Date of Award

8-11-2015

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Kadir Demir, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Jennifer Esposito, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Amy Seely Flint, Ph.D.

Fourth Advisor

Anat Yarden, Ph.D.

Abstract

This investigation explored how the experience of literacy integration, defined as using combined text genres (traditional science textbooks, popular science articles, and Adapted Primary Literature), influenced the instructional practices of a middle school science teacher (Phillips & Norris, 2009). The combined texts were put in a hermeneutic circle within the classroom community and discussed (Eger, 1992). During the discussions the teacher monitored the students’ meaning construction processes and made metacognitive decisions about her instructional practices (Ruddell & Unrau, 2004). The participants were Melissa, a sixth grade science teacher, and ten (n=10) of her students at an academically rigorous, independent school in the southeastern United States. Classroom observations and interviews, both used as primary sources of data collection (DeWalt & DeWalt, 2002; Rubin & Rubin, 2005), were informed by other sources of data such as the collection of teacher and student artifacts and a questionnaire for the purpose of crystallization. The transcript data was transcribed, analyzed, and coded using performance/dialogic analysis. Categories from the codes were used to develop themes (Lichtman, 2013; Riessman, 2008) that were organized into a narrative that chronicled the teacher’s understanding of how the reading of combined text genres influenced her instructional practices. The findings are presented in the form of a case study (Yin, 2009). These assertions emerged from the data: (1) Melissa was able to make text visible (Lemke, 1990) and maintain an active learning environment while using minds-on instructional practices and (2) despite the tendency to compartmentalize each text genre, the teacher became metacognitive about her instructional practices. The implication is that literacy integration need not be a mystery or deterrent to science teachers (Shanahan, 1997). With the right resources, such as access to combined text genres, and through trial and error with a variety of instructional practices, teachers can successfully implement literacy integration into their classrooms.

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