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ERIC Number: ED549319
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 290
Abstractor: As Provided
ISBN: 978-1-2672-6965-2
Systemic Functional Linguistics Theory in Practice: A Longitudinal Study of a School-University Partnership Reforming Writing Instruction in an Urban Elementary School
Daniello, Frank
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Boston College
The ability to express meaning in prose is a foundational skill in our society. Given the importance of being a competent writer, concern with the quality of writing instruction is a recurring theme among American educators (Cutler & Graham, 2008; Gilbert & Graham, 2010; National Commission on Writing, 2003, 2004, 2006). Research shows that teachers are unprepared to teach writing (Gilbert & Graham, 2010) and devote limited amounts of time to it (Cutler & Graham, 2008; Gilbert & Graham, 2010). In addition, national assessment data indicates that most students are not proficient writers (Salahu-Din, Persky & Miller, 2008). An embedded case study design (Yin, 2009), using mixed methodology (Greene & Caracelli, 2003a, 2003b; Hesse-Biber, 2010), was employed to determine whether a school-university partnership enacted systemic functional linguistics theory guided writing intervention changed fourth and fifth grade teachers' writing instruction over the course of three years in an urban elementary school. The study further investigated changes to 41 fourth and 27 fifth graders' writing performance during the third year of the invention. Examination of the relationship between students' performance in writing and the Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System (MCAS) test in English language arts was conducted. The study also explored how teachers articulated their experiences with the partnership. Findings showed the content of teachers' instruction changed involving the use of metalanguage and the teaching of genre, language, and tenor. Similarly, instructional strategies evolved regarding negotiating field and deconstruction of text. Findings also indicated a significant improvement in writing performance for all students, and bilingual students had more growth over time than monolingual peers. Also, a moderate positive relationship existed between writing performance and MCAS performance, which suggests understanding of genre may support reading comprehension. Overall, teachers positively experienced the partnership and found value in the professional development. Implications of these study findings will benefit teacher education, administrators and policymakers, and allow for improved school-university partnerships. [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; Elementary Education; Grade 4; Intermediate Grades; Grade 5; Middle Schools
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System