making strong fac t-based statements g rounded in one definition of the proble m, then teac hers positioned themselves as f igur es of a uthority This undermined the possibility of collabor ative dialog ue. On the othe r hand, w hen tea cher s were more tenta tive and open to the ide a that what they do in classrooms influenc es student problems, proble m constructions did not

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169 ne c e ssa ri ly po sit ion te a c he rs in a fa vo ra ble lig ht. Ra the r, te a c he rs we re po sit ion e d to collabora te with inclusion team members pr oductively Im plic at ion s As with any study this study had multiple limi tations. First, this study was conducte d at one ur ban ele mentary school in the southeaster n United States. This school was in its second y ear of including students with disabili ties in ge nera l educa tion c la ssr oo ms. Ne a rl y a ll i ns tr uc tio na l f a c ult y a nd le a de rs hip te a m me mbe rs pa rt ic ipa te d in inclusion meeting s. Not one per son who was invited to par ticipate dec lined participa tion. This sugg ests a hig h commitment on the part of the sc hool to actively participa te in the g ener ation of new knowledg e for prac tice. Second, muc h of this work is interpre tive; thu s, oth e rs loo kin g a t th e sa me tr a ns c ri pts mig ht c on str uc t di ff e re nt a nd e qu a lly va lid explanations of the data ( Glesne, 1999) Im plications f or P ract ice McF adzean ( 2002) has sug g ested that a s teams prog ress de velopmentally there a re c ha ng e s in te a ms’ a tte nti on to t a sk me e tin g pr oc e ss, te a m st ru c tur e te a m dy na mic s, and trust. This study sug g ests a number of pra ctical wa y s to improve the quality of pr ob le mso lvi ng dis c us sio ns a bo ut p re ssi ng pr ob le ms o f p ra c tic e tha t a lig n w ith thi s fra mework. Teach Teacher s How to Bring P roblem s of Prac tice Evidence from this study sug g ests that meeting s were not helpful when te ache rs we re se e kin g re inf or c e me nt f or or he lp i n im ple me nti ng pr e c on c e ive d s olu tio ns to problems, espe cially when pr oblems were thought to re side within the student or the student' s family On the other hand, mee tings we re more productive w hen tea cher s b r o u g h t f o r w a r d p r o b le ms o f p r a c ti c e T h is s u g g e s ts th a t w h e n te a c h e r s p r o b le ma ti ze

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170 the ir ow n p ra c tic e me e tin g s a re inh e re ntl y mor e pr od uc tiv e T wo too ls t ha t ma y a ssi st teac hers with this differ ent way of viewing problems ar e the use of inquiry projec ts and c oll e c tin g F B Alik e da ta sp e c if ic a lly to a dd re ss b e ha vio r c on c e rn s. Us ing on e of the se two fra meworks may enable teac hers to lea rn how to ef fec tively fra me problems of pr a c tic e a s d ile mma s th e y a re wo nd e ri ng a bo ut. P ur sue Cl as sr oo m -l e ve l Int e r ve nt ion s When teache rs bring conce rns to inclusion meeting s, they expect to leave meeting s with nex t steps that at least move proble ms forwa rd. Althoug h school-leve l and family -leve l rec ommendations are important, when these rec ommendations are made without concomitant classroom-le vel re commendations, the risk of c ontinued unproductive c lassroom interac tions is i ncre ased. Within the realm of hig h-stakes acc ountability students and teac hers c annot af ford to wa ste valuable instructional opportunities. Thus, when tea ms make re commendations for family and sc hool-level interventions, teams ne ed to provide a dditional sugg estions for wha t teache rs ca n do the next day in their classrooms to mitiga te oner ous problems of pra ctice. As k F oc use d Que st ion s R e lat e d t o t he P r obl e m Und e r Di sc uss ion This study sug g ests that to improve meeting proce sses so that teams move be y ond conce rn with mere ly “g etting the job done” ( McF adzean, 2002, p. 464) or as L ittle (2003) descr ibed it, the tension betwee n “fig uring things out” a nd “g etting the m done” ( p. 931), asking questions that are highly rela ted to the problem posed is e ssential. When team members a re f ocused on g etting thing s done, questions g o unasked. F or example, there was one meeting wher e seve ral proble ms were descr ibed and no pr oblem response s followed, in par t, beca use no one in the g roup aske d questions. Thus, focused que stions or ie nt t he g ro up tow a rd fi g ur ing thi ng s o ut.

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171 Express Su ggestions, Statem ents, and Qu estions Tentatively Rather than Assertively This study sug g ests that an important mec hanism for improving team dy namics was fr aming dialog ue in more te ntative way s. Specifica lly this study sug g ests that when team par ticipants used statements and que stions that were moda liz ed with such mar kers as “I think” or “ha ve y ou considere d” that the e nsuing dia logue was inher ently more productive. I n addition, tentative dialog ue ena bled team membe rs to be more open and re fl e c tiv e tha n d ia log ue tha t w a s a sse rt e d a nd e va lua tiv e D ia log ue tha t w a s f ill e d w ith fa c ts a nd e va lua tio ns te nd e d to pr od uc e te ns e u np ro du c tiv e dis c us sio ns T hu s, pr ob le msolving tea ms should consider at lea st becoming familiar with wa y s to produce mor e tentative talk (i.e ., modalized statements and questions). Co nsid e r Us ing P r obl e m -s olv ing P r ot oc ols Evidence from this study sug g ests that g rade -leve l inclusion meetings of fer a promising ve nue for the profe ssional development of te ache rs as they eng ag e in working collabora tively throug h problems of pra ctice. H oweve r, this promise comes with two cave ats. First, in orde r for meeting s to be truly collabora tive, natura lly authoritative pa rt ic ipa nts mus t be dis ru pte d f ro m th os e te nd e nc ie s le st t he y c omm a nd e e r m e e tin g s to their own purpose s. Second, in order to broker the best possible solutions for tea cher s and students, all meeting participa nts need to be a ctively eng ag ed in the proc ess. Too often, meeting s were reduc ed to a dialog ue betwe en the f acilitator a nd the pre senting teac her while others a t the meeting rema ined silent. Specially develope d problem-solving pr oto c ols ma y of fe r t he po ssi bil ity to r e me dy bo th o f t he se c on c e rn s. Na tio na l Sc ho ol R e fo rm F a c ult y (N SRF ) r e c omm e nd s th a t pr oto c ols be us e d to fac ilitate productive c onversa tions about student work (Smith & Tame z, 2006).

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172 Although not thoroug hly descr ibed in their ar ticle, Hollins and her c olleag ues (2004) used a pr oblem-solving pr otocol in their investiga tion aimed at improving rea ding instruction for tea cher -depe ndent students. Evidence from this study sug g ests that absent a strong fac ilitator, dialogue during inclusion meeting s beca me dec idedly less productive. NSRF sug g est that protocols off er the advanta g e of le arning by doing. T hat is, they pr ov ide no vic e s w ith str uc tur e tha t in c re a se s th e lik e lih oo d th a t pr od uc tiv e dia log ue wi ll e ns ue T hu s, a pr oto c ol d e ve lop e d e xplic itl y fo r u se du ri ng inc lus ion me e tin g s to dis c us s pr ob le ms o f p ra c tic e ma y ma ke mor e me e tin g s p ro du c tiv e fo r t e a c he rs Im plications f or Re searc h This study mere ly scra tched the sur fac e in investig ating the influenc e of dia logue on problem-solving team mee tings. The re a re likely other fa ctors than those ide ntified h e r e t h a t m i g h t h e l p m a k e m e e t i n g s o p e n s a f e p l a c e s w h e r e t e a c h e r s c a n l e a r n n e w w a ys to m a na g e the ir mos t pr e ssi ng pr ob le ms o f p ra c tic e U sin g dis c ou rs e a na ly sis wa s a productive w ay to better unde rstand how dialog ue simultaneously opens and c loses lear ning possibilities for tea cher s. Thus, additional studies in other locations would add to w ha t is kn ow n a bo ut h ow to m a ke the dia log ue of me e tin g s p ro du c tiv e fo r t e a c he rs I n addition, it would be useful to understand the utilit y of problemsolving pr oto c ols us e d d ur ing g ra de -l e ve l in c lus ion me e tin g s. Ev ide nc e fr om t his stu dy su g g e sts that the authoritative positioning c an under mine productive dia logue Thus, investiga ting the use of pr otocols to enable pa rity among participa nts by promoting the active eng ag ement of a ll inclusion t eam mee ting pa rticipants would be he lpful. T h i s s t u d y i n v es t i gat ed s t ru ct u re s i n o n e p ar t i cu l ar k i n d o f s ch o o l m ee t i n g – inclusion meeting s. Thus, it would be helpful to understand pa tterns of discour se that inf lue nc e oth e r k ind s o f m e e tin g s, su c h a s g ra de -l e ve l me e tin g s. I t w ou ld b e he lpf ul t o

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173 conduct a study to see whe ther or not the kinds of pr actice s sugg ested during inclusion me e tin g s h a pp e n in pr a c tic e T hu s, stu die s w he re te a c he rs a re ob se rv e d in c la ssr oo ms a ft e r i nc lus ion me e tin g s w ou ld d e mon str a te a mor e dir e c t li nk fr om i nc lus ion me e tin g s to prac tice. Finally much evidenc e fr om this st udy points to t he influenc e that the e ntering assumptions of meeting participa nts have on the dia logue of mee tings. This see ms an espec ially important, if messy problem to addre ss. Howeve r, addr essing how dialog ue and ente ring assumptions int erse ct would provide va luable under standing s about the inhere nt limi tations of using te ams expli citly for the pur pose of de veloping teac hers a s pr of e ssi on a ls.

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179 Strahan, D., Car lone, H., Hor n, S., Dallas, F., & Ware, A. ( 2003). B eating the odds at Arc her Ele mentary School: Developing a shar ed stanc e towar d lear ning. Journal of Curri culum and Superv ision, 18 (3), 204221. Strauss, A., & Corbin, J (1998). Basics of qualitat ive re search: Techniques and procedure s for developing grounded the ory. Thousand Oa ks, CA: Sage Supovitz J A. (2002). D eveloping communities of instructional prac tice. Te ac he rs College Rec ord, 104 (8), 15911626. Sutherland, L M., Scanlon, L A., & Sperring A. (2005). N ew dire ctions in prepar ing profe ssionals: Ex amining issues in e ng ag ing stude nts in communit ies of pra ctice throug h a school-unive rsity partne rship. Teaching and Teache r Education, 21 (1), 79-92. Truscott, S. D., Cohen, C. E., Sams, D. P., S anborn, K J ., & F rank, A J (2005). The curr ent state(s) of pre ref err al interve ntion teams. Reme dial and Special Education, 26 (3), 130140. U.S. Depar tment of Educa tion (2001). Public L aw 107110, the No Child L eft B ehind Act of 2001. Retr ieved Ma y 19, 2004, from htt p:/ /w ww .e d. g ov /po lic y /e lse c /le g /e se a 02 /in de x.htm l U. S. Depar tment of Educa tion. (2003). No Child L eft B ehind: Title I : I mproving the Aca demic Ac hievement of the Disadva ntag ed: Fina l Rule. Retrieved May 19, 20 04 f ro m http:// www.e d.g ov/leg islation/FedReg ister/finrule/20034/1 20 90 3a .h tml Vaug hn, S., Schumm, J S., J allad, B ., Slusher, J ., & Saume ll, L (1996). Te ache rs' views of inclusion. Learning Disabili ties Researc h and Practice, 11 96-106. Vesc io, V., Ross, D., & Ada ms, A. (2006). A revie w of research on professional le ar nin g c om mu nit ie s: W ha t do we k no w? Paper pr esente d at the Na tional School Reform F aculty Resear ch F orum. Retrieve d J une 1, 2006, fr om http:// www.nsrf harmony .org /resea rch.ve scio_ross_ada ms.pdf Welch, M., Br ownell, K., & Sheridan, S. M. (1999). What' s the score and g ame plan on teaming in schools? A re view of the literature on team tea ching and school-ba sed problem-solving teams. Reme dial and Special Education, 20 (1), 3649. Wil liamson, P., Bondy E., L ang ley L ., & Ma y ne, D. ( 2005). Mee ting the c halleng e of highstakes testing while re maining c hild-cente red: The repr esenta tions of two urban te ache rs. Childhood Education, 81 (4), 190195. Willi a mso n, P., Mc L e sk e y J., Ho pp e y D ., & Re ntz, T. F ( 20 06 ). Ed uc a tin g stu de nts with mental reta rdation in g ener al educ ation classrooms: An ana ly sis of national and state tre nds. Exc eptional Chil dren, 72 (3), 347361.

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180 Wil son, S. M., & B erne J (1999). Te ache r lea rning and the a cquisition of professional knowledg e: An examination of rese arc h on contempora ry profe ssional development. Rev iew of Educational Research, 24 173-209. Ysseldy ke, J., Nelson, J R., & Christenson, S. (2004). What we know and nee d to know a bo ut t he c on se qu e nc e s o f h ig hsta ke s te sti ng fo r s tud e nts wi th d isa bil iti e s. Exc eptional Chil dren, 71 75-95.

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181 B I OG RA PHI CA L SKE TCH Pamela Willi amson was bor n and ra ised in Milford, Michig an. Upon g radua ting fr om h ig h s c ho ol, sh e re loc a te d to Ga ine sv ill e F lor ida A ft e r s pe nd ing 13 y e a rs in human re source s manag ement while a ttending c olleg e on a pa rt-time basis, she lef t her position t o finish her ba chelor ’s deg ree and master s deg ree in elementar y educa tion at the Un ive rs ity of F lor ida A ft e r w or kin g a s a n e le me nta ry sc ho ol t e a c he r f or 3 y e a rs in two differ ent schools, Pam returne d to the University to pursue her doctora te in specia l e du c a tio n. She se le c te d s pe c ia l e du c a tio n b e c a us e of he r e xpe ri e nc e s te a c hin g stu de nts with disabilit ies along side specia l educa tion teache rs, as the g ener al educ ation teac her of re c or d. Pa m no w w or ks a s a n A ssi sta nt P ro fe sso r o f S pe c ia l E du c a tio n a t th e Un ive rs ity of Cin c inn a ti.


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GRADE-LEVEL INCLUSION TEAM MEETINGS:
HOW DIALOGUE SHAPES TEACHER PROBLEM AND RESPONSE
CONSTRUCTIONS














By

PAMELA WILLIAMSON


A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2006















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I would first like to acknowledge the faculty and leadership of Hopewell

Elementary. Without their contributions, this work would not have been possible. I

would like to thank and acknowledge my committee members for their support and

encouragement. Dr. James McLeskey, my chair, has both encouraged and redirected my

spirited opinions about what is just and fair for children within our educational system.

Dr. Dorene Ross, my cochair, showed me during my undergraduate work what good

teaching looks like. Her just-right-for-me questions over the years have enabled me to

think more deeply about teaching and my research. To Dr. Elizabeth Bondy, I am deeply

grateful for her invitation to join her in her work at Hopewell Elementary. Whether she

was taking fifth-grade girls to be fitted for their graduation dresses or tutoring a small

group of students in math, her tireless energy and care were inspiring. I also want to

thank Dr. Mary Brownell for the opportunities she gave me while working at the Center

on Personnel Studies in Special Education. From those experiences I learned much.

To my husband, Joe, and my daughters, Caitlin and Jennifer, words can never

really express what their support has meant to me. They all made my dream their dream,

and for that and many other things, I will be forever grateful.

To my friend, Anna Langford, I am deeply grateful. She came out of retirement

after only a few days to carefully review all my transcripts for accuracy. To my dear

friends and colleagues-Dr. Tarcha Rentz, Dr. Karen Kuhel, Dr. Mirka Koro-Ljungberg,

Dr. Regina Bussing, Bonnie Sears, and Lisa Langley-they have inspired me and









encouraged me throughout this journey. Finally, I dedicate this work to two women who

are not here to celebrate with me, my grandmother, Mae Rogers, and my friend Linda

Wilson, the two wisest women I have ever known and loved.















TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ............................................. ii

LIST OF TABLES ............ .............................. vi

ABSTRACT ......... ............................... .. .......... vii

CHAPTER

1 INTRODUCTION ........................ ......... ... .......... 1

Background of the Problem .......................................... 5
Purpose of the Study ............. .................................. 6
Significance of the Study ............................... ............ 6
Definitions of Key Terms ........... .. ................... 7

2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ......................... .......... 9

Educational Teams ................................. ........... 12
Communities of Practice ............................................ 37
Importance of the Study ............................................ 45

3 THEORETICAL ORIENTATION AND METHODOLOGY ................ 48

Theoretical Orientation ............... ............................. 49
Influence of the Theoretical Perspective on the Study ................... .. 51
Methodology ........... .........................................51
Study Design ........... ......................................... 56
Overview of the Dissertation ................ ...................... 71

4 PROBLEM AND RESPONSE CONSTRUCTIONS GENERATED IN
GRADE-LEVEL INCLUSION MEETINGS ............................. 72

Introduction ...................................... .................72
General Description of Inclusion Meetings ............................. 73
Student Problems Discussed/Addressed ............... .......... ... 76
Responses/Suggestions to Address Problems ............... ............ .85
Summary of Findings about Problems and Responses to Problems ............ 95









5 DISCOURSE ANALYSIS FINDINGS ............................... 97

Teacher Perceptions of the Value of Inclusion Meetings .................... 97
Discourse Analysis .................. .............................. 104
Summary of Unproductive and Productive Dialogic Strategies .............. 141

6 DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS .............................. 144

Problems Addressed/Described at Inclusion Meetings ..................... 148
Responses to Problems Described/Addressed at Inclusion Meetings .......... 151
Extending Existing Literature ................. ................. ... 162
Implications ....................................................169
Implications for Practice ............... ......................... 169
Implications for Research ............... ........................ 172

REFERENCES .............. ............................. 174

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ............................................ 181















LIST OF TABLES

Table page

3-1 Faculty's years of experience ................. ..................... 63

3-2 Summary of students' disability classification by grade level ................ 63

5-1 Exchange types, speech functions, and types of modality .................. 108

5-2 Semantic relations between sentences and clauses ..................... .. 109

5-3 Second grade inclusion team meeting .............................. 111

5-4 Resource inclusion team meeting ................. ................ 114

5-5 Success for all inclusion team meeting excerpt .......................... 119

5-6 Third grade inclusion team meeting ................. .............. 123

5-7 First grade inclusion team meeting ................ ................. 128

5-8 Kindergarten inclusion team meeting .............................. 132

5-9 Fourth-grade inclusion meeting .................................... 134

5-10 Fifth-grade inclusion team meeting ................. .............. 138















Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy

GRADE-LEVEL INCLUSION MEETINGS:
HOW DIALOGUE SHAPES TEACHER PROBLEM AND RESPONSE
CONSTRUCTIONS

By

Pamela Williamson

August 2006

Chair: James McLeskey
Cochair: Dorene Ross
Major Department: Special Education

The purpose of this study was to better understand what kinds of problems of

practice are presented at grade-level inclusion meetings, and how interactions during

these meetings influenced problem and response constructions. Teams were comprised of

general education teachers, special education teachers, leadership team members, and

other professional educators. Data included verbatim transcripts from eight inclusion

meetings and 21 follow-up teacher interviews. Two data analysis methods were used

including inductive analysis and discourse analysis. Research questions guiding this

study included the following: What kinds of problems are described at inclusion

meetings? What kinds of responses are developed by the group in response to problems

presented? What value do these meetings have for teachers? How does dialogue

constructed during inclusion meetings shape problem construction and group responses?









Two domains of student problems emerged: problems with academics and

problems with behavior. Teachers described two types of students with academic

problems: students who worked hard but were failing to progress and students who

exhibited inconsistent effort. Teachers described four kinds of challenging student

behaviors including attendance problems, behavior problems with academic problems,

persistent annoying small behaviors, and aggressive behaviors. Responses to these

problems from teams included responses at the family-level, classroom-level, and school-

level.

Discourse analysis revealed two kinds of problem constructions: parallel problem

constructions in which inclusion meeting participants discussing the same student

constructed different problems, and coconstructed problems in which meeting

participants, through modalized exchanges, constructed the same problem.

Responses to problems were constructed in a variety of ways. Unproductive

responses were unfocused, tense, or generated ways to address problems that were

inconsistent with the problem itself, whereas productive responses were focused,

supportive, and matched the problem presented by the teacher with a concomitant

solution. Discourse features of unproductive dialogues included high numbers of

assertive and evaluative statements that were not modalized, whereas much of the

productive talk during inclusion meetings was highly modalized and tentative. In

addition, unproductive talk contained premature terminations of problem and solution

constructions, whereas productive talk brought problems and solutions to logical ends.

Implications for practice and future research are discussed.















CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

The move toward including students with disabilities in general education

classrooms has been one of the more significant school reforms in recent history.

Empirical evidence from studies examining state-reported data from the Annual Report to

Congress on the Implementation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act

suggests that more students with high incidence disabilities were placed in general

education classrooms during the last decade than in previous years (Danielson &

Bellamy, 1989; Katsiyannis, Zhang, & Archwamety, 2002; McLeskey, Hoppey,

Williamson, & Rentz, 2004; Williamson, McLeskey, Hoppey, & Rentz, 2006). Mandates

in the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) (2002), which require schools to ensure

the adequate yearly progress (AYP) of students as measured by state accountability

programs, will likely serve to continue trends toward inclusive placements in regular

education classrooms into the foreseeable future (Ysseldyke, Nelson, & Christenson,

2004). This leaves general education teachers with the challenge of learning how to meet

the academic and social needs of an increasingly diverse group of students.

Evidence suggests that teachers find it challenging to work with students with

disabilities in general education classrooms, as they often feel they lack specific

knowledge to do so effectively (Bondy & Williamson, 2006; Brownell, Yeager, Sindelar,

vanHover, & Riley, 2004; Chalfant, Pysh, & Moultrie, 1979; Vaughn, Schumm, Jallad,

Slusher, & Saumell, 1996). Professional development is certainly an important vehicle to







2

remedy this perceived gap in teacher knowledge (McLeskey & Waldron, 2002);

however, scholars have argued that teachers need more than short-term professional

development to meet the day-to-day challenges of diverse classrooms. For example,

Little (2003) argued that "conditions for teaching and learning are strengthened when

teachers collectively question ineffective teaching routines, examine new conceptions of

teaching and learning, find generative means to acknowledge and respond to difference

and conflict, and engage actively in supporting one another's professional growth"

(p. 913). Similarly, Supovitz (2002) asserted that interactions among small groups of

teachers (e.g., teams) "will not only maximize their collective knowledge and skills but

facilitate their curricular and pedagogical strategies and the influences of these efforts on

student learning" (p. 1592). Thus, teams may create ongoing opportunities conducive to

teacher learning and problem solving (Chalfant & Pysh, 1989; Darling Hammond &

Sykes, 1999; Little, 2003; Pugach & Johnson, 1989; Supovitz, 2002).

Teams have long been used to address problems in education such as reducing the

numbers of students referred for special education services (Fuchs, Fuchs, & Bahr, 1990;

Safran & Safran, 1996; Sindelar, Griffin, & Smith, 1992) and addressing the unique

needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students (Harris, 1995; Hoover & Collier,

1991). Further, teams have also been used to support teacher learning, for both preservice

or early career teachers (Brownell et al., 2004; Sutherland, Scanlon, & Sperring, 2005)

and in-service teachers (Englert & Rozendal, 2004; Little, 2003; Supovitz, 2002).

Evidence suggests that teachers have strongly endorsed the use of teams to assist with in-

classroom problems (Bahr, Whitten, Dieker, Kocarek, & Manson, 1999; Kruger, 1997;

Kruger, Struzziero, & Watts, 1995; Safran & Safran, 1996; Sindelar et al., 1992). In

addition to strongly endorsing the use of teams, a study of 161 teacher assistance teams









revealed that teacher satisfaction with collaborative problem solving was related to

teachers' perceived notion that they were helping themselves or their colleagues (Kruger

et al., 1995). This suggests that teachers appreciate the opportunity to help each other.

Some research evidence suggests that the support teachers receive through teams

may be instrumental to establishing contexts that engender teacher learning (Brownell et

al., 2004; Friend & Cook, 2003; Kruger, 1997; Kruger et al., 1995; Safran & Safran,

1996). Brownell and her colleagues (2004) found that teacher participants in teacher

learning cohorts benefited from both psychological and instructional support as they were

learning how to teach students with disabilities. Other studies have suggested that social

support is important (Kruger, 1997; Kruger et al., 1995). Social support can be defined as

"the extent to which organizational conditions help facilitate the implementation and

outcomes of an innovation" (Kruger et al., 1995, p. 204). Using surveys, Kruger (1997)

examined the relationships between the types of social support teachers experienced

when asking for help with challenging classroom dilemmas through teacher assistance

teams (Kruger, 1997). Evidence suggested that teachers felt the most efficacious with

respect to overall problem solving and planning in-class interventions when they

perceived the teams' appreciation for the worth of their efforts. This suggests that each

team member must feel valued by his or her colleagues. Thus, while these studies

identify important contextual information (i.e., the kinds of supports needed to facilitate

teacher learning), they offer little description of the kinds of learning opportunities

interactions among teachers afford.

Perhaps, most importantly, evidence suggests that when teachers participate in

teams that focus their efforts on student learning, changes in practice and improvement in

student achievement do occur (Vescio, Ross, & Adams, 2006). However, evidence









suggests that when the focus of teams is not on student learning, student achievement is

unaffected (Supovitz, 2002). Thus, it is important to examine factors that enable that kind

of focus.

Teachers have suggested that teams offer them chances to learn about teaching

(Snow-Gerono, 2005). However, current research sheds little light on what teachers learn

and the kinds of interactions that facilitate teacher learning. Little (2003) set out to

examine the contents of the "black box" (p. 915) of teacher interactions during team

meetings of high school teachers. Using discourse analysis, Little described how teachers

represented their classroom practice in out-of-classroom talk. She justified looking at

teacher-to-teacher interactions as a means for better understanding teacher learning,

noting that if these contexts create teacher learning, "it ought to be evident in the ongoing

encounters that teachers have with one another" (Little, p. 914).

Findings revealed that learning opportunities during meetings were influenced by

(a) the kinds of situations teachers brought to meetings, (b) the language teachers used

to talk about their work, and (c) group dynamics. Specifically, teachers used what

Little (2003) termed teacher shorthand to describe problems. Thus, language was highly

contextualized, loaded with meanings that only group members could fully apprehend. In

addition, hidden group dynamics allowed some problems to be fully explored, as others

were pushed aside. This led Little to conclude that "the force of tradition and the lure of

innovation seem simultaneously and complexly at play in the teachers' everyday talk"

(pp. 939-940).









Background of the Problem

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (2002) mandates that the performance of

all students with disabilities be assessed against general education standards and that all

Title 1 schools meet AYP for all subgroups of students, including students with

disabilities (U.S. Department of Education [USDE], 2001, 2003). This dissertation study

will be conducted at Hopewell Elementary School (a pseudonym), an urban school

located in a medium-sized school district in the southeastern United States. Students at

the school are largely African American (98%), with most students qualifying for free or

reduced lunch. Although Hopewell Elementary fared very well the last 2 years in meeting

state accountability standards, the school failed to meet national accountability standards

of AYP for students with disabilities as defined in NCLB. This failure likely spurred the

principal's decision to abandon all self-contained classrooms for students with

disabilities in favor of including all students with disabilities in general education

classrooms. Thus, professional development around the topic of inclusion became a

necessity.

Professional development efforts during the 2004-2005 school year included a

year-long, rigorous professional development program tailored to meet the needs of

Hopewell Elementary through the collaboration of school faculty and a nearby university.

Existing school structures were also changed. For example, faculty meetings were

changed to best-practices meetings where teachers presented new ideas to colleagues

regarding what was working in their classrooms. In addition, the school began holding

grade-level inclusion meetings to discuss problems with individual students. A study at

the end of the school year regarding teacher perceptions of school efforts aimed at

including students with disabilities in general education classrooms revealed that teachers







6

wanted more opportunities to discuss problems of practice they were experiencing related

to inclusion. Thus, during the 2005-2006 school year, the year of this study, the school

continued team inclusion meetings to provide an opportunity for teachers to discuss

problems of practice with colleagues, members of the school's leadership team, and other

professional educators.

Purpose of the Study

The purpose of this study is to better understand what kinds of problems of

practice are presented at grade-level inclusion meetings, and how interactions during

these meetings influence teachers' problem and response constructions. This study

answers Little's (2003) call to extend her work with high school teams to other teaching

contexts (i.e., an urban, inclusive elementary school). Specifically, this study seeks to

address the following research questions:

* What kinds of problems are described at inclusion meetings?

* What kinds of responses are developed by the group in response to problems
presented?

* What value do these meetings have for teachers?

* How does dialogue constructed during inclusion meetings shape problem
construction and group responses?

Significance of the Study

There is a great need for professional development that enables teachers to learn

how to effectively work with students who struggle in classrooms. Many schools,

especially those serving the urban poor, are under increasing pressures to ensure students

with disabilities make AYP. Thus, research that illuminates how this is best achieved is

needed. Many scholars have suggested that professional development that is embedded in

the daily routines of teachers holds the most promise (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1999;









McLeskey & Waldron, 2002). Although the literature suggests that teams may be well

equipped for this kind of professional development, little is known about how the

dialogue of these meetings achieves these ends (Little, 2003).

Specifically, we know that when teams focus on student learning, student

achievement improves. However, less is know about how dialogue during meetings

enables clear descriptions of problems of practice so that teams can generate meaningful

interventions for teachers and students. Thus, research that illuminates strategies to

improve the productive nature of dialogue during team meetings is needed.

In the chapters that follow, I describe the available literature on teams and

communities of practice that are relevant to this study, describe the methods used to

study inclusion team meeting dialogue, discuss the kinds of problems of practice and

responses these meeting create, discuss the ways in which dialogue shapes both these

constructions of problems and responses, and discuss the implications of this research for

the professional development of teachers.

Definitions of Key Terms

Inclusion Team Meetings

Inclusion team meetings are conceptualized as problem-solving meetings in which

grade-level teachers, along with special education teachers, leadership team members,

and other professional educators collaborate to recommend next steps for teachers to try

with students who are experiencing problems in classrooms.

Leadership Team Members

Leadership team members include the principal, behavior resource teacher,

curriculum resource teacher, the fine arts facilitator, the guidance counselor, and the

reading coach.







8

Other Professional Educators

Other professional educators include the school psychologist, the professor in

residence from a local university, and occasional staff members from the school district.















CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE

Historically, school-based teams have been used as an alternative to traditional

professional development (Chalfant et al., 1979; Sindelar et al., 1992). Specifically, the

purpose of teams was to discuss students whom teachers found difficult to teach and

provide assistance to teachers. The special education literature suggests that teams

evolved according to two very different philosophies (Sindelar et al.). One kind of team

was modeled after the mental health conception of consultation (Sindelar et al.). This

approach was based on a conception of teacher learning as knowledge-for-practice

(Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1999; Fuchs, Fuchs, & Bahr, 1990; McLeskey & Waldron,

2004), where teachers were taught to use expert-developed interventions for students they

were having difficulty teaching. The other branch of teams developed as a knowledge-in

practice conception (Chalfant et al., 1979; Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1999; McLeskey &

Waldron, 2004). Teams of teachers were deemed qualified to solve the majority of their

pressing concerns through collaboration with their peers. When needed, teams would

solicit help from experts.

Some scholars have continued to argue that professional development for teachers

must be situated in practice (Buysse, Sparkman, & Wesley, 2003; Darling-Hammond &

McLaughlin, 1995; McLeskey & Waldron, 2002; Wilson & Beme, 1999). Fullan (2001)

suggested that teachers must be prepared "on the job for context-based solutions, which

by definition require local problem solving" (p. 269). Further, Darling-Hammond and

McLaughlin (1995) argued that "professional development today also means providing

9







10

occasions for teachers to reflect critically on their practice and to fashion new knowledge

and beliefs about content, pedagogy, and learners" (p. 597). This view suggests that

professional development for teachers should reflect a knowledge-in-practice orientation

of teacher learning (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1999; McLeskey & Waldron, 2004).

The knowledge-in-practice view of teacher learning values the practical

knowledge of teachers (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1999). It suggests that "teachers learn

and become better teachers through experience, reflection on their practice, participation

in collaborative teacher groups, inquiry into their experiences in the classroom, the study

and discussion of cases, and the like" (McLeskey & Waldron, 2004, p.8). Other

professional educators are viewed as colleagues who work with teachers to improve

practice and ultimately student learning. Scholars have suggested that communities of

practice provide the context for such teacher learning (Buysse et al., 2003; DuFour, 2004;

Englert & Rozendal, 2004; Franey, 2002; Hollins, McIntyre, DeBose, Hollins, &

Towner, 2004; Hunt, 2000; Louis & Marks, 1998; Morris, Chrispeels, & Burke, 2003;

Snow-Gerono, 2005; Strahan, Carlone, Horn, Dallas, & Ware, 2003; Supovitz, 2002;

Vescio et al., 2006)

Many facets of teams have been well researched in the literature including team

effectiveness (Fleming & Monda-Amaya, 2001), the efficacy of prereferral intervention

teams (Safran & Safran, 1996; Sindelar et al., 1992; Welch, Brownell, & Sheridan,

1999), the efficacy of consultation teams (Fuchs, Fuchs, & Bahr, 1990; Fuchs, Fuchs, &

Gilman, 1990), team membership (Bums, 1999; Giangreco, Edelman, & Nelson, 1999),

and fidelity of team implementation (Kovaleski, Gickling, & Morrow, 1999). However,

only two studies (Knotek, 2003; Little, 2003) investigated the influence of collaborative

dialogue during problem-solving meetings.







11

Little's study looked at the efforts of high school teachers who worked together to

discuss pedagogical problems within their classrooms, such as how to improve feedback

given to high school English students. Knotek (2003) studied the dialogue of two

problem-solving teams located in southern, rural schools to look for bias inherent in the

talk of teachers. Thus, no studies have looked at how dialogue during problem-solving

meetings shapes possible learning opportunities of teachers.

The purpose of this study is to better understand what kinds of problems of

practice are presented at grade-level inclusion meetings, and how interactions during

these meetings influence teachers' problem and response constructions. Teacher learning

through teams is bounded in at least three ways. First, the kinds of problems presented at

team meetings influence what is discussed. If particular problems are never discussed

during team meetings, then teachers will not be able to learn about those things. In

addition, the kinds of responses to problems generated by the team members will be

limited by what team members know and share. Finally, the dialogue of the meetings

themselves influences how learning is shaped for participants. Certain ideas may be met

with resistance while others are not.

With this in mind, the purpose of this chapter is to review relevant literature on

teacher learning in school-based teams. In the first section, literature on teams will be

reviewed. This includes team development and types of teams. Next, empirical studies on

teams will be reviewed to address the following questions:

* What kinds of problems of practice did teachers address during team meetings?

* What kinds of responses did teams generate to help teachers with these problems?

* What value did meetings have for teachers?

* What do studies on teams reveal about the nature of dialogue within teams?









In the second section of this chapter, I will discuss literature related to

communities of practice. After describing the characteristics of communities of practice,

I will describe the empirical studies related to the nature of dialogue in communities of

practice. Specifically, I will address the influence of dialogue in communities of practice.

I conclude this chapter by situating my study in the context of the reviewed literature.

Educational Teams

The concept of "team" has been described in numerous ways throughout the

literature. Abelson and Woodman (1983) suggested that a team was "two or more

individuals who work and communicate in a coordinated manner in order to reach an

agreed upon goalss" (p. 126). Friend and Cook (2003) offered a definition of an

educational team as "a set of interdependent individuals with unique skills and

perspectives who interact directly to achieve their mutual goal of providing students with

effective educational programs and services" (p. 124). Thus, common attributes of these

two definitions include the presence of two or more people who, through communication

with one another, work toward achieving a particular goal.

Team Development

Teams progress through developmental stages as they work together on problems

of practice (Friend & Cook, 1997, 2003). Scholars have suggested different variations on

how teams progress developmentally. Friend and Cook (1997, 2003) suggested that

teams progress through five developmental stages: forming, storming, norming,

performing, and adjourning. This suggests that the work of teams eventually ends (i.e.,

adjourning). McFadzean (2002) developed a model that better represents the ongoing

nature of teams.









McFadzean's (2002) model suggested a five-level hierarchy, which included

descriptions of changes in team attention to the task, meeting process, team structure,

team dynamics, and team trust as teams progressed through the hierarchy. Level 1 teams

are "concerned with getting the job done" (p. 464). These teams lack congruence of

goals, which can result in teams being pulled in different directions based upon the goals

of individual team members. Level 2 teams were concerned with the tasks and meeting

processes. They utilize efficient process tools such as agendas or timelines; however,

McFadzean (2002) averred that strict adherence to task and process goals may create a

"trade off between time and depth of analysis/discussion" (p. 465). Thus, level 2 teams

may reach superficial conclusions or decisions.

Level 3 teams attend to task, process, and group characteristics. Specifically, they

understand the need to have individuals present to provide appropriate skills, knowledge,

expertise, and experience to accomplish requisite tasks. Level 4 teams attend to these and

also group dynamics. Some evidence suggests that "group members tend to be more

satisfied with their output if there is equality in participation if every member of the

team is allowed to participate in the process" (McFadzean, 2002, p. 465). Thus, level 4

teams tend to ensure that all members participate, even if this results in conflict.

McFadzean notes that conflict can be productive, if "it is undertaken in a positive and

constructive manner" (p. 465). Level 4 teams tend to generate continuous improvements

in terms of process. As problems arise, solutions are negotiated.

The difference between level 4 teams and level 5 teams is trust. Trust enables

team members to express their ideas or opinions without fear of ridicule (McFadzean,

2002). Trust may enhance the possibility that novel approaches might be embraced and

tried. Further, McFadzean envisioned level 5 teams as committed to their own









professional growth and that of their colleagues, an idea suggested by many scholars

(Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1999; Pugach & Johnson, 1995). Thus, level 5 teams may be

more adept at generating new strategies and solving complex problems (McFadzean,

2002).

McFadzean's (2002) model of problem solving teams suggests creativity can "be

expressed as a continuum" (p. 471), ranging from ideas that preserve existing paradigms,

stretch existing paradigms, or break paradigms. When paradigms are preserved, the

boundaries of the problem do not change. Thus, problems may be examined in deeper

ways but not different ways. When paradigms are stretched, the boundaries of the

problem-solving space are widened thus creating opportunities for more varied problem

solving strategies. Finally, when paradigms are broken, there are no boundaries for

solving the problem.

Types of Teams

Friend and Cook (2003) described three types of teams found in schools related to

student performance, including (a) special education teams, (b) service delivery teams,

and (c) problem-solving teams. The use of special education teams is mandated in the

Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (Friend & Cook, 2003). Student

study teams exist for the purposes of determining whether special education placement is

warranted for referred students and managing that placement if it is. These teams

typically include the input of parents and students. Thus, literature related to these kinds

of teams will be excluded from this review.

Service delivery teams "exist to plan and deliver education and related services to

students" (Friend & Cook, 2003, p. 136). Examples of service delivery teams include

coteaching teams, content teaching teams, and grade-level teams. Grade-level teams, as









Friend and Cook (2003) noted, have "not received wide attention in the professional

literature" (p. 136), even though these groups focus on many important aspects of

teaching such as planning curriculum, budgets, and scheduling. In practice, these

meetings often serve as a conduit for disseminating information, which may account for

the paucity of literature related to the study of grade-level teams. Scholars have

suggested that grade-level teams may have the capacity to study problems of practice,

particularly when multiple team members share the same students (Friend & Cook, 2003;

Morris et al., 2003). Unlike grade-level teams, problem-solving teams are widely cited in

the professional literature.

Problem solving teams. Sindelar and his colleagues (1992) noted that two

different team problem-solving models emerged for "difficult-to-teach students in regular

classrooms" (p. 246): consultation models that routinely include specialists (e.g., school

psychologists, special education teachers, speech-language pathologists) as part of the

team, and teacher assistance models that emphasize teachers' ownership of problems

inviting specialists to join general education teachers only as needed (Chalfant et al.,

1979; Safran & Safran, 1996; Sindelar et al., 1992). In addition to differences in team

membership, these two types of problem-solving teams differ greatly in underlying

assumptions.

Consultation models are referred to in the literature by many names including

prereferral teams, intervention assistance teams, functional behavior assessment teams,

and mainstream assistance teams. Initially, the primary purpose behind these teams was

to reduce the numbers of inappropriate referrals for special education services (Friend &

Cook, 2003; Safran & Safran, 1996); however, the role of these teams was later expanded

to include educational service delivery (Friend & Cook, 2003). Most consultation models









were created with the assumption that all resources available to schools should be

brought to bear on solving student problems in classrooms (Friend & Cook, 2003).

Perhaps most importantly, an underlying assumption of these models is that factors

within students cause problems in general education classrooms, and that teachers need

the assistance of experts to show them how to mediate those problems. Thus, problem-

solving efforts may be aimed at fixing the child more than fixing the environment for the

child.

Teacher assistance team models. Teacher assistance teams were conceived of as

an alternative to traditional professional development (Chalfant & Pysh, 1989; Chalfant

et al., 1979; Sindelar et al., 1992). The goal of teacher assistance teams was to provide

classroom teachers with help solving problems of practice to better meet the needs of

students who were struggling. Teams were designed to be a forum "where classroom

teachers can meet and engage in a positive, productive, collaborative problem-solving

process to help students" by helping their teachers (Chalfant & Pysh, 1989, p. 50). Teams

emphasized teacher initiative, accountability, communication, and effective decision

making through collaborative group problem solving (Sindelar et al., 1992).

Although both of these models differ significantly in their approaches to solving

problems of practice, their general aims were the same. That is, teachers brought forward

their most pressing problems with particular students, and teams made recommendations

to mediate those problems. What follows is a review of the empirical evidence from both

kinds of teams regarding the kinds of problems teachers brought to team meetings and

the kinds of responses and interventions that resulted. In addition, available evidence of

the value of these meetings for teachers is reviewed. Finally, empirical evidence related

to dialogue in team meetings is explored.









What Empirical Studies Tell Us about Teams

Using multiple databases (i.e., Academic Search Premier, PsycInfo, First Search,

WilsonWeb) and search terms (i.e., teacher assistance teams, prereferral assistance teams,

mainstream assistance teams, intervention assistance teams, problem solving teams) 87

articles, books, and dissertations were located. Model descriptions, thought pieces, and

other work deemed not to be empirical were excluded, as were articles published earlier

than 1985. Further, studies were included in this review only if they reported information

about the kinds of problems teachers presented, the kinds of responses or interventions

recommended by teams, or if they reported on the value of team meetings to teachers. In

addition, articles were included if they described the influence of dialogue during team

meetings.

The exception to this was a compilation of program effectiveness information on

teacher assistance teams. Although data included in this study were not collected as part

of a controlled research design study (Chalfant & Pysh, 1989), Sindelar and his

colleagues (1992) determined that the scope of this work was sufficient to warrant

inclusion in their literature review. Further, this paper reported details related to the focus

of this literature review. Thus, this study is included in this review.

Summaries of the remaining 13 studies are presented in Table 2-1. Six of the 13

studies are based upon surveys or questionnaires, 4 are mixed methods studies, and 3 use

qualitative methodologies. In addition, all studies but one (i.e., Chalfant & Psych, 1989)

were investigations of the consultative problem-solving team model. What follows are

descriptions of relevant studies. This section concludes with a summary of what these

studies suggest about the use of teams for solving problems in schools.












Table 2-1. Summary of team literature
Author(s) Purpose Method Participants Results related to literature review questions


Bahr et al.
(1999)


Chalfant &
Pysh (1989)


Examine the
impact of varying
state mandates.


To compile
evidence on the
implementation of
teacher assistance
teams.


Survey


680 professionals from
121 intervention teams


Respondents strongly endorsed teams as an effective
service delivery model.


Team follow-up was considered adequate.


Survey


96 first year teacher
assistance teams in five
states


Number of goals per student ranged from 2 to 4.9.

57% of the goals (n = 720) were related to non-academic
problems including work habits, classroom behaviors,
interpersonal behavior and attention.

22% of the goals (n = 275) were related to academics
including interventions written for reading, printing and
writing, arithmetic, and spelling.

88% of teachers' comments were positive (n = 351)
including comments that useful strategies were
recommended, moral support of colleagues, student
behaviors improved as a result of interventions,
facilitation of faculty communication, improvement of
skill in understanding classroom problems, expedition of
special education placement.

12% of teachers' comments were negative and included
problems with time, failure to generate useful strategies,
interference with special education referral process, lack
of faculty readiness to initiate a team, little or no impact
on student performance/behavior, too much paperwork,
and role confusion.












Table 2-1. Continued.


Author(s) Purpose Method Participants Results related to literature review questions


Eidle (1998)


Determine
emphasis of the
use of prereferral
intervention at the
secondary level.


Mixed
methods


2 secondary level child
study teams


Team goals were unclear.


Teams displayed limited use of problem-solving.

High frequency of external interventions recommended
by teams.


Limited preventive functioning.


Eidle, Truscott,
& Meyers
(1998)


Examined the
extent to which
child study teams
addressed
behavioral/social-
emotional referral
issues


Qualitative


4 prereferral
intervention teams

14 team members

15 nonteam member
teachers


Students were referred for academic difficulties, social-
emotional behaviors, poor peer relations,
attendance/truancy, family issues, attending/focusing,
suspected special education needs, physical concerns,
community issues, drug use.

Interventions recommended included parent contact,
meet with student, collect more information,
classroom/behavior modifications, in-school social
programs, meet with teacher, provide a case manager,
tutoring/remedial assistance, psychoeducational testing,
retention, in-school counseling, refer to special
education, refer to court system, refer to physician.












Table 2-1. Continued.


Author(s) Purpose Method Participants Results related to literature review questions


Harrington & Examined teacher Survey
Gibson (1986) perceptions of
preassessment
teams


41 teachers who
referred students with
learning disabilities


Teachers did not think recommendations were
successful in addressing the problem referred.

Teachers had mixed reactions as to whether teams
provided new intervention ideas or whether teams
explored a sufficient variety of intervention options.

Teachers tried most of modifications recommended by
teams prior to making team referrals (i.e., the 5 most
frequently reported modifications by teachers before
meetings included adapting materials, alternative
teaching approaches, behavior management, alternate
instructional materials used, and seating changes. Team
recommended modifications included adapting
materials, alternate instructional materials, behavior
management techniques, remedial reading, and
alternative teaching approaches).

Teachers wanted help developing modifications they
already selected.












Table 2-1. Continued.


Author(s) Purpose Method Participants Results related to literature review questions


Knotek (2003)


Kruger(1997)


Investigated how
social processes in
the context of
multidisciplinary
teams inhibited
teams' thorough
and unbiased
discussion of
African American
students'
psychoeducational
functioning


Investigated the
relationship
between social
support and self-
efficacy in
problems solving


Micro-
ethnography


Survey


2 rural schools with 4
to 8 professionals
(African American and
White) including
teachers,
administrators,
counselors, and
psychologists.


27 teacher assistance
teams in elementary
schools including 125
team members and 129
teachers who made
referrals


The locus of described problems was within children.

High-status members (i.e., principal and those with
specialized degrees) swayed discussion at the problem
conception level.

If the student presented with behavior problems,
interventions were designed to document rather than
correct behaviors. Further, academics were never
considered to be the antecedent of behaviors.

If students were from poor families, students tended to
be referred for after-school tutoring and special
education services.

Team members' perceptions that their skills and abilities
were appreciated by co-workers were more important
than the perception they could depend on co-workers for
help.

Strong link between reassurance of worth and efficacy in
planning and evaluating interventions for students with
behavior problems.












Table 2-1. Continued.


Author(s) Purpose Method Participants Results related to literature review questions


Kruger &
Struzziero
(1995)


Investigated the
relationship
between
organizational
support and
satisfaction with
collaborative
problem-solving
teams


Meyers et al. Described typical
(1996) procedures and
collaborative
problem-solving
processes used by
prereferral
intervention teams


Survey


Mixed
methods


27 teacher assistance
teams in elementary
schools including 161
team members and 127
teachers who made
referrals


134 survey respondents
including 62 team
members and 72
referring teachers

91 interviews including
57 team members and
34 referring teachers


Team satisfaction was related to positive feedback from
teachers that recommendations were helping and
administrative support for release time to work with
teams.


Students were referred to teams for academic problems
(primarily reading difficulties), learning problems
(organizational skills, language skills), behavioral
problems (acting out, negative attitude, self-destructive
behaviors), family problems (lack of support, poor
attendance, chaotic home life)

Recommendations made by teams were focused on out-
of-classroom issues, including special education
placement, resource room placement, counseling, speech
and language intervention, family intervention.












Table 2-1. Continued.


Author(s) Purpose Method Participants Results related to literature review questions

Team process problems included insufficient
development of the problem, lack of data to make
decisions, no clear action plan for each case


Teachers felt they were not adequately involved, were
not respected, interventions were difficult to implement.


Explored how Mixed
teachers perceived methods
the prereferral
intervention
process


Rankin & Investigated
Aksamit (1994) perceptions of
student assistance
teams by school
personnel


Mixed
methods


Survey of 154 teachers Teachers were involved in presenting their case.


30 teachers interviewed


563 educators including
46 building
coordinators, 219 team
members, 298 general
educators


Interventions developed by teams were poor and
inadequate in mitigating problems.

Teachers were not taught prerequisite knowledge to
implement recommendations properly.

Teams were perceived as gatekeepers, not sources of
professional development for teachers.

Teachers at the secondary levels were less satisfied with
teacher assistance teams than were elementary teachers.

Teachers were satisfied based upon their comfort
referring students, support they felt, and the degree to
which they implemented team suggestions.


Pobst (2001)












Table 2-1. Continued.


Author(s) Purpose Method Participants Results related to literature review questions


Rubinson
(2002)


Investigated
implementation of
interdisciplinary
planning teams in
urban high schools
designed to
support students at
risk for failure


Truscott et al. Described state
(2005) departments of
educations'
position on
prereferral
intervention teams
and determined the
prevalence and
workings of
existing teams in
elementary schools


Qualitative


Surveys


12 high school teams

Teams fluctuated over
time from 62 in year 1
to 117 by year 3.

Teams were composed
of counselors,
administrators, school
psychologists, social
workers, special
education teachers, and
paraprofessionals.


State educational
department officials (n
=51)

4 randomly selected
elementary school
educators per state


Teams that evolved into direct intervention groups
suggested solutions such as counseling, remedial
programs, parent and student conferencing, and
placements in alternative schools.

Some team members became mentors for troubled
students.

Another team provided in-class counseling sessions in a
classroom where experienced teachers were having
difficulty with discipline.

Direct intervention teams attributed problems to within-
child etiology.

Teacher goals included helping classroom teachers,
matching student skill level with instructional strategies,
preventing problems in future students, and improving
instruction.

Common interventions recommended by teams included
academic interventions (decrease amount of work, one-
on-one instruction, change curriculum), changes in
classroom structure (seat changes), and interdisciplinary
support (counseling, remedial programs).







25

Kinds of problems reported to teams. Three studies revealed information about

the kinds of problems teachers wanted assistance with in their classrooms (Chalfant &

Pysh, 1989; Eidle, Truscott, & Meyers, 1998; Meyers, Valentino, Meyers, Boretti, &

Brent, 1996). Using descriptive information gathered as part of the monitoring process

for teacher assistance teams, Chalfant and Pysh (1989) compiled data from 96 first-year

teacher assistance teams located throughout the United States. Although kinds of

problems brought to meetings by teachers were not specifically reported, the authors

noted that the kinds of student problems teams were designed to address included

learning and behavior difficulties, including students who might be described as
having poor work habits; social, conduct, and behavior problems; low self-
esteem; slow learning rates; poor motivation; language problems; inefficient
learning styles; experiential deprivation; or a mismatch between the curriculum
and the individual's style. (p. 49)

Two investigations collected evidence on the kinds of problems teachers cited in

referrals to problem-solving teams (Eidle et al., 1998; Meyers et al., 1996). Eidle and her

colleagues (1998) investigated elementary and secondary child study teams in a small

urban district with predominately white, middle class students. They identified two

primary reasons teachers made referrals to teams including socio-emotional problems,

which contributed approximately 40% of the referrals, and academic problems, which

contributed another 50% of all referrals. Remaining referrals were related to nondescript

family issues.

Although the majority of referrals were for academic concerns, Eidle and her

colleagues (1998) were interested in socio-emotional concerns, and thus reported only

details about the nature of those referrals. Referrals for elementary students included

concerns about peer relations and attending/focusing whereas concerns for secondary

students included drug use/abuse and community delinquency issues.







26

Meyers and her colleagues (1996) investigated the implementation of prereferral

teams in a large, urban school district, which served a multiethnic population of students

including large proportions of students from Hispanic, African American, white,

Caribbean, eastern European, and Asian cultures. The socioeconomic status (SES) of

students ranged from low SES to middle class. Teachers made referrals to teams for

concerns, such as difficulties with academics (especially reading), learning

(organizational skills, language skills), behavioral issues (acting out, negative attitude,

self-destructive behaviors), and family issues (lack of support, poor attendance, chaotic

home situation).

Of these studies, only Meyers and her colleagues (1996) reported about how

students were described during team meetings. Descriptions of students included prior

school records, grades and scores on academic assessments, and interventions that were

attempted by teachers prior to referrals. According to researchers, problem descriptions

based upon these data were often lacking. Specifically, problem descriptions rarely

included classroom data; absent were teacher descriptions and perceptions of student

problems. Researchers suggested that "this inhibited the problem-definition stage of the

collaboration process" (Meyers et al., 1996, p. 140).

Kinds of interventions suggested by teams. The majority of studies that

reported kinds of interventions recommended by teams were investigations of prereferral

teams. The purpose ofprereferral teams was to provide assistance to teachers so that

students were better served and inappropriate referrals to special education were reduced

(Truscott, Cohen, Sams, Sanborn, & Frank, 2005). Many investigators reported that the

majority of recommendations made by teams were external to classrooms (Eidle, 1998;

Meyers et al., 1996; Truscott et al., 2005) and focused on problems conceived of as being







27

within the student, rather than a mismatch of instruction to student needs (Knotek, 2003;

Rubinson, 2002; Truscott et al., 2005). Eight studies reported external classroom

interventions, including recommendations for additional special education services

(Eidle et al., 1998; Meyers et al., 1996; Pobst, 2001; Truscott et al., 2005), socio-

emotional services such as counseling and mentoring (Meyers et al., 1996; Rubinson,

2002), family interventions (Meyers et al., 1996; Rubinson, 2002), and remedial

programs (Rubinson, 2002).

Eidle (1998) used mixed methods to develop what she termed a thorough needs

assessment of two secondary prereferral teams. She examined school records of referred

students, interviewed team and nonteam members, observed team meetings, and

surveyed the entire faculty of both schools. Findings from this study suggested that teams

were recommending many more external interventions than in-classroom interventions.

In another study, Eidle and her colleagues (1998) examined the possibility for

teams to be used to prevent student problems. They collected data from surveys and

observations of team meetings and classified recommended interventions into two

groups: interventions that were focused on "treating" (p. 210) specific disorders and early

interventions aimed at ensuring problems did not become worse. Treating interventions

were primarily external to classrooms (i.e., referral for special education, counseling, and

court involvement), whereas early interventions included classroom behavior

modifications and meeting with teachers, but also a high number of external strategies

such as using in-school social programs, tutoring or remedial services, and other in-house

psychoeducational testing. Both treatment interventions and early interventions were

predominately external to classrooms, and thus unlikely to provide assistance to teachers

with day-to-day problems.









Rubinson (2002) studied the implementation of problem-solving teams in urban

high schools. Direct intervention teams, the most prevalent type of team that emerged,

"provided a venue for discussion of problem students that resulted in solutions such as

counseling, remedial programs, parent and student conferencing, and alternative

placements in other schools" (Rubinson, p. 198). In addition, she reported

recommendations for "novel" (p. 198) interventions including mentoring students

deemed at-risk and push-in counseling sessions in a classroom with a lot of challenging

behaviors.

Using surveys and interviews, Meyers and her colleagues (1996) wanted to

provide descriptions of typical procedures and collaborative problem-solving processes

used by prereferral intervention teams in urban schools. Recommendations included

special education placement changes, counseling, speech and language interventions, and

family interventions. In addition, teams recommended students spend time in resource

rooms without placement changes. Researchers concluded that "despite the stated goal

that these teams could help prevent problems associated with special education, most of

the observed recommendations were not designed to improve classroom instruction for

the child" (p. 140). Pobst (2001) reached similar conclusions in her study of urban

educators.

In addition to Eidle et al. (1998) reporting that teams recommended the use of

classroom behavior modification, two studies reported in-classroom interventions

including the use of academic accommodations (Truscott et al., 2005), and the use of

goals related to encouraging productive classroom behaviors (Chalfant & Pysh, 1989).

Truscott and his colleagues (2005) surveyed 200 educational professionals in elementary

schools (i.e., 4 elementary school educational professionals per state) to determine the









kinds of recommendations made to teachers by prereferral intervention teams to assist

students with difficulties in classrooms. The most frequent kinds of interventions

reported were out-of-classroom interventions including requests for additional special

education services and special education testing. Although suggested less frequently,

in-classroom interventions included decreasing the amount of work expected, one-on-one

instruction, and changes to curriculum. In addition, teams reported suggesting teachers

change seating arrangements in classrooms. Thus, these researchers concluded that

recommendations seldom requested substantive instructional modifications from

teachers.

Chalfant and Pysh (1989) reported on their work with 96 first-year teacher

assistance teams. These teacher-led teams wrote goals to match problems presented by

teachers. The number of goals per student ranged from 2 to 4.9, with more than half of

all goals being written to address nonacademic behaviors, such as work habits

(i.e., completing assignments on time, working independently, making an effort to do the

work, following directions, organizing work, increasing the rate of work). Around a

fourth of the goals were written for classroom behaviors, with smaller numbers of goals

written for interpersonal behaviors, and attention problems. Interventions were designed

to primarily take place in classrooms.

Teacher perceptions of the value of teams. Empirical evidence from research

done on teams suggests there are benefits and problems associated with the work of

teams. Some studies revealed that teachers endorsed the use of teams for addressing

problems of practice (Bahr et al., 1999; Chalfant & Pysh, 1989; Kruger, 1997; Kruger et

al., 1995; Rankin & Aksamit, 1994). Factors positively associated with the endorsement

of teams for problem solving included support for teachers and intervention









effectiveness. Additional evidence suggested that problems associated with team-based

approaches included concerns related to time and lack of input from referring teachers

(Eidle, 1998; Harrington & Gibson, 1986; Knotek, 2003; Meyers et al., 1996; Pobst,

2001; Rubinson, 2002). In addition, teachers cited problems with the utility of

recommendations for intervention (Harrington & Gibson, 1986; Meyers et al., 1996;

Pobst, 2001; Rubinson, 2002; Truscott et al., 2005).

Support and intervention effectiveness were cited as reasons teachers endorsed

the use of teams. Studies suggested that support included many things, such as collegial

support, organizational support, administrative support, and support for learning. For

example, researchers reported that teacher participants in 96 first-year teacher assistance

teams valued the moral support of colleagues, and suggested that feelings of support

were linked to improved faculty communication, as well as professional development of

skills for problem solving (Chalfant & Pysh, 1989). Rankin and Aksamit (1994) found

that teachers were comfortable referring students to problem-solving teams and felt

supported in their work with students by team colleagues.

Kruger and his colleagues (1995) investigated the role of organizational support

in relationship to teacher assistance team satisfaction. Organizational support is the

extent to which organizations are supportive and ready for innovations. In this study,

organizational support included administrative support, social support, support for

perceived purposes, and training (i.e., for work on teacher assistance teams). They

surveyed 125 members of teacher assistance teams along with 129 general education

teachers who made referrals to teams. Findings suggested that organizational support,

particularly from administrators, was related to overall team satisfaction. Specifically,

positive feedback from administrators, as well as receiving release time for meetings,

was deemed important.









In a follow up study, Kruger (1997) investigated the relationship between

organizational support and satisfaction with collaborative problem solving teams. In this

study, he found that team members wanted to be perceived as being helpful, which he

interpreted as affirming self-worth. He found that reassurance of worth was related to

teams' efficacy in planning and evaluating interventions for students with behavior

problems. Thus, when teams were supported by administration and thought of as being

helpful to colleagues, teams were more efficacious and able to provide helpful

interventions for students and teachers.

Some investigations revealed that team suggestions for interventions to address

problems were helpful. Bahr and his colleagues (1999) investigated the practices of

school-based intervention teams in the midwest and found that teachers were satisfied

with interventions developed by teams. Chalfant and Pysh (1989) reported a similar

finding. In addition, evidence from their study suggested that interventions led to

improvements in student performance with the majority of interventions being deemed

"successful" (p. 52) by teachers (i.e., 133 of 200 students helped within the building).

Problems with team problem-solving approaches were also reported. Specifically,

team members reported concerns related to time and lack of input from referring

teachers, whereas referring teachers cited problems with the utility of recommendations

for intervention. Some participants in first-year problem solving teams reported that there

was insufficient time for team meetings and interaction (Chalfant & Pysh, 1989). Meyers

and her colleagues (1996) had similar findings. They suggested that this resulted in too

many cases being presented at meetings and led them to conclude that "most teams spent

too little time on the problem-definition stage, and, instead, chose to rush into

recommendations prematurely" (Meyers et al., p. 137).









Another related concern was that interventions developed by teams were not

useful to teachers. Some problem-solving teams generated interventions that had little or

no impact on student performance (Chalfant & Pysh, 1989; Harrington & Gibson, 1986).

Harrington and Gibson (1986) reported that the kinds of interventions suggested by teams

were very similar to what teachers had tried before coming to teams for assistance. For

example, the most frequent modifications recommended for use with struggling students

by both teachers and teams included adapting materials, using alternate instructional

materials, and using behavioral management techniques.

Other teachers suggested that prereferral teams were better gatekeepers than

resources for professional development (Pobst, 2001). Teachers reported they were not

provided with the necessary prerequisite skills to properly implement strategies

suggested by teams. Thus, teachers felt that recommended interventions were inadequate

and poorly developed.

Researchers reported that many interventions recommended by teams focused on

addressing problems perceived of as within the child (i.e., referrals to special education,

counseling) (Eidle, 1998; Eidle, Truscott, & Meyers, 1998; Knotek, 2003; Rubinson,

2002; Truscott et al., 2005). Researchers posited that interventions focused on within-

child differences left teachers wondering what to do in their classrooms (Meyers et al.,

1996; Rubinson, 2002; Truscott et al., 2005). Many researchers attributed this concern to

the fact that investigated teams lacked meaningful input from classroom teachers

(Harrington & Gibson, 1986; Meyers et al., 1996; Pobst, 2001; Rubinson, 2002; Truscott

et al., 2005). Specifically, team meetings were often held at times when referring teachers

could not attend (Meyers et al., 1996; Rubinson, 2002), or included teachers minimally.

For example, one study reported that teachers' participation in team discussions was









limited to describing the student being referred (Pobst, 2001). Thus, many researchers

suggested that if teachers were more involved in the process, emphasis might shift from

external interventions to more classroom-centered interventions (Eidle, Boyd et al., 1998;

Meyers et al., 1996; Rubinson, 2002).

Influence of dialogue in problem-solving teams. Only one study looked at the

influence of dialogue in problem-solving team discussions. Specifically, Knotek (2003)

was interested in looking for ethnic bias in problem-solving team discussions. Although

he concluded that there was no ethnic bias, evidence suggested the "social context of the

team produced bias in the problem solving process" (p. 2). Specifically, the "social

milieu" (p. 2) of the study team shaped the entire process from description of students

through conceptualizations of problems.

Knotek (2003) asserted that before meetings even began, teachers were positioned

to ascribe problem status to either themselves or their students. Knotek characterized this

as "an inherent bind" (p. 7), because teachers' performances were naturally evaluated

during multidisciplinary team meetings. Thus, Knotek suggested that it was not

surprising that students become the locus of the problem instead of teachers and their

practice.

Knotek (2003) noted that high-status members (i.e., persons of authority and

persons with advanced degrees conferring special status) differentially influenced

meeting dialogue. He suggested that these members used everyday terms to convey

specialized meanings to team members. For example, when the principal at a meeting

suggested that the student came from a backwards family, the team understood this to

carry a negative connotation that suggested the family was part of the problem. Further,

Knotek suggested that when a high-status member introduced a problem in a particular









way, the team continued to elaborate in kind. As an example, he cited a sample of

dialogue during which the principal used a light bulb analogy to describe a student.

Members of the team picked up on this language cue and continued to variously describe

the student as having "off and on" days, or days when the "bulb flickers" (Knotek, p. 9).

Knotek (2003) found that when students were characterized by teachers as having

behavior problems, "academic concerns were rarely conceived of as an antecedent to the

behaviors" (p. 10), and that "interventions [developed] were more concentrated on

affirming the initial diagnosis" (p. 10). He also suggested that when students came from

low SES backgrounds, there were two interventions "of choice" (Knotek, p. 10),

including giving the student a buddy and sending the student to after-school tutoring.

Thus, Knotek found that "when these factors [behavior problems and low SES] were

present, singly or together, the SST's [student study team] problem-solving process was

less reflective and more reflexive than it was for students who were referred primarily for

academic problems or who were from higher SES backgrounds" (p. 10).

Summary of the Research on Teams

The kinds of problems teachers addressed through problem-solving teams across

all studies were remarkably consistent. Teachers reported needing assistance with

students who had a wide range of issues, including problems related to academics, socio-

emotional factors, and family concerns. When comparisons were made, there were

greater numbers of academic problems reported than problems with behavior (Chalfant &

Pysh, 1989; Eidle, Boyd et al., 1998).

Responses to teachers' concerns were also consistent across studies, with many

studies suggesting that external interventions were differentially suggested over

classroom interventions. Although some of this would be expected as one function of







35

prereferral teams, the most prevalent type of team described in articles reviewed, was to

refer students for special education testing, when necessary. However, many researchers

suggested that this was cause for concern (Eidle, Truscott, & Meyers, 1998; Meyers et

al., 1996; Pobst, 2001; Truscott et al., 2005). For example, Meyers and her colleagues

noted that "despite the stated goal that these teams could help prevent problems

associated with special education, most of the observed recommendations were not

designed to improve classroom instruction for the child" (p. 140). Thus, providing

teachers with suggestions for classrooms was deemed important.

Many researchers recommended that teachers be more involved in problem-

solving discussions (Eidle, 1998; Meyers et al., 1996; Pobst, 2001; Rubinson, 2002;

Truscott et al., 2005). Many speculated that teacher involvement in problem-solving

meetings would mitigate the trend of generating predominantly external interventions

based upon within-child problem descriptions (Eidle, Truscott, & Meyers, 1998; Meyers

et al., 1996; Pobst, 2001; Rubinson, 2002; Truscott et al., 2005). Knotek's (2003) study

offers a provocative response to this call. His findings suggested that teachers were

inherently put in the position of having their performances evaluated, along with the

student's, during problem-solving meetings. Thus, his study suggested that teacher

involvement alone may exacerbate this concern rather than mitigate it. This suggests

problem-solving meetings should include teachers and be safe places where problems can

be discussed without fear of evaluation (Meyers et al., 1996).

Empirical evidence from research done on teams suggests there are benefits and

problems associated with the work of teams. Some studies revealed that teachers

endorsed the use of teams for addressing problems of practice (Bahr et al., 1999;

Chalfant & Pysh, 1989; Kruger, 1997; Kruger et al., 1995; Rankin & Aksamit, 1994).







36

Factors positively associated with the endorsement of teams for problem solving included

support for teachers and intervention effectiveness. Additional evidence suggested that

problems associated with team-based approaches included concerns related to time and

lack of input from referring teachers (Eidle, 1998; Harrington & Gibson, 1986; Knotek,

2003; Meyers et al., 1996; Pobst, 2001; Rubinson, 2002). In addition, teachers cited

problems with the utility of recommendations for intervention (Harrington & Gibson,

1986; Meyers et al., 1996; Pobst, 2001; Rubinson, 2002; Truscott et al., 2005).

Only one study of problem-solving teams looked at the role of dialogue.

Specifically, the dialogue of problem-solving meetings was examined to determine

whether conversations were racially biased (Knotek, 2003). Although no racial bias was

found, evidence suggested that discussions were influenced by high-status members.

Specifically, everyday terms uttered by high-status members acquired specialized

meanings within the group. In addition, evidence suggested bias in the kinds of

interventions recommended by the team for two groups of students: students with

behavior problems and students from low SES households. Interventions for students

with behavior problems were aimed at documenting rather than mitigating problems,

whereas students from low SES households were reflexively given the same

interventions each time (i.e., a buddy and afterschool programming).

Some evidence was found to suggest that teams necessarily provide opportunities

for teacher learning (Chalfant & Pysh, 1989). Additional evidence suggested that due to

structural elements in which teams were operating (i.e., meeting during teacher class

times, consultation models), teacher learning opportunities were diminished.

The literature on teams also suggests that teachers need a safe place where they

can discuss pressing problems of practice. Many scholars have suggested that







37

communities of practice provide safe, situated learning opportunities for teachers. Thus, I

turn to the literature on communities of practice.

Communities of Practice

Buysse and her colleagues (2003) define communities of practice as "a group of

professionals and other stakeholders in pursuit of a shared learning enterprise, commonly

focused on a particular topic" (p. 266). Communities of practice are also referred to as

professional learning communities (DuFour, 2004), critical friends groups (Bambino,

2002; Costa & Kallick, 1993; Dunne, Nave, & Lewis, 2000), teacher communities (Little,

2003), and teaching teams (DuFour, 2004). Buysse and her colleagues (2003) suggest

that there are two theoretical constructs underlying communities of practice. The first

underlying construct is the notion of situated learning. Situated learning suggests that

learning is local, grounded in the everyday lived experiences of people. This means that

learning occurs not in isolation, but through "social processes that require negotiation and

problem-solving with others" (Buysse et al., 2003, p. 267). Ideally, teachers and

researchers collaborate with one another in pursuit of shared goals. The other important

construct is reflection, which includes the "dialogic exploration of alternative ways to

solve problems in a professional situation" (Buysse et al., p. 268). Thus, talking about

problems of practice with colleagues is an important feature of communities of practice.

Some scholars have suggested that communities of practice are a powerful way to

mediate the problem of the research to practice gap (Buysse et al., 2003; Englert &

Rozendal, 2004; McLeskey & Waldron, 2004) by affording essential collaborations

between teachers and researchers to occur because, as Englert and Rozendal assert, "Both

teachers and researchers understand that research done in controlled contexts that limit

the variation found in regular classroom contexts has inherent limitations when results







38

are applied to classrooms" (p. 24). Other scholars highlight communities of practice as a

reform effort generated in response to the standards movement and efforts to

professionalize teaching (Wilson & Berne, 1999) and more recently high-stakes

accountability pressures (Vescio et al., 2006).

Regardless of the rationale, communities of practice afford opportunities for

educators and researchers to work together to coconstruct knowledge that continuously

improves teachers' practice and enhances student learning. In a review of the literature,

Vescio and her colleagues (2006) concluded that although there are few published studies

connecting communities of practice with student achievement, results from those studies

suggest that student achievement improves over time. Further, they conclude that

teaching practice is influenced in positive ways as school cultures change to become

more student centered and focused on continuous learning for teachers and students.

Creating cultures of collaboration that focus on student learning is important to these

successes.

DuFour (2004) notes that one of the "big ideas" of communities of practice is the

creation of "structures that promote a collaborative culture" (p. 9). He goes on to suggest

that "powerful collaboration" includes a systematic approach of teachers working

together "to analyze and improve their classroom practice" by working in "teams,

engaging in an on-going cycle of questions that promote deep team learning" (p. 9).

Implicit is the notion that this learning is achieved through dialogue. However, little is

known about the specific dialogic interactions that influence learning (Little, 2003). As

Snow-Gerono (2005) states, "The process of dialogue is an important aspect of

collaboration that is not represented simply by the notion of people or an expanded







39

community" (p. 251). In this next section, I will explore what the empirical literature on

learning communities reveals about dialogue.

Dialogue

Using multiple databases (i.e., Academic Search Premier, PsycInfo, First Search,

WilsonWeb) and multiple combinations of various search terms (i.e., communities of

practice, teach community, professional learning communities, critical friends groups)

with the qualifier of dialogue, five empirical studies were located that specifically

addressed the nature of dialogue as part of the studies' findings. Papers were excluded if

they disclosed nothing about the context or quality of dialogue (i.e., quantitative studies

using questionnaires). Of the five papers located, only 1 paper focused exclusively on

dialogue (Little, 2003). The use of dialogue has been studied by scholars using different

methods including (a) interview studies, (b) case studies, and (c) discourse analysis.

Studies are reviewed highlighting what each reveals about the nature of discourse in

learning communities.

Teacher perceptions of the value of dialogue. Strahan (2003) investigated the

dynamics important to learning communities at three low-income high-minority

population elementary schools where, over a 3-year period, student achievement

improved significantly. He wanted to better understand the contribution school culture

made to the schools' successes. His analysis of 79 teacher interviews suggested that data

directed dialogue and "purposeful conversations" (p. 127) were instrumental to the

schools' success. Strahan (2003) wrote that "participants stressed the importance of the

time they spent conversing in grade-level meetings, site-based staff development

sessions, mentoring discussions, and informal get-togethers" (p. 143). In particular,

during weekly grade-level meetings, teachers developed strategies to promote student









engagement in balanced literacy activities and discussed the progress of students using

various forms of assessment data. Teachers revealed that for them, this kind of dialogue

was valuable.

Snow-Gerono (2005) explored teachers' perceptions of the benefits of

professional learning communities at one professional development school. Opportunities

for collaborative dialogue at the school included team meetings, study group meetings,

teaching partners, as well as working with other education professionals across school

sites. Teachers reported they had "an appreciation for dialogue" (Snow-Gerono, p. 251),

suggesting they learned better through talking about practice.

In addition, teachers noted that dialogue created opportunities for teachers to

discuss "tensions inherent in education and ideological frameworks and embrace

problem-posing as a means for professional development" (Snow-Gerono, 2005, p. 251).

Teachers expressed a need for safety to enable open dialogue. Teachers noted that even

dialogue that was formed as dissent from others in the group was deemed valuable to the

learning experiences of these teachers. They explained that it was sometimes dissonant

voices that caused others in the group to stretch and grow as teachers.

Dialogue during inquiry. Hollins and her colleagues (2004) investigated the use

of a five-step structured study group approach aimed at "developing habits of mind"

(p. 247) necessary for improving the literacy acquisition of students attending a high-

poverty, low-performing elementary school. Researchers envisioned that "teachers would

rely on collaboration and within-group directed inquiry, for consistently improving

literacy acquisition" (Hollins et al., p. 255). Specifically, their model of a structured

dialogue approach included steps to (a) define challenges, (b) identify approaches to meet

the challenges, (c) select and implement an approach, (d) evaluate implementation, and









(e) formulate a theory to guide practice going forward. Qualitative data collected

included teacher interviews, meeting transcriptions from the study groups, recorded field

notes, and "informal conversations" (Hollins et al., p. 254).

In addition to teachers, the principal attended study groups. Although not the

original facilitator, the principal functioned to "refocus the teachers when they began to

digress from the purpose of the sessions, improving African American students' literacy"

(Hollins et al., 2004, p. 256). Ultimately, the principal stepped into the facilitator role,

something the researchers deemed "promising" (Hollins et al., p. 259) in terms of the

potential to sustain study groups as a permanent practice at the school. Researchers

reported that teachers'

dialogue during study-group meetings progressed from a focus on daily
challenges and defending their own practices to seeking insights from the
literature, sharing suggestions for instructional strategies, collaborating to develop
new approaches and expressing appreciation for time to dialogue and plan
together. (p. 260)

Thus, study groups offered an important opportunity for teachers and the principal to

approach learning differently by collaborating with one another.

Englert and Rozendal (2004) discussed the characteristics of a community of

practice where they were collaborators with elementary school teachers. The goal was to

accelerate progress of students deemed nonreaders and writers. They noted that several

"participatory mechanisms" (p. 31) for dialogue were created, including

teacher/researcher meetings and discussions about videotapes made of teacher

participants in their classrooms teaching.

Researchers noted that analysis of the transcripts from teacher/researcher

meetings









showed a flow of relevant conversation that featured the following key aspects:
focus provided by the senior research who functioned as the group leader,
clarification through questioning and teacher reflection, agreement and discussion
among teachers (with group problem solving and sharing central). (p. 32)

They noted that the group leader was responsible for maintaining group focus and timing.

Important dialogic features of videotape discussions included opportunities for reflection

on practice and brainstorming. In addition, researchers suggested that questions were

used to make clear teacher decisions and procedures represented in video tapes.

Problem-solving dialogue. Little's (2003) investigation was the only study

located that examined the ways dialogue found within communities of practice shaped

learning for teachers. Specifically, Little sought to study "what teacher learning

opportunities and dynamics of professional practice are evident in teacher-led groups that

consider themselves collaborative and innovative" (Little, p. 915). Primary data for this

study were audio- and videotaped recordings of teacher meetings among English teachers

and math teachers at two public high schools.

Using discourse analysis, Little (2003) found that teacher meetings posed unique

challenges for teacher learning opportunities. Challenges included concerns about time,

problem description, and group interaction patterns. Meetings in this study were

described as "both fleeting and incomplete" (p. 925). For example, only 30 minutes of a

90-minute meeting was dedicated to discussing problems. In another example, the

meeting check-in procedure took nearly half of the time allotted for the meeting; thus, it

was impossible for teachers to thoroughly discuss problems.

In addition, teachers used what Little (2003) described as teacher shorthand when

describing problems in classrooms. That is, meanings were situated and localized,

rendering it somewhat difficult to "unpack" (p. 936) all that was discussed. Although







43

learning opportunities might be embedded in this kind of talk, Little was concerned that

tension created between what she described as "getting things done" and "figuring things

out" (p. 931) impeded teacher learning. Further, Little suggested that when this shorthand

was used to "recontextualize" classroom dilemmas, many salient details were lost. Little

concluded that "teachers employed] talk about classrooms to justify themselves and their

choices to one another" (p. 937), which severely undermines possibilities for teachers to

learn.

Interaction problems noted by Little (2003) included movement of meeting topics

from one concern to another. She cited an example where the concerns of an intern took

up the group's time. She explained that, "moments for extended consideration of practice

are coconstructed in ways whose meaning and significance are not immediately

apparent" (p. 929). She also explained that for interactions to be truly meaningful,

teachers had to open themselves to being vulnerable by asking colleagues to critique

practice. Thus, both the teacher and interactions among team members either invited this

kind of introspection or not.

Summary of the Research on Dialogue in Communities of Practice

Both Strahan (2003) and Snow-Gerono (2005) stressed the value of dialogue to

their study participants. For example, Strahan (2003) concluded that the conversations

were "purposeful" for the faculties of these schools and that "this continuous dialogue

helped to cultivate collective efficacy at each school and provided a renewable source of

energy for participants" (p. 143). Similarly, Snow-Gerono (2005) concluded that people

and dialogue were important to the professional development of her participants.

Teachers needed to feel safe to open themselves to different possibilities. However, these









descriptions did not provide details on how this kind of dialogue was generated in

communities of practice, only that it was important to teachers.

Evidence from implementation studies (Englert & Rozendal, 2004; Hollins et al.,

2004) suggested that dialogue is most productive when it is focused by facilitators, such

as principals or researchers. The Hollins study suggests that using dialogic structures,

such as problem-solving steps, might be especially useful for new teams as they begin

collaborating. Thus, these studies provide insights into factors that facilitate productive

dialogue (i.e., strong facilitators, guiding dialogic structure), and the kinds of learning

that can occur in communities of practice (i.e., instructional strategies). They also suggest

a means to promote teacher reflection (i.e., review videotape recordings of teaching

episodes).

Little's (2003) study of the dialogue of teacher meetings aimed at improving

practice revealed three challenges: time, problem descriptions, and group interaction

patterns. There was too little time during meetings for problems to be well defined.

Another challenge with problem descriptions was that they contained what Little termed

teacher shorthand. That is, words took on contextualized meanings known to the group.

Little suggested that this raised concerns about teachers' problem descriptions that in

repackaging talk so densely, fine-grained details apparent during the live interaction were

lost. Thus, perhaps unwittingly, teachers presented themselves in as favorable light

thereby limiting possibilities to truly improve practice. Finally, Little concluded that

while meetings may provide opportunities for learning, they can as easily make

opportunities dissipate with one conversational turn.









Importance of the Study

Evidence from this literature review suggests that the kinds of student problems

teachers ask teams for assistance with include academic concerns, socio-emotional

concerns, and family concerns. A consistent theme throughout the literature was that

problems within team contexts were often poorly defined. Notably absent were problem

descriptions related to problems with teaching. Several factors influenced problem

descriptions including lack of teacher input due to the structures of some problem-

solving teams and lack of adequate time to thoroughly explore problems. Moreover,

when teachers were included as members of problem-solving teams, studies suggested

that teachers were motivated to present themselves in the best possible light. This led

scholars to question whether or not team meetings can truly provide opportunities for

meaningful changes in practice.

Still, teacher reports suggest their strong endorsement of the use of teams for both

learning about practice through dialogue and addressing pressing problems of practice.

Thus, it is important to look for ways to improve the quality of problem descriptions so

that learning opportunities are enhanced for teachers, which ultimately will enhance

student learning. In addition, research that describes ways to bring focus to problem

discussions could potentially mitigate time constraints.

Evidence from the literature on responses to teacher concerns suggested a

differential reliance on interventions that were outside of classrooms. While some

evidence suggested that teachers were able to successfully use team-recommended

interventions, other evidence suggested that recommendations did little to mitigate

problems of practice. This may have been due, in part, to the notion that many









interventions suggested by teams for use in classrooms were things teachers had tried

before referring the student to teams for assistance.

As with problem descriptions, responses to problems described in the literature

were influenced by structural factors of teams studied, such as the absence of meaningful

participation of referring teachers. In addition, the function of teams investigated

necessarily skewed interventions toward out-of-classroom suggestions (i.e., prereferral

teams function, in part, to refer students for special education testing). Thus, better

understandings of contextualized responses to problems where teachers are active

participants in generating responses instead of passive recipients of interventions would

illuminate the possibilities teams have for suggesting meaningful interventions for

pressing problems of practice.

Literature that examined dialogue within the context of teacher problem-solving

meetings suggested many concerns related to the possibility that teachers might learn to

improve practice through meetings. Researchers suggested that teacher problem

descriptions inherently presented teachers in favorable ways. Further, language used to

describe problems was often localized and embedded in the social contexts of meetings.

Thus, these studies lacked suggestions on how dialogue used during meetings could

improve the quality of learning opportunities for teachers, and indirectly, the students

they teach.

This current study is important for three reasons. First, this study seeks to

elaborate on the influence of teachers' participation in problem-solving discussions. In

particular, this study will examine whether or not problem descriptions are sufficiently

articulated to allow opportunities for teachers to learn new things about practice. Second,

this study seeks to contribute to the literature the kinds of responses generated to







47

problems of practice when grade-level teachers, special education teachers, leadership

team members, and other professional educators work together collaboratively as part of

grade-level inclusion teams.

Perhaps most importantly, this study seeks to better understand how dialogue

influences both problem and solution constructions. In particular, using discourse

analysis at the clause level of speech will produce insights into how statements and

questions shape learning opportunities. Through this fine-grained analysis, strategies to

improve the quality and power of team meetings for teacher learning will be revealed.















CHAPTER 3
THEORETICAL ORIENTATION AND METHODOLOGY

Scholars have suggested that teacher development opportunities exist within the

ordinary work of teachers (Little, 2003). The purpose of this study is to better understand

what kinds of problems of practice are presented at grade-level inclusion meetings, and

how interactions during these meetings influence teacher problem and response

constructions. There are three influences on what might be available for teachers to learn

during inclusion meetings.

First, possible learning opportunities are bounded by the kinds of problems

discussed during meetings. Thus, in order to understand what kinds of learning

opportunities exist at meetings, it is important to better understand the kinds of problems

teachers are discussing at inclusion meetings. Second, learning opportunities are bounded

by the kinds of knowledge and experiences meeting participants hold. If meeting

participants are unaware of particularly helpful strategies, they cannot suggest them.

Thus, it is important to understand what kinds of suggestions are made at these meetings.

Finally, the actual dialogue among participants may shape the ways problems and

suggested solutions to those problems are constructed. Thus, in order to understand how

dialogue shapes problem and response constructions during inclusion meetings, this

study seeks to address the following research questions:

* What kinds of problems are described at inclusion meetings?

* What kinds of responses are developed by the group in response to problems
presented?









* What value do these meetings have for teachers?

* How does dialogue constructed during inclusion meetings shape problem
construction and group responses?

Theoretical Orientation

Since meetings are inherently socially constructed dialogue, this study was

conducted primarily through a social constructionist lens. Social constructionist

epistemologies typically draw upon the work of constructivists, believing that objects do

not possess meaning until human consciousness interacts with them (Crotty, 1998;

Schwandt, 2000). Thus, instead of discovering new knowledge, knowledge is constructed

within situated realities as we interact with objects. Furthermore, social constructionists,

in particular, posit that these constructed realities occur "against the backdrop of shared

understandings, practices, language, and so forth" (Schwandt, p. 197).

Social constructionists believe that humans are born into particular cultures

through which we are gradually socialized (Berger & Luckman, 1966; Crotty, 1998). We

depend upon culture to guide and direct our behavior; it enables us to see particular

things while ignoring others (Crotty). Culture includes socially constructed institutions

such as governments and schools. Culture and institutions are created and recreated

through language, habits of action, and legitimation.

As a system of signs, language is the means by which everyday life is shared with

others (Berger & Luckman, 1966). Berger and Luckman consider face-to-face

interactions to be prototypical for all language. Through interactions, multiple realties are

constructed by individuals. However, "there is an ongoing correspondence between my

meanings and [others'] meanings in the world" (Berger & Luckman, p. 23). As

individuals interact, individual subjectivities are made available through both verbal and

nonverbal exchanges. What we know about others in face-to-face interactions is









prereflective and continuous as we experience the interaction. Thus, it is possible for us

to interpret events differently when we reflect upon them than we did during actual lived

experiences.

Language is coercive and inherently constrains possible interactions (Berger &

Luckman, 1966). For example, both grammar and pragmatics influence speech

production. Further, our historical use of language shapes our future use of language. For

example, all interactions are influenced by typificatory or classification schemes that

have been constructed over time. Others with whom we interact are apprehended as the

players of particular societal roles, which thereby affects our dialogic interactions with

them (Berger & Luckman). A principal may be apprehended by her faculty as "a school

leader," "an African American," and "a woman," simultaneously. Her faculty will

interact with her based upon their own typficatory schemes related to these roles.

Typificatory schemes are reciprocal. In other words, the school leader holds typificatory

schemes about her faculty as well.

Importantly, face-to-face interactions are fluid and "whatever patterns are

introduced will be continuously modified through the exceedingly variegated and subtle

interchange of subjective meanings" (Berger & Luckman, 1966). These schemes will

continue, unless actions occur to change them and "will determine [our] actions in the

situation" (Berger & Luckman, p. 31). In addition to typificatory schemes, habitulization

is important to the creation and recreation of culture.

Actions repeated often enough become habitualized and "habitualization carries

with it the important psychological gain that choices are narrowed" (Berger & Luckman,

1966, p. 53). Although this can lead to "deliberation and innovation," it can also lead to

reification (Berger & Luckman, p. 53). Thus, while there may be multiple ways to solve









problems of practice, the habit of solving problems in particular ways can result in the

limitation of possibilities.

According to social constructionists, knowledge is socially distributed (Berger &

Luckman, 1966). This "social stock of knowledge" is differentiated based upon "degrees

of familiarity" (Berger & Luckman, p. 43). It is from this stock of knowledge that

typification schemes are drawn, as well as "recipes" for solving problems are available

and taken for granted "until a problem arises that cannot be solved in terms of [the

recipe]" (Berger & Luckman, p. 44). As novel problems are resolved, new meanings are

legitimate.

Influence of the Theoretical Perspective on the Study

The epistemological stance, theoretical perspective, methodology, and methods

"inform one another," thereby limiting choices that can be made during the research

process (Crotty, 1996, p. 4). Since the theoretical stance for this work is social

constructionist based upon constructivism, it follows that data collected must be socially

constructed. Thus, primary data were collected during inclusion team meetings as

participants socially constructed their realities with problems of practice. Berger and

Luckman (1966) explained that through reflection, we have "better knowledge" (p. 29) of

ourselves. Thus, secondary data were collected in the form of follow-up teacher

interviews to better understand how participants constructed their experiences of these

meetings.

Methodology

Two analysis methods were used for this study-inductive analysis and discourse

analysis. I selected Hatch's (2002) method for three reasons. First, although Hatch's

iteration of inductive analysis draws heavily on the methods of others (Spradley, 1979;









Strauss & Corbin, 1998), his version is adaptable to paradigms outside of postpostivist

assumptions, such as constructivism and social constructionism. Second, I was trying to

better understand knowledge embedded in the context of inclusion meetings.

Specifically, I wanted to better understand the kinds of problems of practice and the

kinds of responses to those problems that were socially constructed by inclusion team

members at an urban elementary school, and how those problems and responses were

legitimized. Inductive analysis allowed the possibility for the story to emerge from the

data. Third, I needed a method suitable for a large qualitative data set as I ended up with

over 400 pages of single-spaced transcripts. Thus, Hatch's method of inductive analysis

was a natural fit, as he suggested that it was "well suited for studies that emphasize the

discovery of cultural meaning from large data sets" (p. 179).

In addition to addressing the content of problems and responses to those problems

constructed by inclusion teams, I was also interested in understanding ways the dialogue

of inclusion meetings shaped the construction of problems and responses to those

problems. Specifically, I was interested in better understanding how questions and

statements influenced both the construction of the problems by teachers, and the

concomitant suggestions for action, thereby influencing possible learning opportunities

for teachers. In addition, I wanted to find a discourse analysis method that was

compatible for use with other methods.

Importantly, Fairclough (2003) asserted that the language of texts, including

spoken words, have causal effects that "can bring about changes in our knowledge (we

can learn things from them), our beliefs, our attitudes, values and so forth," which are

"mediated by meaning-making" (p. 8). In addition, he noted that "it often makes sense to

use discourse analysis in conjunction with other forms of analysis" (Fairclough, p. 2), as









it is best "applied to samples of research material rather than large bodies of text"

(Fairclough, p. 6). Finally, Fairclough suggested that inductive analysis is a method

compatible with his form of discourse analysis. Thus, Fairclough's method of discourse

analysis was selected.

Key Concepts Related to Inductive Analysis

In this section, I will discuss and define key concepts associated with Hatch's

(2002) inductive analysis method. Terms and concepts will be defined and described. In

addition, the purpose behind each concept will be explored.

Inductive analysis. Inductive analysis leads from the particular to the general

(Hatch, 2002; Spradley, 1979). It pulls particular pieces of evidence together to construct

a meaningful whole. The purpose of inductive analysis is to enable the analysis to emerge

from the data rather than imposing a classification scheme upon the data. Data are

examined for patterns of meaning which are then used to construct general explanatory

statements regarding what was happening in the data. This allows for multiple,

contextualized possibilities to emerge from the data.

Frames of analysis. Frames of analysis are selected by the research after a close

reading of the data, as they must be established "with a solid sense of what is included in

the data set" (Hatch, 2002, p. 162). Frames of analysis can be thought of as conceptual

categories and can range from framing analysis around particular words to "blocking off

complete interchanges between interactants" (Hatch, p. 163). They can also be related to

"comments on specific topics" (Hatch, p. 163). Importantly, framing decisions must

encompass all of the dimensions to be explored. Frames may shift throughout the process

of analysis.







54

Frames of analysis serve three important purposes. First, they reduce the quantity

of data by limiting intense analysis to data which are relevant to answering posed

research questions; otherwise, as Hatch (2002) concludes, "there will be no way to begin

to search for meaning in a mass of data" (p. 164). Second, frames of analysis provide the

researcher with a way to begin looking closely at the data. Finally, they enable

researchers to "move to the next step of creating domains" (Hatch, p. 164).

Domains. Domains are large units of cultural knowledge (Spradley, 1979). The

purpose of domain analysis is to "develop a set of categories of meaning ... that reflects

relationships represented in the data" (Hatch, 2002, p. 104). Domains provide insights

into typifications held by participants. Domains are organized around semantic

relationships. Spradley identified nine domains useful to researchers including inclusion

(X is a kind of Y), spatial (X is a place in Y), cause-effect (X is a result of Y), rationale

(X is a reason for doing Y), location action (X is a place for doing Y), function (X is used

for Y), means-end (X is a way to do Y), and attribution (X is a kind of Y).

Subdomains. Subdomains, or cover terms (Spradley, 1979), are simply the names

of particular categories. Their purpose is to provide an overview of what is included in

the category.

Included terms. Included terms are codes that are subsumed within each

subdomain. They represent smaller chunks of meaningful data. Included terms must be

semantically related to other included terms within a particular domain. They serve the

purpose of fragmenting data for analysis.

Negative examples. Negative examples are those bits of data that serve as

disconfirming evidence. Researchers must deductively search for them throughout the









analytical process. They serve the purpose of ensuring the researcher is alert to any

necessary shifts in analysis away from interpretations that are not supported by the data.

Key Terms of Discourse Analysis

Next, key terms of Fairclough's (2003) method of discourse will be defined. All

definitions are attributed to him.

Clause. Clauses are simple sentences and are made of three parts: (a) processes,

usually verbs, (b) participants, or objects, and (c) circumstances, commonly adverbs.

Dialogue. Dialogues are a particular genre of text, and meetings are a subset of

that genre (Fairclough, 2003). During a dialogue, speakers are expected to take turns and

use those turns in various ways to ask questions, make requests, complain, etc. They are

also expected to speak without interruption, select and change topics, and offer

interpretations or summaries of what has been said during dialogue.

Evaluation. Evaluations are portions of text that have to do with values,

including explicit statements (e.g., the student is struggling) and value assumptions,

which are generally implicit. For example, there are many value assumptions that might

accompany "the student is struggling."

Exchange types. An exchange in discourse terms is a "sequence of two or more

conversation 'turns' or 'moves' with alternating speakers where the occurrence of move

1 leads to the expectation of move 2, and so forth-with the proviso that what is

'expected' does not always occur" (Fairclough, 2003, p. 106). Two primary kinds of

exchanges in dialogue include knowledge exchanges and activity exchanges. Knowledge

exchanges focus upon the exchange of information, such as asking for and giving

information, making claims, stating facts, and so forth. Knowledge exchanges can be

initiated by both the knower and the person who wants to know. The focus of activity









exchanges is on people doing things or getting others to do things. Activity exchanges

typically do not involve just talk; they are action based.

Grammatical mood. Grammatical mood is the difference between declarative,

interrogative, and imperative sentences.

Modality. "The modality of a clause or sentence is the relationship it sets up

between the author and representations" (Fairclough, 2003, p. 219). Specifically, for

activity exchanges, modality characterizes how committed the speaker is the obligation

or necessity of the action. For knowledge exchanges, it characterizes how committed the

speaker is to truth. In both cases, modalized speech hedges the speaker's motives. For

example, if I say, "He may have learning disabilities," I am holding out the notion that he

may have learning disabilities or he may not.

Speech functions. There are four primary speech functions including

(a) demands, (b) offers, (c) questions, and (d) statements. All terms except questions will

defined briefly, as questions are self evident. Speech demands include polite demands

such as requests. In addition, demands include such things as order, requesting, etc.

Offers include such things as promising, threatening, apologizing, thanking, etc. There

are three primary kinds of statements including (a) statements of fact (e.g., what is, was,

has been the case), (b), irrealis statements (i.e., predictions and hypothetical statements),

and (c) evaluations (e.g., should and other judgmental forms).

Study Design

This next section will explain how this study was designed. Specifically, I will

describe the context of the study, including the selection of study participants.

Importantly, since I have been involved with the school where this study was conducted

for 3 years, my personal subjectivity statement includes details of this involvement. I will









also describe data collection and analysis procedures, in addition to methods used to

ensure the trustworthiness of the representations contained in this report. Finally, I will

describe the methodological weaknesses of this dissertation study.

Personal Subjectivity

Although I will dutifully exercise all manner of techniques to ensure the

credibility of my data representations, I do so knowing fully that it is impossible to

divorce one's self from the research process. Thus, it is important to recognize how

participants' realities differ from my own. By examining my own subjective realities

around the topic of problem solving and related teaching practices, both my readers and I

will be more equipped to understand what may influence my interpretations of data.

Having worked in the field of human resources for nearly 13 years, I came to the

realization that I wanted to become a teacher while volunteering in my oldest daughter's

kindergarten classroom. I was amazed by what I saw-children who could not hold a

pencil next to my daughter who entered kindergarten reading-the contrast was startling.

Soon thereafter, my family and I started a journey that began with me reentering the

University of Florida to first finish my bachelor's degree and then my master's degree.

Being a parent made me take my education very seriously. After all, I wanted the best

teachers for my own children, and I reasoned that other families would expect the same

for their children.

One semester before finishing my master's degree, I accepted a position as a first-

grade general education teacher in a cotaught, inclusive classroom. In this classroom,

students with varying labels including mental retardation and autism were educated

alongside typically developing peers for half of the school day. Having done my

internship at that school with that class's buddy readers, I had a little experience with the









children I would soon be teaching. This experience left me with the impression that

students with disabilities were like many other children I knew. They had distinct

personalities and families who loved them.

My coteacher was a veteran special education teacher. She noticed such a

difference in what her students could do from spending only a short amount of time with

typically developing first graders during a weekly, classroom scouting experience that

she, along with the teacher I replaced, went to the principal to create an inclusive

program the following year. They successfully completed one year as coteachers when

the first grade teacher moved, and I was hired to fill her very big shoes. We were well

supported, having two full-time paraprofessionals to help.

We had a wonderful year together as we worked through one practical dilemma

after another. We had to develop a classroom community where everyone was respected.

For the typically developing children, this meant fostering understandings of when to

help and when to simply encourage. We had to develop optimal learning environments

for all of our children. As it turned out, I had several "typical" students who benefited

from the special education teacher's instruction, while a student with mental retardation

joined one of my reading groups. We had to generate buy-in from parents who

questioned whether our program would meet the needs of their children. The parent of

one child identified for the gifted program was especially concerned. After one

observation in our classroom, she went on to become our room parent and one of our

biggest allies. Unfortunately, I, like my predecessor, ended up moving at the end of the

school year.

My second teaching position was in a private school in California. I was attracted

to the school as it espoused a philosophy of educating the whole child. Unlike most







59

private schools in that area, children were not admitted to the school on the basis of high

test scores. Rather, families were interviewed and children were admitted to the school if

their families were committed to the values of the school (i.e., educating the whole child,

deemphasis on labeling and passing standardized tests). Families who could not afford

the tuition were offered generous scholarships. Thus, the school was quite diverse, and

although there were no labels allowed at school, I taught children whom I am sure would

have been labeled with a disability in another setting. In addition to teaching language

arts and world cultures to sixth graders, I functioned as the elementary reading resource

teacher. I pushed in to many classrooms to assist during reading instruction. After one

year in California, we ended up moving home to Florida.

Fortunately for me, the first school I worked at had an opening for a coteacher in

fifth grade. Since our school was departmentalized for fourth and fifth grades, I was hired

to teach language arts to two groups of students and to teach social studies to my

homeroom students. Students with specific learning disabilities were included in the

general education classroom. My coteacher, a long-term veteran of the school system,

had been coteaching this class for a few years. His assignment changed that year to

include coteaching a fourth-grade class in addition to the fifth-grade class. While I had

the students for the entire period, my coteacher and his paraprofessional joined us for

only half of the scheduled periods for language arts. This year was full of very different

dilemmas and solutions than those I had experienced in first grade. Building community

was more challenging because students changed classes. Further, by virtue of the age of

the students, there was a greater emphasis on content instruction. Through educated trial

and error, it ended up being a very productive year for us all.







60

My teaching experiences greatly influenced my attitudes toward inclusion. It was

clear to me that the needs of all students could be met, with hard work and problem

solving skills. The emphasis my coteachers and I placed on problem-solving skills was

especially important. We were never content to let a less than optimal system go

unchanged. We searched out and found the resources we needed, including changing

desks for large tables and securing multiple copies of high-interest, low vocabulary books

on topics of study. We varied our instructional methods and used a mixture of

instructional groupings including whole-group and small-group instruction. We infused

technology and research skills into units of study, thereby exposing students with

disabilities to valuable skills they would need in middle school. In short, we were

inventive and flexible, and our students were successful. It was very hard work.

As I entered my Ph.D. program, I did so thinking I could share some of the

lessons I learned through experience, thus helping others miss some of the bumps in the

road I encountered. As my program progressed, however, it became clear to me that

instead of developing prescribed programs for teachers, I was more comfortable with

examining structures to facilitate teacher learning. I believe that in most cases, teachers

may be in the best position to work through their own dilemmas, much as I had during

my teaching experiences. Thus, I am a proponent of developing professional teachers

instead of developing programs that can be implemented with fidelity. After all, it is

teachers who teach children, not programs.

Importantly, I have worked on two studies conducted at the school where I did

my dissertation study. Although this study was not a direct extension of these previous

studies, my participation on those projects inspired the conception of this project. During

the first study, I was brought in to help analyze qualitative data collected by others on the









practices of two exemplary teachers (Williamson, Bondy, Langley, & Mayne, 2005).

Thus, I had few direct interactions with the school's faculty and staff during this study.

During the second project, I had far more contact with faculty and staff. The

principal, under pressure for not meeting adequate yearly progress for students with

disabilities, decided to abandon the pull-out classrooms historically used at the school in

favor of including students with disabilities in general education classrooms. Much of my

role was behind the scenes, working directly with the professor-in-residence from a local

university who had worked at the school for 6 years. I played a minor role assisting in the

facilitation of monthly professional development workshops where topics of study

centered on inclusion.

In addition, as part of this project I participated in one full round of team

inclusion meetings. Inclusion meetings were new to the school that year and were

designed to address the academic or social needs of particular students. During those

meetings, I occasionally asked questions or offered suggestions to teachers. As a follow-

up to this professional development work, the professor in residence and I conducted a

study designed to explore the perceptions of this group of educators as they developed an

inclusive program using focus groups and one-on-one interviews as data collection

methods. Focus groups were facilitated by the teachers themselves; however, I conducted

seven interviews with school faculty. Even though I have spent what might be considered

an extended period of time working with this school, I would still characterize my

presence there as somewhat of an outsider.

As a professional development school long affiliated with the University,

educators at the school would claim they have been fortunate to have a professor in

residence at the school for many years. As such, the professor in residence has forged







62

meaningful, long-lasting relationships with faculty and staff. Although she presented me

as a person with some experience doing inclusion at another school in the community,

and as a co-researcher on our most recent project, I believe these educators saw me more

as a helper to the professor in residence than as an expert who might be able to help them

with the problems they were experiencing with inclusion. My interactions were

professional and cordial with faculty, and even friendly at times. However, I was not

afforded insider status at this school; I was afforded privileged outsider status. As a

privileged outsider, faculty perceived me as a trustworthy person with whom they could

share their stories. This afforded me the unique position of researcher-learner (Glesne,

1999), a position somewhere between objective observer and subjective coparticipant.

Importantly, although I spoke briefly at two of the meetings, my dialogue from those two

meetings was not included as data for study purposes.

Study Context

The study was conducted at Hopewell Elementary School (a pseudonym), a

school whose faculty is composed of 23 general education classroom teachers, three

Success for All (Klingner, Cramer, & Harry, 2006) reading tutors, seven resource

teachers (i.e., physical education, media, art, music, and dance), three special education

teachers, and an administrative team comprised of the principal, assistant principal,

guidance counselor, fine arts facilitator, reading coach, and curriculum resource teacher.

As shown in Table 3-1, teachers ranged in years of experience from 1 year to more than

30. All teachers were "highly qualified," as defined in the No Child Left Behind Act of

2001 (U.S. Department of Education, 2001) and thus were certified in the areas in which

they taught. Of the 42 educators at the school 23 were white, 17 had African origins (i.e.,

African American and islanders), 1 was Hispanic, and 1 was a Pacific Islander.









Table 3-1. Faculty's years of experience
Years of Service
Area of responsibility 0 -3 3 10 More than 10 Total
Classroom teachers 11 6 6 23
Reading tutors 2 0 1 3
Resource teachers 1 3 3 7
Special education teachers 2 0 1 3
Leadership team 0 0 6 6
Total 16 9 17 42

Student enrollment was more than 400, with African American students being the

predominant ethnic group represented at the school. The vast majority of students were

eligible for free or fee reduced lunch (90.9%). Many new students became members of

the Hopewell school community the previous year. In addition to gaining new students

through the district's recent school rezoning, the school board named Hopewell a magnet

program for the arts for the first time last year. Table 3-2 presents a summary of student

disability classifications by grade level, including the numbers of gifted students. Thus,

new students, along with the new school policy to include students with disabilities in

general education classrooms, combined to create a challenging work environment for

teachers.

Table 3-2. Summary of students' disability classification by grade level
Grade levels
Disability K 1 2 3 4 5 Total
Speech impaired 2 4 2 1 1 1 11
Language impaired 6 6 2 4 6 4 28
Specific learning disability 1 1 1 14 11 9 37
Emh 1 1 0 1 1 0 4
Emotionally handicapped 1 0 1 1 2 1 6
Deaf or hard of hearing 0 0 1 0 0 0 0
Orthopedically impaired 0 0 0 0 2 0 2
Occupational therapy 2 2 0 1 5 1 11
Autistic 0 1 0 0 0 0 1
Gifted 0 0 1 3 1 2 7
Other health impaired 1 0 1 0 2 0 4
Total 14 15 9 25 31 18 112







64

University collaboration. To help educators with all of these changes, the school

enjoyed continued participation in a professional development program for a second year

developed through the local university. Topics of study during the 2004-2005 school year

included selected articles on inclusion, functional behavior assessments,

accommodations, behavior management, and other useful information for educators

experiencing the inclusion of students with disabilities for the first time.

Inclusion team meetings. Importantly, grade-level inclusion meetings were

created to address the academic and social needs of particular students. Evidence

suggested that teachers found these meetings to be invaluable, with teachers consistently

agreeing that more of these meetings were needed (Bondy & Williamson, 2006). These

meetings continued for a second year, the year in which data were collected for this

study.

Inclusion team meetings were held within grade-level or department-level teams

(i.e., resources, Success for All) with one team meeting per week. Thus, meetings with

each of the eight teams were held approximately every other month. Meetings were

scheduled after school and were supposed to last for one hour. In addition to the grade-

level or department-level team members, inclusion meeting participants included varying

members of the school's administrative team (e.g., principal, behavior resource teacher,

curriculum resource teacher, school guidance counselor, reading coach), the special

education teacher responsible for that grade level, the district's school psychologist, and

the professor in residence from the local university. Importantly, not all of the

administrative team was present during each meeting. This study is situated within the

context of these meetings.









Data Collection

The general aims of data collection for an inductive study are to achieve

maximum variation. This need for variation influences both participant selection and data

sources.

Study participants. All faculty, administrative staff, the district's school

psychologist, and the professor in residence were invited to participate in this study.

Informed consent of participants, as required by the University of Florida's Institution

Review Board (IRB) and the school district, were obtained from all participants.

Specifically, 27 general education teachers, 3 special education teachers, all 5 members

of the administration team, the district's school psychologist, and the professor in

residence participated in the study. This represents almost all faculty members from the

school. The only faculty who did not participate were those who were absent from their

teams' inclusion meeting on the day data were collected. Five participants were men. To

protect their identity, all participants were given female pseudonyms.

Data sources. A total of eight inclusion meetings occurring from November 2005

through February 2006, one for all six grade levels as well as the extra departments, were

audio-taped and transcribed verbatim by me. Half of the meetings lasted about 60

minutes, with the other half lasting about 90 minutes The numbers of participants at each

meeting ranged from 5 to 12 (i.e., kindergarten = 10, first = 5, second = 9, third = 12,

fourth = 5, fifth = 11, success for all = 5, resources = 10). This resulted in 287 pages of

data.

In addition, 21 follow up interviews were conducted with faculty, with at least

two or three teachers from each inclusion team represented. In addition to being varied

by grade and subject taught, teachers who were interviewed represented the full range of









teaching experience from early career teachers to veteran teachers. When possible, I

interviewed a veteran teacher and an early career teacher from each team. This was not

possible for all teams in that some teams were composed entirely of veteran teachers. All

interviews were transcribed verbatim by a paid transcriptionist and were checked for

validity by a retired community college faculty member and personal friend of mine.

Interviews were semi-structured (Kvale, 1996) and lasted from 15 to 30 minutes, with the

vast majority lasting closer to 30 minutes. Interviews resulted in 152 pages of data.

Data analysis. As noted earlier, two analysis methods were used including

inductive analysis (Hatch, 2002) and discourse analysis (Fairclough, 2003). I will

describe the inductive analysis methods used and then the discourse analysis methods

used.

To begin the analysis process, all transcripts were read in their entirety as "all

inductive analysis must begin with a solid sense of what is included in the data set"

(Hatch, 2002, p. 162). Next, I included an additional step of open coding all transcripts

(Strauss & Corbin, 1998). I added this step to make doubly sure that I was clear on

exactly what was included in my data set. Frames of analysis were identified for each of

my research questions. Frames for question one included all talk related to problem

descriptions including student attributes, what had already been tried to resolve the

problem, and problem interpretations. Frames for question two included all talk aimed at

offering solutions and responses that were not necessarily solutions to problems that were

raised. Frames of analysis for the third question included all talk related to the value of

meetings for teachers. Finally, frames for the fourth question included sections of

transcripts where teachers and other meeting participants co-constructed the problem and

response to the problems.









Next, domains were created using the data marked off as frames of analysis;

semantic relationships were identified. Salient domains germane to answering research

questions were identified and other domains were set aside. I then reread all data

inductively, looking for negative cases that would dispute my constructed domains. As a

result of this process, I moved from one subdomain to a different domain. In addition,

two subdomains were subsumed within another subdomain. Next, a master outline for

each subdomain was created. Data excerpts for each subdomain were identified.

To begin my discourse analysis, I needed some way to select relevant samples of

data for my detailed analysis (Fairclough, 2003). Inductive analyses suggested that the

value teachers derived from inclusion meetings varied. Criteria were established for

selecting positive and negative samples of discourse using findings from inductive

analyses of teacher interviews. Specifically, positive samples were selected if they

provided evidence of (a) social support, (b) learning opportunities, or (c) practical

support. In addition, positive samples were selected if the moved teachers toward

classroom-level solutions. Inductive analyses of teacher interviews suggested that

meetings were unproductive if they failed to generate solutions. Thus, samples of

dialogue were selected if they failed to generate classroom-level solutions that were

acceptable to the teacher. Thus, four positive examples and four negative examples were

selected, with one sample from each of the eight meetings.

Excerpts were broken into clauses for further analysis with one clause displayed

per line in a table. Next, excerpts were read in their entirety and salient text was marked

and preserved. Extraneous dialogue deemed minimally related or unrelated to problem

and response constructions were replaced with content summaries denoted by brackets

within the excerpt.









Next, speech functions and modalities were identified throughout each excerpt.

As noted in the definitions section of this chapter, two main speech functions were

identified: activity exchange and knowledge exchange. Activity exchanges are composed

of two parts: the demand and the offer (Fairclough, 2003). Importantly, the term demand,

as a linguistical term, is any number of verbs from request to open. For example, "I

requested that the parent conduct a classroom observation" is a demand.

The other part of an activity exchange is offer. This might be thought of as the

response to a request. Importantly, both demands and offers can be modulated. The

degree of modulation suggests the degree to which the actors are committed to the

obligation or necessity of the demand or offer. Specifically, a demand can be modulated

in three ways. It can be (a) prescriptive (e.g., sit down), (b) modulated (e.g., you could sit

down), or (c) proscriptive (e.g., don't sit down). As noted earlier, the modality chosen by

actors portends their level of commitment to their demand. Similarly, the offer or

response can be modulated. The offer can be (a) undertaken (e.g., I'll open the window),

(b) modulated (e.g., I may open the window), or (c) refused (I won't open the window)

(Fairclough, 2003). Offers and demands were identified and labeled.

The other kind of speech function is a knowledge exchange or exchange of

information. Knowledge exchanges are made up of two parts: statements and questions.

Statements can be (a) statements of fact about what is, was, or has been regarding the

case (e.g., he has problems reading), (b) predictions of what might happen in the future

including hypothetical (e.g., he will make a one on the standardized test), and (c)

evaluations (e.g., he is trying hard). In addition, statements are modulated, thus providing

insights into the actor's commitment to the truth he or she is espousing. Statements can

be (a) asserted as true (e.g., he is failing in math), (b) modulated (e.g., he may be failing







69

in math), and (c) denials (e.g., he is not failing math) (Fairclough, 2003). Statement types

and modalities were identified.

The other part of knowledge exchanges is questions. Questions "elicit other's

commitment to truth" (Fairclough, 2003, p. 167). As with statements, questions can be

(a) nonmodalized positive (e.g., is the student passing), (b) modalized (e.g., could the

student be passing), or (c) nonmodalized negative (isn't the student passing)

(Fairclough). After speech functions and modalities were identified, statement (i.e., fact,

irrealis, evaluation) and question types (i.e., yes/no interrogative and 'wh' interrogative)

were labeled. Once these analyses were completed, interpretations were written.

Trustworthiness. Although the trustworthiness of a study is ultimately judged

from the eyes of the reader, I used multiple tools to enhance the possibility that my

readers will judge it so. The techniques I used to improve this possibility included

(a) prolonged engagement, (b) peer debriefing, (c) multiple data source triangulation, and

(d) member checking. In addition, study reports should represent the entire data set as

much as possible (Hatch, 2003). To enable readers to interpret how well this was

accomplished, data labels were constructed as follows. First, as noted earlier, all

participants were given female pseudonyms to protect the anonymity of male

participants, which were consistently applied throughout this report. Since participant

roles are an important facet of this report, teacher data tags were coded with a T,

leadership team member tags were coded with an L, and other professional educators

were coded with OPE. Data quotes included in Chapter 4 come exclusively from

inclusion meetings. Data quotes regarding the value teachers found in inclusion meetings

come exclusively from teacher interviews. Thus, there is no special notation to attribute

data to interviews or meetings. Finally, the date applicable data were collected is noted.









For example, the label Linda (L) 12.05.05 would mean that the quote is attributed to a

leadership team member with the pseudonym of Linda and was uttered on December 5,

2005.

Work is considered more trustworthy if there is evidence of prolonged

engagement (Hatch, 2003). I have been involved with this school for 3 years. Thus, my

presence at the school had likely become less intrusive. Although there is evidence in

meeting transcripts that participants were aware of and in some cases spoke to the tape

recorder, my earlier participation in these meetings before the onset of my study assures

me that the meetings I observed and recorded were typical. In addition to prolonged

engagement, peer debriefing was an import tool for ensuring the trustworthiness of this

study.

As noted earlier, the professor in residence and I have collaborated on multiple

research projects at this school. Thus, it was only natural for me to discuss my work on

this project with her. Specifically, by phone and in person, we have discussed this project

from data collection through data analysis. Her contribution has been invaluable. In

addition to peer debriefing, as will be seen in the analysis chapters, I took care to

triangulate as many findings as was possible between the inclusion meeting transcripts

and teacher interviews. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, I did member checking

with my participants.

Member checking was done in two ways. First, preliminary findings were

presented at a faculty meeting where most of my participants gave me feedback. In

addition, at that meeting I asked for volunteers who would be willing to continue to

check my findings with me by email. Four volunteers signed up to do this. Thus,

whenever I wanted to check something out, I did so by mailing one or more of these

volunteers.









Limitations. As with any study, this study had multiple limitations. First, this

study was conducted at one urban elementary school in the southeastern United States.

Thus, readers will ultimately decide whether or not findings here are generalizable to

other settings (Glesne, 1999). Second, much of this work is interpretive; thus, others

looking at the same transcripts might construct different and equally valid interpretations.

Finally, since data were collected during naturally occurring meetings, I did not

feel comfortable directing participants to behave differently than they normally would.

Thus, unlike focus groups where ground rules can suggest what might help preserve

every word of data (e.g., no overlapping talk, no sidebars, limited numbers of

participants), teachers behaved normally during meetings. Consequently, there were

multiple sidebars occurring simultaneously and lots and lots of overlapping talk. In the

case of one meeting, talk was obliterated by the cutting out of dinosaurs from paper for

an impending play. Thus, even though I transcribed the tapes myself and worked very

hard to get every word verbatim, there were sections of meeting tapes that were not

discernable. This was far less of a problem with the interview tapes, for obvious reasons.

Overview of the Dissertation

In Chapter 4, findings from inductive analyses of grade-level inclusion meetings

are presented. Specifically, the kinds of problems and responses to those problems are

described. To begin Chapter 5, results from teacher interviews are presented to address

how these meetings were valued by teachers. Once this foundation is established, results

from discourse analyses are presented. Finally, Chapter 6 concludes with an overview of

the findings of this study, implications for practice, and recommendations for future

research.















CHAPTER 4
PROBLEM AND RESPONSE CONSTRUCTIONS GENERATED IN GRADE-LEVEL
INCLUSION MEETINGS

Introduction

Since scholars have suggested, based upon teacher reports, that problem-solving

meetings are helpful for teachers to learn new ways of working (Buysse, Sparkman, &

Wesley, 2003; Chalfant & Pysh, 1989), it is important to examine the possible learning

opportunities teachers have during meetings. Teacher learning during inclusion meetings

is influenced by three factors. First, possible learning opportunities are bounded by the

kinds of problems discussed during meetings. Specifically, if particular problems are not

discussed at meetings, opportunities to learn new things related to those problems would

not exist. Thus, in order to understand what kinds of learning opportunities exist at

meetings, it is important to better understand the kinds of problems teachers are

discussing at inclusion meetings.

Second, learning opportunities are bounded by the kinds of knowledge and

experiences meeting participants hold. Thus, understanding the kinds of responses

inclusion team members offer in response to problems provides insight into members'

knowledge and experiences. Finally, learning opportunities can be influenced by how

discussions unfold. For example, if discussions remain focused on problems within the

student, problems within the classroom might not be discussed. The purpose of this study

was to better understand the "black box" (Little, 2003, p. 915) of inclusion meetings as a

means for the professional development of teachers at an urban elementary school by









understanding the kinds of learning opportunities these meetings afford. Three research

questions guided this study:

* What kinds of problems are described at inclusion meetings?

* What kinds of responses are developed by the group in response to problems
presented?

* What value do these meetings have for teachers?

* How does dialogue constructed during inclusion meetings shape problem
construction and group responses?

What follows in Chapter 4 is a background description of inclusion meetings

including the purpose behind the meetings as well as the procedures used to facilitate

meetings. Next, in response to my first two research questions, is a typology of the kinds

of problems and responses to those problems discussed at eight inclusion meetings held

at Hopewell Elementary School during the 2005-2006 school year. These findings helped

establish a foundation for Chapter 5, which addresses my third question.

Specifically, Chapter 5 addresses how the dialogue of these meetings shaped both

the construction of problems and the responses to those problems using discourse

analysis (Fairclough, 2003). Using results from inductive analyses (Hatch, 2002), as well

as teacher reports about the value of inclusion meetings discussed during teacher

interviews, samples of discourse were selected to illustrate the influence of dialogue in

constructing problems and responses to those problems during inclusion meetings.

General Description of Inclusion Meetings

Inclusion meetings were held at Hopewell Elementary to assist teachers as they

included students with disabilities in regular education classrooms in response to the

school's failure to meet adequate yearly progress for this segment of the school's

population. Talk about high-stakes testing permeated almost every conversation, as

exemplified in this quote from a member of the leadership team: "All children will be









encouraged to do their utmost on the exam ... it's a high stakes test-do I need to say

more?" (Andra [L] 11.29.05). Thus, meetings were focused on helping students pass

standardized exams, so they could progress to the next grade level. Exemplary student

performance on exams would, in turn, help the school shed its label as a school in need of

improvement under No Child Left Behind requirements.

Participants typically included grade-level teaching faculty, members from the

leadership team, special education faculty, and other professional educators (OPE), the

professor in residence, and the school psychologist. Meetings were held after student

dismissal and lasted from an hour to an hour and a half. Notably, half of the meetings

were longer than an hour and exceeded the normal teacher workday.

Purpose of Meetings

Out of eight meeting transcripts, there were five references to the purpose of these

meetings. Meeting purposes were variously described by Andra, a leadership team

member and meeting facilitator, as meeting to "talk about students who need extra

support," students "who have flared up," and to "address teacher concerns." The most

explicit purpose statement found was uttered by Meg, an OPE, during one meeting: "the

whole purpose is to get everybody's wisdom all in one place at one time to help figure

out what's up with a kid and what to do." The "what to do" was constructed as next steps

for students being discussed. Importantly, it was not strictly defined as solving the

problem.

Meeting Procedures

Most inclusion meetings followed a similar procedure. Generally, meetings began

with the naming of students who were discussed at previous meetings by the facilitator

(i.e., principal or the assistant principal). Next, updates on students were provided by







75

homeroom teachers, or in the case of the two teams that were grouped by department, by

the teacher with the concern. Updates generally included information on academic

progress including reading levels and performance on recent formal and informal

assessments, as well as personal histories of students including disability status, retention

status, family considerations, and health status. As updates were provided, teachers

described the kinds of problems of practice they were experiencing with students.

Typically, these descriptions were socially constructed with input from all

members of the team with whom the student had contact. This coconstruction of

problems was made possible due to structural factors at the school, which facilitated

student contact with multiple faculty members. Structural factors included the Success

for All School (Klingner et al., 2006) reading model, the fine arts school model providing

two resource periods daily to all students, and the departmentalization of classes by

subject at the intermediate-grade levels. Further, various responsibilities of leadership

team members brought them into regular contact with many of the students discussed

during meetings (e.g., lunch duty, disciplinary processes, special education referrals).

During inclusion meetings, team members variously posed questions and offered

suggestions to presenting teachers. These exchanges sometimes took on characteristics of

a brainstorming session. Overlapping talk was common. In most cases but certainly not

in all as noted above, problem descriptions were met with "short-term actions" (Meg

[OPE] 1.24.06) that would be taken to mediate the problem. Occasionally, logistical

concerns such as getting students to tutoring on time or facilitating an aide's schedule

ruptured predominantly student-centered talk. Finally, time permitting, new challenges

faced by teachers were discussed.









Student Problems Discussed/Addressed

During inclusion meetings, teachers discussed two kinds of students about whom

they were concerned-students who were failing to progress academically and students

with challenging behaviors. Since a few students were discussed at more than one

meeting, problems were used as the unit of analysis. A little more than half of the

problems discussed were related to academics, with slightly less than half being related

to behaviors. These were highly personalized accounts. Often, multiple inclusion team

members knew much about the students they were discussing. Importantly, there was

some overlap between the problems of these students, which will be described in more

detail below; however, based upon teacher problem descriptions, behavior issues, when

present, were usually viewed as the primary issue to be resolved. Thus for analytical

purposes, students described as having both academic problems and behavior problems

were described under behavior problems.

In addition, during the initial analysis, two additional categories emerged that are

not presented here. Because those categories contained so few problems (i.e., one student

problem each), I went back to the original data to determine whether or not they were

substantively different from the other categories; in both cases, categories were

subsumed into other categories. Thus, the descriptions presented here represent only

those problems wherein a substantive number of students with those problems (i.e., more

than five) were discussed.

Many studies have suggested that teachers seek assistance with academic

problems experienced by their students (Chalfant & Pysh, 1989; Eidle et al., 1998;

Meyers et al., 1996). However, findings from this study provide more contextualized

accounts of these problems. Descriptions of two kinds of students characterized as failing









to progress academically emerged during inclusion meeting discussions including

students who exhibited high effort coupled with low performance and students who

exhibited inconsistent performance. What follows is a description of how meeting

participants described these particular students and their problems, including evidence

teachers cited to justify their concerns.

High Effort Coupled with Low Performance

One group of students about whom teachers were concerned was described as

trying hard academically without success. Generally, students within this category either

qualified for special education services under high-incidence categories such as specific

learning disabilities, mild mental retardation, or speech and language impairments, or

were students whom teachers believed needed special education testing and services.

Most of these problems were brought up by third-grade teachers, the year students faced

mandatory retention policies. For example, Jenni described her student noting, "I know

she's going to be tested into the ESE program, and she's probably going to go right in"

(11.20.05). Teachers (i.e., Carrie, Carmen, Jordis) and Corey, an OPE, occasionally

discussed children they described as "borderline." These were students who were tested

and did not qualify for special educational services. In addition to describing student's

disability status, teachers typically reported on the student's history of retention or the

possibility of being retained in the future. A history of retention added to the sense of

urgency to help students, as noted by Jordis: "Adam has been retained in first grade, and I

think his foresight [assessment] was unscorable. It's so bad" (11.30.05).

Students showing little or no progress were often described during inclusion team

meetings in terms of particular academic tasks that were challenging for them. For

example, Jenni described two students whose reading "comprehension is very low right









now and their fluency ... math is low too" (11.30.05). Similarly, Aisha described a

student with reading comprehension problems noting, "I'll ask her a question" about her

reading, and her response will "be related to the topic, but unrelated to the reading"

(11.30.05). In addition, teachers described memory and generalizing difficulties

experienced by these students. For example, Cori described her student's problem

remembering words when she read

Even from one sentence to the next, she would be reading along, and she would
... go through the [decoding] process, and the word would come up again in the
next sentence, and she would have to go through the entire [decoding] process; it
was like she had never seen the word before. (2.7.06)

Discussions about students always included statements about student effort.

Carrie explained her student's effort this way: "She tries, it's not like she's not trying.

She's trying but the progress just isn't coming, the growth just isn't coming" (11.30.05).

Of another student, Jordis averred, "Bless her heart, she tries" (11.30.05). In addition to

describing these students as hard working, they were often described as being very

likeable by teachers. "He has the cutest personality, cutest. I mean it's just adorable"

(Jeni [T] 11.30.05). Thus, these were likeable students who were described in terms of

skill deficits alongside effort.

Teachers justified their lack-of-progress claims by discussing how students failed

to respond to supports and interventions provided. Typical supports and interventions

described by teachers included moving students to lower reading groups, intensive

academic instruction, and curricular modifications. For example, Jenni noted that

students she considered to be struggling academically "are now in tutoring, and we're not

seeing much progress with them" (11.30.05). In addition to discussing how students

failed to respond to supports and interventions, teachers also shared evidence of

academic classroom struggles.









Teachers presented evidence from assessments and class work that suggested

students were struggling. For example, students at Hopewell were required to participate

in simulations of impending state assessments. Results from simulations were frequently

mentioned as teams discussed student progress. In particular, teachers discussed

differences in the raw scores from one testing point to the next (e.g., "she scored a 34,

which is low, but I mean she's definitely making progress, cause that's not an easy test,

and to make a 55 [during the second simulation], that's 21 points" [Olga [L] 11.29.05]).

In addition to these more formal kinds of assessments, it was not uncommon for seasoned

teachers to use their own judgments as evidence of concern. This is typified by a

statement made by Jenni, a third-grade teacher. "She's a very hard worker, but I foresee

her making ones [the lowest score on the state's exam] on both the reading and the math

again" (11.30.05).

Inconsistent Academic Performance

Students described as having inconsistent academic performance were

characterized by their ability to do very well at times and very poorly at other times.

Unlike students described as working hard but not making progress, these students were

perceived as being capable but lacking effort. Teachers described students as "lazy"

(Paula [T] 11.29.05), "off-task" (Jordis [T] 11.30.05), and "spacey" (Jasmine [T]

11.29.05). Medication also came up as a topic of discussion regarding these students.

Candace described her student as follows:

I really do believe he is very capable, 'cause I've sat down with him one-on-one,
listened to him read, had him go back into the article to pick the right answers,
and he did it; but then he'll sit there and be lazy when you don't push him.
(11.30.05)







80

Inconsistent performance also was noted among subjects. For example, Bonnie described

one of her students this way:

He comes to reading, he's prepared, he's ready to go, every once in awhile he'll
daydream and I have to snap my fingers to get him back, but he does the work, he
does the Pause Strategy [a reading comprehension strategy], he Proves everything
[a reading comprehension strategy], he does what he's supposed to. Then he goes
math then he comes to science, I don't know what his problem is in science,
it's the weirdest thing. (11.29.05)

Students also were described as "tired all the time" (Olga [L] 11.29.05) or dragging;

however, even this behavior was inconsistent: "He's not tired when he wants to clown

with his friends" (Jasmine [T] 11.29.05). Thus, students were characterized as capable,

but often off-task and inconsistent performers.

Since there were fewer data points (i.e., failing test scores) to substantiate

problem claims for students described as having inconsistent performance, teachers relied

more on professional judgment across multiple teachers to justify the existence of

problems. For example, a fifth-grade student had three teachers making the same kinds of

comments about him, while a third-grade student had two teachers expressing concern. In

addition, the only objective data point described by teachers was frequency of absences.

Finally, the disability status of one of the students was noted by teachers: "He's staffed

for only social/emotional" (Candace [T] 11.30.05).

Challenging Behaviors

Findings from this study were consistent with existing studies suggesting that

teachers reported needing assistance with students with a wide range of behavior

concerns, or what some studies termed socio-emotional concerns (Chalfant & Pysh,

1989; Eidle et al., 1998; Meyers et al., 1996). Unlike previous studies, findings described

here provide salient details about characteristics of reported problems, as classification







81

schemes often lose meaning (Berger & Luckman, 1966). In addition, findings shared here

illuminate how teachers justified the concerns they brought forward at meetings.

Teachers described four kinds of challenging student behaviors including (a) attendance

problems, (b) behavior problems and low academic performance, (c) persistent annoying

small behaviors, and (d) aggressive behaviors.

Absences. Attendance was especially concerning for teachers because of the

high-stakes testing environment, as is suggested by the comments of Jenni:

She's been out three days this week and ... I don't want anybody saying to me at
the end of the year that I didn't-you know what I mean [did not do everything
possible]. Like she's absent so much, there's no way she'd pass the [state's high-
stakes exam]. (11.30.05)

Problems were described and justified in terms of the numbers of absences and

interventions already tried. For example, while discussing the problem of a fifth-grade

student who often came to school but left early after slipping to the clinic to call his

mom, a member of the leadership team met with the mom to ask for her help. She

reported that the mother said, "I don't want the children to be out. They complain a lot,

and I'm going to stop coming at the drop of a hat but apparently, she's still

continuing to do that" (Andra [L] 11.30.05). Teachers reported sending the truancy

officer to check on another student with high rates of absenteeism. Bonnie reported using

praise to reinforce her student's attendance. "I actually paid him a compliment. Oh, Jon,

it's nice to see you again. This is getting better, I like this. See, it's nice when you're

here, I really appreciate it" (11.29.05). Finally, teachers noted that these students had

missed so much school that they were failing many of their subjects.

Behavior problems and low academics. Salient characteristics of these students

included the presence of serious problems coupled with behavior and academic problems.









Teachers suggested that behaviors influenced poor academics and vice versa. Behaviors

were often interpreted by teachers as ways for students to escape academic instruction.

For example, while the team was discussing how one student threw a chair during class,

Mildred noted "that's his way of escaping" work ([T] 12.13.05).

Students were described as "lacking self-control" (Lexa [T] 1.31.06), with some

teachers reporting that these students often displayed aggressive behaviors. Teachers

noted that many problems occurred during transitions and large-group teacher

presentations. Aggressive behaviors in younger students included "biting" (Nicole [T]

1.24.06) and "kicking" (Cait [L] 1.24.06) and for older students included "throwing

things" (Lexa [T] 1.31.06) and being generally disruptive. Thus, students had frequent

encounters with the front office for behavior referrals, and in some cases, suspensions.

Teachers also mentioned problems with peer relations. For example, a primary

teacher said of one of her students, "I've been asked to keep [this student away] from

several of my other students by parents of my other students [in] my centers" (Mandy [T]

1.10.06). Finally, teachers also mentioned that often these students had low verbal

abilities, with one student being described as "nonverbal with adults" (Meg [OPE]

1.31.06).

Academically, students were described as reluctant to engage in tasks. For

example, Lexa reported, "I'm having the most challenge being successful with Carl. It is

just... he avoids and avoids and avoids" (1.31.06). Another teacher observed that a

student wanted to go to the bathroom when work was too challenging. In addition,

teachers noticed very little academic progress. For example, Mandy explained, "I just

tested him again today um and there's not a lot of progress in reading-he's pretty much

plateaued" (1.10.06).









Multiple kinds of support were given to these students including peer support,

tutoring, and academic modifications, such as breaking academic tasks into smaller

pieces. However, teachers characterized academic supports as ineffective in helping

students, as noted by a fourth-grade teacher:

This child is absolutely not functioning in the classroom. There is nothing he can
do on his own, and even with him sitting one-to-one with [the special education
teacher], he barely, and I'm not exaggerating, can write his name; he's a fourth
grade student who's supposed to be in fifth grade, and I just really like our
inclusion model, but we are not meeting his needs; we are not even coming close
to meeting this child's needs. (Debra [T] 12.13.05)

Notably, the only intervention for behavior described by teachers other than referrals,

suspensions, and timeouts was seeing the guidance counselor on a limited basis.

Annoying and persistent small behaviors. Students with annoying and

persistent behaviors were described by teachers as "easily distracted" (Bonnie [T]

11.29.05; Jane [T] 12.13.05) and "disruptive" (Mandy [T] 1.10.06). Academically,

students were described as working at grade level or above. Common teacher complaints

included calling out and talking out of turn. Teachers noted younger students had

difficulties keeping their hands to themselves and running in the classroom, whereas

older students were described as avoiding responsibility for their own behaviors. Lexa

described a recent incident with one of her students this way:

He'll hop up and run go get scissors 'cause he'll want to cut his painting up or
something you know he just... it's not too hard to keep on top of that... I don't
usually get him in trouble I say, "Oh, no no no, that's not for this project.
Remember, for this project we're just using these materials." (1.31.06)

They were also typified based on things they did not do-they were not

aggressive students, although they often had difficulties with peers. One teacher

described her student as follows, "The reason you don't see discipline referrals is that it's

not like necessarily disrespectful all the time or aggressive, nasty behavior, it's just







84

constant" (Debra 12.13.05). Jane put it this way, "It's not like he's hurting somebody or

doing anything terrible, but it's the accumulation of it all" (12.13.05). Thus, these

students were considered a problem on the basis of the accumulation of small but

annoying behaviors.

As with other kinds of student problems, the fact that the student was

experiencing difficulties in multiple settings was of concern for teachers. For example,

during the fourth grade meeting, both classroom teachers present made similar comments

about one student. In addition, teachers noted that some of these students had been

formally diagnosed with ADHD.

Since the school had far fewer accommodations and supports for students

experiencing behavior problems than for academic problems, families were perceived as

the best source of help for teachers with these kinds of problem behaviors. Teachers,

however, reported being frustrated with family interactions. For example, one parent was

described as blaming the school for problems, suggesting that her son was acting out

because he was not being challenged. Most parents did acknowledge the problems of

their children. Notably, that did not improve the quality of teacher/parent interactions.

For example, a kindergarten teacher expressed frustration that her student's mother

missed four scheduled meetings. Debra, a fourth-grade teacher cited her encounter with

the parent of one of these children thusly:

Not too long ago, I had an hour conference on a Friday with his mother, we've
made repeated phone calls, there's no reading homework coming in, I mean they
seem like conscientious parents, they give you the right words, but there's no
follow through. (12.13.05)

Finally, at the mid-point of the school year, teachers reported that a parent said she

continued to have difficulty finding a doctor to seek treatment for her son's ADHD and

had therefore not been able to help.







85

Aggressive behaviors. Teachers described problems with students who displayed

significant behavior problems, who were also on grade level academically. Teachers also

noticed that once these students were actively engaged in work, there were fewer

behavior problems.

It was the severe behaviors, however, that teacher found most troubling. For

example, one teacher described a student as "making unsafe trouble" (Jane [T] 12.13.05).

Unsafe trouble included such things as "hurting people" (Debra [T] 12.13.05) and

"throwing things" (Mildred [T] 12.13.05). Teachers felt they had to keep a watchful eye

on these students at all times. Behaviors were often categorized as being "aggressive"

(Debra [T] 12.13.05) or "defiant" (Linda [L] 1.31.06). Frequency of disciplinary

problems was discussed by teachers with the behaviors of one student deemed severe

enough for teachers to recommend that the student be evaluated for special education

placement in the district's separate school for students with severe emotional

disturbances.

Teachers justified their concerns about these students by describing parental

acknowledgment of aggression problems. The fact that one student had been diagnosed

with ADHD and was taken off the medication added to the perceived veracity of the

claim that there was indeed a problem with this student. Finally, the presence of student

difficulties in multiple classrooms was another way teachers justified their concerns.

Responses/Suggestions to Address Problems

Responses or suggestions to problems with students discussed during inclusion

meetings included (a) family-level responses, (b) classroom-level responses, (c) school-

level responses, and (d) responses that suggested no changes for students. Family-level

responses and classroom-level responses were discussed far more frequently than school-







86

level responses and responses that suggested no changes. What follows is a description of

each kind of response. Descriptions include details about the responses, the kinds of

problems that were being addressed, and how teams supported or justified their particular

responses.

Family-Level Responses

Faculty at the school considered families to be important to the overall success of

students. Thus, in response to teacher concerns about students, it was common for

inclusion teams to suggest involving families directly in the educational process of their

children. Involving families was recommended for all student-problem types. Teams

suggested involving families by (a) providing families with additional materials to help

their child at home, (b) convening a family solutions team meeting (FSTM), and (c)

using the home/school liaison to gain access to families.

One recommendation made by inclusion team members for students who were

struggling academically was to send materials for families to use to work with their

children at home. Suggested materials included laminated sight word cards, sight word

lists, and reading packages. For example, during one meeting, a member of the leadership

team suggested sending home sight word lists multiple times: "Take you a ream of paper,

and um send it home as a packet for the holidays. Put it on red paper, if you have to or

green paper .. just send it in a different format" (Andra [L] 12.06.05). In addition, there

was discussion at two inclusion meetings about creating parent workshops to help parents

learn how to better help their children. Teachers' experiences enlisting parent support

inspired these suggestions.

Teachers at Hopewell frequently asked families to assist their children at home

with school work with some success. Thus, sending home materials for families to use







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with their children was not a novel suggestion to address academic concerns for students.

For example, Carrie's report of how she involved a parent exemplifies this:

I have been working with mom since the first day of school, sending extra
materials home, this is what we do in class, teaching, you know, showing mom
how we do it in class. Giving her more reading stuff, giving her, you know, the
vocabulary list, um. Sending things home that she's done in class for mom to go
over with her outside of class um I've sent home extra reading books so that she
can be ahead of what Carmen's doing for the reading class and she can go over
vocabulary with her mom and reread stories to practice the fluency on the words
out loud. (11.30.05)

In addition to securing parental assistance at home, inclusion team members frequently

suggested involving families in problem solving meetings referred to as Family Solutions

Team Meetings (FSTMs).

Convening FSTMs was the most frequent family-level response. FSTMs were

recommended for a variety of student-problem types including (a) students with

inconsistent academic performance, (b) absences, and (c) persistent annoying behaviors.

Guidelines for FSTMs were generated at the beginning of the school year and were

available for teachers in a "packet" and in the "handbook" (Linda [L] 12.06.05). Stated

purposes for these meetings included discussion with families about student problems

with academics, behavior, and attendance. Meetings were intended to include family

members, all teachers who had direct contact with the student, as well as school

administrators. FSTMs were designed to be precursors to EPTs, although as noted by

Linda, a leadership team member, "not every Family Solutions will result in an EPT

referral and then testing" (12.06.05).

Often, teams suggested convening these meetings when problems at school could

only be handled from home (e.g., behavior related to medication issues, absences). There

were, however, other occasions when FSTMs were recommended for challenging

classroom behaviors such as moving around during class and calling out because, as







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Linda pointed out, "behavior is one of the things that the family solutions team can take a

lead on; and we need to sit with all of the stakeholders and come up with strategies to

help this child be successful" (12.13.05). Arguably, the "stakeholders" for help with

classroom instruction (i.e., reading teacher, math teacher, school counselor, behavior

resource teacher) were already at the table during the inclusion team meeting. Thus, this

recommendation may have prolonged the amount of time needed to find ways to best

mitigate the problem.

The final suggestion to involve parents was for the home/school liaison to visit

the parent on behalf of the school. This recommendation to seek the assistance of the

home/school liaison to bring family members to school was made to address a

kindergarten teacher's concern that a parent did not show up for a meeting with teachers

on four occasions. In particular, teachers were concerned about the student's behavior.

This problem was complicated by teacher turnover; thus, it was reasoned that this

meeting would also give the new teacher an opportunity to speak directly with the parent.

Classroom-Level Responses

Classroom-level responses included suggestions or responses to (a) consider how

the student was functioning in the classroom, (b) change teaching methods to better

address student needs, and (c) influence student motivation. These suggestions were

made for students with all types of problems except absences.

Recommendations to consider how the student was functioning in the classroom

emerged in two ways. First, a more formal route to establishing student functioning was

discussed for students already labeled with disabilities. For a student with low academics

and behavior problems, the team recommended the district's behavior specialist come

into the classroom and observe, thinking that "she might have pointers" (Linda [L]







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12.13.05) for ways to improve problems with both behavior and academics in classroom.

The team also discussed the possibility of doing an Individual Educational Plan update so

that a formal functional behavior assessment (FBA) could be done. By design, FBAs

define the conditions under which undesirable behaviors occur, which is the first step

toward establishing ways to better help the student behave acceptably in the classroom.

The second way this occurred was through teachers responding to questions about

the student's behavior in the classroom posed by various team members. For example,

one of the resource teachers made the following observation about a student with

persistent annoying behaviors in response to inclusion team members' questions: "I do

have movement problems with him um the first 5 or 10 minutes of class time during my

direct instruction" (Lexa [T] 1.31.06). She went on to suggest that "maybe it's just the

way it's [class] structured or something that he has trouble handling it" (Lexa [T]

1.31.06). A bit later in the discussion, she remembered that students were coming to her

after the intensive 90-minute reading block. This led to the team brainstorming ways to

allow all students to move (e.g., marching, stretching) before she began giving directions.

In another example, by answering the question "when does your student work

best" (Meg [OPE] 1.31.06), one of the resource teachers decided that her student needed

simplified tasks and directions given one at a time for the student to be most successful.

Another teacher realized that her student performed best when she set the tone for class

early by greeting him at the door, as well as when she put extra effort forward in offering

him pats on the back and praise. Thus, instead of relying on an outside observer to assist

with defining optimal learning environments for students, teachers determined their own

answers through discussion and reflection. In addition to matching classroom interactions









to student needs through discussion, inclusion teams made recommendations to use

different teaching methods.

During several inclusion meetings, teachers brought forward particular concerns

about problems with students' reading comprehension. Thus, a lot of talk was constructed

around different ways to improve students' reading comprehension. Sometimes, teachers

shared ways of teaching particular things. After hearing the concerns from an early career

teacher about a student who was struggling with reading comprehension, a teacher with

more experience made the following suggestion:

I didn't start with the textbook with my kids because to me, a 20-page story is
discouraging. I remember I was a struggling reader when I was a kid. It took me
3 hours to read 17 pages in a basal reader. I'll never forget that. So I didn't start
that way, and I started with the articles on paper. Keisha and Gary [two students]
were saying that once I get down to the bottom of the page, [they] can't remember
what the top of the page said. So we stopped, and we covered up the bottom of
the page, and we read one paragraph. I have them tell me what that paragraph
said, in their own words, or they could write it down in the margins what the
paragraph said, and then once they understood that paragraph, then we moved on
to the next paragraph. And it wasn't like we were tackling the whole thing at
once, we were tackling little bit by little bit. (Carrie [T] 1.30.05)

Another example occurred during a second grade inclusion meeting where it was

recommended that teachers use big books and word banks to make words more

meaningful for word-calling students. In other meetings, technology was suggested as a

potential help for students with reading problems including the use of specialized

computer reading programs, as well as older technology such as reading masters, which

say the word printed on a specialized card via a magnetic strip. Thus, teachers often

shared particular ways of teaching with their colleagues during inclusion meetings.

Other important classroom-level suggestions were related to finding ways to

motivate students. For example, Carrie found that reading guides were both useful and

motivating for her students:







91

They have .. lines, two white lines on the top and this translucent bright yellow
high-lighted strip. To see my kids get so excited, my 10 reading kids, and boy,
they were following along and they knew where their partner was, and they were
so on-task, just to see this yellow strip over one word, and they could follow
along with each other, they knew that their partner was on the right thing, um. To
see the enthusiasm with those kids today, with just this new tool, was amazing.
(1.30.05).

In another example, when an intermediate teacher noted that one of her students enjoyed

"clowning" with his friends instead of working, it was suggested that student might need

to work with peers to better maintain his engagement. Finally, another response to

teacher concerns was to suggest teachers use reinforcement for academic performance.

For example, one of the reading tutors described a student who decided "to read stories

creatively."

He's a child that is capable of reading and I don't know what has transpired
because I know that the first semester he was doing really well ... [He] will
sound out a word ... and he's made the correct sounds ... [now] he will just stick
any word in. The next thing that I know, he's just making up the story. (Rosemary
[T] 2.07.06)

The team agreed with the teacher's own suggestion that using extrinsic reinforcement

(i.e., M & Ms), in addition to letting this student write creative stories, might help the

situation.

Importantly, classroom conditions cannot always be changed, such as the need for

teachers to give directions. Thus, the team often made suggestions to help the student

make changes in his or her behavior. For example, it was suggested during a meeting that

for one student identified as having trouble listening to teacher directions that the teacher

bargain with the student. The bargain would clarify for the student what was coming

next, and what the student needed to do to participate. Meg, an OPE, suggested model

language for the bargain as follows:

Say we're going to do this [name the task] and I want you to be able to do this
with everybody. Are you going to be able to-and you know, name a few specific
things you need to have him do. Do you think this is going to work? (1.31.06)









Finally, it was recommended that serious attention be given to establishing

relationships with students; especially with students who displayed aggressive behaviors.

For example, teachers at the meeting described how problems with aggression in their

classrooms diminished once they reached out to the student on a more personal level.

Ruth explained how she did it:

I've been going to see him about twice a week in the mornings. I just sit down
and we talk ... I just check in and ask ... do you play football, you know, what
are you doing, can I sit, can I watch the news with you, that kind of thing. Now
he's like when he does come to me it's special, and I made him a leader of a team,
and um he's doing great for me. He smiles, and he's happy when I see him.

Thus, the recommendation was to simply get to know the child better and give him or her

extra, more positive attention.

School-Level Responses

Occasionally, inclusion team members recommended changes in placements. In

particular, placement changes were recommended for students who were struggling

academically with and without behavior problems. In addition, inclusion team members

suggested changes in placement for students who were deemed overly aggressive.

First, when teachers expressed concerns that students were not progressing

academically, inclusion team members suggested that EPT meetings be called to begin

the special education referral process. This recommendation was made multiple times

during a meeting with second-grade teachers, the year before students were subject to

retention for failing to pass the state exam. With the exception of one teacher,

second-grade teachers were not in the habit of referring students for special education;

thus by third grade, there was a backlog of students needing to be tested. This prompted a

leadership team member to cajole teachers to "get the referrals in early, go on-I would

want you all to go on and do your referrals, do not have them stacking up so that we have

20 or more sitting right now sitting in the third grade hopper" (Andra [L] 12.06.05).