Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Facilitating Writing Professional Development: A Practitioner Research Study
by Roy, Matthew Roger, Ed.D., University of Florida, 2020, 141; 27742853
Abstract (Summary)

Teachers across the nation report a lack of time to effectively teach writing due to the demands of high-stakes testing. Educators report feeling pressured to spend much of their time teaching mathematics and reading skills needed for exams. Teachers also report that effective writing instruction is difficult. While many teachers view universal writing instruction as challenging, planning writing instruction for an increasingly diverse student population creates even more complex challenges for instructors.

I noticed these challenges to writing instruction while working at a high-poverty high school on Florida’s East Coast. Many teachers in high-poverty schools are new to the profession and lack pedagogical knowledge and strategies for powerful writing instruction. My research, therefore, examined my instructional leadership practices to effectively engage English educators in job-embedded learning for the purpose of improving writing instruction in my context. In this practitioner research study, I used qualitative research methods to address the research question: How can I, an assistant principal, help teachers in my context think more deliberately about their writing instruction? Over the course of seven weeks, I facilitated a Professional Learning Community (PLC) focused on helping teachers explore powerful writing instruction with the ultimate goal of improving my ability to support teachers with writing instruction in my context.

Using a research journal and semi-structured interviews, I explored how I designed and delivered professional development wrapped around writing instruction and concluded that (1) modeling and risk-taking helped teachers better understand the value of instructional risks; (2) engaging participants in activities as if they were students helped them develop an appreciation of student experiences; and (3) using structured protocols within a horizontal team structure enabled teachers to learn from each other, hold themselves and each other accountable, think more deeply about student learning, and develop a sense of collective confidence.

These findings support the literature on powerful professional learning and have implications for district and school-level administrators who oversee professional development and school-based facilitators of professional development. The results of this study may encourage job-embedded professional development within schools and promote a dedicated focus on powerful writing instruction in all school contexts.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Adams, Alyson J.
Commitee: Vescio, Vicki A., Fu, Danling, MacSuga-Gage, Ashley
School: University of Florida
Department: Curriculum and Instruction (EDD)
School Location: United States -- Florida
Source: DAI-A 82/6(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Teacher education, Creative writing, Linguistics, Secondary education, Educational administration, Educational leadership, Instructional Design, Curriculum development
Keywords: PLC, Professional development, Writing development, High-stakes testing
Publication Number: 27742853
ISBN: 9798698594970
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