Date of Award

Spring 3-16-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Educational Policy Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Sheryl Gowen

Second Advisor

Dr. Rick Lakes

Third Advisor

Dr. Bob Michael

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Emily Dexter

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to examine the coaching interactions of two literacy coaches and four classroom teachers in order to explore how these interactions serve to support teacher learning. The analysis of the study describes how the coaches support teacher reflection and teaching for processing strategies during guided reading lessons. The literature review suggests that reflective practice (Schön, 1996) involves thoughtfully considering one’s own experiences while being coached by a professional in the discipline. I conducted observations and interviews for two cycles of teaching and coaching sessions per teacher coach dyad, for a total of eight guided reading lessons, 16 pre/post conferences, and conducted interviews with each teacher and literacy coach. The research questions for this study are: 1. How does the discourse found within the coaching interactions support teachers in their learning as described by the coaches? 2. How does the discourse found within the coaching interactions support teachers in their learning as described by the teachers? 3. What patterns of discourse are seen within coaching interactions? a. How do the interactions support teacher reflection during the dialog? b. How do the interactions support the teachers’ understanding of teaching for processing strategies within small group reading instruction? 4. What if any are the differences related to training and knowledge of the coaches? The findings of this study are presented through: (a) case studies; (b) the participants’ descriptions of coaches supporting student and teacher learning; and (c) a description of the characteristics and interaction patterns within pre-and post-conferences. My analysis showed that these coaches support reflection-on-action through their post- conferences with teachers and that the support varies with the expertise of the literacy coach. Analysis of the data revealed that these teachers believe that literacy coaches support them in the following ways: (a) by giving them feedback; (b) giving them confidence; (c) making connections to learning theory; (d) praising their teaching; (e) helping foster teacher reflection; (f) identifying professional texts; (g) providing language to use while teaching reading and writing; and (h) identifying observable evidence of how the teachers’ supported student learning.

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