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1 HOW EXPERT SECONDARY SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS CONCEPTUALIZE TEACHING LITERACY IN THEIR CONTENT AREA TO STUDENTS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES By ALEXANDRA A. LAUTERBACH 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 2013
2 2013 Alexandra A. Lauterbach
3 To my beautiful and brilliant mother, Dr. Sarah Steen Lauterbach Awakening and nurturing meaning and understanding
4 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I would like to take this opportunity to thank all whom supported me in the completion of my doctoral program. First and foremost, I would like to thank Dr. Mary T. Brownell for her ment orship as my advisor and chair. I would like to thank my committee, Dr. Elizabeth Bondy, Dr. Jean Crockett, and Dr. Linda Lombardino, for their guidance throughout my doctoral program and the dissertation writing process I would lik e to thank all of my informal mentors : Dr. Max van Manen, Dr. Patricia Munhall, and Dr. Ron Burr. I would like to thank Rachel Laramee for her help with her extensive help with the editing of my dissertation. I would like to thank the school, which was the site of the study, which welcomed me in and supported me during the development of the study and the data collection. I would like to thank the participants in my study, whose dedication and expertise inspired me. I would like to thank my colleagues : A mber Benedict, Dr. Yujeong Park, Elizabeth Bettini, Brian Trutschel, Dr. Susan Long, Kristin Murphy, Laura King, Rachel Thomas, and Jenna Kimerling. The hours we spent studying, writing, giggling, and crying are what have gotten me through the doctoral pr ogram I would also like to thank all of the project coordinators I have worked with: Dr. Melinda Leko, Dr. Mary Theresa Keily, and Dr. Margarette Kamman, f or the example of professionalism and friendship they have set. I would like to thank Patrick Shre ve and Jody Berman, whose lov e and support were invaluable. Finally, I would like to thank my family: my grandmother, Sarah Helen Steen, who created a legacy of education in my family; m y siblings, Marlow and Jared, with whom I shared all m y burdens over the past years; m y nephew, Walter Mason, who reminding m e that living a well rounded life is my priority ; Missy and Billy, whom I love with all of my heart; my parents, both of whom acculturated me into academia as a child, and saw my fate so
5 clearly I w ould like to thank my mother, Dr. Sarah Steen Lauterbach, who was my secret committee member. Her dissertation, articles and chapters translated hermeneutic phenomenology for me, and her guidance through t he data analysis was priceless. My father, Dr. Wa lter Lauterbach, whose dissertation provided inspiration and whose promise to look down on me from heaven as I walk in graduation provided me the motivation to continue.
6 TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS .................................................................................................. 4 LIST OF FIGURES .......................................................................................................... 9 ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................... 10 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................... 11 Research Problem and Rationale ........................................................................... 11 Purpose of the Study .............................................................................................. 17 Definition of Terms .................................................................................................. 19 Expertise .......................................................................................................... 19 Learning Disabilities ......................................................................................... 20 Domain ............................................................................................................. 20 Conceptualize ................................................................................................... 21 2 LITERATURE REVIEW .......................................................................................... 22 The Literature Search ............................................................................................. 23 The Domain Specific Nature of Expertise within Secondary Content Areas and Special Education ................................................................................................ 25 Social Studies ................................................................................................... 26 English Language Arts ..................................................................................... 30 Mathematics ..................................................................................................... 37 Science ............................................................................................................. 42 Special Education ............................................................................................. 52 Discussion .............................................................................................................. 55 Challenges ....................................................................................................... 57 Future Research ............................................................................................... 59 3 RESEARCH DESIGN ............................................................................................. 60 Research P erspective ............................................................................................. 60 Theoretical Perspective .......................................................................................... 61 Site of Study ........................................................................................................... 63 Participants ............................................................................................................. 64 Procedures ............................................................................................................. 65 Turning to the Nat ure of Lived Experience ....................................................... 66 The Existential Investigation ............................................................................. 67 Phenomenological Reflection ........................................................................... 70 Hermeneutic Phenomenological Writing .......................................................... 71 Presentation of Findings ......................................................................................... 72 4 RESULTS ............................................................................................................... 75
7 Wright ..................................................................................................................... 76 Wrights Preparation and Training .................................................................... 77 Wrights Classroom .......................................................................................... 78 Wrights L ived Experience ................................................................................ 79 Developing literacy skills with an eye toward the future ............................. 79 Understanding students learning disabilities ............................................. 81 Designing instruction to further students learning ..................................... 84 Geoffrey .................................................................................................................. 94 Geoffreys Preparation and Training ................................................................. 95 Geoffreys Classroom ....................................................................................... 95 Geoffreys Lived Experience ............................................................................. 97 Developing literacy skills with an eye toward the future ............................. 97 Understanding students learning disabilities ............................................. 98 Designing instruction to further students learning ................................... 100 Teagan .................................................................................................................. 109 Teagans Preparation and Training ................................................................ 110 Teagans Classroom ...................................................................................... 111 Teagans Lived Experience ............................................................................ 112 De veloping literacy skills with an eye toward the future ........................... 112 Understanding students learning disabilities ........................................... 114 Designing instruction to further students learning ................................... 115 Conclusion ............................................................................................................ 125 5 DISCUSSION ....................................................................................................... 133 Discussion ............................................................................................................ 133 Connections with the Extant Literature ................................................................. 134 Secondary Teacher Expertise in the Content Areas and Special Education .. 134 Literacy Instruction in the Content Areas ........................................................ 141 Limitations ............................................................................................................. 145 Implications ........................................................................................................... 145 Future Research ................................................................................................... 148 APPENDIX A BACKGROUND SURVEY .................................................................................... 150 B INITIAL INTERVIEW PROTOCOL ........................................................................ 153 C THINK ALOUD INTERVIEW PROTOCOL ............................................................ 155 D ELICITATION INTERVIEW PROTOCOL .............................................................. 156 E WRIGHTS WRITING GRAPHIC ORGANIZER .................................................... 158 F WRIGHTS WRITING RUBRIC ............................................................................. 162 G GEOFFREYS NOTE TAKING TEMPLATE .......................................................... 163 H TEAGANS GRAPHIC ORGANIZER .................................................................... 165
8 I TEAGANS INSPIRATION WRITING OUTLINE ................................................... 166 LIST OF REFERENCES ............................................................................................. 168 BIOGRAPH ICAL SKETCH .......................................................................................... 176
9 LIST OF FIGURES Figure page 3 1 Model of van Manens method of phenomenology (1984, p.5). .......................... 73 3 2 Modified model of van Manens method of phenomenology. .............................. 74
10 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 HOW EXPERT SECONDARY SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS CONCEPTUALIZE TEACHING LITERACY IN THEIR CONTENT AREA TO STUDENTS WITH LEARNING DISABILITIES By ALEXANDRA A. LAUTERBACH August 2013 Chair: Mary T. Brownell Major: Special Education This study provides insight into the cognition of expert content area teachers with specialized knowledge in teaching literacy to students with learning disabilities (LD), with the purpose of developing an understanding of expertise in teaching literacy in the content areas t o secondary students with LD. This study used hermeneutic phenomenology to explore teachers perceptions of teaching secondary students with LD literacy within their content areas, answering the question: How do expert secondary content area teachers conc eptualize teaching literacy in their content area with students with learning disabilities? Using three different interviews: an initial interview, a think aloud interview, and an elicitation interview, the researcher obtained experiential descriptions fr om the participants. Following a modified model of van Manens (1984) m ethod of phenomenology, the researcher engaged in an analysis from which d escriptions of the teachers lived experiences were derived, reflecting how they conceptualized their instruct ion, their framework for teaching. The teachers frameworks included their conceptualizations of: (a) developing literacy skills with an eye toward the future; (b) understanding students learning disabilities; and (c) designing instruction to further stud ents learning.
11 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION Research Problem and Rationale Many teachers work unsuccessfully to prepare students with learning disabilities (LD) to meet curriculum demands at the middle and secondary levels (Deshler, Schumaker, Lenz, Bulgren, Hoc k, Knight, & Ehren, 2001). Students with LD struggle to make adequate gains toward grade level standards, putting them at great risk for not completing high school with a regular diploma and threatening their ability to pursue a postsecondary education, be it career training or college (Cortiella, 2011). The number of full time, first time freshmen with LD enrolled in colleges and universities has increased from .05% of all freshmen in 1983 to 3.3% of all freshmen in 2008 (Pryor et al., 2008), indicating that significantly more students with LD attend postsecondary institutions now than did in the past (Sharpe & Johnson, 2001). In spite of this increase in enrollment, their enrollment rates are still significantly lower than their typically developing peers. According to the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2 (NLTS 2) report (2009), only 34.7% of students with LD attend 2year/community colleges after leaving secondary school and only 15.9% attend 4year colleges. The challenges teachers experience in serving these students are likely the direct result of the literacy difficulties students with LD experience in content area instruction. Approximately 80% of students with LD demonstrate difficulty with reading (Kavale & Forness, 1999). As students t ransition from elementary school, literacy demands become increasingly challenging. During the lower elementary grades, texts contain familiar, highfrequency words. In the upper elementary grades, the ideas and language become more abstract and more subtle and the vocabulary is less familiar (Chall, Jacobs, & Baldwin, 1990, p. 11). Chall et al. (1990) describe d the change
12 between these stages as a transition from learning to read to reading to learn (p. 14). Essentially, students gain access to know ledge in their content area classes through reading. Also, Chall (1983) asserted, Knowledge can be acquired only if one knows how to read the texts that contain it (p. 70). Because many students with LD have reading disabilities, they are unable to gain access to the knowledge contained in texts unless they receive proper reading instruction and support. Though the shift from learning to read to reading to learn affects many students, the transition is more problematic for students with LD. Because of the reading problems students with LD face, they read less over time and as a consequence have less exposure to the knowledge and vocabulary that reading text repeatedly provides. As a result, these students fall further and further behind, and a gap in t heir performance emerges. Warner, Schumaker, Alley, and Deshler (1980) explored the performance gap between what students are expected to do and what they can do. For students with LD, the gap grows larger over time, especially in the later grades when the academic growth of students with LD plateaus. In a more recent study, Wei, Blackorby, and Schiller (2011) found further evidence of a performance gap. Researchers compared students across 11 different disability categories and found that the gap bet ween expectations and performance in reading grew over time and that students with LD were unable to close the gap. Consequently, these students were unable to meet the demands of required courses in the content areas in high school (Warner et al., 1980). Because of the challenges all students experience when the literacy requirements of content area texts increase, advocates have pushed to include literacy instruction in content area classrooms for more than a decade (Mraz, Rickelman, &
13 Vacca, 2009; MonteSano, 2011). Researchers have long believed there was great value in teaching literacy in the content area for both improving literacy skills and content area learning (Anders & Levine, 1990; Bean, 2000; Dishner & Olson, 1989; Moore, Readence, & Rickleman, 1983). One strategy for integrating literacy instruction into content area classes, called content area literacy, is grounded in the notion that reading, regardless of the content area, requires similar cognitive processes (Fang, 2012). As such, more general literacy strategies have been promoted, such as summarizing, outlining, and using graphic organizers (Johnson, Watson, Delahunty, McSwiggen, & Smith, 2011; MonteSano, 2011). These general practices are useful across many different content areas ( Heller & Greenleaf, 2007; Moje, 2008), especially for students with LD (FaggellaLuby, Graner, Deshler, & Drew, 2012). For students with LD, the inclusion of literacy instruction offers more opportunities to practice literacy skills and to do so in the context in which they are needed (Ehren, Deshler, & Graner, 2010), Recently, Shannon and Shannon (2008) proposed a new approach called disciplinary literacy to infusing reading into content area classes. Disciplinary literacy advocates believe that reading is content specific and that understanding the oral and written language of a discipline requires more than just the ability to decode and comprehend the text. It requires that students understand the ways of thinking associated with a discipline (M onteSano, 2011). Shanahan and Shanahan (2008) explored how experts in different disciplines read texts and found that experts used distinctly different approaches depending on the discipline in which they were trained. Furthermore, the texts themselves vary significantly across subjects, containing different vocabulary and text structures specific to the discipline (Moje, 2010). Proponents of disciplinary literacy see content area literacy as problematic because it overlooks the
14 domain specific nature of content area reading (Shannon & Shannon, 2012; Fang, 2012). Although a great deal of research on the impact of content area literacy has been conducted with students with LD, very few studies have explored the effectiveness of disciplinary literacy instru ction on the learning of such students (FaggellaLuby et al., 2012). Deciding between content area literacy instructional practices and domain literacy instructional practices to teach and support students with LD in learning the content requires judgment on the teacher s part, because little research on the effectiveness of domain literacy instructional practices exists for this population. To what degree, however, are content area teachers prepared to make such judgments and teach literacy skills to stud ents with disabilities? The results of research exploring the attitudes, beliefs, and preparedness of content area teachers towards incorporating literacy instruction into their classes do not bode well for students with LD. A number of the earliest studies exploring this question found that secondary teachers are resistant to incorporating literacy instruction into their content area classes (Alvermann & Moore, 1991; O'Brien & Stewart, 1992; O'Brien, Stewart, & Moje, 1995; Ratekin, Simpson, Alvermann, & Dishner, 1985). In a review of such literature, Hall (2005) asked the following questions: (a) What were preservice and inservice teachers beliefs towards incorporating reading instruction into their content area? (b) How did preservice and inservice training influence teachers beliefs and practices? Hall found similarities in the beliefs of preservice teachers and the beliefs of inservice teachers. First, Hall found that both groups did not appear to feel responsible for students inability to read texts in their classes. The teachers beliefs that reading instruction was worthwhile did not result in more reading instruction in their classrooms. Both groups felt that learning the content took priority over reading, that learning the content could be
15 done independently of reading, and that traditional teaching methods such as lecturing could circumvent students reading difficulties. Finally, preservice teachers felt underprepared to teach reading and that it was not their responsibility, whereas inse rvice teachers also felt underprepared but saw value in learning to teach reading in the content area. Addressing the second question, Hall found that preservice teacher coursework could influence their attitudes toward teaching reading but did not necess arily affect their practice, especially if the preservice teachers believed it would not be valued in their schools. Inservice teachers attitudes toward content area reading could also be changed, but this also did not translate into instructional changes, especially when inservice teachers felt that they had learned generic strategies that did not apply to their content area, and when they did not feel prepared after the trainings to teach reading in their content area. In a more recent study Cantrell, Burns, and Callaway (2009) found that after participating in extensive professional development focused on content area literacy instruction, researchers were able to influence teachers attitudes towards incorporating reading instruction, their efficacy r egarding incorporating literacy instruction, their views of their roles in teaching reading, and their understanding of how students learn to read. In spite of this, even the most efficacious teachers felt unprepared to teach literacy within the content area to students with reading difficulties. Clearly, many content area teachers are resistant to or feel underprepared to teach literacy to students, and more importantly, they feel especially underprepared to teach literacy to students with LD, even after extensive professional training. As such, the next relevant question is how prepared are content area teachers to teach students with LD? Students with LD are more likely to receive their content area instruction in
16 general education classrooms than in special education settings (Newman, 2006). Although it is quite difficult to determine whether current general educators are well prepared to meet the needs of students with LD, a handful of researchers in the past two decades have explored how institutes of higher education prepare general education teachers to teach children with disabilities. Many of these researchers found that general education preservice teachers had inadequate coursework in special education or inadequate experience in inclusive setti ngs (Kearney & Durand, 1992; Reed & MondaAmaya, 1995; Shippen, Crites, Houchins, Ramsey, & Simon, 2005). A more recent study by Harvey, Yssel, Bauserman, and Merbler (2010) demonstrated a marked improvement in the courses offered to general education preservice teachers and in the opportunities for collaboration with special education. Although this single study indicates that teacher education programs are improving how they prepare general education teachers to teach in inclusive settings, many current teachers were trained before these improvements to teacher education. Teachers aged 40 and over accounted for 60% of the teacher population in the 2000 census (Population Reference Bureau, 2002), which means that the majority of teachers attended teacher education programs that did not include these improvements. Although these teachers may have received professional development or additional training in teaching students with LD, in a study of state and local implementation and impact of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, only 43% of the principals reported that general educators were well prepared to improve the performance of students with Individualized Education Programs, and only 41% reported the general educators were well prepared to increase access to the general education curriculum (Cortiella, 2011). These data suggest that students with LD are taught by general education teachers who may have attended
17 teacher education programs that provided inadequate instruction in teaching stu dents with LD and who are not perceived by their principals to be well prepared to meet the needs of such students. Purpose of t he Study Because few teachers are prepared to teach content area literacy or students with LD, it is unlikely that most teachers have an understanding of how to incorporate literacy instruction into their content classes or an adequate understanding of their students with LD to determine if particular strategies would be helpful to the m. Although some researchers have argued that effective teaching is effective inclusive teaching for all (Jordon, Schwartz, & McGhieRichmond, 2009), research indicates that good prac tice for one set of learners may not be good practice for another (Carlisle, Kelcey, Berebitsky, & Phelps, 2011; Connor et al., 2009). This is further complicated for literacy instruction in the content areas by the conflict between disciplinary literacy practices and content area literacy practices, the lack of research regarding literacy instruction for students with LD within disciplinary literacy, and the inability of previous teacher education and professional development studies to effectively influe nce teachers instruc tional practices in this area. One potential line of research is to focus on which literacy instruction practices within the content areas are effective for students with LD, whereas another line of research is to explore the expertise associated with the task of teaching students with LD literacy within the content areas. Although Alexander and colleagues (2004) criticized research on teacher expertise primarily for its lack of ecological validity and for the stark contrast drawn between experts and novices without consideration for development, they still saw value in understanding expertise. The fundamental
18 assumption is that effectively guiding learners toward competence requires an understanding of how expertise develops, as well as a detailed picture of the endpoint of that development Having an understanding of the endpoint of the development of expertise in teaching literacy in the content areas to students with LD could (a) help researchers see what practices expert teachers us e within the classroom to support students with LD, (b) help researchers design studies that could lead to a developmental understanding of expertise in such teaching, and (c) serve as the basis for teacher education and professional development activities intended to mov e individuals toward expertise. This study provides insight into the cognition of expert content area teachers with specialized knowledge in teaching lit eracy to students with LD with the purpose of developing an understanding of expertise in teaching literacy in the content areas to secondary students with LD. The teachers selected for this study are unlike typical content area teachers in general education classrooms. They were hired to work in a private school for students with LD based on their expertise in content area instruction and their willingness to teach these students. Additionally, these teachers have worked in this school for an extended period of time, acquiring considerable experience and exposure to multiple learning oppor tunities. Because of their learning and teaching experiences, these expert teachers are likely to have unique understandings about the students literacy needs during content instruction and about how to support those literacy needs that could (a) lead to an understanding of the practices expert teachers use within the classroom to support students with LD in literacy in the content areas, (b) aid in the design of future studies aimed at understanding the development of expertise
19 in such teaching, and (c) s erve as the basis for professional learning systems intended to move individuals along the continuum toward expertise. Research Question How do expert secondary content area teachers conceptualize teaching literacy in their content area to students with learning disabilities? Definition of Terms Expertise Research on expertise originated in the field of psychology. Expertise in psychology has been studied primarily in terms of cognition (mental processes). Expertise can be defined, at a cognitive level, in terms of development, knowledge structures, and reasoning processes (Hoffman, 1996). Seminal studies of expertise in education have also used a cognitive definition of expertise (Berliner, 1986; Leingardt, 1983; Livingston and Borko, 1990). Many studies, across various fields, have found evidence and support for expertise as a cognitive construct (Alexander, 2003; Alexander et al., 2004). Studies on expertise in fields other than teaching (e.g. chess and medicine) have found experts and novices think and behave differently: E xperts can access their knowledge more efficiently and apply it across different situations, unlike novices, and expertise is specific to a domain. Furthermore, it takes a significant amount of time to develop (Alexander, 2003; Al exander et al., 2004). Because of this, many researchers in education have used experience or effective performance interchangeably with the term expertise, leading to a great deal of confusion within educational studies of expertise (Palmer, Stough, Burd enski, & Gonzale, 2005). As recommended by Palmer et al., in a review of the criteria used for expertise in educational studies, expertise in this study was defined as a cognitive construct.
20 Markers of expertise, such as years of experience, education, and behavior were use d to identify expert teachers, but the study focus ed on the c ognitive features of expertise. Learning Disabilities Today, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act of 2004 uses the following definition of learning disabilities: T he term specific learning disability means a disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which disorder may manifest itself in the imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, read, write, spell, or do mathemat ical calculations Such term includes such conditions as perceptual disabilities, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia Such term does not include a learning problem that is primarily the result of visual, hearing, o r motor disabilities, of mental retardation, of emotional disturbance, or of environmental, cult ural, or economic disadvantage. (IDEA, 2004) In this study, the term learning disabilities (LD) refers to the above definition. Furthermore, there are many disabilities that are frequently comorbid with LD, such as ADHD. As many of the teachers in this study did not distinguish between their students with LD the students with attention problems, and their students with both disorders, all students teachers identified as LD are included in this studys definition of learning disabilities Domain According to the Oxford dictionary of US English, a domain is a specified sphere of activity or knowledge. In education, the specified sphere could be a particular content area, such as social studies or mathematics. This would include knowledge of the domain, such as knowledge of social studies, and knowledge of subdomains, such as knowledge of American history, or of geography. A domain may also include activity. In education said activity could include teaching, planning and reflection that is specific to the domain. In education, though, there are potentially many domains beyond the
21 content area. A domain could also include teaching a particular population, such as students with LD, or the subdomain of teaching students with reading disabilities. Research that focuses on the domain specific nature of expertise explores what is common across exper ts in a particular domain (Alexander, 2003; Alexander et al., 2004). Conceptualize The O xford dictionary of US English defines conceptualize as the action of form[ing] a concept or idea of something, with concept being an abstract idea. In this study, the act of conceptualizing is the act of forming an idea about the task of teaching within four potential domains: literacy, a content area, students with LD, and secondary students
22 CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW In the past several decades, there has been a strong move toward including students with disabilities in general education classrooms. Ninety four percent of secondary school students with learning disabilities (LD) take at least one class in a general education setting, and 80% take one or more academic courses in general education settings (Newman, 2006). Students with LD are more likely to take math courses in general education settings than in special education settings (62% vs. 43%); the same is true of science (74% vs. 29%), social studies (71% vs. 32%), and foreign language courses (90% vs. 9%; Newman, 2006). Content courses place considerable reading and writing demands on students with LD, as reading and writing are the primary vehicles for learning in these classes (Chall et al., 1990; D eshler et al., 2001). Students with LD, however, experience significant difficulties in these areas, which impedes their progress in content classes (Deshler et al., 2001; Kavale & Forness, 1999). Thus, the success of students with LD in content area class es depends on teachers ability to support student literacy needs while teaching content. Although a few key researchers have established the efficacy of teaching certain reading and writing strategies to students with LD, little is known about how general education teachers can integrate these strategies into their knowledge of content to provide effective content area literacy instruction for students with disabilities (Deshler et al., 2001; FaggellaLuby et al., 2012) The broader literature base on expertise suggests that expert teachers capable of addressing content area literacy needs and the severe reading issues exhibited by students with LD will have extensive, well integrated knowledge of multiple domains (FaggellaLuby, Graner, Deshler, & Drew, 2 012). Findings from research in literacy instruction suggest that one domain would be
23 knowledge how to teach both the content and the disciplinary specific literacy practices needed for processing the content (Johnson, Watson, Delahunty, McSwiggen, & Smit h, 2011). Further, research in special education suggests additional domains necessary for students with SLD would be knowledge of how to teach literacy and knowledge of how the literacy process breaks down for students with SLD (Brownell et al., 2009; Sp ear Swerling, 2009; Spear Swerling & Brucker, 2004). Finally, research on expert teachers has demonstrated the importance of strategic processing ability, the ability to utilize procedural knowledge to gain understanding, to appropriately employ their kno wledge in complex settings (Alexander, 2003; Alexander, Sper l, Buehl, Fives, & Chiu, 2004). At this point in time, however, there are no studies describing the various knowledge bases expert general education teachers have for teaching content to student s with LD. Thus, the purpose of this literature review is to examine how expertise is described in two disparate literature bases: studies involving special education teachers and studies involving secondary content area teachers. The intention is to ident ify the characteristics of expertise in each domain and then to integrate findings from these two literature bases to improve our understanding of teacher expertise in content area instruction for secondary students with LD. The Literature Search Research studies were identified through a search of electronic databases including EBSCOhost, ERIC, Google Scholar, and the University of Florida library catalog. All of the databases were searched using a matrix of the following key terms: expert, expertise, nov ice, teacher, educator, teaching, education, social studies, history, English, language arts, science, mathematics, and special education. Electronic search
24 results were explored until the items returned were only loosely related to the original search terms; relevant search results generally totaled about 400 items. Abstracts were used to fur ther narrow the search results. From this group of studies, redundant literature was discarded, and only empirical studies in Englishlanguage peer reviewed journals that included original research data were kept. Because I was interested in studies within specific content areas, I disc arded research that included multiple content areas unless the researchers had separated the analysis of each content area. None of the studies that included multiple content areas separated the analyses of the different content areas. Furthermore, studi es in which the content area was not identified were also excluded. Because I was interested in studies of teachers currently practicing in secondary settings, papers including teachers in elementary or postsecondary settings, or teachers not currently pl aced in classrooms, were discarded unless the secondary teachers were separated out in the analysis. None of the studies separated the analyses of elementary, secondary, and postsecondary students. I also excluded studies that did not identify the grade or level in which the participants were teaching. Although the search resulted in a large number of articles that referred to teacher expertise, I found that many of the studies using the term expertise did not use the cognitive construct that cognitive sc ientists (e.g., Chi, Glaser, & Farr, 1988) or educational researchers (e.g., Berliner, 1986; Leingardt, 1983; Livingston & Borko, 1990) have described and developed. In other studies, the researchers reviewed the literature on teaching expertise in the introduction but they used terms such as experienced instead of expert teacher. Thus, to ensure that the studies focused on the cognitive construct of expertise, the sample was limited to those studies that both used
25 the cognitive construct of teaching expertise and explicitly labeled the teachers within their studies as experts. Following these procedures, 13 studies were identified. The Domai n Specific Nature of Expertise w ithin Secondary Content Areas and Special Education Most research in expertise is f ocused on either the generalizable characteristics of expertise or the domainspecific nature of expertise (Alexander, 2003; Patel & Groen, 1991). Research that focuses on the generalizable characteristics of expertise explores what is common across expert s in different fields. In educational research, researchers look for what is comparable across content areas. Research that focuses on the domainspecific nature of expertise explores what is common across experts in a particular domain. In educational research, a domain would be a particular content area, such as social studies or mathematics. Literature reviews of expertise in education have taken the generalizable approach, first looking for similarities in experts across many domains and then compar ing the generalizable characteristics of expert teachers to the generalizable characteristics of experts outside of education (B erliner, 2001; Berliner, 2004). No literature reviews of educational research have explored the domainspecific characteristics of expertise within secondary education or special education. This literature review is intended to fill this gap, primarily focusing on the domainspecific nature of expertise in special education teachers and secondary content area teachers. As such, I will first review the literature in secondary content area expertise, organized by domain (content area). I will also review the literature on expert teachers of student s with disabilities. The secondary focus of this literature will be on the generaliz able characteristics of expertise across domains. I will compare the findings of the domainspecific studies, looking for similarities between experts in different domains to identify
26 the generalizable characteristics of secondary expert teachers a nd spec ial education teachers. Social Studies In one of the earliest studies of secondary teacher expertise, Gudmundsdottir and Shulman (1987) compared expert and novice secondary social studies teachers using Shulmans (1986) model of pedagogical reasoning. The researchers were interested in how expert and novice teachers with expertise in their content area differed in their ability to draw on numerous knowledge bases when reasoning, including content knowledge, pedagogical content knowledge, curricular knowledge, general pedagogical knowledge, knowledge of aims and purposes, knowledge of learners, and knowledge of educational cont exts, settings, and governance. The participants in this study included two social studies teachers: one expert and one novice. The expert teacher had 37 years of experience, had a degree in American history, was currently teaching US history, and was recommended as experienced by the principal of the school. The novice was a preservice teacher enrolled in a teacher education program, had a degree in anthropology, and was teaching world studies. The expert was interviewed 3 times and observed 22 times, whereas the novice was interviewed 8 times and participated in 6 planning cycle interviews. In addition to interviews, the data included observations. The researchers wrote summaries of the novice teachers data and developed vignettes of the expert teachers data, which were then coded. In addition to treating the data differently, the researchers provided little description of the data analysis process. The researchers reported qualitative differences between the expert and novice teachers. The expert had a clear point of view in US history (Gudmundsdottir &
27 Shulman, 1987, p. 67). From his perspective, US history is the growth of opportunities for participation in the democratic process (Gudmundsdottir & Shulman, 1987, p. 62). The novice did not have a clear point of view of world studies but was knowledgeable in two specific areas: anthropology and evolution. The expert was abl e to visualize the curriculum, seeing many different ways to teach the content and make connections between units. Furthermore, the expert teacher knew what information was important in conveying his perspective. The novice, on the other hand, knew only one way to teach the content. He considered only one unit at a time rather than seeing the connections between units. The researchers concluded that differences between the expert and novice teacher may have been the result of their opportunities to redef ine their content knowledge into pedagogical content knowledge, meaning to transform the subject matter to make it teachable (Gudmundsdottir & Shulman, 1987, p. 67). M aking content teachable involved understanding how students learn, how their learning aligns with the content, and how to communicate that content to students. The expert had been teaching for 37 years, and the novice less than 1. The researchers concluded that though both the expert and novice were concerned with the integrity of the content, the experts opportunities to try and retry teaching content had helped the expert redefine content knowledge as pedagogical content knowledge. Furthermore, the researchers concluded that having a point of view is an important aspect of pedagogical content knowledge. The results of this study, however, are questionable because the data for the two teachers were treated differently. As a result, the differences that emerged from the data may be a product of the different data sources or the differe nt processes for coding and analyzing the data, making the findings of this study less trustworthy.
28 More recently, Brooks (2010) examined how expert geography teachers understanding of their subject area was influenced by their views and values, and how t heir understanding influenced their teaching. Brooks asserted that teachers conceptualizations of geography were the result of different experiences. Brooks stated that values were developed mainly through academic experience and that teachers were infl uenced by their past experiences as students and teachers of geography. Brooks hypothesized that when and where teachers learned geography influenced their understanding, which in turn influenced their practice. Brooks (2010) selected six secondary geography teachers in the United Kingdom as experts through recommendations by geography tutors in the teacher education programs or by head teachers at their schools. Other criteria typically considered important in selecting teachers were not considered. Two of these six teachers were highlighted in the manuscript as having 13 years of experience and 20 years of experience. Both teachers were heads of departments at their schools and had numerous other professional achievements, such as publications and roles in developing curriculum. The data collected on all six teachers included interviews, observations, and documentation of lesson planning. Brooks did not provide details regarding the data analysis but did provide quotes justifying the conclusions. Broo ks (2010) reported differences between what the two highlighted teachers believed were important to their instruction. One teacher placed emphasis on the role of culture in geography, whereas the other placed emphasis on the role of location in geography. The teachers varying views on teaching geography reflected their early learning experiences. Although the teachers views were different, the researcher found that both expert teachers acted upon their understandings in similar ways, providing a
29 rational e for the content they selected to teach. What the teachers emphasized acted as a guiding principal through which they negotiated policy related to their curriculum and interpreted their teaching. One teacher believed that policy was a barrier to teaching the type of geography he believed was best, whereas the other felt that policy reflected his beliefs about teaching geography. Brooks (2010) concluded that the teachers understandings reflected the teachers experiences and, in turn, influenced the teachers practice. The teachers used the understandings to provide a rationale for their teaching. Furthermore, it was through their understanding that they interpreted and negotiated policy related to curriculum, helping them to work within a policy or work around a policy when crafting instruction. Brooks conclusions, given the criteria for selecting the participants and the lack of detail given regarding the analysis, are less trustworthy Implications Drawing parallels across these two studies is very difficult, primarily because the content of the social studies subdomains in these studies varied. The teachers in these two studies taught geography, world studies, and history, each with significantly different content. Furthermore, both studies were fraught with methodological issues. In spite of these two limitations, the findings present an interesting implication for future research. The ability to rationalize ones decisions based on the emphasis or perspective one takes of ones content may be a marker of expertise. The experts in Brooks (2010) study gave a rationale for their teaching based on their understanding of their content. The expert in Gudmundsdottir and Shulmans (1987) study also appeared to give a rationale for why particular information was chosen over others. The novice, on the other hand, was described as having only a single way to teach the content. Especially with stronger methodology, exploring how
30 teachers specific subdomain knowledge within social studies influences their rationalization of their practice could lead to a deeper understanding of expertise withi n the domain of social studies. English Language Arts The first study in language arts took place in Israel. Rich (1993) investigated the impact a professional development (PD) effort in cooperative learning had on experts and nonexperts instruction. The PD involved 20 hours of inservice training in a small group cooperative learning program called Student Teams Achievement Divisions (STAD). Rich explored t he variations in how much the teachers changed after participating in the PD. Furthermore, Rich was interested in whether expertise was a stable construct, or whether teachers classified as experts remained experts when involved in a PD effort that asked them to explore new types of instruction. Participants included nine 7thgrade language arts teachers. All of the teachers in the study had at least 4 years of teaching experience. Six teachers were classified as general teaching experts prior to the P D. They were described as experienced, highly regarded by their principals and peers, and confident, and they facilitated good progress in student achievement (Rich, 1993, p. 139). The remaining three teachers were classified as nonexperts. Whi le these criteria are similar to those common to studies of expertise, other than by recommendations from the principals, how Rich determined whether teachers met the criteria was not explai ned. Rich (1993) collected the following data: (a) interviews with the teachers before and after they participated in the PD; (b) mentors observations of instruction before and during the PD, and their notes; (c) interviews with the mentors; (d) feedback from the teachers; and (e) student achievement results on teacher made tests. After identifying
31 teachers as general teaching experts or nonexperts based on the above criteria, Rich evaluated whether the teachers had expertise in the content of the PD, cooperative learning, early in the PD and again at the end of the PD by assessing the quality of PD implementation. Rich then explored the role the participants subject matter expertise played in their performance. Rich assumed that teachers who graduated from a highly credentialed teacher education program were subjec t matter experts, but provided no support for this assertion. How Rich analyzed the interviews, notes, and other dat a was not described in detail. Rich (1993) found that the two teachers who were identified as cooperative learning experts before and after the PD were both subject matter experts and general teaching experts. Rich attributed this stability partially to the teachers subject matter expertise but did not provide any data to support his conclusion. The remaining teachers (both general teaching experts and nonexperts, and both subject matter experts and nonexperts) did not demonstrate stable classification as cooperative learning experts. Because of this variance, Rich speculated that additional variables, beyond subject matter and general teaching expert ise, influenced implementation. Rich (1993) concluded that the incongruence between an expert teachers beliefs and the PD may have contributed to weaker implementation, though few quotes from the data were supplied to support this conclusion. Because of the insufficient methods used to classify teachers as general teaching and subject matter experts, the poor description of the data analysis, the weak evidence given, and Richs unsubstantiated conclusions, the findings from this study are not t rustworthy. The second selected study in language arts was conducted in Geneva, Switzerland. Tochon and Munby (1993) studied 23 expert and 23 novice 7thgrade
32 language arts teachers perception of time. The researchers were interested in the ways in whic h novice and expert teachers talked about teaching, and more specifically about planning, and the role time played in that talk. The researchers reviewed the semiotic theory of didactic and synchronic time. Didactic time is derived from diachrony, meaning the evolution in the course of time in a historical perspective (Tochon & Munby, 1993, p. 206). According to the researchers, didactic time in planning involved making decisions prior to instruction. Synchronic time was derived from synchrony, meaning present immediacy, or a state of time like here and now (Tochon & Munby, 1993, p. 206). Synchronic time in planning involved making immediate decisions during instruction. The researchers hypothesized that novice teachers would emphasize didactic tim e in their discussions of teaching, and that expert teachers discussions would include more synchronic time than the novices would, as prior research has shown experts to be more flexible in their thinking than novices. The researchers identified experts based on four criteria. Each expert teacher had a masters degree in language arts, educational training, a nomination for tenure, and at least 7 years of experience, meeting many of the criteria common in studies of teacher expertise (Stough et al., 2010). Novices were either substitute teachers with 1 or more years of experience or they were postulant teachers, meaning they were in their second year of teaching and had not taken any teacher training classes. The researchers collected interview data, and the teachers participated in a simulation in which they planned a lesson. The interviews focused on the teachers plans for a lesson and how they perceived making modifications to lesson plans. The planning simulation involved a think aloud task in whic h the participants planned a lesson with four objectives related to Geneva public schools language arts curriculum. The
33 researchers coded transcripts of the interviews and simulations for the two types of time, and they provided examples of coded text, i ncreasing the credibility of the coding process. They counted the frequency of the codes, and they mapped a cluster analysis of the participants codes using Benzecris method to make a twodimensional graphical representation of the results. The researchers found that, although there was variation in the role time played in individual teachers discussion of teaching, experts had a more synchronic view of time. Experts were more comfortable with changes and more flexible when the planned instruction required changes. Both experts and novices struggled planning for time, but experts avoided this by having only tentative plans. The researcher concluded this flexible approach to time enabled them to be more responsive. Because of thorough description of t he data collection and analysis, and the supportive evidence the researcher presented from the transcripts these conclusions appear trustworthy. In another study of expertise, Gudmundsdottir (1991) explored one expert English teachers practice and thinking using the model of pedagogical reasoning and action (Gudmundsdottir & Shulman, 1987). This model presents two components of knowledge: process and logic. The process component includes five phases of reasoning about pedagogy: comprehension, transformat ion, instruction, evaluation, and reflection. The logic component includes seven categories: pedagogical content knowledge, content knowledge, general pedagogical knowledge, curriculum knowledge, knowledge of learners, knowledge of educational contexts, a nd knowledge of educational aims. Gudmundsdottir (1991) included a single participant from a larger study (Gudmundsdottir & Shulman, 1987) that focused on the development of teachers
34 pedagogical content knowledge. This teacher was identified as an expert because she had taught for over 20 years, had degrees in her content area, and had been recommended by her schools principal for her teaching experience. Gudmundsdottir used five interviews, 20 transcribed lessons, and the accompanying field notes, in a ddition to other collected documents. Gudmundsdottir coded the transcribed interviews and lessons, identifying instances of the five phases of the process component and the seven categories of the logic component of the model of pedagogical reasoning and action. The coded data were then used to write a case study of the t eachers pedagogical reasoning. Gudmundsdottir (1991) reported that the teacher described a model guiding her instruction. This model was based on the types of questions she used to help students comprehend literature: (a) translation, in which the teacher asks the students to give her the literal meaning; (b) connotative meaning, in which the teacher asks the students to explain what the text means and to describe a character; (c) interpretation, in which the students interpret the meaning of the text and what the author is trying to convey; and (d) application and evaluation, in which the students think about what the literature means for their own lives. Gudmundsdottir observed the teachers instruction, coding each question using the teachers purposed model. He found that she was in fact using a different model of questioning than she purported. The model she was using did not include connotative meaning questions but did included t he remaining three types of questions existing at lower and higher levels of comprehension: t ranslation type questions were on a lower level of comprehension; interpretation and application/evaluation questions were on a higher level of comprehension.
35 The researcher concluded that it was not the teachers stated model but the second pedagogical model that was central to her pedagogical content knowledge, influenced all of the other categories of knowledge, and guided how the teacher interpreted her experience and reasoned about teaching and students. Although Gudmundsdottirs (1991) conclusions were supported by the presented evidence, the final conclusion that this model connected the teachers actions to the two components of the model of pedagogical reas oning and action was not substantiated by the presented evidence, making the findings of this study less trustworthy. In yet another study using Shulmans (1986) theory of pedagogical reasoning, Jay (2002) explored the similarities and differences between novice and expert English teachers. In this study Jay focused on the process of reasoning about pedagogy, which includes six phases: comprehension, transformation, instruction, evaluation, reflection, and new comprehension. Jay ask ed the following three questions: (a) What are the intellectual processes underlying different activities of teaching? (b) What is the role of knowledge and experience in their various processes? and (c) How do the different characteristics of expert and novice teachers affect f aci lity in pedagogical reasoning? Jay (2002) included two participants: one expert and one novice. The expert teacher had 15 years of experience, demonstrated facility and skill in planning and teaching, and a successful track record for helping studen ts attain established learning goals (Jay, 2002, p. 65). The latter two criteria were determined by observations and recommendations from colleagues; education and training, typically considered important in selecting expert teachers, were not considered (Palmer et al., 2005) The novice teacher was a preservice teacher wit h no prior teaching experience. Data included the transcripts of the teachers participation in a think aloud task and of a
36 follow up interview. During the think aloud task, each teac her observed a taped lesson of a 7thgrade language arts lesson on writing. The teachers were asked to pause the tape routinely to report their thoughts. In the follow up interview, the teachers elaborated on their thoughts and answered questions regardi ng how they would plan the lesson. The researcher coded the transcripts using terms associated with other studies of expertise, such as interpretation and analysis. They then mapped these codes onto the model of pedagogical reasoning. Details regarding how they identified the important terms to code and how they mapped these terms onto the model of pedagogical reasoning were not given. Two case studies of the teac hers reasoning were presented. Jay (2002) found that the novice and expert teachers both d eveloped an understanding of the instruction in context, and related this to engaging in the comprehension process of Shulmans (1986) model. They critiqued the lesson in very similar ways and made similar suggestions for improvements. Jay identified thi s behavior as engaging in the transformation process of Shulmans model. Jay found differences between the ease with which the novice and expert moved from one process to another. The novice went step by step, first describing; then interpreting, analyzin g, and critiquing; and then making suggestions for how to improve the lesson. Conversely, the expert jumped back and forth between the different processes and went further in the transformation process, offering multiple lesson ideas and adjusting the inst ruct ion for the specific students. Jay (2002) concluded that the expert teachers knowledge and past experiences explained why the expert teacher was able to address the students needs and to move through the processes more quickly. Jay concluded that these findings were consistent
37 with other research of expert teachers thinking but the lack of details regarding the data analysis make the conclusions of this study less trustworthy. Implications The research on teacher expertise in English language arts is the most well developed. In the four studies I have described, there were some findings that could be useful to future research on expertise in this area. First, flexibility seems to be a mar ker of expertise. In both Tochon and Munby (1993) and Jays (2002) studies the researchers found that expert teachers discussion of various aspects of teaching reflected more flexibility. In Jays study, flexibility was reflected in the experts ability to offer multiple lesson ideas and adjust the instruction for the specific students. In Tochom and Munbys study experts were more comfortable with changes and more flexible when the planned instruction required changes, having only tentative plans, and t his flexible approach to time enabled them to be more responsive. Future research in expert English language arts teachers might explore further the concept of flexibility. Second, Gudmundsdottir (1991) found that the teachers description of the pedagogi cal model guiding her reasoning was inconsistent with the model Gudmundsdottir identified as implicit in her instruction. This incongruence is consistent with other research on expertise, which has found that experts often are unable to speak explicitly about their practice, because much of what they do is automatic. Future research on expertise should to pay close attention to how to deautomatize such explanations of practice, as this can impact the ability of the researcher to accurately assess their cognition. Mathematics Livingston and Borko (1990) explored whether novice and expert secondary mathematics teachers thoughts and actions during a review lesson differed, and whether these differences were related to their knowledge structures. The researc hers
38 used two theoretical frameworks to explore the teachers thinking: teaching as a cognitive skill and teaching as improvisation. The first framework, teaching as a cognitive skill, included both the concept of schema and pedagogical reasoning. Schema ta are abstract knowledge structures, developed from experience, that summarize, organize, and find relationships between cases. Pedagogical reasoning is the process by which teachers transform subject matter knowledge into forms comprehensible to their particular students. The second framework employed in data analysis relied on Yingers (1987) concept of teaching as improvisation. During improvisational teaching, the teacher works within a basic plan, not a detailed lesson plan or script for teaching. Instructional actions are responsive to students and are pulled from the teachers extensive knowledge of routines and patterns for teaching. Researchers explored the differences between teachers thinking and actions, looking at how both teaching as a c ognitive skill and teaching as improvisation could explain such differences. Participants in Livingston and Borkos (1990) study included two novice teachers who had mathematical backgrounds and were recommended by their teacher education professors. The two experts were classroom teachers who had been identified as experts by their school principals based on their students achievement and their teaching performance; the experts were also recommended by the county teacher center coordinator and a universi ty faculty member. Other criteria typically considered important in selecting expert teachers, such as training or years of experience, were not considered (Palmer et al., 2005). For each participant, researchers conducted one observation of a lesson, as well as a preobservation interview to explore the teachers planning process and a post observation interview to explore the teachers evaluations
39 of the lesson. Additional data sources, such as lesson plans and classroom materials, were also collected. The researchers used ethnographic procedures to analyze data, identify domains, and create a taxonomy of statements and behaviors within each domain. The researchers gave a very clear description of the data analysis and included quotes from the intervi ews to elaborate upon the descriptions, though examples of the domains would have been helpful. The researchers then looked for disconfirming explanations or actions that contradicted the domains to ensure that the patterns they had identified were not based on their preconceived thoughts about expertise. The use of disconfirming evidence further strengthened the analysis. Livingston and Borko (1990) found many differences between the novice and expert teachers thoughts and actions. The experts discussed relationships between mathematical problems, were responsive to students, and had a more comprehensive approach to the content. Novices explanations were accurate but focused more on procedures than on concepts. The novices were unable able to link content concepts to one another. The novices were al so not responsive to students. The researchers concluded that both theoretical frameworks explained the differences between novices and experts. The experts appeared to have more flexible plans, and they adjusted them easily because of their well developed schemata. They improvised their instruction based on students comments and questions, and they easily selected strategies and routines in response to students comments and questions. The novices, on t he other hand, exhibited limited pedagogical content knowledge about students learning. For example, they did not know which common misconceptions students were likely to have. They were less able to access their knowledge flexibly. They were less skil led at improvisation and had trouble coming up
40 with responsive explanations when students needed more information or were confused. Due to the detail given regarding the analysis and the use of disconfirming evidence, the researchers conclusions seem trustworthy. Even, Tirosh, and Robinson (1993) explored the differences between expert and novice 7thgrade mathematics teachers connectedness (Even, et al., 1993, p. 50). According to the researchers, mathematical thinking is based on the ability to recognize patterns and the relationships between concepts and procedures; making connections is an integral part of mathematical knowledge and fundamental to effective mathematics teaching. Thus, the researchers explored how teachers made connections across concepts, representations, topics, and procedures, as well as within different lesson segments and within multiple lessons. The study included three participants: one expert and two novices. The expert had more than 15 years of experience and a strong reputation among students, teachers, and other experts in mathematics education, though what qualified the other experts as such was not indicated. The novices were in t heir second year of teaching. Education and t raining, a criteria for expertise typically considered important in selecting expert teachers, was not considered (Palmer et al., 2005). The collected data included an unspecified number of lesson plans, observations, and post lesson interviews focused on teachers reflections and events in the les son. The sole detail that was provided regarding data analysis was that the data were transcribed. The lack of description of the data collection methods and analysis is a weakness in this study. The researchers found that the expert made connections whi le both planning and conducting the lesson. Lesson segments were connected to each other conceptually, and the content in the lessons was connected to content taught previously. The expert
41 teacher was also responsive, modifying instruction in response to students needs. In reflecting on the lesson, the teacher commented on the importance of connections in mathematics. The novices, on the other hand, did not display an ability to make connections in either planning or teaching the lesson. Lesson segment s were not connected to each other conceptually, and there was very little connection between the content of the lessons and content taught previously. Furthermore, the novices were not responsive to students needs; sticking strictly to their lesson plans, they did not make modifications during instruction. When reflecting on their lessons, the novices had two different views of the need to make conceptual connections in mathematics. One considered it to be a waste of time, and the other had not thought about the importance of making connections but was receptive to doing so. Both worried that taking time to make connections would derail the lesson and prevent them from cover ing the content of the lesson. The researchers concluded that the difference between the expert and the novices was in their knowledge and its use. Because the results did not show how the teachers used their knowledge, the researchers conclusions about knowledge seem unsubstantiated by their findings. Thus, the researchers conclusions shou ld be interpreted with caution. Implications Although the research on teacher expertise in secondary mathematics classrooms is not extensive and is uneven in quality, there are some findings that may be relevant to future research in this ar ea. First, the concept of flexibility, which has emerged in many other domains, appears to be relevant to studying expert secondary mathematics teachers. What is unique about research in math ematics is that Livingston and Borko (1990) conceptualized flex ibility as
42 improvisation that allows the teacher to respond to students needs. In future research in mathematics teacher expertise, Livingston and Borkos concept of improvisation might be useful in understanding the flexible approach teachers have to lesson planning and responsive instruction. Second, making connections, or connectedness, appears to be an important concept for the domain of mathematics, as expert secondary mathematics teachers are better than novices at designing lessons that connect co ncepts within and across lessons (Even et al., 1993; Livingston & Borko, 1990). Future research in mathematics teacher expertise should consider exploring more than one lesson for each participant, as this may not give us a complete understanding of teach er expertise in mathematics. Science Sabers, Cushing, and Berliner (1991) assessed differences between novice, advanced beginner, and expert secondary science teachers in their perception, monitoring, and evaluation of classroom events. The researchers us ed Doyles (1986) concepts of simultaneity, multidimensionality, and immediacy to design an experimental task. In a classroom, a large number of events (multidimensionality) occur at the same time (simultaneity), and they happ en at a rapid pace (immediacy ). Researchers selected participants for this study from a pool of participants in a larger study of expertise (Berliner, 1986). The experts included seven secondary science teachers who had at least 5 years of experience in various secondary science clas srooms, were identified by the schools superintendent and principal as experts, and were consequently observed and identified as experts by the researchers. Other criteria typically considered important in selecting expert teachers, such as education and training, were not considered (Palmer et al., 2005). The advanced beginners were
43 four secondary science student teachers and first year teachers who had the potential for becoming excellent teachers (Berliner, 1986, p.66). No source was given for the e valuation of potential for becoming excellent. The five novices had no degrees or experience in education, but they had interest in teaching and had worked previously in a sciencerelated field. In an experimental task, participants observed three monitor s on which different perspectives of the same classroom lesson were presented. Only one monitor included video and sound; the others presented the video with no sound. The participants comp leted the following tasks: (a) answer questions related to the ins tructional and classroom management strategies and techniques observed on all three monitors; (b) do a think aloud task while viewing the three monitors, identifying which monitor they were paying attention to; (c) respond to questions about the observed r outines, content, motivation, learning environment, students attitudes, teachers expectations, roles, critical thinking skills, and the relationship between the student and the teacher; and (d) answer yes or no questions about events that occurred, ident ifying which monitors displayed those events. The participants stopped and started the moni tor while completing the tasks. Data were analyzed using mixed methods. First, the interviews and think aloud tasks were coded using the Doyles (1986) three concepts: simultaneity, multidimensionality, and immediacy. Second, percentages of the codes were calculated, and then ANOVAs and Kruskal Wallis procedures were used to analyze the variance between the groups codes. ANOVAs were also used to analyze the monit or position and the number of correct answers to the yes or no questions. Qualitative analysis was used to clarify and elaborate upon the quantitative findings.
44 The researchers found that the experts, advanced beginners, and novices differed in their interpretations of classroom events. The experts in this study scanned all three monitors, whereas the novices and advanced beginners primarily viewed only the middle monitor. The experts were able to integrate both visual and auditory information, discussing the instructional language the t eacher used as well as visual cues in their comments about classroom events. The novices and advanced beginners used only visual cues as the basis for their comments and did not attend to the language the teacher used. T he experts comments were more elaborate, evaluative, and analytical; they developed hypotheses for student behavior and offered solutions for the problems they identified. The novice and advanced beginners responses were descriptive and showed little interpretation. The researchers concluded that it was the experts experience that made them experts, because the experts and advanced beginners had similar educational backgrounds. They proposed that other literature (i.e., Livingston & Borko, 1990) on exp ertise found that experts had more elaborate schemata, developed through the repeated exposure (Chase & Simon, 1973) that nonexperts did not have. This conclusion was unsubstantiated by this study, as too little information was provided regarding the educational backgrounds of the participants. Although the findings of this study appear to be reliable due to the stronger research design and analysis, the final conclusion, that experience is the fundamental difference between experts and nonexperts, should be interpreted with caution. Moallem (1997) explored one expert secondary science teachers reflection on her teaching. Drawing on various theories of reflection, such as Deweys (1933) reflective thinking, Schons (1987) reflectionin action, van Mane ns (1977) levels of
45 reflection, and research from cognitive psychology regarding self monitoring and metacognition, Moallem saw reflection as the device through which teachers knowledge can become integrated and connected to past experiences, helping teachers develop their knowledge and become expert teachers. Reflection can take place during a lesson, which is referred to as reflectionin action, or at other times, as is reflectiononaction. Moallem (1997) asked seven questions: 1. How does the teacher think about her practice? 2. To what extent does the teacher engage in reflective teaching? 3. What classroom events stimulate the teachers reflective teaching? 4. What are the sources of information that the teacher attends to in order to make sense of an event t ha t she perceives to be unique? 5. To what issues is the teacher sensitive when responding to a dilemma? 6. What is the relationship between the teachers beliefs and her values, reflection, and action? 7. What effects does reflective thinking have on interactive and future teaching? (p. 143) Moallem (1997) used the following criteria to select the participant: The teacher had (a) a degree in the subject matter and a graduate degree in education or the subject matter, (b) no serious discipline problems in her classroom, (c) 7 years of classroom teaching experience with 3 in the same context, (d) acceptance by her peers and students, (e) knowledge of curriculum and organization, (f) the respect of the principal of the school, and (g) demonstrated competency in classroom observations. These criteria are typically considered important in studies of teacher expertise (Palmer et al., 2005). The researcher observed the participants classroom every day for 3 months and interviewed the participant before and after each class room observation. In the final month the researcher and participant met weekly to review video of the
46 participants teaching and to discuss the participants thoughts and reflections. These meetings were transcribed and analyzed. Additionally, 10 weeks of classroom observation were transcribed for microanalysis (Moallem, 1997, p. 145). Moallem did not provide further details of the analysis and microanalysis, though she supported many of her interpretations with evidence from the transcripts. Moallem (1997) found that this teacher used reflection before, during, and after a lesson to make sense of new information. When a new situation arose, the teacher identified the features primarily by the contextual information she chose to focus on, and she interpreted and made judgments about the situation based on past experiences. Additionally, Moallem found that the students learning needs, the teachers performance, and the subject matter were the basis for the teachers reflections. The teacher paid clos e attention to the students responses during instruction, modifying the instruction according to her judgments and reflections on past experiences. The teacher believed students should be active during a lesson, and when students were quiet she reflected on the appropriateness of the activity she had chosen. Furthermore, she had implicit goals for the content, and she assessed students learning of the content and how much content was covered in a lesson. The researcher concluded that the teacher demonst rated both types of reflection, reflectionin action and reflectionon action, but that the complexity of the teachers thinking during the two types of reflection was different. In order to reflect in action the teacher must have attended to information about what was occurring in the classroom, identified a number of strategies, and selected from the many alternatives. Reflectiononaction, on the other hand, was less demanding but still an important part of learning. Although the findings of this study demonstrated the important role reflection played in
47 this expert teachers thinking, the researchers final conclusion that reflection played an important role in learning was overreaching, as it was not addressed in the study, and learning was never defi ned. In a second analysis of the same teacher described in the prior study (Moallem 1997), Moallem (1998) examined the teachers thinking processes about teaching within the context of the classroom. Moallem (1998) compared the findings to microinstructi onal systems design models, which are models for thinking and planning designed to help teachers determine what should be taught and how to effectively teach. There are the following phases in microinstructional design models: (a) analysis, (b) design, (c ) development and implementation, and (d) evaluation and revision. Moallem (1998) asked the following five questions: 1. What is the content and source of teachers knowledge and beliefs, and how do particular experiences relate to teachers thoughts, actions, and reflections? 2. What are the components and processes associated with planning, and what types of planning do teachers use? 3. What aspects of the context influence teachers thinking and teaching, and what do they attend to in the context? 4. What is the content and nature of reflection and how does reflection influence thinking and teaching? 5. What is the relationship between planning, teaching, and reflection? In this study, Moallem (1998) used the same criteria for selecting the participant that she used in her prior study (Moallem, 1997). Further details regarding the teacher were provided. She had 19 years of experience. Along with having been recommended by numerous people, she also was the head of the science department and was the teacher of the researchers child. Furthermore, the same data from Moallems (1997) other manuscript were included. The data were analyzed using the
48 constant comparative method. Explicit description of the data analysis was provided, as well as evidence of triangulation and excerpts from the transcripts. Moallem (1998) found that the teachers past experiences were related to how she saw herself, her students, and her instruc tion and were a significant source of her professional and pedagogical knowledge. This teacher demonstrated different categories of knowledge: knowledge of self as a teacher, knowledge of the content and curriculum, knowledge of pedagogy, knowledge of stu dents, and knowledge of the context. Each type of knowledge played an important role in the teachers planning, instruction, and reflection. She was able to predict students success with the content and her instruction, and this prediction influenced how she planed, taught, and reflected. She organized her planning by day, by unit, and by year, each nested within the next. The teacher was able to continuously evaluate her instruction while planning and, when needed, to flexibly adjust her instruction, w hich involved planning within the act of teaching. Finally, she engaged in planning while reflecting after the lesson. Furthermore, she simultaneously balanced numerous sources of information when making instructional choices, such as contextual informat ion, various goals for the instruction, information about the students, and instructional strategies. As the goal of this study was to compare the teachers thinking and teaching to models of microinstructional design, Moallem (1997) concluded that the mod el of thinking and instruction she produced from this teacher was much more complex than the microinstructional design and could be used to inform such models. Because Moallem supported the findings with extensive evidence from the transcripts and examples from observations, as well as providing a strong description of the data collection and analysis, the findings of this study appear trustworthy.
49 Meyer (2004) investigated preservice, first year, and expert teachers conception of prior knowledge and how their conception of prior knowledge influenced their practice. Using Akerson, Flick, and Ledermans (2000) interpretation of Kellys (1955) theory of personal constructs as the basis for the theory of expertise, Meyer hypothesized that teachers prior knowledge of teaching would influence their understanding of students prior knowledge and therefore influence their instructional practice. According to Meyer, Kellys theory of personal constructs proposed that human beings basic psychological function is to organize experiences into themes that can be used to predict the future based on how similar or different events are to prior experiences. Prior knowledge helps to organize thinking. New experiences are integrated into prior knowledge; in turn, the pr ior knowledge becomes the basis for the inferences human beings make about the new experiences. This creates a stable worldview (Meyer, 2004, p. 971). According to Meyer, novices have limited background knowledge, as a result of their limited experienc e teaching, and therefore are less able to make sense of what happens in the classroom. Meyer was interested in exploring the differences in (a) what novice (preservice and first year) teachers and expert teachers understood about the concept of prior knowledge and (b) if and how teachers understandings impacted their actions in the classroom. Two experts were selected from a group of mentor teachers the researcher had worked with previously. They each had a minimum of 10 years of teaching experience, a masters degree in secondary science, and experience designing and running science curriculum professional development. The two preservice teachers were enrolled in the researchers science methods course, which emphasized the importance of using students prior knowledge to inform science instruction. The two first year teachers had
50 completed a post baccalaureate teacher education program and had degrees in science. All of the participants were interviewed twice: once to discuss their conception of prio r knowledge and once to talk about how they planned a lesson on density. Finally, they were observed once and interviewed post observation. Numerous other data sources, such as self assessments, planning materials, and classroom handouts, were collected for triangulation. The first interview data were transcribed and coded for the following concepts: (a) how students obtain prior knowledge, (b) the role prior knowledge plays in learning, (c) how teachers find out what students prior knowledge is, and (d) how the teacher should use students prior knowledge. The coded data was then compared to Kellys (1955) personal constructs theory. Additionally, a running record was kept during the observation and second interview to identify which of the four codes were present. The researcher used comparative case studies to analyze the data, though exactly how the case studies were developed and compared was not described. Meyer (2004) did, though, support her interpretations of the data with many quotes from the transcripts. Meyer (2004) found many differences between the expert and novice teachers conceptions of prior knowledge. The novices conception of prior knowledge was based primarily on their prior experiences teaching and was focused on the formal inf ormation students had about a topic. According to the novices, students prior knowledge played a minor role in future learning, as it was the foundation upon which new information was built. If students had misconceptions, the misconceptions simply had to be corrected before new information was learned. When students had misconceptions, or did not know something the novices expected them to know, the novices had difficulty adjusting their instruction to accommodate this situation. The experts, on the ot her hand, believed
51 students prior ideas and understanding were central to new learning. Prior knowledge was important because it showed how students put their ideas together. If students had misconceptions, the teacher had to show them a new way of thinking. Prior knowledge was important to new learning because new learning extended prior knowledge and increased students ability to apply their learning in new situations. Meyer (2004) concluded that expert teachers used questioning to assess students pr ior knowledge, saw students misconceptions as a normal part of instruction, adjusted their instruction based on the responses students gave, and were able to think flexibly about their lesson plans. Meyer also hypothesized that teachers past teaching ex periences were one factor, though not the only factor, in their ability to act in flexible ways. Although the final stage of the data analysis, the comparative case studies, was not thoroughly described, all of these findings were supported with evidence f rom the transcripts; therefore the differences Meyer found between novices and experts appear trustworthy. Implications Although there is limited research on teacher expertise in science, there have been some consistent findings that can inform future research on teacher expertise in science. Additionally, most of the studies on science teacher expertise appeared trustworthy, with the exception of Moallems (1997) initial study. First, the role of teachers experiences in the development of knowledge was fundamental to their teaching practice and to how they saw teaching. Moallem (1998) found that the teachers past experiences were related to how she saw herself, her students, and her instruction, and they were a significant source of her professional and pedagogical knowledge. Although this was the only study to provide evidence for this conclusion, all of the other studies drew similar conclusions regarding the importance of past
52 experience (Meyer, 2004; Sabers et al., 1991). As such, exploring how experiences affect the teachers thinking is very important in studies of expertise in science. Second, what teachers attended to in one study (Sabers et al., 1991), such as the students responses and the teachers language, was similar to the types of k nowledge teachers displayed in other studies (Meyer, 2004; Moallem, 1998), such as knowledge of students and knowledge of instructional strategies. The expert teachers were able to integrate these knowledge bases, or types of information, into their obser vations, their solutions, and their predictions. This appeared to help them make flexible decisions. What knowledge teachers draw on and how that knowledge is integrated should be considered in future studies of expertise. Furthermore, the concept of fl exibility was demonstrated across studies of expertise in science. Teachers frequently changed their instruction, and the reasons why they changed their instruction revealed a g reat deal about their thinking. Special Education Bartelheim, Nevada, and Evans (1993) conducted the sole study examining secondary special education teacher expertise. The researchers explored reflective thinking in expert secondary special education teachers decision making during instruction using Schons (1983) theory of reflective practice. The theory of reflective practice is a decision making theory that consists of three components teachers use to make real time instructional decisions: personal responsibility, problem setting, and testing. In addition to Schons theory, t he researchers used Kirbys (as cited in Bertelheim et al., 1993) indicators of reflective practice to inform their design and analysis. The researchers asked if indicators of the three components of reflective
53 practice are present when expert high school special education resource teachers actively make decisions regarding their classroom instruction? The criteria used for determining expertise was as follows: The educators had a minimum of 5 years of teaching experience, certification in special education, and a recommendation from the district special education office and the school principal. The teachers experience averaged 13.25 years. All of the teachers had participated in a mean of 36 hours of coursework in special education. Using Kirbys (as cited in Bertelheim et al., 1993) indicators of reflective practice, the researchers designed an openended interview protocol. Teachers were observed and then interviewed. Details regarding the students and the content of the lesson were not provided. Data were analyzed using content analysis, and transcripts were coded using three categories of reflective practice. Frequency counts of codes were calculated for individual participants and for the whole group. The use of frequency counts to determine t he importance of a code was problematic. In a study with so few teachers, thorough and detailed analysis of transcripts may have revealed that although the problem setting and testing codes appeared less frequently, they resulted in qualitatively different types of decisions than the codes that appeared more frequently. The researchers found that 39% of the codes were attributed to personal responsibility. They found that teachers took responsibility for both their instruction and students learning. Thi rty two percent of the codes addressed testing, and 29% of the codes addressed problem setting. Problem setting and testing represented how the participants responded to problems in instruction. In spite of the teachers espoused beliefs about responding to instructional problems and the personal responsibility they felt, they did not change their instruction when problems arose. The researchers also
54 found that two participants were responsible for the majority of the coded practices. These teachers prov ided more insightful responses, were more willing to take risks, and felt more responsibility for the outcome of their changes to instruction. In contrast, the other two participants gave routine and surfacelevel responses, and they were less willing to take risks. No evidence was presented to support the claim that teachers responses were more or less insightful. Interestingly, the researchers claimed that teachers with the most insightful responses were the two teachers with the least experience. The level of education did not explain the differences, as one of the participants with more superficial comments had acquired the highest number of special education credits. The researchers concluded that the teachers professional backgrounds did not contr ibute to the level of reflective practice they engaged in. They found that all of the teachers engaged in some level of reflective practice, but with the current study design the researchers were unable to determine whether the teachers engaged in the thr ee types of reflective practice thought to play a role in teacher decision making processes. The researchers acknowledged there were methodological limitations within this study. Furthermore, although the coding process was well explained, there were problems with the use of frequency counts for data from such a small sample and with the researchers qualitative interpretations that were presented without evidence from the transcripts. Thus, the researchers conclusions should be interpreted with caution. Implications Because there is only a single study on secondary special education teacher expertise, limited implications can be drawn from this research base. First and foremost, it is clear that this line of research needs to be explored more fully u sing stronger research designs. Second, the research suggests that expert secondary
55 special education teachers are concerned with students performance and take responsibility for both their instruction and students learning; however, concern about stude nts performance does not always result in responsive instruction. Bartelheim et al. (1993) found that in spite of the teachers espoused beliefs about the need to respond to instructional problems and the personal responsibility they felt for doing so, t hey did not always change their instruction in response to problems. If future research in this area reveals similar incongruity between teachers beliefs and practice, the underlying causes of such discontinuity should be explored. Discussion No literatu re reviews of educational research have explored the general or domainspecific characteristics of expertise within secondary education. This literature review was intended to fill this gap, primarily focusing on the domain specific nature of expertise in secondary special education teachers and content area teachers. Although this analysis of each domains research findings on secondary teacher expertise did yield some findings that were unique to each domain, there were many consistent themes that emerg ed across the domains. First, the concept of flexibility emerged in every domain except social studies and special education. In English language arts, both Jay (2002) and Tochon and Munby (1993) found that expert teachers discussions of various aspects of their teaching reflected more flexibility than novices discussions did. In Tochon and Munbys study the expert teachers approached lesson planning and instruction in ways that enabled them to be more responsive to students during instruction. In Jay s study, expert teachers moved flexibly between different types of conversation about their own observations. In mathematics, Livingston and Borko (1990) conceptualized this
56 flexibility as improvisational in nature and as allowing teachers to act more res ponsively toward students. In science (Meyer, 2004; Moallem, 1998), expert teachers were able to make flexible decisions, and why they changed their instruction revealed a great deal about their thinking. Flexibility is an important concept across many s tudies o f secondary teacher expertise. Second, in two of the domains, expert teachers appeared to have a perspective or emphasis on a particular aspect of their content, and they were able to rationalize instructional decisions based on that perspective or emphasis. In social studies, teachers rationalized their teaching based on their understanding of the content (Brooks, 2010; Gudmundsdottir & Shulman, 1987). In English language arts, Gudmundsdottir (1991) found that the teacher had a pedagogical model that guided her questioning of students, though there was incongruence between the teachers model and the model Gudmundsdottir thought was actually guiding her teaching. Although the importance of a perspective or emphasis and the ability to rationalize ones decisions emerged explicitly in only these two domains, other research hinted at their presence. Moallem (1998) discussed how the teachers past experiences related to how she saw herself, her students, and her instruction, which could imply the presence of a perspective. Although this is not the most consistent finding across these studies of secondary teacher expertise, if researchers ask explicit questions related to a teachers perspective or their emphasis this may emerge in future studies as an important feature of expertise. A third consistent finding was the importance of teachers past experiences. Although many researchers speculated that the difference between their experts and novices was experience (Brooks, 2010; Gudmundsdottir & Shul man, 1987; Jay 2002;
57 Meyer, 2004; Moallem, 1998; Sabers et al., 1991), only Moallem (1998) supported this conclusion with evidence. Moallem (1998) found that the teachers past experiences related to how the teacher saw herself, her students, and her inst ruction and that they were a significant source of her professional and pedagogical knowledge. Although experience is a feature of expertise (Palmer, et al., 2005), being able to make specific claims about the role experience plays in expertise requires t hat researchers include this construct in their analysis. Finally, the role of knowledge in expertise was a consistent finding across all domains. Many researchers demonstrated that knowledge relevant to teaching was an important factor in the difference between experts and novices. Although some of the research findings were not substantiated by the data analysis used in the studies (Even et al, 1993; Jay, 2002; Rich, 1993), other studies included analysis of knowledge in the study designs and were able to draw conclusions supporting the importance of this feature of expertise. In mathematics, Livingston and Borko (1990) found that expert teachers had better developed schemata that enabled them to act more flexibly. In science, Moallem (1998) described in detail the types of knowledge the teacher demonstrated and how that knowledge influenced practice. Although knowledge, like experience, is often a feature of expertise (Palmer et al., 2005) these studies demonstrated that considering the role of knowledge in expertise is essential to drawing conclusions about it. Challenges As demonstrated by the studies that drew unsubstantiated conclusions about the role of knowledge and experience in secondary teacher expertise (Brooks, 2010; Even et al., 1993; Gudmundsdottir & Shulman, 1987; Jay, 2002; Meyer, 2004; Rich, 1993;
58 Sabers et al., 1991), there are methodological weaknesses associated with this literature base, making it difficult to draw conclusions about teaching expertise in each of the academic domains and special education or about teaching expertise in secondary education generally. The first significant methodological weakness in this literature base was that the researchers often gave vague descriptions of the data collection and analyses. Furthermor e, researchers often did not present solid evidence from transcripts to support their interpretations and conclusions. Thus, these researchers interpretations of the data are questionable. The second major methodological weakness in this literature base relates to how the researchers defined expertise in their studies. Many studies in this review failed to apply a consistent standard to the inclusion criteria for experts. This problem seems to be common in studies of teacher expertise. Generally, studies used a combination of reputation, recommendation, education, and years of teaching experience to identify expert teachers. According to Palmer et al. (2005), researchers failure to use adequate criteria for identifying experts leads to a great deal of c onfusion within educational studies of expertise. Palmer and his colleagues recommend using the following f our criteria: 1. Teachers should have three to five years of experience in a specific content area and with a particular population. 2. Teachers knowledge should be reflected in certification and degrees in the field in which they are currently teaching 3. T eachers should be recognized as exemplary by multiple constituencies, based on recent and relevant indicators of teaching effectiveness that incl ude teacher knowledge and skills 4. There should be documented evidence of teacher impact on student performance.
59 In this review, no studies met these standards. Future Research What is clear from this review is that the research in secondary content area teacher expertise and special education teacher expertise is variable in methodology, theoretical orientation, participant selection, and quality. Very few studies focused on the domainspecific nature of expertise in secondary education, and only one foc used on expertise in secondary special education. Considering the increasing rate at which students with LD take content area classes in a general education setting, a study exploring the nature of expertise in special education content area teachers seem s a timely and necessary next step in the study of expertise.
60 CHAPTER 3 RESEARCH DESIGN Research Perspective Qualitative research is traditionally used to explore, describe, and explain phenomena that are not adequately understood. The goal of both desc riptive and exploratory qualitative studies is to build rich descriptions of complex circumstances (Marshall & Rossman, 1999, p. 33). Descriptive research is used to document and describe phenomena and can answer questions such as What are the salient actions, events, beliefs, attitudes, and social structure and processes occurring in phenomena? (Marshall & Rossman, 1999, p. 33). Exploratory research examines and detects categories of meaning (Marshall & Rossman, 1999, p. 33) and generates hypotheses for future research. Exploratory research can answer questions related to what is happening such as What are the salient themes, patterns, or categories of meaning? and describe how patterns are linked to one another (Marshall & Rossman, 1999, p. 33). This study used a descriptive and exploratory research methodology to describe how expert content area teachers conceptualized teaching literacy in their content area to secondary students w ith learning disabilities (LD). Qualitative research techniques are appropriate when studying phenomena about which little is known (Stern, 1980). A qualitative approach was appropriate for exploring this topic because there was limited research focused on identifying and describing expertise in education. Specificall y, there was scant research on expertise in both content area literacy instruction and teaching students with LD. Furthermore, qualitative methods can be used to obtain intricate details about phenomena such as feelings, thought processes, and emotions t hat are difficult to extract or learn about through more conventional methods (Strauss & Corbin, 1998, p. 11). This study
61 focused primarily on the thought processes of expert teachers, the meaning they attributed to teaching literacy within their content area to students with LD, and how they made sense of that meaning in terms of their instruction. Theoretical Perspective The epistemological orientation underlying this study was constructionism, which posits that meaning is constructed, not discovered. The construction of meaning begins when people consciously interact with objects in the world, and meaning develops and is communicated within a social context (Crotty, 1998). This study was designed to elicit the meaning expert teachers construct from their interaction with one particular phenomenon, teaching literacy within their content area to secondary students with LD and how they communicate meaning their conceptualization, within the social context of an interview. Furthermore, this study will s how how such meaning develops through further interaction with the phenomenon during think aloud and elicitation interviews, and how the teachers c ommunicate this meaning during the social context of the interviews. T he think aloud and elicitation intervi ews both explored the teachers perceptions of their experiences teaching literacy within their content area to secondary students with LD in the social context of the school and classroom further reflecting t he epistemological orientation of constructionism underlying this study The research question associated with this study represented the theoretical perspective of phenomenology. The question How do expert secondary content area teachers conceptualize teaching literacy in their content area to students with LD?was phenomenological in nature in that it focused on the meaning of lived experience, or the world as we immediately experience it (van Manen, 1990, p. 9). Phenomenological research aims to explain a phenomenon as it presents itself to the consciousness of the
62 participant and to return to the things themselves as they are initially presented to us. The assumption behind phenomenology is that if we put aside our preconceived understandings of a phenomen on and revisit our experiences, new meaning emerges that will enhance our understanding of the phenomenon (Crotty, 1998, p. 78). The phenomen on studied w as teachers perceptions of teaching literacy within their content area to secondary students with LD. New and enhanced understandings of the phenomen on could potentially lead to new practices and better professional development. As phenomenology looks at the meaning individuals ascribe to phenomenon, and proposes that meaning comes from interaction with the phenomenon, t his grounds this methodology in the constructionist epistemology (Crotty, 1998). This s tudy used hermeneutic phenomenological me thodology to explore teachers perceptions of teaching literacy within their content area to secondary students with LD Herm eneutic phenomenology involves a process in which the researcher and participants work together to explore and develop their understanding of the phenomenon being studied. Koch (1995) states, Hermeneutics invites its participants into an ongoing conversat ion Understanding occurs through a fusion of horizons, which is a dialectic between the preunderstandings of the research process, the interpretive framework, and the sources of information. The implication for hermeneutic inquiry is that research parti cipants are also giving their self interpreted constructions of their situation (p. 835). This co construction of understanding, or fusion of horizons, occurs through a circle of readings, reflective writing, and in terpretations (Gadamer, 1989). H ermeneut ic phenomenological methodology i s closely aligned with constructi oni sm as the co construction of understanding, is constructionist. Furthermore, it requires the researcher to acknowledge the role of history and social influences on the interpretive
63 description of the individuals experience, to understand teachers conceptualizations pre reflectively. Finally l anguage plays a central role in hermeneutic phenomenology Language is socially constructed ( Aldiabat & Le Navenec, 2001) and is the means by which individuals communicate the meaning they attribute to objects (van Manen, 1990), further aligning hermeneutic phenomenological methodology with t he epistemological orientation of constructionism underlying this study Site of Study The site of stu dy was a private school located in the suburbs of a large metropolitan city in the northeast United States. The school focused exclusively on educating children with languagebased LD; their stated goal was to help students develop the tools and strategi es they need to achieve success in college and life. They did so by using the following strategies: (a) Combine intensive support and high expectations within a college preparatory curriculum; (b) Use proven researchbased educational approaches to teach skills across the curriculum; (c ) Empower students with technology, and use adaptive tool s to meet students needs; and (d) Help students to understand how they learn, and help them develop independence and self advocacy skills. The average cost of attendance was annually $36,300 for grades 6 8 and $37,400 annually for grades 9 12. On average, 42% of students received tuition assistance. The school had 183 students, and the typical student:teacher ratio in content area classes ranged from 10:1 to 12:1. On average, 98% of students attended postsecondary 2and 4year colleges. The school used Orton Gillingham (OG) based interventions: multisensory and phonics based with an emphasis on rules of the language. Teachers in the school underwent approximately 80 hours of OG training prior to their employment. Many of
64 the teachers also taught in the summer school program prior to employment, in which they applied their OG training in oneonone intensive tutoring. Prior to every school year, teachers attended 4 days of professional development. Less formal inservice professional development occurred throughout the school year; curriculum developers and researchers, such as Judith Hochman, consulted with teachers to improve their practice. Many teachers parti cipated in committees, such as the writing committee and the skills committee, dedicated to reading recent research and reviewing curriculum to continuously revise the curricular. The schools dedication to teacher training was evident in their employment of a full time teacher education coordinator. Participants Teachers were sampled from among the content area teachers for three subsequent grades (Grades 9, 10, and 11) in one secondary school, thus keeping the context of the school similar while varying the content area and grades. All of the teachers in this study fit Palmer et al.s (2005) criteria for expertise. These researchers presented four criteria for selecting participants for studies of expertise. Participants should have (1) 3 to 5 years of experience teaching in a specific content area and with a particular population of students; (2) certification and degrees that correspond to the field in which they are currently teaching; (3) recognition by multiple constituencies (e.g., fellow teachers, researchers, administrators, teacher educators); and (4) documented evidence of their impact on student performance. Three secondary content area teachers participated in the study: one 9thgrade social studies teacher, one 10thgrade English teacher, and one 11thgrade English teacher. Criteria 1 and 2 were determined by teachers answers on a survey (Appendix A) that focused on their degrees obtained, courses taken, professional development
65 attended, and teaching experiences. They met the more stringent expectation for experience: more than 5 years of teaching in their content area and teaching students with reading disabilities. Teachers experience ranged from 17 years of teaching, with 6 years of teaching at this particular school and in their parti cular grade and content area, to 34 years of teaching, with 24 years of teaching at this particular school and in their particular grade. The teachers who participated in this study had degrees and/or certification in their respective content areas Teac hers education in their content area ranged from a bachelors degree to a doctorate of philosophy. Both English teachers were certified in their content area, whereas the social studies teacher was not. Additionally, all participants had completed at least 80 hours of professional development focused on teaching literacy to students with reading disabilities. Furthermore, all participants had attended additional hours of professional development focused on methods in their content area, literacy instruc tion, and/or teaching students with reading disabilities. I determined Criterion 3 through the recommendation of two different constituencies within the school: the Assistant Head of School/Dean of Students and the Director of Teacher Education. Both of these individuals met the criteria for identifying experts; they had worked closely with the teachers and had observed their instruction numerous times. The students scores on the Diagnostic Assessment of Reading (DAR) were used to determine whether thei r teachers met Criterion 4; the students preand post testing from the prior year had to meet a minimum requirement of more than 1year growth. Procedures Following van Manens m ethod of phenomenology (1984, p.5) as presented in F igure 3 1 I engaged in an analysis that included four concurrent procedural activities
66 and consist ed of 10 steps. The model was modified, as presented in Figure 32, to incorporate hermeneutic methods and show s the exact steps I engaged in during the data collecti on, analysis, and writing Turning to the Nature of Lived Experience Turning to the nature of lived experience is the first phase of van Manens m ethod of phenomenology (1984). This phase involved first orie nting ones self to the phenomenon, teaching lite racy within their content area to secondary students with LD In o rienting mysel f to the phenomena in question, I reflected on my own experiences as a secondary social studies and language arts teachers. I considered topics relevant to both students and teachers. Students with LD often face difficulties with reading content area texts and have difficulties demonstrating their knowledge when the expectation is to demonstrate their knowledge in writing. Teachers often are not trained to address the diffic ulties students with LD face in their classrooms and with the movement towards inclusion they increasingly have students with LD in their classrooms. After orienting one self to the phenomenon, the second step in turning to the nature of lived experience i s to formulate the phenomenological question. In forming the question I brainstormed potential topics, asking myself if you had the training and experience, what would it be like to teach such students and what could we learn from expert teachers? From a list of potentially relevant questions, I chose to focus this study on the phenomenological question: How do expert secondary content area teachers conceptualize teaching literacy in their content area to students with LD? The third step in turning to the nature of lived experience was to explicating assumptions and preunderstandings also known as epoch. Epoc, entails bracketing
67 prior knowledge, or setting aside theories, hypotheses, measuring instruments, and prior research. Epoch also requires e ngagement in phenomenological reduction, which involves abstaining from focusing on the phenomen on as independent of experience (Wertz et al., 2011). In order to address the concept of epoch in this study, I kept a reflective journal throughout all stages of the data collection and analysis. Throughout the interview process, I recorded thoughts about the phenomenon that were tied to experiences visited during the interviews. Before analyzing the data, I bracketed prior knowledge and conceptions about the phenomenon and recorded these in the journal. Upon reflection on the journal, I identified my own interpretations that seemed to reflect prior understanding rather than the transcripts of the interviews, and which seemed not to be tied directly to the ex periences discussed in the interviews. The Existential Investigation The existential investigation is the second phase of van Manens Method of phenomenology (1984). This phase involved first e xploring the phenom enon. To explore the phenomenon, I looked back over my own experiences as both a secondary social studies teacher and a language arts teacher who specialized in literacy instruction for students with dyslexia. I struggled as a language arts teacher to contextualize reading interventions within th e students content area classes and coordinate this instruction to best support students in accessing the content in their classes. I struggled as a middle school social studies teacher to use what I had learned about the students reading disabilities to support t heir learning in my classroom. I next obtained experiential descriptions from the participants. Th e data collection consisted of five interviews in three different formats: an initial interview, two think aloud interview s, and two elicitation interview s. First, I began with a more
68 traditional interview, which was designed to explore secondary content area teachers' pre reflective understandings of the phenomenon. Second, as experts often automatize many of the cognitive proc esses they use (Eri csson, 2009) and often have difficulty making their thinking overt, I included two additional interview techniques. First, I situated the teachers thinking within authentic tasks, such as planning. This method can reveal understandings that exist at a more subconscious level. Similar strategies, such as cognitive task analysis, have proven effective with expert teachers (Feldon, 2007). I also used taped lessons to promote reflection, so as not to depend on teachers memory; dependence on memory has generated major cri ticism of the use of stimulated recall interviews in studies of expertise (Feldon, 2007). Detailed desc riptions of all three interview formats are below: Initial interview The selected teachers participated in an initial interview (Appendix B). The purpose of the interview was twofold. The first goal was to elicit additional information, beyond that gathered in the survey, regarding teachers past and present experiences related to teaching students with LD, their content area, and literacy. The second goal focused on knowledge teachers had about their content area, content area literacy i nstruction, and their students. Think aloud Interviews The selected teachers participated in two think aloud interviews. In the think aloud interviews (Appendix C) the teachers described their lesson planning process. During the interviews, I instructed the teachers to say out loud everything they were thinking as they prepared for their lesson. At the end of the think aloud, I asked clarifying questions. Going thr ough the motions of planning situated the teachers knowledge within the teachers authentic task of lesson planning. Research on think aloud interviews has demonstrated that they provide a valid source of data
69 regarding participants thinking, especially when the data are interpreted through a qualitative lens (Charters, 2003). From the think aloud interviews I was able to learn about the teachers thought processes as they planned for a lesson. Elicitation interviews After each of the think aloud interviews I videotaped an observation of the planned lesson in the classroom and conducted follow up elicitation interviews. Prior to each elicitation interview (Appendix D), I reviewed the observation and identified the moments when I saw teachers supporting students literacy needs. During both of the elicitation interviews, the day after the lesson was videotaped, both the participant and I watched the videotaped observation. In the elicitation interview, I instructed teachers to identify moments in the lesson that demonstrated the provision of instructional support for student literacy needs. I asked the teachers to elaborate on what knowledge they had been drawing upon, and on the source of that knowledge. Furthermore, I asked the participants to explain the rationale behind their choice of practice. I also pointed to the moments in the instruction that I had identified prior to the elicitation interview. By asking teachers to reflect on their teaching practice through watching their video, I situated their reflections and perceptions within their particular classroom contexts. From the elicitation interviews I was able to learn about the teachers thought processes as they reflected on lessons. The final step in the existential investigation is to co nsult phenomenological literature. I returned to the phenomenological literature, reading the writings of philosophers such as MerleauPonty (1962) Sartre (2001) and Heidegger (1968) It was from the w ritings of MerleauPonty and van Manens (1984) int erpretations of MerleauPontys writings, that I would ultimately begin to organize my understanding of experience and perception. Humans, according to existential phenomenological
70 philosophers and researchers, perceive their experiences: across time (liv ed temporality), within space (lived spatiality), physically (lived corporeality), and interpersonally (lived relationality). I would attempt to describe within and across participants their conceptualization of the task of teaching students literacy within their content area, exploring how they expressed their conceptualizations in terms of how humans perceive experience. Phenomenological Reflection Phenomenological reflection is the third phase of van Manens Method of phenomenology (1984). This phase involved first conducting thematic analysis of the data generated in the second phase. After transcribing the interviews, I used the existential themes to guide a line by line analysis of the transcripts considering how time (lived te mporality), space (lived spatiality), physical (lived corporeality, and interpersonal interactions (lived relationality) emerged in the participants discussion of their experiences. From this analysis I identified predominant themes in the participants ex perience, the second step of phenomenological reflection. I then narrowed the themes to those central to answering the research question How do expert secondary content area teachers conceptualize teaching literacy in their content area to students with LD? The themes identified as central to the teachers conceptualizations were: (a) developing literacy skills with an eye toward the future; (b) understanding students learning disabilities; and (c) designing instruction to further students learning. I identified statements corresponding to these themes. Next, I reordered and combined the statements into an integrated description of how each individual teacher conceptualized teaching literacy within their content area to secondary students with
71 LD con necting the teachers words with my interpretation of their words, creating a description of the teachers lived experiences. Hermeneutic Phenomenological Writing Hermeneutic phenomenological writing is the fourth phase of van Manens Method of phenomenolog y (1984). Hermeneutic phenomenology involves a process of readings, reflective writing, and interpretations (Gadamer, 1989). The circular process of reading, writing, and interpreting continued until the participants and I believed my interpretations had fully encapsulated the participants lived experience. Upon writing the first draft of the teachers lived experiences, I returned to the transcripts, attending to the speaking of language and ensuring I was varying my selection of examples to best represent the participants experiences. I read the transcripts repeatedly throughout the project to ensure that interpretations w ere tied to their experiences. van Manen (1990) emphasized that writing in and of itself leads to reflection. As such, the initial draft of the teachers lived experiences was written during the analysis phase. Additionally, the use of a reflective journal is one way to engage a hermeneutic circle (Heidegger, 1968). During the data analysis, I used the reflective journal to brainst orm, write, and revise the interpretation being formed. Furthermore, to reach a fusion of horizons, numerous revisions to the interpretation were made. After forming the initial draft of the teachers lived experiences during the analysis, I conferred wi th each participant, sharing his written interpretation. Based on the discussion with the participants, I revised my interpretation of the teachers conceptualizations. Discussions of this nature continued until the participants and I believed my interpr etations had fully captured the par ticipants conceptualizations
72 Presentation of Findings Included in this dissertation are extensive descriptions of the individual teachers conceptualizations of the task of teaching literacy within their content area to students with LD. The findings of this study are presented in chapter 4, focusing on the teachers conceptualizations of the phenomen on. To illuminate the individual cases, interview excerpts from each teacher are included in chapter 4. Chapter 5 presents a discussion of the findings, presenting implications for the study of teacher expertise in secondary literacy instruction in the content areas with students with LD
73 Figure 31. Model of van Manens method of phenomenology (1984, p.5).
74 Figure 32 Modified model of van Manens method of phenomenology.
75 CHAPTER 4 RESULTS This study was designed to provide insight into the understandings and practices of expert content area teachers with specialized knowledge in teaching literacy to stud ents with learning disabilities ( LD ) with the purpose of developing an understanding of expertise in teaching content area literacy skills to secondary students with LD. The research q uestion this study addresses is: How do expert secondary content area teachers conceptualize teaching literacy in their content area to students with LD ? The purpose of this chapter is to answer the research question by exploring the teachers understanding of the phenomenon using hermeneutic phenomenological methods. In th is chapter I present profiles of the three teachers in this study: Wright, Geoffrey, and Teagan. Each teacher profile is comprised of (a) a description of the teachers training and education, (b) a description of the teachers classroom, and (c) a descri ption of the teachers lived experience. I derived descriptions of the teachers training, education, and classroom from their responses to the initial survey, comments by the Dean of Students, who was also the Assistant Head of School, and comments by th e Director of Teacher Education. I also integrated within these descriptions my observations of the teachers in the school while they went about their daily responsibilities, which included classroom instruction, committee meetings, and faculty meetings, as well as passing comments from students and teachers in the hallway between classes and at the schools graduation ceremony. I derived the descriptions of the teachers lived experiences from my analysis of my interviews with the teachers. The teacher s lived experiences reflected how they conceptualized their instruction, their framework for teaching. Specifically, their framework includ ed their conceptualizations of (a) developing literacy skill s with an eye
76 toward the future, (b) understanding stude nts learning disabilities, and (c) designing instruction to further students learning. Following the three profiles of the teachers, I discuss the commonalities and unique qualities of the teachers lived experiences, creating a cross participant description of how these teachers conceptualized teaching literacy in their content area to students with LD. Wright At the time of this study, Wright had been teaching for 31 years; this was his 12th year at the school. Wright was an 11thgrade English teacher who had taught English exclusi vely for the past 7 years and had taught English and language arts for his first 5 years at the school. As was the case with many teachers in the school, Wright had a number of responsibilities beyond teaching. Wright was currently the head of the Englis h department. In his role, Wright encouraged teachers to share their exemplary lessons with the department and required peer observations to help teachers develop their practice. Furthermore, Wright was the chair of the skills committee, which focused on continuously revising the schools strategic plan for developing students basic academic skills. The skills committee focused on which skills were to be introduced, developed, and reviewed in each grade with the goal of preparing students to be successfu l in postsecondary education and training. As chair, Wright guided the committee to focus on current research when making such decisions. Wright was not just a leader but also a mentor. He was the teacher other teachers turned to for guidance. He was known as a hard teacher, holding high expectations for students, and was deeply respected by former students. In the graduation ceremony students often thanked Wright for his rigor and high expectations, and students often reflected on his class as the tu rning point in their development as scholars.
77 Wrights Preparation and Training Wright obtained a bachelors degree in English from Columbia University in 1979, a masters degree in creative writing from Boston University in 1989, and a doctorate in Englis h from Boston University in 1995. He also held a teaching certificate in secondary English. The coursework for his bachelors degree in English included 30 40 credit hours in college literature, the coursework for his masters degree focused mostly on wri ting, and the coursework for his PhD was entirely in literature. In addition to his preparation in English, Wright successfully completed at least two education courses in reading and writing. Furthermore, in the past year alone, Wright attended 32 hours of professional development in reading, 20 hours of professional development in writing, and 20 hours of professional development in English language arts. Although Wright had considerable content area expertise and training to be a teacher, he had never completed a course specifically dedicated to teaching students with disabilities; however, he reported participating in numerous professional development experiences in this area. He reported participating over the past year in at least 20 hours of profe ssional development in teaching students with disabilities, and he reported attending over the past decade 20 conferences, plus 3 summer sessions on O G [Orton Gillingham], plus innumerable inschool training programs in teaching students with disabilities. Furthermore, Wright explained, I am constantly reading research in the fields of literacy, LD, etc While these are not professional development in the sense of a being a course or presentation, being a PhD, I know how to do my own researchthousands of hours over the past decadedeveloping my own approaches and my own workshopspresenting my own workshops and presentations at regional
78 and national conferences. Wright was driven to become more knowledgeable about students with LD. Wrights Classro om Wrights classroom was small and rectangular, with the entrance in the middle of one long wall. Directly across from the doorway was a wall of windows through which the sunlight poured, creating a bright atmosphere. The desks were arranged in a circle in the middle of the room, with students facing each other, much like the desks would be arranged in a college classroom in which students are expected to participate in discussion. The number and placement of the desks made it difficult to navigate the room. At the left end of the circle of desks was an opening where Wright could stand in front of the class. Wrights classroom was littered with artifacts revealing his approach to teaching literacy in his English classes. Upon most student desks lay a W ebsters Dictionary. Off to the left of the entrance wall was a whiteboard on which Wright listed the Essential Questions" he wanted his students to consider when reading literature: (a) What is literature? (b) Why do humans create literature? (c) How do we know what literature means (when it doesnt come out and tell us)? and (d) How do we explain why we think it means what it means? On the short wall to the left of the entrance was a wall sized whiteboard over which a large screen rolled up and down. On this whiteboard were many notes about the novel the class was currently reading, The Great Gatsby and how to structure a paragraph about it. At first glance, Wrights room might appear to be a disorganized pile of clutter, but closer examination reveal ed a classroom that was filled with literature. Wrights desk, which stood directly to the right of the entrance, was full of papers and novels. He
79 also had bookshelves that were piled with haphazardly stacked papers and books. A copy of The Great Gatsb y by F. Scott Fitzgerald, with many tagged pages and numerous notations written in the margins, lay on his projector. Students writing was projected on a large screen for all to see. Wright used the projector to show student work as well as his notations and tagged pages in the books he and the students analyzed together. On the other short wall beyond the projector was another whiteboard, upon which was a large timeline of the life of the main character, Jay Gatsby. In spite of the small size of the cl assroom, the cramped placement of the desks, and the messy stacks of papers all variables that might seem to detract from the productivity and efficiency of a class Wrights students appeared to be engaged, transitioned between activities smoothly, and dem onstrated the ability to independently locate materials and to follow directions written on the board. It was evident that Wright had well established routines in place and that the slightly chaotic feel of the classroom reflected the vibrancy of the clas sroom rather than disorganization. Wrights Lived Experience Wrights framework for teaching included the following themes: (a) developing literacy skills with an eye toward the future, (b) understanding students learning disabilities, and (c) designing instruction to further students learning. Developing literacy skills with an eye toward the future Wrights framework for teaching included what Wright referred to as literacy tasks and aptitudes that students need to develop in a high school English course in order to succeed in postsecondary settings. When talking about what students needed, Wright always seemed to have an eye on the future: The content of my course is organized to give them stuff that is intellectually complex, is something that ki ds outside of the school might have read or
80 encountered somewhere in their high school, preferably something at the sophomore, junior, senior level, and to give them some exposure to that level and kind of materialintellectually. I try to get them to be able to do the things that we want them to be able to do with literature in collegelevel courses. Wrights knowledge of postsecondary settings emanated from his experiences in higher education. He had been a teaching assistant during his doctoral program and an adjunct professor of English prior to teaching at his current school. Wright described how his previous experiences enabled him to anticipate the expectations his students would confront in a freshman English course: What I brought was the knowledge where they have to beand you know, knowing the attitudes and ideas and proclivities of the people that are going to be trying to teach them those things, many of whom would say youre not ready for college, or youre not college material, rather than having any sense of knowing what their barriers are and knowing what theyre capable of if they have the right kind of opportunities. So yeah, I have a real strong sense of what that freshman year is like, especially with the Freshman Comp programs that ar e almost universal now. Wrights extensive experience as a student and professor of English likely acted as a guide for his instruction. This was evident in his ability to easily identify the skills he wanted to help his students develop. He listed five literacy tasks students should master to succeed in postsecondary settings. According to Wright,  You need to be able to read something of a particular length and difficulty in a certain amount of time. For me thats an adult novel of say 250300 pag es in say 2 to 3 weeks. You need to be able to read A Farewell to Arms and The Great Gatsby in 2 to 3 weeks.  You need to be able to produce a paper that is based on something you have read, not out of your head, and is formal and analytical and polis hed and structured according to the sort of academic standards. You need to be able to do thatin a week You need to be able to read something and come to class ready to either participate in a formal discussionwith some idea of what youre [going] t o bring to the table around that, and questions that you have You need to be able to listen to a lecture, a formal presentation and take notes and get somethingretain that and put it back into the context of what youve read and help it to inform your reading of it.  You need to be able to take a test on something that you learned 3 months
81 earlier and be able to bring information and ideas back to bear over the long term. Furthermore, Wright identified a sixth skill that was not consistently emphasi zed but was still present in the class. According to Wright, it was the ability to be able to stand up and give an oral, formal presentation of say 10 to 15 minutes in length to a group on a topic that youve researched and put together. Wright also identified literacy aptitudes essential for students success in postsecondary settings: You want them to be able to unpack one passage and sort of paraphrase it and closeread it like you would a poemWe want them to be able to tie those readings into the lar ger themes of the novel, and you want them to be able to tie the themes of those novels into the other pieces of literature within the genre or within bigger themes within Humanities and sort of see how this book operates in the larger picture When we do Gatsby, the American Dream and what that is and how that operates in our larger society and how that looks today given our economy and how these class and social structures are and are not like they were in the 1920sIm trying to get them to think as intellectuals in that way, be able to closeread, be able to see the novel as a thing that operates in a larger environment and be able to think outside. Wrights framework for instruction consisted of learning literacy skills, or tasks and aptitudes that woul d assist them in their literature classes. The literacy tasks consisted primarily of literacy skills such as comprehension, fluency, and writing that are essential to students postsecondary success regardless of the content area. The literacy aptitudes consisted primarily of domainspecific literacy skills that are unique to the content of English classes. Wright believed that both these tasks and aptitudes are fundamental to students success in postsecondary English classes. Understanding students le arning disabilities From Wrights perspective, there was an important relationship between the types of difficulties students with LD experienced and their ability to tackle literacy tasks
82 and to develop aptitudes common to a high school English class. He described how the abilities of students with disabilities to perform the tasks associated with an 11thgrade English class, such as reading and notating text, were not as well developed as the abilities of typically developing students: And this is the pi ece where this is the learning different groupsall of those things that most 11thgraders would have figured out how to do in a college prep program by you knowby 11th grade you would just be able to say, ok, I want you to go home and read this chapter and notate it and come back. And there are a fair number of our students that are capable of doing that on their own, but there are still many of them who are still devel oping those [abilities]. For example, Wright acknowledged the ways in which the texts his students were reading were particularly challenging for them. When discussing F. Scott Fitzgeralds The Great Gatsby he explained, Were reading stuff that is narra tively and literarily complex. Theres a lot of places where his poetic style and his diction is challenging for our students. He will tell things that happen here and here and expect us to be able to sequence those and put those back together simultaneo usly; all those are pretty big challenges for some of our kids, especially ones with working memory difficulties and then with reading difficulties and everything. In response to questions regarding the difficulties he anticipated his students having, Wrig ht described how each students specific disabilities influenced their ability to perform tasks. For example, in reference to a writing task he had planned, Wright explained how the incongruence between Toms reading, verbal, and conceptual thinking abili ties and his writing fluency influenced his ability to perform: Tom has had trouble finishing thingsHes very verbal; he can tell you all about it, he understands it, hes got like 720 verbal reading scores so its not about his understanding of itIts about kind of the disconnect between how well he can write and spelland his standards around how sophisticated his thinking is. He also described how students might perform differently on tasks depending on their specific abilities. In the following example, Wright explained how Morgans abstract
83 thinking ability influenced his ability to analyze novels and his performance on analytical tasks related to the novel: Morganhas a real hard time thinking about novels. Oftentimes he willdo something sort of pa rallel to the kind of analysis that the rest of them are doingHell sort of come up with a more concretemore about history or about something that he can quantify or get facts on rather than about character and motivation. So you know, thats where understanding that thats the way some people process the world and thats good enough; its not going to change andRight, theyre still producing a piece of writing that has quotations from the novel and documents something. Wright used this knowledge of the students difficulties to guide instruction. In the following quotation, Wright reflected on a lesson in which the class was reading the novel The Great Gatsby aloud and discussing the text. In the lesson, the text was projected on a screen in the front of the class, and Wright flipped back and forth between two pieces of text, discussing how the narrator perceived Jay Gatsby: This is one of the things thatthey dont have a good sense when language is being repeated, when something is phrased in almost identical ways. And so Im always trying to sayit saysback over here he had said there was an indefinable expression that passed over Gatsbys face, and then here he saysand the fact that this is separated These students have more difficulty making those connections than more proficient readers. So Im showing them that this referred that this is defining what this is and this refers to this, making those connections for them. Wright explained that students with LD have difficulties seeing patterns in the text and making connections within the text, so he modeled for students how these two pieces of text were connected by showing the students how one specific piece of the text referred to another specific piece of the text and defined it. Throughout th e various interviews, Wright addressed how the various difficult ies students with LD encounter such as weaknesses in background knowledge, making connections, sequencing events and writing fluency interfere with their ability to perform and develop the necessary literacy skills.
84 Designing instruction to further students learning Wright believed that his knowledge of the students needs helped him design instruction that either enabled students to develop the skills they needed to succeed in a postsecondary setting or enabled them to compensate for their deficits: I make a distinction between remediation, compensation, and accommodation. I always try to keep those things clear in my mind, which is which. Theyre not the same thing. By the tim e they come into 11th grade were probably not going to get a lot of bang for our buck out of remediation unless theyre really new to our school. Accommodation is something that needs to start phasing out, so I put my eggs in the compensation basket. If you cant do this on your own, how are you going to compensate for that? What help are you going to need? And then what are the things that we havent been able to remediate and I dont know of a compensation for, so then what are the accommodations that youre going to need? [You are] going to have to manage those negotiations around the expectations of college and professions. To accomplish the goal of bridg[ing] the gap in skills and giv[ing] them access to the texts whether or not they had those skills, Wrights instruction integrated (a) assessing students abilities in order to evaluate where their skills were and to determine what gaps existed in the students skills, (b) identifying strategies to help students develop the literacy skills needed or compensate for deficits in these skills, and (c) supporting students access to more demanding content. Wrights instruction focused on reading, writing, and disciplinary literacy. The following section will explore how Wright designed this instructi on to further students learning, bridging the gap between their current skills and the literacy skills Wright deemed essential to their success in postsecondary settings. Reading. Fluency and comprehension instruction, according to Wright, were essential to his students success and were a central focus when he planned and implemented instruction. Fluency was an important skill, as it affected students ability to be able to read something of a particular length and difficulty in a certain amount of
85 time. Reading comprehension instruction was also essential, as it affected a students ability to read something and come to class ready to either participate in a formal discussionwith some idea of what youre [going] to bring to the table around that, and questions that you have. Wrights reading instruction focused primarily on fluency and reading comprehension. Wright identified fluency as an essential literacy skill for the course he taught: I read all the research as to what makes good readers in the National Reading Panel report, and I started getting very interested in fluency in particular because that seemed to be a real difficulty for [my students]. Mostare not nonreaders; theyre slow, labored readers. According to Wright, when students had poor fluency it influenced how their brainhears the language and subsequently affected their comprehension. Furthermore, Wright believed that not only rate and accuracy but also prosody affected comprehension: Most of our studentsmany of themNo, Ill t ake that back. Most of them can read with a fair degree of accuracy. Their speed is variable but generally about 150 words a minute on average. Their prosody is horrible, and its the phrasing that slows comprehension. The more I listen to the students reading and the more Ive read about fluency and really looked into it, its hard to quantify prosody, but I think its really the key to comprehension. Wright used ongoing student assessment to better understand his students skill levels and to inform his instruction. One example that emerged was his use of fluency assessment to identify the degree of support students needed in reading. According to Wright, he measured students fluency at the beginning of the year: At the beginning of the year, I have them do a 400 word passage aloud; then Imark it for its errors and get words correct per minute; and then I score it on a scale that measures their phrasing, their intonation, and their evenness or smoothness in which they read and put that all onto a
86 sp readsheet. I have a formula thatcomes up with what I think is a measure of how fluent they really are. That includes both those quantitative and qualitative dimensions. I check that against their silent reading, because some read quicker silently. Wrig ht then used this information to determine what degree of support students needed: I use that information to divide them into three categories: people that probably dont need audio, people who might benefit from it particularly for speed, and people who have to have it theyre not going to make it if they dont use it. Wright then incorporated the supportive strategy, audio recordings of the text, into his instruction to address students needs: And then I go about teaching and training the whole class how to use audio, and we use it in class every day as a natural part of the reading experience. Theyre expected to have read it the night before, come in with their notations, then we reread it in class and I show themand we discuss and notate our way through it. He showed students the assessment data he had collected so they would become more conscious of their reading fluency and the need to rely on technology to support their learning: I use the audio [tapes]. I show it to them at the beginning of the y ear, I measure their reading rates, andI say, ok, at your reading rate its going to take you this long to read this novel, and then I show them how to use the variable speed and play it aloud in class. It takes them a while to get used to listening to s omething thats going faster, and I say, look, if you can do this at oneanda half time speed its going to [take you 6 hours]. At your reading speed its going to take you 12 hours. What would you rather do? For Wright, a major goal of English instruct ion for students with LD was to ensure their understanding of the text so that students could access the content. He explained, Emphasis on understanding, not just fact recall or remembering plot, but coming to an understanding thats engaged with the text and struggling with the text and understanding that the text is not a fixed object with certain things that you need to know out of it but its a way of thinking. So thats what Im trying to get to, and its to help them put words to some of those kinds of concepts.
87 The strategies Wright incorporated into his instruction served the dual purpose of supporting students development of comprehension skills and their access to the content. Wright employed less formal techniques to check on students underst anding of the text: So checking in with them to kind ofmaking sure that theyre understandingperiodically stopping and asking questionsjust making sure that theyre understanding. This informal assessment allowed Wright to fix comprehension problems o n the spot. For instance, he commented, Forcomprehension we read it, we stop, we discuss it. I ask openended questions like, what does this mean? How does this connect?...I pick those places and say stop, lets not go forward until we are sure that wer e understanding whats going on and whats difficult about this. Furthermore, Wrights extensive experience enabled him to anticipate where students would likely encounter difficulty with comprehension and to create a flexible plan for instruction. Wright shared, Ive been doing it so long I almost know exactly which thing theyre not going to know about or understand. This deep understanding of the English language arts curriculum enabled him to be responsive to students misconceptions and to adapt his instruction as students engaged in lessons. Wright addressed comprehension primarily using one strategy he identified as helpful to students: Question ing the Author Questioning the Author is a strategy by Beck, Hamilton and McKeown (1997; 2006) Wright described Questioning the Author as a multi step strategy. First, the teacher selects the text or passage and identifies points in the passage where they think students need to stop, think, and gain a deeper understanding of the text. Next, the teacher creates questions or queries that encourage higher order thinking about the text at those stopping points. Finally, the teacher shows the passage to the students and models how they should read the
88 passage and think through the questions or queries. Accor ding to Wright, the steps of this strategy supported his students in deepening their understanding, enhanced their ability to create connections, and prevented the confusion typically associated with comprehending sophisticated text. Additionally, Wright worked hard to make connections for the students. According to Wright, he thought about the essential points in the story and emphasized them for students: I need to remind myself of where the stopping points areI need to remember to stop at this point and talk about this point[or] emphasize this particular aspectI want to bring these key things together for them in a way that they often cant themselvesso that they can think about it more richly than they might otherwise because they dont often have those literary chops. Questioning the Author also provided Wright with a routine for incorporating many comprehension strategies. For instance, he showed students how to use sticky notes to mark essential passages in the text: Right, and to make sure that theyre recording their comprehensionthis passage is difficult but its central and its thematic; how do we mark that done? Put a sticky note in there, then when you want to come back to that, go back to it and access it, look at it again in the contex t of this other passage thats 100 pages later. Literature is alwaysyou have to keep this thing that happened in Chapter One and remember its this thing that happened in Chapter Nine, and if its 6 weeks later, you know, its hard to remember. Wright al so incorporated rereading as a way to support comprehension, which was also a technique he used for building fluency: Ive always knownthat the best reading comprehension strategy is to reread With an unimpaired reader you do that automatically because its quick and easy. Oh, I didnt understand that paragraph; let me jump back to the beginning of it. So I want to make sure that theyre getting it twice at least, and often three times because sometimes Ill read it two or three times as were going over it. So theyll read it to themselves, Ill read it with the audio in class, and then Ill read it aloud as Im going over that particular thing. In the process of rereading text, Wright had students notate and highlight text:
89 I want to make sure that they have a reference, that their hands are on the text andthat [they] can mark it and identify that as being more significant than other things, because oftentimes if you ask them to notate independently, they either do none or highlight the whole page instead of being able to focus in on those key things. Wrights comprehension instruction involved both teaching strategies Question ing the Author and rereading to support students development of literacy skills and to enable their access to the content Wright created routines for how students engaged with the text and for supporting their understanding of the text through ongoing informal assessment of their comprehension and discussion. Writing. Wright identified writing as one of the tasks that is essential to students success in a postsecondary setting: You need to be able to produce a paper that is based on something you have read, not out of your head, and is formal and analytical and polished and structured according toacademic standards. You need to be able to do thatin a week. Wright dedicated the most time to developing students writing skills, though he did explore strategies to increase students access to literacy content through writing. Knowing the demands that students with disabili ties would face in postsecondary settings, Wright focused on writing fluency. He remarked, I started looking at their writing fluency as well as other kinds of things. But the speed of production was really an issue for me because I know what kind of production levels they were going to be asked of when they left here. As such, Wright began the year assessing students writing fluency. He explained, I say, ok, heres a prompt; ready, set, go. And the first time I ask them all to do it by hand, and I find out how many words they can produce, how good it is, and you know, sort of measure it again on various differentat the surface feature level but also at the expression level and comprehension level and so forth. Then I repeat that again about 2 or 3 week s later with another piece of reading, another prompt, and they can use their computers. After that 20 minutes of writing I say, ok, you can take this home and finish it with unlimited time. [Some students are not] going to get
90 to that 500 words in 20 mi nutes but its going to take them an hour. Some of them[have] no more to say. After 20 minutes of writing theyve only got 100 words, but neither time nor the computer is going to help them because theyve got no more to say. This assessment provided Wright with useful information about students writing fluency: which students needed extended time for writing, which students would always have limited production, and which students would benefit from the use of computers for inclass timed writing assi gnments. Wright approached writing in the same deliberate way he approached reading, thinking about what students could do and then explicitly teaching strategies to improve their text. He stated, Its just good teaching, you knoweverything has to be structuredI tell them at the beginning of the novel, this is going to be the essay question; this is what were reading for, these are the things you need to pay attention to and take notes on. When I give them a writing assignment, this is how you write an introduction. Start with a big, broad general statement, narrow it down to a specific statement, then have an arguable open thesis statement. And I show them how to do that....This is how you write a paragraph that has a topic sentenceand this is how you use specific quotations to illustrate thoseEverything is step by step by step by step. And you know, if you cant do this on your own, if you cant generate these structures or these things on your own heres a way to do it, and its all laid out for the m. Teaching explicit strategies was the mainstay of Wrights writing instruction, and he had well established routines for incorporating explicit writing strategies into his instruction. In the planning interview Wright explained, I ask them to go home and write a thesis statement and introduction and then they come back in and they hand those in and I go over outliningI talk about the structure of it and how to accomplish each piece on a day to day basis then ask them to go home and draft more or less on their own. When students demonstrated difficulties, Wright helped them learn strategies by modeling how an expert would approach the task. He stated,
91 We talked about writing an introduction with a general statement, a specific statement, and a thesis stat ement. We talked about the fact that the thesis statement needs to be arguable and it needs to answer the question why does he change his view, not does his view change; thats not the thesis statementAnd then I ask them to sort of outline their argument s with topic sentences. Wright also supported students when they were stuck. He explained that he would say to them, On your introduction I want you to maybe cut this or shape it a little more like this. Furthermore, he had designed materials, such as gr aphic organizers (Appendix E) and rubrics (Appendix F) to help students plan for and write their essays. These materials were designed not only to support student writing in the English class; the rubric reflected the expectations for writing for the SAT. While Wright used explicit teaching, he also used scaffolding to help students develop the independence they would need in a postsecondary setting. At the beginning of the year he provided more explicit teaching, but as the year progressed he required gr eater independence from students: I tell them that at this point in the year, this is to see how much you can do with.independenceIm trying to kick as many supports out from them as I canIm saying alright, now, write an essay for me. Wrights writing instruction involved teaching strategies primarily to support students development of literacy skills along with their independence in using them. He remarked, Produce a paper that is based on something you have read, not out of your head, and is form al and analytical and polished and structured according to the sort of academic standards. You need to be able to do thatin a week. Wright believed that after he had provided the tools, it was the students time to use them. He wanted students to develop the independence they would need in a postsecondary educational setting.
92 Disciplinary Literacy. Throughout Wrights discussion of comprehension and writing, he demonstrated the value he placed on developing students' disciplinary literacy skills and enab ling them to access the content of English literature. For example, he described his choice of texts, explaining how he would like to expose students to the major genres of literature, So we dothe novels have either been Huck Finn or The Alchemist sometimes both, Animal Farm either A Farewell to Arms or Johnny Got His Gun The Great Gatsby I usually do a play, sometimesThis year it was Master Harold and the Boys other times its been Our Town So I try to get all the major genres, talk to them about the difference among genres and how they are differently constructed and differently presented and differently told and whats the difference between a lyric poem and a play? Whats the difference between a play and a novel? How are those generical ly different, whats the role of the narrator, or not having a narrator. Wrights instruction was designed so that students could access the content, regardless of their ability level, and was coordinated within and across the content areas and grades, usi ng their learning in other classes to scaffold their learning in his class. He recognized that accessing subject matter knowledge in a literature class was difficult and that he had to carefully consider the challenges his students faced and how to help th em through those challenges. To ensure t hat students with varying skill levels could engage in analyzing the literature, Wright used Essential Questions a strategy from Understanding by Design by Wiggins and McTighe (2005) According to Wright, Understan ding by Design involves, You ask thesethese important questions, knowing that everybodys going to come at them from different levelsbut choosing them in ways that everybody gets access to the same set of ideas, that theyre going to get different experi ences of those ideas but they all deserve to have those central questionsand theyre up there on the board [for all to see and use].
93 Wrights apparent knowledge of literature seemed to help him identify the big ideas of instruction and develop guiding questions for the students. First, he identified the overarching guiding questions used in English classes across the grades: The big questions are: What is literature and whats its purpose in human culture? Why do we even have this stuff when were telli ng stories to each other that never happened? How does that work, how does that operate? And thats for the whole English department. Then, he articulated the specific guiding questions for the 11thgrade English classes and the literature that would acc ompany those questions. He said, For this year, Im asking about how does change occur? What sort of influence does an individual have on societal changes? How do societies change themselves, how do individuals change themselves and how do these things i nteract between social, cultural, and political changes, and where is the individual in all of that? So, we do Animal Farm with this revolution that fails, and we have The Great Gatsby where he tries to change himself from one kind of person into another ; how that fails. And, the Alchemist is about undergoing a spiritual transformation and how you lead your life and what it means to lead your life, and the Man Who Planted Trees is about this guy who devotes his life to planting trees in order to change t his entire region. So, its all about these different kinds of changes and transformations in the individual, society and culture around that. Wright seemed to realize that approaching instruction this way enabled students to engage at their own level of understanding. Because Wright believed making connections was important, he coordinated his choice of literature with instruction occurring in other classes. He stated, I kind of paralleled the history curriculum so that wedont do it exactly in lock step Once theyve done World War I then I do my World War I novel; I also teach them poetry; we do the war poets and talk about the transition from formal poetryinto free verse and how that happens in the beginning of the 20th century around these social/cultural transformations. According to Wright, making these connections for his students allowed them to develop a deeper understanding of both literature and history. Wright demonstrated how instruction must integrate the development of broader literacy sk ills and provide access
94 to the English curriculum. His choice of strategies illustrated the connection he saw between developing skills and providing access to the content. Wright demonstrated this by embedding strategies within his instruction that are specific to the domain of comprehension, writing, and fluency and are essential for students to master in order to be successful in postsecondary English courses. Summary Wrights framework for instruction consisted of learning literacy skills, or tasks a nd aptitudes that would assist them in their literature classes. The literacy tasks consisted primarily of literacy skillssuch as fluency, comprehension, and writing that are essential to students postsecondary success regardless of the content being learned. The literacy aptitudes consisted primarily of domainspecific literacy skills that are unique to the content of English classes. From Wrights perspective, there was an important relationship between the types of difficulties students with LD experience and their ability to tackle literacy tasks and to develop aptitudes common to a high school English class. Wright believed that knowledge of the students needs helped him design instruction that would either enable students to develop skills they needed to succeed in a postsecondary setting or enable them to compensate for their deficits. For Wright, instruction needed to balance developing the literacy skills students needed and making demanding content more accessible. Geoffrey Geoffrey, with a total of 34 years of experience, was one of the most veteran teachers at the school. When I conducted this study, Geoffrey was in his 24th year of teaching 9t hgrade social studies at the school. In addition to social studies, Geoffrey had also taught mat hematics for 8 years, English for 5 years, and language arts for 1 year. Geoffrey was known for his skill in helping students learn to write. Specifically,
95 his instructional strengths included sentence building, note taking, and paragraph writing. As th e chair of the social studies department, he encouraged the social studies teachers to enact the decisions made in both the skills and writing committees. Members of the skills committee commented that almost all of the schools research was applied first in the social studies department. This was likely due to Geoffreys positive leadership in this arena. Geoffreys Preparation and Training Geoffrey obtained a bachelors degree in history from Haverford College in 1978, a masters degree in education f rom the University of Pennsylvania in 1985, and a second masters degree in world history from Villanova University in 2000. In addition to the numerous credit hours he had completed as part of his training in history, Geoffrey had also successfully completed at least two education courses in teaching social studies but no official coursework in teaching reading and writing. Furthermore, Geoffrey reported attending 2 hours of professional development in teaching reading, 39 hours of professional development in teaching writing, and 69 hours of professional development in teaching social studies over the past school year. Although Geoffrey had considerable content expertise and training to be a teacher, he had never completed a course dedicated to teaching students with disabilities; however, he reported having attended at least 37 hours of professional development in teaching students with disabilities. Geoffrey was dedicated to continued professional growth and to becoming more knowledgeable about s tudents with LD. Geoffreys Classroom Geoffreys classroom was large with a square perimeter and an entrance on the right wall. To the left of the entrance was an almost empty wall with a few spare desks
96 where students could work independently. Across fr om the doorway was a wall of windows covered in closed blinds, creating a shady and calm atmosphere. The desks were arranged in a rectangle in the middle of the room, from which seated students could see the screen at the front of the classroom. Geoffre ys class was scattered with artifacts that disclosed his method for teaching literacy in his history classes. To the right of the entrance was a large whiteboard, above which a large screen rolled up and down. He projected on the screen the packet the s tudents were currently working on, which was covered in notations and underlined text. Across the top of the board were packets containing readings, notes, and writing assignments for the units the students had completed over the year. Closest to the door, written on the whiteboard, was the daily agenda and homework, which included the reading and underlining activity I observed. The classroom felt spacious and well organized, and materials related to literacy were everywhere. Beside the projector were f olders in which students kept past assignments organized. Geoffreys desk rested along the wall to the far left of the entrance. Organized neatly on top of the desk were stacks of student work, packets, and other various materials. Lining the same wall was a window and short bookcases, which held textbooks and reference materials. Across the top of the bookshelves were neatly stacked piles of past assignment packets, easily accessible to students who may have been absent. Geoffreys students appeared to b e engaged, transitioned between activities smoothly, and demonstrated the ability to independently locate materials and follow directions written on the board. These behaviors served as evidence that Geoffrey had well established routines and that literac y instruction was well integrated within the students instructional experiences.
97 Geoffreys Lived Experience Geoffreys framework for teaching included the following themes: (a) developing students literacy skills with an eye towards the future, (b) understanding students learning disabilities, and (c) designing instruction to further students learning. Developing literacy skills with an eye toward the future Geoffreys framework for teaching included what he referred to as intellectual skills student s need to develop to be successful in postsecondary settings that provide a liberal arts education: School in America is still designed on the Golden Renaissance model of giving them a liberal arts educationEveryones got to do English, everyones got to do math, everyones got to do history because theres the whole getting into college routine. When talking about what students needed, Geoffrey focused on the necessity of literacy skill development, prioritizing skills over content. Geoffrey explained, We have to cut it down to what is most essential and getting them to use the intellectual skillsAt t he rate that information is doubling, every 18 months, the content really isnt as important as the intellectual skills of how do I organize information? How do I write a competent paragraph? For Geoffrey, such literacy skill instruction involved the int egration of reading and writing. He explained, Theres generally a step of underlining and notes which you do all in one nightand then do twocolumn notesand then the next night normally is an outlineand a paragraph based on that outline, which is gener ally the way Ive been teaching them to do itWorking on the individual skills of underlining, note taking, outlining, and paragraph [writing] andgetting it down to a 2 day routine. Geoffreys expectations for students were based on what he had learned from former students who were successful in postsecondary education settings. He recalled his conversations with them as follows: One thing that weve heard some of our more successful students talk about well you know what I really appreciate is yeah, the amount of reading you have to
98 do in college is a shock, and I know I didnt read as much as my sister didI cant read nearly as much as my siblings there in their mainstream class, but what I learned here that they didnt learn in their classes is I l earned how to write, or, I learned how to organize my time. I learned why Im doing something and how to do it. For me it wasnt a big shock in college because all the stuff that my teachers and my friends had been telling me, whether I listened and did it or not, when push came to shove in college I know how to deal with this problem; I can hear teachers voices in the back of my head telling me. From Geoffreys perspective, his priority to teach literacy skills over content is driven by the types of difficulties students with LD experience. He explained, Working with kids with learning differences, you have to always put the kid first and the content secondI think that is a real challengefor content teachers, thats not what they like to do bec ause the content is a major part of our lives. Geoffreys framework for instruction consisted of learning literacy skills that would assist students in meeting the liberal arts expectations in college: For most of our students with learning disabilities, theyre not generalistsThey are specialistsWe [society] havent figured out how to do that in a way that allows them also to use their specialtiesDont ask me why because thats a whole new section. For Geoffrey, students success did not depend only on learning literacy skills; his successful students had learned how to learn. Understanding students learning disabilities Geoffrey viewed history as a subject that posed many literacy demands on students with LD: Reading and writing demands are pretty heavy for these students because the vast majority of the information is coming from texts, or if its coming from a video they have to record the dialogue of the video and take classic twocolumn notes on that [inaudible] connected to a question. So theres a lot of writingtrying to get this information into their heads through the reading or through the visual and the listening. Geoffrey acknowledged the difficulties students with LD had when interacting with text and writing, and the impact these difficulties had on their ability to understand
99 historical content. According to Geoffrey, students with LD are coming in reading at a lower level with more multiple disabilities. Furthermore, he noted their difficulty with different aspects of note taking. He clearly understood what they would need to do that they currently could not:  How to underline,  how to identify whats important,  how to identify the nouns, the verbs,  how do you take that underlining and put it into twocolumn notes,  how do you take maybe two lines of notes and then say, ok, whats this about?  [how to] put it in the lefthand column one or two words. Finally, he noted that students with LD had difficulty demonstrating their knowledge because what theyre missing is quite literally writingeither extended paragraphs or more than one paragraph. From Geoffreys perspective, his students did not have the skills to write expanded paragraphs, which included not only a topic sentence and supporting details but also details to elaborate upon supporting sentences. In other words, they struggled to write essays. When reflecting on one of his class es, Geoffrey provided extremely detailed explanations regarding how students strengths and weakness impacted their ability to engage in history instruction: Many of them are quiet so that their word recall is weak and their word recall may be weak becaus e they have dyslexia so they dont read as much, they dont have as much, literally, words floating around in their heads. In other cases they may have slow processing speed so it just takes them longer to answer a question or to literally pull out the words that they want. Most of them have strong executive functioning skills, so in other words they hand their work in on time, they can pay attention. Theres only one student who and it will be very clear who that is who has huge organizational problems and attention problemsBut the others in general get their work done. Because of the dyslexia theres a lot of spelling issues, and the outline andtheir intros and conclusions arevery, very weak. Geoffrey also understood how the content of his tory was extremely challenging for students with LD and placed additional demands on them as learners:
100 I think its a very hard subject to teach because youre dealing with a different time period, generally, and youre generally dealing with a different geographic location, and that means different culture, so its not something they have any personal experience about, and that makes it so, so difficult[for] kids who have no background knowledgeFor most of these kids these names are totally, totally new; never heard them before in their lives. Theyre familiar with Columbus and thats it. Geoffrey knew that just overcoming students literacy challenges would not be enough. He would also have to find ways to help them acquire, retain, and demonstrate th eir knowledge of history if they were to be successful in postsecondary settings. Designing instruction to further students learning Geoffrey believed that teachers had to understand their students learning needs if they were going to design instruction that would allow their students to be successful in a postsecondary setting. For him, ongoing assessment was essential to instruction. For instance, Geoffrey used the school assessment to help him develop class profiles and then designed literacy skill instruction tailored to the class profile: You take the learning profile of the student that the school puts together, and the plusses are strengths and the challenges are minuses, and this grid has all the same terms; you just do plusses and minuses and you begin to see oh, a lot of the class has attention problems, but a lot of the class Like the class you see doesnt have attention problems but they have the decoding issues, so Im going to have to spend more time helping them with thatIn some years it may mean that more work is actually done in class. Geoffreys instruction was also informed by his extensive knowledge of history and his ability to identify what essential information students needed to learn from the content. Ive probably read a book for every page that theyve read, he said. Geoffreys immense historical knowledge enabled him to hone in on developing those literacy skills that would help students access information in text, retain information, and demonstrate their knowledge. The following section explores how Geoffrey designed instruction in reading, writing, and disciplinary literacy to further students learning.
101 Reading. Geoffrey identified reading as a literacy skill needed for studying history because the vast majority of the information is coming from texts. Geoffrey used his knowledge of the content to identify what the most important information was and to rewrite the text to minimize the amount of reading his students had to do. First, Geoffrey cut back the amount of text he expected students to read. Next, he engaged his students in explicit strategy instruction. He shared with me how he would instruct the students to take the text, get it down to the basics, reorganize it in basic form, and put it back into text f orm. To further support students, Geoffrey also included visual images: Because text is so hard, a lot of the work is spent [asking] how do you break down the textBut if we want to look at the big picture and abstract thinking, I try and find things and the textbook does provide the visual imageryand thats where you can ask the bigger questions. Geoffrey had even decided to rewrite the text to simplify what students had to read: So instead of five pages its eight paragraphs, meaning its maybe 20% of what I would give them, and that probably will give more time to the primary source and then my guess is, then, as a search activity have them bring in the visual aids because then t hat can be teaching them search techniques that dont require a whole lot of reading.And my guess is the next step, then they have to put that in PowerPoint, link it with give everyone a passage and they have to find three visual examples that might be a ppropriate for that. Geoffreys third strategy was to teach students to use text to speech software. He knew that his students fluency was about half of what most nonLD college students have, meaning its about 125130 words a minute silently, and it s about 250 words a minute for most students that are going to go to college. Therefore, they needed assistive technology to manage the workload, and he taught them to use the software independently:
102 I point out [that]listening to the computer talk out loud is faster than for most of them to read it silentlyso Im sayingits going to take you twice as long to do this, to read compared to your nonLD classmates. So unless you want to spend every waking hour with your butt in the chair instead of going out and running and playing Frisbee and all those good things that you should be doing in college, you better take a reduced load. He learned that if he did not dedicate class time to this, students would not use the software and would not be ready to us e it in college without support. He acknowledged, Ive learned is you need to literally take class time and literally supervise and watch them and demonstrate how to do it, but also have them practice in class because they need to do it for months before theyll start doing it literally on their own. But if I spend class time on it they will start using the technology. Geoffrey knew that his students also needed to learn strategies. According to him they needed an approach for identifying the important in formation in the text, and this included teaching students the following:  How to underline,  how to identify whats important,  how to identify the nouns, the verbs,  how do you take that underlining and put it into twocolumn notes,  how do you take maybe two lines of notes and then say ok, whats this about?  [how to] put it in the lefthand column one or two words. He focused on these skills and strategies because he realized students with LD simply dont do that very well, and he r ealized students would need to do this independently. Geoffrey helped me understand how he created independence through explicit instruction and practice when he stated, I teach the underlining on the screen and then theyll copy it down, and then the nex t morning when they come in well sort of theyll do a little underlining activity as a review, and by midyear theyre showing each other how theyre doing the underlining. In fact, the instruction Geoffrey described was laced with specific strategies f or helping students acquire the basic skills they needed. He described how he included vocabulary in his reading instruction by identifying the words students needed to know in order to comprehend the text and by helping students see how they could use
103 kn owledge of affixes and roots to understand the origins of words. He spoke about how he explained the origins of the word monarchy : Mon is one. archy is also rule, so its one ruler So in language arts they are teaching roots and prefixes and suffixes. He explained that the value of incorporating morphological awareness into vocabulary instruction was that it reminded students Oh, yeah, thats the one where the king rulesso that they dont have to stop and think, or worse, not stop and just blow thr ough it and totally forget which form of government theyre dealing with. In addition to using multiple strategies, Geoffrey also described how he relied on teaching routines like teamwork to engage students in learning explicit strategies. He described the following reading routine: Ive printed out the electronic text that they all have in their computers so they can actually open up the electronic text, and we actually practice that in class and listen to the textAnd I think the best way to do that is we have people split up into teams, and you guys are going to show us your underlining of this particular paragraph. So take a few minutes, talk to one another about what you underlined, and Ill have to remind them today to make sure the next underlini ng is done in pencil so they can do that. Then they actually show what they underlined and why and we use the [projector] for thatThen the next step would be, do a demonstration of that one little paragraph that I underlined, do a demonstration of notes and whatever paragraph we have them do underlining on One team is going to do the underlining and show that and the other team, some other team, while theyre talking, when its their turn theyll show what they did for notes and why. He felt that engaging them in routines like this helped students demonstrate their knowledge through writing. He said, Well, its to get them to understand that if their notes are good enough, most of them can rely on their notes. Writing. Although a great deal of Geoffreys instruction focused on reading, his goal was ultimately to focus on students writing skills. He said, [I] cut back more and more of the actual reading content so they have more time to practice their writing.
104 Geoffrey believed that developing writing skills was essential to attending college and that students who developed their writing skills[were] going to 4year universities. Thus, Geoffrey used explicit strategies to support their writing and to connect writing to what they were reading. First, Geoffreys writing instruction involved teaching students to turn what they were reading into an outline. He discussed students brainstorming to create outlines: You start creating that from a brainstorm. You do brainstorm based upon what th ey read, and it should only be short sections, and you go through that process each and every time you want them to read. At least do a brainstorm, and then from the brainstorm they create an outline thats logical. Teaching students to use their notes to write an outline was also a core component of his instruction. He discussed this extensively: Getting [students] used to the idea that theyve got to get the notes as quickly as they can, put the outline together. This process involved teaching them how to take the reading and turn it into notes, and they then turn it into this outline that they then turn into sentences. Geoffrey saw the outline as a critical support that helped students transfer the ideas they had in their heads into written language. From the outline, Geoffrey explained the detailed process he taught students for writing paragraphs independently from their outline. He stated, The introductory sentence, you need to just put in some short lines first before you do an intro of who, what, when, where, why, and they put in one or two words and then they take those words to create the sentence. They moved from the sentence to pretty simple paragraphs by writing one or two sentences for an intro, five or six sentences for examples Im trying to do an extended paragraph where the third sentence is your first detail concept and then you have two supporting details that are even more specific. He encouraged them to use their notes, taken in a note taking template he had designed ( Ap pendix G) and to plug them into
105 their paragraph, turning them into examples. For Geoffrey, these paragraphs were essentially just summarizing what were reading. Geoffrey was concerned with helping students get ready for the demands they would face. He talked about how he helped students go back to their previous writing assignments and turn them into outlines they could use on exams. He elaborated, There are ten questions that theyve got, all paragraphs Its basically forcing them to go back into their old notes and their old homework assignments, pulling out those old assignments, looking at them, my comments, as well as looking at the general comments I made for everyone and improving on it, and then writing another draft, and then going through there while its fresh in their head into what I call a oneto two word per line outline. He also seemed to understand how to balance helping students become independent with being sensitive to the stress they experience when trying to perform. According to Geoffrey, he allowed students to have an outline in the exam because the stress these students experienced often impaired their working memory: But because their working memory is weak and they will be feeling some stress of exams, theyre not going to remember as much as they would with homework assignments, soI photocopy [the outline and give it] right back to themand they go home and study that, and I attach it to their exam. So theyre not allowed to walk into the exam with any piece of paper, but that outline is there for each of the five extended paragraphs. Geoffreys entire literacy routine showed students how the information they accessed while reading, underlining, and note taking could be translated into writing. His instruction, as he described it, made strong connections between reading and writing. Disciplinary Literacy Geoffrey clearly prioritized explicit skill instruction over content instruction, as was demonstrated when he said, At the rate that information is doubling, every 18 months, the content really isnt as important as the intellectual skills of how do I organize information, how do I write a competent paragraph? However, i t
106 was evident that disciplinary literacy was a fundamental theme throughout Geoffreys literacy instruction. Geoffrey organized his instruction around units, and these units included Essential Q uestions. He obtained this strategy from the Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe (2005) book Understanding by Design. In my interview with Geoffrey, he des crib ed how he incorporated the Essential Q uestions: The second month is [the] Bronze Age Greece and looking at the Iliad and Troy/Greece because theyre going to read the Odyssey in NovemberI use it as a context for looking at the concept of war and conflic t: How do you try and deal with conflict? I then also add in modernday [conflict] because our nation is at war in Iraq and Afghanistan looking at those conflicts and making compare and contrasts: Why did these wars start? Are they similar or are they different? What are the consequences of war? The Essential Q uestions played a significant role in how Geoffrey approached comprehension, note taking, and writing. When discussing how he checked students comprehension of the text, Geoffrey explained, The next step would be for me to check in to see do they really understandIll ask the E ssential Q uestion. When students did not understand the Essential Q uestion, he would have them look back at their notes because, according to Geoffrey, they do their notes with the essential question. Geof frey went on to expl ain how the Essential Q uestion was fundamental to students note taking: Theres an Essential Q uestion What was Columbus reaction when he reached the Bahamas and that should guide them as theyre taking notes. See A ppendix G for an example of an Essential Q uestion used to guide students note taking. Once students took notes on the text using the Essential Q uestion, they turned their notes into an outline first, sentences second, and paragraphs last: One thing that Ive added to it is I give them an Es sential Q uestionYou start out your answer by taking the question and turning it into a statement. You then use who, what, when, where, why to add to that.
107 Geoffrey explained in detail how this applied to the unit they were currently studying: So in this case the question would be, what tension developed between Portugal and Spain? And what I then tell them is, Ok, you start by saying there was tension between Portugal and Spain, and then you have to say Ok, during the RenaissanceEuropewent about expl oringAfrica and the Americas and then they give their four examples, and generally theyve got more notes than theyve got examples, but they have to figure out what to choose. The Essential Q uestions helped Geoffrey address the difficulties students with LD had with the literacy demands of studying world history: But what I have learned in doing the Essential Q uestions is, if you can sort of get one question per page it means the kid who has ADHD or the kid who is very severe dyslexic in other wor ds the student who takes a long time to do work and runs out of energy on the second page, at least they got the first page done; and they can go right to a paragraph summary. Therefore, the Essential Q uestions enabled students to engage with the c ontent at their skill level and were an integral aspect of Geoffreys literacy routine. For Geoffrey, making connections was important for his students. He designed his social studies instruction to be coordinated with the English classes instruction. He mentioned, in his description of the units, The second month is [the] Bronze Age Greece and looking at the Iliad and Troy/Greece, because theyre going to read the Odyssey [in English class] in NovemberIn March and April we go to the Age of Exploratio n, the European diaspora, and in May its the Industrial Revolution. After that in February we go to the Renaissance. We flipped that around this year because they [the English department] did Of Mice and Men in March because there was a play. Geoffrey explains that he designs his instruction to align with the English curriculum because I realize how much the English teachers have to already do the historical/cultural/social context of the story, and if theres a way that I can help them do that, so muc h the better. Geoffrey was always thinking about ways he could help students integrate content instruction with reading and writing:
108 In the futureId be more thoughtful about the question. One thing that we know with Essential Q uestions and the whole Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe Understanding by Design is that you create the exam at the beginning of your project. And thats a little hard to do, but what I dois[select the] most essential readingsand then look at those questions each monthand use those to then make the exam. But having the endof year exam already prepared of the most Essential Q uestions they know thats whats going to be on the exam, not the other stuff; its far more powerful teaching because every single day youre setting them up. He planned to incorporate the content even more by changing the sources of the text material he uses: Probably next year what Im seriously thinking of doing is basically getting rid of the textbook sort of following the same themes but typing up a more capsulized summary of the information myself so that we can really spend more time on primary sources. He explained, If you can solve the decoding issue, they like [primary sources] more; its more authentic. By using more disciplinespecific so urces of text, such as primary sources, the reading may be more challenging for students, but the content will be more meaningful and motivating to students. Geoffreys approach to content instruction was fundamental to his literacy routine; it was the gl ue that bound his reading and writing instruction together. Although Geoffrey explained that he was dedicated to skill instruction in literacy and was willing to cut back on the amount of content stud ents learn, his integration of Essential Q uestions enabled him to prioritize the most important content and to incorporate content into every aspect of the students literacy instruction experience, i.e., disciplinary literacy. Furthermore, by reducing the literacy demands posed by the text, Geoffrey could su pport students in using primary sources, which contained more authentic content and were more motivating to students. Summary
109 Geoffreys framework for teaching included what he referred to as intellectual skills that students need to develop in a high school world history course in order to be successful in postsecondary liberal arts settings. When discussing students LD Geoffrey focused on the necessity of literacy skill development, prioritizing skills over content. Geoffrey conceptualized his fram ework for teaching as an instructional routine that integrated reading and writing instruction into the content instruction, and his instructional repertoire for reading, writing, and disciplinary literacy reflected this framework. Geoffreys instruction incorporated features of the professional development he had attended, such as trainings by Judith Hochman and texts by Wiggins and McTighe (2005), and reflected his strong desire to improve. Geoffrey was continually engaged in the process of redesigning his instruction to align more closely with the framework he described for teaching. Teagan At the time of the study, Teagan had been teaching for 17 years and was in his sixth year at the school. Teagan currently taught 6th, 7th, 8th, and 10thgrade E nglish, though the focus of this study was on his 10thgrade English classes. In addition to teaching English, Teagan was the schools music teacher. He advocated for the creation of a formal music program in the school, was designing a music program curriculum that focused on the development of executive functioning skills through musical improvisation, and was involved extensively in recording and producing music with students outside of class. When recommended as an expert, Teagan was described as being effective in teaching students to notate fictional texts. The students felt a strong connection with Teagan, as was apparent in the frequency with which students stopped by to say hi or to hang out in his classroom during our interviews. At
110 the graduat ion ceremony, Teagan was one of the most thanked and acknowledged teachers. Teagans Preparation and Training Teagan obtained a bachelors degree in English from Saint Josephs University in 1995 and was certified to teach secondary English. In addition t o the numerous credit hours in English he had completed as part of his English training, Teagan had also successfully completed numerous education courses in teaching English but no official coursework in teaching reading or writing. Teagan reported having attended professional development in reading, writing, and teaching English. In addition, he attended the OrtonGillingham training, which entailed over 80 hours of professional development in teaching explicit decoding skills. Although Teagan had consi derable content area expertise and training to be a teacher, he had never completed a course dedicated to teaching students with disabilities. Although he had little formal training, Teagan had undergone a signific ant amount of informal training and was d evoted to learning about students with LD. He worked closely with other teachers to learn techniques for working with students with LD. Additionally, Teagan was enrolled in a music program in which he was designing a curriculum for using music improvisati on to improve students executive functioning. In my interview with him, he cited various studies regarding the connection between working memory and improvisation, and he discussed the neurological evidence for the validity of his approach to music. Thi s was evidence of his extensive independent reading and informal training related to teaching students with LD.
111 Teagans Classroom Teagans classroom was small and shaped like a trapezoid, with the entrance on the left. To the left of the entrance was a short wall with a whiteboard. A rolledup screen for the projector hung above the whiteboard. Directly across from the doorway was a long wall covered with a bulletin board. A large cupboard for materials was in the corner. At the end of the classroom was the shortest wall, which had a large bright window that sun streamed through. Below the window were another two bookshelves holding stacks of papers, binders, etc. In the center of the room were the desks, positioned so that students faced each other yet could still see the screen and whiteboard at the front of the class. Teagans classroom was littered with artifacts revealing his methods for teaching literacy. For instance, available whiteboard space was covered with notes about the classs curre nt novel, The Catcher in the Rye. Much of the shelf space was used to store novels and plays, including One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest Their Eyes Were Watching God and Macbeth to name a few. At the far end of the wall was a projector and Teagans desk which was covered with neatly stacked papers, novels, and a laptop with a graphic organizer on the screen. The laptop was plugged into the projector but currently not turned on. The classroom felt cramped but lively. At first glance, students seemed t o be engaged only part of the time and off task at others. Upon further observation, however, I realized that students were not off task. Instead, students were spontaneously making connections between the text and stories of their own experiences. Students enthusiastically participated in discussion, and they were eager to share their ideas and thoughts. The class had an informal and energetic climate.
112 Teagans Lived Experience Teagans framework for teaching included the following themes: (a) developing students literacy skills with an eye towards the future, (b) understanding students learning disabilities, and (c) designing instruction to further students learning. Developing literacy skills with an eye toward the future Teagans framework for teaching included helping students develop literacy skills with the goal of making learning meaningful to them and of preparing students to be successful in settings beyond college, including everyday life and employment. Teagan explained his instructional f ocus for 10thgrade classes: The main focus is skillsAnd so the main skill that I teach is abstract reasoning, and so its all mostly reading comprehension, so thats the focus of the year. Teagan saw his role as being a part of a group of teachers who worked to help students develop the literacy skills they needed. When discussing his role in relation to the language arts (LA) department, he explained, The LA department is getting them up to speed, so then its my job to have them want to stay there getting them to jump from year to year and continue the skills. Teagan saw how his class prepared students to be successful in Wrights 11thgrade English class and their 11thgrade social studies classes: So I started really saying to themIve been s aying to them all year, Next year when Wright asks you to write about The Great Gatsby you should be using this formula. And when Samantha asks you to write the research paper its the same formula, you know? For Teagan, his role in the broader school en vironment was clear: Help students transfer their learning from prior years to his class, and prepare students to transfer their learning in his class to future classes and other content areas.
113 Teagan also identified how important it was to create meaningf ul experiences for students. He said, For me its all about making meaning andturning school into a meaningful experience and making meaning out of whatever it is, whether its a text or whether its music, class discussions, homework assignmentsthat they have to do just to survive being a human being. Its really about making meaning out of those things. For Teagan, meaningful connections in school were essential to the motivation of his students, particularly given their low literacy skills. He explained, Theyve got to want to come to class, and theyve got to want to talk about whats going on in thei r lives in order to connect with the text, especially these students who, you know, before they come to us theyve never read a book, you know, and so many kids are coming to us at 1stand 2ndgrade level reading level. Teagans beliefs about motivation and success were based on his prior experiences as an undirected youth: So I can understand that as a kid I didnt really feel like anybody saw what was important to me as valuable, so therefore I grew up not knowing what I wanted to do and not really caring because I figured Im just going to end up doing some loony job anywayThe best thing that I could do for them was to help them figure out what was important to them, you know, and if they could figure out what was im portant to them, then they could make a plan around making time for whats important to them, so then they have something with meaning in their life. His personal experiences helped him identify with his students. Teagans framework for teaching incorporated his complex understanding of the relationship between students literacy skills, the importance of creating meaningful learning experiences, and their postsecondary success. Instruction was not just skill development; maintaining the gains students made in other classes was also important, as was preparing students for future classes. Making learning meaningful was just as important. Teagan wanted his students to be motivated to maintain skills independently
114 Understanding students learning disabi lities Teagan saw a connection between students learning differences, their motivation, and their ability to find learning meaningful: I think a lot of our students are really lost and theyre alienated by school. Many of them, especially those who are adopted, their parents dont really understand them because theyre not LD themselves, or they come from an antiquated perspective of what it means to be LDso they really kind of feel disenfranchised. So many students come to us justthey just do not beli eve in anything, and they really see school as nothing but a series of hoops to jump through. Teagan also understood, however, that his students academic difficulties were substantial and that they impacted their ability to engage with texts and find meaning. Teagan discussed students LD primarily in terms of how it impacted his instruction. He explained, What works one day with one group is not necessarily going to work ever again. So you have to be willing to keep ahead of them and be willing to learn new things and learn new approaches; otherwise youre just going to stagnate. Teagans belief that you have to do what works, and continually make instructional changes based on students ability, was also reflected in his plans for future instruct ion. For instance, he explained how he needed to change one of his texts next year to address the learning challenges he encountered this year. He explained, Next year I think Im going to get rid of One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest I tried books that ar e usually above their level so that theyre completely immersed in it, and that just force d the abstract down their throats. And in One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest nothing in the book means what it says because its told from the perspective of a paranoid schizophrenicIn previous years theyve been able to do it; this yearit was way too hard for the students this year... they just were lost in it this year. I mean it was way too long it was like 350 pagesI dont know, it was too abstract for them and my understanding is next years students are less abstract than this year. Teagan also described how students LD impacted not only his selection of the content for instruction but also the instructional delivery method he employed:
115 Notice were still practicing the strategy even though this is the fifth book weve done. They need to repractice it each time and thats [inaudible] with LD students You changed the text, you changed the context You change the context just slightly with the book and you have to reteach. Teagan knew that the issues his students faced would require him to continually find ways to reteach strategies with new contexts. Teagan understood the connection between students LD, the effect of their LD, and their academic abiliti es. He understood that students with LD have varying strengths and weakness, and he demonstrated willingness to adjust his instruction based on students needs. Designing instruction to further students learning Teagan designed instruction to reflect his complex understanding of the relationship between students literacy skills and the importance of creating meaningful learning experiences. Teagans instruction reflected his sensitivity to students learning differences and to students need for repetition to increase the transfer of skills to future classes. As such, Teagan integrated predictable routines into his instruction and used consistent language. He explained, For every task that they have to do I have a specific system in place and a series of steps that they have to follow, and its always the same, so that when were talking about writing Im always using the same language, regardless of what the topic is. The following section will explore how Teagan designed instruction i n reading, writing, and disciplinary literacy to further students learning with the aim of maintaining students literacy skills, preparing students for future classes, motivating students, and helping students find meaning in their learning Reading. Te agan identified reading comprehension as an important literacy skill for 10thgrade English and thus focused on reading extended texts. He reflected,
116 The main skill that I teach is abstract reasoning, and so its all mostly reading comprehension, so that s the focus of the year. [I choose] mostly novels because of reading comprehension and because I want them doing sizable chunks. Teagan knew that extended texts were challenging for students because of their limited reading abilities and/or because of their limited time management skills, so Teagan designed an instructional system to address both issues. Teagan described how he assessed what he saw as the first barrier to students reading the text: fluency. He described assessing students reading rat e, We diagnose their silent reading speed at the beginning of the year, and then usually I do it again in the second half of the year. Next, he explicitly taught all of the students how to use the audiorecorded versions of the text. He selected text t hat was challenging enough that all students would need to depend on the audio recording of the text, so that regardless of their reading rate, they needed to use the technology to manage the amount of reading. He explained, So one of the reasons I do The ir Eyes Were Watching God is because nobody can read it without the audio, and so everybody has to use the audio for that, and I do that early in the year so that everybody and I tell them I dont care if youre not dyslexic and if youre reading at 250 w ords a minute, you have to use the audio and use the audio in class, and I put it up on the screen and I show them how I got it into QuickTime and how I sped it up and how I slow it downSo usually by the end of that book people have bought in, or the kids who need it have bought in. After explicitly teaching all of the students how to use audio recordings of the text, he helped students determine whether or not they need audio. He did this by analyzing, with the students, their reading rate: Lets lo ok at how many pages the book is, how long I want you to read it in, heres the audio, heres your reading speedIf youre reading at this rate then you should or should not be using the audio. He then insisted they load the audio recording into their com puter, but he allowed students to choose whether or not to use it:
117 Yeah, and then for everything else I just make sure they get the audio. And for everything up to The Catcher in the Rye I make every student load the audio into their computer whether they want it or not, so if they decide they want it they have it. And for The Catcher in the Rye they have to ask me for it. And so this time around maybe ten kids asked me for the audio, and some of them asked me like a couple of days in. Teagan then described the second barrier his students faced: time management. He helped students manage the quantity of reading by teaching them to create and follow reading schedules. He explained, We look at how many pages there are, what the size of the font is, things like that. And in the beginning the first half of the year I give them a reading schedule and its just a sheet that has the next month, and basically thats all they have to do is read and follow the reading schedule. So Ill tell them, its ten p ages a night, youre reading at this rate; you need to figure out how long its going to take you. And we usually spend a class period just kind of batting that around and talking about that so that the kids understand that realistically, in order to follow this schedule, its going to take you an hour a night, so youre going to have to either save it for the weekend, do a bunch, or use homework lab. Teagan helped students come up with a plan for how, at their reading rates, they would tackle the text. He explained that he slowly reduced the amount of oversight he provided in planning: Then as the year progresses I give them fewer reading schedules. Teagan also had an instruction system in place to help students comprehend text. He taught the students to apply the RAP Q strategy, a modification of a paraphrasing strategy presented by Schumaker, Denton, and Deshler (n.d.), while reading independently. Teagan described the RAP Q strategy as follows: R stands for read and underline, A stands for two di fferent things at two different parts of the year. In the beginning of the year it stands for ask yourself what happened; at the end of the year it stands for analyze what you underlined, so as they progress we change that to by labeling in the margin what you underline with a symbolic c for conflict m for motivation. P stands for put in a summary and Q stands for make up and answer a question. So they have to do that while theyre reading.
118 Teagan translated this strategy into specific steps for students to follow when reading the text. He used this same process with every novel students read. The first step of the process was for students to underline like two or three things per chapter. Teagan believed this step was important so that theres the tactile kinesthetic while theyre reading. The second step of the process was for students to notate what they underlined. Teagan explained that the reason for notating is so that theyre thinking about why theyre underlining what theyre reading. Teagan taught this step explicitly: I gave them symbols like S stands for symbol and M stands for motivation, C stands for conflict or if its something important, you know, they have to put a summation point next to it. Youre not sure what it is but you know its important; youre not sure why but you think it must be important; we do a lot of that. He provided students with explicit feedback on their notations. He said, Ill check their notations, and Ill probably review what I dont like about their notations, and Im very specific. The third step was for students to do a summary that follows the dash and slash method. The purpose of the summary was to emphasize that if they can t summarize it, then they cant tell me what happened. Teagan explicitly taught summarization using the dash and slash method to enable students to write shorter, more concise summaries that they would be able to reread later. He explained, Weve been doing a lot of work with the Judith Hochman program, and so her note taking she calls it the dash and slash methodsoIve been using the dash and slash method for summarizing, and I taught them abbreviations for words and things like that, so that when they summarize theyre only using dashes and slashes; theyre not writing out these long summaries. The fourth step was for students to give the chapter a title. The purpose of the chapter title was so that they know what the chapters about; if they have to go back and find it later on, they can find the chapter. During the fifth step of the strategy, Teagan taught the students to create a question based on the text. The reason for the question was to give them something to think about and talk about i n class the next day. Furthermore,
119 Teagan used questions as writing prompts for students by having them pick one question that was made up by somebody in the class, any class, and they had to write a paragraph about it. The sixth and final step was for students to dog ear the page where they did their chapter summary. Teagan explained, The dog ear is so that they have a map of where all the summaries are. By dog earing the page upon which their chapter summaries were, students were able to locate them for future use. Ultimately, Teagans goal was helping the students make meaning out of the text. In order to do so, students have to have a pretty clear answer about what the text means. And it cant be, its whatever you think it means. His i nstruction was designed to be as systematic as possible towards leading them to that meaning without me telling them what it means. Teagans strategies provided students the skills to better manage reading lengthy texts while helping them become more cr itical readers. Furthermore, he used scaffolding to slowly reduce the support he provided and to increase students independent use of strategies. Independent skill use, from Teagans view, was essential to helping students transfer skills to future class es Writing Writing instruction also provided Teagan opportunities to help students make sense of text. Teagan described how he used writing instruction to improve students reading comprehension in the novel One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest : Each week they had to do notating the way I showed them, and then they had to be making up a question, and then they had to pick one question that was made up by somebody in the class and they had to write a paragraph about it following the formula for analytical w riting Everything came from reading. Reading was the origin of the writing process for Teagan, and he described how he carefully scaffolded students through the process: Each week I gave them less time in class to work on it, so that by the time they di d the sixth one I didnt give them any class time; I told them that Monday you
120 have to turn it in, and then they had to pick one at the end of the novel and revise it. Teagans writing instruction focused on teaching students a systematic process for analytic writing. Teagan referred to the graphic organizer he used as a formula thats step by step [The students] just fill that in and then they transfer that and then we work on revision. The formula Teagan referred to was a graphic organizer for writin g essays; the organizer contained separate spaces for the development of the introduction, body paragraphs, and conclusion. Teagan explained, You know, so like its very basicand theres directions for each thing. Students used the graphic organizers to help them write analytical essays about the novels they read. Teagan used the graphic organizer to convey the following to students: When it comes time to write an essay the only part that theyre actually writing is the analysis, that the rest is not their words. The whole introductionYeah, all youre doing is piecing ityoure not actually composing it; all youre doing is building it and that theres really a difference between the two, and then the only thing that youre actually writing is the one sentence analysis. Having students use the graphic organizer to help them write the essay taught them that essay writing is a process by which they piece together examples and quotations to support their analysis. Teagan used these steps to make the tas k of writing more manageable for the students. Teagan felt the graphic organizer allowed him to differentiate the writing process based on students needs: The extent to which they follow my formula differs from student to student. So some students, I will say, You have to fill this out and I have to see my words in your essay. When you turn in the final draft, if it doesnt have my key words that Ive given you, Im going to give it back to you... Then other kids, Ill say, I want you to fill this o ut but you can change it when you go to draft. Other kids Ill just hand it to them and say Just use that as a guideline, you know.
121 Teagan allowed students to decide for themselves how much they would adhere to the graphic organizer by having the qual ity of the students work demonstrate the degree to which the graphic organizer was needed: There have been a few who have said, I wont need it at all.Ill let them try it without it, [but] then I give them a D and say, Heres why you got a D. It was missing this and thisand you forgot to mention this, and theres no context. If youd filled this out, all of that would be done. Ultimately, Teagan envisioned writing as an integral component of the reading process. About writing assignments for One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest he explained, Everything came from reading, you know? For Teagan, writing was an essential extension of the meaning making process. Teagans system for teaching writing explicitly guided students through the process of writing an analytical essay, and the graphic organizer allowed Teagan to help students follow the formula while differentiating his instruction. Disciplinary Literacy Teagan described his role as a teacher as making it real and making them want to read and understand why they should be reading and how it can really mean something for them. Teagan explained, One of the joys of teaching English is that youre just a storytellerLots of times they think were wasting time and were all joking around telli ng funny stories, but really what were doing is making meaning out of the text, you know? Teagans adept storytelling drew students in, motivated them to create connections between their lives and the text, and made the task of learning about literature fun. Teagans English instruction related to a broader theme for the class: identity. Teagan used this theme to teach how writers compose stories: Then were using that theme to get at how writers build identity through characters, symbolism, conflict. By knowing how writers compose stories and build themes using literacy techniques, Teagan provides students insight into how to read and make meaning of the text.
122 To organize their instruction, Teagan uses thematic units. He explained, Thematic units gi ve [students] a reason to want to come to classAnd so everything is designed thematically for me because I think thematic units are more real for students. Teagans units related to different aspects of the broader theme of identity Who are you and who will you become is the theme of the year. Its always something around identity and how do we determine our identity. Each of Teagans units included one aspect of identity and then appropriate text. For example, he selected One Flew Over the Cuckoo s Nest because it was, whats the influence between society and societys roles and identity. Teagan used numerous strategies to help stu dents engage with the text and make meaning. Teagan taught students about one formula writers use when writing novels with the theme of identity Joseph Campbell's (1949) The Heros Journey I taught them Joseph Campbells f ormula for the heros journey: departure, initiation and return Teagan discussed reinforcing the students understanding of this strategy using movies : Weve actually watched bits and pieces of like 50 different movies, and I gave them a master list of movies that follow the heros journey; its like 100 movies on it. They had to pick one and watch it and then write a report on it Every book we ve read this year follows this plot outline. Teagan explained the value in teaching students a formula for how stories of identity are composed: And because were doing the heros journey, and Ive just been beating them over the head with the formula for the heros journey, they basically know how the storys going to end, so since they know how the storys going to end, they can see where its going, so theyre able to piece it together a lot more easily. By understanding how the story was composed, st udents were able to explore the individual pieces of the story rather than tackling the analysis of the text in its entirety.
123 Teagan used graphic organizers and the formula for The Heros Journey (Appendix H) to support students analysis of the text. T eagan saw the value of the graphic organizer in that it also helps themunderstand what theyre reading. The map included each component of The Heros Journey. As students read, they filled in the map (i.e., the graphic organizer) as a class while Teag an guided the students to think about the text. As they worked, Teagan asked students to find textual evidence to support their analysis: So for each step of the way, we have what happens in the novel that fits that and then a piece of text evidence... And so Ive been kind of bouncing back and forth between [rereading and] just the work of filling out the web; like thats kind of a lesson plan, like were going to fill out the web, but that takes us through the book. To help students identify passages that support their analysis, he taught students to look for objects in the text, which helps them locate passages ripe with evidence: And so thats an exercise we do with every text, like what objects do you see and wheres the meaning We always try to find text evidence that has an object in it, and thats how you know that out of all the things that he says, this is going to be the most important, because it contains not only a conversation that tells us whats happening but also an object that usuall y is packed with meaning. Teagan made sure the texts he selected supported students use of this strategy: When I select texts I choose books that have very clear objects, so theres like things that they can look for. Looking for objects gave student s a strategy for identifying symbolism in the book. They then used those passages as textual evidence within their graphic organizer. Finally, Teagan used the graphic organizer to help students generate text for the analytical essays: They can also use this to write their paper because the paper topic is, how does the novel fit the heros journey and what does the novel mean basically, and so they can use this to plan out their paper; theyve got all their text evidence and all their ideas already plotted out.
124 Teagan also used assistive technology to support his approach. He explained how the software program Inspiration had a feature that allowed students to turn their graphic organizer into an outline (Appendix I). His students used the outline to fil l in the analytic writing graphic organizer. Teagans English instruction was designed to teach students how to find meaning and how to make meaning from the text. He did so using a combination of strategies specific to the discipline of English, such as explicitly teaching students the formula for The Heros Journey, and by supporting students in identifying literary techniques (e.g., symbolism, and how to locate symbolism through objects in the text). He also employed more general strategies not specific to the discipline of English, such as graphic organizers and the use of assistive technology software, to support students learning. Finally, he makes it real by organizing the class around thematic units focused on different components of the literary theme, identity. Summary Teagans fr amework for teaching incorporated his complex understanding of the relationship between students literacy skills, how to make learning meaningful to students, and students postsecondary success. Teagans framework for teaching focused on skill developme nt, the maintenance of skills, and preparing students for future classes. Most importantly, though, he wanted to make learning meaningful so that his students would be motivated to use skills independently. Teagan also understood the importance of repetit ion for enabling students with LD to transfer skills from his classroom to other contexts. His instruction focused on developing students skills in reading and writing, while using the content of English to teach students how to enjoy making meaning from text
1 25 Conclusion Descriptions of the teacher s lived experiences were derived from my analysis of how they conceptualized their instruction and their framework for teaching. The teachers frameworks included their conceptualizations of (a) developing literacy skills with an eye toward the future, (b) understanding students LD, and (c) designing instruction to further students learning. Below is a synthesis of each theme across the three teachers. For each theme I present a summary of each individual teacher and then discuss the similarities and dif ferences that emerged across teachers Developing Literacy Skills w ith an Eye Toward the Future Wrights framework for instruction consisted of learning literacy skills, which he calls tasks and aptitudes that would assist students in their literature classes and were fundamental to students success in postsecondary English classes. The literacy tasks consisted primarily of literacy skills that were essential to students postsecondary success regardless of content, such as reading and writing (e.g., reading text in a limited amount of time). The literacy aptitudes consisted primarily of domainspecific literacy skills that were unique to the content of English. Wrights instruction focused on both tasks and aptitudes, as he found both equally important Geoffreys framework for teaching focused on intellectual skills, or the skills students need to develop to succeed in high school world history courses and postsecondary liberal arts settings. Geoffrey conceptualized his framework for teaching as an i nstructional routine that integrated reading, writing, and content instruction. Geoffrey focused on the necessity of literacy skill development, prioritizing literacy skills instruction over content instruction, but he also saw value in teaching content. He felt it was the content that motivated students to learn.
126 Teagans framework for teaching emphasized students literacy skills, meaningful learning experiences, and skills needed to succeed in postsecondary settings, including college. Teagan focused o n skill development with an eye toward maintaining the gains students made in other classes and preparing students for future classes, life, and jobs. He also knew that students would not be motivated to maintain skills independently unless the instruction was meaningful. Meaning, motivation, and skill development were equal priorities in Teagans instruction. Although all the teachers saw merit in general literacy skill development and the literacy skills specific to their discipline, each teacher prior itized aspects of their instruction differently. Wright conceptualized general literacy skills and disciplinespecific literacy skills separately. Geoffrey, on the other hand, conceptualized his framework for teaching as an instructional routine that integrated general literacy skills with literacy skills specific to his discipline. When making instructional decisions, Geoffrey valued general literacy skills over disciplinespecific literacy skills. Furthermore, both Teagan and Geoffrey felt that content instruction was important because of the role it played students motivation, though the belief in the importance of meaning making in content instruction was more prominent in Teagans interviews than in Geoffreys. Understanding Learning Disabilities Wrights framework for instruction attempted to address what he saw as the literacy difficulties that students with LD experienced. He saw how the difficulties students with LD encounteredsuch as weaknesses in background knowledge, making connections, sequencing events, and writing fluency interfered with their ability to
127 perform and develop the literacy skills necessary for learning content and for postsecondary education. Geoffry also demonstrated a keen understanding of how students LD influenced th eir ability to perform general literacy skills, such as accessing, retaining, and demonstrating their knowledge. He also acknowledged that content learning was especially challenging for his students. Teagan saw a connection between students learning di fferences, their motivation, and their ability to find learning meaningful. His framework for teaching emphasized skill acquisition and making repetitive skill instruction meaningful. He knew students would need a tremendous amount of repetition before us ing skills independently in other contexts. All three teachers saw how students skill deficits complicated the teachers attempts to help them learn academic content and learn the skills they would need to be successful adults. Wright and Geoffrey emphasized the role LD played in developing literacy skills. Teagan, however, was the only teacher who emphasized the important contribution that motivation and positive relationships made to students accomplishing the goals he set forth. Designing Instructio n to Further Students Learning Wright believed that knowing the students needs would help him design instruction that would either enable students to develop the skills they needed to be successful with more demanding academic content in postsecondary settings or enable them to compensate for their deficits. Wright repeatedly described how his instruction addressed the literacy skills students needed while simultaneously supporting them in accessing the content. For reading instruction, Wright used audi o recordings of text;
128 repeated reading, notating, note taking; and the Questioning the Author strategy to develop skills and to support students access to content area reading. He used computers, graphic organizers, and rubrics as the primary means of supporting writing instruction, and he used explicit instruction to develop students writing skills. He also used the Questioning the Author strategy to model for students how experts read and think about text. He exposed students to a variety of genres and used Understanding by Design to create Essential Q uestions, which he then used as writing prompts. Wrights instruction demonstrated how reading and writing skill instruction and discipline specific instruction could be interwoven to provide students wi th explicit content area instruction. Geoffrey believed his knowledge of students learning needs was useful when designing instruction. Mostly, he used this knowledge to help students develop necessary literacy skills. Geoffrey used instructional routines to help students access information in the text, retain information, and demonstrate their knowledge in writing. He did this by prioritizing skill development, specifically writing instruction, over content instruction. Geoffreys instruction in reading involved minimizing the content students were exposed to, first by decreasing the amount of text students had to read. Geoffrey also taught students to use audio recordings of the text and visual images to support their reading, as well as to use structural analysis to support vocabulary development. His instructional routine included strategies for analyzing text and then taking information from the text and turning it into a written product. He taught students to read, underline, and take notes using t he Cornell note system. Then, he showed students how to use these notes to create an outline and to write summary paragraphs of their reading. Even though Geoffrey valued skill development, he used the content of
129 his English course to teach students discipline specific literacy skills. Geoffrey relied on the strategies presented in Understanding by Designparticularly the Essential Q uestions to help students analyze text. The Essential Q uestions allowed Geoffrey to focus students learning on the big ideas and to guide their approach to reading and writing about the text. Finally, he used the Essential Q uestions to design year end exams. The Essential Q uestions enabled Geoffrey to accomplish his goal of minimizing the amount of content students read and provided a context for teaching his literacy routine. Teagan designed his instruction to create a meaningful context for learning skills. He felt that creating a meaningful context would help students practice skills they had learned in previous classes and develop the motivation to maintain those skills in the future. Teagan created opportunities for repeated practice using the same instructional systems for each aspect of his instruction. Teagan organized his reading instruction using a strategy called RAP Q. He used a variety of graphic organizers to help students learn how to write using different story structures. He also organized his English content instruction according to themes to motivate students and to create a context for integrating English, wri ting, and reading instruction. There are more similarities than differences between the strategies the teachers used for teaching reading, writing, and disciplinary literacy. All three teachers discussed using audio recordings of text, underlining, and notating to support reading, and they all used structures for improving students writing. Both Wright and Teagan used repeated reading of text to support comprehension. Both Wright and Geoffrey used Understanding by Design to create Essential Q uestions t hat could be used to facilitate note taking. Geoffrey and Teagan organized their units thematically. They also used
130 visual aids to support reading, outlining to assist students with writing, and summarizing to improve comprehension (Teagan) or writing (Geoffrey). Each teacher also used strategies the others did not. Wright used the Question ing the Author strategy for reading comprehension, whereas Teagan used RAP Q Wright also discussed using computers and rubrics for writing, as well as exposing students to different genres of text. Geoffrey was the only teacher to discuss using structural analysis to support vocabulary instruction. Teagan was the only teacher to d iscuss reading schedules, creating a chapter title, dog earring pages in the book, The Heros Journey and its accompanying graphic organizer, and using objects and symbolism in instruction. The teachers emphasized different strategies based on what they v alued. Wright relied on the Question ing the Author strategy, Understanding by Designs Essential Q uestions, audio recordings of the text, and explicit writing strategies to integrate skill instruction with English content instruction in order to bridge the gap between what students could do and what they were expected to do in a high school literature course. Geoffrey used Understanding by Design s Essential Q uestions to frame the rest of his instruction. Essential Q uestions helped Geoffreys students focus on specific aspects of the content and provided Geoffrey with an anchor for teaching students a literacy routine for learning the reading and writing skills he so valued. Teagan focused most of his efforts on creating meaningful contexts for learning skil ls. He used the same instructional strategies and routines to help students maintain what they had learned in previous classes and practice to fluency the skills they would need to employ independently in the future. According to Teagan, such repetitive instruction required a meaningful context for instruction otherwise, his students would never be able to
131 engage in the repetitive practice that would allow them to use the skills independently. Thus, all three teachers emphasized skill development in their instruction, but how they prioritized it in relation to content instruction differed based on their goals for their students future and the role they saw students learning difficulties playing in those goals. Features of Expert Teachers Cognition Thes e teachers cognition demonstrated features not uncommon in studies of other experts. The teachers all demonstrated knowledge in multiple domains, including knowledge of their content area and the disciplinary specific literacy practices needed for proces sing the content, knowledge of how to teach literacy, and knowledge of how the reading and writing process breaks down for students with learning disabilities Their knowledge was integrated. For example, the teachers knowledge of their students learni ng disabilities permeated their discussion of their content and their discussion of literacy instruction, and visa versa. Furthermore, the teachers were all able to combining explicit, evidence based strategies with discipline specific strategies. The teachers used metal models, or schemas, to guide their instruction. This was evident in the teachers discussion of routines and processes for addressing specific aspects of instruction. The teachers used both goal driven and data driven processing. This w as evident in the vision teachers had for their students, in which they situated their students as both short term and long term learners. The teachers all used data from the students performance in the process of situating then within this trajectory o f learning. All of the teachers used deliberate practice, as was evident by their drive to learn about their students, to learn from and apply strategies presented in professional development at the school. Finally, all of the teachers had a propensity f or strategic
132 processing as was demonstrated by t he ways in which these teachers appropriately employ their knowledge while balancing the complex needs of various students This enabled the teachers to accomplish the sophisticated conceptualization demons trated in their frameworks for teaching.
133 CHAPTER 5 DISCUSSION Discussion Considering the increasing rate at which students with learning disabilities ( LD ) take content area classes in general education setting s, and the literacy difficulties many students with LD face, a study exploring the nature of expertise in special education content area teachers literacy instruction was timely and necessary. The premise of this study was that expert content area teachers with access to extensive professio nal development around teaching literacy to students with LD would be capable of addressing content area literacy needs and the severe reading issues exhibited by students with LD (FaggellaLuby, Graner, Deshler, & Drew, 2012). I designed t his study to provide insights into the cognition of such expert teachers, with the ultimate purpose of developing an understanding of expertise in teaching literacy in the content areas to secondary students with LD. In t his study I used hermeneutic phenomenology to ex plore teachers perceptions of teaching literacy within their content area to secondary students with LD, answering the question, How do expert secondary content area teachers conceptualize teaching literacy in their content area with students with learnin g disabilities? New and enhanced understandings of this phenomenon could lead to new practices and better professional development for secondary content area teachers serving students with LD. Using five interviews, I obtained experiential descriptions from the participants. Following a modified hermeneutic model of van Manens (1984) m ethod of phenomenology, I engaged in an analysis that included four concurrent procedural activities and consist ed of 10 steps (see Figure 32 ) From this analysis I derived d escriptions of the teachers lived experiences to reflect their framework for teaching.
134 The teachers frameworks for teaching included their conceptualizations of (a) developing literacy skills with an eye toward the future, (b) understanding students learning disabilities and (c) designing instruction to further students learning. In this chapter, I discuss connections between my findings and the extant literature in secondary content area teachers expertise and special education teachers expertise, and the extant literature in content area and disciplinary literacy instruction. I further discuss the limitation s of this study Finally, I discuss the implications of this study in regards to the features of cognition these teachers demonst rated and the broader study of expertise. I conclude with a discussion of necessary and potential future research. Connections with the Extant Literature The results of this study are relevant for researchers interested in the study of expertise among seco ndary content area teachers and special education teachers. Prior to this study, no studies existed exploring the nature of secondary special education content area teachers expertise. Furthermore, no studies existed of such teachers literacy instructi on within their content areas. Although there are limitations to this study, the findings extend and support existing research and theory and have several implications for future research. Secondary Teacher Expertise in the Content Areas and Special Education T he extant literature included 12 studies that examined expert teac hing in the content areas and 1 study that examined expert teaching in special education. Across these studies, only four consistent findings emerged. First, the concept of flexibil ity emerged in every content area except social studies and special education. Second, the importance of teachers past professional experiences (i.e. education and teaching
135 experience) was a consistent finding in all domains. Third, the importance of t eachers knowledge was a consistent finding across all domains. Fourth, expert teachers appeared to have a perspective or emphasis on a particular aspect of their content, and they were able to rationalize instructional decisions based on that perspective or emphasis. As these were the strongest findings from the literature in secondary content area and special education teacher expertise, I will discuss the findings of this study in terms of the prior consistent findings and the literature from which the y came. Flexibility. In the review of the extant literature, the concept of flexibility emerged as a quality of expertise in every domain except social studies and special education. In English language arts, both Tochon and Munby (1993) and Jay (2002) found that novice teachers discussions of various aspects of their teaching reflected less flexibility than expert teachers discussions. In Tochon and Munbys study, the expert teachers approached lesson planning and instruction in ways that enabled th em to be more responsive to students during instruction. In Jays study, expert teachers moved flexibly between different types of conversation about observations of their own lessons. In mathematics, Livingston and Borko (1990) conceptualized flexibilit y as improvisation that enabled teachers to be more responsive to students. In science, both Meyer (2004) and Moallem (1998) found that expert teachers made flexible decisions and that expert teachers rational e for why they changed their instruction revealed a great deal about their thinking. Thus, the concept of flexibility was a major finding across many studies of secondary teacher expertise. In this study, all three teachers demonstrated flexibility in how they conceptualized designing instruct ion to be responsive to students LD For example, Wright demonstrated flexibility in his discussion of comprehension instruction when he
136 explained that his extensive experience enabled him to anticipate where students would likely encounter comprehension difficulty and to create a flexible plan for instruction. Geoffrey demonstrated flexibility when he discussed using the school assessment to help him develop class profiles and then designed literacy skill instruction tailored to the class profile. Teagan demonstrated flexibility in his belief that teachers have to do what works and continually make instructional changes based on the students abilities. Thus, this study supports and extends previous research by finding that the teachers demonstrated f lexibility in their discussion of their lived experiences. Past Experiences and Knowledge. Previous research has also shown that teachers past experiences and knowledge played a role in teachers expertise. These findings will be discussed together, as they are interrelated. Although many researchers speculated that the difference between experts and novices was experience (Brooks, 2010; Gudmundsdottir & Shulman, 1987; Jay 2002; Meyer, 2004; Moallem, 1998; Sabers et al., 1991) or knowledge (Livingston and Borko, 1990; Moallem, 1998) only Moallem examine d how experience and knowledge interacted and influenced teachers expertise, and she supported this conclusion with evidence. Moallem (1998) found that the expert teachers past experiences related to how the teacher saw herself, her students, and her instruction and that they were a significant source of her professional and pedagogical knowledge; thus, knowledge and experience interacted with one another. Moallem (1998) also described, in detail, the types of knowledge (i.e. knowledge of self as a teacher, knowledge of the content and curriculum, knowledge of pedagogy, knowledge of students, and knowledge of the context) the expert teacher demonstrated and how that knowledge influenced her practice.
137 Although I did not design this study to examine how teachers knowledge or experience interacted with their expertise, the teachers did demonstrate knowledge and referred to their experiences in their discussion of their lived experiences. How these inte racted with each other and influenced their expertise was beyond the scope of this analysis. There were two types of past professional experiences considered in this study: teachers formal educational experiences and teachers formal and informal profess ional development. I will discuss these, as well as the knowledge teachers demonstrated that may have been the result of these experiences. All three teachers in this study had received degrees in their content areas. Wright obtained a bachelors degree in English from Columbia University in 1979, a masters degree in creative writing from Boston University in 1989, and a doctorate in English from Boston University in 1995. Geoffrey obtained a bachelors degree in history from Haverford College in 1978, a masters degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania in 1985, and a second masters degree in world history from Villanova University in 2000. Teagan obtained a bachelors degree in English from Saint Josephs University in 1995. The knowledge they developed during these education experiences was evident in discussions of their lived experiences Wright demonstrated knowledge of his content area by selectin g texts that are representative of the genres of English and his knowledge of literature seemed to help him identify the big ideas of instruction and develop guiding questions for the students. Wright also demonstrated how his experiences as a student and a doctoral student teachers assistant in postsecondary settings in his content area played a role in his understanding of the difficulties students would face, his goals for students future s, and the skills the y would need to develop to meet those goals in this content area. Geoffrey
138 demonstrated knowledge of his content by organiz ing his instruction around historical themes and by developing essential questions, in which he identif ied what concepts were vital to students understanding of the content. Geoffreys knowledge of his content enabled him to decrease the quantity of text stu dents had to read while still including what was most essential to students und erstanding. Teagan demonstrated how important his past experiences were by using the content of English, stories, to motivat e students and to help them see the value in reading. Teagans knowledge of how writers compose stories, and build themes using literacy techniques, enabled him to provide students insight into how to read and make meaning of the text. His knowledge of the content enabled him to select texts that served multiple purposes. Although this study did not examine whether these experiences led to this knowledge, I assumed that the teachers developed content knowledge from their formal educational training. The teachers past informal and formal professional dev elopment experiences were also very important in how they conceptualized their instruction. All of the teachers had vari ous exposures to pedagogy and literacy prior to working at this school. Although none of the teachers in this study had significant prior professional training in special education, they had attended extensive professional development after becoming teachers in their school. Wright reported participating in at least 20 hours of profe ssional development over the past year and reported participating in 20 conferences, plus 3 summer sessions on O G [Orton Gillingham], plus innumerable inschool training programs in teaching students with disabilities over the past decade. Geoffrey rep orted attending at least 37 hours of professional development in teaching students with disabilities. Teagan explained that, from the time he arrived at this school,
139 he had worked closely with other teachers in mentor/mentee relationships to learn techniq ues for working with students with LD, in additional to the numerous formal and informal professional developments he had attend ed. In spite of the teachers lack of preservice training in teaching students with LD all of the teachers in this study demonstrated knowledge of how to teach literacy and how the reading process breaks down for students with disabilitie s. Wright discussed using the Essential Q uestions, a strategy he obtained from a professional development training Wiggins and McTighe held at the school based on their book Understanding by Design (2005) to enable students to engage with the content regardless of their current ability level. Teagan discussed using a writing strategy which he obtained from a professional development training held by Judith Hochman based on her book Teaching Basic Writing Skills: Strategies for Effective Writing Instruction (2009), to help students write summary paragraphs to su pport their comprehension. Geoffrey also attended the Understanding by Design and th e Teaching Basic Writing Skills professional developments, and he discussed using (a) Understanding by Design to develop Essential Q uestions to guide his rewriting of the text, minimizing the amount of reading students in his class had to engage in and (b) Judith Hochmans writing strategy for note taking, outlining, and writing summary paragraphs As all three teachers referenced either one or both of these professional development trainings we can attribute at least a portion of their knowledge to these professional development experiences. Although not the direct focus of this study, the teachers past professional experiences and the knowledge the teachers developed from those experiences did play a role in their conceptualizations of their teaching These findings support prior research indicating that preservice professional learning opportunities influence experts
140 conceptualization of their instruction. The current study, however, extends the previous research to demonstrat e how expert teachers c an use inservice professional development to access additional information about how to educate students with and without disabilities to inform their understandings of how to translate their disciplinary knowledge for students with LD Furthermore, the t eachers conceptualizations of their teaching demonstrated these three knowledge bases were highly integrated, with teachers knowledge of their content, teachers understanding of their students learning disabilities, and their approach to designing instruct ion in literacy influencing each other. Perspective or Emphasis. In my revi ew of prior research I found that in two domains, social studies and English language arts, expert teachers appeared to have a perspective or emphasis on a particular aspect of their content, and they were able to rationalize instructional decisions based on that perspective or emphasis. In social studies, teachers rationalized their teaching based on their understanding of the content (Brooks, 2010; Gudmundsdottir & Shulman, 1987) In English language arts, Gudmundsdottir (1991) found that the expert teacher had a pedagogical model that guided her questioning of students, though there was incongruence between the teachers stated model and the model Gudmundsdottir thought was actually guiding her teaching. Although the importance of a perspective or emphasis and the ability to rationalize ones decisions emerged explicitly in only these two studies, other research hinted at the importance of teachers instructional perspective or emphasis. Moallem (1998) discussed how the teachers past experiences related to how she saw herself, her students, and her instruction, which could imply the presence of a perspective. This study supports previous research by finding that expert teacher s appeared to have a perspective or emphasis of their content The study extends previous
141 research by finding that teachers with expertise in special education and literacy in additional to their content had a perspective or emphasis in not only their content, but also on special education and literacy. Their perspective or emphasis integrated all three domains. Teachers in this study discussed how instruction in reading, writing, and disciplinary literacy were integral components of their instructional design. They discussed their goals for their students futures and considered the impact of LD on students learning. Their perspectives reflected the ways in which they saw these different emphases relating to each other and emerged as a framework for te aching. The findings of this study further support and extend the findings from prior research, which indicat ed that experts were able to rationalize instructional decisions based on that perspective or emphasis. Although this study did not examine the decisions teachers made during instruction, the teachers in this study rationalized, based on their framework for teaching how they conceptualized designing instruction to further students learning. All three teachers emphasized literacy skill development in their instruction, but how they prioritized it in relation to the content differed; these differing priorities reflected their goals for students futures and the role they saw students LD playing in those goals. Literacy Instruction in the Content Areas Because of the challenges all students experience when the literacy requirements of content area texts increase, advocates have argued for the inclusion of literacy instruction in content area classrooms for more than a decade (MonteSano, 2011; Mraz Rickelman, & Vacca, 2009). Researchers have long believed there is great value in teaching literacy in the content areas, for both improving literacy skills and content area learning (Anders & Levine, 1990; Bean, 2000; Dishner & Olson, 1989;
142 Moore, Readence, & Rickleman, 1983). Two strategies for teaching literacy within the content areas exist: content area literacy instruction and disciplinary literacy instruction. As these are the two main approaches to teaching literacy within the content areas, I will address what we know about each strategy in terms of students with LD, and I will discuss my findings in light of this literature. Content Area Literacy Instruction. One strategy for integrating literacy instruction into content area classes, called content area literacy, is grounded in the notion that all reading, regardless of the content area, requires similar cognitive processes (Fang, 2012). As such, more general literacy strategies have been promoted, such as summarizing, outlining, and using graphic organizers (Johnson, Watson, Delahunty, McSwiggen, & Smith, 2011; MonteSano, 2011). These general practices have been found useful across many different content areas (Heller & Greenleaf, 2007; Moje, 2008), especially for students with LD (Faggella Luby, Graner, Deshler, & Drew, 2012). For a list of effective reading comprehension strategies, see Mastropieri Scruggs and Graetzs (2003) review, which features effective reading intervention strategies for secondary struggling student s, and see Berkeley, Scruggs and Mastropieris (2010) metaanalysis of reading comprehension interventions for students with LD Furthermore, Scruggs, Mastropieri, Berkeley, and Graetz (2009) conducted a metaanalysis of the effectiveness of special education comprehension strategies in all students learning of secondary content, identifying the following strategies as effective and measuring their effectiveness : mnemonic strategies (ES=1.47); spatial or graphic organizers (ES=0.93); classroom learning strategies (E S=1.11); computer assisted instruction (ES=0.63); study aids (ES=0.94); hands on or activity oriented learning (ES=0.63); and explicit instruction (ES=1.68). For students
143 with LD, the inclusion of literacy instruction offers more opportunities to practice literacy skills and to do so in the context in which they are needed (Ehren, Deshler, & Graner, 2010). Each teacher in this study used a variety of the general literacy strategies found to be effective with content area learning for students with LD. All three teachers discussed using audio recordings of text, underlining and notating text, cognitive strategies to support reading, graphic organizers to help with reading and writing, and, more generally, explicit instruction. Furthermore, each teacher used strategies the others did not : Wright us ed computers and rubrics for writing, Geoffrey us ed morphology to support vocabulary instruction, and Teagan us ed reading schedules. Prior research has demonstrated that these instructional strategies are effectiv e with students with LD and content area learning ; every general strategy used by these teachers was in fact evidencebased and, furthermore, evidencebased for students with LD. Disciplinary Literacy Instruction. Disciplinary literacy advocates believ e that literacy is content specific and that understanding the oral and written language of a discipline requires more than just the ability to decode and comprehend the text ( Shanahan & Shanahan, 2008). I t also requires that students understand the ways of thinking associated with a discipline (MonteSano, 2011). Shanahan and Shanahan (2008) explored how experts in different disciplines read texts and found that experts used distinctly different approaches depending on the discipline in which they were trained. Furthermore, the texts themselves varied significantly across subjects, containing different vocabulary and text structures specific to the discipline (Moje, 2010). Although a great deal of research on the impact of content area literacy has
144 been conducted with students with LD, very few studies have explored the effectiveness of disciplinary literacy instruction on the learning of such students (FaggellaLuby et al., 2012). FaggellaLuby and colleagues (2012) examined studies in disciplinary lit eracy that included struggling adolescent learners. Although there were a number of questions related to the design, quantity, and focus of these studies, and although these studies almost exclusively (with one exception) focused on English language arts content, some disciplinespecific strategies in English language arts and history were identified as having potential for further research. These strategies included story mapping, self questioning, theme identification, story mneumonics, story planning and monitoring, character development, story grammar, integrated reading and writing, story webs, and historical reasoning and content. The teachers in this study used disciplinespecific strategies in combination with reading comprehension strategies that have been shown to be applicable across a variety of disciplines. Wright primarily used the Questioning the Author strategy to model to students how experts in English read and think about text. He exposed students to a variety of genres and used Unders tanding by Design to create essential questions as writing prompts. Geoffrey primarily taught disciplinary literacy using Understanding by Design and essential questions. He also organized his instruction by historical themes, connected students learnin g to modernday events, and used both primary sources and visuals to accompany text books Teagan organized his instruction by literary themes and taught The Heros Journey as well as other literary techniques around storytelling. Because there is extremely limited research on effective disciplinary strategies with students with LD, the effectiveness of these strategies is unknown. We only know that these teachers, identified as experts because of their ability to affect
145 student achievement, used these strategies in combination with evidencebased writing and reading strategies that are not discipline specific. Thus, this study extended the extant literature by providing one of the fi r st studies of content area teachers integration of gen eral literacy strategies with disciplinary literacy strategies for students with LD. Limitations Although this study demonstrates that expert teachers providing instruction to students with LD are able to integrate their deep knowledge of their discipline and effective strategies for teaching students with LD there are several limitations. The primary limitation of this study was the small number of participants and the small number of content areas represented. Secondary teachers provide instruction in a variety of content areas from 6th grade through 12th grade. The inclusion of more participants, representing more grades and subject areas, could alter, enhance, or refine the understandings that emerged during this study. Implications In the past several decades, there has been a strong move toward including students with LD in general education classrooms. Eiighty percent take one or more academic courses in general education settings (Newm an, Wag ner, Cameto, & Knokey, 2009). These c ontent courses place considerable reading and wr iting demands on students with LD, because reading and writing are the primary vehicles for learning in these classes (Chall, Jacobs, & Baldwin, 1990; Deshler et al., 2001). Because appr oximately 80% of students with LD demonstrate difficulty with reading, the significant difficulties they experience with reading and writing impede their progress in content classes (Deshler et al., 2001; Kavale & Forness, 1999). Thu s, the success of students with LD in content area classes depends on teachers ability to support student
146 literacy needs in their content area instruction. Unfortunately, few general education teachers are prepared to teach students with LD (Cortiella, 2 011). The premise of this study was expert teachers would be capable of addressing content area literacy needs and the severe reading issues exhibited by students with LD. W right, Geoffrey, an d Teagans choice of evidencebased literacy strategies for students with LD supported this premise I also presumed expert teachers in this study would demonstrate properties of expertise in their cognition. First, the research in the broader study of expertise and in special education and literacy (Alexander, 2003; Alexander et al., 2004; Brownell et al., 2009; Johnson et al., 2011; Spear Swerling, 2009; Spear Swerling & Brucker, 2004) suggested that the expert teachers in this study would have well integrated knowledge of multiple domains, including knowledge of their content area and the disciplinary specific literacy practices needed for processing the content, knowledge of how to teach literacy, and knowledge of how the reading and writing process breaks down for students with learning disabilities T he three expert teachers in this study demonstrated well integrated knowledge of all three domains evident in their ability to combining explicit, evidence based strategies with discipline specific strategies and by the prevalence of their understanding of their students LD throughout their dis cussion of literacy instruction. Furthermore, the research in the broader study of expertise suggested these teachers would have a propensity toward strategic processing. The ways in which these teachers appropriately employ ed their knowledge while balancing the com plex needs of various students demonstrated strategic processing (Alexander, 2003; Alexander et al., 2004). Beyond these few properties drawn from the broader research on expertise upon which this study was built features of these teachers cognition demonstrated a number
147 of additional properties of experts. The teachers used metal models, or schemas, to guide their instruction. This was evident in the teachers discussion of routines and processes for addressing specific aspects of instruction. The teachers also used both goal driven and datadriven processing. This was evident in the vision teachers had for their students, in which they situated their students as both short term and long term learners, and t he teachers use of data from the students performance in the process of situating then within this trajectory of learning. The use of metal models/schemas and both goal dri ven and datadriven processing are features of situ ation awareness Situational awareness is defined as the perception of the elements of an environment within a volume of time and space, the comprehension of their meaning and the projection of their status in the near future (Endsley, 1988 as cited in E ndsley, 2006, p. 634). Situational awareness is a f e ature of expertise that allows the expert to be ahead of the game giving them the ability to understand complexity and anticipate outcomes (Endsley, 2006, p. 633 ). In addition to situational awareness a ll of the teachers used deliberate practice, as was evident by their drive to learn about their students, and to learn from and apply strategies presented in profes sional development acting as scholars along side their students The use of deliberate practice has been proposed as being the difference between those who have developed expertise as a result of their experience, and those who have not (Ericsson, Prietula, & Cokely, 2007). These findings raise questions about the assignment of underprepar ed teachers to secondary content area classes for students with LD. S pecifically, teachers who lack the following will likely be unable to accomplish the sophisticated conceptualization and enactment of instruction that the teachers in this study demonstrated in their frameworks for teaching : (a ) kn owledge in multiple domains, including knowledge of
148 their content area knowledge of how to teach literacy, and knowledge of how the reading and writing process breaks down for stude nts with reading disabilities; (b) integration of such knowledge ; ( c) the propensity for strategic processing ; (d) the prope nsity for situation awareness; and (e) the propensity for d eliberate practice. F indings from this study show that effective teachers for students with L D are those who have deep preparation for and extensive experience with teaching their content and teaching students with disabilities Furthermore, they have the propensity for strategic processing and situational awareness. Finally, their use of deliberate practice may be why they were able to develop their expertise. The deep knowledge for teaching students with LD may develop through ext ended professional development, but it remains to be seen whether such knowledge can be integrated with disciplinespecific teaching knowledge if teachers have not developed discipline specific teaching knowledge (i.e. are not content area experts) prior to attending professional development Furthermore, how to design professional development that encourages the development of expertise and the features of expert cognition in these particular domains is unknown. Future Research The findings of this study provide some directions for future research. First, researchers must examine the use of disciplinary literacy st rategies with students with LD. The t eachers in this study used strategies they believed were effective, but sufficient research supporting use of these strategies does not exist. A second line of future research should explore the literacy practices these teachers usedspecifically, how they integrated general literacy and disciplinary literacy strategies, and whether such integrated strategies are effective for students with LD. A third potentially important
149 area of research is how teachers develop such expertise. Developing a trajectory for the growth of teachers knowledge from novice level to expert level would enable teacher educators to design professional learning experiences that support teachers growth along this trajectory, from preservice teac her preparation to inservice professional learning experiences. As students with LD are increasingly included in general education content area classrooms, these lines of research will become increasingly important if we wish to reduce the achievement gap (Faggella Luby et al., 2012).
150 APPENDIX A BACKGROUND SURVEY The purpose of the survey was to procure information about the teachers past experience, both to select participate, and to use as a prompt during the phenomenological interview. Questions focused on their degrees obtained, courses taken, professional development attended, and teaching experiences.
153 APPENDIX B INITIAL INTERVIEW PROTOCOL The purpose of the interview was twofold. The first goals was to elicit additional information, beyond that gathered in the survey, regarding the teachers past and present experiences related to teaching students with LD, their content area, and literacy. The second goal focused on the knowledge teachers had about their content area, content area literacy instruction, and their students. This is a semi structured interview. While I may not ask each specific question, I will make sure to cover all of the topics. Additionally, I may highlight particular aspects of the teachers survey, and ask for clarification or elaboration. For example, if a teacher wrote they had attended professional development in reading in the past year, I might ask them about what they learned, and was it useful in their classroom. Inform the participant: The purpose of this interview to explore your knowledge about teaching, your content, about literacy and about teaching students with disabilities. I also want to explore how your past experiences led you to where you are and influenced what you do in the classroom. Begin the interview with the following question: How did you come to teaching X grade, X content, here at your school? Can you describe what past experiences led you here? I will ask the following questions when appropriate, making sure to cover each to pic: 1. Content Area a) Describe your content area. b) How is your content area structured? c) What does it include? 2. Content Area Literacy Instruction
154 a) How do reading and writi ng fit into your content area? b) Are the texts students read in your content area different fro m texts in other content areas? c) Do you need any special skills to read a text in your content area versus another content area? 3. General Knowledge of Students With Disabilities a) How well are students with disabilities able to perform within your content area? b) What kind s of difficulties do they have? c) How might your content area be harder or easier for students with learning disabilities than other subjects? 4. Knowledge of the Teachers Specific Students a) Can you describe t he students in your classroom? b) What a r e the needs of your students? c) What goals do you have for your students? I will close the interview with the following question: Are there any additional experiences in your life you think have contributed to your knowledge, ideas, or beliefs about teaching students with learning disabilities in your content area?
155 APPENDIX C THINK ALOUD INTERVIEW PROTOCOL In the think aloud interview the teachers will describe their planning process for a specific lesson. During the interview, teachers will be instructe d to say out loud everything they are thinking as they plan their lesson. Say to Teacher: You should say out loud everything youre thinking as you plan your lesson. This might seem awkward at first but remember, youre just putting into words everything already going on in your head whether or not you it is relevant. Put into words your specific steps as well as your rationale for your decisions. Ill just ask a couple of questions. Our goal is to collect as much information as possible to help us und erstand the highly complex process you engage in as you plan. I will ask the following clarifying questions when appropriate: 1. What are some important things to consider when you are planning a lesson? 2. Describe any courses, workshops, books, curricula t hat influence your planning the lesson. 3. Whats the topic/purpose of this lesson? Why/How did you determine the topic of this lesson? By the end of the lesson, what do you want the children to know and do? 4. How is this lesson related to other lessons you wi ll teach during the week? Month? 5. What materials did you use to plan this lesson? What made you decide to use these materials? 6. What activities did you include in this lesson? What made you decide to use these activities? 7. Are there any students that you t hink will struggle more (or be more successful) than other students? How will you respond to that in the lesson? 8. How will you determine whether your students have been successful with this lesson?
156 APPENDIX D ELICITATION INTERVIEW PROTOCOL Ahead of this interview, I will review the observation, and identify moments in which I see teachers incorporating literacy activities/instruction, and supporting students needs, both in literacy and learning the content. For example, in the observation a teacher may include a mini lesson on paragraph writing at the beginning of a lesson, using a graphic organizer. I will make note of this, in preparation for the interview. An elicitation interview, in which both the researcher and participant watch the videotaped observation, will take place the following day. In the elicitation interview, teachers will identify moments in which they incorporated literacy instruction, or their instruction demonstrated support for student literacy needs, and/or in learning the content (such as the above example). They will be asked to elaborate on what knowledge they drew upon, and the source of that knowledge (e.g. Where did you learn about using graphic organizers for paragraph writing?). I will prompt the participant to explain the rationale behind their choice of practice (e.g. I noticed that you did X. Tell me about that.). I may also point to moments in the instruction, and ask questions, such as Why did you include X? How does X support students learning? How does X connec t to the content you were teaching? Say to Teacher: We are going to watch the video of your lesson. I am interested in understanding your knowledge and thinking about you content, literacy, and supporting students literacy learning and needs while supporting their learning of the content. Stop the video at points in which you incorporated literacy activities/instruction and/or demonstrated support of the students needs, both in literacy and learning the content.
157 After we have completed the video, I will ask the teachers a few follow up questions: 1. What did you think about the lesson? What were the high points? What aspects of the lesson were not as satisfying to you? 2. In your planning interview, you said the goal of this lesson was for students to _____________. Do you think this lesson successfully helped them achieve this goal? How do you know they achieved the goal? What evidence did you use? OR What made you believe the students did not achieve your goal? 3. What would you do to improve the lesson i f you have the opportunity to teach it again? Why would you make these changes? 4. What information did you gain from this lesson that will be useful in planning future lessons? Do you have any specific ideas for what you might do next time?
158 APPENDIX E WRI GHTS WRITING GRAPHIC ORGANIZER HOOK: (Ask an interesting question/State an amazing fact/Give an intriguing quote) SUMMARIZE 3 MAIN IDEAS OF THE NOVEL: 1. 2. 3. THESIS: (Subject + Action Verb + Description, Response, or Opinion + 3 Reasons Why it is True) BODY PARAGRAPH 1 TOPIC SENTENCE: SUPPORTING DETAIL 1: FIRST OF ALL, EVIDENCE: FOR EXAMPLE, ANALYSIS: HERE, SUPPORTING DETAIL 2: SECONDLY, EVIDENCE:
159 FOR EXAMPLE, ANALYSIS: THIS DEMONSTRATES SUPORTING DETAIL 3: LASTLY, EVIDENCE: FOR EXAMPLE, ANALYSIS: THIS CLEARLY SHOWS TRANSITION: OVERALL BODY PARAGRAPH 2 TOPIC SENTENCE: SUPPORTING DETAIL 1: FIRST OF ALL, EVIDENCE: FOR EXAMPLE, ANALYSIS: HERE, SUPPORTING DETAIL 2: SECONDLY, EVIDENCE: FOR EXAMPLE,
160 ANALYSIS: THIS DEMONSTRATES SUPORTING DETAIL 3: LASTLY, EVIDENCE: FOR EXAMPLE, ANALYSIS: THIS CLEARLY SHOWS TRANSITION: OVERALL BODY PARAGRAPH 3 TOPIC SENTENCE: SUPPORTING DETAIL 1: FIRST OF ALL, EVIDENCE: FOR EXAMPLE, ANALYSIS: HERE, SUPPORTING DETAIL 2: SECONDLY, EVIDENCE: FOR EXAMPLE,
161 ANALYSIS: THIS DEMONSTRATES SUPORTING DETAIL 3: LASTLY, EVIDENCE: FOR EXAMPLE, ANALYSIS: THIS CLEARLY SHOWS TRANSITION: OVERALL CONCLUSION RESTATE THESIS: SUMMARIZE THE 3 MAIN IDEAS OF THE ESSAY: 1: 2: 3: RELATE TO A LARGER TRUTH: ULTIMATELY
162 APPENDIX F WRIGHTS WRITING RUBRIC
163 APPENDIX G GEOFFREYS NOTE TAKING TEMPLATE Name: Source: Text Chapter 32 Section 5: The Devastation of Europe and Japan pages 3445 Essential Question: What happened in Europe and Japan after WWII is over? Todays Date: Topic Details
164 Main Idea WW II costs millions of human lives and billions of dollars in damages. It left Europe and Japan in ruins.
165 APPENDIX H TEAGANS GRAPHIC ORGANIZER
166 APPENDIX I TEAGANS INSPIRATION WRITING OUTLINE
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176 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Alexandra A. Lauterbachs scholarly interes t centers on effective literacy instruction for elementar y and secondary students with learning disabilities (LD) and effective professional development for teachers of students with LD. Specifically, she is interested in learning how the dimensions of t eacher cognition influence teacher quality and the achievement of students with LD, particularly in the area of literacy. Additionally, her research emphasizes teacher education at the preservice and inservice levels, and focuses on how teacher educators c an best prepare both high quality special educators and general educators able to deliver effective evidencedbased instruction. Alexandra A. Lauterbachs professional experiences have reflected her interest in the professional preparation and training of preservice and inservice teachers. As research assistant on the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) funded grant entitled The Influence of Collaborative Professional Development Groups and Coaching on the Literacy Instruction of Upper Elementary Special Education Teachers she assisted with the development and implementation of a reading professional development ( PD ) package for special education teachers of upper elementary students with severe LD She developed an observation tool, wrote a training protocol and ran the fidelity training. She has also worked as a research assistant at the National Center to Inform Policy and Practice in Special Education Professional Development (NCIPP), an Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) funded center aiming to improve teacher quality. Her role was to evaluate a northeastern state department of educations mentoring and induction program, and to work with the State Department of Education, local education associations and Institutes of Higher Education to improve training related to reading instruction. She was also involved with several grant writing efforts.
177 With colleagues at UF, she wrote a proposal for an OSEP personnel preparation grant entitled Research on Quality in Educating Sp ecial Education Teachers, awarded in May 2009. She also assisted in the writing of a university grant awarded in June of 2012, to improve knowledge of key variables that predict the response of students with LD to morphological awareness instruction. Prior to beginning her doctoral study, Alexandra A. Lauterbach had many experiences in both public and private school education. Her early education included public school experience as a student in the Philadelphia School District, at both Samuel Powel E lementary School and Middle Years Alternative S chool. Additionally, she completed her student teaching at Independence Charter School and Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander University of Pennsylvania Elementary School while attending the University of Pennsylv anias Teacher Education Program. Most of her classroom teaching experience focused on teaching language arts and social studies at both the intermediate and secondary levels to students with LD. During her last year of teaching, she provided reading ins truction to students at the elementary, intermediate, and secondary levels at three private schools in the Philadelphia area. These experiences fostered her desire to improve the educational outcomes for students with LD and the preparedness of their teach ers.