ERIC Number: ED392780
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1996-Feb
The Influence of Teachers' Beliefs on Literacy Development for At-Risk First Grade Students.
Maxson, Sylvia P.
Through a multiple case study design the influence of teachers beliefs on literacy instruction for at-risk first graders was examined and described. The volunteer sample of five female teachers who taught in different high risk schools within the same school district participated in the study. Five issues guided the study: teachers beliefs about instructing young at-risk students to read and write; what teachers say they do as they instruct young at-risk children to read and write; what teachers actually do; what influences teachers' instructional decisions; and congruencies between teachers stated beliefs and their practice. Data were collected from interviews, observations, questionnaires and a reflective activity over one academic year. Through the constant comparative method 10 general findings emerged: (1) teachers must possess an understanding of the individual needs of at-risk children and address those needs; (2) teachers must recognize and build on children's individual strengths; (3) teachers should nurture children's enthusiasm for learning to read and write; (4) the learning process should begin at the appropriate developmental level; (5) at-risk children should be continuously stimulated in order to build confidence necessary for learning--a structured environment is important to accomplishing this goal; (6) at-risk children break the bonds of at-riskness by becoming literate; (7) literacy instructional theory does not influence teachers practice as much as their beliefs; (8) there is no single method of literacy instruction for at-risk children, a combination of pedagogical approaches best serves their literacy needs; (9) teacher modeling is a positive motivational factor for at-risk children learning to read and write; and (10) all at-risk children can learn. Other findings indicated: teachers literacy instructional decisions are influenced by multiple factors; and congruencies between teachers stated beliefs and practice were found. The five case studies validate the work of previous researchers who suggested that teachers beliefs are an integral part of classroom practice. They provide documented instances of the congruency between beliefs and classroom practice. (Contains 18 references.) (Author/ND)
Descriptors: Beliefs, Case Studies, Classroom Environment, Classroom Techniques, Elementary School Teachers, Grade 1, High Risk Students, Higher Education, Learning Processes, Literacy, Preservice Teacher Education, Primary Education, Reading Skills, Teacher Attitudes, Teacher Influence, Teaching Methods, Theory Practice Relationship, Writing Skills
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (48th, Chicago, IL, February 21-24, 1996).