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ERIC Number: ED521195
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 149
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1242-4804-2
Voices from a Community College Developmental Writing Classroom: Seeking the Role of Teacher Knowledge and Its Impact upon Student Perceptions of Authority over Academic Performance
Stallings, Thresa E.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, University of Houston
The purpose of this case study was to describe the role of teacher knowledge in the instructional methods of a community college developmental literacy instructor and determine in what ways that knowledge may have impacted the perceptions of the student participants regarding their authority over their academic progress in the class. Therefore, this study explored three areas of inquiry. First, it sought to discern how the instructor's knowledge of her students informed her teaching practices regarding instructional and curricular decisions. Next, it explored how the instructor and students related to each other and in what ways they collaborated in the learning process within the classroom setting. Lastly, it inquired into how the student participants perceived their abilities to self-direct their academic performances both in general academic settings and in this particular developmental classroom setting. The study was conducted on a U.S. southern community college campus with a developmental writing class. Data was collected through the review of course documents, interviews with the instructor, a focus group interview session, individual interviews of three student participants, and classroom observations. The goal for this study was to examine a phenomenon in its genuine, authentic state. Data collected from the instructor interviews were reviewed in an attempt to elucidate the instructor's thoughts about her knowledge of subject matter content, pedagogical content knowledge, curricular knowledge, and knowledge regarding the individual and collective needs of the students within her classroom. The data obtained from classroom observations were reviewed for emergent themes and patterns that connected teacher knowledge with experience regarding teaching practices and relationship building with students. Data collected from the focus group discussion and student interviews were reviewed for indicators of the learning process, students' self-assessment of their successful mastery and/or application of the course content, and evidences of the instructor's ability to impact the students' perceptions of academic performance. Three prevalent themes emerged during the process of analyzing the data which related to the instructor's personal practical knowledge acquired from two decades of experience with teaching adult developmental education students. These key themes included: a) the importance of upholding standards for achievement; b) the significance of time; and c) the need for versatility and adaptability with regard to instructional practices. Additional sub themes also emerged regarding the students' perceptions of their authority over academic performance. The first three sub themes directly related to issues of self-direction: a) the ability to remain focused in the classroom; b) the availability of a support system outside the classroom; and c) the establishment of a routine for completing homework assignments. The fourth theme encompassed issues of trust in the instructor and hope for a successful outcome. After discussing the interrelatedness of the key themes and sub themes with the questions for inquiry, the study culminates with a recommendation for future research. These recommendations are predicated upon the belief that the recent focus of national attention upon the field of postsecondary developmental education will result in the need for more research in the area of teacher knowledge. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A