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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Factors that influence teachers' use, or non-use, of small group discussion
by Snider, Julianne, Ed.D., Wayne State University, 2016, 174; 10191625
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative study explored teacher answers to one question: What factors influence teachers’ decisions to use, or not use, small group discussion. Research supports a variety of small group discussion approaches to meet a range of curricular goals. Despite the philosophical move to student-centered discussion approaches, and research supporting small group discussion as an effective literacy approach, teacher led whole class discussion continues as the dominant approach. An online teacher survey about teacher use of discussion generated fifteen teachers, grades two through eight, who were interviewed to gather data on their perspectives about student discussion.

Three themes emerged from the interview data: (1) Teachers’ perspectives about their philosophy of education differed between teachers who used small group discussion and whole class discussion, (2) Teacher’s talk about students differed between teachers who used small group discussion and whole class discussion, and (3) Teachers’ talk about the teacher’s role or purpose differed between teachers who used small group discussion and whole class discussion.

Based on the findings, the implications suggest that teachers who are successful at implementing small group discussion have reading related advanced degrees, they have adopted constructivist philosophies, perhaps through their advanced degrees in reading, and they benefit from administrative and collegial support. Without the reading education and the philosophy to support student-centered approaches, teacher comments revealed that even when school-wide literacy programs, designed to engage students in small group discussion, were implemented, teachers manipulated the program activities to fit their teacher-led style.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Feathers, Karen
Commitee: Arya, Poonam, Larson, Mark
School: Wayne State University
Department: English Education
School Location: United States -- Michigan
Source: DAI-A 78/07(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Language arts, Reading instruction
Keywords: Critical literacy, Language development, Lit circles, Reading engagement, Reading motivation, Small group discussion
Publication Number: 10191625
ISBN: 978-1-369-61731-3
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