Literacy specialists: Understanding adaptive teaching in elementary intervention settings
Barksdale, Bonnie A
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The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the decisions and adaptations that literacy specialists make before, during, and after literacy intervention instruction. The theoretical framework for this study included social constructivism (Dewey, 1933), metacognition theory (Flavell, 1976), and adaptive expertise (Hatano & Ingnaki, 1986). The participants for the study were two literacy specialists. This qualitative research study was designed as a cross case study in order to explore and describe adaptive teaching moves during literacy intervention instruction. I observed two literacy specialists conduct four different literacy intervention lessons on a weekly basis in each classroom over a two month time period. I also conducted pre-observation and debriefing interviews with each teacher to find out their professional background, how they plan for lessons and to discuss teaching reflections for teaching moves. The findings suggest that literacy specialists do adapt instruction before, during and after literacy intervention lessons based on different knowledge bases (Shulman, 1986). The data revealed several factors that influenced the adaptations that were made during lessons including professional training, experience teaching literacy, and lesson planning. Several implications for school administrators and literacy professionals were drawn from the findings of this study in regard to adaptive teaching moves during literacy intervention lessons: solid literacy education foundation, continued professional learning, collaborative reflections with colleagues, and teacher preparation programs.