Literacy & Learning

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    The aesthetic and efferent pedagogical stances and perspectives of high school English teachers during the study of literature
    (2001-08) Patton, Jo Ann; Griffin, Margaret; Allen, Diane; Zeek, Catherine
    Louise Rosenblatt's (1978, 1995b) transactional reading theory provided the framework for this qualitative study designed to explore the aesthetic and efferent pedagogical stances and perspectives of 10 high school English teachers during the study of literature. Research was conducted during the spring semester of the 1999–2000 school year in four high schools in a Texas public school district. Three questions guided the study focusing on the aesthetic and efferent stances the teachers manifested during classroom observations, their perspectives reported during interviews, and a comparison between their observed stances and reported perspectives. Two primary sources provided data: transcriptions of classroom observation field notes of each teacher's regular English class and transcriptions of an in-depth audiotaped interview with each teacher. Two secondary sources provided background and corroboration of the primary sources: instructional artifacts and the researcher's journal. Analyses of observation transcripts rendered identification of idea units and the emergence of 8 categories. Idea units in 2 of these categories, Aesthetic and Efferent, were then placed into 2 Aesthetic sub-categories and 10 Efferent sub-categories. Codes, definitions, examples, and explanations were developed for categories and sub-categories. Findings of the teachers' classroom oral communication overwhelmingly indicated the preponderance of an efferent stance within a traditional transmission classroom with limited attention given to an aesthetic stance. Analyses of interview transcripts rendered the teachers' reported aesthetic and efferent perspectives. Teachers discussed and ranked the priority of five dimensions of literary study, and most teachers indicated the aesthetic dimension of literature to be a higher priority than the efferent dimension. Teachers reported having minimal or no awareness of Rosenblatt's transactional reading theory and reader response. Findings from observation and interview transcripts were compared and revealed a distinct contradiction between the teachers' limited aesthetic oral communication in the classroom and their reporting the aesthetic dimension to be a high priority during interviews.
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    Latina teachers' testimonios: Examining lived experiences, language ideologies and biliteracy practices in dual language classrooms
    (May 2023) Mojica, Zulma E. 11/24/1975-; Mary Stewart; Alexandra Babino; Annette Torres Elias; Holly Hansen Thomas
    Biliteracy has become one of the goals of dual language (DL) programs, which seek to promote equal instruction in English and another language (Baker & Wright, 2017). As a result, programs and curricula have changed to ensure that the programs provide a language allocation plan and instruction that promotes biliterate practices (Howard et al., 2018). However, tensions and barriers (Menken, 2008) continue to challenge the proper implementation of bilingual models and education that genuinely enables biliteracy. One of the significant challenges is the shortage of teachers, especially bilingual educators. A high percentage of bilingual instruction is provided by a Spanish speaking teacher (Taie & Lewis, 2022) who needs to show proficiency in the language of instruction. However, being proficient in the language of instruction is not enough to promote fair practices that enhance bilingualism and biliteracy. Often teachers encounter tensions within their language ideologies, which are often linked to their experiences. Given the historical underrepresentation that Latinas’ lived experiences with language have had in higher education and bilingual curricula (Delgado-Bernal et al., 2012), this study sought to inform and contribute to research about Latina teachers’ language ideologies perceptions of biliteracy. This study explored a critical perspective of Latina teachers' experiences as bilinguals and how the intersection of race and linguistic competencies, along with the conflicts of living and belonging to more than one world, created new knowledge. This new knowledge and the literacy moments that can emerge from these intersections and conflicts can become assets for biliteracy instruction. The new population of bilingual students is represented by a high percentage of simultaneous bilinguals (Baker & Wright, 2017), who constitute the new normal (Escamilla et al., 2014). This new normal has created the need for bilingual programs to evolve and develop more flexible language approaches to bilingualism and biliteracy (García & Li Wei, 2018). It has also required teachers to reflect on their beliefs, provide instruction free of bias, and adapt to the new strengths and needs of emergent bilingual students (EBs). Through the use of Critical Race Nepantlera Methodology (Acevedo-Gil, 2019) and Testimonios (Delgado-Bernal, 2012), I sought to identify sources of knowledge and empowerment within teachers and create spaces for reflection and transformation of inequitable biliteracy teaching practices. The purpose of this qualitative collective case study was to examine and explore indepth the lived experiences and embodied ideologies of Latina teachers as bilinguals and how these beliefs could affect the way they approached the new generations of EBs’ biliteracy instruction in DL classrooms.
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    Developing young children’s biliteracy through translanguaging and multimodal instruction
    (May 2023) Borda, Juan Carlos 1971-; Stewart, Mary A; Hansen-Thomas, Holly; Torres, Annette; Figueroa, Jorge
    The population of emergent bilinguals (EBs) in public schools is constantly increasing in the United States. According to 2019 statistics, EBs represented 10.4% of the total school population or 5.1 million students (NCES National Center for Education Statistics, 2022). The educational community needs to develop innovative practices that take into account EBs' linguistic and cultural strengths to provide them academic experiences that enrich their learning. Past research illustrates that pedagogical approaches based on translanguaging and multimodalities show much promise. This multiple case study aimed to develop an in-depth understanding (Yin, 2018) of how EBs utilize their linguistic repertoire (García & Wei, 2014) and various multimodalities to support and develop their biliteracy in Spanish and English. The early childhood participants were exposed to translanguaging spaces and multimodal pedagogies while they conducted individual investigations using traditional and digital expository text. A critical lens to instruction and language practices supports the theoretical framework of this study. Data analysis indicates that EBs can effectively use their linguistic repertoire to talk and read in English and Spanish. The results also show that EBs use both languages when sharing their research through speaking and writing. Regarding the use of multimodalities, three main findings emerged from the data. First, EBs use illustrations and voice commands to support comprehension and representation of the text. Second, EBs use digital modalities and resources to create bilingual digital texts. Finally, results suggest that EBs prefer to use digital modes over print or traditional modes when conducting and sharing their investigations. The results of this study should be considered to guide policy and instructional practices to promote biliteracy development through the use of innovative teaching translanguaging and multimodality practices.
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    A qualitative descriptive study on leveraging multimodal systems for emergent bilinguals
    (May 2023) Koskina, Germaine 1969-; Anderson, Nancy; Stewart, Mary A; Torres, Annette
    As the United States becomes more diverse, an increase in Spanish speaking emergent bilinguals (EBs) exists in classrooms. Despite the implementation of bilingual education where EBs are educated in their heritage language, English frequently becomes the dominant language in EB’s linguistic repertoires. Furthermore, the concept of literacy is changing in the 21st century, as new technologies evolve, and multiple semiotic modes are recognized as alternative affordances for communicating. Literacy is no longer relegated to oral and written forms for communicating. In this study, harnessing the power of various modes of communication offered a viable solution for EBs to develop their heritage language output (Spanish) with the goal of achieving bilingualism and biliteracy. This qualitative descriptive study chronicles how the features of multimodal instruction implemented in a two-way Spanish-English dual language bilingual classroom appeared to assist heritage Spanish speakers in developing bilingualism and biliteracy. Students engaged in multimodal activities, in a translanguaging classroom, leveraging the available modes and affordances to create meaning as the teacher/researcher documented the features of the instruction and student’s responses. Six themes were identified representing features that appeared to support heritage language development. Features included instruction that was responsive to language identities, explicit teaching, ensuring students had access to comprehensible input, building conceptual knowledge, ensuring customized creative paths for students, and building metalinguistic knowledge.
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    A study of college developmental readers: Their history, practices, and perspectives
    (December 2022) Kelly, Lisa Faircloth 1969-; Stewart, Mary A; Burke, Amy; Watson, Patricia; Dunlap, Karen
    Many high school graduates begin college and quickly realize that there is a discrepancy between their high school reading experiences and the expectations of reading for college classes. These students are often placed into developmental reading courses, often based on standardized test scores, to improve their vocabulary, reading comprehension, and disciplinary literacies. There are a multitude of reasons that these students may not possess the reading skills that they need for college. This qualitative case study examines the influence of factors such as engagement, metacognition, and disciplinary literacies among four college students in developmental reading at a university in North Texas. The purpose was to analyze their literacy experiences, reading processes and strategies, and attitudes toward reading. Based on findings from this study, I provide suggestions for K-12 and college literacy education to promote success as students transition from high school reading to college reading.
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    "I used to only speak Spanish": An analysis of heritage language maintenance through the languaging and literacy practices of four Spanish heritage speakers
    (2022-12-01T06:00:00.000Z) Duran, Yismelle; Stewart, Mary A; Torres, Annette; Figueroa Flores, Jorge F.; Hansen-Thomas, Holly
    Heritage language speakers, those who have or claim a connection with the language of their ancestors, have become a group of interest in the United States, especially since programs to serve this population were initiated four decades ago thanks to the advocacy of grassroots organizations. Still, the reach of those programs is minimal and the lack of federal policies providing educational services for this group are harming the chances for heritage speakers of developing and maintaining proficiency in their home languages. For so long the policies and practices in the education field in the United States restricted the use of home languages at school in hopes that children would acquire literacy skills in English more effectively. Such policies reflect the dominant discourses enacted by the mainstream in the U.S., where language ideologies are characterized for emphasizing anglonormativity, monolingualism, and the use of a monoglossic lens. The purpose of this study is to gain an understanding of the factors that affect heritage language maintenance among Spanish heritage speakers, by looking at the support, or lack thereof, that they receive at home, at school, and in their community for the development of their heritage language. This study analyzed the thoughts and practices of four adolescent Spanish heritage speakers using a language identity framework that focused on how sociocultural factors affect their investment into maintaining their heritage language. Key findings point to positive perceptions about the heritage language and parents' engagement in teaching or reading in that language as key contributions to language maintenance.
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    Cosmopolitanism in multicultural children’s texts and reader response
    (2022-08-01T05:00:00.000Z) Lopez, Jennifer M; Stewart, Mary Amanda; Anderson, Nancy; Burke, Amy; Snider, Sharla
    Diversification of student populations (Vespa et al., 2018) and the push for texts that portray characters from all cultures (Neary, 2015) shows the need in research for a continued exploration of students’ responses to multicultural texts. The current research involving multicultural texts describes how students may relate to characters that are culturally similar or dissimilar from themselves (Brooks, 2006). Adding a theoretical view of cosmopolitanism (Hull & Stornaiuolo, 2014) can show how students’ worldviews and stances are shaped through the inclusion of multicultural children's texts. This study is a qualitative practitioner inquiry that included 15 third-grade students. The questions included considerations of how texts reflected cosmopolitan stances, the instructional decisions a teacher makes to encourage development of cosmopolitan stances, and what cosmopolitan stances may be present in students' reader responses. The research included a three-part methodology: (1) text analysis and text set curation, (2) pedagogical approaches to incorporate multicultural texts in the curriculum, and (3) analysis of students’ reader responses to the selected texts. Text analysis included combination of the components of Critical Multicultural Analysis (Botelho & Rudman, 2009) and cosmopolitan stances. Pedagogical approaches were analyzed using field notes and remained dynamic. The readers' responses were analyzed using a combination of open coding and cosmopolitan stances. Text analysis results showed that the texts fell within two groups: written by a culturally authentic or a culturally adjacent author. The field notes demonstrated how teacher lines of questioning and reader response prompts affected students’ responses to multicultural texts. The readers’ response analysis indicated that students reflected all three of the cosmopolitan stances in their verbal and written responses. As the study progressed, students moved away from the reflexive stance and more into the proximal and reciprocal stances. Findings from this study can be used by publishers to understand how multicultural literature may prompt students to develop cosmopolitan stances. This study shows teachers how their pedagogy can affect students’ responses to multicultural texts and how they may reflect the various cosmopolitan stances. Researchers can use the study results to understand how a cosmopolitan lens can be applied to multicultural texts and readers’ responses.
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    Bilingual interventionist beliefs and roles: Working with teachers in dialogue, disruption, and transaction
    (2022-12-01T06:00:00.000Z) Parkerson, Paul 1969-; Kaye, Elizabeth; Anderson, Nancy; Anderson, Nancy; Anderson, Nancy; Torres, Annette; Snider, Sharla; Anderson, Nancy; Anderson, Nancy
    Literacy is an important tool for students to challenge education, themselves, and ultimately the world. Dialogue about books can effectively engage middle school and high school students in explicit dialogue, disruption, and transaction; however, educators seldom reach deeply enough to truly engage elementary students. More investigation is warranted to examine the complexities of the teacher’s role in facilitating these deep dialogues with upper elementary students. The purpose of this study was to explore my beliefs and roles as a bilingual interventionist committed to instruction through dialogue, disruption, and transaction, with translanguage. I researched to understand how these beliefs, roles, and interactive processes shaped my work with teachers. This analytic autoethnography centered on my conversations and interactions with third and fourth grade bilingual teachers as we planned and discussed lessons in a nine-week language arts unit that included read-alouds and character study of fictional texts. There were three primary data sources: the researcher's personal journal, field notes from unit planning sessions with two teachers, and field notes from a discussion with the administrator before and after the unit. I analyzed data using two-cycle coding (Saldaña, 2011) and thematic organization (Attride-Stirling, 2001) to arrive at three global themes. I intentionally triangulated data by using an autoethnographic lens to continuously return to personal journal entries and observations captured in field notes with the teachers and administrator, maintaining an interstitial structure to the data as a whole. Findings are presented as global themes reflecting my evolving belief in giving support and the primary role I played as advisor/consultant. The findings also highlight how my interactions with the teachers changed across the course of the study and influenced my perceptions and actions. Finally, this study revealed a commitment to interactive processes involved in ensuring language access/freedom in learning.
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    Music-based and language-based literacies in Spanish-English emergent bilingual first graders: Music aptitude, phonological awareness, and morphological awareness
    (6/17/2022) Lozada, Victor A; Torres Elías, Annette
    The purpose of this study is to understand the relationships among music aptitude, phonological awareness in Spanish, phonological awareness in English, morphological awareness in Spanish and morphological awareness in English among first grade, Spanish-English emergent bi/multilingual students in a mid-sized suburban public school in Texas. A sequential explanatory mixed methodology was employed in which the quantitative portion used a correlational design while the qualitative portion used semi-structured interviews as writing conferences with the participants alongside writing samples to explain the quantitative data. Mixed methods analysis used the qualitative data to explain the quantitative data. This study took a critical quantitative approach, which in turn made the study a critical mixed methodology. Quantitative data indicated statistically significant relationships between (1) music aptitude and phonological awareness in Spanish, (2) phonological awareness in Spanish and phonological awareness in English, (3) phonological awareness in English and morphological awareness in English, and (4) phonological awareness in Spanish and morphological awareness in English. Qualitative data indicated the following themes that arose from the data: (1) music at home: passive listening, (2) music at home: active music making, (3) connecting sound to text: in writing, (4) connecting sound to text: in speech, (5) the presence of translanguaging, and (6) the absence of translanguaging. The qualitative data explained the statistically significant relationships found in the quantitative data. The non-statistically significant data mainly came from relationships among the variables and morphological awareness in Spanish because the test for morphological awareness in Spanish was not appropriate for this population. Implications for music education, bi/multilingual education, early literacy indicators, and assessment. Recommendations for policy, practice, and research including (1) the need to fund early childhood music and bi/multilingual education, (2) the importance of using the arts in bi/multilingual education, (3) the need for quick, valid, and reliable assessment tools for research and practitioner purposes, and (4) the need for researchers to translate critical methodologies to the positivist epistemologies of policymakers so that they can create a better world for minoritized populations.
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    In-school and out-of-school adolescent identities in high school English Language Arts classrooms
    (11/18/2021) Thaggard, Kimberly; Anderson, Nancy
    ABSTRACT KIMBERLY VILLARREAL THAGGARD IN-SCHOOL AND OUT-OF-SCHOOL ADOLESCENT IDENTITIES IN HIGH SCHOOL ENGLISH LANGUAGE ARTS CLASSROOMS DECEMBER 2021 Adolescents’ in-school- identities, out-of-school identities, and literacy practices are intertwined and connected. This research project aimed to explore the development of adolescent identities and out-of-school literacy practices in students’ English Language Arts classes. As a high school teacher and administrator, the researcher adopted a constructivist approach and conducted a cross-case analysis of six ninth-grade students from classroom observations, interviews, and an identity-centered word sort activity created for the study. The researcher’s analyses revealed the students’ out-of-school identities, preferred literacy practices, and personal affinities were underrepresented in their English Language Arts class. The key findings in the study support a multi-faceted definition of literacy for adolescents and that identity-centered approaches in classrooms may be conducive to increasing their interest in English Language Arts skills and content. These findings support the argument that adolescents’ in-school- identities and out-of-school identities need to be incorporated into classroom literacy practices.
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    Listening closely: Examining students’ language and values related to academic writing
    (3/5/2021) Brewer, Amanda; Burke, Amy
    Secondary students’ argumentative academic writing abilities have been meeting the standards set for them by the educational system (R. P. Ferretti & Graham, 2019; Preiss et al., 2013). To ensure the success of students in higher education and the workforce, it is important that the educational system support students’ writing development in more effective ways than have been tried up until this point. Guided by social constructivism, this qualitative case study highlights the importance of examining students’ values for their writing and the language they use to explain those values. The study took place in a North Texas high school. Analysis included writing as an analytical stance (Augustine, 2014) and open, a priori, and axial coding (Merriam, 1998). Major findings across the cases included that students’ values and language about argumentative academic writing aligned with their current and future understandings of their identities and that their metacognitive talk differed depending on those identities as well. This study contributes to the literature of writing and identity theories, and the findings have implications for the teaching of writing and metalinguistic talk in the classroom.
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    Connecting home and school discourse
    (2/1/2021) Lang, Sherry M.; Anderson, Nancy
    Children’s first literacy experiences take place in homes embedded in families’ social practices and language interactions representing the primary Discourse system. Children’s home or primary Discourse significantly impacts literacy development. Teachers in schools the social represent a secondary Discourse system where literacy learning takes place. For some children, schools fail to build on their primary Discourse system, and as a result, struggle with literacy learning. This study focused on professional development for teachers aimed at supporting their understanding of Home and School Discourse. A qualitative descriptive design framed the inquiry into how teachers talk about Home and School Discourse in professional learning led by an Assistant Principal. Five teachers engaged in three one-hour school-based professional development after school and were interviewed by the Assistant Principal, who was also the researcher. The findings indicated three broad themes in their language around the Home and School Discourse. Teachers storied about their experiences, revealed deficit views or in some cases challenged deficit views, and asserted equity and access issues around curriculum, resources, and professional development. The findings shed light on how teachers talk about Home and School Discourse in focused professional development. Teachers mostly relied on stories and asserting equity and access to school district levels to curriculum and professional development rather than challenging deficit views and engaging in self-reflection.
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    Indicators of self-monitoring in early reading
    (2006-12) Gonzales, Karen Elizabeth; Anderson, Nancy; Patterson, Leslie; Rodriguez, Yvonne
    The purpose of this study was to closely observe, describe, and analyze children's self-monitoring behaviors across literacy contexts. More specifically, the study sought to carefully observe early readers to determine what verbal and nonverbal activity indicated they were self-monitoring or checking on themselves as they read. Therefore, three questions guided the study: (1) What is the nature of self-monitoring in early reading? (2) How has self-monitoring been observed? (3) What are indicators of self-monitoring in early reading? The study involved a descriptive micro-analysis of self-monitoring activity in a naturalistic setting using an observation protocol to analyze video-taped one-on-one Reading Recovery® lessons for two early readers. The observation protocol was developed based on an extensive literature review of methods and findings related to the study of monitoring and early reading development. Findings revealed the nature of self-monitoring activity in the two early readers across two different literacy tasks. As such, the early readers demonstrated through their reading activity that self-monitoring involves highly active and complex processes that include both verbal and nonverbal indicators of self-monitoring activity. More specifically, the verbal indicators observed involved: adjustments in the pace, audible inhales and exhales, questions indicating metacognition, rereading, self-corrections, self-corrections of partial errors, solving, subvocalization, and utterances indicating metacognition. The nonverbal indicators of self-monitoring activity involved: body movement, facial movement, glances at the camera, glances at the teacher, some of the glances at the illustration, some of their hand movements, and head movement. However, there appeared to be a strikingly greater amount of nonverbal activity that took place than verbal activity. Therefore, self-monitoring activity seems to be largely nonverbal in early readers. In addition, the early readers appeared to demonstrate a clear connection between self-monitoring activity and movement. Hence, they exhibited a variety of movements each time they were actively checking on themselves, thinking, solving, and self-correcting. Strikingly, the early readers observed never once hesitated or ceased from attempting to solve their difficulties, clearly demonstrating the active nature of self-monitoring activity in early readers.
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    The rich languaging practices of simultanous bilingual children: Linguistic ability, agency, and flexibility
    (8/13/2020) Gittens, Dawn Georgette; Stewart, Mary Amanda, 1979-
    There is a lack of research on bilingualism and biliteracy, specifically on simultaneous bilingual children. The present study seeks to provide research on the literacy practices of simultaneous bilingual prekindergarten and kindergarten children as they begin their formal schooling. The study focused on their language competencies in English and Spanish, how they used their receptive and productive language in different spaces and with different people, and how their language abilities were evident in their school writing. Four students from the same elementary school were chosen for this study. I collected the following data over a four-month period: a report of each student’s Home Language Survey, each student’s IDEA Language Proficiency Test results (IPT) rating the student’s oral proficiency level in both English and Spanish, parent and teacher interviews, field notes from observing students at school, student writing conferences, and artifacts (including students’ writing samples). The data were analyzed using a grounded theory method. The data analysis software NVIVO 12 was used to compile and process the codes, consolidating them into three main themes that represented the participants’ bilingual identities: bilingual ability, bilingual agency, and bilingual flexibility. Their languages interacted as one system in the process of meaning making, demonstrating their bilingualism. Unfortunately, in our current education system these children are often approached as two monolinguals in one in their literacy instruction and learning. However, there is ongoing research in the area of bilingual education that provides insight on how we can best support these children in their bilingual and biliterate development. This research supports a holistic view of bilingualism which enables us to understand the importance of allowing bilingual children to use their broad range of linguistic resources to make meaning and assist them in their cognitive development (Gort, 2019).
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    Adolescent newcomers’ literacy development through critical semiotic mediation: An interactive symbiotic model of agency and space
    (8/3/2020) Nunez, Mariannella D.; Stewart, Mary Amanda, 1979-
    The influx of immigrants has contributed significantly to the exponential diversification of culture and language represented in classrooms from preschool to high school (Ataiants et al., 2018). To ensure the academic success of culturally and linguistically diverse students, it is essential to meet their unique curricular needs within these multicultural contexts. A crucial component of academic success in the United States is the acquisition of English. Yet the ways schools have narrowly attempted to address this need, through English-only practices that are void of encompassing students’ full linguistic repertoires and cultural ways of knowing, continue to marginalize emergent bilinguals, particularly adolescent newcomers (Menken, 2013). This population faces more challenges compared to their younger counterparts because of their late entrance into U.S. schools, critical age in life, high academic demands, and limited time to acquire necessary credits for graduation (Fu & Graff, 2009). This qualitative case study illustrates the ways cultural and linguistic semiotic mediators support adolescent newcomer’ literacy development in school guided by a proposed conceptual framework, Critical Semiotic Mediation. The study took place in a North Texas high school where selection of participants came from courses designated for newcomers. Open and analytical coding was used to analyze data, discuss findings and significance (Dyson & Genishi, 2005). Two major findings in the ways that semiotic mediation supported students’ literacy development in school were the concepts of Semiotic Mediation Spaces and Agency Mobilizers. A model illustrated the symbiotic and interactive relationship of Agency Mobilizers within Semiotic Mediation Spaces. In discussing the Semiotic Mediation Spaces, the spaces that the students had contact with including Home, School, and Affinity spaces were identified. Then the Agency Mobilizers represented by gears that function within the spaces were discussed. Three gears; Future Self, School Literacies, and Social Identity were identified. This study contributes to the literature of Identity Theories, Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy and the diversity of adolescent newcomers. The findings imply the need for a Culturally Sustaining approach to pedagogy, policy and research.
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    Influences of teacher knowledge and professional learning on teachers scoring student writing assessments
    (5/13/2020) Cato, Heather; Watson, Patricia A., 1954-
    Although standardized assessment has been part of the educational landscape since the late 20th century, the reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act in 2001 (No Child Left Behind) ushered in a new emphasis on assessments for the purpose of state accountability. In response, states have sought various ways to adequately assess students in order to in turn hold schools and districts accountable for closing the achievement gap. In Texas, motivated by pressure from parents, teachers, and other vested interest groups who expressed concerns over too much testing, the 84th Texas Legislature in 2015 passed legislation requiring the Texas Education Agency (TEA) to examine alternative methods for writing assessment by designing and implementing a writing assessment pilot study. As the state explores alternatives to the current writing assessment system, the purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the various factors that come into play as a teacher makes scoring decisions while evaluating student writing. Additionally, the study considered the teacher knowledge and professional learning that contribute to the different scoring approaches teachers use while making scoring decisions. In order to situate the study and consider current efforts underway across the state, a document analysis was conducted of the current documents related to The Texas Writing Pilot. The focus of the study was six writing teachers from grades where writing is assessed across the state (e.g. grade 4, grade 7, and grade 9). Data were collected through Public Information Requests from TEA, interviews, and think aloud protocols that captured teachers verbal thinking about his/her scoring decisions while evaluating student writing. Findings were presented in three manuscripts written for publication in peer-reviewed journals. These findings revealed a clear disconnect between how educators teach writing and how the state assesses writing. The analysis of the interviews and think-aloud protocol transcripts shed light on the complexity of teacher decision-making. This analysis provided a look into the processes teachers use when making scoring decisions and revealed that teachers do not make scoring decisions in isolation, but rather rely on personal experience, professional learning, and mentorship when making scoring decisions. The findings are a step towards better understanding the influences of teacher decision making when scoring student writing and provide important considerations for a state or educational institution seeking to design assessment with improved inter-rater reliability among educators.
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    The language and practice of writing teachers: Exploring teacher professional learning within a PLC framework
    (3/29/2019) Kerbs, Macie Gayle; Briggs, Connie
    There is a need for higher quality professional development for writing teachers (Cutler & Graham, 2008; Gilbert & Graham, 2010; Kiuhara, Graham, & Hawken, 2009). Even though writing is an essential skill, quality writing instruction for students and the professional development for writing teachers is lacking (National Commission on Writing, 2003; Cutler & Graham, 2008). Thus, the purpose of this qualitative collective case study was to document the language and classroom practice of three teachers when professional learning was related to writing process and situated in a Professional Learning Community (PLC) framework. Guiding my inquiry were the following research questions: 1) How is professional learning around writing process evidenced in teachers’ language? 2) How is professional learning around writing process evidenced in teachers’ classroom instruction? Data were collected though observations, interviews, and artifacts. Data analysis involved both deductive and inductive coding, pattern coding, and thematic analysis (Miles, Huberman, & Saldaña, 2014). Three themes emerged when exploring teacher professional learning as evidenced by their language and classroom instruction: improvement in pedagogical content knowledge, development in knowledge-of-practice, and growth in reflective practice. Findings reveal that professional learning that is connected throughout a unit of study, driven by a team’s own agenda, situated in classroom practice, and surrounded by the analysis of student work positively influences teachers’ language and practice around writing instruction. These findings confirm much of the research on professional learning communities but adds a new perspective on the possibilities with not only writing teachers, but teachers of poetry writing. These findings are step forward to emphasizing the need for even more professional learning opportunities and training for writing teachers.
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    A multivariate analysis of beginning readers recognition of taught words in five contextual settings: A replication
    (1978-05) Brown, Mavis Hendricks; Spicola, Rose; Griffin, Margaret; Hammack, Barbara; Jongsma, Kathleen; Wood, Martha
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    Impact on student satisfaction of the varying degrees and types of technology in college -based adult basic education programs
    (2004-08) Riddle, Marlene A.; Zeek, Cathy; Compton-Hall, Margaret; Patterson, Leslie
    This study focuses upon the use of technology by a group of 106 college-based adult basic education (ABE) students from different areas of the country. Statistical analyses of a Likert style questionnaire offered online investigates the impact of technology on student satisfaction with the ABE program The data presented suggest that there is substantial support to the fact that high use of technology leads to a high level of student satisfaction with the ABE program. ABE participants also report that their greatest satisfaction stems from “making improvement” and that the most important reason computers are used in their program is to “improve reading skills.” Although there are many forms of illiteracy plaguing the U.S., community colleges, comprising 15% of adult literacy providers, continue to find innovative means and strategies to improve adult literacy. The National Adult Literacy Survey has defined a literate person as one who uses “printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one's goals, and to develop one's knowledge and potential” (U.S. Congress, 1993, pp. 3–4). ABE assists students whose skills are below the 8th-grade level and includes those who missed the opportunity to learn the basic reading, writing, or math skills. This study presents several views on how adults learn. Malcolm Knowles, the “father of andragogy” (Merriam, 2001), which is the art or science of helping adults learn, says that learning happens when it is learner-centered, when students realize their own potential, and when students are allowed control over the learning process (Merriam, 1993). The data presented in this study propose that technology supports and promotes these requisites. Innovative ABE programs, through computer-assisted learning, enhance student-centered instruction, with learners and teachers becoming partners in the learning process. This research implies that adult literacy programs can prepare participants for success in a society increasingly dependent upon technology. ABE is far from being able to retain learners long enough to make significant changes in their literacy levels. However, technology has been successful in that direction, promoting motivation and satisfaction, drawing learners into programs, and holding their interest.
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    Teachers' beliefs on best practices in literacy instruction
    (2008-12) Fuentes, Rosemary; Fannin, Ron; Marshall, David, Ph. D.; Jennings, Glen
    The purpose of this study was to examine the relationship between teachers' belief types and best practices in literacy instruction. Teachers' beliefs and practices have a profound impact on the implementation of literacy instruction (DeFord, 1979; Haste & Burke, 1977; Nespor, 1987) and student reading outcomes (Richardson, Andres, Tidwell, & Lloyd, 1991). Online self-administered surveys were used to collect data from teachers. The sample included a total of 136 elementary teachers in this quantitative study. The researcher used simple random sampling to select elementary schools for this study. In addition, snowball sampling was used to target a larger population. Two types of instruments were used in this study. The instruments included a Literacy Orientation Survey (LOS) and two Instructional Practices Checklists. A total of three statistical tests: ANOVA, MANOVA, and Multiple Regression were conducted to find correlations. Results indicated there was a relationship between teachers' belief types and their literacy instruction. This study can be used to evaluate teachers' belief types and the implementation of literacy instruction.