NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
ERIC Number: ED550456
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 277
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2678-4536-8
Instructional Conversations: A Qualitative Exploration of Differences in Elementary Teachers' Team Discussions
Henry, Susan F.
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Harvard University
Despite increasing opportunities for teachers' teamwork in schools (MetLife, 2010; Wei, Darling-Hammond, & Adamson, 2010), few studies have examined how teachers' team discussions generate benefits that may support instructional improvement or how and why teams may vary in their capacity to generate such benefits. In this study, I explored, (1) how instructional conversations in teachers' grade-level teams might be described and understood, and (2) how, if at all, differences within and across these teams' discussions related to the organizational contexts in which they occurred. Building from extant literature on teams, group learning, and teachers' professional communities, I conducted systematic, qualitative analyses of three to five team meetings from each of six elementary grade-level data teams located in three schools in an urban district. I examined the extent to which these teams' discussions during a two-month period focused on instruction and developed depth such that team learning and changes in instruction appeared likely to occur. Based on this analysis, I propose a Framework of Instructional Conversations. To understand variation in and among these teams' conversations, I conducted twenty-two semi-structured interviews with participating teachers, team facilitators, and principals and analyzed them thematically at the individual, team, and school levels. Results suggest that the proposed framework and its associated constructs--Instructional Relevance and Depth of Inquiry--are useful for characterizing teachers' team conversations and how they differ within and across schools. In particular, I identified broad discourse patterns that, if sustained, would suggest that some teams may generate greater benefits than others toward efforts to improve teaching and learning. Further, what teams discussed and how they discussed it related, in part, to team roles, authority, and expertise, as well as to school structures, supports, and expectations. This study complements recent studies on teachers' teams and opens new directions for future research. The proposed Framework of Instructional Conversations provides useful tools and concepts for researchers and practitioners who aim to strengthen instruction through teachers' professional collaboration. Finally, broad conceptions of team learning and organizational change appeared to frame the nature of these teams' discussions and thus, suggest direction for educational leaders and policymakers. [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: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A