Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Preparing Pre-Service Special Education Teachers in Urban School Settings to Teach Content Literacy Strategies
by Becker, Kristin A., Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2013, 234; 3555473
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this concurrent mixed-method study was to explore how special education intern teachers, placed in an urban secondary special education school setting developed an ability to implement content literacy strategies after completion of a professional development graduate seminar and internship experience. This was done by studying both the interns' ability to be successful teaching content literacy in urban school settings represented by quantitative data, and their experiences throughout the process of the internship seminar represented by qualitative data.

The sample included eight graduate interns completing their last semester requirements of a master's degree in teaching, in addition to three university supervisors. Data collection began at the end of a semester long professional development seminar with a focus on content literacy instruction in secondary, urban, special education classrooms. Qualitative data was collected in the form of intern interviews, intern written reflections, intern lesson plans, observer narratives during their final observation, and an observer focus group. Concurrently, quantitative data was collected in the form of the Content Literacy Observation Protocol (CLOP) to corroborate intern teachers' ability to implement content literacy instruction specifically with regards to the use of a vocabulary graphic organizer.

Results indicated that intern participants were successful ( M = 2.63, SD = .244) implementing content literacy vocabulary strategies by the end of the internship semester. Data analysis revealed that after the internship experience and professional development seminar, interns were able to teach content literacy strategies to all of their students, including those students with low literacy levels, regardless of the type of special education classroom or of the school they were placed.

However, despite this success, contextual variables created an emotional context full of stress, uncertainty, and mixed levels of efficacy in which interns had to navigate to demonstrate success. Their ability to be resilient played an integral role in the ability of the interns to demonstrate success.

These findings highlight a need for teacher preparation programs to incorporate evidence-based content literacy instruction strategies as well as to embed opportunities for reflective practice for pre-service special education teachers serving within urban school settings.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Taymans, Juliana M.
Commitee: Casemore, Brian, Comas, Jacqueline
School: The George Washington University
Department: Special Education
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 74/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Special education, Teacher education, Secondary education
Keywords: Content literacy, Preservice teachers, Urban education
Publication Number: 3555473
ISBN: 9781267970572
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