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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Collaborative practices among teachers to serve low -achieving high school ESL students
by Martin, Peter Clyde, Ed.D., The George Washington University, 2008, 249; 3297009
Abstract (Summary)

The study examines issues that underlie collaboration among high school teachers who work with English as a Second Language students with low literacy skills. It is based on the finding that high schools are typically ill-designed to meet the needs of this population and that teachers often lack the pertinent expertise. It is a qualitative case study of three teachers and examines the collaboration among them, the preparation and support they receive, the extent to which collaboration affects their instruction, and the factors that are conducive and detrimental to their collaboration.

The study begins by presenting the context of the school. Interviews with the teachers explore views on student needs and insights into their collaboration. Observation notes from collaborative meetings and classroom instruction are presented to examine each of the three collaborative pairings.

The findings show that the form, effect, and success of collaboration are dependent on numerous variables. One relationship is seen to be elaborate and successful, one limited in scope and effect, and one is virtually non-existent. In no case is there evidence of much pertinent preparation or institutional support. The more successful the collaboration, the more it focuses on instruction and involves joint planning. In this case there is a substantial effect on teaching practices. Logistical factors in the success of collaboration include compatible schedules and convenient meeting places. Structural factors include overlaps in academic content. Various personal factors determine whether teachers want to work together.

These findings have various implications. For teacher educators it is concluded that collaborative practices should be explicitly taught. Modifying instruction through collaboration and finding commonalities across academic areas ought to be emphasized. Education programs should also highlight teaching literacy skills on all grade levels. A major implication for administrators is that collaboration needs to be logistically feasible, have clear purposes and structures, and fit the priorities of both teachers and school. Educating students whose needs are greatest needs to be seen as a priority. Finally, the main implication for teachers is the need to recognize the value of working together and to focus on what they have in common.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Mazur, Amy J.
Commitee: Chamot, Anna U., Cummings, William K.
School: The George Washington University
Department: Special Education
School Location: United States -- District of Columbia
Source: DAI-A 69/02, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Bilingual education, Special education, Curriculum development, Hispanic American studies
Keywords: Collaborative, English as a second language, High school, Hispanic, Hispanic education, Immigrant education, Literacy, Low-achieving, Teacher collaboration
Publication Number: 3297009
ISBN: 978-0-549-43769-7
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