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ERIC Number: ED420424
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1998-Apr-15
Pages: 45
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Mandating a Constructivist Approach to Early Elementary Literacy Instruction: The Intended and Unintended Consequences in One School District.
Phillippi, Klotylda
In 1988, a school district implemented a reform which was promoted as originating both in research and in the practice of teaching. The reform policy was designed to improve the teaching of young children by mandating a constructivist, child-centered, and developmentally appropriate approach. Since the philosophy and practices mandated in the policy were already in place with some teachers, and because the policy was developed by a committee of respected local educators, it was seen as a grass-roots effort based in the practice of teaching. This qualitative study examines the effectiveness of these educational reforms, particularly the demands that administrative policy made on teaching practice. Data were collected over a 2-year period by means of interviews with 4 central office administrators, 2 school board members, 8 elementary school principals, 6 learning specialists and 17 teachers. The analysis focused specifically on early literacy instruction. While there was a sense among some of the staff of increased professionalism, a decrease in the practice of tracked ability grouping for reading, and a reported improvement in the classroom atmosphere, there was also the unintended consequence of resistance by some of the teachers to implementing the policy. Many teachers were not convinced that the teaching practices mandated would improve student learning. These consequences resulted from a mix of an underestimation of the demands the policy would make on practice, the difficulty involved in moving from a transmission model of teaching and learning to a constructivist approach, the inability of the district to provide for teaching learning, and unexamined questions of the power of others to decide the best approach to teaching. Contains 68 references. (JPB)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A