On-line inservice: Effects of on-line in-service training on social studies teachers' reading and writing instruction
Anthony Paul Dralle, University of Virginia, United States
University of Virginia . Awarded
In this study, the researcher explored how completion of on-line modules impacted two eighth grade World Geography teachers' teaching of reading and writing. The modules, designed by the researcher, described prewriting strategies and strategies for teaching reading before, during, and after students begin reading a selection. Data collection, including teacher interviews and survey responses, class observations, and document collections, focused on how the teachers used the modules to teach reading and writing. The findings indicated the following: (1) Teachers' initial perceptions of the success or failure of strategies implemented early in the study appeared to influence the frequency of use, and the rate at which subsequent modules were completed. (2) Both participants were inclined to implement reading and writing strategies that complemented their personal teaching philosophy and teaching interests. (3) Though the teachers expressed interest in using many of the website's reading and writing strategies, they generally chose only to implement reading and writing strategies they perceived as beneficial in facilitating SOL content mastery and in preparing students for the SOL test. If a teacher did not believe implementing the strategy would further the students' mastery of the SOL-based content, it would only be implemented if it related to the teacher's personal content interests. (4) The participants preferred to implement reading and writing strategies that were perceived as easy to assess, or grade. If the teachers chose to implement strategies that they viewed as more difficult to assess, they modified the strategies and/or utilized other procedural strategies in order to simplify the assessment process. (5) Initially, the participants' level of technology comfort and accessibility appeared to influence the extent to which they used the website's reading and writing resources. As the study progressed, the significance of these factors appeared to decline, and by its end, neither technology background nor access appeared to influence the teacher's choice of strategies, how they chose to use them, or the extent to which they implemented them. (6) The participants tended to implement website strategies that used resources and materials that they perceived as highly accessible. (7) Reading and writing strategy use appeared to be most successful when teachers presented opportunities for students to share their written responses with the class. If the teacher did not provide opportunities for students to share their responses, students often did not complete the assigned activity.
These findings suggest that online in-service training can have an impact on how teachers teach, but that impact will likely be shaped by the individual teacher's background and teaching personality. Different levels of technological proficiency and access did not appear to impact how teachers used the resources or taught reading and writing in their classes. Finally, data collected from this study indicates that reading and writing assignments are unlikely to significantly impact student learning significantly unless accompanied by an appropriate teaching strategy.
Dralle, A.P. On-line inservice: Effects of on-line in-service training on social studies teachers' reading and writing instruction. Ph.D. thesis, University of Virginia.
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