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Changing teachers' practices for inclusion

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Changing teachers' practices for inclusion a case study of four teachers participating in a schooluniversity collaboration
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Riley, Tamar Franchette, 1967-
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English
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xi, 234 leaves : ; 29 cm.

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Classrooms ( jstor )
Collaborative learning ( jstor )
Educational research ( jstor )
Learning ( jstor )
Observational research ( jstor )
Schools ( jstor )
Special education ( jstor )
Students ( jstor )
Teachers ( jstor )
Teaching methods ( jstor )
Dissertations, Academic -- Special Education -- UF ( lcsh )
Special Education thesis, Ph.D ( lcsh )
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theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

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Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Florida, 2000.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 222-231).
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Printout.
General Note:
Vita.
Statement of Responsibility:
by Tamar Franchette Riley.

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University of Florida
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Copyright [name of dissertation author]. Permission granted to the University of Florida to digitize, archive and distribute this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
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CHANGING TEACHERS' PRACTICES FOR INCLUSION: A CASE
STUDY OF FOUR TEACHERS PARTICIPATING IN A
SCHOOIAUNIVERSITY COLLABORATION










By

TAMAR FRANCHETTE RILEY














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



























Copyright 2000

By

Tamar F. Riley














ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Many people have provided assistance and support throughout the

course of this study. I am forever grateful to all those who have helped to

make this project successful.

I extend my appreciation to the four teachers who invited me to be a

part of their worlds and allowed me to be their friend. I have learned a great

deal about teaching, more than when I was a classroom teacher. I appreciate

them for allowing me to be a part of a classroom again. I also want to thank

the principal who wanted the TLC project brought to her school. She

supported the group's work as well as my work. I thank her for all the

personal recognition she gave me to show her continued appreciation for my

presence.

My research project was supported by small and large grants

throughout the years. I sincerely appreciate my advisor, Dr. Mary Brownell,

for finding the funds to support my work. To Dr. Elizabeth Yeager, Dr. Mary

Sue Rennells, and Stephanie van Hover who worked on the TLC project with

me--they all helped me clarify my thinking, keep my perspective, and laugh

when I wanted to cry. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with

such dynamic people. I learned so much about myself from each of them.

As my committee chair, advisor, mentor, and friend, Dr. Mary

Brownell had an active role in helping me to define myself as a professional.

She has helped me in every step of my dissertation as well as my program.








She is a talented researcher and committed educator. Mary has taught me to

look for the positives and stay committed to helping people even when the

task is hard and seems impossible. I especially thank Mary for extending her

ear and becoming my friend. I have learned so much from her!

Dr. Paul Sindelar has also served as my advisor, cochair, mentor, and

friend. He has helped to keep me sane and rational when life seemed

overwhelming. He continually offered a thoughtful perspective when

discussing problems, successes, and findings from my work. I especially loved

his wonderful stories and his attempts to teach me about birds.

I offer my appreciation to Dr. Karen Kilgore for her assistance in

helping me wade through the murky waters of my data analysis. She worked

countless hours to help me convey 2-1/2 years of data in a meaningful way.

Thanks go to Shelby and Luke who let me invade their time with her so I

could finish.

Thanks go to my other committee members--Drs. Elizabeth Bondy and

Cary Reichard. They were always supportive of my work and offered me

thoughtful feedback along the way. I have appreciated their encouragement

and support.

Special thanks go to my friends I made along the way. Dr. LuAnn

Jordan, "Lulee," was often my hope. She had walked the dissertation road a

few years before and always had a logical perspective. I especially appreciate

her for helping me to be a better person. Dr. Holly Lane was always checking

on me to see how I was doing. She gave me a lot of useful information that I

used with the TLC teachers. Dr. Paige Pullen shared her home with me








during a time when both of us were furiously writing our dissertations. She is

a blessing from God!

I wish to extend my appreciation to my friends in Gainesville--to my

former roommates who lived through my doctoral program with me--Stacey

Garnett Fogler, Chanda Stebbins, and Summer Hallett. They are true friends

who have been supportive of me the whole way. I wish to thank the Focks'

family--Dana, Debby, Rebekah, Ken, Peter, and especially Kelly "Smelly"-- for

becoming my lifetime friends. They have helped me develop my spiritual

person through a hectic time in my life. I have a deeper love and commitment

for the Word as a result of the investment they made in my life.

Most of all I would like to thank my family. They have overwhelmed

me with their unconditional support, prayers, encouragement, and love. My

family is one of the greatest gifts from God! A special appreciation goes to my

sisters who were always checking on me, getting tough when I needed it, and

listening to all my self-absorbed conversation. A very special thank you goes

to my parents, Lois and Bill Riley. They have supported me financially in

more ways than imaginable. More than financially, my parents have told me

I could do it and that I did not have to do it to be a success. I am who I am

because of the tremendous investment and sacrifices they have made. A

grateful and special word of thanks goes to my mom, Lois, for convincing me I

was a successful woman. No one has been there for me like she has!

Finally, and most importantly, my most humble gratitude goes to the

Lord God Almighty. To Him be the glory forever and ever.














TABLE OF CONTENTS

Page

ACKNOW LEDGM ENTS...................................................... ....................... iii

ABSTRACT......................... ............. ... ............................ x

CHAPTERS

1 INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBLEM....................................... 1

Current Practice in Staff Development............................. .......... 5
How Special Education Research Has Responded to These
Issues............................................................................ 6
Lingering G aps.......................... ................. .......... ............. 9
Contribution of My Study ....................... ....................... 12
Purpose ..................................... .................. 13
Design of the Study ........... ................... ........... 14
Definition of Term s .................................... ............................. 15
Possible Uses of the Results ..................... ........... ............ 16
Lim stations ............................................................... 17

2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE ................................................18

Selection Criteria for Relevant Literature .......................... 19
Conceptual Framework for Teacher Change ............................. 19
Practical, Understandable, and Concrete Innovations.............. 20
The Practicality of the Innovation .........................................
Compatibility between Teacher and Innovation .................... 24
Need for Concrete Examples ................................................... 27
Outside Perspective..................................................................... 28
Demonstration .................................. ...................... 30
Reflection............. ........... ....................... 30








Professional Collaboration...................... ................... 34
Critical Discourse............................... ...................... 35
School Context that Promotes Change .............................. 41
Teacher Readiness for Change ...................... .................... 48
Ability to Reflect ................................... ........................ 49
Knowledge and Beliefs....................... ...................... 50
Commitment to Learning ...................... ......... .......... 51
Sum m ary ...................................................................................... 52
Considerations for General Education Teachers Working
with Diverse Learners.............................................. 53
Issues to Resolve .......................................................... ......... 54
Special Education Versus General Education Perspective.... 55
Extensive Time for Reflection ...................... ....................... 56

3 METHODOLOGY............................................. ..................... 60

Collaborative Group Work ........................ ......... ........... .. 62
Broader Context.................................................. 62
Gaining Access ................................... ....................... 65
Participants...................... ......................... 66
Evolving Role of the TLC....................... .................... .. 68
Role of the Researcher/Reflective Friend............................ 72
Research Procedures...................... ..................... 72
Research Design.................................................. 73
Data Collection.............................................. 74
Data Analysis ................................... .............................. 79
M ethodological Issues ................................... .... ................... 81
Construct Validity.............................................. 81
External Validity ................................... .... .................... 83
Reliability...................... ........... ....................... 83
Investigator Bias ....................... ... ...................... 84
Ethical Issues ............................................. 84

4 SCHOOL CONTEXT, CLASSROOM CONTEXT, AND
TEACHERS' COGNITIVE CONTEXT.......................... 86

School Context...................................................... 87
Supportive Administrative Style....................................... 87
Congenial But Isolated Faculty.................................. ........... 88
Pressure to Meet Performance Standards.......................... 91








Designation as an REI School............................................... 93
Sum m ary .................................................. 94
Classroom Context ................................... .......................... 94
Overwhelming Curriculum................................. .......... 95
Common View of Curriculum Reified through Standardized
Testing ................................... ........................... 96
Diversity of Learners...................... ...................... 98
Summary .................................................... 100
Teachers' Cognitive Context ....................................... .. 100
Standardized Instructional Framework ............................... 101
Individualized Instruction Framework................................. 105
Sum m ary ...................................... .............. 110

5 THE ROLE OF THE TLC AND THE REFLECTIVE
FRIEND IN TEACHERS DEVELOPING INCLUSIVE
PRACTICES...................... ... .. ....... 112

Role of the TLC........... ... ............ .... ................... 112
Forum for Discussions....................... ................................. 113
Access to Resources............................ .................... 121
Issues to Resolve in the TLC Process.................................... 128
Role of the Reflective Friend..................... .... ............. 135
Gaining Trust and Confidence ............................................. 136
Teaching Coach and Partner........................ ....................... 138
Research Interpreter................................................................ 143
Promoting Teacher Reflection, Problem Solving, and
Efficacy....................................... .. ............... ...... 145
Issues to Resolve in the Reflective Friend's Role ................. 151
Changes in Practices....................... ........................... ............ 155
Standardized View of Instruction ......................................... 155
Individualized Instructional Framework.............................. 163
Summary ....................................................... 166

6 CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS.................................... 168

Findings ............................................. ...... ...... 168
The Role of School Context.............................................. 169
Classroom Context....................... .... ........ .......... .. 170
Teachers' Cognitive Context................................................. 171
The Role of the TLC ................................................................ 172








Issues to Resolve in the TLC Process.................................... 173
The Role of the Reflective Friend............................................ 174
Issues to Resolve in the Reflective Friend's Role ................. 175
Changes in Practices.................................. ......................... 175
Relationship of Findings to Previous Studies............................ 177
Facilitators to Change .................................................. 177
Inhibitors to Change................................................................. 180
Use of Findings to Research Community and Practitioners .......185

APPENDICES

A TABLE OF TEACHER CHANGE STUDIES............................. 191

B LETTER OF INFORMED CONSENT .........................................204

C INTERVIEW PROTOCOLS.................................................... 207

D DEBRIEFING QUESTIONS..................................................... 214

E PATHWISE 19 CRITERIA ............................................... 216

F ACTION PLANS/NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS........................... 219

REFEREN CES. ........................................................ .......................... 222

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ......................................................................... 232














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

CHANGING TEACHERS' PRACTICES FOR INCLUSION: A CASE
STUDY OF FOUR TEACHERS PARTICIPATING IN A
SCHOOL/UNIVERSITY COLLABORATION

By

Tamar Franchette Riley

December 2000

Chair: Mary T. Brownell
Major Department: Special Education

This study described teachers' change in practices to accommodate

students with academic and behavioral challenges as a result of their

participation in school/university collaboration. Questions were posed

regarding the roles of teachers' context, the collaborative group (TLC), and

the participant-observer (reflective friend).

The four teachers taught at an elementary school in a large, urban

district in the South. The context included a supportive administrator, a

congenial yet noncollaborative and isolated environment, district and

state pressure to improve students' standardized test scores, and Regular

Education Initiative school designation.

The teachers' contexts influenced their practices. They were

overwhelmed by the adoption of a new reading curriculum, had a

standard view of curriculum that was reinforced by district and state








assessments, and were challenged by the diversity of learning problems.

The TLC supported teacher change by providing a discussion forum

through which a structured process for problem solving and questioning of

beliefs and practices was implemented. The TLC also provided teachers

access to research-based innovations and resources.

The reflective friend, who initially served as a teacher's aide,

gathered data. The reflective friend's role as a participant-observer

developed to include a teaching partner and coach, research interpreter,

and facilitator for teacher reflection, problem solving, and efficacy. Data

were collected by the reflective friend from 327 hours of classroom

observations during a period of 2-1/2 years. Four interviews were

conducted with each teacher, and minutes from 126 hours of meetings and

workshops were maintained. Data were coded and categorized

thematically according to event similarity.

All participating teachers made varying degrees of change in their

classroom practices. Each teacher's instructional approach influenced that

change. Teachers using a traditional approach were able to incorporate

student-centered instruction, alternative instructional groupings, and

refined assessment instruments. One teacher who was innovative

constantly revised her practices to improve student learning and used

more directed remediation resources to help students with learning

problems.














CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBLEM


For the past two decades, researchers have noted little change in the

way teachers teach (Cuban, 1990; Fullan, 1993; Hargreaves, 1994b; Sarason,

1990; White 1991). Despite the surge of innovative practices, such as

cognitive strategy instruction, phonological awareness, and integrated

thematic instruction, teachers rarely use these practices in their classrooms

(Adams, 1990; Elmore, 1996; Harris & Pressley, 1991; Kovalik & Olsen,

1998) Most classroom teachers continue to teach the way they were taught in

spite of the compelling research evidence that suggests they should change

(Elmore, 1996; Sarason, 1990).

Many proponents of school reform suggest that teachers' adherence to

traditional practices will doom many children to failure, especially given

changes in the student population. Significant changes in the student

population suggest that, to succeed in school, many children will require

innovative classroom approaches. To illustrate the current diverse student

population, Fuchs, Fuchs, Mathes, and Simmons (1997) projected this

scenario for the future:

Now picture this: 34 children in an urban third-grade classroom, one
third of whom live in poverty. Six live with grandparents, and three
are in foster care. Five come from homes in which a language other
than English is spoken; two children do not speak English at all.
Seven, six, five, three, two, and one are African American, Hispanic
American, Korean, Russian, Haitian, and Chinese, respectively. Six
are new to the school. and four will relocate to a different school next








year. Only five of the 34 students are at or above grade level in
reading; 10 are two or more grade levels below. There is a 5-grade
spread in reading achievement ... two other students in the class have
been physically or sexually abused. (pp. 176-177)

These students will require considerable support in general education

settings because their sheer numbers overwhelm the resources available in

specialized settings. According to Goodlad (1990) our nation has become

increasingly diverse, which places enormous demands on teachers to redesign

schools capable of meeting the challenging demands of society at large. Thus,

schools and teachers are under increased pressure to accommodate more

diverse students in general education settings. Educational researchers and

staff developers need to know more about how to help teachers, especially

general education teachers, address the educational needs of a diverse

population (Elmore, 1996; Fullan 1993).

Over the past decade and a half, schools have been under increasing

pressure to include students with disabilities, even those with significant

disabilities, in the general education classroom (Gartner & Lipsky, 1987;

Henley, Ramsey, & Algozzine, 1999; Salend, 1994; Smith, 1998; Turnbull,

Turnbull, Shank, & Leal, 1998; Will, 1986). Including special education

students in general education classrooms has only made matters more

complicated for general education teachers (Gersten & Woodward, 1990;

Sailor, 1991). Previously, special education had been thought of as a place

where teachers transferred their most difficult problem students into the

hands of experts (Gersten & Woodward, 1990). Once students were placed in

special education, rarely were they returned to the mainstream (Gersten &

Woodward, 1990).








For teachers, the inclusion of so many diverse students in a classroom

presents enormous challenges. For example, teachers typically expect to use

grade-specific curriculum for all students in their classroom (Pugach &

Warger, 1996). However, students with cognitive disabilities may have

difficulty succeeding in grade level curriculum and will need teachers to

adapt the curriculum to meet their individual instructional needs.

Differentiating the curriculum and making modifications and

accommodations have typically not been within the scope of general

education teachers' responsibilities. Additionally, teachers have more

behavioral problems in their classrooms, and they are ill equipped to deal

with them (Landrum & Kauffman, 1992). In the past when teachers

encountered such behaviors, they typically referred students to other school

personnel; increasingly they are being asked to address these challenges in

the mainstream (Salend, 1994).

Although many general educators support the concept of including

students with disabilities in general education, they have reservations about

its actual application (Baker & Zigmond, 1995; McIntosh, Vaughn, Schumm,

Haager, & Lee, 1993). General education teachers have to make adjustments

in their teaching practices to meet the challenges presented by such a diverse

student population (Zigmond & Baker, 1990). Teachers' reservations stem

from what they perceive as lack of support for making adjustments. In a

literature review on teachers' attitudes toward mainstreaming, Scruggs and

Mastropieri (1996) concluded that most teachers supported the principles

behind mainstreaming although many indicated personal hesitancy about

providing services to students with disabilities. They had concerns about the








need for more time, training, personnel resources, and materials, as well as

reduced class size. Other researchers have found that general education

teachers feel ill-prepared to teach students with disabilities (Vaughn,

Schumm, Jallad, Slusher, & Saumell, 1996) primarily because they find it

hard to manage curricular adaptations (Baker & Zigmond, 1990; Schumm &

Vaughn, 1995; Vaughn & Schumm, 1994). Teachers' concerns about their

preparation make sense given that general education teachers have a good

understanding of content but limited knowledge of learning problems and the

accommodations and strategies necessary to include special needs students

(Pugach & Warger, 1996).

Researchers examining inclusive classrooms have found that teachers'

concerns about preparation are well founded. Zigmond and Baker (1990)

reported that even when teachers willingly participated in inclusive efforts,

their instructional styles were not compatible with the principles of inclusion.

Teachers planned and instructed students as a whole group, making little

accommodation for individual differences. Baker and Zigmond (1995)

conducted case studies in five different states to determine the effectiveness

of inclusive programs for students with mild disabilities. After observing

classrooms that district administrators identified as examples of successful

inclusion, the authors concluded that definitions of success were based on

students needing little or no accommodation. Baker and Zigmond questioned

general education teachers' ability to include students when they were not

providing individualized and specially designed instruction. In a similar vein,

McIntosh et al. (1993) investigated teachers' planning practices and found

that teachers made few instructional adjustments. If classroom teachers are








to change how they teach so as to accommodate difficult students, they will

need staff development.

Current Practice in Staff Development

Successful inclusion requires teachers to learn innovative practices to

meet diverse student needs. Radical changes in teachers' practices, however,

are unlikely given the difficulty of change and the nature of current staff

development practices in schools (Leiberman & Miller, 1991; McLaughlin,

1991). In most staff development efforts, teachers typically learn about

innovations outside of their classrooms with little follow-up or feedback. Staff

development has generally taken a "one size fits all" approach to educating

teachers about effective practices for inclusion. For instance, districts often

provide one-shot workshops that give teachers general information about

disabilities and some teaching tips for working with students (McLaughlin,

1991; Tillema, 1995).

In recent years, researchers have advocated that teachers' roles must

be reconceptualized to make a lasting impact on teachers' practices

(Hamilton & Richardson, 1995; Joyce & Showers, 1988; Sparks & Loucks-

Horsley, 1990). In a literature review on staff development, Sparks and

Loucks-Horsley (1990) concluded that effective staff development should be

comprised of (a) schools with norms that support collegiality and

experimentation; (b) district and building administrators who clarify goals

and expectations and actively commit to and support teachers' efforts to

change their practice; (c) school reform efforts that are strongly focused on

changes in curricular, instructional, and classroom management practices

with improved student learning as the goal; and (d) adequate and








appropriate staff development and follow-up assistance that continues long

enough for new behaviors to be incorporated into ongoing practice.

Until now, staff development has neglected factors such as individual

teachers' knowledge and beliefs or personal ability (Showers, 1990). Although

we know that teachers' beliefs play a powerful role in their adoption of an

innovation, rarely are entering levels of knowledge and personal beliefs

addressed as part of staff development (Richardson & Anders, 1994; Stein &

Wang, 1988). Staff development has also been delivered in ways that do not

consider teachers' ability to implement changes (DuFour, 1997; Fullan, 1991).

Trainers make faulty assumptions about teachers' abilities to understand,

commit, and reflect on new teaching practices and wrongly assume that

teachers can make substantial changes without personal support. For

teachers to change practices as inclusion requires, professional development

will have to be reconceptualized. At this point, there are few research studies

describing efforts to restructure professional development for inclusion.

How Special Education Research Has Responded to These Issues

In recent years, special education researchers have become involved in

training general education teachers who work with students with disabilities.

Knowing that the teachers find staff development ineffective and that

research often does not translate into practice, researchers have attempted to

create training opportunities that result in sustained changes in practice. As

a result, common elements of best practice in professional development have

emerged. In my review of the literature on special educators working with

general education teachers, I found 10 studies that described effective

professional development. In these studies, researchers provided teachers (a)








information relevant to their needs, (b) opportunities to receive feedback from

an observer, and (c) collaboration or consultation between special education

and general education teachers and researchers.

First, as a result of working with researchers or special education

teachers, teachers learned new practices specific to their personal needs

(Boudah, Deshler, Schumaker, Lenz, & Cook, 1997; Fuchs, Fuchs, Hamlett,

Phillips, & Karns, 1995; Gersten, Morvant, & Brengelman, 1995; Marks &

Gersten, 1998; O'Connor, Jenkins, & Leicester, 1992; Pugach & Johnson,

1995; Stein & Wang, 1988; Tillema, 1995; Vaughn, Hughes, Klingner, &

Schumm, 1998; Voltz, Elliott, & Harris, 1995). In these formats, teachers

learned about instructional accommodations for individual students (Marks

& Gersten, 1998; O'Connor et al., 1992; Pugach & Johnson, 1995), small

groups of students (Boudah et al., 1997; Gersten et al., 1995), and whole

classes (Fuchs et al., 1995; Stein & Wang, 1988; Tillema, 1995; Vaughn et al.,

1998; Voltz et al., 1995). In some cases, researchers asked participants what

areas of the curriculum they had concerns about when including diverse

learners and then responded with innovations to address those subjects

(Vaughn et al., 1998). Also, to increase the likelihood that teachers would use

innovations, researchers chose innovations that were easy to use and

implement (Fuchs et al., 1995; Gersten et al., 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998).

Second, many of these professional development projects provided

observation and feedback through meetings with researchers (Boudah et al.,

1997; Fuchs et al., 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998) or special education teachers,

who acted as consultants (Gersten et al., 1995; Marks & Gersten, 1998;

O'Connor et al., 1992; Pugach & Johnson, 1995; Voltz et al., 1995). All of








these projects lasted for at least a year, with one lasting for two (Boudah et

al., 1997). In these studies, teachers met on a regular basis either to

collaborate with a researcher or consult with a special education teacher

about observations in their classrooms. The special education consultants

observed the general education teacher, provided feedback, and suggested

interventions to improve instruction (Gersten et al., 1995; Marks & Gersten,

1998; O'Connor et al., 1992; Pugach & Johnson, 1995; Voltz et al., 1995). In

some of these consultations, specific scripted processes were used (Pugach &

Johnson, 1995; Voltz et al., 1995). Occasionally, researchers worked directly

with teachers, providing them with assistance in implementing the

innovations. They then debriefed with teachers about specific problems and

successes (Fuchs et al., 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998). In other cases, the

observer provided teachers with student assessment data that helped

teachers to understand students' response to instruction (Fuchs et al., 1995;

O'Connor et al., 1992; Vaughn et al., 1998). With researchers' assistance,

teachers used student data as a basis for implementing changes in their

instruction. Teachers selected interventions to implement after considering

the types of problems students had. Overall, the results of these studies

underscored the importance in of in-class observers: They provide teachers

with feedback on students, problems, and implementation success, and they

offered them suggestions about how to solve classroom problems.

Third, teachers received ongoing support in their development of new

practices through interactions with observers (Boudah et al., 1997; Fuchs et

al., 1995; Gersten et al., 1995; Marks & Gersten, 1998; O'Connor et al., 1992;

Pugach & Johnson, 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998; Voltz et al., 1995). In such








studies, teachers' collaboration with one or two individuals focused on solving

problems of practice in their classrooms. In one study, Boudah et al. (1997)

used group collaboration between teachers and researchers in which teachers

learned about a comprehension strategy. Teachers reviewed videotapes of

their teaching and talked about how well their practices matched the

innovation they had learned. Researchers in this study also asked teachers to

think about individual students with special needs when they planned for

instruction. As a group, teachers were able to generate ideas about how to

accommodate individual students; they also received ongoing support in their

efforts to implement new practices. Reflection within a group provides

teachers support to experiment and develop new practices.

In sum, general education teachers learned about information that was

relevant to their needs for teaching students with disabilities. They also had

interaction with an outsider; either a researcher or consultant watched them

implement new practices and then provided them feedback. Throughout the

professional development experience, teachers received ongoing support in

their efforts to learn new practices.

Lingering Gaps

In spite of the efforts made in professional development to provide

support for learning inclusive practices, teachers have not always used them

and sustained their implementation. In some cases, teachers reported that

innovations were complicated to use (Stein & Wang, 1988). In others, they

chose easy-to-implement innovations over ones that were more complicated

(Fuchs et al., 1995; Marks & Gersten, 1998; Vaughn et al., 1998). Even when

teachers learned about multiple strategies and innovations that had proven








helpful to their students, rarely did they use them consistently after support

from the outsider ended (Fuchs et al., 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998). Observers

provided teachers motivation to engage in new practices by providing them

assessment data on their students as part of their observations (Fuchs et al.,

1995; O'Connor et al., 1992; Vaughn et al., 1998). However, teachers did not

continue to collect assessment data on their students once outside

involvement had ended.

Critical feedback from an outside observer can help teachers to reflect

about their practices. Outside observers can assist teachers in their

acquisition of new practices by providing them demonstrations and

assistance in their initial attempts at change. When observations are

discontinued, teachers typically get no critical feedback, and as a result,

teachers may not see or understand problems that arise. To complicate this

problem because the outsider is no longer involved, teachers do not have

anyone with whom to problem solve. Most studies focused on temporary

assistance rather than on techniques for teachers providing critical feedback

to peers. Teachers were afforded consultation (O'Connor et al., 1992; Voltz et

al., 1995), coaching (Gersten et al., 1995; Marks & Gersten, 1998; Pugach &

Johnson, 1995), and researcher support (Fuchs et al., 1995; Vaughn et al.,

1998) for periods up to 1 year. Only in one case (Vaughn et al., 1998) did

researchers go back the following year to determine if teachers had

implemented practices at the same level as the previous year. Not

surprisingly, Vaughn and her colleagues found that they had not done so.

Providing teachers with intense support through observation, feedback, and








assessment for 1 year did not guarantee continuing implementation in

subsequent years without support for doing so.

Finally, teachers were presented uniform innovations (Fuchs et al.,

1995; Stein & Wang, 1988; Tillema, 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998) or ones that

were at odds with their perspectives of teaching and learning (Marks &

Gersten, 1998; O'Connor et al., 1992). These studies established that teaching

the same innovations to a group of teachers would not guarantee that they

would implement them to the same degree. Teachers have different

motivations, interests, needs, and beliefs that may inhibit or facilitate their

learning (Vaughn et al., 1998). Teachers need to learn innovations that are

appropriate for their needs and that match their beliefs. When special

education consultants work with individual teachers to accommodate

students with disabilities, they need to suggest strategies that are consistent

with teachers' frameworks for teaching and learning.

Consultants must also take into consideration teachers' concern for the

whole group (Marks & Gersten, 1998; O'Connor et al., 1992). Students who

require accommodations are just one of many concerns for teachers. For

teachers to implement an innovation effectively, they have to understand the

innovation, believe that it will be effective for most of their students, and see

how it will fit within their current routines. For professional development to

be effective in assisting general education teachers to implement inclusive

practices, we need to have a better understanding of (a) how to provide

supportive structures for learning that can be sustained when outside

involvement has ended, (b) how to provide innovations that are compatible

with individual teachers' frameworks for teaching and learning, and (c) how








to address teachers' concerns for all of their students while helping them

think about students' individual needs.

Contribution of My Study

A review of the existing special education staff development literature

revealed several problems; chief among them is the lack of ongoing support

for participating teachers. In the present study, I attempted to avoid this

problem by supporting individual teachers' learning and their subsequent

adoption of more effective instructional practices. Teachers received support

through collaboration with their peers and feedback from an outside

researcher. Part of the design of this study included procedures for tracking

teacher change as levels of support from the outside researcher changed.

Many studies in general education describe the group change process,

yet change occurs also with the individual (Guskey, 1994). Therefore, the

need also exists to understand how individuals are affected in the process of

change (Loucks-Horsley & Roody, 1990). Teachers may voluntarily

participate in a staff development program, learn the same innovations, and

yet make different degrees of changes. Deford (1993) stated that

understanding a teacher's ability to change requires an analysis of teachers'

beliefs, the context of teaching and learning, and how they both relate to the

practices implemented. In her study of teachers learning Reading Recovery,

Deford found that instructional practices and beliefs about reading influenced

the teachers' learning. She concluded that researchers needed to understand

the risk that teachers take in rethinking traditional practices and replacing

them with unfamiliar techniques (Deford, 1993). Genuine changes in

instruction will occur when teachers are able to think differently about what








is going on in their classrooms and then incorporate new practices that match

(Richardson, Anders, Tidwell, & Lloyd, 1991). Outside researchers who act as

critical friends can provide teachers with the opportunity to reexamine their

beliefs, develop understandings of innovations, and develop skill in their use

(DuFour, 1997). Costa and Kallick (1993) defined the critical friend as one

who

provides feedback to an individual--a student, a teacher, or an
administrator--or to a group. A critical friend is a trusted person who
asks provocative questions, provides data to be examined through
another lens, and offers a critique of a person's work as a friend. (pp.
49-50)

In spite of the evolving research on effective professional development, few

studies exist that provide rich descriptions of teachers involved in

collaboration with a critical friend. Equally absent from the literature are

studies of general education teachers involved in professional development

efforts aimed at improving the inclusion of students with disabilities. Given

the current state of instructional practice in inclusive classrooms, researchers

need to have a better understanding of how effective professional

development efforts can be designed and implemented to help teachers

develop inclusive practices.

Purpose

The purpose of my study was to describe the individual change process

of teachers involved in a collaborative learning group with university

researchers. Within the context of the learning group, one of the researchers

acted as a reflective friend. The term reflective friend is used instead of

critical friend to distinguish between one who prompts teachers to reflect on

their practices as opposed to one who critiques practice. The reflective friend








assisted members in addressing dilemmas they encountered while

instructing and managing high-risk learners through questioning and

problem solving. The reflective friend, as part of the collaborative group,

worked to help teachers recognize conflicts in their teaching and to develop

resolutions to those conflicts by incorporating effective teaching strategies

and innovations. In addition, the reflective friend provided opportunities for

reflection on and evaluation of new practices.

Through careful documentation of the change process, I addressed the

following research question: Can general education teachers collaborating

with university researchers change their practices to include students with

academic and behavior challenges? The following subquestions helped to

focus the study:

1. How does teachers' context support or hinder teacher learning?

2. What role does the collaborative group play?

3. What role does the reflective friend play in this process?

Design of the Study

Qualitative research methods were used to gather and analyze data.

Data were collected on four teachers who participated in a collaborative

teacher learning group, which is referred to as a Teacher Learning Cohort

(TLC), from February 1997 to June 1999. Data included (a) observations of

the teachers' classrooms; (b) documentation of collaborative group meetings

and workshops; (c) notes from conversations with individual teachers; (d)

interviews concerning teaching practices, difficult students, and the learning

process; and (e) action plans in which teachers documented the types of

interventions and strategies they implemented in their classrooms. Relevant








artifacts were also collected to add to the richness of data. These artifacts

included newspaper clippings about the TLC, teacher-made products, and one

teacher's description of the TLC.

Definition of Terms

This study described teachers working with researchers to solve

challenging problems that occurred in their classrooms. These teachers

worked together as a group to help each other meet academic and behavioral

challenges. The following terms are used throughout the dissertation.

Staff development is used interchangeably with the term professional

development and understood to mean processes that improve job-related

knowledge, skills, or attitudes of school personnel.

Innovation is any idea, product, or process that calls for changes in

behavior, beliefs, or understanding as a result of participation.

Framework is teachers' understandings, knowledge, beliefs, and

practices that influence their teaching and learning.

Inclusion is the full-time placement of students with disabilities in

general education classrooms, where traditional support services are brought

to the child. Inclusive classrooms may be characterized as communities

where all students are valued and are engaged in learning.

Collaboration is two or more individuals committed to working

together for a previously agreed upon purpose. School/University

collaborations involve teachers and researchers who work together for a

specific purpose.

Teacher Learning Cohort (TLC) is a specific name for a single

school/university collaboration. The TLC may be characterized as a group








that regularly met to discuss problems of practice, generate solutions to those

problems, and report the results of attempts to solve the problems.

Reflective friend, in this study, is an outside special education

researcher who worked with a collaborative group of general education

teachers to change their practices. The reflective friend observed and

provided feedback to teachers about their current practices and the new

practices they implemented. The term reflective friend is used instead of

critical friend to emphasize the role of helping teachers reflect about their

own practices as opposed to offering a critique of their practices.

Possible Uses of the Results

This study is a contribution to the small body of literature focusing on

teacher development of inclusive practices. The focus of this study was to

document the change process and, in particular, the role of the reflective

friend, the collaborative group, and the teachers' context in the process of

change. The results of this study will contribute to an understanding of how

individual teachers change and the influence that teaching context and

external agents have in that process.

The results of this study may aid teacher education professionals in

developing strategies for supporting teachers' adoption of inclusive practices

in the general education classroom. Teacher educators and staff developers

may find the framework helpful in guiding their future work with teachers.

Finally, researchers will gain additional knowledge of how to strengthen

their relationships with individual schools, teachers, and students.








Limitations

There are two main limitations of this study that must be taken into

consideration when interpreting the results. First, because of using case

study methodology, only a small number of teachers could be included in the

study. Case study research requires the researcher to provide rich

descriptions of the phenomenon; therefore, an intensive amount of time is

focused on a particular interest--in this case, four teachers learning inclusive

practices. The time involved in observing, interviewing, and debriefing the

participants was the chief reason I limited the number of participants to four.

Second, findings are specific to the four participants, the TLC group, and the
Y4
school at which the study took place. Caution should be exercised when

applying the results to any other population or context or when drawing

general conclusions about the results. The present study does, however,

provide insight into the change process, the role of the reflective friend and

the collaborative group, and the influences of teachers' context at one school.

Specific descriptions of the participants, the school, and the work of the TLC

may allow other researchers to make comparisons with other, similar

circumstances. The reader, therefore, must determine how useful or

applicable the results of this study are to his or her particular situation.














CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE


The focus of my study is to describe general education teachers' use of

inclusive practices and how those practices changed through their

participation in a collaborative learning group with university researchers.

Issues relevant to my study are the roles of the collaborative group, reflective

friend, and teachers' context. Typically, teachers learn about new ideas

through professional development programs. For professional development to

be meaningful to its participants, specific elements need to be in place to

provide them with relevant experiences and information. Elements of

professional development addressed in this literature review are (a)

practicality of the innovation, (b) demonstration of and feedback about the

innovation, (c) collaboration as a means for teacher development, and (d)

personal qualities of teachers that are important for change.

This chapter is divided into three major sections. First, I describe the

selection criteria for the inclusion of studies. Second, I summarize the teacher

change literature through the discussion of four essential components of

professional development. Finally, I conclude with a discussion of the issues

that are important to resolve when working with general education teachers

who are learning inclusive practices.








Selection Criteria for Relevant Literature

Studies considered for this literature review met certain criteria. They

were empirical and included descriptions of participants, methodology, data

analysis, and findings. The literature search came from two data bases: ERIC

(1984-1998) and Education Index (1984-1998). The following terms were used

to conduct the search: teacher, change, innovation, research, practice,

collaboration, teacher assistance teams, collaborative consultation, staff

development, university, and study. All studies included for this review were

published between 1984-2000.

I identified 11 books, 46 journal articles, and 21 professional

conference presentations for a total of 78 studies. Studies were excluded from

this review if (a) the study did not address either collaboration or teacher

change in beliefs or practices, (b) the authors' conclusions were general,

vague, or lacking rigor, and (c) findings were not clearly stated. Table A-1

(see Appendix A) presents a list of 36 studies that specifically addressed

change in teachers' practices as a result of participation in professional

development. The table provides information on the author, participants,

methodology, and findings.

Conceptual Framework for Teacher Change

This review considered studies that described a teacher or group of

teachers that participated in learning a new innovation and the changes in

practices, structures, or quality of their job that resulted. Specifically, studies

had to document how a teacher developed (a) new knowledge or practices, (b)

structures in their environment (e.g., team teaching, interdisciplinary

planning), or (c) support, trust, or confidence as a result of the innovation.








Studies were also included if changes in teacher practices occurred as a result

of greater collaboration in the environment.

Researchers in education have advocated that creating changes in

teachers' practices can occur through meaningful professional development

that includes specific factors to promote teacher learning (Gersten &

Woodward, 1990; Hamilton & Richardson 1995; Hargreaves, 1994a; Joyce &

Showers, 1988; Sparks & Loucks-Horsley, 1989). These factors include (a)

practical, understandable, and concrete innovations, (b) outside perspective,

(c) collaboration, and (d) teacher readiness for change. Learning occurs when

the specific factors are embedded in an authentic context and is sustained

over time. Professional development programs described in this review were

either a one-time workshop or an on-going project. All the studies addressed

one or all of the four factors that create teacher change.

Practical. Understandable. and Concrete Innovations

Gersten and Woodward (1990) used the term "reality principle" to

emphasize the importance of teachers learning in a natural context

innovations that are practical and useful to their personal needs and interest.

If innovations are deemed impractical, unmanageable, or complicated,

teachers will abandon their use. Just explaining the research behind the

innovation is not enough for teachers to incorporate it into their classrooms

(Gersten & Woodward, 1990; Richardson, 1996). Teachers incorporate new

practices when they are able t3 see (a) the practicality of the innovation, (b)

the match between the innovation and their teaching style and beliefs, and

(c) concrete examples of application.








The Practicality of the Innovation

Teachers consider their time valuable and want to implement

innovations that enhance student learning. Three issues of practicality are

important to consider. First, if teachers learn new practices that are feasible

to incorporate into their teaching repertoire, then they will more likely

sustain their use (Gersten & Woodward, 1990; Fullan, 1982). Teachers need

to understand how to implement the innovation, how it will benefit students,

and how it fits into their current routine. Failure for a teacher to understand

the logistics of the innovation will result in little or no change (Briscoe &

Peters, 1997; Gersten et al., 1995; O'Connor et al., 1992; Prawat, 1992; Stein

& Wang, 1988; Tillema, 1995; Vaughn et al.. 1998).

In an attempt to understand teacher success in implementing

innovative programs, Stein and Wang (1988) studied 14 teachers whose

schools were implementing the Adaptive Learning Environments Model

(ALEM). Teachers were assessed in their success in implementing 11 critical

dimensions of ALEM. In two particular areas--interactive teaching and

creating and maintaining instructional materials--teachers had more

difficulty implementing the procedures and did not reach the criterion for

mastery. These teachers did not reach mastery because they had difficulty

managing and understanding all the components. The authors concluded that

"some dimensions appear to be easier to improve on than others" (p. 179).

Overall, innovations must be feasible and easily implemented for teachers to

find value in them.

Second, teachers have to see demonstrable changes in their students to

find value in innovations. As teachers see students improve academically,








they become committed to their change efforts (Courtland & Welsh, 1990;

Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Fuchs et al., 1995; Lipman, 1997; McIntyre & Kyle,

1995). In a 3-year period, Courtland and Welsh (1990) described the evolution

of an elementary teacher in the implementation of a writing process

approach. In the first year, the teacher used one component of the program

and saw little improvement in student work. After consulting with literacy

experts, he committed the next year to implement additional components of

the program. As he saw students improve in their writing ability over the

second year, he decided to implement the complete program in the third year.

He then became the writing expert in his school and assisted other teachers

in implementing process writing into their instructional routines.

Innovations have to show improvement from what typically occurs in

classrooms before teachers will adopt them into their instructional routines.

Generally, teachers who implement changes and see that the innovation

improves student learning will want to continue in the development of their

practices (Englert & Tarrant, 1995; O'Connor et al., 1992; Richardson &

Anders, 1994).

Third, not only must innovations demonstrate student improvement,

but also they must address the needs of most students in the class, and this is

particularly true for general education teachers working with students with

disabilities. General education teachers need to understand how innovations

benefit most of or all their students or they will not use them (O'Connor et

al., 1992; Vaughn et al., 1998). For instance, in a year-long teacher-

researcher professional group, Vaughn et al. (1998) found that general

education teachers who were including students with disabilities wanted to








learn instructional practices that could be used with the whole class.

Teachers wanted to learn strategies that would benefit their students with

learning disabilities and enhance the learning of the other students.

Strategies that benefit few students are not viewed as valuable by a

teacher concerned with the whole group. Because of this view, when general

education teachers receive classroom support from a special educator to

include students with learning disabilities, they expect that new strategies

and procedures that are student specific are the responsibility of the special

education teacher (O'Connor et al., 1992). In general, teachers including

students with disabilities need to accept responsibility for the individual

progress of their students. As general and special education teachers

continue to work together, general education teachers should be primarily

responsible for choosing, implementing, and evaluating strategies to use with

students who are experiencing problems. For example, when general

educators who collaborated with a specialist to improve student difficulties

correctly identified learning problems and developed their own solutions to

implement, they were able to take ownership of the intervention being

implemented (O'Connor et al., 1992). As they observed student improvement,

teachers continued in and valued their work with the specialist. These

teachers were able to develop practices that addressed individual concerns of

students while maintaining the needs of the whole group. Once the

practicality issue is addressed, however, teachers need to understand how the

innovation fits with their personal style and beliefs so that they will sustain

its use.








Compatibility between Teacher and Innovation

Teachers implement changes in their practices when they see the

application and usefulness of the innovation for their classroom. Often,

researchers report that participants change in varying degrees even when

participating in equivalent professional development experiences (Briscoe &

Peters, 1997; Tillema, 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998; Wilson, 1990). Perhaps the

different levels of change are a result of the match between the teacher's

instructional style and beliefs and the innovation (Briscoe & Peters, 1997;

Courtland & Welsh, 1990; Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Etchberger & Shaw,

1992; Gersten et al., 1995; Kohler, McCullough, & Buchan, 1995; Martens,

1992; O'Connor et al., 1992; Peterson, McCarthey, & Elmore, 1996; Prawat,

1992; Stein & Wang, 1988; Tillema, 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998; Wilson, 1990).

Teachers bring diverse backgrounds, expertise, and experiences to staff

development projects. They also have different needs and levels of

understanding (Tillema, 1995). Because of these differences, teachers need

professional development opportunities that provide diverse learning

experiences and address beliefs about teaching and learning.

Professional development projects should allow teachers to pursue an

area of personal improvement. Englert and Tarrant (1995) described a

literacy project over a 3-year period where researchers worked with four

special education teachers. Teachers chose to specialize in different areas of

literacy based on their interests and teaching histories. All teachers initially

chose activities to implement based on what they knew and what they

wanted to know. One teacher, Melissa, had previous experience in a whole-

language classroom and wanted to learn about strategy instruction. She








focused on developing a strategic approach to literacy instruction. Another

teacher, Kate, was interested in learning about teaching writing to her

students. She developed an author's center with cross-age groups. These

teachers chose areas of personal interest to develop and stayed committed to

implementing those changes. Making individual choices about what ideas to

incorporate in classroom routines increases the teachers' level of ownership

in their professional development.

Addressing beliefs as part of the staff development process is also

important to fostering teacher change (Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Richardson,

& Anders, 1994; Wood, Cobb, & Yackel, 1991). Beliefs, when not addressed or

reconciled as a component in the staff development program, can work

against teachers learning an innovation (Lipman, 1997; Martens, 1992;

Prawat, 1992; Voltz et al., 1995; Westheimer, 1998; Wilson, 1990). The way

teachers implement an innovation is influenced by their framework of

understandings, beliefs, and practices. Accurate implementation requires a

match between a teacher's framework and the principles underlying the

innovation. Teachers are more likely to persist in implementation when such

a match occurs (Briscoe & Peters, 1997; Etchberger & Shaw, 1992; Martens,

1992; Prawat, 1992; Wilson, 1990). Based on observations and interviews,

Wilson (1990) described the instructional practices of Mark Black, a fifth-

grade math teacher, during his first year implementing a new math series

adopted by the state of California. No considerations had been made for

developing teachers' personal beliefs to ensure for compatibility between

beliefs and curriculum rationales. Consequently, the teacher selected and

used portions of the text based on his own understanding about how to teach








math. Even though the new curriculum provided rationales for the concepts

included in the text, all were subject to interpretation, based on his personal

understanding. Consequently, teachers need opportunities to understand

rationales behind the innovation and recognize incompatibilities that exist

with personal teaching styles and beliefs.

Not only must beliefs be addressed, but also innovations selected for

implementation must closely match the teachers' current understandings of

instruction. When teachers are presented with new ideas that contradict

their personal frameworks, they may discard the new ideas (Pajares, 1992).

Teachers need a compatible match between what they understand about

teaching and learning and the innovation. One way for outside researchers

and staff developers to facilitate this process is by observing in classrooms in

order to gain a better understanding of the participant (Vaughn et al., 1998).

Observing teachers provides the researchers with information that enables

them to fine-tune the product to meet the needs of the teacher better. It is

important to create learning opportunities for teachers based on their

interests, experiences, and concerns (Englert, Tarrant, & Rozendahl, 1993).

Professional development relationships can become stronger when teachers

believe the researcher understands their environment, the demands of their

job, and provides appropriate experiences for their development (Englert et

al., 1993). Researchers should assist teachers in understanding the potential

power of the innovation and how it fits in their current classroom routine.

This process helps teachers reconcile their personal beliefs and knowledge

and best practice.








Need for Concrete Examples

One important way to develop teachers' understanding of an

innovation is providing them with concrete examples of how the innovation

works. If teachers can visualize how an innovation works in their classroom,

then they will be more successful during implementation. Classroom

innovations can be difficult to understand when first introduced. Teachers

need concrete examples to illustrate how new practices or strategies will

work in their personal settings. Teachers use modeling as a form of effective

instruction while introducing new concepts to their students and

subsequently need it themselves to understand how an innovation will apply

in the context of their classroom (Courtland & Welsh, 1990; Etchberger &

Shaw, 1992; Gersten & Woodward, 1990; Peterson et al., 1996; Vaughn et al.,

1998; Wilson, 1990).

Courtland and Welsh (1990) worked with one teacher, Bob, to

implement a process writing approach. In his first year of implementation,

Bob used the process writing approach during journal writing activities. He

had difficulty understanding how to use the approach across the writing

curriculum. As a consequence, he participated in a university course on

language and writing and attended conferences and inservice. He sought

support from his principal and a language arts instructor at a local university

to better understand and implement the process writing approach. The

principal and instructor provided the teacher with support by discussing

reading materials, observing his class, providing demonstration lessons, and

giving him feedback. Through his work with other professionals and their

assistance in helping him see the application of concepts through








demonstration lessons, he was able to incorporate changes in writing

throughout the curriculum. Generally, teachers benefit from concrete

examples to assist them in understanding innovations.

In summary, if innovations are to be used by teachers, they must be

appropriate given teachers' individual needs. Innovations have to be practical

and relatively easy for teachers to incorporate. Changes that have many

components, do not demonstrate student improvement, and do not benefit

most of the students will not be sustained. To increase the likelihood of

sustaining new practices, teachers' personal frameworks for teaching have to

match the rationales behind the innovation. Teachers also require support in

understanding how to use practices, strategies, and curriculum through

concrete examples. Assisting teachers in understanding the importance of

innovations and their applicability to their classrooms will require on-going

support through demonstrations and reflection.

Outside Perspective

Teachers benefit from watching demonstrations of how innovations

work and need time to reflect individually and as a group with someone from

outside the typical school environment (Courtland & Welsh, 1990; Wood et

al., 1991). Outside professionals, such as researchers and teacher educators,

can bring diverse perspectives to a group (Briscoe & Peters, 1997; Jones,

1997; Richardson & Anders, 1994). District personnel with expertise in given

areas have been advocated as a resource to reflect critically with teachers

about their practices (Senge, 1990). However, in studies reporting the

importance of outsider perspectives, the outsiders are typically researchers,

who are more likely to write about their work than district trainers. Diverse








perspectives can challenge traditional practices and assist teachers to reflect

critically about their instruction. Outsiders can help teachers to conceptualize

the innovation through demonstrations and then provide them with

opportunities to reflect on difficulties in implementation and

incompatibilities that might occur with their current practices.

The notion of a critical friend has been introduced as a way for

individuals, groups, or schools to receive thoughtful feedback and assistance

in improving instructional practice (Costa & Kallick, 1993; Muncey &

McQuillan, 1993; Senge, 1990). Knowledgeable outsiders who offer expertise

in specific areas can assist teachers in learning innovations through

demonstrations and then help them reflect on how to use them effectively

(Boudah, et al., 1997; da Costa, 1993; Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Englert et

al., 1993; Fuchs, et al., 1995; Richardson & Anders, 1994; Vaughn et al.,

1998). However, the outside person must be one the teachers trust before

they feel comfortable with him/her in their classrooms and listen to his/her

feedback (Costa & Kallick, 1993; Richardson & Anders, 1994; Wood et al.,

1991). In summary, outsiders provide another viewpoint, one that is removed

from the everyday situation of the classroom. When outsiders have gained

teachers' trust, they can (a) demonstrate new innovations and (b) promote

reflection in participants. Demonstrating for teachers the implementation of

new practices and providing them with feedback provides teachers with a

different perspective than what they are typically afforded through personal

reflection (Hargreaves, 1994a).








Demonstration

Teachers benefit from having someone in their classroom to assist

them in applying a strategy or practice (Courtland & Welsh, 1990; Englert &

Tarrant, 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998). Teachers have commented about the

importance of having another set of hands in the classroom to assist them in

correctly incorporating the new practice and to get assistance in solving

problems as they arise (Englert et al., 1993; Richardson & Anders, 1994;

Wood et al., 1991). In a project where special education researchers worked

with general education teachers to learn four inclusion strategies, teachers

indicated that one of the perceived benefits of the project was to have the

research partner provide demonstration lessons in their classroom (Vaughn

et al., 1998). One of the teachers indicated that teachers are often afraid to

try new things because of the fear of failure. Having the researcher

demonstrate the strategy in the classroom and having an opportunity to

implement it while being observed assisted teachers in becoming competent.

Through the demonstration process, teachers were able to receive assurance

from the outsider about adapting strategies to best meet the needs of their

individual classrooms. Overall, teachers benefit from another perspective as

they attempt to implement new practices.

Reflection

Teachers need opportunities to reflect on their practices with

researchers and other members in the collaborative group (Lipman, 1997).

One way for teachers to understand the need for change is having them

review videotapes of their instruction (Richardson & Anders, 1994; Wood et

al., 1991). Some researchers videotaped or audiotaped teachers during








instruction and then reflected on those lessons with the teachers (Boudah et

al., 1997; da Costa & Riordan, 1996; Richardson & Anders, 1994; Wood et al.,

1991). Not all teachers are comfortable being taped (da Costa & Riordan,

1996; Marks & Gersten, 1998); therefore, reviewing observation notes and

student data with teachers may be more appropriate. Promoting reflection

through collaborative discussions benefits teachers by (a) making connections

between their personal beliefs and the rationales behind innovations, (b)

providing student data on the effects of their work, and (c) considering

diverse perspectives through other members' viewpoints.

To create opportunities for reflection, researchers must work in

classrooms and provide feedback to teachers (Boudah et al., 1997; da Costa &

Riordan, 1996; Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Fuchs et al., 1995; Gersten et al.,

1995; Hunsaker & Jolmston, 1992; Marks & Gersten, 1998; O'Connor et al.,

1992; Oja, Kull, & Kelley, 1995; Richardson & Anders, 1994; Vaughn et al.

1998; Wood et al., 1991). When debriefing about an observation, researchers

and teachers can critique practices in light of the rationale behind the new

innovation or what they know is best practice. Researchers can question

teachers about the thinking and reasoning behind their actions to help them

articulate personal beliefs (Richardson & Anders, 1994; Wood et al., 1991).

Discussion among teachers and researchers allows members to reconcile

practices and rationales. Wood et al. (1991), for example, described a case

study of a second-grade teacher changing her pedagogical approach to

mathematics. The teacher met weekly with researchers to discuss her

videotaped math lessons. As the teacher engaged in conversations with

researchers, she found that the mathematics information provided by the








researchers was in conflict with her current teaching practices. The teacher

spent time discussing those dilemmas with researchers. Researchers

provided the teacher with possible suggestions for change until the teacher

was able to resolve the conflict. The authors concluded that learning occurred

as a result of conflict followed by reflection and then resolution. They believe

that times of conflict enable teachers to seek resolutions and then choose

their own resolutions to increase the likelihood that changes will be

sustained (Wood et al., 1991).

Researchers can also promote reflection by providing assessment data

on student progress and helping teachers reflect on the lesson itself. To

illustrate, in a literacy project, Englert et al. (1993) provided teachers with

assessment data on students to show them the effects of an instructional

innovation. In doing so, they modeled for the teachers how to evaluate the

effectiveness of their instruction through assessment. When researchers show

the effects of instructional changes by using student assessment data, it can

be a powerful reinforcement for teachers to continue innovation use (Englert

et al., 1993; Fuchs et al., 1995). As teachers begin to understand the

effectiveness of their work, they will value the professional development

process and continue to refine their practices.

Being exposed to diverse perspectives is important in collaborative

work. Lipman (1997) described a collaboration where an outsider was absent

and teachers had similar mindsets. They made no progress toward

fundamental change. This collaboration involved two teams of middle school

teachers who worked together to decrease racial disparity in student

achievement. Teachers decided to restructure to reduce tracking. All but one








of the teachers in this group was White. The author found that discussions

often focused on individual students who were African-American, and

teachers reassured themselves that their own practices were not at fault.

Teachers traded stories about individual students and their deficiencies and

family pathologies, areas of students' lives over which they had little control.

Conversations about racial disparity were purposely avoided. These findings

suggest that beliefs have to be examined as a part of reform or only surface

level change occurs. Teachers need assistance from others outside of the

school context in examining their beliefs about students who are different

from them or they will not change their practices in fundamental ways.

Outside educators provide opportunities for teachers to understand

research-based teaching techniques and address their beliefs when they are

in contradiction with new ideas (Costa & Kallick, 1993; Jones, 1997). As

researchers work with teachers in assessing the effects of their instruction,

teachers begin to understand the importance of refining their practices.

Outside educators, especially researchers and teacher educators, can offer a

different perspective because of their knowledge of the literature and

discussions with professionals in the field (Courtland & Welsh, 1990). In

addition, they bring an outsider perspective that can shed new light on

teachers' taken-for-granted beliefs and practices. Teachers need to learn

about innovations that are appropriate for their individual needs and beliefs.

Teacher educators and researchers can assist them in effectively

incorporating changes by providing them demonstration lessons and assisting

them in reflecting on their change efforts. Once teachers are provided with

realistic innovations, demonstrations, and opportunities to reflect on these








changes, they need support in their development process through

collaboration with other teachers and researchers.

Professional Collaboration

Many researchers have agreed that changes resulting from

professional development were sustained or dissipated depending on the

follow-up, or collaboration, that occurred (Cox, 1983; Fullan, 1982; Miles &

Huberman, 1984; Showers, 1990). Collaboration provides teachers

opportunities to work continuously through their understanding and beliefs

regarding a new innovation in a sustained context. All but five studies

(Etchberger & Shaw, 1992; Martens, 1992; Prawat, 1992; Tillema, 1995;

Wilson, 1990) in this review described collaborative efforts among teachers,

and in some cases, university researchers. Collaboration in these studies

involved teacher groups, teacher-researcher groups, dyads, peer coaching, or

consultation between teachers and specialists. The majority of studies

involved a small subset of teachers from the same school or different schools

that met together in an on-going effort to explore or learn an innovation;

however, some studies examined middle and high school teachers involved in

school-wide collaboration.

Collaboration facilitates learning because it provides teachers with a

structure for sharing their knowledge and beliefs, support for changing their

practices, and opportunities to develop their thinking about teaching and

learning (Pugach & Warger, 1996). Providing teachers time to discuss what

they know about teaching and learning allows them to consider their beliefs

and practices in a context with other diverse perspectives. Over time,

teachers develop relationships that allow them to trust and support each








other during times of change (Louis, Marks, & Kruse, 1996; Talbert, 1993).

Teachers also experience greater confidence in solving problems of practice

and in their ability to find solutions to problems (da Costa, 1993; da Costa &

Riordan, 1996; Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Oja et al., 1995; Pugach & Johnson,

1995; Stein & Wang, 1988; Warren & Payne, 1997). As their perspective

about teaching and learning evolves, they view themselves as able to

implement innovations and are more likely to be successful in doing so than

peers who lack confidence (Stein & Wang, 1988). Confidence in one's ability

leads to having confidence in the group and the ability of members to assist

each other in making changes (Oja et al., 1995; Rosenholtz, 1989). As

teachers develop a collective efficacy, they view themselves as empowered to

engage in more leadership roles and develop a sense of control over student

outcomes. Shared leadership becomes an outcome when participants are

expected to be contributors (Englert et al., 1993; Jones, 1997; Rosenholtz,

1989; Shafer, 1995). In the beginning, researchers often fill the role of leader,

and as teachers become more confident in the collaborative process, roles

shift to teachers leading the group and sharing their areas of expertise

(Englert et al., 1993; Jones, 1997). Elements of collaboration that are critical

for promoting teacher change are (a) opportunities for critical discourse and

(b) supportive school context.

Critical Discourse

On-going collaboration provides opportunities for teachers to discuss

their current framework about content and curriculum and its match with

the rationales behind the innovation (Englert & Tarrant, 1995).

Opportunities for academic discourse with other participants assists teachers








in resolving conflicts between their framework for teaching and rationales for

innovation (Hunsaker & Johnston, 1992). Discourse deepens teachers'

conceptual understandings, and as a result, their framework for teaching

begins to change (Boudah et al., 1997). Then teachers are able to engage in

new practices that derive from their evolving understanding (Englert &

Tarrant, 1995; Peterson et al., 1996; Richardson & Anders, 1994). Through

their consideration of other views and experimenting with supporting

practices, teachers develop deeper knowledge of teaching and learning (Voltz

et al., 1995). As teachers share knowledge and learn new practices through

collaboration, they are also able to develop a common vision for students and

teaching (Englert & Tarrant, 1995).

Develop conceptual understanding. Collaboration provides teachers

with opportunities to talk with other professionals about pedagogical

knowledge (da Costa & Riordan, 1996; Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Jones, 1997;

Martin, 1995; Meichtry, 1990; Prawat, 1992; Torres, 1996; Westheimer,

1998). These discussions help teachers formulate new ideas and develop

understandings that contribute to the commonalties of group knowledge

(Donahue, Van Tassell, & Patterson, 1996; Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Lasiter,

1996; Nias, Southworth, & Yeomans, 1989). As teachers create shared

meanings about learning and children, they are able to develop new practices

to meet the need of students better (Rosenholtz, 1989). For example, da Costa

and Riordan (1996) studied the engagement of dyads of teachers in

collaborative conversations about classroom problems. These dyads involved

the pairing of general education teachers with other classroom teachers,

speech teachers, or administrators. Dyads met together to assist the general








education classroom teacher in solving problems of practice they encountered

in their classrooms. Teachers who were successful in developing strong

professional relationships with the dyad partner often engaged in discussions

of pedagogy during and outside of meetings. As the general educators'

understandings developed, they were able to change their orientations about

student learning and change their practices to meet the diverse needs of

students.

As teachers change how they think about teaching subject matter or

student learning, their practices will reflect those changes (Pajares, 1992;

Richardson, 1996). In studies of collaboration involving teachers and

researchers as well as general and special educators, teachers changed their

practices in two important ways. First, teachers were able to change how

they viewed subject matter as a result of participation in collaboration.

Teachers changed their views of and practices in literacy (Englert & Tarrant,

1995) and writing (Peterson et al., 1996) as a result of collaborative learning

groups. For instance, Peterson et al., (1996) described how teachers were able

to improve how they teach writing as a result of having access to well-

articulated ideas within their school. Teachers met regularly to discuss the

importance of writing within the curriculum and shared their practices of

how to improve student learning. Second, teachers also moved away from

being teacher-directed and text-driven to student-centered and constructivist

in their view of instruction (Boudah et al., 1997; Etchberger & Shaw, 1992;

Hunsaker & Johnston, 1992; McIntyre & Kyle, 1995; Richardson & Anders,

1994; Torres, 1996; Wood et al., 1991; Woolsey, 1991).








To illustrate, Boudah et al. (1997) described the changes Becky, a

sixth-grade teacher, made as a result of participation in a group project to

learn how to implement a comprehension strategy with students. Becky was

described as a traditional teacher as evidenced by her planning and teaching.

She emphasized teaching content and assessing the whole group, with little

attention to individual or subgroups of students. In the second year of the

study, she participated with other teachers and researchers in study group

meetings. These meetings focused on improving and implementing the

comprehension strategy. Additionally, she was asked to target one or two

students with learning disabilities when making instructional and planning

decisions. Through these collaborative interactions, Becky began to plan and

gear instruction to the individual needs of her students. She was able to add

modeling to instruction and continued working on building prior knowledge

for all students. Researchers concluded that her greatest change occurred as

she was able to move from being content-centered to student-centered. As

teachers are able to develop their orientations about teaching and student

learning, they begin to implement practices to reflect those views.

Developing conceptual understanding contributes to better knowledge

of resources teachers can draw upon when thinking about instruction. These

resources involve outsiders, other colleagues, literature, or ideas teachers

learn about through learning together. Collaboration is an effective tool for

professionals to share what they know, learn from others' knowledge, and

learn about a new innovation. With the diversity of knowledge presented and

represented within a group, teachers add to their existing knowledge by

developing their teaching repertoire (Gersten et al., 1995; Pugach & Johnson,








1995). In other cases, teachers were able to deepen their knowledge of content

and instructional strategies (Englert & Tarrant, 1995; McIntyre & Kyle,

1995; Meichtry, 1990; Peterson et al., 1996; Torres, 1996; Vaughn et al., 1998;

Voltz et al., 1995). In two studies, teachers working together to design new

curricula had opportunities to share their knowledge and expertise (Martin,

1995; Meichtry, 1990) and, consequently, were able to improve their

understanding of that curriculum. Martin (1995) explored three sixth-grade

teachers' team approach to designing new curriculum for their students. This

team viewed their work as successful as a result of sharing their personal

knowledge of curriculum, each considering themselves an expert in a given

area, and then creating a joint construction of their knowledge to develop new

curriculum. The group regarded their diversity in knowledge as a key factor

to their effectiveness. It is the diversity of knowledge that allows teachers to

learn about new instructional strategies and student groupings when

collaborating (Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Peterson et al., 1996). In sum,

opportunities to talk about subject matter or strategies assist teachers in

deepening their knowledge of resources. Through collective conversations

about a central topic, participants have the opportunity to develop a common

vision.

Common vision. Schools with a coherent sense of both vision and goals

are better equipped to meet those goals (Rosenholtz, 1989; Wasley, Hampel,

& Clark, 1997). Working together regularly helps teachers develop shared

understandings and beliefs about students and learning (Donahue et al.,

1996; Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Englert et al., 1993; Lasiter, 1996; McIntyre

& Kyle, 1995; Meichtry, 1990; Nias et al., 1989; Warren & Payne, 1997).








Teachers are provided opportunities to discuss progress students make

academically, problems a student may be encountering, or available

resources to assist the teacher or student (Meichtry, 1990). As teachers share

their stories and assist one another in solving problems, they develop a

collective responsibility for students and learning. Additionally, collaboration

can assist teachers in articulating personal beliefs about students, learning,

or subject matter and then help them develop beliefs that are shared by the

group (Donahue et al., 1996; Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Tillema, 1995; Wood et

al., 1991). Shared beliefs allow the group to work toward a common focus and

support one another through the change process. Because of the common

beliefs and commitment to the group, they are able to work through conflicts.

When controversial issues arise, the community works as a group to resolve

issues and views the resolution process as part of their work (Wasley et al.,

1997; Westheimer, 1998). The opportunity to share beliefs can contribute to

the success of the implementation of an innovative practice or collaborative

structure.

Westheimer (1998) examined the goals and beliefs from two middle

schools committed to fostering professional communities. He studied the

school's functioning as a whole and then teams of teachers responsible for the

same group of students. The author concluded that beliefs played an

important role in determining the success of a school-wide restructuring

effort. Teachers were committed as a collective group to formulate curriculum

and school events that fulfilled the school vision. To conclude, a common

vision, which promotes clarity and focus for beliefs and values, is essential to

create any type of deep and sustained change.








School Context that Promotes Change

Another important element of collaboration is the school context.

School context is critical for providing teachers a climate of support for

learning together where they are able to take risks and implement changes in

their practices (DuFour. 1997; Fullan, 1991; Nias, Southworth & Campbell,

1992). Collaboration provides the context for teachers to discuss their failures

and successes and receive support in their everyday environment to continue

learning new practices (Englert et al., 1993; Hunsaker & Johnston, 1992;

Wood et al., 1991). Variables that are important for establishing a

collaborative school context are (a) facilitative leadership, (b) a trusting,

supportive community, (c) commitment to learning, and (d) a supportive

infrastructure.

Facilitative leadership. Researchers agree that administrators play a

key role in creating instructional improvement in schools (Fullan, 1999;

Westheimer, 1998). They provide leadership to the group by communicating a

clear, meaningful vision for teaching and learning (Westheimer, 1998). Good

principals share leadership roles and allow teachers to have a stake in

developing and interpreting the school vision (Peterson et al., 1996;

Westheimer, 1998). Additionally, they support teachers in their endeavors to

learn and develop professionally (DuFour, 1997). Principals committed to

teacher development through collaboration build vision, create an expectation

for learning, foster collaboration, and share power.

The administrator provides opportunities to discuss the vision of the

school and philosophies underlying that vision. With school personnel, the

effective administrator helps to establish a common vision that promotes








clarity and focus for beliefs and values (Westheimer, 1998). Teachers use that

vision to guide, refine, and develop their practices (Peterson et al., 1996). In

some cases, principals recruit and hire teachers who will support the school

vision and have common beliefs about collaboration, participation, and joint

work (Peterson et al., 1996; Westheimer, 1998). Administrators set the

example to influence change.

Effectual principals play a critical role in creating an attitude and

expectation for learning within the school environment (DuFour, 1997;

Hargreaves, 1994a; Peterson et al., 1996). They are seen as contributing

members in school study groups and not as supervisors of teachers'

participation (Jones, 1997). Teachers need to have access to well-articulated

ideas that assist them in developing their own ideas (Peterson et al., 1996). A

savvy principal looks outside the school to bring in outside resources to assist

teachers in their improvement of practice. These outsiders provide regular

critical feedback to administrators, teachers, and staff on their efforts to

improve student learning (Wasley et al., 1997).

Good administrators foster collegial environments by socialization of

individuals who hold common views about purpose and principles of good

practice (Peterson et al., 1996; Westheimer, 1998). One of the ways that

principals create a collaborative context is by developing structures in the

environment that promote face-to-face interactions among school personnel

(Carter, 1995; Martin, 1995; Meichtry, 1990; Rosenholtz, 1989; Westheimer,

1998). School-wide events where teamwork is emphasized have been used as

vehicles to create interaction among school personnel (Nias et al., 1989;

Talbert, 1993). Effective administrators also foster positive school climates.








In collaborative cultures, they model characteristics that support positive

collaboration through their openness, tolerance, and flexibility (Nias et al.,

1989). Administrators and teachers provide positive feedback to each other on

their efforts and work (Chalfant & Pysh, 1989; Hargreaves, 1994a; Kruger,

Struzziero, Watts, & Vacca, 1995; Lasiter, 1996; Louis et al., 1996, Nias et

al., 1989).

Good leaders share decision-making power with their staff. Groups of

teachers and staff members work together with the principal in creating

school-wide projects and jointly assume responsibility for the students,

curriculum, and discipline (Carter, 1995; Lipman, 1997; Martin, 1995;

Meichtry, 1990; Peterson et al., 1996; Westheimer, 1998). Exemplary

administrators also distribute power by allowing teachers the freedom to

design curriculum, formulate school policy, and create collaborative

partnerships (da Costa & Riordan, 1996; Hargreaves, 1994a; Lasiter, 1996;

Nias et al., 1989; Talbert, 1993; Webb & Romberg, 1994). Teachers and staff

members are recruited for various leadership roles throughout the school

based on the talents they bring (Westheimer, 1998). Diversity among talents

and perspectives contributes to the collective good of the school (Martin,

1995; Westheimer, 1998). On the other hand, principals who have difficulty

giving up control or who are threatened by teacher decision making will not

support collaborative efforts or allow time to meet during the school day

(Jones, 1997). Collaborative groups that function effectively have shared

leadership among all the participants (Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Shafer,

1995).








Trusting supportive community. Researchers discuss the importance

of support and trust to developing and sustaining collaboration. When

teachers and researchers work together for an extended period of time,

support and trust increase and become a perceived benefit of participation in

collaboration (Carter, 1995; da Costa & Riordan, 1996; Jones, 1997; Lipman,

1997; McIntyre & Kyle, 1995; Oja et al.,1995; Torres, 1996). Developing trust

takes time (da Costa & Riordan, 1996; Hargreaves, 1994a; Lasiter, 1996;

McIntyre & Kyle, 1995). In a reorganization of a K-3 program into a

nongraded program, McIntyre and Kyle (1995) described the evolution of

teachers as they learned about developmentally appropriate instruction and

teamwork. They concluded that the opportunity to converse repeatedly over

time with colleagues and teachers led to trusting relationships. When

teachers work together frequently, they begin to see colleagues as friends and

family and are able to accept differences of opinion and philosophy (Nias et

al., 1989).

When teachers encounter instructional and behavioral challenges,

those who work in teams and share the same students can offer collegial

support through idea sharing (Carter, 1995; Louis et al., 1996; Nias et al.,

1989; Talbert, 1993). These teachers can share what has been effective for

them and encourage their colleagues to continue in their efforts to find

solutions to problems. Teachers need support from colleagues when trying

out new instructional procedures and developing knowledge because the

change process is uncertain and difficult (Jones, 1997; Oja et al., 1995;

Torres, 1996). Teachers need opportunities to experiment with new ideas

through the support of other group members engaging in new practices








(Englert & Tarrant, 1995). Torres (1996) described how 25 teachers benefited

emotionally from collaboration as a result of their participation in Systematic

Inquiry Groups. Teachers experienced affective support as their ideas and

actions were validated and encouraged by group participants. Participants

reported that they maintained their commitment to developing new ideas

because they knew others were struggling along with them in attempting to

implement changes.

Commitment to experimentation. Creating supportive environments

where teachers are committed to risk taking allows teachers to make changes

(Englert et al., 1993; Hargreaves, 1994a; Lasiter, 1996; Nias et al., 1989;

Talbert, 1993). In a supportive environment committed to learning, teachers

are likely to try new ideas (Fuchs et al., 1995; Hunsaker & Johnston,1992;

Jones, 1997; Peterson et al., 1996; Shafer, 1995; Torres, 1996; Vaughn et al.,

1998). When learning an innovation, and particularly one that may be

contrary to their framework for teaching, teachers need opportunities to

experiment with the new information. When teachers implement new ideas

and observe success or benefits from the innovation, only then will their

beliefs change and, consequently, their practices (Guskey, 1985).

Experimentation allows teachers to practice and eventually develop new

instructional techniques (Hunsaker & Johnston, 1992). For collaboration to

be successful, teachers have to be committed to experimenting with new

practices and be supported in doing so (Chalfant & Pysh, 1989; da Costa &

Riordan, 1996; Lasiter, 1996; Meichtry, 1990; Nias et al., 1989; Saurino,

1996; Talbert, 1993; Webb & Romberg, 1994).








Teachers can create meaningful products as part of their participation

in a professional development group by conducting research in their

classroom (Oja et al., 1995; Torres, 1996). When teachers design products

that are tailored to their individual needs, they allow them to see the effects

of their efforts. Oja et al. (1995) described a middle school mathematics and

science collaborative where teachers from four middle schools talked with

university researchers and consultants from the state department of

education. Authors reported that the data collected on results of teachers'

research efforts had a positive effect on teacher growth and interest in the

research process. They concluded that an important force for effective change

was the creation of meaningful products. Teachers' participation in the

process and outcomes of the innovation made them want to continue to revise

their instruction. Teachers that choose the interventions or practices to

implement were more likely to be dedicated to consistent implementation

(Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998). Generally, teachers who are

committed to collaborate about an innovation are encouraged by the group to

implement new ideas in their classroom (Hunsaker & Johnston, 1992).

Collaborative infrastructures. Principals can create opportunities for

teacher development by creating time for them to meet and promoting

collaborative interactions. Teachers need time to work on group projects

(Peterson et al., 1996; Westheimer, 1998), discuss student progress

(Meichtry, 1990; Mitchell, 1994; Westheimer, 1998), develop shared

knowledge (Englert & Tarrant, 1995), plan together (Webb & Romberg,

1994), and reflect on practices (Boudah et al., 1997; Pugach & Johnson, 1988;

Webb & Romberg, 1994; Wood et al., 1991). Most effective professional








development programs are conducted during the school day and not as an

add-on responsibility (Jones, 1997). Time is essential for teachers to engage

in activities that allow them to become agents of change where they openly

discuss their failures and successes (Oja et al., 1995).

Principals create structures that allow groups of teachers the

opportunities to work together throughout the school day. Opportunities to

collaborate should not be limited to grade level colleagues but should extend

to other school staff and outsiders (da Costa & Riordan, 1996; Jones, 1997;

Peterson et al., 1996; Westheimer, 1998). Teachers who work in community

pods with other teachers who share the same academic responsibilities for

students receive encouragement and support from one another when making

decisions about curriculum, schedules, and grades (Carter, 1995; Meichtry,

1990; Warren & Payne, 1997). Teachers report that common planning

allowed for greater reflection about their teaching (Carter, 1995; Meichtry,

1990), better integration of material across content areas (Meichtry, 1990;

Warren & Payne, 1997), and more refined understanding of student needs

(Carter, 1995; Gersten et al., 1995; Warren & Payne, 1997). By working in a

group context, teachers come to understand that they have greater ability to

help students and coordinate appropriate learning experiences for them

(Carter, 1995; Gersten et al., 1995; O'Connor et al., 1992; Warren & Payne,

1997).

To illustrate, Carter (1995) described a case study of two teams of four

teachers each at a high school where teachers and students were grouped in a

community pod. Teachers felt they could exert more authority in making

school decisions and felt they had the ability to make changes in the








curriculum, schedules, and grades. Teachers indicated that they felt more

control over the educational outcomes of their students. In general,

participants who are allowed to share in the creation and development of new

ideas can gain a sense of shared leadership and sense of control in student

outcomes.

In summary, collaboration provides teachers a forum to discuss their

knowledge about instruction and subject matter so that pedagogical shifts

can occur. Developing thinking about pedagogy increases the likelihood that

a teacher will be successful in making shifts about teaching content matter

(Guskey, 1985; Nespor & Barylske, 1991; Richardson, 1994). As the group

develops, they are better able to critique their practices in light of their

collective vision for student learning. A supportive school context provides

school personnel with opportunities to meet together to develop themselves

professionally and collectively. Even when a highly collaborative environment

exists and teachers are assisted in learning appropriate innovations based on

personal interest, change is not guaranteed. A teacher's level of readiness for

change also influences the degree of changes that they will make.

Teacher Readiness for Change

For teachers to engage in effective practices, they need opportunities to

develop them (DuFour, 1997; Joyce & Showers, 1988). Vaughn et al. (1998)

discussed the idea of selecting teachers to participate in professional

development programs based on interest and commitment to changing their

practices. However, they concluded that even when participation is voluntary

and teachers indicate they are interested in the topic, some teachers still do

not make changes. Teachers' level of readiness for change can facilitate or








hinder their learning of new practices. Qualities of readiness that are

important for teacher development are teachers' (a) ability to reflect, (b)

knowledge and beliefs, and (c) commitment to change.

Ability to Reflect

Personal reflection allows teachers to critique their practices and make

changes as needed (Carter, 1995; Jones, 1997; Martin, 1995; Meichtry, 1990;

Peterson et al., 1996; Richardson & Anders, 1994; Wood et al., 1991). As

teachers reflect about developing their practices, they need to know how to

access new ideas and assistance (Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Hunsaker &

Johnston, 1992). Reflecting on personal frameworks for teaching and how

those match with newly learned practices is important for sustaining change

(Martin, 1995). In contrast, teachers' lack of reflection can inhibit their

ability to make enduring changes (Hunsaker & Johnston, 1992; Martens,

1992).

Martens (1992) studied a science teacher who was learning to use a

problem-solving approach. The teacher made some alterations in teaching

strategies and materials, but no change occurred in her view of her role as

the teacher. She learned about new curricular practices but did not

understand the rationale behind the innovation. She never did effectively

teach students to solve their own problems. Martens concluded that the

teacher was not reflective and was not able to resolve her beliefs about

teaching and learning as they related to the new problem solving emphasis of

the curriculum. Not being able to reflect on the larger principles and

rationales undergirding a new curriculum can inhibit a teacher from making








substantial changes in practices. Instead, teachers make surface changes to

give the appearance of change but actually change very little (Fullan, 1991).

Knowledge and Beliefs

Developing knowledge and beliefs is essential to the successful use of

new practices (Briscoe & Peters, 1997). Teachers' level of knowledge directly

affects the types of practices they use. Teachers who have limited

understanding of content rely heavily on the text and teach based on their

personal experiences with subject matter (Briscoe & Peters, 1997; Courtland

& Welsh, 1990; Etchberger & Shaw, 1992). As teachers come to understand

subject matter better, they are then able to refine their practices to enhance

student learning (Briscoe & Peters, 1997; Prawat, 1992; Richardson &

Anders, 1994).

Beliefs about students and how they learn influence how teachers

approach learning tasks (Richardson & Anders, 1994; Wilson, 1990; Wood et

al., 1991; Woolsey, 1991). Teachers have different beliefs about instruction

and, therefore, integrate changes that are compatible with their own

perspectives (Briscoe & Peters, 1997; Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Etchberger &

Shaw, 1992; Martin, 1995). If teachers are unable to find compatibility

between innovation rationales and their framework, they will make surface

level changes or no changes at all (Briscoe & Peters, 1997; Englert & Tarrant,

1995; Martens, 1992; Peterson et al., 1996). Even when teachers want to

make changes and they collaborate with a successful teacher, some still find

it difficult to change their teaching approach (Briscoe & Peters, 1997). In

contrast, teachers who typically have successful teaching records may not see

the need for participating in innovative projects; subsequently, their beliefs








and practices remain the same (Martens, 1992). Therefore, when teachers see

no need to change, they will not incorporate new practices (Briscoe & Peters,

1997; Courtland & Welsh, 1990; Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Etchberger &

Shaw, 1992; Martens, 1992; Martin, 1995). Thus, what teachers understand

and believe about instruction influences what they learn and the degree to

which they learn it.

Commitment to Learning

Commitment to learning is another essential aspect of teacher

readiness for change. Teachers who are committed to learning persist

through conflicts until they find resolution, are open-minded to new ideas,

and are able to self-assess and determine areas they need to change. These

teachers have a mindset for improvement and work toward changing their

practices to best meet the needs of their students (Boudah et al., 1997;

Peterson et al., 1995). Change is often a difficult process filled with

uncertainty (Vaughn et al., 1998). Teachers committed to learning are able to

withstand times of ambiguity and persist in change (Boudah et al., 1997; Oja

et al., 1995; Peterson et al., 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998; Wood et al., 1991).

As noted earlier, knowledge and beliefs play an important role in

developing new practices. Teachers who are committed to learning are able to

suspend immediate judgment about an innovation until they have had time

and opportunity to reflect and develop its use (Briscoe & Peters, 1997). Being

open-minded to change allows teachers to deepen their knowledge and

develop their beliefs about teaching and learning. A commitment to learning

seems tied to one's ability to critically reflect on one's teaching abilities.

Ability to self-assess helps teachers determine the areas where they want to








develop. Teachers who have a good understanding of what they know and

what they need to know participate in professional development that is

meaningful to them (Courtland & Welsh, 1990; Englert & Tarrant, 1995). As

teachers choose their own areas to develop, they see the need to conduct on-

going research and continue fine tuning their practices (Englert & Tarrant,

1995; Oja et al., 1995; Torres, 1996). On the other hand, teachers who

participate in professional development for the purpose of receiving inservice

points or because they feel pressure from school personnel or district

mandates may lack commitment to the development process (Englert &

Tarrant, 1995; Tillema, 1995; Vaughn et al. 1998). These teachers inhibit

personal learning from taking place and may hinder a group's development

(Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Tillema, 1995). Even when teachers are told that

participation in professional development projects is voluntary, many still

perceive pressure to participate (Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Vaughn et al.,

1998). Commitment to learning and willingness to endure the ambiguous

nature of change is essential for teacher change.

Summary

Professional development is essential for teachers learning new ideas

and altering their practices to meet the diverse needs of the students in their

classroom. To allow teachers opportunities to learn new practices, they must

be presented with innovations that are concrete, practical, and

understandable. Ideas that are easily understood have a better chance of

being incorporated into teachers' instructional routines. Providing teachers

on-going support through collaboration during the learning process assists

teachers in developing their understanding and beliefs about new concepts.








Through their learning with colleagues and outsiders, they develop a common

vision for teaching and learning and experience an increase in self-efficacy

and collective efficacy. Supportive structures promote common vision and

allow teachers to develop practices that match that vision. By providing

support through innovative structures and time, principals create

opportunities for the school community to work together to solve problems of

practice. Participants begin to experience trust and support as they realize

others are engaged in the uncertainty of change. Teachers' individual level of

sophistication influences the types of changes and development that will

occur. Being reflective, committed, and having well developed knowledge and

beliefs assist teachers in learning and incorporating changes in their

teaching.

Considerations for General Education Teachers Working with
Diverse Learners

General education teachers face a great challenge in meeting all the

needs of such a diverse student population. Because so many factors

influence change, the degree of change is hard to predict (Fullan, 1993).

Determining the needs of participants and providing them with meaningful

experiences can be quite challenging, especially when they are learning about

an innovation that is quite different from their experiences. For example,

assisting general educators to meet the needs of students with disabilities

can be difficult. According to Schumm and Vaughn (1998), general education

teachers face many challenges when attempting to meet the needs of

students with disabilities. These challenges include (a) a history of providing

whole-class, undifferentiated instruction that includes minimal adaptations








for students with mild disabilities (Baker & Zigmond, 1995); (b) the

perception of adaptations as being desirable for student learning but not

feasible to implement; (c) minimal time for general and special education

teachers to collaborate; (d) access to few resources to make adaptations; and

(e) desire for instructional practices that assist students with disabilities,

while meeting learning needs of all their students.

If students with disabilities are to be educated effectively in general

education, then great effort is necessary to change traditional instructional

practices (Vaughn et al., 1998). Researchers and special educators have

recently looked to find ways of assisting general education teachers in

learning strategies to use with students with disabilities (Marks & Gersten,

1998). Yet, little is known about how to best meet teachers' needs. Few

studies have focused on general education teachers learning new practices to

better include children with learning problems (Boudah et al., 1997; Fuchs et

al., 1995; Gersten et al., 1995; Marks & Gersten, 1998; O'Connor et al., 1992;

Pugach & Johnson, 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998). In order to understand the

complexity of working with general education teachers to assist them in

learning inclusive practices, these studies have indicated that two important

issues must be resolved.

Issues to Resolve
The problems reported by researchers when working with general

education teachers related to one or more of the four critical components of

professional development. Even when programs were well developed with

many or all of the components, some teachers experienced difficulty in either








learning or sustaining the innovations because of (a) diverse perspectives and

(b) too little time for reflection.

Special Education Versus General Education Perspective

Special education and general education operate under two different

perspectives about teaching. General education teachers concern themselves

with teaching content and covering specific concepts in a given amount of

time and, therefore, have a group orientation towards teaching (Pugach &

Warger, 1996; Schumm & Vaughn, 1995). They understand general

curriculum and the skills students should master by a given grade level

(Pugach & Warger, 1996). Special education teachers have specific knowledge

in learning strategies, modifying instruction, and adapting materials and

textbooks (Gable, Hendrickson, & Lyon, 1987; Pugach & Warger, 1996). They

have individual students in mind and think about how to change what exists

to better meet student needs.

General educators seek interventions or strategies that would be

helpful to a larger population, not just a few isolated students (Gersten et al.,

1995; O'Connor et al., 1992; Vaughn et al., 1998). When teachers learned

interventions that targeted a few students and were very systematic, they did

not incorporate them as often (Gersten et al., 1995) and sometimes expected

the special education teacher working in the classroom to be responsible for

executing them (O'Connor et al., 1992). General education teachers' concern

with all students helps to explain their hesitation in changing their practices

to accommodate a few students, especially when those practices are

complicated, cumbersome, rigid, and student specific. Often when special

education researchers have worked with general education teachers, they








taught them interventions that differed from their general educators'

perceptions of improving student learning (Fuchs et al., 1995; O'Connor et al.,

1992; Vaughn et al., 1998). These programs had multiple steps and often

required a great amount of extra teacher time and effort (Fuchs et al., 1995).

Even when researchers made efforts to demonstrate, assist, and provide

feedback during implementation, teachers abandoned the strategies once the

project ended (Fuchs et al., 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998). When given multiple

strategies to learn about and use, teachers continue to use the easiest ones

and abandon the more complex ones regardless of their power in improving

student learning (Fuchs et al., 1995; Marks & Gersten, 1998; Vaughn et al.,

1998). Also, scripted problem-solving programs, often seen in special

education innovations, limit participants' ability to personalize innovations

(Pugach & Johnson, 1995). These programs do not allow for extending and

adapting structures to create a compatible fit with individual needs. A

balance must be found in providing teachers with supportive structures

without inducing rigidity. Teachers need to see the benefits of an innovation

to their personal context before they will commit to incorporating it into their

teaching routines.

Extensive Time for Reflection

Making inclusion work takes fundamental changes in how we think

about classrooms and the instructional methodologies we use (McLeskey &

Pugach, 1995). Teachers need time to support the philosophy and practice of

inclusion (Fullan, 1991; McLeskey & Pugach, 1995; Sarason, 1990). When

general and special education personnel work together, they may not share

common understanding and beliefs about children with learning problems








(Gersten et al., 1995; Marks & Gersten, 1998; O'Connor et al., 1992; Pugach

& Johnson, 1995). To help general education teachers understand the

importance and practicality of new interventions, they need multiple

opportunities to practice, reflect, and resolve any conflicts they might have

with the innovation (Wood et al., 1991). Teachers need assistance in

understanding the larger picture of how the innovation is important to

current routines and not just another isolated, add-on responsibility (Marks

& Gersten, 1998; O'Connor et al., 1992; Vaughn et al., 1998). Teachers need

time to discuss their views of teaching and learning and concerns they have

about the usefulness of an innovation. Teachers who do not receive feedback

on the progress of incorporating new ideas and are not given the opportunity

to develop compatible beliefs will abandon the use of the innovation

(O'Connor et al., 1992).

In sum, professional development that facilitates teacher's learning

about an innovation can be a powerful tool for influencing teachers' practices.

Specific components have been effective for creating this type of change.

First, teachers need to learn about innovations that are practical, compatible,

and understandable. Innovations need to be appropriate for individual needs,

compatible with teachers' personal beliefs about teaching, and

understandable through a provision of concrete examples. Second, teachers

need to work with outside researchers and teacher educators who can assist

them in developing their use of innovations through providing demonstration

lessons and helping them to reflect about their progress. Third, continuous

support through collaboration is important for teachers to continue in their

experimentation with new practices. Group members engage in critical








discourse that allows for developing and refining their beliefs and practices.

Collaborative structures also provide teachers with the expectation and

support for improving their work. And fourth, teachers' level of readiness for

change is an important factor for determining their development of new

practices. In order to facilitate their personal development, teachers need to

reflect, have knowledge and beliefs that will assist them in understanding

the innovation, and exhibit a personal commitment to change. When

considering all these factors affecting teachers' professional development, it is

understandable why many programs prove to be ineffective with some or all

of their participants. Making lasting changes in teachers' framework for

teaching and learning is a difficult task that takes exceptional planning and

possibly, a little luck.

It is the intention of my study described in Chapter 3 to add to the

teacher change literature. My study is unique; it focuses on general education

teachers who participate in a collaborative professional development program

to learn new practices to better include students with behavioral and

learning problems. Teachers have access to an outsider who helps them in

their personal development of inclusive practices. This study includes to the

greatest extent possible the four essential factors of professional development

programs. No study has addressed all these components in school/university

collaboration with general and special education teachers. Additionally, I

make efforts to address the problematic issues that may arise when working

with general education teachers who are attempting to learn more inclusive

practices. Hopefully, the results of this study will provide a better

understanding of how special education researchers can work with general





59


education teachers to help them include students with behavior and learning

problems.














CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY

Rarely are teachers afforded opportunities to work in the context of a
group with colleagues and teacher educators; thus, little research exists to
document school/university collaboration with general and special education
teachers. Collaboration and university/school partnerships often are
described as effective practices to assist teachers in addressing problems in
their classrooms (Joyce & Showers, 1988; McLaughlin, 1991; Sparks &
Loucks-Horsley, 1990). Yet, little is known about how these collaborations
assist teachers in changing their practices. In a collaborative effort between
teacher educators and general and special elementary education teachers
from an urban school district, we established a Teacher Learning Cohort
(TLC) to assist teachers in addressing problems of practice. The TLC was
established to assist teachers in learning how better to include students with
challenging behaviors and academic problems.
The purpose of this study was to describe general education teachers'
use of practices, the extent their practices support the inclusion of
challenging students, and how those practices changed through their
participation in a TLC. The TLC allowed teachers to meet with colleagues
from their school and teacher educators to discuss problems of instructing
students who are hard to teach and manage and then work toward solving
those problems. The teachers worked not only in a collaborative group but
also individually with one university researcher who acted as a reflective
friend. I, the reflective friend, worked with four general education teachers









for 2-1/2 years to assist them in learning instructional innovations. In
addition to describing the changes teachers made in their practices, other

aspects of the change process were studied, including (a) the role of the
collaborative group, (b) the role of the reflective friend, and (c) the role of
teachers' context.
To change teachers' instructional practices, they have to be provided
with new information, observed implementing it (or not implementing it),
and questioned and observed over time during the process (Richardson et al.,
1991; Wood et al., 1991). Through the TLC, teachers met monthly with
participating colleagues and university researchers. Teachers discussed
problems they encountered in their classrooms and, as a group, discussed
possible solutions. Teachers created a plan to address their concerns and in
later meetings shared the progress of their actions with the group. To fulfill
the observation and feedback component, I, as the reflective friend, spent 2 to
4 hours a week in each teacher's classroom. Through observing individual
teachers, I was able to understand the types of problems they encountered as
well as the specific context in which they worked. Through interviews and
conversations, teachers expressed not only their concerns but also personal
perspectives about teaching, students, and learning. Considering what I
learned about individual teachers, I was able to provide them with
innovations that I believed had a high probability of being implemented in
their classrooms.
To describe how teachers changed, I participated and observed in
classrooms, interviewed teachers, conducted informal meetings with
individual teachers, participated in and documented collaborative group
meetings, and collected other evidence that demonstrated the
implementation of new practices. I spent time managing and working in the









collaborative group. I recorded what teachers said and how they talked with
colleagues about students and the new practices they were implementing. In
essence, I became a part of the school culture. Because of the nature of the
research question and type of contact with the participants, I determined
that qualitative case methodology was the most appropriate approach for this
study.

Collaborative Group Work
The purpose of the following sections is to describe the data collection
and data analysis procedures for this study. These sections include
descriptions of the broader context of the study, methods for gaining access

into the school and individual classrooms, participants and their classrooms,
the evolving role of the TLC, and the role of the researcher/reflective friend.
In the final section, research procedures and methodological issues are
reviewed.

Broader Context
As part of an effort to begin a collaborative project with teachers in an
urban school district in Florida, the Dean of the College of Education at the
University of Florida (UF) provided travel funds in the spring of 1997 for
three faculty members and a graduate assistant from the Department of
Special Education. The intention of this seed money was to help secure
external funding for a large-scale project in this district. The project proposed
to develop collaborative groups in urban schools to promote sustained
collaboration among teachers with the intention of improving the inclusion of
students with learning and behavioral problems. The following year a small
grant was awarded through UF to provide funds for me to continue my work
in the selected school. In the third year, the Office of Special Education









Projects awarded three faculty members external funds to work in one
additional school.

The focus of the larger project was to determine the effectiveness of the
TLCs through studying (a) the creation of TLCs and how they facilitate
inclusion of students with learning problems, how these teachers develop
inclusive beliefs and effective practices that contribute to the learning of all
students, and how the groups contribute to the development of a collaborative
culture in the school; (b) how participation affects the inclusion of students in

individual classrooms and referrals to special education; (c) the conditions
and processes that make collaboration viable; (d) how participation in the
group affects teacher attrition rates; and (e) how the group helps teachers to
improve students' academic performance.
My study was different in that I focused specifically on four teachers
and how they developed new practices by being a part of the TLC and having
access to a reflective friend. This study was about individual change and
development within the context of a collaborative group and interaction with
an outsider. I also considered other conditions within and outside of the work
context that influence how teachers change.
I conducted this study at Hidden View Elementary, a school that had
been associated with the TLC project since 1997. Hidden View serves
approximately 570 pre-K through fifth-grade students and employs 27 full-
time classroom teachers. There is one classroom for pre-K, three classrooms
each for kindergarten, first, second, and fifth grades, and four classrooms for
third and fourth grades. Third- and fourth-grade classes have a lower number
of students to allow teachers to prepare students for standardized testing. In
addition, there is a special projects classroom for previously retained students
and four classrooms that serve students with moderate mental retardation.









The student population is diverse in terms of ethnic background and
socioeconomic status: 56.8% are Caucasian, 36.7% are African-American, and
6.5% are members of other minority groups. Nearly 42% of students receive
free lunch, and an additional 10% receive fee-reduced lunch. The school
district has designated Hidden View as a Regular Education Initiative (REI
school where students identified with learning disabilities and emotional
handicaps are served full-time in the general education classrooms. A full-
time special education teacher serves in a consultant role. As part of her
responsibilities, she spends 1 hour each day in five teachers' classrooms
assisting students with disabilities. These five teachers, one at each grade
level from first through fifth grades, are designated as the REI teachers. REI
teachers generally have reduced class sizes and are assigned anywhere from
one to five students with disabilities. Students with more severe learning
disabilities and mild mental retardation are served at other schools.

The principal assigned teachers to REI classes. She chose teachers who
were supportive of inclusive practices and able to work with the special
education consultant. The principal, Mrs. Summerlin, has been at Hidden
View Elementary for almost 10 years. Half the teachers at the school were
there before she came. Mrs. Summerlin really wanted the TLC project in her
school because this was her first year implementing the REI model and she
wanted the expertise of special education researchers to foster collaboration
and leadership among her teachers. She asked specific questions about the
data collection. She was informed that the information we collected was
confidential, and we could not discuss any information about the teacher
participants with her. We have communicated with her about the workshops
and meeting purposes, and she created time to meet and provided substitutes
for the teachers.









Gaining Access
As a part of the TLC project, teachers were aware that we would be
collecting data on "the influences of the collaborative process in order to
better understand how to assist teachers in developing strategies to assist
students who experience learning and behavioral problems" (see Appendix B,
Letter of Informed Consent).They were informed that they would participate
in interviews and meetings and that someone would observe in their

classroom periodically. All participants were fully aware of the data collection
process and the purpose of our research. Official approval by the University's
Institutional Review Board (IRB) of Human Subjects was granted to observe,
interview, record meetings and conversations, and collect artifacts on
teachers. My study was a small component of the larger project covered by
the IRB approval.

We described the general intent of the study at the initial meeting, and
I repeated this description for newcomers in the following years. The goals of
the research were presented in general terms to avoid influencing the
outcomes of the study. We also explained our work to the teachers in a letter
(see Appendix B). The amount of time spent in these classrooms over the past
2-1/2 years minimized the possibility that the initial discussion would have
an impact on the study's findings. The teachers were reminded over the years
that observations and data collected were not for administrative evaluation.
They were reminded that the school and district administration,
nonparticipants, and any other district personnel would not have access to
the data and that their names would never be associated with the data. To
provide participants anonymity, I used pseudonyms to refer to all teachers,
school staff, and the school itself









Participants
The four teachers who participated in the TLC project for all 3 years
were the focus of my study. This study took place from the onset of the project
in February 1997 until June 1999. The four teachers taught different grade
levels and varied in teaching experience and ethnic background. The
principal spoke highly of these teachers and considered them to be strong
professionals.
Kay is a kindergarten teacher who instructs approximately 28-33
students each year. She is an African-American woman in her early 40s with
14 years of teaching experience. Her educational background is in early
childhood and elementary education. In 1998, she completed a master's
degree in educational leadership. She is also trained as an English for
Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher. Her classroom instruction can
be described as direct, whole group instruction using a center format with an
emphasis on providing individual assistance to every student. She uses
positive reinforcement and classroom routines to manage student behavior.
Although no students at the kindergarten level are identified as special
education students, students who exhibit challenging problems are a part of
the class. At the end of each school year, Kay considers making a few
recommendations for students to be tested if she believes they have a
significant learning or behavior problems.
Diane is a second-grade teacher whose class ranges from 25-28
students each year. She is a Caucasian woman in her mid 40s with 24 years
of teaching experience. She is certified as an elementary, kindergarten, and
ESOL teacher. She was the REI teacher for the second grade during the
1998-1999 school year and taught reading to the students in the REI
classroom during the 1997-1998 school year. Diane typically uses cooperative









learning, center work, projects, and teacher-led instruction as part of her
teaching routines. She uses positive reinforcement to manage student

behavior and teaches her students socially appropriate behavior using a life
skills approach.
Martha is a third-grade teacher with a typical class size of 18-25
students. She is an African-American woman in her mid 30s with 11 years of
teaching experience. She is certified in elementary education and early
childhood education with a master's degree in elementary education. She is
currently working on ESOL certification. She was the REI teacher for the
third grade in 1996-1997 and 1997-1998. Also, she taught math to the
students in the REI class during 1998-1999. Martha relies on textbook
instruction and individually monitors students' progress on seatwork
assignments. She uses verbal reprimands, detention, and parent conferences
to manage student behavior.
Cindy is a fourth-grade teacher with a typical class size of 20-24
students in her homeroom class and 24-28 students in her other three
sections of reading. She is the fourth-grade reading teacher with the other
three teachers covering science/social studies, math, and language arts. She
is a Caucasian woman in her mid 40s with 19 years of teaching experience.

She is certified as an elementary, early childhood, and ESOL teacher. She
was the fourth-grade REI teacher for 3 years from 1996-1999. Initially, Cindy
used teacher-directed instruction and independent seatwork as part of her
teaching routine. She implemented verbal reprimands and detention and
occasionally used tangible reinforcers to praise correct behavior or academic
achievement.









Evolving Role of the TLC
Mrs. Summerlin encouraged REI teachers and the special education
teacher to be a part of the TLC, but all participation was voluntary. From our
initial meeting in February until June of 1997, nine teachers (four REI

teachers, the special education consultant, the special projects teacher, and
three general education teachers) participated in the TLC project. We met
with teachers bimonthly in half-day and whole-day sessions and talked about
their concerns and how to address them (see Table 3.1). Initially, we used a
problem-solving format where one teacher described a problem and the group
generated solutions. The teacher then selected a strategy and made a plan to
address the problem. We provided them with information on new strategies
(e.g., cooperative learning, behavior management, and phonological
awareness) that would help to solve some of the classroom issues that they
encountered. We observed them only once or twice that first year. We also
interviewed teachers at the end of the first year (see Appendix C). As a result
of our observations and discussions at group meetings, we found that


Table 3.1

Summary of Data Collection Procedures

Year 1 Procedures Hours
Classroom observations and informal follow-up
conversations 4
Formal interviews 2
Full Day TLC Meetings/Workshops 28
TLC Meetings (Hour long) 0
Total Data Collection 34









teachers implemented few changes. We refocused our work the next year to

address this problem.

During this second year, I conducted weekly observations, monthly
meetings, and periodic workshops (see Table 3.2). Specifically, I planned and
scheduled the collaborative meetings, worked with individual teachers to
discuss problems of practice and to learn and implement new innovations, co-
planned and conducted four workshops to teach all members about an
innovation, and assisted teachers in reflecting on and evaluating their
progress. Additionally, all teachers were interviewed in the middle of the
second year (see Appendix C). Five of the original teachers continued with the
project. Three dropouts said they did not have time to commit to the project,
and one left the school for health reasons. We also had a first year teacher
join our group, bringing our total to six.


Table 3.2

Summary of Data Collection Procedures

Year 2 Procedures Hours
Classroom observations and informal follow-up
conversations 221
Formal interviews 2
Full Day TLC Meetings/Workshops 28
TLC Meetings (2-Hour long) 20
Total Data Collection 271


I increased my observations in the second year as a way to learn more
about the teachers' challenges, classroom practices, and understandings
about teaching and learning. I hoped that I could then provide them with









suggestions that were more consistent with their beliefs. I gave teachers
specific feedback on concerns they had about a lesson or student and talked
to them about problems they encountered and the purpose behind some of
their actions. At first they were uncomfortable with being observed and notes

being taken during observations. Because of their discomfort, I decided to
begin by assisting them in monitoring student progress and providing help to
students rather than taking notes. In a sense, I acted as another teacher or
aide in the classroom. As I developed a good working relationship, the
teachers told me how much they appreciated the help, and I began to
understand their classroom practices and beliefs better. My questions and
assistance became tailored to their actual needs. The teachers eventually said
any of us were welcome in their classroom, planned or unannounced.
In addition to the observations and feedback sessions, teachers created
a plan for targeting an area of concern. Previously, teachers had talked about
making changes, often very abstractly, and rarely followed through with
action. We created action plans so teachers could choose a personal goal,
develop an action to take, determine ways to assess their progress, and
establish a time frame for completing their goal (see Appendix F). We asked
teachers to think of one instructional and one behavioral improvement they
wanted to make that they had control of changing. As the reflective friend, I
assisted teachers in choosing reasonable goals, provided ideas (e.g.,
instructional strategies and management plans) to assist them in
accomplishing goals, and helped them develop reasonable assessment
measures and establish a timeline. Teachers who were committed to creating
action plans participated in the TLC.
During the third year, the research team, now expanded to include
another UF faculty member from the School of Teaching and Learning,









received federal funding to include additional schools in the TLC project. A
new school was added in the 1998-1999 school year. At Hidden View the UF
researcher from the School of Teaching and Learning assisted me in
conducting observations, interviews, meetings, and workshops. Although all
six year 2 teachers continued in year 3 of the project, the special education
consultant left the school in December. Five general education teachers
joined the TLC, of whom four were new to the project. All the REI teachers,
except the fifth-grade teacher, participated in the TLC.
Because of the large number of TLC participants, we split into two
groups. One group was for kindergarten through third-grade teachers and
the other group was the entire fourth-grade team. My colleague and I
observed once every other week and conducted two separate TLC meetings a
month (see Table 3.3). We conducted two interviews this year, one in the fall
and the other in the spring (see Appendix C). In addition, each TLC group
met for a full day workshop with the other TLC groups from the new school.
Selected teachers from each group presented innovations they used in their
classrooms.


Table 3.3

Summary of Data Collection Procedures

Year 3 Procedures Hours
Classroom observations and informal follow-up
interviews/conversations 102
Formal interviews 4
Full Day TLC Meetings/Workshops 30
TLC Meetings (Hour long) 20
Total Data Collection 156









Role of the Researcher/Reflective Friend

As the primary researcher, I worked as a graduate assistant on the
TLC project from October 1996 to June 1999. The first year I worked with

two UF researchers as we began our TLC work. During years 2 and 3, I was
the UF contact person and ran the project at Hidden View Elementary.
Together with UF faculty, I co-planned workshops that helped teachers
acquire knowledge and demonstrated innovations that were compatible with
their current practices. In my role as reflective friend, I spent additional time
discussing the benefits and circumstances in which strategies would be
implemented and observed and provided feedback during implementation.
On many occasions during year 2, I not only provided feedback but also
assisted individual teachers with implementing new instructional strategies.
The teachers talked openly to TLC participants and nonparticipants alike
about the positive effects the strategies had in their classrooms. Because of
the participants' enthusiasm for the TLC project, the school principal had me
talk to three reporters and the state-level school accreditation committee
about our work there (see Appendix F). As a result of developing a positive
relationship with these teachers and their principal, it made it easier to
gather "trustworthy data" (Bogden & Biklen, 1982). Often, I was told I was
one of them, and teachers talked candidly with me about themselves and
their perceptions of their work environment.

Research Procedures
Qualitative methodology (e.g., participant observation, interviews) was
used in collecting data to develop my understanding of various factors that
facilitated or inhibited teachers' acquisition of inclusive strategies. According
to Sherman and Webb (1988), "qualitative inquiry is an appraisal or
judgment; its function is to interpret, or appraise, behavior in relation to









contextual circumstances" (p.10). Studying the change process of how
teachers adopted inclusive practices while participating in a collaborative
group was a descriptive task. Teacher collaboration is influenced by
contextual conditions that are not unique to the TLC. These contextual
conditions include personal beliefs about teaching and learning, interactions

with a reflective friend and other colleagues, individuals' classrooms, and the
school. Thus, I employed case study methodology (Yin, 1994).
Research Design
The case study design that was most appropriate for studying teacher
change was the single-case, embedded design (Yin, 1994). A single-case
approach can be employed to document or analyze an extreme or unique case.
It was rare to have teachers collaborating with other teachers and university
researchers where one of the researchers acted as a reflective friend. Thus,
this case was distinct in three ways. First, teacher collaboration groups

rarely exist in schools (Hargreaves, 1994a); second, university faculty seldom
participate in the collaborative group; and third, few such collaborations have
focused on the inclusion of high-risk learners. The main focus of the study
was the individual teacher's development of inclusive practices. Each of the
four teachers studied represented a subunit of analysis, and all were
considered embedded units of analysis within the larger design (Yin, 1994).
Therefore, this study was identified as a single-case, embedded design. This
design can be particularly helpful as the subunitss can add significant
opportunities for extensive analysis, enhancing the researcher's insights into
the single case" (Yin, 1994, p. 44). By studying four teachers, patterns
emerged that provided insight into the change process as teachers acquired
new practices. The individual units, teachers in this case, added substantially
to the findings by illustrating common themes for describing the process of









change. By having multiple units for analysis, I determined if patterns fit
with general change across all participants or were unique to individual

teachers.
Multiple sources of evidence were gathered in my study to increase the
quality and the substantiality of the findings. Yin (1994) stressed the
importance of multiple sources of evidence so that data would converge in a
triangulating fashion. As the data from different sources supported the same
conclusion, the validity of the findings was strengthened. To gather multiple
sources of evidence, I refer to four types of evidence cited by Yin (1994). The

forms of evidence are (a) participant observation, (b) interviews, (c) direct
observations, (d) and documentation. The following paragraphs describe the
data collection process and each source of evidence that were used in this
study.
Data Collection

Each teacher was observed twice a month for 2 school years, 1997-
1999. Observations lasted anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. Some observations

had specific purposes, and others were informal. The teacher's needs and
level of comfort with me being in her classroom influenced the type of
observation. I conducted debriefing sessions with the teacher after these
observations (see Appendix D). The four teachers also participated in four
formal, hour-long interviews that were recorded using a laptop computer.
Teachers participated in a monthly group meeting throughout the project.
These meetings were full-day workshops, half-day workshops/meetings, or
hour-long meetings. The needs of the group determined the focus of the
meeting. I recorded TLC meeting minutes through the use of a laptop
computer. These minutes captured the events that occurred and many
comments and contributions of the teachers. Additionally, after these









meetings and for many of the other days spent at the school, I made reflective

notes that represented my impressions, concerns, and other interesting
events that occurred. I spent approximately 461 hours in total data collection.

A summary of the time spent in total data collection is presented in Table 3.4.


Table 3.4

Summary of Data Collection Procedures

Total for Study Hours
Classroom observations and informal follow-up
conversations 327
Formal interviews 8
Full Day TLC Meetings/Workshops 86
TLC Meetings 40
Total Data Collection 461


Participant observation. A major part of data collection involved
participant observation wherein I assumed a variety of roles. I participated in
most teacher observations through team teaching, assisting students, and

providing other types of help to the teacher. After observations, I met with
teachers to discuss my observation and their reflections (see Appendix D). I

also was an active participant in workshops and group meetings, after which
I recorded reflective notes. These notes were recorded using a laptop
computer as were my reflections of events from the day and impressions I

had as a result of conversations or observations. In some cases, my
recollection of conversations with teachers have been recorded (e.g., laptop
computer) as evidence of teacher change. Observations and reflective notes
informed me about classroom practices and provided me with information









about the changes being implemented. Notes from observations and

reflections provided additional information about teachers' beliefs and
practices. Observations were used to verify that teachers were, in fact,

making the types of changes they claimed to be making in their interviews
and conversations.

Interviews. Interviews are considered one of the most important

sources of information in data collection (Spradley, 1980). They allow others
into the personal world of the interviewee. My interviews were semi-
structured conversations with participants that allowed them to talk about
their problems of practice, the roles of the TLC in helping them learn new
strategies, and how their environments affect their work. Additionally,

teachers discussed their knowledge about teaching, their beliefs about

students and learning, and their perceived sources of help. Interviews were
piloted with teachers not participating in this project. All interviews were

focused and open-ended, and teachers were asked for direct responses and
opinions about their teaching, students, and work environment. Four

interviews were conducted by researchers on the project and myself with each

participant (see Table 3.5). In the first three interviews, we asked teachers
about the problems of practice related to including high-risk students, their
typical ways of addressing those problems, and current sources of support. To

determine if teachers talked differently over time as a result of their
increased involvement in the TLC, these interviews were similar for all 3
years. In the fourth interview, we asked respondents about the TLC group
and changes they incorporated in their classrooms (see Appendix C for
interview protocols).









Direct observations. Direct observations involve documenting an
occurrence, such as a math lesson, for a specified period of time. Particularly,

these observations focused on the implementation of a new strategy,


Table 3.5

Summary of Interviews

Interviews Date
Protocol 1-Year 1 June 1997
Protocol 2-Year 2 January 1998
Protocol 3-Year 3 November 1998
Protocol 4-Year 3 May 1999


classroom management techniques, or student engagement. Three types of

direct observations were used for data collection. First, focused observations

were recorded through notes by the researcher in the form of an anecdotal

record, which later were typed using a laptop computer. These observations
were conducted at the request of the teacher and used to record the number
of verbal reprimands or positive statements made in a given amount of time

or the amount ofseatwork given during an observational period. Because
only one teacher requested focused observations, this type of information

played a secondary role. Second, formal observations were conducted one
time during year 3 as part of the data collection procedures for the larger
study. In these observations fellow researchers and I used PathwiseTM, a
teacher performance assessment, to document practices in four domains
(Appendix E). The first domain focused on organizing content knowledge for
student learning and required an interview between observer and teacher.









Domains B and C, creating an environment for student learning and teaching
for student learning, were observed during the actual lesson. The last
domain, teacher professionalism, involved the teacher reflecting on the
lesson. Data were obtained through a postobservation reflection. Third, semi-
formal observations were conducted twice in year 3 using criteria from
domain B (creating an environment for student learning) and C (teaching for
student learning). Observational notes were made under each of the five
criteria for domains B and C. The PathwiseT observation and semi-formal
observations were primary data sources for evidence on instructional
practices (Appendix E).

Documentation. Documents included action plans, letters, agendas,
meeting minutes, administrative documents, teacher generated items, and
newspaper clippings. Documents were used to corroborate evidence from
other sources. In this study, action plans were one of the main sources of
evidence, and teacher work, letters, and school information added to the main
data sources. Teacher action plans were documents that we asked teachers to
complete. These plans indicated how they would implement strategies to
solve a problem of practice in their classroom. This document created
accountability for their actions by having teachers list how they would
document the effectiveness of their strategy and provide a reasonable
timeline for meeting their goals. Action plans were collected once or twice a
year for the second and third years (see Appendix F for action plans).
Additionally, meeting minutes were maintained at each small and
large group meeting. Meeting minutes provided essential information about
teachers' comments and participation, including information about teacher's
intentions and beliefs about new practices and the inclusion of high-risk









students. I took careful notes of the conversations members had with each

other and documented the contributions they made.
Other sources of documentation for this study included letters written
to the teachers and principal regarding project information, agendas for the
collaborative meetings and workshops, meeting minutes taken for the
teachers' review, testing information and scores, and newspaper clippings
regarding the TLC project (see Appendix F for copies of action plans and
newspaper clipping).

Data Analysis
The main purpose of this study was to describe how teachers who
participate in school/university collaboration changed their practices to
include high-risk learners. This purpose was best fulfilled with qualitative
methodology. In qualitative research, data analysis occurs throughout the
study and allows the researcher to fine tune questions and procedures (Miles
& Huberman, 1984; Patton, 1990; Spradley, 1980; Yin, 1994). Thus, during
the first year of the study, data collection involved one or two observations of
each teacher, minutes from four group meetings, and one interview. As a
result of year 1 data, I made changes in year 2 to spend more time with
teachers in individual meetings, group meetings and workshops, and
classroom observations. Over time, questions became more specific as they
related to individual participants, their specific classrooms and students, and
their teaching practices. I again made changes in my role as a participant in
the third year as a result of the teachers becoming more involved in their
personal development.
I reviewed and coded the data (Miles & Huberman, 1984) and then
looked for a pattern of relationships through a set of conceptually specified
analytic categories (Mishler, 1990). As part of this categorization, there were









regularities (patterns) to be found. These categories across participants were
views of instruction and management, role of the reflective friend, role of the
TLC, and role of teaching context. As categories start to produce similarities,
they can be subsumed into a broader category for analysis (Merriam, 1998).
Views of instruction and views of management revealed similar patterns
(practices, challenges encountered, accommodations, and changes). Both
categories were subsumed under the broader category of teachers'
framework. This research orientation is appropriate when the context under
study is unfamiliar and complex as in the instance of a single-case design
where the intention of the study is to describe or explore (Miles & Huberman,
1984). An analytic induction approach allows for patterns to emerge through
the data-collection process. The overall purpose of the study was to describe
general education teachers' use of inclusive practices and how those practices
evolved or did not evolve through their participation in a collaborative group
with university researchers. In addition, I examined the role of the reflective
friend, collaborative group, and the teaching context in the change process.

I then used the evidence in the categories to construct patterns and
themes that described how teachers changed their practices and the roles of
internal and external influences. Examples of patterns for role of reflective
friend included gaining confidence and trust, teaching partner and coach,
research interpreter, and promoting teacher reflection. I used observations,
meeting minutes, conversations, and the reflective notes as forms of evidence
and then organized and coded them into informative categories that provided
concrete descriptions of individuals and their changing practices. These
categories were used to construct profiles in which I looked for patterns
within the descriptions and created new patterns and categories that









provided general descriptions of how teachers changed their practices to
better include high-risk learners.

By focusing on TLC participants for 3 years, commonalties in the data

began to emerge. I continued to review notes and interviews (Patton, 1990)
and coded some of the data (Miles & Huberman, 1984) from the onset of the
study to look for patterns and distinct categories. These categories helped to
fine tune interview questions and narrow observations to collect more specific

data (Patton, 1990; Spradley, 1980). The categories of the role of the
collaborative group, the role of the reflective friend, and the teaching context
turned into specific questions to help guide data collection and analysis.
The next step in data analysis consisted of looking for patterns and
themes across teachers (Patton, 1980). Subunit analysis required in-depth
descriptions of individual teachers and classrooms. Then, I used the themes
that emerged to develop a framework for understanding how teachers
changed their practices. As the themes became clearer, I was able to compare
them with findings in the literature regarding teacher change.
Methodological Issues
Yin (1994) discussed the criteria for judging the quality of research
designs based on the four tests that are common to social sciences: construct
validity, internal validity, external validity, and reliability. Two issues of
validity are particularly pertinent to a descriptive case study and, therefore,
will be described in further detail. They are construct validity and external
validity. A discussion of the issues of reliability, investigator bias, and ethical
issues conclude this section.
Construct Validity
Qualitative research often requires subjective judgments during data
collection. To be considered valid, such judgments must meet two criteria.









First, the researcher has to select the types of phenomena that are studied.
In this study, the focus of interest will be changes in teachers' practices.
Second, the researcher must select measures that reflect the phenomena
being studied. I used observations, interviews, meeting minutes, and

observer notes that focused on individual teachers within their classrooms,
TLC meetings, and the school. These various sources will help create a profile
of teachers and their practices. They provide descriptive information on
individual teacher development.
Construct validity can be established more carefully by using multiple
sources of data, establishing a chain of evidence, using peer debriefing, and
conducting member checks against the drafts of data reporting (Yin, 1994). I
used multiple sources of evidence specifically to document the new practices
teachers learned, how they implemented them, and their sustained use of
these practices. Additional evidence documented the role of the TLC and the
reflective friend and the teaching context that affects teacher change.
Multiple sources of evidence included interviews, TLC meeting minutes,
classroom observations, action plans, and researcher reflections. The design
and implementation of this study provided a chain of evidence (Yin, 1994)
from the research questions, to the methodology, to data collection, and to
data analysis and conclusions. Portions of the data were analyzed by other
researchers on the project to support, clarify, or revise categories and
emerging themes (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Participants in the study also were
asked to review portions of the data (i.e., personal interviews, meeting
minutes, and observational notes) to verify or correct the data (Lincoln &
Guba, 1985).









External Validity

External validity deals with the issue of a study's findings being
generalizable to the greater population. Case studies rely heavily on
analytical generalization where the researcher is working toward
generalization of results to a broader theory. In this sense, the investigator's
goal was to "expand and generalize theories" (Yin, 1994, p.10) based on
existing literature. For this study, I used the teacher change literature. For
readers to compare a study's context to their situation, the researcher has an

obligation to provide a detailed description throughout the study (Merriam,
1998). To enhance the potential for generalization, Merriam (1998) suggested
that the researcher provide a rich, thick description so readers can determine
how closely matched their settings are to the one being studied and,
furthermore, determine if findings can be transferred. Another suggestion by
Merriam is to describe the typicality of the individual compared to other
teachers so that readers can make comparisons to their own situations.
Through multiple forms of data collection and rich descriptions of
participants, readers will be able to determine if findings from this study can
be applied to their personal situation.
Reliability
Reliability in case study research is achieved when another researcher
conducts the same procedures in replicating the case study and arrives at the
same conclusions. Addressing the problem of reliability of implementation
will lead the researcher to using well-documented research procedures that
would assist other researchers in developing a clear picture of the design
when attempting to replicate this study. Interview protocols, observation
instruments, and meeting agendas are some examples of instruments that
would assist another researcher in replicating the case study. Additionally,









key informants and other researchers working on this project can help me
stay honest through discussions and by reviewing data and reading portions
of the data and drafts of the results.

Investigator Bias
Researchers are prone to bias when they use a case study to
substantiate a preconceived notion (Yin, 1994). To protect against such bias,
researchers are urged to be clear and forward in describing their perspectives
of the phenomena being studied. For me, I have developed friendships and
collegial relationships with the TLC teachers. I have had dinner with some of
them, walked with one of them, created learning centers until early evening
hours with another, had lunch with many of them, team taught with a few of
them, and even supervised their classes on occasion. On two occasions, I

helped one participant by substitute teaching. Also, I have strong beliefs
about the inclusion of students with learning and behavior problems. From
the beginning, I have been an advocate for students who have been difficult
for the teachers. Issues of friendship and my beliefs about inclusion have
played a part in this study. I have worked against bias by being open to
contrary findings and have had two or three colleagues question preliminary
analyses and findings throughout the study. I discussed my initial findings
and emerging patterns with three other researchers involved with the TLC
and have consulted other researchers who engage in qualitative research.
Questioning along the way has assisted me in fine tuning interview
questions, prompted discussions with participants, and resulted in a more
careful analysis of data.

Ethical Issues
Ethical principles adopted by the American Anthropological
Association served as the guide to assist me in remaining ethical throughout









the study (Spradley, 1980). Teachers had the right at any time to make
statements and not have them recorded. Information was not recorded if I
was asked not to do so. Informants' rights, interests, and sensitivities were
safeguarded throughout the process. Teachers were never coerced to
undertake a strategy they felt uncomfortable implementing, nor were they
pressured to implement strategies at all. At times, teachers were
uncomfortable with me taking notes in the classroom. Notes were made after
the observation until the teacher became more comfortable with the

procedure. On occasion, teachers asked me not to observe during a scheduled
visit. I always made sure the teacher welcomed the visit or observation before
it occurred. Over time, many of the teachers welcomed me without an
invitation. Throughout the years of the project, teachers were informed of the
research objectives and knew that their involvement in the TLC was the
focus of the study. The participants have been assigned pseudonyms and in
no manner have their names been associated with the data. Participants
signed a consent form stating they would receive no financial compensation
for participation. They do, however, receive new teaching and management
practices, materials relating to their personal interest, and professional
services from another educator. I have tested students for teachers, brought
them articles that described new strategies they were interested in, and
assisted them with learning materials for their students. Finally, all written
reports will be made available for teachers to read.














CHAPTER 4
SCHOOL CONTEXT, CLASSROOM CONTEXT, AND TEACHERS'
COGNITIVE CONTEXT


I conducted this study to answer the following research question: Can

general education teachers collaborating with university researchers change

their practices to include students with academic and behavior problems? I

also posed related research questions. These questions include the following:

What roles do (a) the teachers' context, (b) the TLC, and (c) the reflective

friend play in stimulating teachers' change in inclusive practices? In this

chapter, I briefly describe two dimensions of context; the school and

classroom. I additionally describe the teachers' cognitive context and how the

context affected their classroom practices. Evidence collected during the 2-1/2

years of this study suggests that teachers can change their practices in an

effort to accommodate students with mild learning and behavioral problems.

These changes were in all likelihood affected by teachers' context, the TLC,

and the reflective friend.

In Chapter 5, I describe the role of the TLC and reflective friend in

stimulating teacher change. I also address issues to be resolved in the TLC

reflective friend roles. I then present descriptions of changes in classroom

practices.








School Context

Hidden View was built in the late 1950s in a working class

neighborhood; the original wing has wood floors, doors, and structures. Most

of the teachers at Hidden View had taught there for over 10 years. The school

was 1 of 90 elementary schools in a large urban county. Students typically

scored at the county average on standardized testing. In spite of being an

older school, Hidden View was well kept. The hallways were typically quiet;

students' artwork and projects were neatly displayed outside of their

classrooms throughout the school.

The findings from the school context and other sections came from

interviews, observations, and TLC meetings that involved four teachers: Kay,

Diane, Martha, and Cindy. These four teachers were the focus of the study,

and it is through their eyes that the school context is described. At Hidden

View, administrative style, relationships between teachers, culture of the

school, testing practices, and the school's designation as an REI school all

help to describe the school context.

Supportive Administrative Style

The teachers described Ms. Summerlin as supportive. She provided

instructional materials and opportunities for staff development; as Martha

described, "[Ms. Summerlin] is doing a good job of supporting me, [we have]

"resources ... and access to the things that we need to do a better job." Cindy

echoed Martha's sentiments.

[She is] supportive of what I am doing in my classroom and provides
me with the resources I needed to do my job. Sending me to workshops
that I wanted to attend; the materials that I needed to teach reading,
like supplemental materials that are not provided by the county.








Anything else, whatever I ask, no complaints. I only ask for what I
need. [Principal support] is a worry I just don't have.

Diane also believed that Ms. Summerlin supported their efforts to

improve classroom practices. She believed that Ms. Summerlin was

interested in effective practices and found ways to bring information about

these practices to her teachers.

She is very supportive of things we want to try in our classrooms. I
implemented the early reading strategies for children and it was
successful. I think it will be implemented in more classrooms because
of its success. She saw the success and is doing what is necessary for it
to help other children in the school.

Although Ms. Summerlin was interested in improving classroom

practice, she did not mandate innovations. Instead, she allowed teachers to

vote on whether to implement an innovation school wide. Consequently, her

teachers viewed her as a collaborative leader. Cindy remarked, "Ms.

Summerlin is a wonderful principal because she understood shared-decision

making before it became a concept." Cindy believed that if you worked hard to

help students learn, then Ms. Summerlin would give you the power to make

decisions about implementing new ideas and curriculum. However, Ms.

Summerlin only provided supports within the current structure of the school.

More substantial changes had to be approved beforehand.

Congenial But Isolated Faculty

The Hidden View faculty would be best characterized as congenial but

isolated. Teachers were cordial to one another and talked with each other

about aspects of their personal lives. Often the teachers talked about how

well they worked with some or all of their grade level colleagues. However,

the teachers rarely talked with colleagues about problems in their classroom








or struggles they had with individual students. Teachers did not seem to

know much about how other teachers taught. Although each grade level had

its planning periods on the same day (i.e., the entire fourth grade had their

"specials" on Monday), rarely did two teachers share more than a 30-minute

planning time, and when they did, no co-planning occurred. Teachers often

told me that their planning time was important for them to prepare for

instruction and complete paperwork. They did not prefer to meet with me or

anyone else at that time.

Within grade levels, teachers talked more with their colleagues. The

fourth-grade team shared more than other teams and was viewed by Ms.

Summerlin as the "most collaborative." The fourth-grade teachers

departmentalized by content area (e.g., reading, math) and so taught all

fourth-grade students. According to the fourth-grade teachers,

departmentalizing helped students because teachers could focus all their

efforts on one subject. Often these teachers would discuss students who were

having difficulties, but rarely would they co-plan instruction. Instead, they

would discuss performances for PTA meetings and culminating projects.

Although Cindy was satisfied with her grade level partnerships, she

and other teachers recognized that collaboration was not a prominent feature

of the school. Diane, the second-grade teacher, was distressed by the lack of

collaboration at Hidden View. She noted that congeniality was not enough for

people to develop collaborative relationships and explained that she had no

peers with whom she could work closely and share ideas. Diane expressed her

desire for greater collaboration when she said,




Full Text
CHANGING TEACHERS’ PRACTICES FOR INCLUSION: A CASE
STUDY OF FOUR TEACHERS PARTICIPATING IN A
SCHOOL/UNIVERSITY COLLABORATION
By
TAMAR FRANCHETTE RILEY
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
2000

Copyright 2000
By
Tamar F. Riley

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Many people have provided assistance and support throughout the
course of this study. I am forever grateful to all those who have helped to
make this project successful.
I extend my appreciation to the four teachers who invited me to be a
part of their worlds and allowed me to be their friend. I have learned a great
deal about teaching, more than when I was a classroom teacher. I appreciate
them for allowing me to be a part of a classroom again. I also want to thank
the principal who wanted the TLC project brought to her school. She
supported the group’s work as well as my work. I thank her for all the
personal recognition she gave me to show her continued appreciation for my
presence.
My research project was supported by small and large grants
throughout the years. I sincerely appreciate my advisor, Dr. Mary Brownell,
for finding the funds to support my work. To Dr. Elizabeth Yeager, Dr. Mary
Sue Rennells, and Stephanie van Hover who worked on the TLC project with
me-they all helped me clarify my thinking, keep my perspective, and laugh
when I wanted to cry. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with
such dynamic people. I learned so much about myself from each of them.
As my committee chair, advisor, mentor, and friend, Dr. Mary
Brownell had an active role in helping me to define myself as a professional.
She has helped me in every step of my dissertation as well as my program.
iii

She is a talented researcher and committed educator. Mary has taught me to
look for the positives and stay committed to helping people even when the
task is hard and seems impossible. I especially thank Mary for extending her
ear and becoming my friend. I have learned so much from her!
Dr. Paul Sindelar has also served as my advisor, cochair, mentor, and
friend. He has helped to keep me sane and rational when life seemed
overwhelming. He continually offered a thoughtful perspective when
discussing problems, successes, and findings from my work. I especially loved
his wonderful stories and his attempts to teach me about birds.
I offer my appreciation to Dr. Karen Kilgore for her assistance in
helping me wade through the murky waters of my data analysis. She worked
countless hours to help me convey 2-1/2 years of data in a meaningful way.
Thanks go to Shelby and Luke who let me invade their time with her so I
could finish.
Thanks go to my other committee members-Drs. Elizabeth Bondy and
Cary Reichard. They were always supportive of my work and offered me
thoughtful feedback along the way. I have appreciated their encouragement
and support.
Special thanks go to my friends I made along the way. Dr. LuAnn
Jordan, “Lulee,” was often my hope. She had walked the dissertation road a
few years before and always had a logical perspective. I especially appreciate
her for helping me to be a better person. Dr. Holly Lane was always checking
on me to see how I was doing. She gave me a lot of useful information that I
used with the TLC teachers. Dr. Paige Pullen shared her home with me
IV

during a time when both of us were furiously writing our dissertations. She is
a blessing from God!
I wish to extend my appreciation to my friends in Gainesville—to my
former roommates who lived through my doctoral program with me-Stacey
Garnett Fogler, Chanda Stebbins, and Summer Hallett. They are true friends
who have been supportive of me the whole way. I wish to thank the Focks’
family—Dana, Debby, Rebekah, Ken, Peter, and especially Kelly “Smelly”- for
becoming my lifetime friends. They have helped me develop my spiritual
person through a hectic time in my life. I have a deeper love and commitment
for the Word as a result of the investment they made in my life.
Most of all I would like to thank my family. They have overwhelmed
me with their unconditional support, prayers, encouragement, and love. My
family is one of the greatest gifts from God! A special appreciation goes to my
sisters who were always checking on me, getting tough when I needed it, and
listening to all my self-absorbed conversation. A very special thank you goes
to my parents, Lois and Bill Riley. They have supported me financially in
more ways than imaginable. More than financially, my parents have told me
I could do it and that I did not have to do it to be a success. I am who I am
because of the tremendous investment and sacrifices they have made. A
grateful and special word of thanks goes to my mom, Lois, for convincing me I
was a successful woman. No one has been there for me like she has!
Finally, and most importantly, my most humble gratitude goes to the
Lord God Almighty. To Him be the glory forever and ever.

TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS iii
ABSTRACT x
CHAPTERS
1 INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBLEM 1
Current Practice in Staff Development 5
How Special Education Research Has Responded to These
Issues 6
Lingering Gaps 9
Contribution of My Study 12
Purpose 13
Design of the Study 14
Definition of Terms 15
Possible Uses of the Results 16
Limitations 17
2 REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE 18
Selection Criteria for Relevant Literature 19
Conceptual Framework for Teacher Change 19
Practical, Understandable, and Concrete Innovations 20
The Practicality of the Innovation 21
Compatibility between Teacher and Innovation 24
Need for Concrete Examples 27
Outside Perspective 28
Demonstration 30
Reflection 30
VI

Professional Collaboration 34
Critical Discourse 35
School Context that Promotes Change 41
Teacher Readiness for Change 48
Ability to Reflect 49
Knowledge and Beliefs 50
Commitment to Learning 51
Summary 52
Considerations for General Education Teachers Working
with Diverse Learners 53
Issues to Resolve 54
Special Education Versus General Education Perspective.... 55
Extensive Time for Reflection 56
3 METHODOLOGY 60
Collaborative Group Work 62
Broader Context 62
Gaining Access 65
Participants 66
Evolving Role of the TLC 68
Role of the Researcher/Reflective Friend 72
Research Procedures 72
Research Design 73
Data Collection 74
Data Analysis 79
Methodological Issues 81
Construct Validity 81
External Validity 83
Reliability 83
Investigator Bias 84
Ethical Issues 84
4 SCHOOL CONTEXT, CLASSROOM CONTEXT, AND
TEACHERS’ COGNITIVE CONTEXT 86
School Context 87
Supportive Administrative Style 87
Congenial But Isolated Faculty 88
Pressure to Meet Performance Standards 91
vii

Designation as an REI School 93
Summary 94
Classroom Context 94
Overwhelming Curriculum 95
Common View of Curriculum Reified through Standardized
Testing 96
Diversity of Learners 98
Summary 100
Teachers’ Cognitive Context 100
Standardized Instructional Framework 101
Individualized Instruction Framework 105
Summary 110
5 THE ROLE OF THE TLC AND THE REFLECTIVE
FRIEND IN TEACHERS DEVELOPING INCLUSIVE
PRACTICES 112
Role of the TLC 112
Forum for Discussions 113
Access to Resources 121
Issues to Resolve in the TLC Process 128
Role of the Reflective Friend 135
Gaining Trust and Confidence 136
Teaching Coach and Partner 138
Research Interpreter 143
Promoting Teacher Reflection, Problem Solving, and
Efficacy 145
Issues to Resolve in the Reflective Friend’s Role 151
Changes in Practices 155
Standardized View of Instruction 155
Individualized Instructional Framework 163
Summary 166
6 CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS 168
Findings 168
The Role of School Context 169
Classroom Context 170
Teachers’ Cognitive Context 171
The Role of the TLC 172
viii

Issues to Resolve in the TLC Process 173
The Role of the Reflective Friend 174
Issues to Resolve in the Reflective Friend’s Role 175
Changes in Practices 175
Relationship of Findings to Previous Studies 177
Facilitators to Change 177
Inhibitors to Change 180
Use of Findings to Research Community and Practitioners 185
APPENDICES
A TABLE OF TEACHER CHANGE STUDIES 191
B LETTER OF INFORMED CONSENT 204
C INTERVIEW PROTOCOLS 207
D DEBRIEFING QUESTIONS 214
E PATHWISE 19 CRITERIA 216
F ACTION PLANS/NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS 219
REFERENCES 222
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH 232
ix

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
CHANGING TEACHERS’ PRACTICES FOR INCLUSION: A CASE
STUDY OF FOUR TEACHERS PARTICIPATING IN A
SCHOOL/UNIVERSITY COLLABORATION
By
Tamar Franchette Riley
December 2000
Chair: Mary T. Brownell
Major Department: Special Education
This study described teachers’ change in practices to accommodate
students with academic and behavioral challenges as a result of their
participation in school/university collaboration. Questions were posed
regarding the roles of teachers’ context, the collaborative group (TLC), and
the participant-observer (reflective friend).
The four teachers taught at an elementary school in a large, urban
district in the South. The context included a supportive administrator, a
congenial yet noncollaborative and isolated environment, district and
state pressure to improve students’ standardized test scores, and Regular
Education Initiative school designation.
The teachers’ contexts influenced their practices. They were
overwhelmed by the adoption of a new reading curriculum, had a
standard view of curriculum that was reinforced by district and state

assessments, and were challenged by the diversity of learning problems.
The TLC supported teacher change by providing a discussion forum
through which a structured process for problem solving and questioning of
beliefs and practices was implemented. The TLC also provided teachers
access to research-based innovations and resources.
The reflective friend, who initially served as a teacher’s aide,
gathered data. The reflective friend’s role as a participant-observer
developed to include a teaching partner and coach, research interpreter,
and facilitator for teacher reflection, problem solving, and efficacy. Data
were collected by the reflective friend from 327 hours of classroom
observations during a period of 2-1/2 years. Four interviews were
conducted with each teacher, and minutes from 126 hours of meetings and
workshops were maintained. Data were coded and categorized
thematically according to event similarity.
All participating teachers made varying degrees of change in their
classroom practices. Each teacher’s instructional approach influenced that
change. Teachers using a traditional approach were able to incorporate
student-centered instruction, alternative instructional groupings, and
refined assessment instruments. One teacher who was innovative
constantly revised her practices to improve student learning and used
more directed remediation resources to help students with learning
problems.
XI

CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION TO THE PROBLEM
For the past two decades, researchers have noted little change in the
way teachers teach (Cuban, 1990; Fullan, 1993; Hargreaves, 1994b; Sarason,
1990; White 1991). Despite the surge of innovative practices, such as
cognitive strategy instruction, phonological awareness, and integrated
thematic instruction, teachers rarely use these practices in their classrooms
(Adams, 1990; Elmore, 1996; Harris & Pressley, 1991; Kovalik & Olsen,
1998) Most classroom teachers continue to teach the way they were taught in
spite of the compelling research evidence that suggests they should change
(Elmore, 1996; Sarason, 1990).
Many proponents of school reform suggest that teachers’ adherence to
traditional practices will doom many children to failure, especially given
changes in the student population. Significant changes in the student
population suggest that, to succeed in school, many children will require
innovative classroom approaches. To illustrate the current diverse student
population, Fuchs, Fuchs, Mathes, and Simmons (1997) projected this
scenario for the future:
Now picture this: 34 children in an urban third-grade classroom, one
third of whom live in poverty. Six live with grandparents, and three
are in foster care. Five come from homes in which a language other
than English is spoken; two children do not speak English at all.
Seven, six, five, three, two, and one are African American, Hispanic
American, Korean, Russian, Haitian, and Chinese, respectively. Six
are new to the school, and four will relocate to a different school next
1

2
year. Only five of the 34 students are at or above grade level in
reading; 10 are two or more grade levels below. There is a 5-grade
spread in reading achievement. .. two other students in the class have
been physically or sexually abused, (pp. 176-177)
These students will require considerable support in general education
settings because their sheer numbers overwhelm the resources available in
specialized settings. According to Goodlad (1990) our nation has become
increasingly diverse, which places enormous demands on teachers to redesign
schools capable of meeting the challenging demands of society at large. Thus,
schools and teachers are under increased pressure to accommodate more
diverse students in general education settings. Educational researchers and
staff developers need to know more about how to help teachers, especially
general education teachers, address the educational needs of a diverse
population (Elmore, 1996; Fullan 1993).
Over the past decade and a half, schools have been under increasing
pressure to include students with disabilities, even those with significant
disabilities, in the general education classroom (Gartner & Lipsky, 1987;
Henley, Ramsey, & Algozzine, 1999; Salend, 1994; Smith, 1998; Turnbull,
Turnbull, Shank, & Leal, 1998; Will, 1986). Including special education
students in general education classrooms has only made matters more
complicated for general education teachers (Gersten & Woodward, 1990;
Sailor, 1991). Previously, special education had been thought of as a place
where teachers transferred their most difficult problem students into the
hands of experts (Gersten & Woodward, 1990). Once students were placed in
special education, rarely were they returned to the mainstream (Gersten &
Woodward, 1990).

3
For teachers, the inclusion of so many diverse students in a classroom
presents enormous challenges. For example, teachers typically expect to use
grade-specific curriculum for all students in their classroom (Pugach &
Warger, 1996). However, students with cognitive disabilities may have
difficulty succeeding in grade level curriculum and will need teachers to
adapt the curriculum to meet their individual instructional needs.
Differentiating the curriculum and making modifications and
accommodations have typically not been within the scope of general
education teachers’ responsibilities. Additionally, teachers have more
behavioral problems in their classrooms, and they are ill equipped to deal
with them (Landrum & Kauffman, 1992). In the past when teachers
encountered such behaviors, they typically referred students to other school
personnel; increasingly they are being asked to address these challenges in
the mainstream (Salend, 1994).
Although many general educators support the concept of including
students with disabilities in general education, they have reservations about
its actual application (Baker & Zigmond, 1995; McIntosh, Vaughn, Schumm,
Haager, & Lee, 1993). General education teachers have to make adjustments
in their teaching practices to meet the challenges presented by such a diverse
student population (Zigmond & Baker, 1990). Teachers’ reservations stem
from what they perceive as lack of support for making adjustments. In a
literature review on teachers’ attitudes toward mainstreaming, Scruggs and
Mastropieri (1996) concluded that most teachers supported the principles
behind mainstreaming although many indicated personal hesitancy about
providing services to students with disabilities. They had concerns about the

4
need for more time, training, personnel resources, and materials, as well as
reduced class size. Other researchers have found that general education
teachers feel ill-prepared to teach students with disabilities (Vaughn,
Schumm, Jallad, Slusher, & Saumell, 1996) primarily because they find it
hard to manage curricular adaptations (Baker & Zigmond, 1990; Schumm &
Vaughn, 1995; Vaughn & Schumm, 1994). Teachers’ concerns about their
preparation make sense given that general education teachers have a good
understanding of content but limited knowledge of learning problems and the
accommodations and strategies necessary to include special needs students
(Pugach & Warger, 1996).
Researchers examining inclusive classrooms have found that teachers’
concerns about preparation are well founded. Zigmond and Baker (1990)
reported that even when teachers willingly participated in inclusive efforts,
their instructional styles were not compatible with the principles of inclusion.
Teachers planned and instructed students as a whole group, making little
accommodation for individual differences. Baker and Zigmond (1995)
conducted case studies in five different states to determine the effectiveness
of inclusive programs for students with mild disabilities. After observing
classrooms that district administrators identified as examples of successful
inclusion, the authors concluded that definitions of success were based on
students needing little or no accommodation. Baker and Zigmond questioned
general education teachers’ ability to include students when they were not
providing individualized and specially designed instruction. In a similar vein,
McIntosh et al. (1993) investigated teachers’ planning practices and found
that teachers made few instructional adjustments. If classroom teachers are

5
to change how they teach so as to accommodate difficult students, they will
need staff development.
Current Practice in Staff Development
Successful inclusion requires teachers to learn innovative practices to
meet diverse student needs. Radical changes in teachers’ practices, however,
are unlikely given the difficulty of change and the nature of current staff
development practices in schools (Leiberman & Miller, 1991; McLaughlin,
1991). In most staff development efforts, teachers typically learn about
innovations outside of their classrooms with little follow-up or feedback. Staff
development has generally taken a “one size fits all’’ approach to educating
teachers about effective practices for inclusion. For instance, districts often
provide one-shot workshops that give teachers general information about
disabilities and some teaching tips for working with students (McLaughlin,
1991; Tillema, 1995).
In recent years, researchers have advocated that teachers’ roles must
be reconceptualized to make a lasting impact on teachers’ practices
(Hamilton & Richardson, 1995; Joyce & Showers, 1988; Sparks & Loucks-
Horsley, 1990). In a literature review on staff development, Sparks and
Loucks-Horsley (1990) concluded that effective staff development should be
comprised of (a) schools with norms that support collegiality and
experimentation; (b) district and building administrators who clarify goals
and expectations and actively commit to and support teachers’ efforts to
change their practice; (c) school reform efforts that are strongly focused on
changes in curricular, instructional, and classroom management practices
with improved student learning as the goal; and (d) adequate and

appropriate staff development and follow-up assistance that continues long
enough for new behaviors to be incorporated into ongoing practice.
6
Until now, staff development has neglected factors such as individual
teachers’ knowledge and beliefs or personal ability (Showers, 1990). Although
we know that teachers’ beliefs play a powerful role in their adoption of an
innovation, rarely are entering levels of knowledge and personal beliefs
addressed as part of staff development (Richardson & Anders, 1994; Stein &
Wang, 1988). Staff development has also been delivered in ways that do not
consider teachers’ ability to implement changes (DuFour, 1997; Fullan, 1991).
Trainers make faulty assumptions about teachers’ abilities to understand,
commit, and reflect on new teaching practices and wrongly assume that
teachers can make substantial changes without personal support. For
teachers to change practices as inclusion requires, professional development
will have to be reconceptualized. At this point, there are few research studies
describing efforts to restructure professional development for inclusion.
How Special Education Research Has Responded to These Issues
In recent years, special education researchers have become involved in
training general education teachers who work with students with disabilities.
Knowing that the teachers find staff development ineffective and that
research often does not translate into practice, researchers have attempted to
create training opportunities that result in sustained changes in practice. As
a result, common elements of best practice in professional development have
emerged. In my review of the literature on special educators working with
general education teachers, I found 10 studies that described effective
professional development. In these studies, researchers provided teachers (a)

7
information relevant to their needs, (b) opportunities to receive feedback from
an observer, and (c) collaboration or consultation between special education
and general education teachers and researchers.
First, as a result of working with researchers or special education
teachers, teachers learned new practices specific to their personal needs
(Boudah, Deshler, Schumaker, Lenz, & Cook, 1997; Fuchs, Fuchs, Hamlett,
Phillips, & Kams, 1995; Gersten, Morvant, & Brengelman, 1995; Marks &
Gersten, 1998; O’Connor, Jenkins, & Leicester, 1992; Pugach & Johnson,
1995; Stein & Wang, 1988; Tillema, 1995; Vaughn, Hughes, Klingner, &
Schumm, 1998; Voltz, Elliott, & Harris, 1995). In these formats, teachers
learned about instructional accommodations for individual students (Marks
& Gersten, 1998; O’Connor et al., 1992; Pugach & Johnson, 1995), small
groups of students (Boudah et al., 1997; Gersten et al., 1995), and whole
classes (Fuchs et al., 1995; Stein & Wang, 1988; Tillema, 1995; Vaughn et al.,
1998; Voltz et al., 1995). In some cases, researchers asked participants what
areas of the curriculum they had concerns about when including diverse
learners and then responded with innovations to address those subjects
(Vaughn et al., 1998). Also, to increase the likelihood that teachers would use
innovations, researchers chose innovations that were easy to use and
implement (Fuchs et al., 1995; Gersten et al., 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998).
Second, many of these professional development projects provided
observation and feedback through meetings with researchers (Boudah et al.,
1997; Fuchs et al., 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998) or special education teachers,
who acted as consultants (Gersten et al., 1995; Marks & Gersten, 1998;
O’Connor et al., 1992; Pugach & Johnson, 1995; Voltz et al., 1995). All of

8
these projects lasted for at least a year, with one lasting for two (Boudah et
al., 1997). In these studies, teachers met on a regular basis either to
collaborate with a researcher or consult with a special education teacher
about observations in their classrooms. The special education consultants
observed the general education teacher, provided feedback, and suggested
interventions to improve instruction (Gersten et al., 1995; Marks & Gersten,
1998; O’Connor et al., 1992; Pugach & Johnson, 1995; Voltz et al., 1995). In
some of these consultations, specific scripted processes were used (Pugach &
Johnson, 1995; Voltz et al., 1995). Occasionally, researchers worked directly
with teachers, providing them with assistance in implementing the
innovations. They then debriefed with teachers about specific problems and
successes (Fuchs et al., 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998). In other cases, the
observer provided teachers with student assessment data that helped
teachers to understand students’ response to instruction (Fuchs et al., 1995;
O’Connor et al., 1992; Vaughn et al., 1998). With researchers’ assistance,
teachers used student data as a basis for implementing changes in their
instruction. Teachers selected interventions to implement after considering
the types of problems students had. Overall, the results of these studies
underscored the importance in of in-class observers: They provide teachers
with feedback on students, problems, and implementation success, and they
offered them suggestions about how to solve classroom problems.
Third, teachers received ongoing support in their development of new
practices through interactions with observers (Boudah et al., 1997; Fuchs et
al., 1995; Gersten et al., 1995; Marks & Gersten, 1998; O’Connor et al., 1992;
Pugach & Johnson, 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998; Voltz et al., 1995). In such

9
studies, teachers’ collaboration with one or two individuals focused on solving
problems of practice in their classrooms. In one study, Boudah et al. (1997)
used group collaboration between teachers and researchers in which teachers
learned about a comprehension strategy. Teachers reviewed videotapes of
their teaching and talked about how well their practices matched the
innovation they had learned. Researchers in this study also asked teachers to
think about individual students with special needs when they planned for
instruction. As a group, teachers were able to generate ideas about how to
accommodate individual students; they also received ongoing support in their
efforts to implement new practices. Reflection within a group provides
teachers support to experiment and develop new practices.
In sum, general education teachers learned about information that was
relevant to their needs for teaching students with disabilities. They also had
interaction with an outsider; either a researcher or consultant watched them
implement new practices and then provided them feedback. Throughout the
professional development experience, teachers received ongoing support in
their efforts to learn new practices.
Lingering Gaps
In spite of the efforts made in professional development to provide
support for learning inclusive practices, teachers have not always used them
and sustained their implementation. In some cases, teachers reported that
innovations were complicated to use (Stein & Wang, 1988). In others, they
chose easy-to-implement innovations over ones that were more complicated
(Fuchs et al., 1995; Marks & Gersten, 1998; Vaughn et al., 1998). Even when
teachers learned about multiple strategies and innovations that had proven

10
helpful to their students, rarely did they use them consistently after support
from the outsider ended (Fuchs et al., 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998). Observers
provided teachers motivation to engage in new practices by providing them
assessment data on their students as part of their observations (Fuchs et al.,
1995; O’Connor et al., 1992; Vaughn et al., 1998). However, teachers did not
continue to collect assessment data on their students once outside
involvement had ended.
Critical feedback from an outside observer can help teachers to reflect
about their practices. Outside observers can assist teachers in their
acquisition of new practices by providing them demonstrations and
assistance in their initial attempts at change. When observations are
discontinued, teachers typically get no critical feedback, and as a result,
teachers may not see or understand problems that arise. To complicate this
problem because the outsider is no longer involved, teachers do not have
anyone with whom to problem solve. Most studies focused on temporary
assistance rather than on techniques for teachers providing critical feedback
to peers. Teachers were afforded consultation (O’Connor et al., 1992; Voltz et
al., 1995), coaching (Gersten et al., 1995; Marks & Gersten, 1998; Pugach &
Johnson, 1995), and researcher support (Fuchs et al., 1995; Vaughn et al.,
1998) for periods up to 1 year. Only in one case (Vaughn et al., 1998) did
researchers go back the following year to determine if teachers had
implemented practices at the same level as the previous year. Not
surprisingly, Vaughn and her colleagues found that they had not done so.
Providing teachers with intense support through observation, feedback, and

11
assessment for 1 year did not guarantee continuing implementation in
subsequent years without support for doing so.
Finally, teachers were presented uniform innovations (Fuchs et al.,
1995; Stein & Wang, 1988; Tillema, 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998) or ones that
were at odds with their perspectives of teaching and learning (Marks &
Gersten, 1998; O’Connor et al., 1992). These studies established that teaching
the same innovations to a group of teachers would not guarantee that they
would implement them to the same degree. Teachers have different
motivations, interests, needs, and beliefs that may inhibit or facilitate their
learning (Vaughn et al., 1998). Teachers need to learn innovations that are
appropriate for their needs and that match their beliefs. When special
education consultants work with individual teachers to accommodate
students with disabilities, they need to suggest strategies that are consistent
with teachers’ frameworks for teaching and learning.
Consultants must also take into consideration teachers’ concern for the
whole group (Marks & Gersten, 1998; O’Connor et al., 1992). Students who
require accommodations are just one of many concerns for teachers. For
teachers to implement an innovation effectively, they have to understand the
innovation, believe that it will be effective for most of their students, and see
how it will fit within their current routines. For professional development to
be effective in assisting general education teachers to implement inclusive
practices, we need to have a better understanding of (a) how to provide
supportive structures for learning that can be sustained when outside
involvement has ended, (b) how to provide innovations that are compatible
with individual teachers’ frameworks for teaching and learning, and (c) how

12
to address teachers’ concerns for all of their students while helping them
think about students’ individual needs.
Contribution of Mv Study
A review of the existing special education staff development literature
revealed several problems; chief among them is the lack of ongoing support
for participating teachers. In the present study, I attempted to avoid this
problem by supporting individual teachers’ learning and their subsequent
adoption of more effective instructional practices. Teachers received support
through collaboration with their peers and feedback from an outside
researcher. Part of the design of this study included procedures for tracking
teacher change as levels of support from the outside researcher changed.
Many studies in general education describe the group change process,
yet change occurs also with the individual (Guskey, 1994). Therefore, the
need also exists to understand how individuals are affected in the process of
change (Loucks-Horsley & Roody, 1990). Teachers may voluntarily
participate in a staff development program, learn the same innovations, and
yet make different degrees of changes. Deford (1993) stated that
understanding a teacher’s ability to change requires an analysis of teachers’
beliefs, the context of teaching and learning, and how they both relate to the
practices implemented. In her study of teachers learning Reading Recovery,
Deford found that instructional practices and beliefs about reading influenced
the teachers’ learning. She concluded that researchers needed to understand
the risk that teachers take in rethinking traditional practices and replacing
them with unfamiliar techniques (Deford, 1993). Genuine changes in
instruction will occur when teachers are able to think differently about what

13
is going on in their classrooms and then incorporate new practices that match
(Richardson, Anders, Tidwell, & Lloyd, 1991). Outside researchers who act as
critical friends can provide teachers with the opportunity to reexamine their
beliefs, develop understandings of innovations, and develop skill in their use
(DuFour, 1997). Costa and Kallick (1993) defined the critical friend as one
who
provides feedback to an individual-a student, a teacher, or an
administrator-or to a group. A critical friend is a trusted person who
asks provocative questions, provides data to be examined through
another lens, and offers a critique of a person’s work as a friend, (pp.
49-50)
In spite of the evolving research on effective professional development, few
studies exist that provide rich descriptions of teachers involved in
collaboration with a critical friend. Equally absent from the literature are
studies of general education teachers involved in professional development
efforts aimed at improving the inclusion of students with disabilities. Given
the current state of instructional practice in inclusive classrooms, researchers
need to have a better understanding of how effective professional
development efforts can be designed and implemented to help teachers
develop inclusive practices.
Purpose
The purpose of my study was to describe the individual change process
of teachers involved in a collaborative learning group with university
researchers. Within the context of the learning group, one of the researchers
acted as a reflective friend. The term reflective friend is used instead of
critical friend to distinguish between one who prompts teachers to reflect on
their practices as opposed to one who critiques practice. The reflective friend

14
assisted members in addressing dilemmas they encountered while
instructing and managing high-risk learners through questioning and
problem solving. The reflective friend, as part of the collaborative group,
worked to help teachers recognize conflicts in their teaching and to develop
resolutions to those conflicts by incorporating effective teaching strategies
and innovations. In addition, the reflective friend provided opportunities for
reflection on and evaluation of new practices.
Through careful documentation of the change process, I addressed the
following research question: Can general education teachers collaborating
with university researchers change their practices to include students with
academic and behavior challenges? The following subquestions helped to
focus the study:
1. How does teachers’ context support or hinder teacher learning?
2. What role does the collaborative group play?
3. What role does the reflective friend play in this process?
Design of the Study
Qualitative research methods were used to gather and analyze data.
Data were collected on four teachers who participated in a collaborative
teacher learning group, which is referred to as a Teacher Learning Cohort
(TLC), from February 1997 to June 1999. Data included (a) observations of
the teachers’ classrooms; (b) documentation of collaborative group meetings
and workshops; (c) notes from conversations with individual teachers; (d)
interviews concerning teaching practices, difficult students, and the learning
process; and (e) action plans in which teachers documented the types of
interventions and strategies they implemented in their classrooms. Relevant

15
artifacts were also collected to add to the richness of data. These artifacts
included newspaper clippings about the TLC, teacher-made products, and one
teacher’s description of the TLC.
Definition of Terms
This study described teachers working with researchers to solve
challenging problems that occurred in their classrooms. These teachers
worked together as a group to help each other meet academic and behavioral
challenges. The following terms are used throughout the dissertation.
Staff development is used interchangeably with the term professional
development and understood to mean processes that improve job-related
knowledge, skills, or attitudes of school personnel.
Innovation is any idea, product, or process that calls for changes in
behavior, beliefs, or understanding as a result of participation.
Framework is teachers’ understandings, knowledge, beliefs, and
practices that influence their teaching and learning.
Inclusion is the full-time placement of students with disabilities in
general education classrooms, where traditional support services are brought
to the child. Inclusive classrooms may be characterized as communities
where all students are valued and are engaged in learning.
Collaboration is two or more individuals committed to working
together for a previously agreed upon purpose. School/University
collaborations involve teachers and researchers who work together for a
specific purpose.
Teacher Learning Cohort (TLC) is a specific name for a single
school/university collaboration. The TLC may be characterized as a group

16
that regularly met to discuss problems of practice, generate solutions to those
problems, and report the results of attempts to solve the problems.
Reflective friend, in this study, is an outside special education
researcher who worked with a collaborative group of general education
teachers to change their practices. The reflective friend observed and
provided feedback to teachers about their current practices and the new
practices they implemented. The term reflective friend is used instead of
critical friend to emphasize the role of helping teachers reflect about their
own practices as opposed to offering a critique of their practices.
This study is a contribution to the small body of literature focusing on
teacher development of inclusive practices. The focus of this study was to
document the change process and, in particular, the role of the reflective
friend, the collaborative group, and the teachers’ context in the process of
change. The results of this study will contribute to an understanding of how
individual teachers change and the influence that teaching context and
external agents have in that process.
The results of this study may aid teacher education professionals in
developing strategies for supporting teachers’ adoption of inclusive practices
in the general education classroom. Teacher educators and staff developers
may find the framework helpful in guiding their future work with teachers.
Finally, researchers will gain additional knowledge of how to strengthen
their relationships with individual schools, teachers, and students.

17
Limitations
There are two main limitations of this study that must be taken into
consideration when interpreting the results. First, because of using case
study methodology, only a small number of teachers could be included in the
study. Case study research requires the researcher to provide rich
descriptions of the phenomenon; therefore, an intensive amount of time is
focused on a particular interest—in this case, four teachers learning inclusive
practices. The time involved in observing, interviewing, and debriefing the
participants was the chief reason I limited the number of participants to four.
M
Second, findings are specific to the four participants, the TLC group, and the
, *
school at which the study took place. Caution should be exercised when
applying the results to any other population or context or when drawing
general conclusions about the results. The present study does, however,
provide insight into the change process, the role of the reflective friend and
the collaborative group, and the influences of teachers’ context at one school.
Specific descriptions of the participants, the school, and the work of the TLC
may allow other researchers to make comparisons with other, similar
circumstances. The reader, therefore, must determine how useful or
applicable the results of this study are to his or her particular situation.

CHAPTER 2
REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE
The focus of my study is to describe general education teachers’ use of
inclusive practices and how those practices changed through their
participation in a collaborative learning group with university researchers.
Issues relevant to my study are the roles of the collaborative group, reflective
friend, and teachers’ context. Typically, teachers learn about new ideas
through professional development programs. For professional development to
be meaningful to its participants, specific elements need to be in place to
provide them with relevant experiences and information. Elements of
professional development addressed in this literature review are (a)
practicality of the innovation, (b) demonstration of and feedback about the
innovation, (c) collaboration as a means for teacher development, and (d)
personal qualities of teachers that are important for change.
This chapter is divided into three major sections. First, I describe the
selection criteria for the inclusion of studies. Second, I summarize the teacher
change literature through the discussion of four essential components of
professional development. Finally, I conclude with a discussion of the issues
that are important to resolve when working with general education teachers
who are learning inclusive practices.
18

19
Selection Críteria for Relevant Literature
Studies considered for this literature review met certain criteria. They
were empirical and included descriptions of participants, methodology, data
analysis, and findings. The literature search came from two data bases: ERIC
(1984-1998) and Education Index (1984-1998). The following terms were used
to conduct the search: teacher, change, innovation, research, practice,
collaboration, teacher assistance teams, collaborative consultation, staff
development, university, and study. All studies included for this review were
published between 1984-2000.
I identified 11 books, 46 journal articles, and 21 professional
conference presentations for a total of 78 studies. Studies were excluded from
this review if (a) the study did not address either collaboration or teacher
change in beliefs or practices, (b) the authors’ conclusions were general,
vague, or lacking rigor, and (c) findings were not clearly stated. Table A-l
(see Appendix A) presents a list of 36 studies that specifically addressed
change in teachers’ practices as a result of participation in professional
development. The table provides information on the author, participants,
methodology, and findings.
Conceptual Framework for Teacher Change
This review considered studies that described a teacher or group of
teachers that participated in learning a new innovation and the changes in
practices, structures, or quality of their job that resulted. Specifically, studies
had to document how a teacher developed (a) new knowledge or practices, (b)
structures in their environment (e.g., team teaching, interdisciplinary
planning), or (c) support, trust, or confidence as a result of the innovation.

20
Studies were also included if changes in teacher practices occurred as a result
of greater collaboration in the environment.
Researchers in education have advocated that creating changes in
teachers’ practices can occur through meaningful professional development
that includes specific factors to promote teacher learning (Gersten &
Woodward, 1990; Hamilton & Richardson 1995; Hargreaves, 1994a; Joyce &
Showers, 1988; Sparks & Loucks-Horsley, 1989). These factors include (a)
practical, understandable, and concrete innovations, (b) outside perspective,
(c) collaboration, and (d) teacher readiness for change. Learning occurs when
the specific factors are embedded in an authentic context and is sustained
over time. Professional development programs described in this review were
either a one-time workshop or an on-going project. All the studies addressed
one or all of the four factors that create teacher change.
Practical. Understandable, and Concrete Innovations
Gersten and Woodward (1990) used the term “reality principle” to
emphasize the importance of teachers learning in a natural context
innovations that are practical and useful to their personal needs and interest.
If innovations are deemed impractical, unmanageable, or complicated,
teachers will abandon their use. Just explaining the research behind the
innovation is not enough for teachers to incorporate it into their classrooms
(Gersten & Woodward, 1990; Richardson, 1996). Teachers incorporate new
practices when they are able to see (a) the practicality of the innovation, (b)
the match between the innovation and their teaching style and beliefs, and
(c) concrete examples of application.

21
The Practicality of the Innovation
Teachers consider their time valuable and want to implement
innovations that enhance student learning. Three issues of practicality are
important to consider. First, if teachers learn new practices that are feasible
to incorporate into their teaching repertoire, then they will more likely
sustain their use (Gersten & Woodward, 1990; Fullan, 1982). Teachers need
to understand how to implement the innovation, how it will benefit students,
and how it fits into their current routine. Failure for a teacher to understand
the logistics of the innovation will result in little or no change (Briscoe &
Peters, 1997; Gersten et al., 1995; O’Connor et al., 1992; Prawat, 1992; Stein
& Wang, 1988; Tillema, 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998).
In an attempt to understand teacher success in implementing
innovative programs, Stein and Wang (1988) studied 14 teachers whose
schools were implementing the Adaptive Learning Environments Model
(ALEM). Teachers were assessed in their success in implementing 11 critical
dimensions of ALEM. In two particular areas—interactive teaching and
creating and maintaining instructional materials-teachers had more
difficulty implementing the procedures and did not reach the criterion for
mastery. These teachers did not reach mastery because they had difficulty
managing and understanding all the components. The authors concluded that
“some dimensions appear to be easier to improve on than others” (p. 179).
Overall, innovations must be feasible and easily implemented for teachers to
find value in them.
Second, teachers have to see demonstrable changes in their students to
find value in innovations. As teachers see students improve academically,

22
they become committed to their change efforts (Courtland & Welsh, 1990;
Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Fuchs et al., 1995; Lipman, 1997; McIntyre & Kyle,
1995). In a 3-year period, Courtland and Welsh (1990) described the evolution
of an elementary teacher in the implementation of a writing process
approach. In the first year, the teacher used one component of the program
and saw little improvement in student work. After consulting with literacy
experts, he committed the next year to implement additional components of
the program. As he saw students improve in their writing ability over the
second year, he decided to implement the complete program in the third year.
He then became the writing expert in his school and assisted other teachers
in implementing process writing into their instructional routines.
Innovations have to show improvement from what typically occurs in
classrooms before teachers will adopt them into their instructional routines.
Generally, teachers who implement changes and see that the innovation
improves student learning will want to continue in the development of their
practices (Englert & Tarrant, 1995; O’Connor et al., 1992; Richardson &
Anders, 1994).
Third, not only must innovations demonstrate student improvement,
but also they must address the needs of most students in the class, and this is
particularly true for general education teachers working with students with
disabilities. General education teachers need to understand how innovations
benefit most of or all their students or they will not use them (O’Connor et
al., 1992; Vaughn et al., 1998). For instance, in a year-long teacher-
researcher professional group, Vaughn et al. (1998) found that general
education teachers who were including students with disabilities wanted to

23
learn instructional practices that could be used with the whole class.
Teachers wanted to learn strategies that would benefit their students with
learning disabilities and enhance the learning of the other students.
Strategies that benefit few students are not viewed as valuable by a
teacher concerned with the whole group. Because of this view, when general
education teachers receive classroom support from a special educator to
include students with learning disabilities, they expect that new strategies
and procedures that are student specific are the responsibility of the special
education teacher (O’Connor et al., 1992). In general, teachers including
students with disabilities need to accept responsibility for the individual
progress of their students. As general and special education teachers
continue to work together, general education teachers should be primarily
responsible for choosing, implementing, and evaluating strategies to use with
students who are experiencing problems. For example, when general
educators who collaborated with a specialist to improve student difficulties
correctly identified learning problems and developed their own solutions to
implement, they were able to take ownership of the intervention being
implemented (O’Connor et al., 1992). As they observed student improvement,
teachers continued in and valued their work with the specialist. These
teachers were able to develop practices that addressed individual concerns of
students while maintaining the needs of the whole group. Once the
practicality issue is addressed, however, teachers need to understand how the
innovation fits with their personal style and beliefs so that they will sustain
its use.

24
Compatibility between Teacher and Innovation
Teachers implement changes in their practices when they see the
application and usefulness of the innovation for their classroom. Often,
researchers report that participants change in varying degrees even when
participating in equivalent professional development experiences (Briscoe &
Peters, 1997; Tillema, 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998; Wilson, 1990). Perhaps the
different levels of change are a result of the match between the teacher’s
instructional style and beliefs and the innovation (Briscoe & Peters, 1997;
Courtland & Welsh, 1990; Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Etchberger & Shaw,
1992; Gersten et ah, 1995; Kohler, McCullough, & Buchan, 1995; Martens,
1992; O’Connor et al., 1992; Peterson, McCarthey, & Elmore, 1996; Prawat,
1992; Stein & Wang, 1988; Tillema, 1995; Vaughn et ah, 1998; Wilson, 1990).
Teachers bring diverse backgrounds, expertise, and experiences to staff
development projects. They also have different needs and levels of
understanding (Tillema, 1995). Because of these differences, teachers need
professional development opportunities that provide diverse learning
experiences and address beliefs about teaching and learning.
Professional development projects should allow teachers to pursue an
area of personal improvement. Englert and Tarrant (1995) described a
literacy project over a 3-year period where researchers worked with four
special education teachers. Teachers chose to specialize in different areas of
literacy based on their interests and teaching histories. All teachers initially
chose activities to implement based on what they knew and what they
wanted to know. One teacher, Melissa, had previous experience in a whole-
language classroom and wanted to learn about strategy instruction. She

25
focused on developing a strategic approach to literacy instruction. Another
teacher, Kate, was interested in learning about teaching writing to her
students. She developed an author’s center with cross-age groups. These
teachers chose areas of personal interest to develop and stayed committed to
implementing those changes. Making individual choices about what ideas to
incorporate in classroom routines increases the teachers’ level of ownership
in their professional development.
Addressing beliefs as part of the staff development process is also
important to fostering teacher change (Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Richardson,
& Anders, 1994; Wood, Cobb, & Yackel, 1991). Beliefs, when not addressed or
reconciled as a component in the staff development program, can work
against teachers learning an innovation (Lipman, 1997; Martens, 1992;
Prawat, 1992; Voltz et al., 1995; Westheimer, 1998; Wilson, 1990). The way
teachers implement an innovation is influenced by their framework of
understandings, beliefs, and practices. Accurate implementation requires a
match between a teacher’s framework and the principles underlying the
innovation. Teachers are more likely to persist in implementation when such
a match occurs (Briscoe & Peters, 1997; Etchberger & Shaw, 1992; Martens,
1992; Prawat, 1992; Wilson, 1990). Based on observations and interviews,
Wilson (1990) described the instructional practices of Mark Black, a fifth-
grade math teacher, during his first year implementing a new math series
adopted by the state of California. No considerations had been made for
developing teachers’ personal beliefs to ensure for compatibility between
beliefs and curriculum rationales. Consequently, the teacher selected and
used portions of the text based on his own understanding about how to teach

26
math. Even though the new curriculum provided rationales for the concepts
included in the text, all were subject to interpretation, based on his personal
understanding. Consequently, teachers need opportunities to understand
rationales behind the innovation and recognize incompatibilities that exist
with personal teaching styles and beliefs.
Not only must beliefs be addressed, but also innovations selected for
implementation must closely match the teachers’ current understandings of
instruction. When teachers are presented with new ideas that contradict
their personal frameworks, they may discard the new ideas (Pajares, 1992).
Teachers need a compatible match between what they understand about
teaching and learning and the innovation. One way for outside researchers
and staff developers to facilitate this process is by observing in classrooms in
order to gain a better understanding of the participant (Vaughn et al., 1998).
Observing teachers provides the researchers with information that enables
them to fine-tune the product to meet the needs of the teacher better. It is
important to create learning opportunities for teachers based on their
interests, experiences, and concerns (Englert, Tarrant, & Rozendahl, 1993).
Professional development relationships can become stronger when teachers
believe the researcher understands their environment, the demands of their
job, and provides appropriate experiences for their development (Englert et
al., 1993). Researchers should assist teachers in understanding the potential
power of the innovation and how it fits in their current classroom routine.
This process helps teachers reconcile their personal beliefs and knowledge
and best practice.

27
Need for Concrete Examples
One important way to develop teachers’ understanding of an
innovation is providing them with concrete examples of how the innovation
works. If teachers can visualize how an innovation works in their classroom,
then they will be more successful during implementation. Classroom
innovations can be difficult to understand when first introduced. Teachers
need concrete examples to illustrate how new practices or strategies will
work in their personal settings. Teachers use modeling as a form of effective
instruction while introducing new concepts to their students and
subsequently need it themselves to understand how an innovation will apply
in the context of their classroom (Courtland & Welsh, 1990; Etchberger &
Shaw, 1992; Gersten & Woodward, 1990; Peterson et al., 1996; Vaughn et al.,
1998; Wilson, 1990).
Courtland and Welsh (1990) worked with one teacher, Bob, to
implement a process writing approach. In his first year of implementation,
Bob used the process writing approach during journal writing activities. He
had difficulty understanding how to use the approach across the writing
curriculum. As a consequence, he participated in a university course on
language and writing and attended conferences and inservice. He sought
support from his principal and a language arts instructor at a local university
to better understand and implement the process writing approach. The
principad and instructor provided the teacher with support by discussing
reading materials, observing his class, providing demonstration lessons, and
giving him feedback. Through his work with other professionals and their
assistance in helping him see the application of concepts through

28
demonstration lessons, he was able to incorporate changes in writing
throughout the curriculum. Generally, teachers benefit from concrete
examples to assist them in understanding innovations.
In summary, if innovations are to be used by teachers, they must be
appropriate given teachers’ individual needs. Innovations have to be practical
and relatively easy for teachers to incorporate. Changes that have many
components, do not demonstrate student improvement, and do not benefit
most of the students will not be sustained. To increase the likelihood of
sustaining new practices, teachers’ personal frameworks for teaching have to
match the rationales behind the innovation. Teachers also require support in
understanding how to use practices, strategies, and curriculum through
concrete examples. Assisting teachers in understanding the importance of
innovations and their applicability to their classrooms will require on-going
support through demonstrations and reflection.
Outside Perspective
Teachers benefit from watching demonstrations of how innovations
work and need time to reflect individually and as a group with someone from
outside the typical school environment (Courtland & Welsh, 1990; Wood et
al., 1991). Outside professionals, such as researchers and teacher educators,
can bring diverse perspectives to a group (Briscoe & Peters, 1997; Jones,
1997; Richardson & Anders, 1994). District personnel with expertise in given
areas have been advocated as a resource to reflect critically with teachers
about their practices (Senge, 1990). However, in studies reporting the
importance of outsider perspectives, the outsiders are typically researchers,
who are more likely to write about their work than district trainers. Diverse

29
perspectives can challenge traditional practices and assist teachers to reflect
critically about their instruction. Outsiders can help teachers to conceptualize
the innovation through demonstrations and then provide them with
opportunities to reflect on difficulties in implementation and
incompatibilities that might occur with their current practices.
The notion of a critical friend has been introduced as a way for
individuals, groups, or schools to receive thoughtful feedback and assistance
in improving instructional practice (Costa & Kallick, 1993; Muncey &
McQuillan, 1993; Senge, 1990). Knowledgeable outsiders who offer expertise
in specific areas can assist teachers in learning innovations through
demonstrations and then help them reflect on how to use them effectively
(Boudah, et al., 1997; da Costa, 1993; Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Englert et
ah, 1993; Fuchs, et ah, 1995; Richardson & Anders, 1994; Vaughn et ah,
1998). However, the outside person must be one the teachers trust before
they feel comfortable with him/her in their classrooms and listen to his/her
feedback (Costa & Kallick, 1993; Richardson & Anders, 1994; Wood et ah,
1991). In summary, outsiders provide another viewpoint, one that is removed
from the everyday situation of the classroom. When outsiders have gained
teachers’ trust, they can (a) demonstrate new innovations and (b) promote
reflection in participants. Demonstrating for teachers the implementation of
new practices and providing them with feedback provides teachers with a
different perspective than what they are typically afforded through personal
reflection (Hargreaves, 1994a).

30
Demonstration
Teachers benefit from having someone in their classroom to assist
them in applying a strategy or practice (Courtland & Welsh, 1990; Englert &
Tarrant, 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998). Teachers have commented about the
importance of having another set of hands in the classroom to assist them in
correctly incorporating the new practice and to get assistance in solving
problems as they arise (Englert et al., 1993; Richardson & Anders, 1994;
Wood et al., 1991). In a project where special education researchers worked
with general education teachers to learn four inclusion strategies, teachers
indicated that one of the perceived benefits of the project was to have the
research partner provide demonstration lessons in their classroom (Vaughn
et al., 1998). One of the teachers indicated that teachers are often afraid to
try new things because of the fear of failure. Having the researcher
demonstrate the strategy in the classroom and having an opportunity to
implement it while being observed assisted teachers in becoming competent.
Through the demonstration process, teachers were able to receive assurance
from the outsider about adapting strategies to best meet the needs of their
individual classrooms. Overall, teachers benefit from another perspective as
they attempt to implement new practices.
Reflection
Teachers need opportunities to reflect on their practices with
researchers and other members in the collaborative group (Lipman, 1997).
One way for teachers to understand the need for change is having them
review videotapes of their instruction (Richardson & Anders, 1994; Wood et
al., 1991). Some researchers videotaped or audiotaped teachers during

31
instruction and then reflected on those lessons with the teachers (Boudah et
al., 1997; da Costa & Riordan, 1996; Richardson & Anders, 1994; Wood et al.,
1991). Not all teachers are comfortable being taped (da Costa & Riordan,
1996; Marks & Gersten, 1998); therefore, reviewing observation notes and
student data with teachers may be more appropriate. Promoting reflection
through collaborative discussions benefits teachers by (a) making connections
between their personal beliefs and the rationales behind innovations, (b)
providing student data on the effects of their work, and (c) considering
diverse perspectives through other members’ viewpoints.
To create opportunities for reflection, researchers must work in
classrooms and provide feedback to teachers (Boudah et al., 1997; da Costa &
Riordan, 1996; Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Fuchs et al., 1995; Gersten et al.,
1995; Hunsaker & Johnston, 1992; Marks & Gersten, 1998; O’Connor et al.,
1992; Oja, Kull, & Kelley, 1995; Richardson & Anders, 1994; Vaughn et al.
1998; Wood et al., 1991). When debriefing about an observation, researchers
and teachers can critique practices in light of the rationale behind the new
innovation or what they know is best practice. Researchers can question
teachers about the thinking and reasoning behind their actions to help them
articulate personal beliefs (Richardson & Anders, 1994; Wood et al., 1991).
Discussion among teachers and researchers allows members to reconcile
practices and rationales. Wood et al. (1991), for example, described a case
study of a second-grade teacher changing her pedagogical approach to
mathematics. The teacher met weekly with researchers to discuss her
videotaped math lessons. As the teacher engaged in conversations with
researchers, she found that the mathematics information provided by the

32
researchers was in conflict with her current teaching practices. The teacher
spent time discussing those dilemmas with researchers. Researchers
provided the teacher with possible suggestions for change until the teacher
was able to resolve the conflict. The authors concluded that learning occurred
as a result of conflict followed by reflection and then resolution. They believe
that times of conflict enable teachers to seek resolutions and then choose
their own resolutions to increase the likelihood that changes will be
sustained (Wood et al., 1991).
Researchers can also promote reflection by providing assessment data
on student progress and helping teachers reflect on the lesson itself. To
illustrate, in a literacy project, Englert et al. (1993) provided teachers with
assessment data on students to show them the effects of an instructional
innovation. In doing so, they modeled for the teachers how to evaluate the
effectiveness of their instruction through assessment. When researchers show
the effects of instructional changes by using student assessment data, it can
be a powerful reinforcement for teachers to continue innovation use (Englert
et al., 1993; Fuchs et al., 1995). As teachers begin to understand the
effectiveness of their work, they will value the professional development
process and continue to refine their practices.
Being exposed to diverse perspectives is important in collaborative
work. Lipman (1997) described a collaboration where an outsider was absent
and teachers had similar mindsets. They made no progress toward
fundamental change. This collaboration involved two teams of middle school
teachers who worked together to decrease racial disparity in student
achievement. Teachers decided to restructure to reduce tracking. All but one

33
of the teachers in this group was White. The author found that discussions
often focused on individual students who were African-American, and
teachers reassured themselves that their own practices were not at fault.
Teachers traded stories about individual students and their deficiencies and
family pathologies, areas of students’ lives over which they had little control.
Conversations about racial disparity were purposely avoided. These findings
suggest that beliefs have to be examined as a part of reform or only surface
level change occurs. Teachers need assistance from others outside of the
school context in examining their beliefs about students who are different
from them or they will not change their practices in fundamental ways.
Outside educators provide opportunities for teachers to understand
research-based teaching techniques and address their beliefs when they are
in contradiction with new ideas (Costa & Kallick, 1993; Jones, 1997). As
researchers work with teachers in assessing the effects of their instruction,
teachers begin to understand the importance of refining their practices.
Outside educators, especially researchers and teacher educators, can offer a
different perspective because of their knowledge of the literature and
discussions with professionals in the field (Courtland & Welsh, 1990). In
addition, they bring an outsider perspective that can shed new light on
teachers’ taken-for-granted beliefs and practices. Teachers need to learn
about innovations that are appropriate for their individual needs and beliefs.
Teacher educators and researchers can assist them in effectively
incorporating changes by providing them demonstration lessons and assisting
them in reflecting on their change efforts. Once teachers are provided with
realistic innovations, demonstrations, and opportunities to reflect on these

34
changes, they need support in their development process through
collaboration with other teachers and researchers.
Professional Collaboration
Many researchers have agreed that changes resulting from
professional development were sustained or dissipated depending on the
follow-up, or collaboration, that occurred (Cox, 1983; Fullan, 1982; Miles &
Huberman, 1984; Showers, 1990). Collaboration provides teachers
opportunities to work continuously through their understanding and beliefs
regarding a new innovation in a sustained context. All but five studies
(Etchberger & Shaw, 1992; Martens, 1992; Prawat, 1992; Tillema, 1995;
Wilson, 1990) in this review described collaborative efforts among teachers,
and in some cases, university researchers. Collaboration in these studies
involved teacher groups, teacher-researcher groups, dyads, peer coaching, or
consultation between teachers and specialists. The majority of studies
involved a small subset of teachers from the same school or different schools
that met together in an on-going effort to explore or learn an innovation;
however, some studies examined middle and high school teachers involved in
school-wide collaboration.
Collaboration facilitates learning because it provides teachers with a
structure for sharing their knowledge and beliefs, support for changing their
practices, and opportunities to develop their thinking about teaching and
learning (Pugach & Warger, 1996). Providing teachers time to discuss what
they know about teaching and learning allows them to consider their beliefs
and practices in a context with other diverse perspectives. Over time,
teachers develop relationships that allow them to trust and support each

35
other during times of change (Louis, Marks, & Kruse, 1996; Talbert, 1993).
Teachers also experience greater confidence in solving problems of practice
and in their ability to find solutions to problems (da Costa, 1993; da Costa &
Riordan, 1996; Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Oja et al., 1995; Pugach & Johnson,
1995; Stein & Wang, 1988; Warren & Payne, 1997). As their perspective
about teaching and learning evolves, they view themselves as able to
implement innovations and are more likely to be successful in doing so than
peers who lack confidence (Stein & Wang, 1988). Confidence in one’s ability
leads to having confidence in the group and the ability of members to assist
each other in making changes (Oja et al., 1995; Rosenholtz, 1989). As
teachers develop a collective efficacy, they view themselves as empowered to
engage in more leadership roles and develop a sense of control over student
outcomes. Shared leadership becomes an outcome when participants are
expected to be contributors (Englert et al., 1993; Jones, 1997; Rosenholtz,
1989; Shafer, 1995). In the beginning, researchers often fill the role of leader,
and as teachers become more confident in the collaborative process, roles
shift to teachers leading the group and sharing their areas of expertise
(Englert et al., 1993; Jones, 1997). Elements of collaboration that are critical
for promoting teacher change are (a) opportunities for critical discourse and
(b) supportive school context.
Critical Discourse
On-going collaboration provides opportunities for teachers to discuss
their current framework about content and curriculum and its match with
the rationales behind the innovation (Englert & Tarrant, 1995).
Opportunities for academic discourse with other participants assists teachers

36
in resolving conflicts between their framework for teaching and rationales for
innovation (Hunsaker & Johnston, 1992). Discourse deepens teachers’
conceptual understandings, and as a result, their framework for teaching
begins to change (Boudah et al., 1997). Then teachers are able to engage in
new practices that derive from their evolving understanding (Englert &
Tarrant, 1995; Peterson et al., 1996; Richardson & Anders, 1994). Through
their consideration of other views and experimenting with supporting
practices, teachers develop deeper knowledge of teaching and learning (Voltz
et al., 1995). As teachers share knowledge and learn new practices through
collaboration, they are also able to develop a common vision for students and
teaching (Englert & Tarrant, 1995).
Develop conceptual understanding. Collaboration provides teachers
with opportunities to talk with other professionals about pedagogical
knowledge (da Costa & Riordan, 1996; Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Jones, 1997;
Martin, 1995; Meichtry, 1990; Prawat, 1992; Torres, 1996; Westheimer,
1998). These discussions help teachers formulate new ideas and develop
understandings that contribute to the commonalties of group knowledge
(Donahue, Van Tassell, & Patterson, 1996; Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Lasiter,
1996; Nias, Southworth, & Yeomans, 1989). As teachers create shared
meanings about learning and children, they are able to develop new practices
to meet the need of students better (Rosenholtz, 1989). For example, da Costa
and Riordan (1996) studied the engagement of dyads of teachers in
collaborative conversations about classroom problems. These dyads involved
the pairing of general education teachers with other classroom teachers,
speech teachers, or administrators. Dyads met together to assist the general

37
education classroom teacher in solving problems of practice they encountered
in their classrooms. Teachers who were successful in developing strong
professional relationships with the dyad partner often engaged in discussions
of pedagogy during and outside of meetings. As the general educators’
understandings developed, they were able to change their orientations about
student learning and change their practices to meet the diverse needs of
students.
As teachers change how they think about teaching subject matter or
student learning, their practices will reflect those changes (Pajares, 1992;
Richardson, 1996). In studies of collaboration involving teachers and
researchers as well as general and special educators, teachers changed their
practices in two important ways. First, teachers were able to change how
they viewed subject matter as a result of participation in collaboration.
Teachers changed their views of and practices in literacy (Englert & Tarrant,
1995) and writing (Peterson et al., 1996) as a result of collaborative learning
groups. For instance, Peterson et ah, (1996) described how teachers were able
to improve how they teach writing as a result of having access to well-
articulated ideas within their school. Teachers met regularly to discuss the
importance of writing within the curriculum and shared their practices of
how to improve student learning. Second, teachers also moved away from
being teacher-directed and text-driven to student-centered and constructivist
in their view of instruction (Boudah et ah, 1997; Etchberger & Shaw, 1992;
Hunsaker & Johnston, 1992; McIntyre & Kyle, 1995; Richardson & Anders,
1994; Torres, 1996; Wood et ah, 1991; Woolsey, 1991).

To illustrate, Boudah et al. (1997) described the changes Becky, a
sixth-grade teacher, made as a result of participation in a group project to
38
learn how to implement a comprehension strategy with students. Becky was
described as a traditional teacher as evidenced by her planning and teaching.
She emphasized teaching content and assessing the whole group, with little
attention to individual or subgroups of students. In the second year of the
study, she participated with other teachers and researchers in study group
meetings. These meetings focused on improving and implementing the
comprehension strategy. Additionally, she was asked to target one or two
students with learning disabilities when making instructional and planning
decisions. Through these collaborative interactions, Becky began to plan and
gear instruction to the individual needs of her students. She was able to add
modeling to instruction and continued working on building prior knowledge
for all students. Researchers concluded that her greatest change occurred as
she was able to move from being content-centered to student-centered. As
teachers are able to develop their orientations about teaching and student
learning, they begin to implement practices to reflect those views.
Developing conceptual understanding contributes to better knowledge
of resources teachers can draw upon when thinking about instruction. These
resources involve outsiders, other colleagues, literature, or ideas teachers
learn about through learning together. Collaboration is an effective tool for
professionals to share what they know, learn from others’ knowledge, and
learn about a new innovation. With the diversity of knowledge presented and
represented within a group, teachers add to their existing knowledge by
developing their teaching repertoire (Gersten et al., 1995; Pugach & Johnson,

39
1995). In other cases, teachers were able to deepen their knowledge of content
and instructional strategies (Englert & Tarrant, 1995; McIntyre & Kyle,
1995; Meichtry, 1990; Peterson et al., 1996; Torres, 1996; Vaughn et al., 1998;
Voltz et al., 1995). In two studies, teachers working together to design new
curricula had opportunities to share their knowledge and expertise (Martin,
1995; Meichtry, 1990) and, consequently, were able to improve their
understanding of that curriculum. Martin (1995) explored three sixth-grade
teachers’ team approach to designing new curriculum for their students. This
team viewed their work as successful as a result of sharing their personal
knowledge of curriculum, each considering themselves an expert in a given
area, and then creating a joint construction of their knowledge to develop new
curriculum. The group regarded their diversity in knowledge as a key factor
to their effectiveness. It is the diversity of knowledge that allows teachers to
learn about new instructional strategies and student groupings when
collaborating (Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Peterson et al., 1996). In sum,
opportunities to talk about subject matter or strategies assist teachers in
deepening their knowledge of resources. Through collective conversations
about a central topic, participants have the opportunity to develop a common
vision.
Common vision. Schools with a coherent sense of both vision and goals
are better equipped to meet those goals (Rosenholtz, 1989; Wasley, Hampel,
& Clark, 1997). Working together regularly helps teachers develop shared
understandings and beliefs about students and learning (Donahue et al.,
1996; Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Englert et al., 1993; Lasiter, 1996; McIntyre
& Kyle, 1995; Meichtry, 1990; Nias et al., 1989; Warren & Payne, 1997).

40
Teachers are provided opportunities to discuss progress students make
academically, problems a student may be encountering, or available
resources to assist the teacher or student (Meichtry, 1990). As teachers share
their stories and assist one another in solving problems, they develop a
collective responsibility for students and learning. Additionally, collaboration
can assist teachers in articulating personal beliefs about students, learning,
or subject matter and then help them develop beliefs that are shared by the
group (Donahue et al., 1996; Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Tillema, 1995; Wood et
al., 1991). Shared beliefs allow the group to work toward a common focus and
support one another through the change process. Because of the common
beliefs and commitment to the group, they are able to work through conflicts.
When controversial issues arise, the community works as a group to resolve
issues and views the resolution process as part of their work (Wasley et al.,
1997; Westheimer, 1998). The opportunity to share beliefs can contribute to
the success of the implementation of an innovative practice or collaborative
structure.
Westheimer (1998) examined the goals and beliefs from two middle
schools committed to fostering professional communities. He studied the
school’s functioning as a whole and then teams of teachers responsible for the
same group of students. The author concluded that beliefs played an
important role in determining the success of a school-wide restructuring
effort. Teachers were committed as a collective group to formulate curriculum
and school events that fulfilled the school vision. To conclude, a common
vision, which promotes clarity and focus for beliefs and values, is essential to
create any type of deep and sustained change.

41
School Context that Promotes Change
Another important element of collaboration is the school context.
School context is critical for providing teachers a climate of support for
learning together where they are able to take risks and implement changes in
their practices (DuFour, 1997; Fullan, 1991; Nias, Southworth & Campbell,
1992). Collaboration provides the context for teachers to discuss their failures
and successes and receive support in their everyday environment to continue
learning new practices (Englert et al., 1993; Hunsaker & Johnston, 1992;
Wood et al., 1991). Variables that are important for establishing a
collaborative school context are (a) facilitative leadership, (b) a trusting,
supportive community, (c) commitment to learning, and (d) a supportive
infrastructure.
Facilitative leadership. Researchers agree that administrators play a
key role in creating instructional improvement in schools (Fullan, 1999;
Westheimer, 1998). They provide leadership to the group by communicating a
clear, meaningful vision for teaching and learning (Westheimer, 1998). Good
principals share leadership roles and allow teachers to have a stake in
developing and interpreting the school vision (Peterson et al., 1996;
Westheimer, 1998). Additionally, they support teachers in their endeavors to
learn and develop professionally (DuFour, 1997). Principals committed to
teacher development through collaboration build vision, create an expectation
for learning, foster collaboration, and share power.
The administrator provides opportunities to discuss the vision of the
school and philosophies underlying that vision. With school personnel, the
effective administrator helps to establish a common vision that promotes

42
clarity and focus for beliefs and values (Westheimer, 1998). Teachers use that
vision to guide, refine, and develop their practices (Peterson et al., 1996). In
some cases, principals recruit and hire teachers who will support the school
vision and have common beliefs about collaboration, participation, and joint
work (Peterson et al., 1996; Westheimer, 1998). Administrators set the
example to influence change.
Effectual principals play a critical role in creating an attitude and
expectation for learning within the school environment (DuFour, 1997;
Hargreaves, 1994a; Peterson et al., 1996). They are seen as contributing
members in school study groups and not as supervisors of teachers’
participation (Jones, 1997). Teachers need to have access to well-articulated
ideas that assist them in developing their own ideas (Peterson et al., 1996). A
savvy principal looks outside the school to bring in outside resources to assist
teachers in their improvement of practice. These outsiders provide regular
critical feedback to administrators, teachers, and staff on their efforts to
improve student learning (Wasley et al., 1997).
Good administrators foster collegial environments by socialization of
individuals who hold common views about purpose and principles of good
practice (Peterson et al., 1996; Westheimer, 1998). One of the ways that
principals create a collaborative context is by developing structures in the
environment that promote face-to-face interactions among school personnel
(Carter, 1995; Martin, 1995; Meichtry, 1990; Rosenholtz, 1989; Westheimer,
1998). School-wide events where teamwork is emphasized have been used as
vehicles to create interaction among school personnel (Nias et al., 1989;
Talbert, 1993). Effective administrators also foster positive school climates.

43
In collaborative cultures, they model characteristics that support positive
collaboration through their openness, tolerance, and flexibility (Nias et al.,
1989). Administrators and teachers provide positive feedback to each other on
their efforts and work (Chalfant & Pysh, 1989; Hargreaves, 1994a; Kruger,
Struzziero, Watts, & Vacca, 1995; Lasiter, 1996; Louis et al., 1996, Nias et
al., 1989).
Good leaders share decision-making power with their staff. Groups of
teachers and staff members work together with the principal in creating
school-wide projects and jointly assume responsibility for the students,
curriculum, and discipline (Carter, 1995; Lipman, 1997; Martin, 1995;
Meichtry, 1990; Peterson et al., 1996; Westheimer, 1998). Exemplary
administrators also distribute power by allowing teachers the freedom to
design curriculum, formulate school policy, and create collaborative
partnerships (da Costa & Riordan, 1996; Hargreaves, 1994a; Lasiter, 1996;
Nias et al., 1989; Talbert, 1993; Webb & Romberg, 1994). Teachers and staff
members are recruited for various leadership roles throughout the school
based on the talents they bring (Westheimer, 1998). Diversity among talents
and perspectives contributes to the collective good of the school (Martin,
1995; Westheimer, 1998). On the other hand, principals who have difficulty
giving up control or who are threatened by teacher decision making will not
support collaborative efforts or allow time to meet during the school day
(Jones, 1997). Collaborative groups that function effectively have shared
leadership among all the participants (Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Shafer,
1995).

44
Trusting supportive community. Researchers discuss the importance
of support and trust to developing and sustaining collaboration. When
teachers and researchers work together for an extended period of time,
support and trust increase and become a perceived benefit of participation in
collaboration (Carter, 1995; da Costa & Riordan, 1996; Jones, 1997; Lipman,
1997; McIntyre & Kyle, 1995; Oja et al.,1995; Torres, 1996). Developing trust
takes time (da Costa & Riordan, 1996; Hargreaves, 1994a; Lasiter, 1996;
McIntyre & Kyle, 1995). In a reorganization of a K-3 program into a
nongraded program, McIntyre and Kyle (1995) described the evolution of
teachers as they learned about developmentally appropriate instruction and
teamwork. They concluded that the opportunity to converse repeatedly over
time with colleagues and teachers led to trusting relationships. When
teachers work together frequently, they begin to see colleagues as friends and
family and are able to accept differences of opinion and philosophy (Nias et
al„ 1989).
When teachers encounter instructional and behavioral challenges,
those who work in teams and share the same students can offer collegial
support through idea sharing (Carter, 1995; Louis et al., 1996; Nias et al.,
1989; Talbert, 1993). These teachers can share what has been effective for
them and encourage their colleagues to continue in their efforts to find
solutions to problems. Teachers need support from colleagues when trying
out new instructional procedures and developing knowledge because the
change process is uncertain and difficult (Jones, 1997; Oja et al., 1995;
Torres, 1996). Teachers need opportunities to experiment with new ideas
through the support of other group members engaging in new practices

45
(Englert & Tarrant, 1995). Torres (1996) described how 25 teachers benefited
emotionally from collaboration as a result of their participation in Systematic
Inquiry Groups. Teachers experienced affective support as their ideas and
actions were validated and encouraged by group participants. Participants
reported that they maintained their commitment to developing new ideas
because they knew others were struggling along with them in attempting to
implement changes.
Commitment to experimentation. Creating supportive environments
where teachers are committed to risk taking allows teachers to make changes
(Englert et al., 1993; Hargreaves, 1994a; Lasiter, 1996; Nias et ah, 1989;
Talbert, 1993). In a supportive environment committed to learning, teachers
are likely to try new ideas (Fuchs et al., 1995; Hunsaker & Johnston,1992;
Jones, 1997; Peterson et al., 1996; Shafer, 1995; Torres, 1996; Vaughn et al.,
1998). When learning an innovation, and particularly one that may be
contrary to their framework for teaching, teachers need opportunities to
experiment with the new information. When teachers implement new ideas
and observe success or benefits from the innovation, only then will their
beliefs change and, consequently, their practices (Guskey, 1985).
Experimentation allows teachers to practice and eventually develop new
instructional techniques (Hunsaker & Johnston, 1992). For collaboration to
be successful, teachers have to be committed to experimenting with new
practices and be supported in doing so (Chalfant & Pysh, 1989; da Costa &
Riordan, 1996; Lasiter, 1996; Meichtry, 1990; Nias et al., 1989; Saurino,
1996; Talbert, 1993; Webb & Romberg, 1994).

46
Teachers can create meaningful products as part of their participation
in a professional development group by conducting research in their
classroom (Oja et al., 1995; Torres, 1996) When teachers design products
that are tailored to their individual needs, they allow them to see the effects
of their efforts. Oja et al. (1995) described a middle school mathematics and
science collaborative where teachers from four middle schools talked with
university researchers and consultants from the state department of
education. Authors reported that the data collected on results of teachers’
research efforts had a positive effect on teacher growth and interest in the
research process. They concluded that an important force for effective change
was the creation of meaningful products. Teachers’ participation in the
process and outcomes of the innovation made them want to continue to revise
their instruction. Teachers that choose the interventions or practices to
implement were more likely to be dedicated to consistent implementation
(Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998). Generally, teachers who are
committed to collaborate about an innovation are encouraged by the group to
implement new ideas in their classroom (Hunsaker & Johnston, 1992).
Collaborative infrastructures. Principals can create opportunities for
teacher development by creating time for them to meet and promoting
collaborative interactions. Teachers need time to work on group projects
(Peterson et al., 1996; Westheimer, 1998), discuss student progress
(Meichtry, 1990; Mitchell, 1994; Westheimer, 1998), develop shared
knowledge (Englert & Tarrant, 1995), plan together (Webb & Romberg,
1994), and reflect on practices (Bcudah et al., 1997; Pugach & Johnson, 1988;
Webb & Romberg, 1994; Wood et al., 1991). Most effective professional

47
development programs are conducted during the school day and not as an
add-on responsibility (Jones, 1997). Time is essential for teachers to engage
in activities that allow them to become agents of change where they openly
discuss their failures and successes (Oja et al., 1995).
Principals create structures that allow groups of teachers the
opportunities to work together throughout the school day. Opportunities to
collaborate should not be limited to grade level colleagues but should extend
to other school staff and outsiders (da Costa & Riordan, 1996; Jones, 1997;
Peterson et al., 1996; Westheimer, 1998). Teachers who work in community
pods with other teachers who share the same academic responsibilities for
students receive encouragement and support from one another when making
decisions about curriculum, schedules, and grades (Carter, 1995; Meichtry,
1990; Warren & Payne, 1997). Teachers report that common planning
allowed for greater reflection about their teaching (Carter, 1995; Meichtry,
1990), better integration of material across content areas (Meichtry, 1990;
Warren & Payne, 1997), and more refined understanding of student needs
(Carter, 1995; Gersten et al., 1995; Warren & Payne, 1997). By working in a
group context, teachers come to understand that they have greater ability to
help students and coordinate appropriate learning experiences for them
(Carter, 1995; Gersten et al., 1995; O’Connor et al., 1992; Warren & Payne,
1997).
To illustrate, Carter (1995) described a case study of two teams of four
teachers each at a high school where teachers and students were grouped in a
community pod. Teachers felt they could exert more authority in making
school decisions and felt they had the ability to make changes in the

48
curriculum, schedules, and grades. Teachers indicated that they felt more
control over the educational outcomes of their students. In general,
participants who are allowed to share in the creation and development of new
ideas can gain a sense of shared leadership and sense of control in student
outcomes.
In summary, collaboration provides teachers a forum to discuss their
knowledge about instruction and subject matter so that pedagogical shifts
can occur. Developing thinking about pedagogy increases the likelihood that
a teacher will be successful in making shifts about teaching content matter
(Guskey, 1985; Nespor & Barylske, 1991; Richardson, 1994). As the group
develops, they are better able to critique their practices in light of their
collective vision for student learning. A supportive school context provides
school personnel with opportunities to meet together to develop themselves
professionally and collectively. Even when a highly collaborative environment
exists and teachers are assisted in learning appropriate innovations based on
personal interest, change is not guaranteed. A teacher’s level of readiness for
change also influences the degree of changes that they will make.
Teacher Readiness for Change
For teachers to engage in effective practices, they need opportunities to
develop them (DuFour, 1997; Joyce & Showers, 1988). Vaughn et al. (1998)
discussed the idea of selecting teachers to participate in professional
development programs based on interest and commitment to changing their
practices. However, they concluded that even when participation is voluntary
and teachers indicate they are interested in the topic, some teachers still do
not make changes. Teachers’ level of readiness for change can facilitate or

49
hinder their learning of new practices. Qualities of readiness that are
important for teacher development are teachers’ (a) ability to reflect, (b)
knowledge and beliefs, and (c) commitment to change.
Ability to Reflect
Personal reflection allows teachers to critique their practices and make
changes as needed (Carter, 1995; Jones, 1997; Martin, 1995; Meichtry, 1990;
Peterson et al., 1996; Richardson & Anders, 1994; Wood et al., 1991). As
teachers reflect about developing their practices, they need to know how to
access new ideas and assistance (Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Hunsaker &
Johnston, 1992). Reflecting on personal frameworks for teaching and how
those match with newly learned practices is important for sustaining change
(Martin, 1995). In contrast, teachers’ lack of reflection can inhibit their
ability to make enduring changes (Hunsaker & Johnston, 1992; Martens,
1992).
Martens (1992) studied a science teacher who was learning to use a
problem-solving approach. The teacher made some alterations in teaching
strategies and materials, but no change occurred in her view of her role as
the teacher. She learned about new curricular practices but did not
understand the rationale behind the innovation. She never did effectively
teach students to solve their own problems. Martens concluded that the
teacher was not reflective and was not able to resolve her beliefs about
teaching and learning as they related to the new problem solving emphasis of
the curriculum. Not being able to reflect on the larger principles and
rationales undergirding a new curriculum can inhibit a teacher from making

50
substantial changes in practices. Instead, teachers make surface changes to
give the appearance of change but actually change very little (Fullan, 1991).
Knowledge and Beliefs
Developing knowledge and beliefs is essential to the successful use of
new practices (Briscoe & Peters, 1997). Teachers’ level of knowledge directly
affects the types of practices they use. Teachers who have limited
understanding of content rely heavily on the text and teach based on their
personal experiences with subject matter (Briscoe & Peters, 1997; Courtland
& Welsh, 1990; Etchberger & Shaw, 1992). As teachers come to understand
subject matter better, they are then able to refine their practices to enhance
student learning (Briscoe & Peters, 1997; Prawat, 1992; Richardson &
Anders, 1994).
Beliefs about students and how they learn influence how teachers
approach learning tasks (Richardson & Anders, 1994; Wilson, 1990; Wood et
al., 1991; Woolsey, 1991). Teachers have different beliefs about instruction
and, therefore, integrate changes that are compatible with their own
perspectives (Briscoe & Peters, 1997; Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Etchberger &
Shaw, 1992; Martin, 1995). If teachers are unable to find compatibility
between innovation rationales and their framework, they will make surface
level changes or no changes at all (Briscoe & Peters, 1997; Englert & Tarrant,
1995; Martens, 1992; Peterson et al., 1996). Even when teachers want to
make changes and they collaborate with a successful teacher, some still find
it difficult to change their teaching approach (Briscoe & Peters, 1997). In
contrast, teachers who typically have successful teaching records may not see
the need for participating in innovative projects; subsequently, their beliefs

51
and practices remain the same (Martens, 1992). Therefore, when teachers see
no need to change, they will not incorporate new practices (Briscoe & Peters,
1997; Courtland & Welsh, 1990; Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Etchberger &
Shaw, 1992; Martens, 1992; Martin, 1995). Thus, what teachers understand
and believe about instruction influences what they learn and the degree to
which they learn it.
Commitment to Learning
Commitment to learning is another essential aspect of teacher
readiness for change. Teachers who are committed to learning persist
through conflicts until they find resolution, are open-minded to new ideas,
and are able to self-assess and determine areas they need to change. These
teachers have a mindset for improvement and work toward changing their
practices to best meet the needs of their students (Boudah et al., 1997;
Peterson et al., 1995). Change is often a difficult process filled with
uncertainty (Vaughn et al., 1998). Teachers committed to learning are able to
withstand times of ambiguity and persist in change (Boudah et al., 1997; Oja
et al., 1995; Peterson et al., 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998; Wood et al., 1991).
As noted earlier, knowledge and beliefs play an important role in
developing new practices. Teachers who are committed to learning are able to
suspend immediate judgment about an innovation until they have had time
and opportunity to reflect and develop its use (Briscoe & Peters, 1997). Being
open-minded to change allows teachers to deepen their knowledge and
develop their beliefs about teaching and learning. A commitment to learning
seems tied to one’s ability to critically reflect on one’s teaching abilities.
Ability to self-assess helps teachers determine the areas where they want to

52
develop. Teachers who have a good understanding of what they know and
what they need to know participate in professional development that is
meaningful to them (Courtland & Welsh, 1990; Englert & Tarrant, 1995). As
teachers choose their own areas to develop, they see the need to conduct on¬
going research and continue fine tuning their practices (Englert & Tarrant,
1995; Oja et al., 1995; Torres, 1996). On the other hand, teachers who
participate in professional development for the purpose of receiving inservice
points or because they feel pressure from school personnel or district
mandates may lack commitment to the development process (Englert &
Tarrant, 1995; Tillema, 1995; Vaughn et al. 1998). These teachers inhibit
personal learning from taking place and may hinder a group’s development
(Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Tillema, 1995). Even when teachers are told that
participation in professional development projects is voluntary, many still
perceive pressure to participate (Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Vaughn et al.,
1998). Commitment to learning and willingness to endure the ambiguous
nature of change is essential for teacher change.
Summary
Professional development is essential for teachers learning new ideas
and altering their practices to meet the diverse needs of the students in their
classroom. To allow teachers opportunities to learn new practices, they must
be presented with innovations that are concrete, practical, and
understandable. Ideas that are easily understood have a better chance of
being incorporated into teachers’ instructional routines. Providing teachers
on-going support through collaboration during the learning process assists
teachers in developing their understanding and beliefs about new concepts.

53
Through their learning with colleagues and outsiders, they develop a common
vision for teaching and learning and experience an increase in self-efficacy
and collective efficacy. Supportive structures promote common vision and
allow teachers to develop practices that match that vision. By providing
support through innovative structures and time, principals create
opportunities for the school community to work together to solve problems of
practice. Participants begin to experience trust and support as they realize
others are engaged in the uncertainty of change. Teachers’ individual level of
sophistication influences the types of changes and development that will
occur. Being reflective, committed, and having well developed knowledge and
beliefs assist teachers in learning and incorporating changes in their
teaching.
Considerations for General Education Teachers Working with
Diverse Learners
General education teachers face a great challenge in meeting all the
needs of such a diverse student population. Because so many factors
influence change, the degree of change is hard to predict (Fullan, 1993).
Determining the needs of participants and providing them with meaningful
experiences can be quite challenging, especially when they are learning about
an innovation that is quite different from their experiences. For example,
assisting general educators to meet the needs of students with disabilities
can be difficult. According to Schumm and Vaughn (1998), general education
teachers face many challenges when attempting to meet the needs of
students with disabilities. These challenges include (a) a history of providing
whole-class, undifferentiated instruction that includes minimal adaptations

54
for students with mild disabilities (Baker & Zigmond, 1995); (b) the
perception of adaptations as being desirable for student learning but not
feasible to implement; (c) minimal time for general and special education
teachers to collaborate; (d) access to few resources to make adaptations; and
(e) desire for instructional practices that assist students with disabilities,
while meeting learning needs of all their students.
If students with disabilities are to be educated effectively in general
education, then great effort is necessary to change traditional instructional
practices (Vaughn et al., 1998). Researchers and special educators have
recently looked to find ways of assisting general education teachers in
learning strategies to use with students with disabilities (Marks & Gersten,
1998). Yet, little is known about how to best meet teachers’ needs. Few
studies have focused on general education teachers learning new practices to
better include children with learning problems (Boudah et al., 1997; Fuchs et
al., 1995; Gersten et ah, 1995; Marks & Gersten, 1998; O’Connor et ah, 1992;
Pugach & Johnson, 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998). In order to understand the
complexity of working with general education teachers to assist them in
learning inclusive practices, these studies have indicated that two important
issues must be resolved.
Issues to Resolve
The problems reported by researchers when working with general
education teachers related to one or more of the four critical components of
professional development. Even when programs were well developed with
many or all of the components, some teachers experienced difficulty in either

55
learning or sustaining the innovations because of (a) diverse perspectives and
(b) too little time for reflection.
Special Education Versus General Education Perspective
Special education and general education operate under two different
perspectives about teaching. General education teachers concern themselves
with teaching content and covering specific concepts in a given amount of
time and, therefore, have a group orientation towards teaching (Pugach &
Warger, 1996; Schumm & Vaughn, 1995). They understand general
curriculum and the skills students should master by a given grade level
(Pugach & Warger, 1996). Special education teachers have specific knowledge
in learning strategies, modifying instruction, and adapting materials and
textbooks (Gable, Hendrickson, & Lyon, 1987; Pugach & Warger, 1996). They
have individual students in mind and think about how to change what exists
to better meet student needs.
General educators seek interventions or strategies that would be
helpful to a larger population, not just a few isolated students (Gersten et al.,
1995; O’Connor et al., 1992; Vaughn et al., 1998). When teachers learned
interventions that targeted a few students and were very systematic, they did
not incorporate them as often (Gersten et al., 1995) and sometimes expected
the special education teacher working in the classroom to be responsible for
executing them (O’Connor et al., 1992). General education teachers’ concern
with all students helps to explain their hesitation in changing their practices
to accommodate a few students, especially when those practices are
complicated, cumbersome, rigid, and student specific. Often when special
education researchers have worked with general education teachers, they

56
taught them interventions that differed from their general educators’
perceptions of improving student learning (Fuchs et al., 1995; O’Connor et al.,
1992; Vaughn et ah, 1998). These programs had multiple steps and often
required a great amount of extra teacher time and effort (Fuchs et al., 1995).
Even when researchers made efforts to demonstrate, assist, and provide
feedback during implementation, teachers abandoned the strategies once the
project ended (Fuchs et al., 1995; Vaughn et ah, 1998). When given multiple
strategies to learn about and use, teachers continue to use the easiest ones
and abandon the more complex ones regardless of their power in improving
student learning (Fuchs et ah, 1995; Marks & Gersten, 1998; Vaughn et ah,
1998). Also, scripted problem-solving programs, often seen in special
education innovations, limit participants’ ability to personalize innovations
(Pugach & Johnson, 1995). These programs do not allow for extending and
adapting structures to create a compatible fit with individual needs. A
balance must be found in providing teachers with supportive structures
without inducing rigidity. Teachers need to see the benefits of an innovation
to their personal context before they will commit to incorporating it into their
teaching routines.
Extensive Time for Reflection
Making inclusion work takes fundamental changes in how we think
about classrooms and the instructional methodologies we use (McLeskey &
Pugach, 1995). Teachers need time to support the philosophy and practice of
inclusion (Fullan, 1991; McLeskey & Pugach, 1995; Sarason, 1990). When
general and special education personnel work together, they may not share
common understanding and beliefs about children with learning problems

57
(Gersten et al., 1995; Marks & Gersten, 1998; O’Connor et al., 1992; Pugach
& Johnson, 1995), To help general education teachers understand the
importance and practicality of new interventions, they need multiple
opportunities to practice, reflect, and resolve any conflicts they might have
with the innovation (Wood et al., 1991). Teachers need assistance in
understanding the larger picture of how the innovation is important to
current routines and not just another isolated, add-on responsibility (Marks
& Gersten, 1998; O’Connor et al., 1992; Vaughn et al., 1998). Teachers need
time to discuss their views of teaching and learning and concerns they have
about the usefulness of an innovation. Teachers who do not receive feedback
on the progress of incorporating new ideas and are not given the opportunity
to develop compatible beliefs will abandon the use of the innovation
(O’Connor et al., 1992).
In sum, professional development that facilitates teacher’s learning
about an innovation can be a powerful tool for influencing teachers’ practices.
Specific components have been effective for creating this type of change.
First, teachers need to learn about innovations that are practical, compatible,
and understandable. Innovations need to be appropriate for individual needs,
compatible with teachers’ personal beliefs about teaching, and
understandable through a provision of concrete examples. Second, teachers
need to work with outside researchers and teacher educators who can assist
them in developing their use of innovations through providing demonstration
lessons and helping them to reflect about their progress. Third, continuous
support through collaboration is important for teachers to continue in their
experimentation with new practices. Group members engage in critical

58
discourse that allows for developing and refining their beliefs and practices.
Collaborative structures also provide teachers with the expectation and
support for improving their work. And fourth, teachers’ level of readiness for
change is an important factor for determining their development of new
practices. In order to facilitate their personal development, teachers need to
reflect, have knowledge and beliefs that will assist them in understanding
the innovation, and exhibit a personal commitment to change. When
considering all these factors affecting teachers’ professional development, it is
understandable why many programs prove to be ineffective with some or all
of their participants. Making lasting changes in teachers’ framework for
teaching and learning is a difficult task that takes exceptional planning and
possibly, a little luck.
It is the intention of my study described in Chapter 3 to add to the
teacher change literature. My study is unique; it focuses on general education
teachers who participate in a collaborative professional development program
to learn new practices to better include students with behavioral and
learning problems. Teachers have access to an outsider who helps them in
their personal development of inclusive practices. This study includes to the
greatest extent possible the four essential factors of professional development
programs. No study has addressed all these components in school/university
collaboration with general and special education teachers. Additionally, I
make efforts to address the problematic issues that may arise when working
with general education teachers who are attempting to learn more inclusive
practices. Hopefully, the results of this study will provide a better
understanding of how special education researchers can work with general

59
education teachers to help them include students with behavior and learning
problems.

CHAPTER 3
METHODOLOGY
Rarely are teachers afforded opportunities to work in the context of a
group with colleagues and teacher educators; thus, little research exists to
document school/university collaboration with general and special education
teachers. Collaboration and university/school partnerships often are
described as effective practices to assist teachers in addressing problems in
their classrooms (Joyce & Showers, 1988; McLaughlin, 1991; Sparks &
Loucks-Horsley, 1990). Yet, little is known about how these collaborations
assist teachers in changing their practices. In a collaborative effort between
teacher educators and general and special elementary education teachers
from an urban school district, we established a Teacher Learning Cohort
(TLC) to assist teachers in addressing problems of practice. The TLC was
established to assist teachers in learning how better to include students with
challenging behaviors and academic problems.
The purpose of this study was to describe general education teachers’
use of practices, the extent their practices support the inclusion of
challenging students, and how those practices changed through their
participation in a TLC. The TLC allowed teachers to meet with colleagues
from their school and teacher educators to discuss problems of instructing
students who are hard to teach and manage and then work toward solving
those problems. The teachers worked not only in a collaborative group but
also individually with one university researcher who acted as a reflective
friend. I, the reflective friend, worked with four general education teachers
60

61
for 2-1/2 years to assist them in learning instructional innovations. In
addition to describing the changes teachers made in their practices, other
aspects of the change process were studied, including (a) the role of the
collaborative group, (b) the role of the reflective friend, and (c) the role of
teachers’ context.
To change teachers’ instructional practices, they have to be provided
with new information, observed implementing it (or not implementing it),
and questioned and observed over time during the process (Richardson et al.,
1991; Wood et al., 1991). Through the TLC, teachers met monthly with
participating colleagues and university researchers. Teachers discussed
problems they encountered in their classrooms and, as a group, discussed
possible solutions. Teachers created a plan to address their concerns and in
later meetings shared the progress of their actions with the group. To fulfill
the observation and feedback component, I, as the reflective friend, spent 2 to
4 hours a week in each teacher’s classroom. Through observing individual
teachers, I was able to understand the types of problems they encountered as
well as the specific context in which they worked. Through interviews and
conversations, teachers expressed not only their concerns but also personal
perspectives about teaching, students, and learning. Considering what I
learned about individual teachers, I was able to provide them with
innovations that I believed had a high probability of being implemented in
their classrooms.
To describe how teachers changed, I participated and observed in
classrooms, interviewed teachers, conducted informal meetings with
individual teachers, participated in and documented collaborative group
meetings, and collected other evidence that demonstrated the
implementation of new practices. I spent time managing and working in the

62
collaborative group. I recorded what teachers said and how they talked with
colleagues about students and the new practices they were implementing. In
essence, I became a part of the school culture. Because of the nature of the
research question and type of contact with the participants, I determined
that qualitative case methodology was the most appropriate approach for this
study.
Collaborative Group Work
The purpose of the following sections is to describe the data collection
and data analysis procedures for this study. These sections include
descriptions of the broader context of the study, methods for gaining access
into the school and individual classrooms, participants and their classrooms,
the evolving role of the TLC, and the role of the researcher/reflective friend.
In the final section, research procedures and methodological issues are
reviewed.
Broader Context
As part of an effort to begin a collaborative project with teachers in an
urban school district in Florida, the Dean of the College of Education at the
University of Florida (UF) provided travel funds in the spring of 1997 for
three faculty members and a graduate assistant from the Department of
Special Education. The intention of this seed money was to help secure
external funding for a large-scale project in this district. The project proposed
to develop collaborative groups in urban schools to promote sustained
collaboration among teachers with the intention of improving the inclusion of
students with learning and behavioral problems. The following year a small
grant was awarded through UF to provide funds for me to continue my work
in the selected school. In the third year, the Office of Special Education

Projects awarded three faculty members external funds to work in one
additional school.
63
The focus of the larger project was to determine the effectiveness of the
TLCs through studying (a) the creation of TLCs and how they facilitate
inclusion of students with learning problems, how these teachers develop
inclusive beliefs and effective practices that contribute to the learning of all
students, and how the groups contribute to the development of a collaborative
culture in the school; (b) how participation affects the inclusion of students in
individual classrooms and referrals to special education; (c) the conditions
and processes that make collaboration viable; (d) how participation in the
group affects teacher attrition rates; and (e) how the group helps teachers to
improve students’ academic performance.
My study was different in that I focused specifically on four teachers
and how they developed new practices by being a part of the TLC and having
access to a reflective friend. This study was about individual change and
development within the context of a collaborative group and interaction with
an outsider. I also considered other conditions within and outside of the work
context that influence how teachers change.
I conducted this study at Hidden View Elementary, a school that had
been associated with the TLC project since 1997. Hidden View serves
approximately 570 pre-K through fifth-grade students and employs 27 full¬
time classroom teachers. There is one classroom for pre-K, three classrooms
each for kindergarten, first, second, and fifth grades, and four classrooms for
third and fourth grades. Third- and fourth-grade classes have a lower number
of students to allow teachers to prepare students for standardized testing. In
addition, there is a special projects classroom for previously retained students
and four classrooms that serve students with moderate mental retardation.

64
The student population is diverse in terms of ethnic background and
socioeconomic status: 56.8% are Caucasian, 36.7% are African-American, and
6.5% are members of other minority groups. Nearly 42% of students receive
free lunch, and an additional 10% receive fee-reduced lunch. The school
district has designated Hidden View as a Regular Education Initiative (RED
school where students identified with learning disabilities and emotional
handicaps are served full-time in the general education classrooms. A full¬
time special education teacher serves in a consultant role. As part of her
responsibilities, she spends 1 hour each day in five teachers’ classrooms
assisting students with disabilities. These five teachers, one at each grade
level from first through fifth grades, are designated as the REI teachers. REI
teachers generally have reduced class sizes and are assigned anywhere from
one to five students with disabilities. Students with more severe learning
disabilities and mild mental retardation are served at other schools.
The principal assigned teachers to REI classes. She chose teachers who
were supportive of inclusive practices and able to work with the special
education consultant. The principal, Mrs. Summerlin, has been at Hidden
View Elementary for almost 10 years. Half the teachers at the school were
there before she came. Mrs. Summerlin really wanted the TLC project in her
school because this was her first year implementing the REI model and she
wanted the expertise of special education researchers to foster collaboration
and leadership among her teachers. She asked specific questions about the
data collection. She was informed that the information we collected was
confidential, and we could not discuss any information about the teacher
participants with her. We have communicated with her about the workshops
and meeting purposes, and she created time to meet and provided substitutes
for the teachers.

65
Gaining Access
As a part of the TLC project, teachers were aware that we would be
collecting data on “the influences of the collaborative process in order to
better understand how to assist teachers in developing strategies to assist
students who experience learning and behavioral problems” (see Appendix B,
Letter of Informed Consent).They were informed that they would participate
in interviews and meetings and that someone would observe in their
classroom periodically. All participants were fully aware of the data collection
process and the purpose of our research. Official approval by the University’s
Institutional Review Board (IRB) of Human Subjects was granted to observe,
interview, record meetings and conversations, and collect artifacts on
teachers. My study was a small component of the larger project covered by
the IRB approval.
We described the general intent of the study at the initial meeting, and
I repeated this description for newcomers in the following years. The goals of
the research were presented in general terms to avoid influencing the
outcomes of the study. We also explained our work to the teachers in a letter
(see Appendix B). The amount of time spent in these classrooms over the past
2-1/2 years minimized the possibility that the initial discussion would have
an impact on the study’s findings. The teachers were reminded over the years
that observations and data collected were not for administrative evaluation.
They were reminded that the school and district administration,
nonparticipants, and any other district personnel would not have access to
the data and that their names would never be associated with the data. To
provide participants anonymity, I used pseudonyms to refer to all teachers,
school staff, and the school itself

66
Participants
The four teachers who participated in the TLC project for all 3 years
were the focus of my study. This study took place from the onset of the project
in February 1997 until June 1999. The four teachers taught different grade
levels and varied in teaching experience and ethnic background. The
principal spoke highly of these teachers and considered them to be strong
professionals.
Kay is a kindergarten teacher who instructs approximately 28-33
students each year. She is an African-American woman in her early 40s with
14 years of teaching experience. Her educational background is in early
childhood and elementary education. In 1998, she completed a master’s
degree in educational leadership. She is also trained as an English for
Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teacher. Her classroom instruction can
be described as direct, whole group instruction using a center format with an
emphasis on providing individual assistance to every student. She uses
positive reinforcement and classroom routines to manage student behavior.
Although no students at the kindergarten level are identified as special
education students, students who exhibit challenging problems are a part of
the class. At the end of each school year, Kay considers making a few
recommendations for students to be tested if she believes they have a
significant learning or behavior problems.
Diane is a second-grade teacher whose class ranges from 25-28
students each year. She is a Caucasian woman in her mid 40s with 24 years
of teaching experience She is certified as an elementary, kindergarten, and
ESOL teacher. She was the REI teacher for the second grade during the
1998-1999 school year and taught reading to the students in the REI
classroom during the 1997-1998 school year. Diane typically uses cooperative

67
learning, center work, projects, and teacher-led instruction as part other
teaching routines. She uses positive reinforcement to manage student
behavior and teaches her students socially appropriate behavior using a life
skills approach.
Martha is a third-grade teacher with a typical class size of 18-25
students. She is an African-American woman in her mid 30s with 11 years of
teaching experience. She is certified in elementary education and early
childhood education with a master’s degree in elementary education. She is
currently working on ESOL certification. She was the REI teacher for the
third grade in 1996-1997 and 1997-1998. Also, she taught math to the
students in the REI class during 1998-1999. Martha relies on textbook
instruction and individually monitors students’ progress on seatwork
assignments. She uses verbal reprimands, detention, and parent conferences
to manage student behavior.
Cindy is a fourth-grade teacher with a typical class size of 20-24
students in her homeroom class and 24-28 students in her other three
sections of reading. She is the fourth-grade reading teacher with the other
three teachers covering science/social studies, math, and language arts. She
is a Caucasian woman in her mid 40s with 19 years of teaching experience.
She is certified as an elementary, early childhood, and ESOL teacher. She
was the fourth-grade REI teacher for 3 years from 1996-1999. Initially, Cindy
used teacher-directed instruction and independent seatwork as part of her
teaching routine. She implemented verbal reprimands and detention and
occasionally used tangible reinforcers to praise correct behavior or academic
achievement.

68
Evolving Role of the TLC
Mrs. Summerlin encouraged REI teachers and the special education
teacher to be a part of the TLC, but all participation was voluntary. From our
initial meeting in February until June of 1997, nine teachers (four REI
teachers, the special education consultant, the special projects teacher, and
three general education teachers) participated in the TLC project. We met
with teachers bimonthly in half-day and whole-day sessions and talked about
their concerns and how to address them (see Table 3.1). Initially, we used a
problem-solving format where one teacher described a problem and the group
generated solutions. The teacher then selected a strategy and made a plan to
address the problem. We provided them with information on new strategies
(e.g., cooperative learning, behavior management, and phonological
awareness) that would help to solve some of the classroom issues that they
encountered. We observed them only once or twice that first year. We also
interviewed teachers at the end of the first year (see Appendix C). As a result
of our observations and discussions at group meetings, we found that
Table 3.1
Summary of Data Collection Procedures
Year 1 Procedures
Hours
Classroom observations and informal follow-up
conversations
4
Formal interviews
2
Full Day TLC Meetings/Workshops
28
TLC Meetings (Hour long)
0
Total Data Collection
34

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teachers implemented few changes. We refocused our work the next year to
address this problem.
During this second year, I conducted weekly observations, monthly
meetings, and periodic workshops (see Table 3.2). Specifically, I planned and
scheduled the collaborative meetings, worked with individual teachers to
discuss problems of practice and to learn and implement new innovations, co¬
planned and conducted four workshops to teach all members about an
innovation, and assisted teachers in reflecting on and evaluating their
progress. Additionally, all teachers were interviewed in the middle of the
second year (see Appendix C). Five of the original teachers continued with the
project. Three dropouts said they did not have time to commit to the project,
and one left the school for health reasons. We also had a first year teacher
join our group, bringing our total to six.
Table 3.2
Summary of Data Collection Procedures
Year 2 Procedures
Hours
Classroom observations and informal follow-up
conversations
221
Formal interviews
2
Full Day TLC Meetings/Workshops
28
TLC Meetings (2-Hour long)
20
Total Data Collection
271
I increased my observations in the second year as a way to learn more
about the teachers’ challenges, classroom practices, and understandings
about teaching and learning. I hoped that I could then provide them with

70
suggestions that were more consistent with their beliefs. I gave teachers
specific feedback on concerns they had about a lesson or student and talked
to them about problems they encountered and the purpose behind some of
their actions. At first they were uncomfortable with being observed and notes
being taken during observations. Because of their discomfort, I decided to
begin by assisting them in monitoring student progress and providing help to
students rather than taking notes. In a sense, I acted as another teacher or
aide in the classroom. As I developed a good working relationship, the
teachers told me how much they appreciated the help, and I began to
understand their classroom practices and beliefs better. My questions and
assistance became tailored to their actual needs. The teachers eventually said
any of us were welcome in their classroom, planned or unannounced.
In addition to the observations and feedback sessions, teachers created
a plan for targeting an area of concern. Previously, teachers had talked about
making changes, often very abstractly, and rarely followed through with
action. We created action plans so teachers could choose a personal goal,
develop an action to take, determine ways to assess their progress, and
establish a time frame for completing their goal (see Appendix F). We asked
teachers to think of one instructional and one behavioral improvement they
wanted to make that they had control of changing. As the reflective friend, I
assisted teachers in choosing reasonable goals, provided ideas (e.g.,
instructional strategies and management plans) to assist them in
accomplishing goals, and helped them develop reasonable assessment
measures and establish a timeline. Teachers who were committed to creating
action plans participated in the TLC.
During the third year, the research team, now expanded to include
another UF faculty member from the School of Teaching and Learning,

71
received federal funding to include additional schools in the TLC project. A
new school was added in the 1998-1999 school year. At Hidden View the UF
researcher from the School of Teaching and Learning assisted me in
conducting observations, interviews, meetings, and workshops. Although all
six year 2 teachers continued in year 3 of the project, the special education
consultant left the school in December. Five general education teachers
joined the TLC, of whom four were new to the project. All the REI teachers,
except the fifth-grade teacher, participated in the TLC.
Because of the large number of TLC participants, we split into two
groups. One group was for kindergarten through third-grade teachers and
the other group was the entire fourth-grade team. My colleague and I
observed once every other week and conducted two separate TLC meetings a
month (see Table 3.3). We conducted two interviews this year, one in the fall
and the other in the spring (see Appendix C). In addition, each TLC group
met for a full day workshop with the other TLC groups from the new school.
Selected teachers from each group presented innovations they used in their
classrooms.
Table 3.3
Summary of Data Collection Procedures
Year 3 Procedures
Hours
Classroom observations and informal follow-up
interviews/conversations
102
Formal interviews
4
Full Day TLC Meetings/Workshops
30
TLC Meetings (Hour long)
20
Total Data Collection
156

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Role of the Researcher/Reflective Friend
As the primary researcher, I worked as a graduate assistant on the
TLC project from October 1996 to June 1999. The first year I worked with
two UF researchers as we began our TLC work. During years 2 and 3,1 was
the UF contact person and ran the project at Hidden View Elementary.
Together with UF faculty, I co-planned workshops that helped teachers
acquire knowledge and demonstrated innovations that were compatible with
their current practices. In my role as reflective friend, I spent additional time
discussing the benefits and circumstances in which strategies would be
implemented and observed and provided feedback during implementation.
On many occasions during year 2,1 not only provided feedback but also
assisted individual teachers with implementing new instructional strategies.
The teachers talked openly to TLC participants and nonparticipants alike
about the positive effects the strategies had in their classrooms. Because of
the participants’ enthusiasm for the TLC project, the school principal had me
talk to three reporters and the state-level school accreditation committee
about our work there (see Appendix F). As a result of developing a positive
relationship with these teachers and their principal, it made it easier to
gather “trustworthy data” (Bogden & Biklen, 1982). Often, I was told I was
one of them, and teachers talked candidly with me about themselves and
their perceptions of their work environment.
Research Procedures
Qualitative methodology (e.g., participant observation, interviews) was
used in collecting data to develop my understanding of various factors that
facilitated or inhibited teachers’ acquisition of inclusive strategies. According
to Sherman and Webb (1988), “qualitative inquiry is an appraisal or
judgment; its function is to interpret, or appraise, behavior in relation to

73
contextual circumstances” (p.10). Studying the change process of how
teachers adopted inclusive practices while participating in a collaborative
group was a descriptive task. Teacher collaboration is influenced by
contextual conditions that are not unique to the TLC. These contextual
conditions include personal beliefs about teaching and learning, interactions
with a reflective friend and other colleagues, individuals’ classrooms, and the
school. Thus, I employed case study methodology (Yin, 1994).
Research Design
The case study design that was most appropriate for studying teacher
change was the single-case, embedded design (Yin, 1994). A single-case
approach can be employed to document or analyze an extreme or unique case.
It was rare to have teachers collaborating with other teachers and university
researchers where one of the researchers acted as a reflective friend. Thus,
this case was distinct in three ways. First, teacher collaboration groups
rarely exist in schools (Hargreaves, 1994a); second, university faculty seldom
participate in the collaborative group; and third, few such collaborations have
focused on the inclusion of high-risk learners. The main focus of the study
was the individual teacher’s development of inclusive practices. Each of the
four teachers studied represented a subunit of analysis, and all were
considered embedded units of analysis within the larger design (Yin, 1994).
Therefore, this study was identified as a single-case, embedded design. This
design can be particularly helpful as the “subunits can add significant
opportunities for extensive analysis, enhancing the researcher’s insights into
the single case” (Yin, 1994, p. 44). By studying four teachers, patterns
emerged that provided insight into the change process as teachers acquired
new practices. The individual units, teachers in this case, added substantially
to the findings by illustrating common themes for describing the process of

74
change. By having multiple units for analysis, I determined if patterns fit
with general change across all participants or were unique to individual
teachers.
Multiple sources of evidence were gathered in my study to increase the
quality and the substantiality of the findings. Yin (1994) stressed the
importance of multiple sources of evidence so that data would converge in a
triangulating fashion. As the data from different sources supported the same
conclusion, the validity of the findings was strengthened. To gather multiple
sources of evidence, I refer to four types of evidence cited by Yin (1994). The
forms of evidence are (a) participant observation, (b) interviews, (c) direct
observations, (d) and documentation. The following paragraphs describe the
data collection process and each source of evidence that were used in this
study.
Data Collection
Each teacher was observed twice a month for 2 school years, 1997-
1999. Observations lasted anywhere from 2 to 4 hours. Some observations
had specific purposes, and others were informal. The teacher’s needs and
level of comfort with me being in her classroom influenced the type of
observation. I conducted debriefing sessions with the teacher after these
observations (see Appendix D). The four teachers also participated in four
formal, hour-long interviews that were recorded using a laptop computer.
Teachers participated in a monthly group meeting throughout the project.
These meetings were full-day workshops, half-day workshops/meetings, or
hour-long meetings. The needs of the group determined the focus of the
meeting. I recorded TLC meeting minutes through the use of a laptop
computer. These minutes captured the events that occurred and many
comments and contributions of the teachers. Additionally, after these

75
meetings and for many of the other days spent at the school, I made reflective
notes that represented my impressions, concerns, and other interesting
events that occurred. I spent approximately 461 hours in total data collection.
A summary of the time spent in total data collection is presented in Table 3.4.
Table 3.4
Summary of Data Collection Procedures
Total for Study
Hours
Classroom observations and informal follow-up
conversations
327
Formal interviews
8
Full Day TLC MeetingsAVorkshops
86
TLC Meetings
40
Total Data Collection
461
Participant observation. A major part of data collection involved
participant observation wherein I assumed a variety of roles. I participated in
most teacher observations through team teaching, assisting students, and
providing other types of help to the teacher. After observations, I met with
teachers to discuss my observation and their reflections (see Appendix D). I
also was an active participant in workshops and group meetings, after which
I recorded reflective notes. These notes were recorded using a laptop
computer as were my reflections of events from the day and impressions I
had as a result of conversations or observations. In some cases, my
recollection of conversations with teachers have been recorded (e.g., laptop
computer) as evidence of teacher change. Observations and reflective notes
informed me about classroom practices and provided me with information

76
about the changes being implemented. Notes from observations and
reflections provided additional information about teachers’ beliefs and
practices. Observations were used to verify that teachers were, in fact,
making the types of changes they claimed to be making in their interviews
and conversations.
Interviews. Interviews are considered one of the most important
sources of information in data collection (Spradley, 1980). They allow others
into the personal world of the interviewee. My interviews were semi-
structured conversations with participants that allowed them to talk about
their problems of practice, the roles of the TLC in helping them learn new
strategies, and how their environments affect their work. Additionally,
teachers discussed their knowledge about teaching, their beliefs about
students and learning, and their perceived sources of help. Interviews were
piloted with teachers not participating in this project. All interviews were
focused and open-ended, and teachers were asked for direct responses and
opinions about their teaching, students, and work environment. Four
interviews were conducted by researchers on the project and myself with each
participant (see Table 3.5). In the first three interviews, we asked teachers
about the problems of practice related to including high-risk students, their
typical ways of addressing those problems, and current sources of support. To
determine if teachers talked differently over time as a result of their
increased involvement in the TLC, these interviews were similar for all 3
years. In the fourth interview, we asked respondents about the TLC group
and changes they incorporated in their classrooms (see Appendix C for
interview protocols).

77
Direct observations. Direct observations involve documenting an
occurrence, such as a math lesson, for a specified period of time. Particularly,
these observations focused on the implementation of a new strategy,
Table 3.5
Summary of Interviews
Interviews
Date
Protocol 1-Year 1
June 1997
Protocol 2-Year 2
January 1998
Protocol 3-Year 3
November 1998
Protocol 4-Year 3
May 1999
classroom management techniques, or student engagement. Three types of
direct observations were used for data collection. First, focused observations
were recorded through notes by the researcher in the form of an anecdotal
record, which later were typed using a laptop computer. These observations
were conducted at the request of the teacher and used to record the number
of verbal reprimands or positive statements made in a given amount of time
or the amount of seatwork given during an observational period. Because
only one teacher requested focused observations, this type of information
played a secondary role. Second, formal observations were conducted one
time during year 3 as part of the data collection procedures for the larger
study. In these observations fellow researchers and I used Pathwiseâ„¢, a
teacher performance assessment, to document practices in four domains
(Appendix E). The first domain focused on organizing content knowledge for
student learning and required an interview between observer and teacher.

78
Domains B and C, creating an environment for student learning and teaching
for student learning, were observed during the actual lesson. The last
domain, teacher professionalism, involved the teacher reflecting on the
lesson. Data were obtained through a postobservation reflection. Third, semi-
formal observations were conducted twice in year 3 using criteria from
domain B (creating an environment for student learning) and C (teaching for
student learning). Observational notes were made under each of the five
criteria for domains B and C. The Pathwiseâ„¢ observation and semi-formal
observations were primary data sources for evidence on instructional
practices (Appendix E).
Documentation. Documents included action plans, letters, agendas,
meeting minutes, administrative documents, teacher generated items, and
newspaper clippings. Documents were used to corroborate evidence from
other sources. In this study, action plans were one of the main sources of
evidence, and teacher work, letters, and school information added to the main
data sources. Teacher action plans were documents that we asked teachers to
complete. These plans indicated how they would implement strategies to
solve a problem of practice in their classroom. This document created
accountability for their actions by having teachers list how they would
document the effectiveness of their strategy and provide a reasonable
timeline for meeting their goals. Action plans were collected once or twice a
year for the second and third years (see Appendix F for action plans).
Additionally, meeting minutes were maintained at each small and
large group meeting. Meeting minutes provided essential information about
teachers’ comments and participation, including information about teacher’s
intentions and beliefs about new practices and the inclusion of high-risk

students. I took careful notes of the conversations members had with each
other and documented the contributions they made.
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Other sources of documentation for this study included letters written
to the teachers and principal regarding project information, agendas for the
collaborative meetings and workshops, meeting minutes taken for the
teachers’ review, testing information and scores, and newspaper clippings
regarding the TLC project (see Appendix F for copies of action plans and
newspaper clipping).
Data Analysis
The main purpose of this study was to describe how teachers who
participate in school/university collaboration changed their practices to
include high-risk learners. This purpose was best fulfilled with qualitative
methodology. In qualitative research, data analysis occurs throughout the
study and allows the researcher to fine tune questions and procedures (Miles
& Huberman, 1984; Patton, 1990; Spradley, 1980; Yin, 1994). Thus, during
the first year of the study, data collection involved one or two observations of
each teacher, minutes from four group meetings, and one interview. As a
result of year 1 data, I made changes in year 2 to spend more time with
teachers in individual meetings, group meetings and workshops, and
classroom observations. Over time, questions became more specific as they
related to individual participants, their specific classrooms and students, and
their teaching practices. I again made changes in my role as a participant in
the third year as a result of the teachers becoming more involved in their
personal development.
I reviewed and coded the data (Miles & Huberman, 1984) and then
looked for a pattern of relationships through a set of conceptually specified
analytic categories (Mishler, 1990). As part of this categorization, there were

80
regularities (patterns) to be found. These categories across participants were
views of instruction and management, role of the reflective Mend, role of the
TLC, and role of teaching context. As categories start to produce similarities,
they can be subsumed into a broader category for analysis (Merriam, 1998).
Views of instruction and views of management revealed similar patterns
(practices, challenges encountered, accommodations, and changes). Both
categories were subsumed under the broader category of teachers’
framework. This research orientation is appropriate when the context under
study is unfamiliar and complex as in the instance of a single-case design
where the intention of the study is to describe or explore (Miles & Huberman,
1984). An analytic induction approach allows for patterns to emerge through
the data-collection process. The overall purpose of the study was to describe
general education teachers’ use of inclusive practices and how those practices
evolved or did not evolve through their participation in a collaborative group
with university researchers. In addition, I examined the role of the reflective
friend, collaborative group, and the teaching context in the change process.
I then used the evidence in the categories to construct patterns and
themes that described how teachers changed their practices and the roles of
internal and external influences. Examples of patterns for role of reflective
friend included gaining confidence and trust, teaching partner and coach,
research interpreter, and promoting teacher reflection. I used observations,
meeting minutes, conversations, and the reflective notes as forms of evidence
and then organized and coded them into informative categories that provided
concrete descriptions of individuals and their changing practices. These
categories were used to construct profiles in which I looked for patterns
within the descriptions and created new patterns and categories that

provided general descriptions of how teachers changed their practices to
better include high-risk learners.
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By focusing on TLC participants for 3 years, commonalties in the data
began to emerge. I continued to review notes and interviews (Patton, 1990)
and coded some of the data (Miles & Huberman, 1984) from the onset of the
study to look for patterns and distinct categories. These categories helped to
fine tune interview questions and narrow observations to collect more specific
data (Patton, 1990; Spradley, 1980). The categories of the role of the
collaborative group, the role of the reflective friend, and the teaching context
turned into specific questions to help guide data collection and analysis.
The next step in data analysis consisted of looking for patterns and
themes across teachers (Patton, 1980). Subunit analysis required in-depth
descriptions of individual teachers and classrooms. Then, I used the themes
that emerged to develop a framework for understanding how teachers
changed their practices. As the themes became clearer, I was able to compare
them with findings in the literature regarding teacher change.
Methodological Issues
Yin (1994) discussed the criteria forjudging the quality of research
designs based on the four tests that are common to social sciences: construct
validity, internal validity, external validity, and reliability. Two issues of
validity are particularly pertinent to a descriptive case study and, therefore,
will be described in further detail. They are construct validity and external
validity. A discussion of the issues of reliability, investigator bias, and ethical
issues conclude this section.
Construct Validity
Qualitative research often requires subjective judgments during data
collection. To be considered valid, such judgments must meet two criteria.

82
First, the researcher has to select the types of phenomena that are studied.
In this study, the focus of interest will be changes in teachers’ practices.
Second, the researcher must select measures that reflect the phenomena
being studied. I used observations, interviews, meeting minutes, and
observer notes that focused on individual teachers within their classrooms,
TLC meetings, and the school. These various sources will help create a profile
of teachers and their practices. They provide descriptive information on
individual teacher development.
Construct validity can be established more carefully by using multiple
sources of data, establishing a chain of evidence, using peer debriefing, and
conducting member checks against the drafts of data reporting (Yin, 1994). I
used multiple sources of evidence specifically to document the new practices
teachers learned, how they implemented them, and their sustained use of
these practices. Additional evidence documented the role of the TLC and the
reflective friend and the teaching context that affects teacher change.
Multiple sources of evidence included interviews, TLC meeting minutes,
classroom observations, action plans, and researcher reflections. The design
and implementation of this study provided a chain of evidence (Yin, 1994)
from the research questions, to the methodology, to data collection, and to
data analysis and conclusions. Portions of the data were analyzed by other
researchers on the project to support, clarify, or revise categories and
emerging themes (Lincoln & Guba, 1985). Participants in the study also were
asked to review portions of the data (i.e., personal interviews, meeting
minutes, and observational notes) to verify or correct the data (Lincoln &
Guba, 1985).

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External Validity
External validity deals with the issue of a study’s findings being
generalizable to the greater population. Case studies rely heavily on
analytical generalization where the researcher is working toward
generalization of results to a broader theory. In this sense, the investigator’s
goal was to “expand and generalize theories” (Yin, 1994, p.10) based on
existing literature. For this study, I used the teacher change literature. For
readers to compare a study’s context to their situation, the researcher has an
obligation to provide a detailed description throughout the study (Merriam,
1998). To enhance the potential for generalization, Merriam (1998) suggested
that the researcher provide a rich, thick description so readers can determine
how closely matched their settings are to the one being studied and,
furthermore, determine if findings can be transferred. Another suggestion by
Merriam is to describe the typicality of the individual compared to other
teachers so that readers can make comparisons to their own situations.
Through multiple forms of data collection and rich descriptions of
participants, readers will be able to determine if findings from this study can
be applied to their personal situation.
Reliability
Reliability in case study research is achieved when another researcher
conducts the same procedures in replicating the case study and arrives at the
same conclusions. Addressing the problem of reliability of implementation
will lead the researcher to using well-documented research procedures that
would assist other researchers in developing a clear picture of the design
when attempting to replicate this study. Interview protocols, observation
instruments, and meeting agendas are some examples of instruments that
would assist another researcher in replicating the case study. Additionally,

84
key informants and other researchers working on this project can help me
stay honest through discussions and by reviewing data and reading portions
of the data and drafts of the results.
Investigator Bias
Researchers are prone to bias when they use a case study to
substantiate a preconceived notion (Yin, 1994). To protect against such bias,
researchers are urged to be clear and forward in describing their perspectives
of the phenomena being studied. For me, I have developed friendships and
collegial relationships with the TLC teachers. I have had dinner with some of
them, walked with one of them, created learning centers until early evening
hours with another, had lunch with many of them, team taught with a few of
them, and even supervised their classes on occasion. On two occasions, I
helped one participant by substitute teaching. Also, I have strong beliefs
about the inclusion of students with learning and behavior problems. From
the beginning, I have been an advocate for students who have been difficult
for the teachers. Issues of friendship and my beliefs about inclusion have
played a part in this study. I have worked against bias by being open to
contrary findings and have had two or three colleagues question preliminary
analyses and findings throughout the study. I discussed my initial findings
and emerging patterns with three other researchers involved with the TLC
and have consulted other researchers who engage in qualitative research.
Questioning along the way has assisted me in fine tuning interview
questions, prompted discussions with participants, and resulted in a more
careful analysis of data.
Ethical Issues
Ethical principles adopted by the American Anthropological
Association served as the guide to assist me in remaining ethical throughout

85
the study (Spradley, 1980). Teachers had the right at any time to make
statements and not have them recorded. Information was not recorded if I
was asked not to do so. Informants’ rights, interests, and sensitivities were
safeguarded throughout the process. Teachers were never coerced to
undertake a strategy they felt uncomfortable implementing, nor were they
pressured to implement strategies at all. At times, teachers were
uncomfortable with me taking notes in the classroom. Notes were made after
the observation until the teacher became more comfortable with the
procedure. On occasion, teachers asked me not to observe during a scheduled
visit. I always made sure the teacher welcomed the visit or observation before
it occurred. Over time, many of the teachers welcomed me without an
invitation. Throughout the years of the project, teachers were informed of the
research objectives and knew that their involvement in the TLC was the
focus of the study. The participants have been assigned pseudonyms and in
no manner have their names been associated with the data. Participants
signed a consent form stating they would receive no financial compensation
for participation. They do, however, receive new teaching and management
practices, materials relating to their personal interest, and professional
services from another educator. I have tested students for teachers, brought
them articles that described new strategies they were interested in, and
assisted them with learning materials for their students. Finally, all written
reports will be made available for teachers to read.

CHAPTER 4
SCHOOL CONTEXT, CLASSROOM CONTEXT, AND TEACHERS’
COGNITIVE CONTEXT
I conducted this study to answer the following research question: Can
general education teachers collaborating with university researchers change
their practices to include students with academic and behavior problems? I
also posed related research questions. These questions include the following:
What roles do (a) the teachers’ context, (b) the TLC, and (c) the reflective
friend play in stimulating teachers’ change in inclusive practices? In this
chapter, I briefly describe two dimensions of context; the school and
classroom. I additionally describe the teachers’ cognitive context and how the
context affected their classroom practices. Evidence collected during the 2-1/2
years of this study suggests that teachers can change their practices in an
effort to accommodate students with mild learning and behavioral problems.
These changes were in all likelihood affected by teachers’ context, the TLC,
and the reflective friend.
In Chapter 5,1 describe the role of the TLC and reflective friend in
stimulating teacher change. I also address issues to be resolved in the TLC
reflective friend roles. I then present descriptions of changes in classroom
practices.
86

87
School Context
Hidden View was built in the late 1950s in a working class
neighborhood; the original wing has wood floors, doors, and structures. Most
of the teachers at Hidden View had taught there for over 10 years. The school
was 1 of 90 elementary schools in a large urban county. Students typically
scored at the county average on standardized testing. In spite of being an
older school, Hidden View was well kept. The hallways were typically quiet;
students’ artwork and projects were neatly displayed outside of their
classrooms throughout the school.
The findings from the school context and other sections came from
interviews, observations, and TLC meetings that involved four teachers: Kay,
Diane, Martha, and Cindy. These four teachers were the focus of the study,
and it is through their eyes that the school context is described. At Hidden
View, administrative style, relationships between teachers, culture of the
school, testing practices, and the school’s designation as an REI school all
help to describe the school context.
Supportive Administrative Style
The teachers described Ms. Summerlin as supportive. She provided
instructional materials and opportunities for staff development; as Martha
described, “[Ms. Summerlin] is doing a good job of supporting me, [we have]
“resources . . . and access to the things that we need to do a better job.” Cindy
echoed Martha’s sentiments.
[She is] supportive of what I am doing in my classroom and provides
me with the resources I needed to do my job. Sending me to workshops
that I wanted to attend; the materials that I needed to teach reading,
like supplemental materials that are not provided by the county.

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Anything else, whatever I ask, no complaints. I only ask for what I
need. [Principal support] is a worry I just don’t have.
Diane also believed that Ms. Summerlin supported their efforts to
improve classroom practices. She believed that Ms. Summerlin was
interested in effective practices and found ways to bring information about
these practices to her teachers.
She is very supportive of things we want to try in our classrooms. I
implemented the early reading strategies for children and it was
successful. I think it will be implemented in more classrooms because
of its success. She saw the success and is doing what is necessary for it
to help other children in the school.
Although Ms. Summerlin was interested in improving classroom
practice, she did not mandate innovations. Instead, she allowed teachers to
vote on whether to implement an innovation school wide. Consequently, her
teachers viewed her as a collaborative leader. Cindy remarked, “Ms.
Summerlin is a wonderful principal because she understood shared-decision
making before it became a concept.” Cindy believed that if you worked hard to
help students learn, then Ms. Summerlin would give you the power to make
decisions about implementing new ideas and curriculum. However, Ms.
Summerlin only provided supports within the current structure of the school.
More substantial changes had to be approved beforehand.
Congenial But Isolated Faculty
The Hidden View faculty would be best characterized as congenial but
isolated. Teachers were cordial to one another and talked with each other
about aspects of their personal lives. Often the teachers talked about how
well they worked with some or all of their grade level colleagues. However,
the teachers rarely talked with colleagues about problems in their classroom

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or struggles they had with individual students. Teachers did not seem to
know much about how other teachers taught. Although each grade level had
its planning periods on the same day (i.e., the entire fourth grade had their
“specials” on Monday), rarely did two teachers share more than a 30-minute
planning time, and when they did, no co-planning occurred. Teachers often
told me that their planning time was important for them to prepare for
instruction and complete paperwork. They did not prefer to meet with me or
anyone else at that time.
Within grade levels, teachers talked more with their colleagues. The
fourth-grade team shared more than other teams and was viewed by Ms.
Summerlin as the “most collaborative.” The fourth-grade teachers
departmentalized by content area (e.g., reading, math) and so taught all
fourth-grade students. According to the fourth-grade teachers,
departmentalizing helped students because teachers could focus all their
efforts on one subject. Often these teachers would discuss students who were
having difficulties, but rarely would they co-plan instruction. Instead, they
would discuss performances for PTA meetings and culminating projects.
Although Cindy was satisfied with her grade level partnerships, she
and other teachers recognized that collaboration was not a prominent feature
of the school. Diane, the second-grade teacher, was distressed by the lack of
collaboration at Hidden View. She noted that congeniality was not enough for
people to develop collaborative relationships and explained that she had no
peers with whom she could work closely and share ideas. Diane expressed her
desire for greater collaboration when she said,

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[I want] partnership and to have something in common with someone
else and both work on it and talk out the results. Someone to vent with
and then go back and try again. To be around people of like beliefs. If
you have a certain mindset and plan together, we can generate
multiple ideas and be productive. It helps us to be further along.
Everything would be so much better if we could plan and gather things
together.
Other teachers were bothered by the isolation at Hidden View.
Teachers did not know what occurred in classrooms other than their own,
because they spent little time watching each other. During a discussion of
who should be nominated for “Teacher of the Year” from their school, Kay
and Cindy both acknowledged they knew little about each other’s practices
and that such an event was just a popularity contest. My observations led me
to believe that Cindy’s and Kay’s comments were valid. I noted that teachers
rarely kept their doors open while teaching. In fact, many non-TLC teachers
indicated to their TLC colleagues that they did not want to participate in the
TLC project because they did not want outsiders in their classroom.
The culture of isolation was evident in other ways. Teachers in upper
grades mistrusted their primary grade colleagues’ ability to prepare students
for state assessments. Cindy did not support the instructional approach
teachers used in primary grades. She often commented about primary
teachers’ use of “fun little projects” and argued that students needed to spend
time working on mastery instead. She speculated that second- and third-
grade teachers were the weak links of the school because students’
assessment scores dramatically declined from first to second and third grade.
She had no knowledge of how students were instructed in any classroom but
relied on what her students’ younger siblings shared about their projects in
her presence and the poor reading performance of 25% of her students. Based

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on these observations, she concluded that teachers were not doing what they
were supposed to or students would be on grade level when they entered
fourth grade. It is interesting that Cindy does not have these same fears
about her grade level peers whom she knows better. To the contrary, Cindy
believed that her fourth grade peers were quite competent. As Cindy
indicated, “My peers have helped me to do things better because I don’t have
to worry about them.” Cindy could concentrate on reading only and knew her
colleagues covered the other subject students needed. It was the other
teachers in the school she did not trust.
All teachers agreed that time was a barrier to working together as a
group and learning more about their colleagues’ classrooms. Cindy speculated
that if they had time to interact, they would learn more about each other’s
classrooms. “We have no time to interact. This has been an extremely busy
year, and we’ve had no time to talk about what’s going on in our rooms.”
Teachers had limited time during the day to meet besides the few
professional development days that Ms. Summerlin provided to the TLC
teachers. Teachers seemed to be isolated due to lack of structures to support
interactions among teachers. Therefore, teachers were at best congenial to
one another.
Pressure to Meet Performance Standards
Teachers at Hidden View were concerned about improving their
students’ standardized test scores. The schools’ average scores on district and
state assessments were published in the city newspaper. Additionally, the
state was moving toward a practice of giving schools a grade. At the end of
year 3, each school received a grade from A to F based on its performance,

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which was published in the newspaper. The teachers as well as the principal
felt increased pressure to focus on improving student test scores. Each year
in the school improvement plan, the school set goals for improving reading
and math scores. The pressure to do so often caused teachers to feel
overwhelmed. Diane read the goals of the school and district and described
how she felt overwhelmed by students’ complex learning problems: “I am
overwhelmed by Blueprint 2000.1 I haven’t been able to get a handle on this.”
In time, she came to realize that not all students would be able to meet the
standards, nor could she expect that all students would be able to do the
same things.
The district emphasis on test scores. It is a barrier. We are not looking
at students as individuals, seeing where they are and seeing what they
can do. It is evaluation based on a number, and that is not true
evaluation. That is the district attitude that becomes the in-house
attitude because it is push, push, push. That makes teachers do crazy
things that they would not normally do.
Hidden View’s teachers and principal felt pressure to improve their state
assessment scores, and pressure dampened their enthusiasm for trying new
ideas. Cindy and Martha often talked about how they could not waste
instructional time and teach information that was not covered on the test.
Diane often did not like to miss days away from their students because she
felt it was one less day to prepare for testing. Even when problems of practice
were discussed at TLC meetings, these second-grade teachers chose to miss
meetings because of pressure to prepare students for state assessments.
National educational goals as described in “Florida's System for High-Quality Schools.'

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Designation as an REI School
Hidden View was one of the five schools in the county designated as a
Regular Education Initiative (REI) school. This meant that all students
diagnosed with a learning disability, mild mental retardation, or an
emotional handicap would be included full time in general education classes.
Ms. Summerlin considered herself a supporter of inclusion and prepared the
school for its REI role. She carefully hired a second-year special education
consultant to work with the REI teachers. She did not select the teachers for
those classrooms but rather recruited volunteers with the promise of smaller
class enrollments.
Students with disabilities who fit in with their nondisabled peers and
who needed few accommodations stayed in general education classes. When
an Exceptional Student Education (ESE) student had persistent difficulty,
however, the general education teachers advocated for the child to be in a
self-contained classroom. Hidden View also had three classes for students
with moderate mental retardation, housed in portables at the back of the
school. Except for lunch, these students were not mainstreamed. All students
who had mild mental retardation or had a severe learning disability were
transferred to another school.
Students in the REI classroom saw the special education consultant for
1 hour a day, generally during language arts. Other than that, ESE students
received the same opportunities as their general education peers, with
minimal accommodation. The special education teacher generally acted as an
aide in each classroom, helping the ESE students complete class assignments

and homework and study for tests. She sometimes advocated for student
accommodations.
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Despite the existence of an REI model, teachers had little
understanding of inclusion and inclusive practices. Essentially, all students
were taught the same way. Kay, unlike her peers, did offer individualized
assistance to some students who had demonstrated continued failure to learn
new concepts during whole group instruction. In some cases, teachers did not
know which students had an ESE label, what their disabilities were, or what
type of modifications they should make for them. Most teachers believed they
could not fail any ESE student for any subject. Many of the teachers gave
ESE students a letter grade higher than what they earned. For instance,
students who failed reading got Ds.
Summary
In sum, the school context offered some opportunities for change and
posed some constraints. The school had a leader who supported teachers’
individual change and made some resources available to teachers. The school
environment was congenial, and for the most part, teachers were concerned
about each other. However, teachers were isolated with no structures for
collaboration. Teachers were burdened by district and state level emphasis on
increased test scores that often inhibited them from risk taking and trying
new practices. Although implementing a form of inclusion (REI classes), the
school did not have a vision for inclusion.
Classroom Context
Classroom context influenced teachers’ instructional practices to
varying degrees, often inhibiting teachers’ attempts to accommodate

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students. Among these inhibitors were (a) an overwhelming curriculum, (b)
common view of curriculum reified by standardized testing, and (c) diversity
of learners.
Overwhelming Curriculum
In year 2, Hidden View adopted a new reading curriculum. It differed
substantially from the curriculum teachers used in previous years and was
difficult to implement in spite of the resources it provided. The curriculum
emphasized teaching students to use cognitive strategies in conjunction with
specific skills at each grade level. In a given grade level, teachers were
expected to teach students 12 different strategies in a year. Teachers had a
hard time knowing how to teach the strategies and knowing which ones were
the most important to emphasize. Martha was not able to determine what to
use and what to exclude. She stated her concerns regarding this challenge:
The new reading series is a challenge. This series is difficult because
nothing is in a set order by weeks. It takes us 7-10 days to finish
stories and teach all the skills we need to. We have to put things
together like puzzles and it is very time consuming.
Like Martha, other teachers had difficulty determining which skills and
strategies should be emphasized. The district purchased the curriculum
because it emphasized the skills tested on state assessments. So the teachers
believed that adhering to the teacher’s manual and covering the entire
curriculum would help their students’ performance. Unlike Martha, Diane
was able to pick and choose from the curriculum, particularly as she became
more comfortable with it. She found that trying to emphasize all the skills
and strategies mentioned in each unit stifled her ability to plan appropriate
instructional activities for her students.

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Over time, Diane identified helpful curriculum resources. The
curriculum offered many resources for teachers in addition to the text and
skill book. One of these resources included a remedial reading program for
students who experienced problems with grade level materials. Diane was
the only one in her school who learned about the remedial program through
reading and reviewing her curricular materials. Although she implemented it
and shared with colleagues her students’ success, none of them made an
attempt to learn about or implement it. Teachers did not see how they could
implement remedial programs and still expose students to the skills and
strategies in the text. Teachers had difficulty understanding how to
differentiate instruction while teaching to the whole group. They were
overwhelmed by the resources of the reading curriculum and were not
trained to implement it in a meaningful way.
Common View of Curriculum Reified through Standardized Testing
The district purchased the new reading curriculum because it covered
skills on state assessments. Teachers attended meetings where they learned
about the connection between state assessments and the skills emphasized in
the curriculum. Throughout the year, teachers also attended workshops that
provided them with materials that would help prepare students for the test.
As a result, teachers relied on textbooks; they feared that not covering the
text would mean not providing their students with the necessary skills and
knowledge needed for the FCAT (Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test).
Cindy expressed this concern, “With the fourth grade’s pressure on testing,
scores are reported all over the state. The kids have to be pushed
academically. You have to challenge them to meet fifth-grade standards. You

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can’t spend all of your time reviewing.” When the county piloted new
assessments in third grade, Martha expressed concerns about preparing her
students properly.
Because of the new testing we have this year, I have to spend more
time to look at the specifics of what they [students] should know. We
have new tests and I need new material. I have to pull together things
from scratch to prepare the students for the tests.
Martha was worried that her students would do poorly on the new
assessments because she had not been provided with information and
resources that prepped students. She had to learn about the assessments and
then determine herself what students should know. She then used the
curriculum in ways that emphasized tested skills and overlooked the parts
that did not.
Fourth-grade students were subjected to the most standardized
testing. They took Florida Writes, a writing assessment given to all fourth
graders across the state; the FCAT; and the CCT (Comprehensive
Competency Test). Because of extensive testing at this grade level, fourth-
grade teachers were very concerned about students’ academic achievement.
Cindy said, “Fourth grade is such a pressure year with reading and writing. I
am trying to prepare for tests and cover all the skills.” Teachers felt
compelled to prepare students for tests and did so throughout the year.
Teachers had difficulty making judgments on their own about what was
important to teach and how to go about doing it. We often had discussions
about covering curriculum as opposed to teaching for mastery. The pressure
to improve test scores limited teachers’ willingness to depart from the text
and implement changes in their practices. For them, the ideas that were

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being proposed, such as cooperative learning and learning strategies, often
seemed like one more thing to do. Cindy said about teaching, “I don’t want to
find out at the end of the year that what I am doing is not effective.” Teachers
wanted guarantees on improved test scores before they would commit to
using innovations.
Diversity of Learners
Given the standardized learning context and teachers’ traditional
instruction, some students failed. Teachers were bothered by student failure,
but still their instruction did not change. They made some accommodations
for their ESE students but initially believed they could not make
accommodations for others. Martha, like other general education teachers,
indicated that her greatest challenges were “[students] who learn at different
levels and that we have to accommodate. It is a challenge for me to keep a
balance between the different learning levels. It is hard to make sure all
children are treated fairly.” Teachers were especially concerned about how to
help students who had difficulty academically but did not qualify for special
education services. In year 2, Martha had two students who were not labeled
as special education and needed a lot of extra assistance. She was beginning
to make minimal accommodations for some students. Martha said ESE
students were challenging to her, but other students presented even greater
challenges. Once, she described her frustrations as follows: “Angelo who knew
almost nothing, and Kavin who can’t read ... I was spending more time with
those who were not ESE than those who were.” To make matters worse,
teachers believed that everyone who was not ESE had to meet the same
standards as their typical peers at their grade level. Cindy shared Martha’s

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concern for significantly low-achieving students. “They come to me so far
behind grade level.” These students were ones typically not identified as ESE,
and they read one to two levels below their typical peers. “It’s the basic kids
who have fallen behind that make it more difficult to teach.”
Difficult ESE students also challenged teachers. Diane had one
student in her second-grade classroom who had not mastered the first-grade
curriculum. She differentiated instruction for him and provided multiple
opportunities to develop his conceptual understanding; nonetheless, the
student still struggled.
[I have concerns about] meeting multilevel instructional abilities and a
child being in the wrong place. For different abilities, I know what to
do. It is just very demanding and hard to get to all you need to do...
Roger, he is ESE. Even when I present things, he manipulates objects,
and then when I ask him to make the connection with written work he
cannot do it. I know that I am asking him to do things that are
impossible for him to do. That takes time and takes away from the
class.
Diane had difficulty meeting the needs of individual students that required
intensive one-on-one instruction when she also had a responsibility to meet
the needs of the group. Diane, like the other teachers, wanted to support
inclusion, but often they had difficulty knowing how to make it happen.
Although challenging students concerned all teachers, really difficult cases
made teachers question the appropriateness of inclusion. Even though
teachers had good administrative support, they had limited knowledge of
accommodations and believed they could not accommodate low achieving
general education students.

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Summary
The classroom context provided some supports for teachers to engage
in new practices. Most teachers had reasonable class sizes, access to
instructional opportunities and resources to improve their teaching, and good
administrative support. However, mandated curriculum limited change.
Teachers were unable to reconcile students’ instructional needs with content
that needed to be taught for state assessments. As a result, teachers became
text dependent and judged all students by the same standards. Additionally,
students in the REI classrooms who had serious learning disabilities and
those who had complex learning needs and were not in ESE created
frustration and challenge to their teachers. Teachers believed that all
students had to learn the same thing and this was impossible. Neither the
school nor REI teachers shared a vision for inclusion or for effective practices
to support inclusion. Teachers were overwhelmed by the complex needs of
their students and had limited understanding of their options of how to
accommodate those needs.
Teachers’ Cognitive Context
How teachers viewed students and learning, their beliefs and
philosophies about teaching, and their level of knowledge influenced their
readiness for change. In the beginning of the study, three teachers had a
standard view of instruction, and one had an individualized view. In the next
section, I describe first the standardized instructional framework and then
the individualized instructional framework in influencing teacher’s readiness
change.

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Standardized Instructional Framework
Kay, Martha, and Cindy were more standardized in their orientation
toward teaching and less inclined to change. Two major themes characterized
their teaching: (a) dominance of whole group, undifferentiated instruction
and (b) teaching content over mastery.
Whole group, undifferentiated instruction. In the beginning of this
study, Kay, Martha, and Cindy could frequently be seen standing in front of
their class leading students in a lesson. Typical of upper grades, students
reviewed the previous night’s homework before learning new concepts.
Teachers discussed new terms, made attempts to activate background
knowledge, and then guided them to apply the concept followed by students
completing assignments independently to demonstrate their understanding.
For example, Cindy explained that she followed a structured format
when she presented a lesson. All students were to follow along as she chose
individual students to participate. Most often, Cindy would guide students
through 45 minutes of instruction and then give them 15 minutes to complete
a workbook page. The following excerpt from my field notes illustrates a
typical lesson in her classroom but is also illustrative of Kay and Martha’s
instruction as well.
Cindy is at the podium, discussing vocabulary. They discuss aspects of
a map. Students raise hands to answer questions. All students have
books open and on their desk. Teacher moves around the room asking
questions. They have a discussion about the rainforest. Teacher relates
rainforest to what they are doing in science and reminds them to study
for the test [science] tomorrow. Brian reads a few sentences. Teacher
asks a prediction question. Four students raise hands to respond. Gina
reads next. Teacher assists student in self-correcting in reading.
Teacher questions about how they feel about the section they just read.
I would say that there are about 8-10 students not following along.
Chris reads two lines of the next section.

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Students were told what they would learn, had limited opportunities to
practice, and then engaged in an independent task to demonstrate their
understanding.
All three teachers taught to the whole class and had the same
expectations for virtually every student. The teachers taught as if their
students were a single unit with instructional experiences being the same for
everyone. For example, Martha expected everyone to complete tasks in the
same manner. She would forcefully show students how to complete
assignments if they did not respond appropriately after her verbal feedback.
All the students were given index cards and a marker. Martha then led
the kids in making their own flashcards. She wrote 0+0 on the board in
a square on the chalkboard. She tells the kids to write neatly and big,
and do not write the answer on the card. After everyone completed the
first card, Martha monitored their work and provided feedback. She
was very firm and intrusive. She would grab markers and cards out of
students’ hands and demonstrate for them. I began to tally the
comments she was making to the class. For a 20-minute period,
Martha made 5 positive comments and 10 corrective comments.
Martha, like other teachers, held standardized expectations for the class. All
three teachers wanted students to demonstrate the same skills on the same
assignments. Only Kay allowed struggling students to complete easier
worksheets that the majority had previously mastered. For all three teachers,
students experienced the same form of instruction regardless of their ability
or disability.
Content versus mastery. The pressure teachers felt to prepare their
students for state assessments compelled teachers to cover the curriculum
rather than teach for student mastery. Teachers were also standardized in
their view of curriculum. Often they went page by page, chapter by chapter,

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when planning for subject matter. When I observed Martha in math, if she
assigned students pages 180-181 on Monday, students would be assigned
pages 182-183 on Tuesday. Kay was similar in that regard. She taught one
letter of the alphabet and one number a week. Kay taught letters and
numbers in sequential order.
As I entered the room, all the students were already working at their
center groups. One group was working on a coloring sheet where they
had to differentiate between 4, 5, and 6. On the back of the worksheet,
they had to draw a line from numbers to corresponding pictures. One
group was working with bendable materials where they could create
objects of their choice. Another group was working with the aide on an
art activity. I worked with students on the letter J. They were to color
all the J pictures on the sheet and then write a capital and lowercase j
under the colored pictures.
One week later, I [assisted students] at the letter K center this time.
The students were to color and circle all the pictures that began with
the letter K and trace the four sets of K’s on the paper. The teacher
gave them construction paper in which they were to draw a picture to
illustrate an event they remember from the story “Katy No Pockets.”
In all three teachers’ classes, not all students mastered concepts taught in
the curriculum. Regardless of whether a few or many students struggled
learning a new concept, teachers continued to move on through the text at a
consistent pace. They knew that mastery was important; however, they felt
compelled to expose students to all skills in the curriculum before state
assessments were administered.
Cindy and Martha made very few accommodations for individual
students. In some cases, they reduced the number of problems on homework
or tests, had peers assist each other, or recruited volunteer tutors. Martha
discussed the sources of support she provided students. “[I can get] Kavin
extra help such as tutoring once a week. I have conferences with his mom,
getting her involved in what I am doing. Have peers who help him with his

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work.” Kay felt she could make more accommodations for individual students
than Cindy or Martha. In an interview, Kay explained the types of
accommodations she made.
Struggling kids are not expected to do the same. [They] trace letters
instead of writing them independently, choose two colors instead of
coloring all the color words. I am flashing words twice a day and flash
numbers three times a day before they go home.
Kay provided some students with worksheets for remediation that the class
had previously mastered. She diversified assignments only in this way to
provide the support individual students needed to become successful. She
provided more of these supports toward the end of the year after she had
made decisions to retain these children. Teachers rationalized their limited
accommodations for students because they accepted the view that all non-
ESE students had to maintain standards for performance at each grade level.
Martha talked about the dilemma of being fair, that is, giving and expecting
the same for all students. Cindy talked about the same dilemma. “Varying
assignments is difficult. I can give students some variety from unit to unit,
but varying assignments individually is hard.” The struggle to teach content
over mastery was a difficult dilemma to solve.
In sum, Kay, Martha, and Cindy were all had a standardized view of
instruction. Their practices could be characterized as whole group,
undifferentiated instruction with the exception of Kay who made limited
accommodations. The class was exposed to the same lesson, and all students
were expected to meet the same instructional goals. Teachers moved at a
consistent pace through the curriculum, paying attention to covering concepts

rather than teaching for mastery. They found it difficult to make
accommodations for students who could not meet grade level expectations.
Individualized Instruction Framework
105
Unlike the others, Diane often had students working in pairs or groups
during instruction. She knew that peer-mediated instruction and cooperative
activities helped to support students who were learning at different levels.
Diane’s instruction was never the same on any given day or week. Diane
continually modeled strategies and pointed out other students who were
using good strategies. She was always teaching, whether it was an academic,
behavioral, or a social skill lesson. Students had choice in many assignments.
They worked in groups or independently. She used many teacher-made
materials during instruction to enhance student participation. A student-
centered approach to instruction, multiple instructional arrangements and
strategies, and varied accommodations exemplify Diane’s instruction.
Student-centered approach to instruction. Most instructional activities
involved developing students’ background knowledge and understanding by
providing experiences in which they would demonstrate their understanding.
Diane often had students participate in activities that developed their
understanding of concepts.
I walk into Diane’s room and the children are in their same table
groups and have connecting cubes in the center of their table. The
students are working on pairing. The teacher puts so many blocks in
the center of the table and asks students to report the number of
blocks at each table. Teacher writes on the board the number of blocks
each group has. She looks at the number in the ones column to talk
about even and odd. Students practice counting by two and look for
patterns. Students then make pairs out of the blocks they have in their
groups. One of the groups has one block left over. The groups now tell
how many pairs they have and how many blocks left over. The class

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has to identify which groups had even numbers and which had odd and
explain how they know this to be true.
Diane provided many opportunities for students to share their work
with peers. She thought that students often did a better job teaching each
other than she could do by modeling and lecturing. To facilitate sharing,
Diane would have students, after completing a task, explain the product they
made, how they made it, and what they learned. These sessions helped her
understand what students knew, and she then further developed their
thinking and communication skills. “After center time was finished, the
teacher went to each center and asked students from the center to explain
how their center worked and share the products they made.” In Diane’s class,
peers have multiple opportunities to be the experts throughout the school
day.
Students were constantly involved in authentic learning tasks. When
learning about colonial times in the United States, students studied in depth
about how people lived in those times. Students went on field trips to
reenactments, learned about lifestyles, and then worked on projects to
demonstrate their understanding. For instance, they learned how to write
using homemade ink and quills and had daylong reenactments of colonial
times in their classroom. Students signed up to learn about people and
professions (i.e., baker, blacksmith, and stable hand) and created posters
explaining their jobs and tools. During the reenactment, they portrayed
people of the past and explained to other students and parents about their
lives. When students read about China, they prepared a home-cooked
Chinese meal where they learned about all the foods and how they were

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made. Additionally, they ate the meal sitting on the floor and using
chopsticks to keep with customary traditions. Students did not just read
stories, complete worksheets, and take tests. They engaged in multiple,
stimulating learning experiences.
Instructional arrangements and strategies that promote self¬
management and positive behavior. In Diane’s classroom students
participated in cooperative groups, worked with partners, worked in centers,
and completed tasks independently. Most often students worked in
cooperative groups of three, four, or six students. When students were
assigned a task, Diane allowed the groups to determine the roles each
member would play. Diane used group rewards to manage student behavior
for transitions and during instructional time. Each table group earned points
for demonstrating prosocial behavior, for working cooperatively, and for
completing tasks correctly. She also frequently prompted students to manage
their own behavior. After preparing the groups for an activity, Diane asked,
“How will I know if you are working well together?” The students gave
various answers. “When we are cooperating, everybody is helping. . . ” She
also had students tell why groups were successful in cooperating.
Diane believed that by keeping her students engaged in learning she
could prevent a lot of problems from occurring.
I keep kids very engaged so I prevent a lot of behavior like aggression
and fighting. Off task [behavior] was a problem to a degree. Sometimes
getting them going was hard. Self-directed activity times seems to be a
problem. So I moved to having the students pick and choose whatever
they want and this seemed to help all kids. I reduced choices when
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Diane allowed her students to make decisions in learning opportunities,
whether independently or within groups. When students had difficulty
making choices, she reduced the options and had them select from two or
three. She realized that students had to be taught how to interact
appropriately within groups. She used centers to give them opportunities to
work together in playing games or putting together puzzles without working
in cooperative groups. I recorded this during an observation, “Diane says her
class really needs centers as they help the kids to socialize without all the
problems they experience in their cooperative groups.” She grouped students
in multiple ways to teach them social skills as well as develop their
knowledge of academic material.
Varied accommodations. Unlike her other three colleagues, Diane
implemented individual and small group accommodations based on students’
needs. She knew that reducing the number of problems on assignments was
not enough to help students succeed. Often she advocated for students to get
remediation in the skills they lacked. She knew the grade level curriculum
alone would not provide them with the help they needed. In a conversation
with Diane, I noted,
Diane was talking about how we can’t teach kids on grade level and
just reduce numbers [of problems]. We have to go back and teach the
kids the skills they are missing. She said we have to be able to know
content from earlier grades so that we can give kids what they need.
She would seek outside resources or provide assistance herself through some
form of tutoring. She also believed that group learning helped students who
were behind grade level. She explained, “Cooperative learning assisted kids
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been. Manipulatives and cooperative learning helped with skills and
application of learning.” She provided all of her students with many
opportunities to develop their conceptual knowledge through the use of
manipulatives and by working in a group. Some students worked often with
manipulatives, while other students did not need to use them as much.
Diane offered students who did poorly in reading and math the
opportunity to stay after school for tutoring. She never complained about this
service, but she realized that after-school tutoring was not the most
meaningful context. She wanted to provide students with assistance but
knew it should occur within the natural learning environment. “I kept them
after school 2 days a week for an hour session. There has to be a better way,
and it needs to happen naturally all the time. . . . Kids need more application
work.” Diane wanted her students to have the remediation in reading
through the experience of reading content material throughout the school
day. However, she found it very challenging to provide students with the
extra assistance and experience they needed within the school day.
Diane also made accommodations for students who had trouble
managing their behavior. There were a few students over the 2-1/2-year
period who behaved in a way that most teachers would consider annoying.
Often they had difficulty functioning cooperatively in a group. Nevertheless,
Diane encouraged these students to participate more in their groups; she
solicited their responses and constantly praised their appropriate behavior.
In spite of the negative behavior these students exhibited, they were treated
with respect and had friendships within the class. Diane knew that how she
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One boy shouts out constantly and talks out loud to the teacher at
inappropriate moments. I later complimented Diane on her ability to
ignore this boy’s behavior and involve him in positive ways. I told her
that he would have trouble in other classrooms. She agrees and said
she fears for some of her kids’ success next year.
She demonstrated the same positive treatment toward Carly, a verbally
aggressive student the previous year. When I commented about her positive
treatment of this child, Diane said, “I know that kids treat Carly better
because of how I treat her.”
Diane’s approach to instruction and management was student-
centered in that she allowed students the freedom to discover concepts for
themselves and encouraged students to self-manage their behavior.
Throughout the year, she assessed students’ progress and determined what
types of accommodations to make for students to help them become
successful. Diane was innovative in her framework for teaching and had a
well-developed understanding of teaching, learning, and managing behavior.
Diane considered the individual needs of all of her students and provided
them with multiple opportunities to experience success.
Summary
The teachers’ cognitive context, that is their instructional framework,
influenced how they perceived instructional innovations. Kay, Martha, and
Cindy had a standardized view of instruction. They relied on whole group,
undifferentiated instruction as their main approach to teaching information
to students. These teachers also taught in a swift, ordered manner in an
attempt to cover all grade level content while not considering whether
students had mastered new material. These teachers felt pressure to cover all
content to expose their students to material they would be tested on in spring

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assessments. Diane, on the other hand, had an individualized view of
instruction. She used a student-centered approach to instruction that allowed
for student discovery and natural learning experiences to develop conceptual
understanding. Diane additionally used various instructional arrangements
and strategies that allowed the students to self-manage and encourage
positive behavior. She made diverse behavioral and instructional
accommodations to assist individual and small group of students become
successful.

CHAPTER 5
THE ROLE OF THE TLC AND THE REFLECTIVE FRIEND IN
TEACHERS DEVELOPING INCLUSIVE PRACTICES
Elementary school teachers typically work in isolated contexts with
little opportunity for interaction with colleagues or outside researchers. This
study provided teachers with an opportunity to engage in a unique form of
professional development. First, teachers met on a regular basis for 2-1/2
years with other colleagues and university researchers to help them develop
more powerful classroom practices, particularly for students at risk for
failure. Second, the reflective friend, an outside researcher with expertise in
working with students who have mild learning and behavioral problems,
worked with teachers on an individual basis. They had personal attention
and assistance in their classroom for a 2-year period. The purpose of this
chapter is to describe the role the TLC and reflective friend played in helping
teachers learn inclusive practices. The chapter concludes with the changes
teachers’ made in their practices.
Role of the TLC
The collaborative group provided teachers an opportunity to come
together and discuss what was going on in their classrooms. In year 1, the
TLC met once a month in a half-day or whole-day session. For year 2, the
TLC met every other month in a half-day or whole-day session and met in an
hour-long meeting for the other months During year 3, the TLC met every 3
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to 4 weeks as a group for at least an hour. On few occasions we met for a half
or whole day. By this time, the TLC group had grown significantly and the
teachers decided to create primary and fourth-grade groups, since the entire
fourth-grade team had joined. The TLC served two main functions for the
group; it provided teachers (a) a forum for discussions and (b) an access to
resources.
Forum for Discussions
The TLC was established under the premise that teachers would bring
difficult classroom problems to the group, and the group would generate
solutions for them. Teachers could talk about any concerns they had. Often
they talked about their frustrations with individual students, class size,
school policies, not having enough time, or paperwork. All concerns were
valid, and often teachers empathized with one another. The TLC was the
place to ask uncomfortable questions that did not have any clear or easy
answers. Often we left questions unanswered and agreed we would have to
reflect on them and possibly find more information to respond to them. The
TLC served as a forum where teachers experienced (a) a structured vehicle
for problem solving and (b) questioning of beliefs and practices.
Structured vehicle for problem solving. Most often the TLC served as a
forum for teachers to discuss problems of practice. Teachers understood that
everyone in the group would share an instructional or management problem
they experienced. Typically, teachers took turns at meetings talking about
the problems they had targeted. In year 1, we used a problem-solving format
wherein an individual teacher discussed the specifics of the problem, and the

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group generated solutions. At the end of those discussions, the teacher chose
a solution to try. At the following meeting, teachers shared the progress of
their problem. For example, Martha attended every collaborative meeting we
had and contributed substantially to every meeting, except one. In most
cases, Martha used the group to discuss problems she was having with
individual students. These problems were mostly related to student behavior.
We began one of our earlier meetings with Martha discussing Hope’s
progress. Martha shared that she talked with Hope about the things
she didn’t like. . . . Martha reported with regret that Hope had been
earning more sad faces than happy faces. Mary (UF researcher) and
Martha discussed using a signal with Hope that would remind her of
her behavior (i.e., negative interactions with her peers). Martha said
that by just looking at Hope, she would usually mind. She said,
however, that Hope is still wandering around the room. She is a “busy
body.” The group discussed ways to keep Hope on task. One teacher
suggested giving her small amounts of work at a time. A second
teacher suggested that Hope could ask a peer to correct her work.
Martha didn’t feel this was appropriate based on Hope’s behavior. Two
other teachers suggested circling the problem Hope is working on if she
is on task and have Hope keep a journal and record the number of
circles. Martha likes the journal idea . . . and might use it for Hope to
write down her behavior progress.
Even though teachers like Martha discussed their problems and
determined solutions, rarely did we hear about substantial changes. In fact,
teachers often forgot to work on their plan and had little to report to the
group about their efforts from one month to the next.
In year 2, we used action plans as a way to focus discussions. Using a
similar problem-solving format as in year 1, teachers wrote an action plan
that targeted an instructional or management goal. Teachers were to define
the problem clearly, and the group was to generate solutions. Teachers
selected and wrote out their plan of action. Then, to help teachers assess

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their own progress, they had to describe how they would know if their plan
were working. This step in the plan was an attempt to promote teacher
accountability. Finally, teachers set a timeline for accomplishing their goal.
As a group, we decided that only teachers who completed action plans could
participate in TLC meetings. Teachers agreed that the group’s purpose was
to commit to solving problems of practice. For example, Diane targeted five
students in her classroom who were struggling to read and had failed reading
the first 9 weeks of school. She devised a tutoring program for them that she
implemented twice a week using materials emphasizing direct instruction
and phonics. By the end of the second 9 weeks, all students who participated
in the tutoring had raised their grades to either Bs or Cs. She then devised a
new action plan to target a student who was failing math.
By the third year, we moved from half- or whole-day meetings to hour-
long meetings. When teachers met together in their groups, they addressed
action plans. New members were assisted in the beginning, but Kay, Diane,
Martha, and Cindy knew the routine. In fact, they helped the group by
setting examples in their own plans. Cindy was concerned about her
students’ scores on vocabulary from last year. She decided she needed to do
something that emphasized students’ acquisition of vocabulary words. She
learned about vocabulary materials, reviewed several vocabulary programs,
and then selected one to use with all of the fourth graders. She developed a
plan for the whole year that emphasized students’ development of word
usage. Each time we met, teachers briefly reminded the group of their plan
and then explained their progress. If teachers were having difficulties, the
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The action plan served as a contract with the teacher and the group. It
represented their commitment to working on changing something related to
their management or instruction. In year 2, teachers needed a lot of
assistance in writing their plans. Often they were too global in targeting a
problem or unrealistic in their expectations. For example, one teacher’s goal
was that all students would read on grade level. Teachers needed assistance
in defining specific problems. After the problem was defined, teachers needed
help determining ways to assess their progress. Finding ways to assess was
the most difficult part of the process. Only Diane used effective forms of
assessment consistently in years 2 and 3. The remaining teachers had little
idea about how to evaluate their work, and they were often concerned about
not having the time to assess student progress. By year 3, all four teachers
were all able to meet their action plan goals. Teachers accomplished goals in
academic improvement for individual students, small groups, or as a class.
Teachers indicated that they liked sharing ideas. They liked having
access to ideas for improving their instruction and management. In an
interview Kay said, “Whenever I had a problem, there are certain [teachers] I
would ask for advice. It didn’t always work but at least I had different ideas
to try other than the same old ones I had.” Not all of the ideas were great; not
all of the solutions worked; but teachers appreciated hearing about different
ideas to consider.
Questioning beliefs and practice. During TLC meetings we often
questioned the group about their beliefs about teaching and learning. This
questioning process occurred in four different ways. First and most often, we
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such as detention, grading, and student engagement. Second, teachers
questioned each other about their practices and policies, such as
implementation of remedial programs and using a social skills curriculum.
Third, one teacher used the group to question her own practices on detention.
Finally, another teacher questioned the practices of her non-TLC colleagues.
Researchers, most commonly, questioned teachers about their beliefs
and practices. There were school-wide policies that worked against
accommodating student diversity and we thought those issues were
important to discuss in TLC meetings. We talked about detention,
standardized testing, the fairness of grades, and advocating for students. We
asked teachers tough questions and had them articulate their beliefs. Diane
liked the process of having to articulate what she thought. She said, “We
became reflective thinkers. We were challenged to articulate our beliefs about
education and had time to do so.” In spite of teachers acknowledging the
dilemmas of detention, testing, and grades, the status quo continued. It was
the personal conversations where teachers reconsidered their practices.
We questioned teachers about their individual practices. Sometimes,
teachers were disturbed about some of the questions we asked. In a meeting
with Mary, and me, Diane talked about a question that Mary had asked her
earlier in an observation. Mary wanted to know why Diane did not make
better use of her morning reading activity. Mary told Diane that was the
perfect time to help children use strategies they were learning during reading
instruction. Diane was perplexed by Mary’s statement and wanted to know
more. She said that her activities in the morning were just filler activities,

but Mary’s comments made her realize she was wasting valuable
instructional time.
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Martha also began to respond to the questions we asked her about
discipline. Martha was quite punitive in her approach to managing classroom
behavior and expected her students to sit quietly in their seats for long
periods of time completing worksheets. She often commanded students to “sit
flat” during instructional time. We talked with her frequently about
becoming more positive with students. By the middle of the second year, she
had begun using more conferencing techniques with a few students who had
trouble managing their own behavior. Martha said she took more
opportunities to praise these students for their appropriate behavior when
before she would have put them in detention for infractions without talking
to them about their behavior. Now she worked on talking with them and
noticed that not only did their behavior improve, but also their academic
grades improved.
On occasion, Teachers questioned each other. In year 3 during a
primary TLC group meeting, Diane came to the group and asked her
colleagues their impressions of a Scholastic Reading test they all had to
administer. As a result of the assessment, teachers would be able to
determine reading levels of all of their students. Some teachers did not have
much to say and others made a few comments. Diane had said the test was
biased because it used examples in which her students were unfamiliar. She
went on to explain an example about eating in a fancy restaurant and how
her students did not have experiences like that. A few other teachers talked
about how the answer choices were confusing. Teachers said students were

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not accustomed to this test format and were not able to distinguish good
answers from better answers. Teachers were most concerned about students
being placed on reading levels on the basis of a single instrument that they
found inappropriate. Teachers went so far as to question this practice as an
appropriate school policy.
On another occasion, Dottie, a first-grade TLC teacher, had indicated
interest in learning more about the remedial reading program that Diane had
implemented in her class. Diane encouraged Dottie to try it because she had
the REI class, and Dottie had talked about some of her students experiencing
problems learning how to read. Dottie wanted to observe Diane during the
30-minute period she worked with her five students and questioned Diane
about what was required to implement the program. Diane told Dottie she
would have to plan the remedial program when the special education
consultant was in Dottie’s room. Dottie said she could not do that because
Clara came during her math time. Diane told her she would have to
reschedule math earlier in the day and have reading during that time. Dottie
said she could not do that because she always has taught math in the
afternoon. Diane chuckled and told her she would have to change her
schedule. Dottie said no. Diane told her she could not say no, but she had to
think it over first. Dottie agreed. Over time teachers used the TLC to talk
about practices and challenge their peers’ practices.
Some teachers also began to question their own practices. On occasion,
teachers asked questions about practices that were troubling them. Martha
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Martha talked about conduct grades. She brought this up out of the
blue and prefaced it by saying, “I have done this for nine years and
no one has ever complained. . . .” She explained that if students did
not bring in homework for a day, they were sent to detention. Each
day students spent in detention was a letter grade off of their
behavior grade for the week. If students missed three homework
assignments in a course of a week, they were in detention for three
days and received a behavior grade of D for the week. I told
Margaret I was concerned about how this affected low achieving kids
and unmotivated kids. How could detention help them? Her
colleagues shared with her what they did for their students.
For Martha, the group mainly served as a council where she could bring her
concerns and seek advice.
TLC teachers also began questioning their non-TLC colleagues’
practices. This type of questioning occurred with Cindy and her fourth-grade
team, which was collegial and shared the same students. When Cindy began
to advocate for students with disabilities, she had to question the practices of
her colleagues and sometimes the actions of the administration. Cindy knew
her ESE students needed accommodations to be successful. She spoke to her
colleagues about modifying their expectations of these students. She knew
that sending them to detention all the time for them not completing their
homework did not help them. She began telling her peers if students
repeatedly went to detention, then it was not effective.
Specifically, Cindy became an advocate for Leroy, an ESE student.
Leroy often was in detention for not having homework finished and
distracting his peers during instruction. Leroy could not read at a fourth-
grade level and had tremendous difficulty completing his work. Cindy
challenged her peers to make accommodations for him to assist him in being
successful. Eventually, all the fourth grade teachers made minimal
accommodations for Leroy in the form of reduced items on tests and providing

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study guides. On another occasion when the school social worker suspended
one other ESE students for a behavior infraction, Cindy went to talk with
him about the effectiveness of the punishment. She knew that the student
had no idea what he had done wrong and felt the punishment was a result of
a teacher overreacting. Over time Cindy viewed her ESE students as needing
extra support and encouraged her peers to make modifications through study
guides, altering assignments, or using partnered activities.
In summary, the TLC served as a forum where teachers had their
beliefs and practices questioned, most often by researchers. Over time,
however, teachers began questioning school-wide practices and their own
practices and used the group as a place to work through concerns. One
teacher began to challenge her non-TLC colleagues’ practices.
Access to Resources
The TLC provided teachers with an information source, particularly for
research-based innovations. Because the TLC was a school/university
collaboration, teachers expected university researchers to provide
information. Teachers viewed us as experts and wanted to learn about
practices and techniques that worked. In group meetings, however, teachers
began to discuss their own ideas. Some TLC teachers developed expertise in
an innovation then shared it with the group.
Outsider shares knowledge. Teachers viewed the TLC as a source for
new ideas but initially referred to us as experts and wanted us to tell them
what the research said. Cindy kept emphasizing that she wanted to learn
“research proven techniques.” Teachers relied on the university influence to
share the latest discoveries in teaching. As a group, teachers talked about

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their common concerns, and we found information that might be relevant to
them. We selected teacher-friendly materials that described practices similar
to the teachers’ current classroom practices. As a result of many observations
in teachers’ classrooms, we had an understanding of their practices, the
curriculum they used, as well as their students’ needs.
The group served as a vehicle for learning about new ideas. It was
through meetings that teachers learned about CWPT and Cooperative
Learning and were provided concrete examples of how to apply them. We
knew that CWPT closely aligned with their practices and that even though it
encouraged student interaction and increased noise, teachers would still use
it. To introduce cooperative learning, I adapted lessons I had observed to
include a cooperative learning activity. For example, I had observed Martha
using a teacher-directed method to teach multiplication to her students. She
reviewed each section in their text by modeling, then moving to guided
practice, and ending with assigning homework for an independent task. I
used the very same concept and discussed how Martha could have used
numbered heads together, a cooperative strategy, to increase student
participation. I explained what her role would be at each step and what
students should be doing in their groups. I ended with how to assess student
knowledge and collect grades. Teachers found this method of disseminating
knowledge to be quite helpful. Diane talked about how helpful it was to have
concrete examples from her own classroom. The examples helped her to
visualize how Cooperative Learning strategies would work. We also shared
with teachers a few focused reading strategies. Teachers were overwhelmed
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Therefore, teachers learned about teaching and using reading strategies that
related to their current curriculum. These concrete and authentic examples
allowed teachers to understand how the innovations could be implemented in
their classrooms.
When we asked Cindy how she learned to be effective with challenging
students, she replied, “Your suggestions that you have given me, through our
meetings and things that I have tried.” She admitted that over time she had
learned how to work with students in different ways.
Because of the TLC the way I work with high-risk kids as well as
regular education kids has changed. . . . We have worked toward
[using] research-based methods that have been proven effective. Peer
tutoring is one of the biggest things IVe gotten out of TLC, as well as
teaching strategies instead of teaching just skills.
The TLC provided teachers information that was more personalized as a
result of the researcher’s familiarity with teachers’ classrooms.
In spite of the personalized approach to introducing innovations, not
all teachers capitalized on the information we provided. Teachers used the
innovations to varying degrees and implemented only the ones they were
most interested in. For instance, Kay used some peer work at the end of the
third year when students had finished their seatwork. Diane had
implemented CWPT in math, reading, and spelling and collected data and
had students score themselves during reading. Additionally, she
implemented some of the Cooperative Learning strategies she had learned
through the TLC workshop (i.e., jigsaw, numbered heads together). Martha
implemented CWPT in math with consistency in year 3 and collected
assessment data on student progress. Cindy used peer-mediated instruction

and taught and modeled more reading strategies. Teachers implemented
innovations in their own way and in their own time.
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Teachers share ideas. The TLC was established to help teachers
develop a forum where they could problem solve together. As a result of the
larger research project, researchers hoped over time that the collaboration
would be self-sustaining without university involvement. Therefore, teachers’
contributions were intended to be an important part of the TLC meeting, and
teachers sometimes found they benefited from listening to each other’s ideas.
Diane thought TLC meetings helped her generate new ideas.
The TLC was very helpful. Coming up with the strategies not only by
myself, but also with the group and coming up with things, making
suggestions, giving input from our knowledge base. We learned to help
children take charge more of their learning. . . . Students get more
opportunities than they did before, numbered heads.
In spite of Diane’s positive affirmation of this process, we noticed that
teachers most often implemented ideas we brought to the TLC. As we worked
with TLC teachers, we noticed that teachers offered few ideas. With the
exception of Diane, most shared ideas that were not powerful for creating
change. Teachers shared ideas based on their personal beliefs and their own
personal repertoires. For example, in year 2 a beginning teacher joined our
group. She wanted to improve reading comprehension skills with five
students. Cindy suggested that Lynn consider skill books like the ones she
used, which target reading comprehension. Often teachers suggested sending
students to other teachers’ classrooms for time out or for a special privilege,
involving parents, and using familiar remedial resources. Teachers seemed
reluctant to suggest ideas to their colleagues. Martha, who attended every
meeting, rarely suggested ideas. When she did contribute, it mostly occurred

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in year 3.1 prompted teachers to discuss practices that I had seen in their
classrooms. They did not contribute naturally but had to be encouraged to do
so.
Diane, however, stood apart from the rest when it came to sharing. She
often generated useful strategies the teachers could use. When Lana, another
second-grade TLC teacher, discussed a management problem, Diane was
quick to share a strategy that would assist all her students in monitoring
their own behavior. She then went on to discuss a program that was available
through the school that helped teachers provide social skill instruction and
teach appropriate behaviors.
Lana (second-grade teacher) discussed her desire to improve her
students’ self-management skills and the group made suggestions.
Diane suggests the “give me 5” management strategy. This cued
students to check themselves to see if their body and minds are ready
to listen and work. [A moment later] Diane suggests the Cub Scout
Seekers program [program teaches students about taking
responsibility for their actions and appropriate responses to make in
given situations]. Diane implements the program with her students
and has a meeting on Friday. All students regardless of their behavior
participate in the meeting. Refreshments are the reward. Only
students who earn it get the snack.
Diane was also helpful and encouraging to Lynn the beginning teacher, who
often discussed the management problems she encountered. Diane made
suggestions to help her and then complimented Lynn on her positive
practices. On one occasion, Lynn talked about a student who was having
difficulty managing his own behavior. She told the group how she typically
addressed his behavior. Diane suggested using a check sheet for his behavior.
She told Lynn to target four behaviors she wanted the student to
demonstrate and give him a plus when he did them and a minus when he did
not. Diane emphasized to Lynn the importance of increasing the student’s

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positive behaviors using positive reinforcement. When that happened, Diane
suggested rewarding the student. Diane complimented Lynn for not backing
the student in a comer by confrontation. Diane commented, “We are wiser for
giving kids a way out.” Perhaps Diane’s more innovative instructional
approaches and extensive teaching experience allowed her to serve the
students better and feel more confident about sharing ideas. Clearly, teacher
sharing seemed to hinge on her contributions.
In year 3, a few teachers developed new techniques or innovations as a
result of working with me or reading material on their own. Teachers used
the group to share their new endeavors and the results of their work. As the
reflective friend, I knew what all the teachers were implementing in their
classrooms. I asked them to be responsible for sharing their work with the
group. Teachers brought in videos, resource materials, assessment data, and
examples of students’ work to share with the group. We noticed that as
teachers became more knowledgeable about practices they perceived as
powerful, they became more willing to share.
For instance, Diane shared instructional resources that she either
learned about on her own or in the TLC. When she had implemented CWPT,
she made three charts for her students that reminded them of the type of
errors to look for, procedures in tutoring, and how to keep score during the
session. She had them posted on the board each time they used CWPT. She
also made scorecards that students could use easily to indicate how many
points they earned. She had a quartered piece of paper that had numbers
from 1-100 that allowed students to mark through numbers after each correct
sentence their partner read. She found these charts and scorecards very

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helpful tools for students. She shared with her colleagues what she had done.
“Diane came in with all the charts she had prepared for peer tutoring and she
had scoring sheets. She modeled helping behaviors and positive comments."
Diane also shared resources she used for after school tutoring. She
shared different approaches she was using and even showed her colleagues
the materials and how they worked. Anytime she had a resource that worked
and someone indicated a need, Diane would talk about resources and then
leave the meeting to bring the resource to the group.
Diane went to get the A Beka book she has been using after school
with her students. She thinks it will help her students learn phonics.
She shows the special education teacher the book and explains the type
of skills it teaches students. The special education teacher wants one.
Cindy also learned about outside resources and shared them with the
group. In year 3, she implemented a vocabulary program, Wordly Wise, with
all fourth-grade students. The vocabulary books emphasized different skills
in reading, and she used the resource to supplement her reading instruction.
She previously learned about reading strategies through the TLC. She
emphasized teaching “look backs” with her students. By year 3, she was
teaching her students to use look backs, main idea, and summarizing while
reading, and even emphasized these strategies when she used Wordly Wise.
She shared these strategies with the group and described how the students
were beginning to use the strategies independently. Unlike Diane, Cindy
never collected student assessment data to verify student improvement.
As Martha used CWPT in her math classes, she shared her progress
and the materials she used with the Hidden View TLC, her colleagues who
did not participate in the TLC, and even colleagues from a TLC based in

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another school. Martha learned about CWPT through the group and in the
following year had the opportunity to share with others. Martha became the
CWPT math expert within the school. Other TLC teachers referred colleagues
to Martha as a resource to help their students improve basic math fact
fluency.
Martha, Cindy, and Diane shared with their colleagues the practices
that they had developed. They shared their successes and the barriers
encountered, some brought in data to support the effectiveness of their work,
and all showed teachers how they implemented strategies. These teachers
also offered themselves as supports to colleagues who were interested in
using their practices. Often teachers volunteered to discuss resources in
greater detail or invited colleagues to observe. Through the TLC, teachers
provided information about their practices to the group.
Issues to Resolve in the TLC Process
The TLC provided a source of support for the teachers; they talked
about how they benefited from the process, and we noticed many positive
changes. The TLC was almost like a club or sorority. TLC teachers got
privileges that other teachers did not. During daylong workshops, teachers
got to go out for lunch. For hour-long meetings at the end of the day, non-TLC
kindergarten teachers covered TLC teachers’ classrooms. TLC teachers were
leaders in the school; they were grade level team leaders and vocal
participants in faculty meetings. The TLC teachers became an “elite group,”
to use Ms. Summerlin’s words, known for its hard work. Teachers could not
join the group unless they committed to work on a plan for instructional or
behavioral improvement. From year 1 to year 2, we lost TLC teachers

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because of the commitment and expectation for working toward change. By
year 3, the group almost doubled in size with 11 participants. Even though
we were excited by the TLC’s growth, particular issues affected the TLC’s
functioning. These issues were (a) teachers’ dependency on outsiders, (b) lack
of cohesion in the group, and (c) TLC as an added responsibility.
Dependency on outsiders. All the TLC teachers talked about the
importance of having an outsider involved in collaboration. They liked the
tailor-made professional development and appreciated having another
professional to talk with about their work. Teachers also relied on us to
schedule all meetings and workshops, set the agenda, and led all discussions.
From the onset of the TLC project, we discussed how TLC teachers would be
partners in collaboration and eventually run meetings without our
involvement. At the outset, we tried to involve the teachers in deciding on a
problem-solving structure, but they deferred to us. Cindy said, “You tell us;
you’re the experts.” Even when I faxed information back and forth to a
teacher and had her relay information to the other TLC teachers, rarely did
the teacher complete the task. When we discussed how teachers would begin
running meetings, teachers again voiced their concerns. They were not
accustomed to depending on each other to learn and wondered how they could
possibly provide valuable information to each other. Diane said this in an
interview,
The coming together with meetings should be a part of [TLC process]
but there will always need to be a third party. I don’t see it ever
happening, the group coming together without a third party. ... I
learned about different strategies and things for the children, where I
don’t think we know how to recommend that to one another. It seems
it’s just something else to do.

This statement was interesting given the powerful strategies Diane often
suggested to the group.
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All teachers articulated this same concern, and so did Ms. Summerlin.
She said,
You need the university people to validate what teachers are saying
and bring in what the research says. I am not sure if this would have
happened without the university involved. There needs to be
continuous contact with the university.
They perceived the real benefit of this project to be the outside role of a
reflective friend who addressed the concerns of individual teachers. Teachers
expected us to provide them with information, but they did not want to teach
each other. In year 3, the group focused more on teachers talking about
innovations they were using. We asked Martha, Cindy, and Diane to talk to
the group about what they were doing and the progress they were making
with students. All three of them had to be coaxed. A few teachers became
interested in what these three were doing, but nothing ever happened beyond
a demonstration at a meeting. Teachers believed that they needed access to
effective practices and that role could only be fulfilled by university
involvement. Teachers were uncomfortable sharing with each other, and
nothing in their context encouraged them to do so.
Lack of cohesion in the group. Off and on, we heard negative comments
from the intermediate teachers and to a lesser extent the primary teachers.
For example, Cindy questioned the type of instruction that occurred in
primary grades. She commented about primary teachers, “I think they are
missing the boat. If I had a child in first and second grade that could not

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read, that is what we would be doing. Mastery of skill, period.” Diane knew
her upper-grade colleagues made such statements. She commented,
I know the fourth-grade teachers want to know what is going on in
second and third grade when it comes to reading. For some reason
the state assessment reading scores start declining after second and
third grade. I just don’t think those comments are fair. I work hard to
teach my students.
Such sniping seemed to reflect a lack of common vision in the school.
Cindy made vocal judgments about her colleagues when she knew little about
them. Although most teachers admitted they knew little about their
colleagues’ rooms, it did not keep them from criticizing one another. Cindy
was suspicious about the instructional practices of her primary colleagues.
She seldom found whole group meetings helpful and questioned the value of
collaboration when her beliefs differed so dramatically from others.
I understand that the goal is to help us to collaborate, but I really don’t
understand how that is going to happen. I think that is going to be
tough. I have benefited most from not the whole group getting together
and talking, but when the upper grades are together. That includes my
whole team. You get more out of it when you’re with teachers at your
grade level. I get more out of meeting with [intermediate] teachers
than with the primary teachers. ... I listen to ideas, but I’m so focused
on teaching reading that other things are immaterial to me. ... I can’t
lose sight of my primary objective, teaching reading.
Cindy preferred meeting with her grade level colleagues even though
they did not teach reading and had few ideas to offer. On the other hand, she
liked sharing ideas with grade level colleagues on how to help individual
students she and her colleagues were concerned about. Together the group
planned how to help these particular students. This team was concerned
about improving test scores, and they managed their students in similar
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In the TLCs, teachers had trouble collaborating when they did not
share the same ideas about teaching children. Often, they had no knowledge
of their colleagues’ beliefs or practices, would not follow up on a colleague’s
suggestion, or would criticize their colleagues. For instance, Diane shared
some very effective practices with her colleagues, such as the remedial
reading program. She even showed assessment data and helped a first-grade
teacher rearrange her class schedule so she could try the approach. Yet,
neither this teacher nor her colleagues followed through.
Because teachers viewed their responsibilities and practices
differently, they were often critical of one another. They disagreed about
trivial matters and could not decide whether to meet for an hour after school
or in whole- or half-day sessions. Kay and Diane both preferred to meet after
school because they did not like to plan for a substitute or be absent from
their students. Other teachers preferred to meet in whole-day sessions and
thought the day meeting together was important. Cindy made comments that
Diane needed to relax and enjoy the day of professional development away
from her students.
The group was diverse. It included teachers at different grade levels,
with different beliefs about teaching and learning, and with different
personalities. All of them had used practices that could have benefited their
colleagues. Yet, teachers questioned the value of collaboration without
researchers. It was difficult to address teachers’ lack of trust for one another
and find ways to build trust among peers.
TLC as an add-on responsibility. Hidden View was an average-sized
elementary school with minimal resource support. They had a PE teacher

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and a cultural arts teacher who worked with every class once a week. Also,
every class had an assigned library time where teachers would leave their
students with the media specialist. Besides resource time, which they often
did not share, teachers only had a 25-minute lunch period. Teachers did not
have time to meet with each other within the school day. Ms. Summerlin
knew that the TLC needed to meet for whole- and half-day sessions and for
occasional hour-long meetings, and all of these arrangements were
problematic in some respect.
Because participating in the TLC was an added responsibility, time
was difficult to find in a tightly scheduled school day. Teachers had limited
time away from their students and few teacher planning days. We attempted
to meet after school or for an hour during the end of the school day. Only
when I set a time to meet did the teachers meet. Cindy acknowledged the
dilemma of time when she said, “For the TLC to be beneficial, there’s going to
have to be scheduled time for teachers to interact. Unless the university
plans a meeting there’s no other interaction.” Organizing meetings was
always a difficult task. After finally negotiating with 6 to 8 different people
about meeting times, on the day of the meeting a few teachers always had
other commitments come up that prevented them from attending. When the
TLC met for an hour after school, it was very difficult to find days when we
could meet. Teachers often had tutoring 2 days a week, faculty meetings, and
other personal commitments. Teachers soon were overwhelmed by
paperwork, learning problems, school commitments, and fitting in the TLC.
Our group work was an added responsibility.

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Although Ms. Summerlin strongly encouraged teachers to collaborate,
she did not set up structures for collaboration, and this only further
reinforced teachers’ views that the TLC was an added responsibility. With
the exception of rare school committee meetings and monthly grade level
meetings, Hidden View teachers did not meet with their colleagues. The
school day was not structured to encourage collaboration, nor did Ms.
Summerlin expect teachers to meet together other than at committee
meetings. As a result, teachers talked openly about not knowing what their
colleagues’ classrooms were like, and the collaboration that did occur was the
result of teachers’ initiative.
For instance, some teachers did coordinate learning activities within
their grade level. Diane and another second-grade teacher had coordinated a
culminating reading activity for their classes. The collaboration between
them occurred after school in one of their classrooms. Occasionally, two of the
fourth-grade teachers coordinated learning activities in reading, writing, or
social studies.
Ms. Summerlin liked her teachers to plan and teach together. Teachers
volunteered to be a part of the TLC, and Ms. Summerlin encouraged all of her
teachers to participate. Ms. Summerlin also emphasized the TLC being a
teacher’s choice and the extra work it would require on their part. Thus,
participation in the TLC, like all other collaboration, was the result of
teachers’ own initiative and dependent on their personal motivation.
In summary, the TLC provided the teachers a forum for discussing
their problems of practice and developing solutions to try. Teachers also had
access to resources and information from both outside researchers and their

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colleagues. Teachers implemented suggestions to varying degrees and chose
to use innovations based on their personal interest. Despite the benefits
teachers gained, collaboration was often difficult, and TLC teachers
continued to depend on us. We coordinated meetings and provided
information, and they benefited more from our presence than from their
peers. Moreover, TLC teachers did not trust their colleagues as information
sources.
Role of the Reflective Friend
My role as the reflective friend developed because teachers made few
changes in their instructional routines during the first 5 months of the TLC.
The main focus of our work during this 5-month period entailed meeting as a
group and addressing individual teachers’ concerns. As common problems
emerged, the group discussed strategies that could be used in most
classrooms, but teachers made minimal changes in their practices. In year 2,
I worked more intensely with teachers, often observing each of them for 2 or
more hours a week throughout the year. While observing teachers, I asked
questions and offered suggestions, being mindful not to criticize. I felt it was
imperative to reassure teachers that I was there to observe and understand
their classrooms not to evaluate their practices. At first, teachers were
uncomfortable when I took notes during observations. They would try to look
over my shoulder while I was taking notes and interrupt me to provide
rationales for their teaching practices and describe problems individual
children were having. Consequently, I had to change my approach to
observations. I began to interact with students more frequently and asked
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Over time, Kay, Diane, Martha, and Cindy became accustomed to my
presence and began to trust me. In year 3,1 observed teachers bi-monthly.
Because of the extensive time I spent in their classrooms, they came to
realize that I was interested in their work. All the teachers had different
needs, and those needs defined my role. My role included (a) gaining trust
and confidence, (b) acting as teaching partner and coach, (c) acting as
research interpreter, and (d) promoting teacher reflection, problem solving,
and efficacy.
Gaining Trust and Confidence
My initial role with teachers involved gaining their trust and
confidence in me as a colleague. Having someone they barely knew come to
their classroom to observe was unusual and perhaps frightening. For
teachers to have faith in my ability to help, I had to roll up my sleeves and do
the nitty gritty work with them. They needed to see that I knew what it was
like being a teacher. I gained their trust through two activities, acting as an
aide and acting as a substitute teacher.
I acted as an aide in all of the teachers’ classrooms. I assisted each
teacher with monitoring students’ understanding of concepts during
instruction. Often, I worked with an individual or a small group of students
who were struggling academically. In Kay’s classroom, I worked at a center
with several students. Generally, she had me work at the letter table. I
assisted students in completing worksheets on a specific letter, questioned
them about their understanding, and used flashcards with them to reinforce
letter words. On occasion, I worked at the number table where I assisted
students in completing worksheets that involved counting and differentiating

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between numbers. When students were not working in centers, I monitored
students’ progress with Kay and assisted them by writing student-dictated
sentences with their pictures or by checking their work. In Diane’s class, I
worked with a cooperative group, helping them work on their group
assignment. I typically worked with half the groups while Diane assisted the
others. In Martha’s class, I monitored all students during seatwork, but I
specifically worked with students having difficulty. Cindy liked to have me
work with the ESE students to provide them extra assistance. All teachers
saw me as a knowledgeable special educator and appreciated having me
assist their students, particularly those who had academic difficulty.
I also helped the four teachers complete tasks throughout the day.
Diane liked me to run errands or make the copies for her while she continued
teaching her class. For example, on one occasion I helped Diane prepare
centers for her classroom. She found a book on designing centers that
emphasized the skills students needed to practice and asked me to help
gather the materials and assemble centers. We worked until late after school
finishing the centers. Diane appreciated my help. I read through the center
descriptions and made lists of all the supplies she needed, helped her
assemble the centers, made copies for her, cleaned out homework folders,
scored reading tests, and graded student work. She was glad to have extra
assistance, and my presence helped us to establish a working relationship
and a better understanding of each other.
I also gained teachers’ trust by covering classrooms for a half or whole
day when substitutes were not available and then used those moments to
talk about my understanding of teachers’ concerns. I substituted for three

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teachers. During an observation in Kay’s class, we were interrupted by a fire
drill. On the way back into the classroom, a parent volunteer twisted her
ankle. Kay left the room for an extended time and left me in charge of her 33
kindergartners. I joked with Kay about keeping 33 squirmy children
attentive during story time and a quiet game, but I was never quite as
effective as she was. I acknowledged the difficult task she had in teaching
and managing such a large class. Once, I covered Diane’s class for a day when
she was absent and her substitute did not show up. Laura, one of the other
second-grade teachers, was going to have both classes in her small classroom.
I knew Diane’s management style and Laura’s management style’s were very
different and felt that crowding 45 second graders into a small classroom was
a bad idea. I volunteered to step in as a substitute. I also substituted in
Laura’s class once for the same reason Diane had all of Laura’s class in her
room with children sitting on the floor and the aide and ESE teacher stepping
over children. Diane made me plans, and I taught Laura’s class. Since Diane
was also teaching Laura’s language arts class, we were able to talk about
students’ problems and my observations that Diane had planned too many
activities. These experiences created opportunities for building trust and
understanding between the teachers and myself.
Teaching Coach and Partner
Once I established positive relationships, teachers viewed me as one of
them. They knew I had expertise in special education and as a classroom
teacher in elementary education and gifted education. They often asked my
advice about how to handle a situation or about my experiences teaching.
Teachers also viewed me as a coach who could assist them with developing

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skills. My role as partner or coach depended on the level of support needed by
the teacher. The more standardized view of instruction held by the teacher,
the more coaching they required. Many of the strategies I assisted teachers in
developing moved away from a heavy reliance of text dependent and whole
group instruction. Over time, my role evolved from coach to partner with
Cindy and Diane. With Martha, I always remained a coach. Kay resisted
assistance in developing an innovation.
At first, Martha needed intensive assistance for long periods to use an
innovation successfully. As she developed new skills, I gradually reduced
support. From time to time, I observed Martha teach concepts incorrectly. In
year 2,1 tried to help Martha improve instruction in her remedial math class.
She tried CWPT with her homeroom class incorrectly. After giving her
feedback about her attempt, Martha wanted me to model the procedures for
the children. She would not continue to use CWPT unless I was observing in
the classroom and could assist students. I had to demonstrate procedures for
her in the context of her own classroom.
Because Martha needed so much assistance to implement new
practices, I looked for sources that would help her become more strategic and
determined that a scripted math program might help. At the same time, the
school district was offering $500.00 grants to teachers who wanted resources
to improve students’ learning. I wrote the grant for Martha and designated
the money for flashcards and to purchase the Strategic Math Series. The
grant provided an incentive for Martha to continue using CWPT. As in year
2,1 provided her assistance and coaching in preparing her students to use
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To a lesser degree, I assisted Cindy in developing the skills necessary
for implementing CWPT. Once I described the success Diane was having with
CWPT and how Martha was using it, Cindy wanted to try it, too. That very
day I set up Cindy’s class for CWPT. I helped her learn the procedures and
monitor student progress. Cindy, however, did not need the same level of
support as Martha. She quickly learned to implement the procedures and was
motivated to do so. She did ask for my advice occasionally. She would put me
on the spot and ask for a strategy or an idea to help the students as they were
about to start a task. Acting as a coach allowed me to assist teachers in
implementing innovations correctly and to offer them feedback on their
attempts.
My role with Cindy slowly evolved from coach to teaching partner. As
time went on, we often talked about ways to use different approaches to teach
the same concepts. Cindy wanted students to learn from their mistakes and
wanted ideas for accomplishing this goal. For example, Cindy expressed
concern about helping students improve their grades. Specifically, she
wanted to know how she could effectively review the reading theme tests that
she gave once a month with students who made Cs or lower. I wrote down
these four recommendations. They were as follows:
1. Review the first question with the whole group and model aloud for
them how you would go about answering the first question.
2. Pair A tests with D tests, B tests with F tests, and C tests with
other A and B tests. Let them in pairs go over each item and
determine why points were taken off for each answer. Then have
the students correct their wrong answers based on rereading the
selection.

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3. For the multiple choice responses, the students should determine
what the right answer is and then write the line or supporting
evidence from the selection to support their correction.
4. Review the theme tests as a group once they finish.
At lunch I talked with Cindy about my suggestions. She decided to have
students work with a partner to review their tests. The more able partner
provided evidence that explained why their answer was correct. Cindy
especially valued the opportunities to interact frequently with another
educator. When asked by a local reporter to explain the TLC project, Cindy
said, “It’s like taking an instructor with you throughout the whole day. They
are there for you.” Cindy preferred to have another professional around for
her to bounce ideas off or to provide her with feedback and assistance.
For Diane, I was a colleague with whom she could plan with and count
on to help solve problems. Diane felt somewhat isolated from her peers. She
knew her colleagues thought she worked too hard, and she felt that they had
vastly different views about how to teach and manage students. Having
access to an outside researcher with whom she shared similar beliefs about
teaching and learning was a benefit. Diane said about this process,
I learned more by doing and showing like in the workshops. [Having
someone] come into the classroom and do some role-playing and things
really made sense. We could act out for the kids what we wanted them
to do.
When I went into Diane’s class, I acted as a teaching partner. She and I
modeled procedures for students, brainstormed how to solve potential
problems, and created materials together.
Diane missed the TLC workshop on using CWPT, so I met with her
individually to talk about the information we had shared with the group and

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how I role-played procedures for the teachers. She liked the idea of role-
playing and wondered if we could do the same for her students. We talked
about what would benefit students and how to model that behavior. The
following day, she and I prepared her students to use CWPT. Diane
introduced me and explained all the materials students would need. The two
of us modeled tutoring behavior for them, and then we monitored the
students. After this process, we discussed the next steps Diane would take in
using CWPT. We talked about ways she would use the points to reward
students who were making progress and how she knew the pairs were
progressing. Diane liked having a partner with whom she could try
something new and then collaboratively fine-tune the strategy.
The following year when she implemented cross-grade CWPT with a
first-grade class, we talked again about how we should model procedures for
the students. Diane had two other adults present in the room, the first-grade
teacher and the special education teacher. The special education teacher
participated in the CWPT workshop the year before and often had been
present when I coached Martha to use the strategy. Although she now had
access to two other teachers, Diane and I still talked about how students
should be grouped, procedures we should cover, how we would model the
procedures, and problems encountered during implementation.
With the exception of Kay, all the teachers benefited from using
coaching to help them implement the innovations they were learning. As
Cindy and Diane developed their practices, I began acting as a teaching
partner, assisting them in planning and problem solving. All the teachers

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liked having access to someone who knew their classrooms and who had ideas
for addressing some of the problems they encountered.
Research Interpreter
Because we were university researchers, TLC teachers saw us as
providers of information. Teachers expected to learn about “research proven
techniques” that would improve academic and behavior problems. I shared
information with teachers on CWPT, Cooperative Learning, homework
charts, phonological awareness, reading strategies, and strategies for being
more positive with students. However, I did not just provide information. I
also improved teachers’ access to that information. Teachers wanted to know
how innovations would work in their classrooms. I helped teachers apply
information from TLC workshops by role playing CWPT procedures. I also
gave teachers examples of how to use cooperative learning activities in their
classrooms. Not all teachers used the information, but some did with varying
degrees of success. For example, Diane frequently used jigsaw and numbered
heads together. During vocabulary reviews, Cindy also used numbered heads
together. Martha implemented an occasional cooperative activity without
using a particular structured format.
I also found that action plans offered another opportunity to help
teachers apply innovations discussed in TLC meetings. As part of the action
plan process, we developed solutions. When teachers tried to develop
solutions to problems, I often prompted them to consider strategies that we
had discussed. I talked with them about how an innovation could be used to
solve their particular problem. Other times, I found outside information for

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them. I summarized information so it was easier to understand and
highlighted points that were most applicable to their situation.
Unfortunately, Diane found my assistance so valuable that she
preferred it to working with her TLC colleagues. She only wanted
information that would be appropriate to her concerns. Often, Diane would
discuss her academic concerns, and within weeks I would find related
resources. For instance, Diane was using cooperative groups from the
beginning of the project but had difficulty getting students to work together
and complete activities. I shared information about assigning students roles
in the cooperative activity and techniques for developing appropriate social
skills. Diane indicated that access to the reflective friend was the part of the
process she liked the most.
When the group expresses concern about situations and (UF) is aware
of things that could be done and would share . . . having a personalized
workshop. That’s what I want to see more of. . . . UF would bring an
article—things like that were so great. It was like having a resource
that was personalized just for you.
She benefited from having a knowledgeable person summarize, explain, and
provide concrete examples.
I often summarized research findings for teachers and described
procedures for implementing research-based innovations. I read information
and would highlight sections I thought would most interest the teachers.
Because they were very busy, I knew they had a better chance of
implementing a technique if they only had to read the most relevant parts.
Most often, I was able to personalize my interpretation of the research by
meeting with the teachers individually to develop their action plans. I worked
with Kay, Cindy, and Diane in this manner. Using action plans provided an

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opportunity to explain how innovations applied to their personal situations,
and we planned how to use the innovations in ways that they could manage
effectively.
Promoting Teacher Reflection. Problem Solving, and Efficacy
Because I did not have classroom responsibilities, I was able to help
teachers in ways that promoted teacher reflection, problem solving, and sense
of efficacy. By assessing students and questioning teachers, I could challenge
beliefs and practices to promote teacher reflection.
I provided Cindy and Diane with assessment information on specific
students. Cindy wanted information on low-achieving students who were
struggling in reading. I suggested using the Qualitative Reading Inventory
II, an easy-to-use assessment that would provide varied information about
individual students’ reading performance. I tested five students. When I
provided the test results, I talked with her about the students’ learning
problems and the strategies she could use to help them. Specifically, her
students experienced different types of problems; some had difficulty with
fluency and others had difficulty with comprehension, retelling the story, or
prediction skills. Cindy was overwhelmed by the diversity of reading
problems and wanted to know what she was supposed to do since they all
needed different kinds of help. She was compelled to change her instruction
and wanted to hear some suggestions. We talked about how she could use
CWPT and implement specific activities that could address each of the
problems students experienced and how the activities would help all students
become better readers. Cindy talked about her initial concerns, and we found
ways to address them. A few weeks later, Cindy implemented CWPT with all

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of her classes. Cindy appreciated the feedback through reading assessments
that helped her understand the difficulty students were having. She liked
having an outsider with whom to discuss student data and how she could
change her instruction to address problems in reading. Knowing that 25% of
her students had difficulty and seeing assessment data that showed the
diversity and complexity of their problems compelled Cindy to reconsider her
practices.
I used curriculum-based assessment for students whom Diane
recognized as having fluency problems. I assessed low readers on Dolch words
and gave 1-minute timings to everyone. I found 10 students who were not
reading 100 words a minute. Even though she had access to a special
education consultant and a teacher’s aide, Diane simply could not find time to
complete these assessments. She gave me quick directions on what she
wanted, and I gave her thorough feedback on her students’ performance.
Diane and I would share our observations on an individual student to
understand better how to help them. I suggested strategies, and then Diane
and I discussed barriers to implementation until we found the most feasible
and effective solutions.
I also assessed a student in Diane’s class, Wendy, who lacked many
prerequisite skills and was reading at the preprimer level. I discussed my
assessment results with Diane and was concerned that Wendy would be
placed in a self-contained class. Diane talked about Wendy being in foster
care and how she had never been in one school long enough to get the
instruction she needed. Diane said she had noticed that Wendy had some
knowledge and skills but also had glaring holes in concept knowledge. She

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wanted to work more with her independently before she would consider
referring her to child study. I talked with her about using some of the
curriculum-based materials I had for repeated practice and talked with her
about using Martha’s Strategic Math Series for developing math concepts.
We copied several lessons from the series and Diane borrowed the teacher’s
manual from Martha. Over the next few weeks, Diane shared glowing reports
of Wendy’s progress.
In year 3,1 assessed all four third-grade classes three times to compare
CWPT participants with non-CWPT users. Martha had trouble collecting
data regularly on her own. Martha was thrilled to know that her students
were significantly more fluent than the others. She became more committed
to using CWPT and talked openly with her colleagues about how it improved
student fluency and motivated students.
In addition to assessing students, questioning was also an important
tool for promoting reflection. As a participant observer, I could question the
teachers’ practices and provide feedback. I usually talked with teachers after
I observed them. I questioned teachers about their students, without
pretending to have solutions to their problems. In fact, I was often perplexed
by some of the difficulty students experienced. Through questioning, I was
able to prompt reflection and encourage discussions that often led to teachers
problem solving.
Kay taught kindergarten, and her students left school at 1:45, 1 hour
and 15 minutes before general dismissal. She was expected to stay until all
teachers were allowed to leave. It was during the late afternoon that the two
of us discussed her concerns about students, my observations, and potential

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solutions. I often asked Kay about students who struggled academically.
Although she said she had a good class and that no one in her class was low, I
knew that was not true. I asked about Julian, Mark, and Marquan. She often
did not know why they had difficulty or what she should do about them. I
asked her if some of the more capable students could assist these students.
Kay did not like students helping each other because they often looked on
their peers’ papers for answers. When they did, Kay did not know if they
could do the task independently. I pressed Kay about how peers are often
good models and sometimes better teachers than adults. I also asked about
how she could provide more assistance to these students. Over time, I saw
her allowing stronger students to assist the students having difficulty. Also, I
began to notice that Kay started grouping Mark, Julian, and Marquan near
her when she provided directed, whole group instruction. After getting the
group started on one part of the assignment, she would assist them. She
spent more time instructing them and modeling for them.
Our meetings allowed us to discuss students. Kay was positive about
her students, but she knew some of them struggled. I took opportunities to
question her about specific students even if she claimed students were doing
well. I asked about what she did to help students and then offered her ideas
on peer work, modeling, and multiple opportunities for practice. She knew
she had to find something that worked and knew what she was currently
doing was not effective. It was important to question her to prompt reflection
about students and her practices. Eventually, I saw her make small changes
by allowing peer assistance and increased modeling.

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My relationship with Cindy was open. She wanted the advice of
another teacher whom she saw as expert, and she turned to me. Because of
her motivation, I could ask her difficult questions without offending her.
Through our conversations and my observations, I became aware of Cindy’s
dilemma with low-achieving students. Cindy was very concerned about
helping her low-achieving students but felt pressured to cover the skills and
content of the fourth-grade curriculum. She depended on after-school tutoring
in reading and classroom volunteers to close the gap for these students. What
she did not understand was that her view of curriculum was presenting
problems. I began to challenge that view. I asked Cindy about the fairness of
grades, content versus mastery, and accommodations for students with
learning problems. Although Cindy never reconciled grading, she did
implement more project-based assignments and oral reports to evaluate
students who had difficulty with written tests and papers. She knew that
students had different strengths, and she could make whole group changes
that helped low-achieving students perform better. When her colleagues gave
students assignments that were to be completed independently, she assisted
small groups of students whom she knew to need extra assistance. She also
talked with her colleagues about allowing students opportunities to work
with partners and described how this helped many of the students in reading.
She became an advocate for accommodating students through partner work
and study sheets, and only testing relevant information. Eventually, Cindy
began to question the very practices she had endorsed for many years. She
began to discuss the importance of mastery and ensuring that students had
mastered basic grade level skills before teachers moved to new concepts.

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Martha, who was not particularly reflective, took more time to
understand the purpose behind my questioning. For 3 years I had questioned
her about her treatment of disruptive behavior. I frequently pointed out how
her students needed constant reminders to act appropriately. As Martha
became more positive, she realized that positive reminders were more
effective with students than constant reprimanding. She commented one
time,
You provide feedback and I leave thinking it was a complement. But
later when I go home, God says to me that wasn’t a complement. They
[researcher] were trying to tell you to change, but they said it so nicely,
you did not even realize it.
It was this questioning of beliefs and practices that caused her to reflect on
becoming more positive with students.
Assessment is important to inform teachers about the effectiveness of
their instruction and types of learning problems students experience.
However, not all TLC teachers had time to assess students or had knowledge
about research-based methods. Teachers appreciated someone else assessing
their students to inform them of learning gaps, individual progress, or group
progress. Through sharing assessment data on students, teachers were able
to problem solve with me and often experienced an increase in efficacy when
they saw the effectiveness of an innovation. For instance, Martha said this
about problem solving,
It allowed me to change some of my teaching methods. I am grateful
for the solutions and for the grant being written. [Implementing CWPT
and the Strategic Math Series] has increased motivation for math. I
have verbally shared the curriculum and strategies with the third,
fourth, and fifth-grade teachers.

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Additionally, questioning the teachers challenged them to reflect about their
beliefs and practices.
Issues to Resolve in the Reflective Friend’s Role
Spradley (1980) acknowledged the ethical dilemmas that participant
observers often encounter. As a researcher, you are an invited guest in a
school and classroom and in the professional lives of teachers. Because you
have freedom to move about the school throughout the day, you witness many
events that other school personnel do not observe. All teachers, whether they
participated in the TLC or not, knew who I was. They were friendly for the
most part, and as a result of my continued presence, I could see how they
treated children. There were occasions when I witnessed a particular teacher
screaming excessively at a child for a classroom infraction. Other teachers
near her room quietly shut their doors, and no one said a word about it. I was
troubled by such events, cried a few times, and struggled with understanding
my role as invited guest. I encountered similar dilemmas as I observed the
TLC teachers. Over time, I fostered trusting relationships with these
teachers and did not desire to do anything that would jeopardize those
relationships. At the same time, I witnessed instructional and management
practices that sometimes made me cringe, and I wondered what my
obligation was to the principal. I also saw teachers draw unfair conclusions
about children’s behavior, when in my judgment, their instruction was the
major problem. I did not know how to maintain a friendly, professional
relationship when my views of teaching and learning were so at odds with the
teachers. Moreover, because most of the teachers were entrenched in
traditional views, I knew it would take a good deal of support to help them

engage in more innovative practices. Thus, I continually wondered how to
help teachers who had dramatically different beliefs about teaching and
learning and how to help teachers reconsider their views of students.
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How to help teachers who have dramatically different beliefs about
teaching and learning. My greatest challenge was developing friendly,
trusting relationships with teachers when I was troubled about some of their
practices. All of these teachers were committed to teaching. They were a part
of the TLC because they wanted to get help with the challenges they
encountered. Nonetheless, I witnessed three of the teachers humiliate or
shame students. I had difficulty watching these episodes and left the school
angry. I found one teacher’s practices particularly troubling. She was very
rigid and controlling, often forcing children to comply. Her instruction
typically was uninteresting, with students sitting quietly in their seats
completing worksheets for long periods of time. I wondered how to assist a
teacher who was in need of so much help. It was hard to know where to begin.
Fortunately, I worked with other researchers who had worked in
limited ways with these teachers. They encouraged me to see the positives
and reminded me of the teachers’ good qualities. I also found small ways to
assist the teachers that seemed to help the children. I helped them provide
feedback to students and modeled behavior that supported my view of
behavior management. As I began to understand their classroom practices
and beliefs about instruction, I suggested changes that potentially would be
well received. I targeted problems that could be solved in a reasonable way.
For Martha, who sent students to detention for not turning in homework, I
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responsible for their own behavior, so I suggested a method wherein students
could check a chart to see if they were missing assignments. I told her she did
not need to confront students verbally but could send students to review the
chart. Martha used the chart and recommended the practice to her other TLC
colleagues. In time, I saw Martha make major shifts in classroom
management practices
In spite of the teachers’ shortcomings, they were committed to their
students. All of the teachers enjoyed teaching and liked children. They were
determined to do the best job they could. It became important for me to
remember those facts about them when I observed them in their classroom.
Knowing how to help teachers reconsider their views of students.
Another issue I encountered was advocating for students while supporting
the teachers. I have strong inclusive beliefs, and the purpose of the larger
research project was to help teachers include students with learning and
behavioral problems. At times, teachers strongly advocated self-contained
classrooms for students or that students be medicated so they would behave
appropriately. In year 2, Cindy had two students, Leroy and Lane, who were
constantly in trouble for not completing their homework. Leroy was an ESE
student and could not read the assignments he was expected to complete.
Lane was very bright but unmotivated to complete his work. Cindy
recommended that Leroy be placed in a self-contained ESE classroom
because he could not do the work without assistance. She believed Lane to be
gifted but refused to have him tested; she feared he could not handle
enrichment classes and keep up with his work. I felt that Cindy’s instruction
and expectations were the problems in both cases. For Leroy, the instruction

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was too difficult. For Lane it was too boring. Also, Leroy was being held to the
same expectations as the other students, and he just could not manage. I
started to press Cindy to reconsider her opinions of these two students. I
talked with her about Lane’s home situation and how she should not penalize
him for the lack of support he receives at home to complete homework. I
challenged her to find supports within the school that could assist him with
completing assignments. After a few weeks, she did so, and rarely did she
have problems with Lane not turning in homework. With Leroy, I kept
reminding her that he could not read on a fourth-grade level and what that
meant for him in every other subject that required reading. I told her that
providing him assistance with reading material was not doing the
assignment for him. Over time, she allowed Leroy to have assistance from
peers and school volunteers and began to help him herself. My relationship
with Cindy and the other teachers allowed me to challenge their views and
practices.
Sometimes teachers had very challenging students, and I wondered if
it was fair for me to challenge their recommendations for self-contained
placement. Diane had a student with mild mental retardation who functioned
academically at a kindergarten or entering first-grade level. She struggled to
find ways to meet his needs through peer tutoring and individualized
instruction. Ultimately, she could not reconcile her need to teach a second-
grade curriculum and the child’s current functioning level. She was inclusive
in her beliefs, as long as the child could fit into the mainstream curriculum. I
attempted to advocate for including the child but realized that given the
school and district view of grade level expectations, it would be difficult for

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Diane to restructure her instruction to meet this child’s needs. Consequently,
I gave up, and the child was moved to a self-contained class. In these cases, it
was difficult knowing when to challenge teachers’ practices and beliefs and
when to support them in their decisions.
Changes in Practices
Through working in the TLC and with the reflective friend, teachers
made positive changes in their practices. The teacher’s personal frameworks
influenced the degree of change and the types of changes they made. In this
section, I provide descriptions of the changes teachers were able to make and
relate them to their approaches to teaching.
Standardized View of Instruction
Kay, Martha, and Cindy all operated from a standardized instructional
framework. Kay taught kindergarten concepts using primarily teacher-
directed, whole group instruction with some individualized remediation once
students demonstrated repeated failure. Martha was rigid in her
expectations of students and insisted that all students follow along through
teacher-controlled instruction. Cindy also was teacher-directed; students
listened to her and had limited opportunities to develop their own
understanding through group or independent assignments. All teachers used
teacher-directed, whole group instruction with little peer-mediated
instruction. Both Cindy and Martha had rather rigid expectations for
behavior and dealt with behavior using primarily punitive measures, but
Martha was the most authoritative. Kay had more positive approaches to
student behavior, although she, too, could be judgmental and often shamed
students for noncompliant behavior. For example, during her typical morning

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routine, Kay went through students’ homework folders and reviewed
individual student’s work in front of the group. On one particular morning
when Kenan did not have his homework, she said in a loud and irritated
voice, “Kenan, you did not do your homework?” She stared at him intensely
and silently shook her head. As he began to offer an explanation, she ignored
him. Students who brought their homework, on the other hand, were loudly
praised and, at the teacher’s prompting, applauded by their peers.
A standardized instructional view, however, did not prevent the
teachers from changing. During the 2-1/2 years of this study, they moved
toward student-centered instruction, evaluated the merits of innovations on
the degree of student change, used alternative instructional groupings, and
considered using more refined assessment instruments.
Move toward student-centered instruction. Initially, all of the teachers
had students in their seats for long periods working on independent
assignments. Over the course of the study, teachers slowly changed how they
structured learning activities; they often needed considerable help to do so.
For example, after I helped Martha to write a grant to implement a strategy-
based math curriculum and CWPT, she began to extend what she learned
throughout her math curriculum. Martha taught math strategies and used
manipulatives to support students as they developed conceptual
understanding of new concepts. In year 3, Martha introduced the concept of
multiplication to her math class. She explained how multiplication is similar
to addition and then had students work with a partner on a teacher-made
assignment. Students walked around the room and looked for sets of similar
objects. Martha had displayed groups of items-rulers (three groups of three),

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pencils, markers, boxes of flashcards—all around the room. Students with
their partner were to write how many groups and how many items were in
the group. Students then used addition to answer the problem. Later in the
lesson, students worked with a partner using unifix cubes to solve
multiplication problems.
Previously, Martha had rarely used manipulatives, and when she did,
she manipulated the objects. When she was not using the manipulatives, she
hung them on the classroom board for decoration. By year 3, she had
students do partner work with manipulates when she introduced concepts. It
was her implementation of the Strategic Math Series in after-school tutoring
that helped her see the need for students to use concrete objects to develop
conceptual understanding. Seeing students improve helped her to understand
that all students benefit by using manipulatives.
Cindy, who previously talked about the difficulty of differentiating
instruction for individual students, discussed how she modified her
instruction for the group, which, in turn, resulted in accommodating
individual students. She realized that by making changes for the group
individual students improved. Cindy acknowledged that moving to a more
student-centered approach helped students who needed extra assistance
become more engaged in their own learning. She explained how adjusting her
instruction met the needs of Tommy, a child who had difficulty attending to
the teacher.
I try to avoid the type of lessons where I am teaching to the whole
class. He [Tommy] just learns better when someone is right there with
our partners and not having to follow along with the teacher. I
structure my classes where I do not have to talk the whole time. Some

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times I have to address the class and he has trouble with that. He does
all right with partners, but he doesn’t work well by himself.
Cindy also used higher order questioning to engage her students.
When leading class discussions, Cindy asked higher level questions and
demonstrated teaching strategies to improve students’ understanding of
reading or vocabulary. If a helpful hint worked in one class, she would use it
for her other classes. On one occasion, I noted during a vocabulary lesson that
Cindy took the words out of how they were used in the vocabulary books and
related them to what students knew. When the text used the word
elimination, Cindy asked students if they watched the sports channel. She
then asked what double elimination meant in baseball. She questioned them
as to the meaning of the word in the context of her example about baseball.
Then, she had them relate the meaning of elimination to the new context that
was used in the book. She gave hints and clues as to how to remember what
the words meant. When students gave incorrect responses, she asked them a
series of questions until they understood what the correct answer should
have been. She also related helpful hints or stories of how to remember
meanings of words that came up in previous classes and also shared the
reasons many students had trouble with specific vocabulary words. She
discussed the problems and helped to clarify understanding.
As a result of academic improvement and increased engagement,
Cindy became an advocate for change. She saw growth in her students and
wanted to make sure that she kept engaging in practices that were working.
By year 2,1 noted that “Cindy starts showing me her plan book. She told me
that she is trying to write down what went well and what really didn’t so she

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could be more effective next year.” As students became more engaged in their
learning, students improved academically and teachers became more
committed to change.
Students’ responses to change. As teachers began to try new practices,
students began to respond to them. One of the factors that contributed to
Cindy’s commitment to change was her students’ reaction. Students became
excited about working with partners and often asked if they were working
with partners as they entered class. As students became more interested in
the activities, Cindy noticed that student commitment to the task improved.
Over time, she noticed that they were implementing the strategies she taught
in class. For example, Cindy said about peer tutoring,
I have seen benefit and that is why I keep trying it because I see it
working. If something is not working, I will stop. My kids are real
excited about working with a partner that they ask a lot [to do so]. I
see that the kids have gotten in the habit of practicing certain
strategies.
Martha also talked about how students responded positively to CWPT. She
told other teachers that the main benefit to CWPT was the increased level of
motivation among her students. Students looked forward to math because
they began each period with CWPT and had an opportunity to improve upon
their previous timing.
As these examples illustrate, students responding in an enthusiastic
manner created motivation for teachers to keep using new practices and
prompted them to continue to search for more engaging practices. When
instruction became more student-centered, teachers noticed that students
were motivated to continue in their own learning and they expressed their
enthusiasm for doing so.

Use of alternative instructional groupings. Making changes was a
challenging task. Most of these teachers liked their classrooms quiet in part
because teachers taught the same way for many years. So changing
instructional routines to allow for more interaction was a frustration to
teachers. For example, Cindy was structured in her routines and controlled
student interactions. For the most part, her class was quiet with her
determining when students could contribute. Cindy had to adjust to the noise
when she started to incorporate group assignments. During year 2,1 stopped
by to say hello to Cindy. She said she was doing cooperative groups and it
was killing her. The students were noisy and having trouble getting started
on the assignment. The students at a glance seemed to enjoy what they were
doing and all were participating. I encouraged her to persist. Over time
teachers became accustomed to the increased noise level. They worked with
students on developing quiet communication with their partner or group.
Teachers used cooperative groupings involving three to six students,
peer tutoring, and partner work. Kay had the most difficulty moving to peer-
mediated work. Kay initially thought that her kindergartners would not be
able to work with partners or cooperative groups. For a long time she insisted
that her students did not have the maturity to work in partners. However,
after hearing about the positive effects of CWPT for a year, she implemented
some peer tutoring in year 3. Kay had taught kindergarten for over 10 years,
and it was difficult for her to change routines established long ago, but as a
result of large class sizes, she knew she had to create other opportunities for
her students to practice new concepts. She could incorporate the use of peer
tutoring because it allowed students to practice color words, alphabet letters,

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and numbers, skills Kay emphasized on a daily basis. While Kay was willing
to implement some peer tutoring, she did not implement other strategies that
could not easily be accommodated into her current instructional and
behavioral routines.
By year 3, Cindy’s students rarely worked independently. Most often,
students worked with partners and in cooperative groups. Similarly, Martha
began both math classes with peer work. Eventually, she allowed partners to
work with manipulatives and on some math assignments. As teachers saw
the benefits of changing their instructional routines, they continued to use
peer-mediated instruction and cooperative learning groups. Over time, they
came to tolerate productive noise.
Consideration of refined assessment instruments. Teachers were
accustomed to checking students’ understanding with unit or thematic tests.
Rarely did they have any understanding of how students were progressing on
an ongoing basis, with the exception of Kay. Kay frequently worked with
students individually. Most of this instruction focused on letter and number
recognition, and as a result, she had a good understanding of her students’
progress in these areas. Kay used this assessment approach throughout the
study. In contrast, Cindy and Martha had virtually no strategies for
collecting continuous assessment information. Although they gave daily
homework assignments, they did not evaluate those assignments closely to
determine students’ problems. By year 3, Martha was using one method for
collecting continuous student data. She implemented CWPT three to four
times a week with both math classes she taught. Students took turns testing
one another in basic math fact flashcards. After this procedure, Martha gave

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students a timed test. Every Friday, she gave a 1-minute timing and recorded
their scores. Martha had students report their scores on timings and tell her
if their score had increased or decreased. Martha challenged students to
improve their scores by increasing their fluency through practice. She knew
who was improving and had weekly data to support her conclusions.
Cindy discussed the need to use more effective assessment techniques
to determine students’ progress. In the beginning, she talked about student
scores on state assessments as her way to determine if and what students
learned. We argued that one assessment at the end of the year would not
help her in determining the adjustments she should be making for her
students. We continued to challenge Cindy’s assessment practices. Over time,
she saw the need for checking students’ learning as they progressed
throughout the year. She used more teacher-made reading comprehension
tests to determine their understanding of reading material and their use of
strategies. For example, when Cindy used trade books for reading
instruction, she asked comprehension questions that required use of
strategies she had taught. If she wanted them to use a look back for example,
she asked a question and then had the students tell where they found the
answer. Often she had students provide evidence for their responses. She also
created and implemented vocabulary assessments to determine students’
progress. Cindy came to understand that waiting until the end of the year to
determine what students learned was too late.
Thus, Martha and Cindy adopted assessment strategies with which
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With these data, Cindy and Martha identified skills that required increased
practice and peer work.
Individualized Instructional Framework
Even before she joined the TLC, Diane constantly worked to refine her
practices. She determined when instruction was not going well, made
adjustments, and reflected about student learning. She acknowledged
problems and revised her procedures or strategies. Diane was constantly
changing. She continued to go to workshops, read about curriculum
resources, and attempted innovations learned through the TLC. She could
not be characterized as making a major change as a result of a specific
influence. She just continued to evolve as a result of many different
influences. Diane may be characterized by her ability to (a) refine her
thinking about instruction, (b) provide more explicit instruction, and (c) use
more resources to increase individual academic support.
Refining instruction. I worked with Diane on three occasions with
center instruction. All three times procedures were different as a result of
problems that Diane identified. Initially, Diane set up four centers. However
in 75 minutes, it was impossible to have students rotate through all four. The
second time, she brought in more adult support and trained students
previously to use the computer center. Still, the students did not have enough
time at all the centers. She then found a routine that worked and used it
until the end of the year. Diane created more centers and incorporated them
on a daily basis. All students were to work at one center a day until they
rotated to all of the centers over a period of several weeks.

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Provide more explicit, instruction. What was most remarkable about
Diane was how she continued to improve upon her previous instruction by
making instruction more explicit. One morning after an observation, one of
the TLC researchers was questioning Diane about a practice she observed in
her room. Diane was having students work individually on reading
comprehension activities that involved reading a short expository text and
answering questions about it. When the researcher questioned her about the
purpose of this activity, Diane replied that she used it to help organize and
focus students when they came into the room. The researcher suggested that
Diane use this activity to teach summarization, and they discussed ways to
accomplish this. Diane rethought her work and the morning activity to help
practice important skills and strategies. Later, I asked Diane to describe this
morning work process. Diane said she tries to model for her students the
processes they can use to aid them in understanding information from the
text. She will think aloud for the students about how to use the strategy. For
example, she may draw a semantic map or use webbing and talk through the
process. She has the students summarize the paragraph in one word
(sometimes two or three). She tells the students, “Give me one word that
could be used to tell what this paragraph is about.” She has the students
repeat this procedure for the remaining three or four paragraphs. Diane has
her students answer the comprehension questions and then go back in the
text and underline where they found the information. The last thing they do
is make predictions about what tomorrow’s story will be about based on the
five vocabulary words given and the pictures that are shown.

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Use resources to increase individual academic support. Because of
Diane’s ability to assess her work and her students’ progress, she recognized
the need for remedial resources to provide some students with intensive
practice. Diane learned about remedial programs through workshops, TLC
meetings, the reflective friend, and curriculum resources. When she learned
about resources for struggling students, she took several steps to make sure
she could use them. She implemented remedial strategies during
instructional time, met with students after school, had an aide pull students
aside during noninstructional time, and assigned students to tutors. For
instance, after learning about Great Leaps, she was eager to use it and had
her aide trained to do so. Diane targeted at least five students in her two
reading classes she was teaching in year 2. The aide pulled the targeted
students for 5 to 10 minutes four times a week. The aide kept running
records on student reading, and Diane used the data to determine students’
progress. Diane also increased practice opportunities for students by using
CWPT, working with peers in groups, and using school volunteers as tutors.
Diane had a well-developed teaching method and refined her current
practices continuously. She rethought her use of morning work and created
learning activities that explicitly taught the reading strategies she was
teaching during the day. Diane quickly recognized students in trouble and
could make adjustments in her instruction to accommodate them. For
students who needed intensive remediation, she found resources that either
she or others used. Diane used running records to determine student
progress. She attempted to provide remediation within her classroom but,
when necessary, also used pull-out tutoring models. Diane was so reflective

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that she would often tell observers after a lesson what went wrong, and she
was consistently on target. Diane was never satisfied; she always saw places
for improvement and ways to facilitate the learning of her students.
Summary
The TLC served as a forum where teachers could have discussions with
colleagues and researchers about problems in their class and their
instructions. The TLC provided teachers with new ideas to try with their
students. In spite of the helpful ideas provided by some of their colleagues,
teachers relied on the researchers to share information and provide
leadership to the group. Teachers did not share beliefs about students and
learning and often time had trouble agreeing on effective practices. Teachers
had limited time to develop group cohesiveness as a result of the TLC being
an added responsibility.
TLC teachers liked having access to the reflective friend. Initially, the
reflective friend acted as an aide to gain the teachers’ trust and confidence.
As the relationship developed, the reflective friend acted as a teaching coach
and partner, research interpreter, and promoted teachers’ reflection, problem
solving, and efficacy. Over time, the reflective friend encountered two issues
that needed to be resolved. First, it was difficult to know where to begin
helping teachers who had dramatically different beliefs about students and
instruction. Second, there was a fine line in helping teachers reconsider their
view about students and still remaining a support to the teacher.
All teachers made changes in their practices. Teachers with more
standard views of instruction were able to implement more student-centered
instruction, use alternative instructional groupings, and considered the use of

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more refined instructional instruments. As teachers changed their practices,
students became more excited about instruction, which in turn motivated
teachers continued use of new practices. Diane, who was individualized in
her instruction, continued to refine her thinking about instruction. Through
her fine-tuning, she used more explicit instruction to teach strategies and
used resources to provide individualized academic support to students.

CHAPTER 6
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS
The purpose of this study was to determine if general education
teachers collaborating with university researchers could change their
practices to include students with academic and behavior problems. This
study further explored the roles of teachers’ context, the collaborative group,
and the outsider in hindering or facilitating that change. Teachers met with
university researchers for 2-1/2 years in monthly collaborative group
meetings to discuss problems of practice and generate solutions to those
problems. Teachers also worked for 2 years with one university researcher
who acted as an observer and provided feedback, a role I refer to as the
reflective friend. The reflective friend assisted teachers individually in
developing inclusive practices that were appropriate to their needs and
compatible with their teaching framework.
The following chapter provides a summary of the findings and how
those findings relate to previous research on teacher change. I conclude with
discussions of how the findings might be used with researchers and
practitioners.
Findings
Four general education teachers were the focus of this study: Kay,
Diane, Martha, and Cindy. They all worked at Hidden View Elementary, an
average-sized elementary school in a large urban district. Hidden View was
168

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designated as an REI school where all students with mild learning
disabilities and emotional handicaps were fully included in general education
classrooms. All four teachers volunteered to participate in the TLC for all 2-
1/2 years and worked with the reflective friend for 2 years. These teachers
understood that through collaborating with university researchers they
would discuss problems of practice and develop solutions to those problems.
To describe the teachers’ development of inclusive practices, I observed
in their classrooms for a total of 327 hours over 2-1/2 years. Researchers and
I conducted four interviews with them and I maintained minutes at 126
hours of meetings and workshops conducted during the study. I collected data
on teachers’ development of inclusive practices and the facilitators and
inhibitors of the change process. The data were analyzed using procedures
described by Merriam (1998) and Miles and Huberman (1984). First, data
were coded and organized into categories of similar events. Categories were
used to develop patterns and themes relating to the broader idea of the
category. Through constructing and reconstructing patterns, themes emerged
across participants to describe their development of inclusive practices.
Looking across participants, themes and patterns emerged to describe the
role of school context, the classroom context, teachers’ cognitive context, the
role of the TLC, and the role of the reflective friend in the development
process.
The Role of School Context
Hidden View could be described as a typical elementary school. The
four teachers considered their school administrator to be supportive. They
described Ms. Summerlin as providing resources and support for them to

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improve upon their practices. Additionally, teachers thought Ms. Summerlin
shared power with them. The school faculty was congenial; teachers casually
interacted with one another in a friendly manner. However, teachers knew
little about each other’s teaching practices and students. They had no
opportunities to meet with each other during the day.
Teachers also felt pressured by the district and state to improve their
students’ performance on standardized tests. They participated in workshops
and received materials that helped prepare students for assessments.
Although Hidden View was considered an REI school, students with more
significant learning disabilities or behavior problems, mild mental
retardation, severe disabilities, or physical disabilities were served at other
schools. Hidden View had four self-contained classrooms for students with
moderate mental retardation. Only students with disabilities who needed
minimal support in general education classrooms were served in REI
classrooms.
Classroom Context
The teachers’ classroom contexts influenced their practices to varying
degrees. In year 2, Hidden View adopted a new reading curriculum that was
very different than the previous curriculum. In spite of inservice provided by
the district, teachers did not understand how to implement the reading
strategies in a meaningful way. The curriculum offered many extra resources,
but teachers had difficulty determining what to use with their students.
Teachers also had a standard view of curriculum that was reinforced by
district and state assessments. With the pressure from the district to improve
students’ test scores, teachers wanted resources that would guarantee

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improved scores. Teachers were told the reading curriculum covered concepts
for assessments; as a result, they relied on the text for all reading instruction.
Often teachers did not want to learn about innovations until assessments
were over. If innovations did not guarantee improvement on test scores,
teachers were not motivated to implement them. Additionally, the diversity
of learning problems within each teacher’s classroom presented challenges.
Students with complex learning problems who needed more than minimal
accommodations caused teachers to question the value of inclusion. Teachers
experienced an even greater dilemma when determining how to assist
students with learning problems who did not qualify for special education.
They did not know if they could accommodate students who were not labeled
ESE.
Teachers’ Cognitive Context
Each teacher’s framework influenced the depth and the breadth of the
changes made. Kay, Martha, and Cindy were characterized as having a
standardized approach to instruction. These teachers typically relied on
whole group, undifferentiated instruction. They taught all students at the
same time in the same way. With exception of Kay, teachers made few to no
accommodations for students who needed additional assistance to be
successful. Teachers using a standardized approach were also characterized
by their teaching of content over mastery. They moved quickly through the
curriculum to expose their students to all content in the grade level
curriculum. Teachers emphasized exposure to content and often neglected to
teach for mastery.

172
Diane was the clear exception. She was individualized in her approach
to teaching. She used student-centered instruction when introducing new
concepts. Students participated in discovery lessons, learning centers,
reenactments, and field trips to assist them in developing understanding.
Additionally, Diane used multiple instructional arrangements and strategies
to promote self-management and positive behavior. She created opportunities
for students to work in pairs, small groups, or independently. Diane modeled,
taught, and reinforced the use of specific strategies for reading, problem
solving, and managing behavior. Diane also varied accommodations based on
students’ individual needs. She tutored students individually or in small
groups, provided remedial instruction, or found outside tutoring for students.
The Role of the TLC
The TLC provided teachers support in changing their practices.
Teachers were provided with a forum for discussion, which allowed them to
experience a structured process for problem solving and questioning their
beliefs and practices. Teachers used action plans, a contract with them and
the group, as a tool to specify their action in solving a particular problem. All
teachers by year 3 were able to write and successfully implement their action
plans with minimal support. Teachers did, however, continue to share their
plans and get advice as needed through the TLC meetings. The TLC also
enabled researchers to question teachers’ beliefs and offered teachers an
opportunity to question each other. Most often, researchers questioned
teachers about instructional and managerial practices and how they
benefited students. As the group became accustomed to talking about difficult
topics, they began to question school-wide practices and, on occasion, their

173
own practices. One teacher began to question her grade level colleagues about
how their practices helped students with learning problems. The TLC also
provided teachers access to resources. Researchers shared innovations they
thought teachers would be inclined to implement. As teachers developed an
innovation and became proficient in its use, they shared it with TLC
colleagues and non-TLC colleagues. The TLC served as a vehicle for teachers
and researchers to share ideas for improving student learning.
Issues to Resolve in the TLC Process
Although the TLC provided teachers a source of support, three issues
affected the functioning of the group. Even though we explained to teachers
our desire to achieve a collaborative partnership among the teachers that
could sustain itself, teachers became dependent on researchers. Teachers
relied on the researchers to set, organize, and lead all TLC meetings.
Teachers had limited planning time and it did not coincide with their TLC
colleagues’ planning time. They needed an outside person to negotiate with
each of the participants and principal in determining times to meet. As this
dependency on researchers developed, teachers continued to listen to our
suggestions but rarely valued their colleagues’ ideas. Again, teachers had
limited time in their day to observe or meet with their colleagues and neither
were they encouraged to do so. Even when a colleague shared assessment
data on improved reading scores, teachers still did not incorporate their
colleague’s idea. On some occasions, teachers made negative comments about
each other’s practices and commitment. Besides, because TLC was an added
responsibility, teachers had to meet after school or miss a day of school to
attend meetings and workshops. Collaboration was not expected in their

174
environment, and teachers had to make sacrifices to attend meetings. The
isolated context in which teachers worked limited them seeing innovative
practice or different forms of instruction used by their colleagues. They
additionally had limited incentive to engage in new practices.
The Role of the Reflective Friend
The reflective friend also served as a support to teachers. As the
reflective friend role developed over time, I served in different capacities to
assist teachers with change. Initially, I assessed students and acted as a
teacher’s aide as a way to gain their trust and confidence. Teachers were
uncomfortable with my presence and note taking in their classrooms. As I
became more involved in helping them and their students, we established a
trusting relationship. Once teachers viewed me as a colleague and a source of
personal support, I was able to act as a teaching partner and coach. The more
standardized the teacher was in her practices, the more coaching I had to do.
The more individualized the teacher, the more I was able to act as a teaching
partner. Often I served as a research interpreter. Once teachers learned
about innovations in the TLC, I helped them apply the innovation to their
specific context. I highlighted points that were relevant to them and assisted
them in writing action plans that implemented innovations and strategies.
Through working with teachers closely, I had opportunities to promote
teacher reflection, problem solving, and efficacy. I served in varied and
complex roles when working with the teachers. My roles often depended on
the specific need of the teacher and the relationship we had established.

175
Issues to Resolve in the Reflective Friend’s Role
While building relationships with each of the teachers, it was difficult
for me to know how to help some of the teachers because we did not share
common beliefs about teaching and learning. I had to learn how to work with
them so we could build trust. I had to find small ways to help them and find
innovations that were compatible with their teaching framework. I had to
help them target problems I thought would have a reasonable success rate
and then develop solutions that I thought they would be committed to using.
The other issue that was difficult to address was helping teachers reconsider
their views of students. When students presented challenging problems,
teachers were quick to suggest the child be tested or placed in a self-
contained special education classroom. I knew that in many cases teachers’
instruction was part of the problem. It was difficult to know when to advocate
for the student and still maintain my support for the teacher. On some
occasions, teachers encountered a very challenging student who was
academically below other students in the classroom. Given the constraints in
the school context and limited sources of support, it was hard to advocate for
including students with challenging learning and behavior problems.
Changes in Practices
All the teachers made changes in their practices to varying degrees.
The teachers’ framework for teaching influenced the changes they were able
to make. Teachers who operated from a standardized approach to instruction
were able to move toward student-centered instruction. After participating in
the TLC, one teacher allowed students to use manipulatives to draw their
own conclusions and reinforce conceptual understanding. In some cases,

176
teachers varied graded assignments to include oral and created products
instead of written assessments. They used alternative instructional
groupings, such as peer-mediated instruction and cooperative learning.
Teachers slowly adjusted to the noise increase and allowed students to work
together to complete assignments for grades. As students became more
engaged in their learning and classroom behavior improved, teachers were
reinforced to continue to use the innovation. Toward the end of the third
year, teachers considered the use of refined assessment instruments. On
occasion, teachers used minute timings and teacher-made assessments to
determine student growth.
One teacher was individualized in her teaching approach. Diane was
constantly revising her practices to improve student learning. She was not
satisfied with methods, routines, or materials during instruction until
students were successful with the learning experience. Diane was able to
determine when instruction was not going well and then reflected on her
practices until she found another approach that worked. Diane also used
more directed remediation resources to assist individual students who
experienced learning problems. She implemented a remedial reading
program within her current reading instruction, tutored students after school
using a phonics-based tutoring program, or had her aide implement a tutorial
program that emphasized phonics, sight words, and repeated reading. Diane
was able to refine her practices and implement remedial resources with her
students. It was Diane’s continued state of improvement that facilitated her
ability to incorporate innovations easily. For all teachers, change was
dependent on the desire, needs, and knowledge of the individual teacher. All

177
four teachers were able to make changes; they were, at best, modest. Often
these changes were difficult for teachers to implement. Teachers needed
considerable assistance and time to change their practices.
Relationship of Findings to Previous Studies
Researchers working with general education teachers to assist them in
developing inclusive practices have noted the complexity of the change
process (Boudah et al., 1997; Vaughn et al., 1998). Many factors can facilitate
or inhibit change in schools (Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Peterson et al., 1996;
Vaughn et al., 1998; Wasley et al., 1997; Westheimer, 1998). Facilitators and
inhibitors of change influenced Kay’s, Diane’s, Martha’s, and Cindy’s change
in practices.
Facilitators to Change
As a result of aspects in the school context, teachers’ cognitive context,
the TLC, and the reflective friend, teachers were facilitated in making
changes. Specific factors in the school context that assisted teachers in
changing were the supportive administrator and the REI model. Ms.
Summerlin supported teachers in improving their practices through power
sharing and providing resources to her teachers. She supported teachers in
their self-initiated attempts to improve instruction. She additionally provided
them periodic release during the school day for professional development
activities. Good principals described in the literature also share leadership
roles with their teachers and support them in developing professionally
(DuFour, 1997; Peterson et al., 1996; Westheimer, 1998). Peterson and
colleagues (1996) and Westheimer (1998) further described power sharing in
efforts that allowed school personnel to build consensus on how teaching and

178
learning would be envisioned in their schools. This level of power sharing was
not present at Hidden View. Hidden View’s designation as an REI school
provided a policy for inclusion. This policy could have been the beginning of
vision building as previously described in the literature (Peterson et al., 1996;
Rosenholtz, 1989; Wasley, Hampel, & Clark, 1997; Westheimer, 1998),
however, little discussion occurred between teachers and administrator on
the extent to which inclusive education would be provided. Teachers did
volunteer to be REI teachers and were at least minimally supportive of
inclusion for students with mild disabilities.
Much of the literature that describes teachers’ practices addresses
teachers who are more standardized in their approach to instruction (Boudah
et al., 1997; Carter, 1995; Jones, 1997; Martin, 1995; Meichtry, 1990;
Peterson et al., 1996; Richardson & Anders, 1994; Wood et al., 1991). What is
not described in the literature are teachers who develop inclusive practices
and are individualized in their teaching framework. Diane was quick to
change and often considered individual needs of her students by her use of
student-centered instruction, multiple instructional arrangements, and
varied accommodations. In previous studies of general education teachers
working with diverse students, researchers indicated that, with support,
teachers were able to develop innovative practices (Boudah et al., 1997;
Richardson & Anders, 1994; Vaughn et al., 1998; Wood et al., 1991). Teachers
with an individualized view of learning hold potential to readily adapt
innovations and consistently use them over time, resulting in more effective
instruction for all students.

179
In the literature, collaboration played an important role in helping
teachers change. Even though teachers at Hidden View were isolated, they
did have the opportunity to participate in the TLC. Through the TLC,
teachers had a forum for discussion using a structured process for problem
solving and questioning of beliefs. A well-documented benefit of collaboration
is problem solving and reflecting with researchers and colleagues on
problems of practices (Boudah et al., 1997; Richardson & Anders, 1994;
Vaughn et al., 1998; Wood et al., 1991). All four teachers shared problems of
practice with the group, generated action plans to solve their specific
problem, and by year 3, experienced success in solving the problem they
identified.
The findings also support the need for teachers to have an outside
perspective to assist them in reflecting and solving problems of practice
(Senge, 1990). My role as the reflective friend depended on the needs of the
teacher. Only a few studies have described the process of researchers working
individually with teachers (Boudah et al., 1997; Courtland & Welsh, 1990;
Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Richardson & Anders, 1994; Vaughn et al., 1998;
Wood et al., 1991; Woolsey, 1991). Researchers agree that developing trusting
relationships is essential, however, little is known about how to gain
teachers’ trust and confidence. On some occasions, researchers have
described their roles as coach or teaching partner (Courtland & Welsh, 1990;
Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998). These researchers provided
support to teachers through demonstration lessons in their classrooms,
coaching them through new practices, and providing them with feedback. On
rarer occasions, researchers have described the need to interpret the research

180
for teachers (Gersten et al., 1995; Gersten & Woodward, 1990). In most cases,
researchers assume their role is to bring the research to teachers and present
it. By presenting teacher friendly research, researchers may act as an
interpreter. However, in working with Hidden View teachers, I interpreted
research for their individual needs and assisted them in devising plans for
implementing that research in their classroom. These actions assisted
teachers in applying new practices in their personal context, and therefore,
teachers were more likely to continue innovation use (Briscoe & Peters, 1997;
Gersten et al., 1995; O’Connor et al., 1992; Vaughn et al., 1998). Rarely do
researchers describe working closely and individually with teachers; when
they do, little is known about the depth of their interactions (Englert &
Tarrant, 1995; Vaughn et al., 1998). Finally, researchers working with
teachers often described their role in assisting teachers in promoting
reflection, problem solving, and efficacy (Boudah et al., 1997; Courtland &
Welsh, 1990; Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Hunsaker & Johnston, 1992;
Richardson & Anders, 1994; Vaughn et al., 1998; Wood et al., 1991; Woolsey,
1991). As a part of the TLC and especially in working individually with the
reflective friend, all four teachers demonstrated an increase in reflection,
problem solving, and efficacy.
Inhibitors to Change
Aspects in the school context, classroom context, teachers’ cognitive
context, and some of their views of collaboration inhibited teachers in
changing their practices. Specific factors in the school context that limited
teachers in changing were the isolated context, pressure of testing, and lack
of common vision. Hidden View was a typical elementary school where

181
teachers worked in an isolated environment. The faculty knew little about
each other’s classrooms, and was at best, congenial to one another. The
isolation in schools has previously been reported as a barrier to change and
innovation (Hargreaves 1994a, 1994b). Teachers lacked the time and
opportunity for face to face interaction that typically has been described as
promoting trust and support in the change process (Carter, 1995; da Costa &
Riordan, 1996; Jones, 1997; Torres, 1996). Hidden View’s teachers rarely had
opportunity to collaborate together and had low levels of support and trust
for each other. On some occasions, teachers criticized their colleagues’
practices in spite of never seeing them teach.
As previously cited in the literature, teachers feel pressure to improve
students’ state assessment scores and will often abandon innovative practices
if they do not understand how the innovation directly affects test scores
(Vaughn et al., 1998; Wilson, 1990). Teachers view a call for improved
assessment scores and a call for innovation as incompatible and will revert to
their traditional practices when in doubt of innovation (Tillema, 1995).
Diane, Cindy, and Martha all discussed the importance of preparing their
students for state assessments and often wanted to learn techniques that
would guarantee improvement. If teachers doubted the innovation and its
ability to improve scores, they did not want to implement it and resisted
efforts to change their mind.
Lack of common vision greatly inhibited collaboration and the
development of powerful innovations. Even though Ms. Summerlin supported
teachers in improving their practices, her support was not enough to create
an environment that stimulated change. Previous literature described the

182
need for principals to be committed to teacher development through vision
building, creating an expectation for learning, and fostering collaboration in
addition to sharing power (DuFour, 1997; Fullan, 1999; Peterson et al., 1996;
Westheimer, 1998). Through teachers working together for extended periods
of time, they develop a trusting supportive community (Carter, 1995; da
Costa & Riordan, 1996, Jones, 1997; Lipman, 1997; McIntyre & Kyle, 1995;
Oja et al., 1995; Torres, 1996). No faculty discussions occurred about their
expectations and beliefs about students and learning. Even with Hidden
View’s designation as an REI school, teachers were not provided with an
understanding about inclusion and how that would affect all their students.
Teachers maintained their own beliefs about inclusion and accommodations,
and often those were incompatible with the REI model. Most teachers and
the principal were only partially supportive of inclusion; only students who
needed minimal accommodations were included.
Classroom context also acted as an inhibitor to teacher change through
the use of an overwhelming curriculum and the diversity of students.
Teachers learning about a new curriculum can often be confused about how
to implement it in ways that benefit students. In previous work describing
teachers’ learning to use a new math curriculum that emphasized strategies
and effective practices, researchers found that teachers used the curriculum
in their traditional ways, not enacting the curriculum as intended (Martens,
1992; Wilson, 1990). Even with staff development on effective
implementation, teachers revert to their traditional teaching habits (Tillema,
1995). School districts’ adoption of curriculum that emphasizes state-tested
content only reinforces teacher dependence to teach all that is offered in a

183
new curriculum (Vaughn et al., 1998; Wilson 1990). Diverse student learning
problems, another factor in the classroom context, have consistently posed
problems for teachers (Lipman, 1997; O’Connor et al., 1992). The more
complex the problem, the more ill prepared teachers feel they are to include
students (Vaughn et al., 1996). Previous research on general education
teachers including students with disabilities supports the finding that
teachers judge successful cases for inclusion by students fitting in with their
nondisabled peers and needing little accommodation (Baker & Zigmond,
1995). All four teachers considered referral to special education or encouraged
a self-contained special education placement for students who presented
them more difficult challenges.
Teachers’ cognitive context was another inhibitor to the change
process. Teachers characterized as standardized in their practices typically
were the focus of researchers working with general education teachers to
learn innovations. Researchers described these teachers as relying on whole
group, undifferentiated instruction (Baker & Zigmond, 1995; Schumm &
Vaughn, 1995; Zigmond & Baker, 1990). Additionally, researchers have found
that general education teachers emphasize covering content over teaching for
mastery (Baker & Zigmond, 1990; Pugach & Warger, 1996). In fact,
researchers described their struggle to move teachers away from
standardized approaches (Boudah et al., 1997; Courtland & Welsh, 1990;
Etchberger & Shaw, 1992; Hunsaker & Johnston, 1992; Martens, 1992). Kay,
Martha, and Cindy were all standardized in their approach to teaching. Their
view of instruction iimited the type of innovations they were willing to learn;
and they required more substantial assistance to implement them than

184
Diane, who operated from an individualized framework. Teachers with a
standardized view of instruction take longer to make changes and often the
change is not that substantial.
The teachers had some views of collaboration that acted as an inhibitor
to change. The problems experienced at Hidden View of deferring to
researchers and lack of time to collaborate were not uncommon. Previous
studies had indicated that teachers have a tendency to defer to researchers as
experts (Englert & Tarrant, 1995; Hunsaker & Johnston, 1992; Jones, 1997;
Vaughn et al., 1998). Researchers have cautioned others who work with
teachers to find ways the group can contribute to each other’s learning
(Englert & Tarrant, 1995). However, researchers have found that even when
teachers indicate they want to learn about a new idea from their colleague
that rarely do they follow through (Briscoe & Peters, 1997). Briscoe and
Peters concluded that lack of follow through was a result of incompatible
teaching approaches between the two teachers. When Diane shared about her
implementation of the remedial reading program and showed data of student
improvement, only one teacher indicated interest in implementing the
program in her reading routine. After Diane attempted to assist this teacher
in implementing the program, the teacher indicated she was unwilling to
change her current routine. Perhaps the lack of trust for a colleague’s
knowledge was the greater issue. Building trust and support had previously
been cited as facilitators for teachers learning from one another (da Costa &
Riordan, 1996; Jones, 1997; Martin, 1995; Meiehtry, 1990). Teachers
acknowledged Diane as a hard working teacher; however, they looked to the
university researchers as the instructional experts.

185
The TLC as an added responsibility did not help teachers in viewing
the importance of developing collaborative relationships. As previously found,
teachers need a supportive context that allows for opportunities within the
school day for teachers to meet to develop trust and support (Briscoe &
Peters, 1997; Peterson et al., 1996; Westheimer, 1998). Meeting once a month
as an added responsibility did not allow teachers the time needed to develop
a common purpose through collaboration. Collaboration was viewed as one
more task as opposed to a vehicle for improving their work. Teachers were
not required to engage in professional development, nor were they
encouraged to do so. Ms. Summerlin provided an occasional perk, such as an
hour long lunch for TLC participants, but that perk did not match the hours
of planning teachers had to do to prepare for a substitute teacher. Most of the
time, teachers were expected to meet after school on their own time.
Use of Findings to Research Community and Practitioners
This study may be of use to researchers and practitioners who work
with teachers to create more inclusive environments. Previous literature
indicated that essential elements for effective professional development
included practicality of the innovation, demonstration of and feedback about
the innovation, collaboration as a means for teacher development, and
personal qualities of teachers. From the onset of this research study, all four
elements were considered important components in the TLC project.
Researchers selected innovations that were considered teacher-friendly and
practical to the teacher. All innovations suggested to the teachers required
small adjustments to their teaching routines. Teachers had individual
assistance through demonstration and feedback in working with the

186
reflective friend. An outsider provided ongoing assistance in many forms,
provided tailored innovations to individual teachers, and gave feedback on
individual progress. In addition to individual attention, teachers collaborated
with colleagues who were engaged in the same learning process. All teachers
were to work toward an action plan to solve a problem of practice. Finally,
teachers volunteered to participate in the TLC, which indicated their desire
to change. Only teachers who worked on action plans stayed in the group. In
spite of carefully creating professional development that included all the
essential features described in the literature, four teachers made minimal
changes in 2-1/2 years. These finding inform research and professional
development through lessons about context, collaboration, and cost.
School and classroom context have been noted in the literature as
being critical to providing teachers a climate of support for learning and risk
taking (DuFour, 1997; Fullan, 1991; Nias et al., 1992). Researchers and
practitioners will need to assess and understand the school climate to
determine the types of changes that will likely occur. A supportive principal
who lacks vision and facilitative leadership will not be able to support
teachers in making substantial change. Teachers need a strong leader that
shares power with them by developing a vision for all students. Through
leadership, a principal sets the example of learning and works toward
personal change. Principals should expect that all teachers work on
improving their teaching with change being the norm. Also, being designated
as an inclusion school doe3 not mean that the teachers support inclusion or
know how to provide inclusive education. School personnel require extensive
conversation about how to deliver quality instruction while meeting the

187
diverse needs of students. Teachers need time and structures that allow them
to collaborate with their peers to get support for including challenging
students and solving problems of practice. Principals need assistance to
create innovative structures that allow teachers to work with one another.
Next, teachers need a forum where they can discuss their problems of
practice and question each other about their beliefs on teaching and learning.
However, discussions alone do not help them solve their problems; teachers
need to talk with someone who is familiar with them and their students. An
outside perspective has been noted to challenge teachers in their thinking
and provide new ideas (Courtland & Welsh, 1990; Wood et al., 1991).
Researchers and practitioners should determine ways to feasibly include a
knowledgeable outsider in collaborative learning opportunities. In individual
collaborations with peers and outsiders, teachers have benefited from
modeling, coaching, observation, and feedback in the context of their own
classrooms. Even when all of these opportunities are present, change is still
uncertain, time consuming, and complex. Researchers and practitioners
should consider ways to create opportunities for teachers to assist each other
in developing new practices. Rarely are teachers prepared to observe and
provide feedback to their own peers. New opportunities need to be created
that assist teachers in learning how to become reflective friends to their
colleagues. Teachers have an advantage over an outsider by their continued
presence at the school, familiarity with the school and policies, and personal
interactions with students and teachers. Traditionally, the literature has
reported teachers’ discomfort with providing evaluative feedback to their
peers (Costa & Kallick, 1993; Kohler et al., 1995; Stein & Wang, 1988).

188
Researchers and practitioners should consider ways to help teachers work
through their discomfort with peer feedback and help teachers view feedback
as an ongoing opportunity for improvement. When collaboration becomes the
norm and teachers are providing the leadership for those groups, discomfort
should reduce when working directly with peers. Teacher leadership in
collaboration is critical for its sustainability. Teachers have to be valued
partners who create a vehicle appropriate for their learning. Researchers and
practitioners need to help schools develop structures for collaboration during
the school day, assist teachers in helping their peers improve instruction, and
work with teachers to develop leadership skills to facilitate collaborative
groups.
Finally, researchers and practitioners need to determine if the results
of working intensely in schools justify the investment made. Only four
teachers consistently participated in the TLC for 2-1/2 years. New joiners
were added in year 3, but after each year, people dropped from the group.
Hardly can collaboration be sustained with a small pocket of teachers in an
environment that does not embrace it. It is important to assess the
magnitude of the potential task and determine the potential benefit received.
Thousands of dollars in university and federal grants funded other
researchers and my work at Hidden View. In 2-1/2 years, four teachers
valued collaboration, learned a couple new practices, and made some changes
in their instruction. Potentially, a pocket full of students’ learning may be
impacted by the instructional changes these teachers made. A few of Hidden
View’s teachers have heard about some of the innovations TLC teachers have
tried, yet only a few teachers are curious enough to join the TLC. Researchers

189
and practitioners should count the cost to determine if the investment they
make through time and money will yield a return to match the investment.

APPENDIX A
TABLE OF TEACHER CHANGE STUDIES

Table A-l. Description of Participants, Methods, and Findings from Reviewed Studies
Author’s Name
1. Boudah, D.J,
Deshler, D.D.,
Schumaker, J.B.,
Lenz, B.K., & Cook,
B.(1997)
2. Briscoe, C.,
& Peters, J.
(1997)
3. Carter, C.
(1995)
Participants Methodology Findings
1 6th grade
teacher
2yr. case study
interviews, Obser¬
vations, Meetings
with researchers
Attention to sub groups and individuals; Individualized instruction
and assessment; Added modeling to her instruction; Continued to
be detailed and concerned about prior knowledge; Greatest change
was moving from being content-centered to student-centered
24
teachers
from 13
schools, 2
science ed.
Professors,
2 GRAs
Case study,
structured
interviews,
discussions,
Observations,
field notes,
meetings
2 teams of
4 high school
teachers
Case study,
Participant
observation,
Interviews,
Classroom
observations
Most teachers were willing to try the problem centered approach
to science instruction. Some teachers used the approach in various
activities as others based their whole unit or curricula around the
approach. Increased student engagement and collaboration among
the teachers aided the use of the approach. Brainstorming was
important for the teachers to improve their content and peda¬
gogical knowledge. Knowing that other teachers were trying the
new approach made it easier for them to take risks. Teachers
used each other as resources during implementation. Even after
collaborating with a successful teacher, some teachers still find it
difficult to change from a teacher control approach to a student
centered approach. Meetings encouraged reflection and the
continued use of the new approach. Some teachers dropped out
because they did not see the need to change and others wanted
inservice credit. Commitment to change and a supportive
environment are just as important as collaboration in making
lasting change.
Students and teachers in a community pod: Teachers felt they could
exert more authority. Ability to make changes in such areas as
curriculum, schedules, and grades. Received encouragement,
and, allowed a great amount of support among the teachers.
Increase in opportunity for reflection. Teacher felt a greater
sense of control over the educational outcomes of the students.

Table A-1—continued.
Author’s Name
4. Courtland,
M. C.,&
Welsh, R.
(1990)
5. da Costa, J.L.
(1993)
Participants Methodology
1 male
teacher,
grade 4/5
class, 1st
grade
observation,
interviews,
document
analysis
26 teaching
partners, 2
suburban
schools
Quantitative, pre/
posttest design,
Individualized trust
Scale, Supervisory
Beliefs Inventory,
Reflective Index,
Teacher Efficacy
Scale, Our Class
and Its Work, Pupil
Report cards, School
Attitude Scales for
Children
Findings
Year one: The teacher did not know exactly what he needed to
change. Outside supporters recommended that he develop
a plan to engage in active problem solving and reflection. Year
two: As students improved their writing skills, the teacher had
an increased commitment in fully implementing the writing
process approach. He still, however, was scared to share this
approach with the student’s parents for fear of criticism of his
untraditional approach. To become better at this approach, it
was suggested to the teacher that he focus on his students’
individual needs. Year three: The teacher did not think it was
his job to address individual needs and increased the use of
student groups. He led weekly meetings with other teachers and
was viewed as an expert on the approach.
Teachers in the CC group exhibited higher levels of personal
teaching efficacy while pupils in this group had higher achievement.
The CCNO group teachers exhibited the lowest personal teach¬
ing efficacy. The CC and CCTT group were most likely to have
higher personal teaching efficacy and the pupils with higher achieve¬
ment. Trust for the teaching partner and the teaching partner’s
preferred mode of interaction were not found to be related to teacher
efficacy and teacher reflection.

Table A-1—continued.
Author’s Name
6. da Costa, J.L.,
& Riordan, G.
(1996)
7. Englert, C.S., &
Tarrant, K.L.
(1995)
8. Etchberger,
M.L., & Shaw,
K.L. (1992)
9. Fuchs, L.S.,
Fuchs, D.,
Hamlett, C.L.,
Phillips, N., &
Kams, K. (1995)
Participants Methodology Findings
10 teachers Semi-structured Self selection versus administrative assignment of dyads: Building
5 dyads, 3 interviews, Audio trust was slower in schools where dyads were mandated. Selecting
elementary taped conferences the focus of the collaborative consultation cycle: easier to share
schools between dyads, ideas after having collaborated four or five months. Teacher
4 meetings confidence: teachers with high levels of teaching efficacy are more
likely to engage in trusting relationships. Trusting relationships
where teacher confidence was high, discussions of pedagogy
were not limited to pre/post conferences but happened at different
times.
4 Sp. Ed.
teachers,
University
Researchers
Qualitative
interviews,
Observations,
meetings
1 5th grade Case study,
teacher Observations,
Interviews,
Journal entries
20 teachers Interviews,
2 treatments Teacher
planning,
questionnaire,
CBM assessments
There was great variation in knowledge constructed in the group.
Teachers learned best in areas where they had the greatest needs and
interests. Greatest change occurred when the members of the
community came to share the theoretical framework and goals.
Created a place to share instructional results. Increased self-efficacy
and student expectation.
Teacher taught science in cooperative groups, mathematics in a
traditional approach. The teacher did not see how cooperative group
learning could work in mathematics. First stage: instrumental teacher-
dispenser, individual student-receiver . . . time constraints need for
children to understand concepts . . . teacher’s job to dispense knowledge.
Second stage: instrumental teacher-dispenser, cooperative student-
receivers. . . students allowed to aid each other in completing teacher-
instructed, teacher assigned tasks. Third stage: relational teacher-
provider, cooperative student-constructors . . . teacher provider of
situations from which learners derive or build concepts.
More teachers relied on adaptations. Reported more modifications
in goals and teaching strategies with students with LD. Teachers
relied on CBM to inform instruction. Teachers retaught lessons
for students with LD. Teachers deviated from teacher’s manual
when planning for students with LD.

Table A-1--continued.
Author’s Name Participants Methodology
10. Gersten, R.,
Morvant, M., &
Brengelman, S.
(1995)
12 classroom Audiotaped teacher/
teachers, 2 coach meetings,
spec. ed. Field notes
coaches
11. Hunsaker, L.,
& Johnston, M.
(1992)
1 researcher 4yr. longitudinal
1 1st grade case study, Field
teacher notes, Researcher
report
12. Jones, B.M.
(1997)
1 urban
school,
4 school
personnel,
principal,
researcher,
9 teachers
Case study,
Observations
of audiotaped
meetings, Field
notes
Findings
Up-and-down nature of change, Differences in perspectives:
Teachers felt evaluated and anxious, Differences in conceptions of
teaching: Students with learning disabilities are one concern among
many for classroom teachers, Shifts in teachers’ perceptions: more
specificity, more responsibility, more understanding of students’
needs
In the beginning: dependency on researcher for knowledge, relied
on unreflective approach to teaching, little motivation for critical re¬
flection and change. At the end: “Becoming the experimenter”,
Tried new instructional activities, Experimented with reading/writing,
Difficulty giving up control, Eventually asked her own questions and
sought her own answers, Other people provided ideas and support
At the onset, groups looked to the facilitator to play the expert role
and provide the information. By the end of the year, the leadership
role shifted to a third grade teacher. Share expertise, supported
colleagues, reflected own practices.

Table A-1—continued.
Author’s Name
13. Kohler, Frank
W., McCullough,
Kerry M., & Buchan,
Kristin A. (1995)
14. Lipman, P.
(1997).
Participants Methodology Findings
2 female
preschool
teachers, 2
female pre¬
school aides,
2 preschool
classrooms,
2 groups of
12 students
3 one hour
meetings, video¬
taped activities,
observation, inter¬
rater agreement,
assessment
2 groups Case study,
of 5 Observations
9th grade of meetings
teachers
When asked what they felt about the project, all four teachers seemed
to express some anxiety about being watched by another teacher, time
constraints, or having to find something wrong with someone else’s
practice. All four teachers made some sort of procedural refinements
which varied from teacher to teacher. Three of the teachers made
changes during coaching except for one who remained the same
throughout. Changes are more likely to occur under collaboration
than if a teacher is working independently; these changes can be
continued over time. Changes in teaching activities caused changes
and improvement in student reaction. Teachers wrote more
suggestions for change during the coaching phase, not the
independent phases. The teacher who expressed the most
discomfort with coaching instituted the fewest changes. Teachers
may need a great amount of time to adjust to change.
Collaborative team meetings were dominated by [four themes:]
1. Focus on individual students, identify problem students. Collab¬
oration created a context in which teachers could identify perceived
weaknesses of the kids and be reassured that their own practice was
not at fault. 2. Competitions and rewards—creating incentives for
Good behavior and academic achievement. 3. Social control-
meetings focused on discipline and this topic took up 50%.
4. Nurturing And the double standard of success—
Teachers made it a goal to become More empathetic and help low
achieving kids to buy into school. They were able to reduce the amount
of low grades and improve student/ teacher relations in some cases.
Teachers overall felt a more family atmosphere as a result of teaming.

Table A-l~continued.
Author’s Name
15. Marks, S.U.,
& Gersten, R.
(1998).
16. Martens, M.L.
(1992)
Participants Methodology Findings
12 teachers
l-7th grade
3 Sped.
Teachers
Action Research,
Interviews, Audio-
taped meetings,
Documents,
Field notes
1 6th grade Case study,
teacher Observations,
Interviews,
Interview w/
key inform¬
ants, and
Document
analysis
If teachers understood the suggestion well and could see that it was
meaningful, they were ore engaged in the coaching process and in
efforts to use the suggestion. Teachers perceived needs and previous
experience working in a co-teaching or coaching model influence
teacher’s willingness to engage in the coaching process. It is
important to attend to a teacher’s preference rather than trying to
convince a teacher for a specific strategy. If the needs of teachers were
capitalized on, their engagement in the coaching process was higher.
High engagement/high impact teachers had no philosophical
conflicts with the special education coach. Teachers made either
peripheral or core changes in their teaching. Core changes resulted
in higher levels of stress between the two participants and sometimes
resulted in low engagement. Peripheral changes, those seen as
additions to what a teacher already does, were more accepted.
Changes occurred in some alteration of teaching strategies and the use
of new materials. No change occurred about her beliefs in her role as
the teacher. 1. Need to maintain control and to see that kids “get it
right” eliminates opportunities for problem solving. 2. Instruction
through problem solving is unlikely to occur when science teaching
is perceived as a “what” rather that as a “how.” Teacher did not
appear to be reflective, had successful teaching record which pro¬
vides little motivation from change. Often teacher does the problem
solving for the students. She does not know that content can be
learned effectively through problem solving, there is a
dichotomy between science teaching/leaming and problem solving.

Table A-l-continued.
Author’s Name Participants
17. Martin, K.M. 3, 6th grade
(1995). teachers
from a
middle
school
18. McIntyre, E. &
4 teachers
Kyle, D.W.
at rural
(1995)
Schools,
3 teachers
at urban
schools
19. Meichtry, Y.J.
2 teams
(1990)
5th grade
team, 6th
grade team,
4 teachers
Methodology
Case study
Observation,
Interview,
Observations
of meetings,
Documents
Interviews,
Observations,
Recorded teach¬
ers planning ses
sions, All-day
meetings
Observations,
Informal inter¬
view, semi &
formal inter¬
views
Findings
Shared vision of curriculum purposes was believed by the teachers
to be the key element in determining the success of the team’s
change efforts. Teacher’s personal beliefs and concerns influenced
their rationales for the curriculum and their choices of the means to
interpret curriculum intentions. Teachers’ individual knowledge in¬
fluenced the ways in which they interpreted the curriculum. Cited
team collaboration as a source of shared knowledge and of joint
construction of new knowledge. The teachers believed that each
played a different role on the team; the diversity contributed to the
team’s effectiveness. Collaboration And knowledge construction:
creates knowledge that was not previously available to individual
teachers. Teachers better understood the conceptual integration of
the content they were teaching. Teachers became more reflective
about own teaching through articulating their knowledge and
beliefs to others.
Collaboration allowed them to: develop trust, share info on S, view
others as resources, become more metacognitively aware of good
teaching, focus on process more than product, honor SS ideas and
development, SS benefit from T use of assessment.
Team arrangement fostered norms of collaborations and classroom
practices were influenced by the collaborative nature of their inter¬
action with team members. Teacher interactions-Teachers talked with
one another about instruction, evaluation, and management of students.
Teachers made team decisions. Frequent contact among teachers focus¬
ing on common students allowed for reflection about alternative
methods of instruction, evaluation, assistance, and discipline of
students. Increased interactions among teachers led to the integration
across content areas.

Table A-l-continued.
Author’s Name
20. O’Connor,
R. , Jenkins,
J.R. &
Leicester, N.
(1992)
21. Oja, S.N.,
Kull, J.A., &
Kelley, F.
(1995)
22. Peterson, P.L.,
McCarthey,
S.J., & Elmore,
R.F. (1996)
23. Prawat, R.S.
(1992)
Participants
Methodology
10
Audiotaped
teachers
collaborative
meetings,
Structured
interviews,
Observations,
Documents,
teachers
Observations,
from 4
Time sampling
middle
techniques, Action
Schools
research plans,
Student work,
Student eval.,
Curr. Reviews by
Experts and peers,
Interviews, Journal
entries, Documen¬
tation of meetings
3 elem.
Interviews,
schools,
Observations,
2 writing
Students’ work
teachers at
each school
collected
1 5th grade
Case study,
teacher
Observations,
Interviews
Findings
Teachers who have academic improvement goals for all children will
be more likely to collaborate with a specialist. Collaboration is likely
to be ongoing and valued when gen. ed. teachers take responsibility
for the intervention. Teachers who can define the learning problem
the child is experiencing will attempt to solve the problem.
Collaboration is likely to continue when it assists in maintaining
balance between the needs of individuals and the whole class.
Elements needed for teachers to become agents of change:
recognition and acceptance of the challenge; energy; confidence
in oneself and the group; support; time; self-efficacy; having a
stake in the willingness and ability to revise; and the ability to
recognize and celebrate failures and successes. Driving forces
forces for effective change is the achievement of meaningful
products.
Teaching and learning occur as a function of teacher beliefs,
understandings, and behaviors in the context of specific problems
within the classroom. Teachers have to have access to well-
articulated ideas that assist them in developing their own ideas.
Teachers have to view themselves as learners who work con¬
tinuously to improve their practices. School structures can assist
the learning process, but do not cause learning to occur. A
collegial environment can be created through recruitment and
socialization, where teachers hold common views about purpose
and principles of good practice.
She changed some of her negative views about the new math
curriculum. More willing to experiment; has broadened her
mathematical perspective.

Table A-l--continued.
Author’s Name
Participants
Methodology
24. Pugach, MC.,
& Johnson,
L.J. (1995)
Intervention
group of 95
teachers,
Comparison
Group of
96 teachers
#of referrals, Demo¬
graphic ques¬
tionnaire, Teach¬
able pupil survey,
Teacher efficacy
scale, Classroom
questionnaire,
Classroom
problem
questionnaire
25. Richardson,
V., & Anders,
P.L. (1994)
38 initial
group, 17
focus group,
13 follow¬
up study
Videotaped
lessons, Interviews,
Practical-argument
sessions
26. Shafer, R.A.
(1995)
23 k-1
teachers,
counselor
Case study,
Meetings,
Interviews,
Documents
27. Stein, M.K.,
& Wang, M.C.
(1988)
14 classes
(K-4)
3 schools
Observations, Self¬
in reports question¬
naires, Interviews,
Implementation
Assessment Battery
For Adaptive In¬
struction, Teacher
Perceptions and
Attitude
questionnaire
Findings
Intervention group showed a 50% decrease in referrals to sp.ed.
Intervention group scored higher than the comparison group. The
comparison group has less confidence in handling classroom probs.
Comparison group scored a less positive teacher affect,
Intervention group scored a more positive teacher affect. For 88%
of the teachers, teachers solved problems after engaging in the
Peer Collaboration process.
Less reliance on the basal reader, Increased use of prereading strate¬
gies, Integration of literature into other subjects, Different practices
in grading /assessment, 4/5 shifted from skills-based to more
process-oriented focus, and 4/5 moved from authoritative
instruction to a teacher-facilitative approach.
Cohesion in the group encourages others to try new ideas.
Leadership is shared among members to mutually
determine goals.
Positive relationship between teacher success in program implemen¬
tation and teacher perceptions of self-efficacy for implementing
the innovative program. Positive relationship between teacher per¬
ceptions of self-efficacy for implementing the innovative program
and teacher self-assessment with reference to personal standards.
Lack of marked change in teacher-perceived value of the
innovative program. There was a positive relationship
between teacher-perceived valued and teacher perceptions
of program efficacy.

Table A-1—continued.
Author’s Name Participants Methodology
28. Tillema, H.H.
(1995)
146 pri¬
mary school
teachers,
78% women
field study,
pre- and post¬
test measurements,
data collected for
2 years, 4-6 weeks
training, audio
recordings
29. Torres, M.N. 25 K-12
(1996) teachers
Meetings, Tape
recorded pre¬
sentations of
work in progress
reports,
Teachers’ self
reflective evalua¬
tion, Staff
meeting notes
Findings
Teachers still relied on traditional methods in times of trouble. The
more teachers’ expectations vary from what is presented in training,
the more negative their attitudes will be, and thus, they will learn less.
A positive attitude about learning, however, promotes knowledge
acquisition. Teachers with a lot of experience, did not significantly
expand their knowledge base. Most were familiar with the training
material. Beliefs exert a strong influence on knowledge acquisition.
If learning and knowledge acquisition are going to occur, teachers’
beliefs and arguments must be modified. The greater difference
between a teacher’s expectations of training and that which was
being trained led to less learning. The trainer’s knowledge of the
teachers’ beliefs did not aid in changing teacher knowledge or
performance. Content based beliefs cannot be changed simply through
presentation of information. Teachers beliefs must be challenged
for substantial change to occur.
Affective support: ideas and actions validated and encouraged.
Sharing and learning: acquired new ideas, methods, and strategies.
Different perspectives: few people commented on importance of
peer collaboration offering other perspectives. Challenge: pushed
or questioned outside of comfort zone. Expanding teachers’ own
experience of collaboration. Allowed teachers to build partnerships
with their students. Facilitation of risk-taking in trying new things
in the classroom: Some of the changes were; changing teaching
style, allowing students to have input about problem solving,
evaluating the class, giving a choice in learning, and
changing the paradigm. Discovering new dimensions of their teaching
and students. Teachers saw the need for them to conduct on-going
research in their classrooms.

Table A-l—continued.
Author’s Name
30. Vaughn, S.,
Hughes, M.T.,
Schumm, J.S., &
Klingner, J.
(1998)
31. Voltz, D.L.,
Elliot, R.N., &
Harris, W.B.
(1995)
32. Warren, L.L.,
& Payne, B.D.
(1997)
Participants Methodology Findings
7 teachers, Interviewers,
6 researchers Intervention-
Validity-
Checklists,
Observations
5 resource
room
teachers,
26 gen. Ed.
Teachers
Interviews,
Resource Teacher
Gen. Ed. Teacher
Interaction Scale
12 middle
schools in
two south¬
eastern
states
Quantitative. The
Teacher Efficacy
Scale and the
Teacher Opinion
Questionnaire
Teachers crave instructional practices that can be used with the class
as a whole, enhance learning for all students and easy to implement.
Commitment to implementation, demonstration lessons, and follow-up
meetings enhanced implementation. Teachers learned the global
features of the instructional practice. Standardized tests influence
teachers’ instructional practices. Some teachers did not implement
instructional practices regardless of the support available. Lack of
time is a problem. Teachers sustained implementation into the
second year.
The project increased their knowledge of useful teaching strategies,
improved the school performance of students with LD, improved
their professional relationship with the resource teacher, improved
their ability to meet the needs of students with LD in gen. ed.
classes, and had a positive spillover effect for other students.
Regularly scheduled conferences allowed them to address the
problems of their students more systematically and thoroughly.
The project strengthened professional ties. The implementation of
this project suggests that the provision of a specific time and
framework for collaboration can have a positive impact on the
performance of resource teacher roles that promote interaction
with gen. Ed. Teachers
Teachers on interdisciplinary teams with common planning time had
significantly higher personal teaching efficacy, satisfaction, and
commitment to teaching. Teachers in interdisciplinary teams with
common planning time had significantly more positive perceptions
of managing student behavior. Teachers on interdisciplinary teams
with common planning time had significantly more positive
perceptions of instruction coordination. Teachers on inter¬
disciplinary teams with and without common planning times
had significantly more positive perceptions of cohesiveness.
Teachers in interdisciplinary teams with common planning time had
significantly more positive perceptions of collaboration.
201

Table A-1-continued.
Author’s Name
33. Westheimer,
J. (1998)
34. Wilson, S.M.
(1990)
35. Wood, T.,
Cobb, P., &
Yackel, E.
(1991)
36. Woolsey, D.P.
(1991)
Participants
2 CA middle
schools, 1
urban, 1
suburban,
28 inter¬
views at
each school
1 teacher
2nd grade
1 1st grade
teacher
Methodology
Case study,
Participant
observation,
Interviewing,
Documents
Observation,
2 interviews
Case study, Video¬
taped lessons,
Field notes,
Artifacts
2yr. naturalistic
study, Obser¬
vations, Inter¬
views, Video¬
tapes, TORP
Findings
How to build, sustain, and advance a teacher professional community:
Beliefs matter- the importance is common vision which promotes a
clarity and focus for beliefs and values. Structures matter—balance
between institutionalized structures and enduring innovation. Struc¬
tures have to be in place to create participation and manage conflict,
even if they are somewhat artificial at first. Individuality and
community are unexpected bedfellows-you can maintain
individuality and differences of people and use those differences
in the community.
Teaching for understanding: levels of knowing. “Press for time, com¬
munity tests”—only have time to work on procedures and rules.
“Competing conceptions of learning and teaching mathematics”--
Teacher v. Text. “Knowledge of alternative pedagogical strategies”-
Teacher selects use of text based on own understanding about how
to teach math. Real Math can provide rationales but all subject to
interpretation of reader based on personal understanding.
“Competing calls for reform”—Multiple messages/reforms
Learning consisted of gradual constructions and transformations:
a period of dilemmas and conflicts that had to be resolved. Changes
occurred in her beliefs about (a) mathematics from rules and
procedures to meaningful activity, (b) learning from passivity
to interacting and communicating, and c) teaching from
transmitting
Shifted from a belief in phonics and skill orientation to a more
meaning based, whole language approach.
202

APPENDIX B
LETTER OF INFORMED CONSENT

Informed consent
Teacher Participation in Research
Dear Teachers,
February 1998
I am a professor at the University of Florida. My colleagues and I have
developed a study to describe the influences of teacher collaboration on
instructional and managerial practices. We hope to learn about the
influences of the collaborative process in order to better understand how to
assist teachers in developing strategies to assist students who experience
learning and behavioral problems. Hopefully, the findings of this study can
later be used to disseminate information to others interested in establishing
teacher collaborative groups.
In this study, researchers will be observing in classrooms of the
participating teachers 1-2 times a month for no longer than four hours each
visit. During our observations, we will be taking notes on instruction, the
response of the students, and any other aspect of management and
instruction. Also, we will interview each teacher 2-3 times during the study.
These interviews will be recorded on the computer and later coded for
confidentiality of teacher identification. Only the researcher will have access
to the transcripts. In the interviews, you will not have to answer any
questions you do not choose to answer. We will begin observing February
1998 and continue through May 1998.
Each teacher will be given a code for data collection purposes in order
to insure confidentiality. No identifying information about teachers or the
school site will be used in any written or oral report of this study. All
interview and observation data will remain confidential to the extent
provided by law and will only be discussed with the individual participant.
The results of the study will also not be available to the school administration
in order to respect the rights of participants.
There will be no risks and some benefits, such as gaining more
information about instruction and management of diverse students, as a
result of your participation in this study. You are free to withdraw from
participation in this study at any time for any reason. Your participation is
strictly voluntary. There will also be no compensation for you participation
in this study. We will be willing to discuss this study with you at any time
and will answer any questions you have. At the completion of the study, we
would like to discuss the findings with you. Hopefully, we will have learned
about the influences of collaborative process on instructional and managerial
practices. Any questions or concerns about research participants’ rights may
be directed to the UFIRB office, Box 112250, Gainesville, FL 32611-2250;
phone: (352) 392-0433.
Sincerely,
Mary T. Brownell, Ph.D
204

205
G315 Norman Hall
University of Florida
Gainesville, FL 32611
(904) 392-0701, ext 249
I have read the procedure described above. I voluntarily agree to
participate in the procedure and I have received a copy of this description.
Participating Teacher’s Signature
Date
Investigator’s Signature
Date

APPENDIX C
INTERVIEW PROTOCOLS

Interview Protocol #1
June 1997
1. What are the biggest learning challenges you face in teaching
diverse learners?
2. Of the challenges you named, which do you handle best? How do you
handle these challenges? Give me specific examples.
3. Which of the learning challenges you named, do you find the hardest
to overcome? How do you handle these difficult challenges? Give me
specific examples.
4. Let’s talked about handling some of the other learning challenges
you named but haven’t discussed. What are some of the things you do
to handle them? Give me examples.
5. What are the biggest behavior challenges you face in teaching
diverse learners?
6. Of the challenges you mentioned, which do you handle the best?
How do you handle these challenges? Give me specific examples.
7. Of the challenges, which do you find hardest to overcome? How do
you handle these difficult challenges? Give me specific examples.
8. Let’s talk about handling some of the other behavior challenges you
named but haven’t discussed. What are some of the things you do to
handle them? Give me examples.
9. Why do you think you are better at handling the ones you mentioned
compared to those you said were more difficult to handle?
207

208
Interview Protocol #2
January 1998
1.Do you engage in activities that you feel improve your teaching? If
so, what are they?
2.Describe some of the challenges you have faced in teaching this
school year.
3.What could you do about these types of challenges(have teacher
name specifically what could be done about individual problems listed
above)?
4. Have the activities you were talking about allowed you to work
toward solving these challenges? If so, how?
5. Which problems did you or did you attempt to solve?
6.What was the result of this effort? How did you know it worked?
(did not work)
7.Tell me specific examples about how you know the problem was
solved or has improved.
8.Which of the challenges have been difficult to solve?
9.What prevents you from being able to solve this problem?

209
Interview Protocol # 3
November 1998
Beginning of Year Interview:
4. Does your school have a vision or philosophy for teaching children?
What is it?
5. How does this vision compare to yours (or what is this vision)?
6. Are there any students in your class who you have concerns about?
Why?
7. To what extent are you able to help these students to be successful
academically or behaviorally?
a. How did you learn to be effective with these students?
b. How did you know to use these strategies?
c. What supports would you need to be more effective?
8. In the first question, I asked you about students in your class you
were concerned about. Of the students you mentioned, who do you
have to most concerns about? Is this student in special education?
What are the strengths and needs of this student?
9. What kind of planning do you do to address this student’s
instructional or behavior problems?
a. What kind of strategies do you use to address this student’s
instructional or behavioral problems?
b. How are the planning or strategies you use for this student the
same or different from those used for other students in the
class?
c. Have these strategies been successful? If not, what do you plan
to do next?
10. What are your long-term goals for this student?
a. How are they the same as or different from the long-term goals
for other students?
11. What is you plan for assessing this student’s progress?
a. How is this similar to or different from the ways you assess the
other students?
12. What kind of help is available for assisting you with instructing
difficult to teach and manage students?

210
a. In what way have these sources of support been helpful?
b. How helpful are these sources of support for instructing the
other students in your class?
c. What role has the building administration played in providing
such support?
d. In what ways would you like for the building administrators to
support you more?
13. Are there any barriers in your district, school, or classroom to
providing instruction to difficult to teach and manage students?
a. How are these barriers the same as or different from the
barriers you encounter in teaching all other students in your
class?
14. What else do you need to know to successfully instruct students
with behavioral or academic problems?
a. How is this similar or different from the information you still
need to acquire about planning for all other students?

Interview Protocol 4
May 1999
211
1. Were there any beneficial aspects of participating in the TLC?
If yes: “Could you list the specific ways in which the TLC has been
helpful to you?
If no: go to question 2
2. Were there any aspects of participating in the TLC that were not
(less) beneficial?
3. What are your beliefs about including high risk learners and
students with disabilities in your classroom? Have your beliefs
changed as a result of participating in the TLC?
4. How helpful or not helpful has TLC participation been for teaching
and managing high risk learners and students with disabilities?
5. What could be done to improve the effectiveness of the TLC process?
6. What aspects of the TLC process should remain the same?
7. Has the administration supported the TLC process in your school?
How?
If not, why not?
8. Have you had sufficient time to work in the TLC process?
9.How helpful or unhelpful has working with other TLC teachers been?
Give prompts only if they don’t understand the question:
feedback on ideas and problems
problem solving
learning new ideas
working together on planning, teaching, etc.
support for trying new ideas
10. What aspects of working with TLC teachers needs to change?
11. So far in the TLC process, do you feel more confident, less
confident, or the same about solving problems related to teaching high
risk learners and students with disabilities?

212
12. So far in the TLC process, do you feel more confident, less
confident, or the same about your TLC colleagues’ ability to help you
solve these problems?
13. How do you think non-TLC colleagues in your school perceive the
TLCs?

APPENDIX D
DEBRIEFING QUESTIONS

POSTOBSERVATION QUESTIONS
(GUIDE IN REFLECTING WITH TEACHERS)
1. Why did you select to teach this particular skill or topic?
2. How do you think the lesson went?
3. Were there any students that you had concerns about? Why?
4. How did you address those concerns?
5. What will you do in the future to address these concerns?
214

APPENDIX E
PATHWISE 19 CRITERIA

Pathwise
Educational Testing Service
Teacher Performance Assessment
Assessment Criteria
DOMAIN A Organizing Content Knowledge for Student
Learning
Criterion Al: Becoming familiar with relevant aspects of students’
background knowledge and experiences
Criterion A2: Articulating clear learning goals for the lesson that are
appropriate to the students
Criterion A3: Demonstrating an understanding of the connections
between the content that was learned previously, the current content,
and the content that remains to be learned in the future
Criterion A4: Creating or selecting teaching methods, learning
activities, and instructional materials of other resources that are
appropriate to the students and that are aligned with the goals of the
lesson
Criterion A5: Creating or selecting evaluation strategies that are
appropriate for the students and that are aligned with the goals of the
lesson
DOMAIN B: Creating an Environment for Student Learning
Criterion Bl: Creating a climate that promotes fairness
Criterion B2: Establishing and maintaining rapport with students
Criterion B3: Communicating challenging learning expectations to
each student
Criterion B4: Establishing and maintaining consistent standards of
classroom behavior
Criterion B5: Making the physical environment as safe and conducive
to learning as possible
216

217
DOMAIN C: Teaching for Student Learning
Criterion Cl: Making learning goals and instructional procedures clear
to students
Criterion C2: Making content comprehensible to students
Criterion C3: Encouraging students to extend their thinking
Criterion C4: Monitoring students’ understanding of content through a
variety of means, providing feedback to students to assist learning, and
adjusting learning activities as the situation demands
Criterion C5: Using instructional time effectively
DOMAIN D: Teacher Professionalism
Criterion Dl: Reflecting on the extent to which the learning goals were
met
Criterion D2: Demonstrating a sense of efficacy
Criterion D3: Building professional relationships with colleagues to
share teaching insights and to coordinate learning activities for
students
Criterion D4: Communicating with parents or guardians about student
learning

APPENDIX F
ACTION PLANS/NEWSPAPER CLIPPINGS

¥ ¥ ¥ TLC Action Plan ¥ ¥ ¥
Instructional Goal
Your action to accomplish the goal
Time line for accomplishing the goal
How will vou collect data to determine outcome (evaluation method)
Management Goal
Your action to accomplish the goal
Time line for accomplishing the goal
How will vou collect data to determine outcome (evaluation method)
219

220
End of the Year Action Plan
The skill I will target
The students that will be involved
The assessment that I will use for baseline/final evaluation data
How the students will practice the skill
How often the students will practice (i.e., 5 minutes from 9:00-9:05
everyday)
Days of Week:
Specific Time:
Duration:
How I will keep track of data (consider how the students could chart
their progress)
Sample:
Basic subtraction facts 0-19
Target students: Susie, Jimmy, Carl, and Donna
I will use a sheet of subtraction problems that are displayed in
mixed order and time students for a minute. This is my baseline data.
I will pair all my students and they will use flash cards and quiz
each other every day from 9:05-9:10. (Each student will have an opportunity
to practice for 2 minutes each. Every T/Th I will use the minute timing to
collect data. I will make a chart that shows the data for each of the 4
students; students will meet with me on Friday to see their progress and to
set goals)
I will use the timing sheets to determine final progress of my
students at the end of eight weeks.

221
rHiKÍ^T>*x»¿Mx6'U
A/' //>7-T?£ ¿
w â– ' ' i
Teachers
°%ed
cohorts
UF faculty'sharing
; teaching, methods
By Veronica Chapin.
Start writer
• 1 ' •• ‘ :{i:
Using a philosophy of the .
more you know the more you , i
grow, faculty at Hogan-Spring I
Glen Elementary, ^d professors
at the Univenity.Qf Florida/"./
have teamed 'up to improve
teaching and management
methods.
With a federal grant to imple-*
ment two programs, The Teach-;
er Learning Cohorts and Read¬
ing Rescue for-Elementary Stu-;
dents faculty are able to take a ’
pro-active role;in educating,
their students^-.•<*?-'*’ • f
The TLC progriuh started dur-(
ing the 1996-97.achool year,1 ’
with a goal of improving teach- ,
ing skills in the classroom u* * ;
ing observation, discussion, im- \
plementation and assessment. [
Staff from. tha.University of ¡
• Florida trained in-strategic •
problem-solving, help elementa- »
ry school'teachers learn new j
techniques to help reach chil¬
dren-at .risk, for learning prob- .
lema ; •' •
\Jó¿.
“The program is similar to .-.i
having staff provide- profession- (Qj
al service, on a continuous ba-
sis,” said Hogan-opring Glen
. Principal. Susan Schondelmaier.
"Tney [UF‘personnel] have
been able to go into the class-
. room and see what the teachers
are doingtgpdrmake sugges¬
tions." 'V- .vV'V
Although the programs are
time-consuming; Schondelmaier;
said they,are able to,help stu¬
dents they couldn’t reach be¬
fore. • ^ V-.r : *
"It’s a stretch, Wejreally had
to work at changing,some of
our schedules and giving up
some of our time for other
things to make itVwork,” she
said/ "I think-we-owe it to our
society and our community to
do the very best we can for all
our children.”
The. university currently has
three professors and two gradu¬
ate assistants working .within
the elementary school, said UF
research assistant Tamar Riley.
"Our (TLC] work wasn't too
> pretty our first year here,” Ri¬
dley, said. "It took us a while to
get our feet wet.”'
i • Riley said the teachers are
able -to decide what problems
^ they want to address in their
classroom^fllen work together
/to- ■ observe,’each-other and learn
: whileTprovidingi feedback.
} ^Riley saidiHogan-Spring Glen
j was chosen^ for-the study be-
{cause it had- shown the most in-
• te reapin'getting involved in
^this type;,of-program.
* '’-The i ReadlngrUescue program
was impleinented at the ele¬
mentary school-this year and is
See COHORTS, P«Q* 6
kbt&the whole-
jff^ey&re

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BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH
Tamar F. Riley was born on April 7, 1967, in Pasadena, California.
Close to a year later her parents adopted two boys, Tommy and Brandon. The
following year Tamar’s parents divorced, and her mother kept custody of
them. Her father remarried when she was three, and Tamar gained three
new siblings-Allen, Larry, and Allison. Three years later Tamar’s brother
Doug joined the family, and seven years following, her sister Ashley was
bom.
Tamar lived with her mother until she was 15 years old, and then she
moved in with her father, stepmother, and seven siblings. Her parents had
always stressed the importance of education, and seven out of eight of their
children have attended college. Tamar’s parents were always encouraging
and supportive in all of her academic endeavors.
Tamar attended Liberty University where she majored in elementary
education with a minor in cross-cultural studies. She had two opportunities
to travel abroad while in college. Her first experience was in Brazil for three
and a half weeks where she saw children, as well as adults, living in
tremendous poverty. This first experience sparked her desire to work with
those of diverse cultural backgrounds and led to her interest in issues of
equity.
232

233
Three years later Tamar went to Kenya with a team of nine other
college students on a four-month work project. Her team worked with the
poorest tribe in Kenya, the Turkana, known as the beggar tribe. While in
Turkana, she taught at the local school where 60 students were crowded into
a concrete building built for 30. She also worked in a tutoring clinic, which
assisted struggling students learning to read English. This experience was
the first time in which she encountered students with learning problems.
Living without electricity, a limited water supply, and among intense poverty
helped her to realize that not all people had the privileges that she had been
afforded since birth. Tamar came back from Kenya a different person with a
new desire to help those who needed support to be successful. Much of her
understanding and beliefs about race, class, and gender were challenged by
her trip.
Tamar graduated from Liberty with a bachelor’s degree in elementary
education and soon started graduate school at the University of Florida. She
received her degree in special education with a specialization in learning
disabilities and an endorsement in gifted. Tamar’s first year of teaching was
in a fifth-grade general education classroom. She had many students who
received special education services, had different learning levels, and
exhibited a variety of behavioral problems. She realized her preparation in
general and special education assisted her ability to teach such a diverse
population. The next two years she taught in a fourth-grade self-contained
gifted classroom at a gifted center school. The combination of both teacher
preparation programs allowed her to have the knowledge of academic content

as well as the knowledge to implement strategies and modifications in the
curriculum while teaching students with diverse educational needs.
234
As a result of these teaching experiences, Tamar became interested in
a doctoral program in special education with an emphasis in teacher
education. Tamar’s work with teachers in a general education classroom led
to her interest in collaborative teacher education programs that jointly
prepared special and general education teachers. Additionally, she became
interested in assisting general education teachers with including students
who had challenging learning problems. Tamar also has interests in issues of
race, class, and gender and how she can make education accessible to all
students.

I certify that I have read this study and that, in my opinion, it conforms to the
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope
and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Associate Professor of Special Education
I certify that I have read this study and that, in my opinion, it conforms to the
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope
and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Paul T. Sindelar, Cochair
Professor of Special Education
I certify that I have read this study and that, in my opinion, it conforms to the
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope
and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
l [ ' r‘: - ; ' ' L L t
Elizabeth Bóndy
Associate Professor of Teaching and Learning
I certify that I have read this study and that, in my opinion, it conforms to the
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope
and quality, as a dissertation for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Karen Kilgore
Assistant Scholar of Special Education

I certify that I have read this study and that, in my opinion, it conforms to the
acceptable standards of scholarly presentation and is fully adequate, in scope
and quality, as a dissertation for the degree ofPpctor of Philosophy.
Cary Reichard
Professor of Special Education
This dissertation was submitted to the Graduate Faculty of the College of
Education and to the Graduate School and was accepted as partial fulfillment of
the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
December 2000
Dean, College of Education
Dean, Graduate School

LD
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