Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Connecting theory, training and practice: Building teachers' capacity within an elementary literacy intervention
by Anderson, Helen M., Ed.D., University of Pennsylvania, 2016, 173; 10158552
Abstract (Summary)

Research suggests that instructional interventions can impact student learning most effectively when teachers receive support for implementation (Danielson, Doolittle, & Bradley, 2007; Songer, et al., 2002). This is particularly true for interventions targeting struggling students within Response to Intervention structures (Akerson, Cullen, & Hanson, 2009; Harris, Graham, & Adkins, 2015; Martin-Kniep, 2008;). Professional learning communities (PLCs) provide one structure to provide teachers with the needed instructional support to implement instructional interventions (Akerson et al., 2009; Danielson et al., 2007; Martin-Kneip, 2008; Pease-Alvarez & Samway, 2008). Implementation literature largely examines two aspects of these PLCs in relation to teacher’s practice: 1) teachers’ fidelity in implementing the curricular intervention, and 2) how intervention training within the PLC impacts on students’ academic performance. Absent from the current research is an examination of the ways in which teachers develop their capacity within PLCs, particularly when that PLC directly supports teachers’ implementation of a curricular intervention. Drawing on data from a large-scale evaluation study of an early literacy intervention, this dissertation explores how teachers describe the ways in which their capacity is built within a PLC. Using a critical feminist framework, this study examines interview transcripts, program artifacts, and analytic memos to surface the themes and discourses used by teachers to forward a theory of how PLCs can influence teachers’ practice.

This study found five key features of this intervention’s PLCs that teachers described as developing their capacity: 1) theoretical texts directly connected to teachers’ practice; 2) a resource-orientation to students; 2) a developed sense of personal responsibility for students’ progress; 4) informal collaboration with colleagues outside the PLC space; and 5) peer observation with direct, non-evaluative feedback conversations. These features, when situated within existing literature, provide the groundwork for greater research around PLCs and how they can serve as a support of teachers’ capacity-building and implementation of instructional interventions.

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Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Waff, Diane R.
Commitee: Mykysey, Nadia, Rust, Frances, Sirinides, Philip
School: University of Pennsylvania
Department: Reading, Writing, Literacy
School Location: United States -- Pennsylvania
Source: DAI-A 78/03(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Source Type: DISSERTATION
Subjects: Language arts, Pedagogy, Teacher education
Keywords: Intervention implementation, Professional development, Professional learning communities, Teacher capacity
Publication Number: 10158552
ISBN: 978-1-369-13560-2
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