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Staff development : facilitating change within classrooms using a constructivist approach Molson, Margo Antonie, 1955- 1990

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STAFF DEVELOPMENT: FACILITATING CHANGE WITHIN CLASSROOMS USING A CONSTRUCTIVIST APPROACH  by  MARGO ANTONIE MOLSON B.Sc  (Honors), Simon Fraser University, 1980  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS  in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of Mathematics and Science Education)  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA December  1990  © M . A. Molson  In  presenting  degree  this  at the  thesis  in  University of  partial  fulfilment  British Columbia,  of  the  requirements  for  an  advanced  I agree that the Library shall make it  freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying  of  department  this or  thesis by  for scholarly  his  publication of this thesis permission.  Department of  DE-6 (2/88)  or  her  purposes  may  representatives.  It  be is  granted  by the head of  understood  that  for financial gain shall not be allowed without  copying  my or  my written  ABSTRACT  Staff developers are facing new challenges in the 1990's in British Columbia as secondary education is criticized not only for what it teaches, but also, for how it is being taught.  This project  addresses the very complex nature of improving the learning situation of students by focusing on staff development.  This study  documents the inservice, implementation and teacher responses  to a  model for staff development at a secondary school which included: 1. the introduction of new teaching strategies which supported learner-focused  classroom practice  2. teacher collaboration and peer support 3. the theory of constructivism and its incorporation into classroom practice.  To gain some insight into teachers' perceptions of new teaching strategies and skills, collaboration, and a constructivist approach to classroom practice was one major research strand.  Another strand of  the research investigated the process of change as facilitated through staff development.  Specifically, the intent of the study was to  identify and elaborate on those factors which are liberating and prone to influence in a process known as staff development and to recognize those factors which are resistant and tend to act as barriers to change.  ii  Data for this study was gained by following a study group of six secondary  teachers from  three curricular disciplines over a time  period of three months.  Group interviews during the study  and  i n d i v i d u a l interviews at the end of the study were collected and transcribed. questions  The responses of the participants  are reported  their personal experiences  processes as participants  w i t h the challenge of  The findings of this study support  particular, this study 1.  and influences gained further  reflect  upon  change.  and extend the literature  to staff  development.  In  into a  development  2. how influences, such as peer collaboration and peer enhanced  on  insight into:  how a constructivist approach can be translated  m o d e l o f staff  the  Through these responses the reader can enter  into the i n d i v i d u a l s ' thought  components  research  i n detail in an effort to preserve  contextual influences.  important  to the  support  a change i n classroom practice.  3. how a change incorporating a constructivist approach  to  teaching is more l i k e l y to be assimilated by an i n d i v i d u a l who has a transactional  or transformational  orientation  to c u r r i c u l u m . A  transmissive orientation to teaching acts as somewhat the conceptual change of a constructivist  of a barrier  to  approach.  4. how the motivation and teacher satisfaction for participating i n change is determined learning  by  to a degree by perceived improvements  students. iii  in  5. how all participants experienced change but the nature of that change was very individual, gradual, and incremental in nature along the continuum from teacher to learner-focused education.  The study concludes with recommendations for individuals planning staff development which incorporates the research findings.  iv  T A B L E OF CONTENTS •  -  C H A P T E R O N E T H E P R O B L E M A N D ITS C O N T E X T 1.1 Educational Significance of the Study  ; ;  1 1  1.2 The Issues Surrounding Current Practice in Staff Development  3  1.3 Identification of the Problem  6  1.3.1 Purposes of the Study  6  1.3.2 General Research Questions  7  1.4  Overview of the presentation of the study  CHAPTER TWO REVIEW OF T H E LITERATURE 2.1  Introduction  8 9 9  2.2 Features of Staff Development Programs  10  2.2 Critical Aspects Influencing a Model for Staff Development 2.2.1  12 Teachers as Action Researchers  13  2.2.2 Adult Learning Within the Teaching Culture  1 6  2.2.3  1 9  2.2.4  The Focus Stage of Staff Development Collegial collaboration  22  2.3 Research and Classroom Practice  23  2.4  2.3.1  Constructivist theory into classroom practice.  24  2.3.2  Teaching Strategies  26  Evaluation of the Results - Qualitative Research v  27  CHAPTER THREE METHODOLOGY 3.1  Introduction  31  3.2 Design and Context of the Study 3.2.1 In-service  32 34  3.3 Data Collection 3.4  31  37  Data Analysis- Responsive Evaluation of a Model for  Staff Development CHAPTER FOUR  38  RESULTS  40  4.1  Introduction  40  4.2  Participants of the Study  41  4.2.1  4.3  T e a m l - Mathematics  42  4.2.2 Team 2-English  42  4.2.3  43  Team 3- Science  Summaries for Individual Participants of the Study 4.3.1  Case Study #1 Bob (Math)  4.3.2  44  Case Study #2 Kathy (English)  4.3.3  51  Case Study #3 Barry (Science)  4.3.4  44  56  Case Study #4 Rose (English)  61  vi  4.2.5  Case Study #5 Jeff (Math)  4.2.6  68  Case Study #6 Margo (Science)  C H A P T E R FIVE DISCUSSION.  69 RECOMMENDATIONS  IMPLICATIONS  73  5.1 Introduction  73  5.2  74  Discussion of the Research Findings 5.2.1  A constructivist approach to staff  development  75  5.2.2  78  5.2.3 5.2.4  Methodologies The teacher as an action researcher Teacher satisfaction  5.2.5 Peer support and peer collaboration 5.2.6  79 81 82  Evidence that students bring their own  constructs  85  5.3 Conclusions  86  5.4  91  Recommendations and Implications  5.5 Suggestions for Further Research  94  5.6  95  Concluding Remarks  REFERENCES APPENDIX  97 102 vii  A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S  "Most words evolved as a description of the outside world, hence their inadequacy " Hugh  Prather  I would like to thank my family, friends, and colleagues for all of their support and encouragement. To Dr. Gaalen Erickson, my gratitude for your insight and direction towards a new and exciting realm of teaching and learning. To Peter, a loving thank-you for bringing me tea during the late hours, and soothing my anxious state during the summers of study. And to my dear friend Renate, my heartfelt appreciation for listening, discussing, reading, editing, encouraging, and 'walking' me through the difficult times. There are no words to describe how inspirational you are as a teacher and as a friend.  viii  C H A P T E R  T H E  P R O B L E M  A N D  O N E  I T S  C O N T E X T  Staff development is a process designed to foster personal and professional growth for individuals within a respectful, supportive, positive organizational climate having as its ultimate aim better learning for students and continuous responsible self renewal for educators and schools. Dillon & Peterson, 1981, p 3.  1 . 1  E d u c a t i o n a l  S i g n i f i c a n c e  o f  t h e  S t u d y  Education in British Columbia is undergoing transition as it enters the last decade of this century, and prepares for an age of new demands and expectations. Many of the criticisms that have been leveled at education express concerns about an educational system that has remained essentially the same for over one hundred years the product of the industrial age.  A s members of an information age,  citizens and educators are aware that the demands on our youth have changed, and so must our system of education. British Columbia Ministry of Education's Year 2000 document proposes a framework for the future of education in British Columbia.  1  The Year 2000 document no longer sees public education as serving the needs of other institutions, such as our universities. Instead its recommendations recognizes the learner as the central and active participant in his/her education.  "According to one widely  accepted view of learning, the learning process involves individuals selecting from available information, and constructing meaning by placing the new information and experiences in the context of what the individual already knows, values, and can do."  Year 2000 (1989)  P 9. For many teachers a move to a learner-centered, continuous progress model of education requires a shift in personal paradigms and a need to learn new methodologies that complement such principles. It is this process of change, as facilitated through staff development, that brings us to this study. To design a model of professional/staff development that results in an improved learning situation for students is the challenge that staff developers must meet.  B y focusing on staff  development, this project attempts to address the issues involved in the very complex process of improving the learning situation of students.  This study documents the inservice, implementation, and  teacher responses to a model for staff development at a secondary school which includes: 1. introduction of new teaching 2. teacher collaboration  2  strategies  3. the theory of constructivism-both for the adult learners involved in the project and as a focus in lesson planning for students.  1.2  The  Issues  Surrounding Current  Practice i n  Staff  Development  There are many characteristics common to staff development programs that may be criticized as to their effectiveness in encouraging change in classroom practice.  A number of issues  became focal points in the planning for the project.  •The teaching/learning process, of both students and adult learners, often takes a form contrary to the widely- accepted view of how individuals learn.  The constructivist theory of how individuals make  sense of new information must permeate both how we teach and how we learn.  It is disregarded when teacher inservice takes the  form of lecture or direct transmission of knowledge. This format not only disregards the context and the conceptual framework of the participants, but also ignores the premise that the learner should be an active participant to their own learning.  • The one day teacher inservice is often inadequate, in both depth and scope. Characteristically, inservice takes the form of singular skill development such as classroom management or isolated  3  information (adolescent  development)  as often the time constrictions  inhibit anything more complex (teaching  strategies).  » Innovations, that teachers find attractive, often do not find their way into classroom practice, but are instead abandoned. The support in trying a new idea within the classroom is lacking.  Day to day  stresses, curricular demands and teacher isolation becomes a contributing factors to the demise of an innovation.  • The implementation of new ideas has a time commitment and a degree of uncertainty.  Often these two factors will have an  exponential effect resulting in abandonment of the  implementation  of the innovation. "For them, (many practitioners) uncertainty is a threat; its admission a sign of weakness" (Schon, 1984, p 29)  * The prior beliefs individuals bring to a learning situation and how these beliefs affect how individuals interact with new information is often ignored in inservice programs.  Interaction with new  information is dependent on the beliefs and personal knowledge that individuals bring to the situation. find conflict rather than acceptance.  Often the new information may "Systems of intuitive knowledge  are dynamically conservative, actively defended to change.  and highly resistant  They tend not to go quietly to their demise and reflection  in action often takes a quality of struggle." (Schon, 1984, p. 29)  4  * The introduction of new behaviors and methodologies important components classroom practice.  towards  are  changing attitudes or beliefs about  Too often beliefs change as a result of  acknowledging the value of practices not vice versa.  "Significant  change in teacher's beliefs and attitudes occurs after student learning outcomes have changed.  These changes in student learning result  from specific changes teachers have made in their classroom practices.  Classroom practice changes may include: new materials or  curriculums, modification of teaching procedure approach.  or new instructional  Learning outcomes changing include involvement in class  session, motivation toward learning and the students' attitude toward class."  (Gusky & Thomas, 1985. p 59)  * Teachers measure the 'success' of an innovation using a subjective system of measurement of learning outcomes Thomas(1985)  of students.  Gusky and  report that teachers acknowledge the quality of an  innovation as it relates to the learning outcomes such as the students' greater involvement in class sessions, enhanced  motivation toward  learning and improved attitude towards class. "Experienced teachers seldom become committed to a new program or innovation until they have seen that new practices work well in their classrooms with their students." (Gusky & Bolster, 1983, p 298)  * Teacher professionalism and autonomy directs us to take a new position towards professional  5  growth.  Since supervision of  instruction, evaluation of teachers, one-day inservice session, or new curriculum have minimal impact on classroom practice, a new model of staff development is needed.  Garmston's challenge coaching  provides us with an excellent approach to meaningful changes in practice. "The product is new teaching procedures across the disciplines in which students routinely engage in more higher order thinking than before...Teachers  meet to identify the  knowledge, skills and attitudes for students. instructional approaches.  desirable  They brainstorm  Each commits to a personal plan.  They  implement, meet, share, revise and implement again." (Garmston, 1987, p22)  Wildman and Niles (1987) stipulate three conditions  necessary  for professional growth: autonomy, collaboration and time. Considerations to these criteria formed the foundation of the staff development  project which attempted to encompass  in designing and facilitating  the complexities  meaningful staff development at a  junior secondary school in British Columbia. It was the intention of the project to reduce the discrepancy between the intent of staff development  and its actual  outcomes.  6  1.3 I  d  e  n  t  i  f  i  c  a  t  i  o  n  o  f t  h  e  P  r  o  b  l  e  m  1.3.1 Purposes of the Study  The primary purpose of the study was to gain insight into teachers' perceptions about the process of change as facilitated by staff development: how it impacted on teacher beliefs about the nature of learning and how it impacted on classroom practice. The study will assesses various components of the staff development project using teacher responses to identified concerned with the process of staff development.  issues  The study  chronicles the inservice and personal responses of three teams of teachers from three disciplines as they were encouraged to work collaboratively and to use teaching strategies linked to a constructivist approach to teaching.  1.3.2 General Research Questions  The general research questions that guided this study included:  1. What are teachers' perceptions of a constructivist approach to classroom practice?  2. What are teachers' perceptions of peer support and collaboration with respect to impact on classroom practice?  7  3. What are teachers' perceptions of the introduced skills and learner-focused  strategies?  4. What are some of the influences associated with a constructivist model of staff development that limit or liberate change in classroom practice as interpreted from the data?  1.5  Overview of the presentation of the study  Chapter 2 surveys the literature on staff development. Chapter 3 describes the design of the study. In Chapter 4, the antecendents, and outcomes of the participants of the study are presented.  Chapter 5 addresses the research questions by  summarizing the data and drawing conclusions as well as recommendations for the design of staff development programs which are better aligned with intended outcomes.  8  CHAPTER TWO  REVIEW OF T H E LITERATURE  2.1  Introduction  This chapter reviews the features and components of an effective staff development model.  The research which  generated  the proposal presented to the study group for their testing as to its applicability to the classroom setting is also discussed.  Although an abundance of literature supporting individual ideas of how to improve staff development exists, these ideas have yet to be formalized into an effective model for school practice. The staff development model generated and used in this study is one attempt to formalize an effective model and incorporated the following  components:  1. teachers as action researchers 2. the understanding of adult learning and teacher culture 3. a constructivist approach to adult learning 4. collegial collaboration, discussion, and coaching  Also included is a review of the constructivist approach to teaching students with an emphasis on the research which the concepts which the study group put into practice.  9  supports  2.2 F  e  a  t  u  r  e  s o  f S  t  a  f  f D  e  v  e  l  o  p  m  e  n  t P  r  o  "Teaching is a continual process of becoming rather than an easily accomplished occupational goal" Rosenholtz (cited by Griffin, 1987, p. 31 )  Staff development is defined as the provision of activities designed to advance the knowledge, skills and understanding of teachers in a way that leads to changes in their thinking and classroom behavior (Smylie, 1988, citing Fenstermacher & Berliner)  Many educators  have experienced staff development programs  that tend not to change teachers' thought or actions within the classroom.  Often, the recognizable dominant theme of staff  development has been the rectification of perceived deficits in teachers' knowledge and skills.  Griffin (1987) declared that this  predominant mode of staff development is no more than an assurance to the public of a minimum level of teacher competence. To address the concerns about the predominant form of staff development, educators need to clarify the types of staff development programs, and design programs according to the identified purpose. Smylie (1988), citing the work of Schlechty and Whitford, expanded on different forms of staff development. Identified were three functions of staff development:  10  g  1. "establishing" function.  This form of staff development is of  the type that introduces new programs, procedures  or technologies,  or promotes organizational change within schools or school districts. 2. "maintenance" function. Staff development of this kind promotes  preferred  modes of operation or administrative  3. "enhancement" function.  Enhancement  staff  routines.  development  goals include improving the classroom instruction of individual teachers participating in the program.  Smylie, using the Schlechty and Whitford research as  reference,  declared that most staff development provided by schools and school districts was of a maintenance function.  Smylie further  conjectured  that staff development of the establishing or enhancement form were less frequent,  and less successful.  The majority of school professional days, mainly of the maintenance type, clearly do not fall within the definition of staff development in that they often do not lead to changes in teacher thinking or classroom behavior.  Thus, it becomes increasingly clear  that to attempt school and classroom reform, new models must be developed to design establishing and enhancing staff  development  programs that are less likely to fail at the onset, thereby leading to further  discouragement  and inaction.  In reviewing successful staff development programs of the enhancement function, Griffin  (1987) identified that such  programs  had in common a combined measure of expert opinion, validated  11  accomplishment of program objectives and self-reported of  satisfaction  participants. Griffin also expanded on some other features of successful staff  development programs. Specifically, successful staff  development  programs: 1. were context sensitive in that they were connected to the schools and classrooms of participants. 2. had a knowledge base which guided activity. The knowledge was research-derived,  theoretical, or value-oriented.  3. included participation and collaboration. 4. were ongoing, continuous and developmental.  Typically, the  staff development was not characterized by a single event. 5. were reflective and analytic of the objectives and methodology.  To achieve successful forms of staff development, beyond the maintenance function requires not only knowledge of these features described but also an understanding of some important principles and practices that directly influence the success or failure of such programs.  12  2.2 C r i t i c a l A s p e c t s I n f l u e n c i n g a M o d e l f o r S t a f f D  e  v  e  l  o  p  m  e  n  t  -B  e  y  o  n  d t  h  e "  M  a  i  n  t  e  n  a  There is much information about possible influences which affect change in classroom practice.  Incorporating the essential  influences into a staff development model is the major challenge confronting  staff  developers.  Some of the essential influences of change incorporated in this staff development project included teachers as action researchers, the process of adult learning, personal readiness, and the process of collaboration. In this section each component is explored and related to the framework of the model for staff development.  2.2.1  Teachers as Action Researchers- a Method of Facilitating Staff  Development.  "Teacher research provides an appropriate basis both as the focus of staff development activities and as a means of accomplishing staff development" David Hopkins, 1987 (p 111)  Teachers have much to contribute as action researchers both in the feedback of educational research into classroom practice and in  13  n  c  e  identifying the characteristics of effective staff development which, then, creates a forum for change. Action research is one approach to address concerns directed at what has often been referred to as the research into practice gap. Clinical forms of educational research have often been criticized for their lack of credibility with classroom practitioners. This lack of credibility may be a result of the contextual separation of the research and the classroom, the sterile nature of some quantitative research, or the differing conceptions of teaching held by teachers and  researchers. Action research, also referred to as teacher research, is the act  undertaken by teachers to improve their own or a colleagues' teaching, or to test the assumption of an educational theory on practice (Hopkins, 1987).  Central to this type of research is the  practitioners' personal reflection which is brought to the classroom experience. It is this reflection, a critical analysis, which results in improved classroom practice. Action research, then,  contributes not  only to educational knowledge by relating clinical research to practical experiences, but also improves the participants' classroom practice through critical reflection.  Action research can be characterized by the following  features:  1. It is practitioner oriented. It serves the practitioner by helping him/her to resolve problematic practical situations or to test proposals presented  in the research  14  literature.  2. It produces authentic and categorizable knowledge. 3. It adds to the practical knowledge base of the participants. 4. It encourages reflection and action by practitioners. 5. It is embedded in a contextual setting, 6. It has a greater emphasis of what is rather than what should be.  Through action research, the teacher approaches  proposals  from the research as a provisional specification worth putting to the test of practice, instead of an unqualified recommendation of effective practice.  This shift in paradigm towards the purpose of  educational research is liberating to the participants and moves them closer to an ideal of staff development which engenders  the  continual, ongoing and reflective nature of improving classroom practice. Learning now becomes experimental in nature, even to the teacher, with an emphasis on personal interaction with new information. Action research, as might be used by staff developers will require an approach different from a practitioner working in isolation. Joplin (1981) described four major stages to the process she termed "action-reflection" and which can be used as a guideline for staff development through action research 1. Focus -  studies:  Participants are presented with the task.  2. Action - The practitioner uses skills and/or knowledge within the classroom.  15  3. Support and feedback- This acknowledges that the practitioner is not working alone but is surrounded by a human responsiveness  that accepts personal risk-taking and stimulates the  practitioner to continue the challenge. 4. Debriefing -  Learning is recognized as that information  which can be articulated and evaluated.  Action research may act as one approach to a staff development program which w i l l initiate reflective practice while reducing the perceived research into practice gap.  Action research  which is characterized by uncertainty and reflection can be used by the staff developer to introduce recent research to practitioners with the purpose of enhancing classroom practice.  2.2.2 Adult Learning Within the Teaching Culture - Recognizing the Influences that Affect Change.  "The process of adult learning is transformative, not formative. Children are in the process of 'becoming'; adults are changing from one form to another when they participate in learning activities...their self esteem may be on the line" P. Roy citing Cross, (1989, p 30)  Adult learning is frequently perceived as resistant within a teacher culture.  For staff developers, the mandate becomes clear: to  16  address and understand the risks and uncertainties that the practitioners may experience during the staff development process. Vandenberghe (1988) claimed that adults may resist or avoid learning new educational methods as their world is already organized. Vendenberghe further identified another concern of teachers that to adopt new methods takes time. Adult learning to take place then, must be grounded in relevant practical activities, such as new techniques (Roy, 1989) and have personal meaning to the participant (Vandenberghe,  1988).  Since, as Vandenberghe states, the adult learner's world is already organized, for learning to occur, the adult must 'experience' the subject.  This means that staff developers must facilitate the  interaction of new information with the participants' conceptual framework.  It is the foundation of the constructivist approach that  concepts derive their meaning through connections or relationships to other concepts.  It is the individual conceptual framework that  staff developers must give greater consideration when introducing new information.  In order to understand adult learning one must also understand the contextual nature of the adult learner within his/her teaching  culture.  Culture, as described by David Ost (1989), is a socially transmitted pattern of behavior that is characteristic of groups of  17  people rather than individuals. Ost saw the teaching culture as serving two main purposes:  to provide identity and to help  individuals avoid anxiety and uncertainty.  A n y attempt to change  the culture must include strategies that assist the population to cognitively re-define its identity or purpose while maintaining security.  Ost further declared that there is no evidence that the  teaching culture is desirous to change, creating another serious consideration for the staff developer. A staff development plan must include addressing the needs that the culture defines. It must, to lessen the impact of uncertainty, ground the process in relevant and practical skill building, and to embed the new ideas in a practitioners' personal framework.  Thus,  there is a need to incorporate support systems to reduce the anxiety of uncertainty. There is a need to incorporate a process which includes small increments of change instead of a single expectation of catastrophic change.  The resulting feelings of accomplishment act as  a trade-off for feelings of uncertainty. Gusky and Sparks (1983) stated that for staff development to be successful, care must be taken to illustrate how the new practices can  be implemented without too much disruption or extra work.  Their recommendations included organizing and presenting  the  information in small, incremental steps, clearly descriptive, with an emphasis on efficacy and practicality. Staff developers may have to recognize that their greatest skill w i l l be listening. Roy, speaking as a staff developer, reflected on the  18  importance of discussion to develop reflective behaviors among faculty members.  "They helped me to listen carefully as [teachers]  discussed their concerns., to give a sympathetic provide additional resources or ideas" (1989, p 29). Without establishing this climate of personal relationships within the staff development process, the participants w i l l most certainly devalue the program to the status of 'another workshop'.  2.2.3  The Focus Stage of Staff Development- Using a Constructivist  Approach to Foster Personal 'Readiness'.  "Incorporating an innovative approach is equivalent to reinventing the underlying idea with respect to one's own situation, norms and premises'^ Uwe Hameyer (1982, p 364)  Stake (1987) concluded that educational reforms are often rejected, particularly at the secondary level.  He hypothesized that  the reforms were abandoned because the new teaching styles did not leave the teachers in command of what they considered to be critical responsibilities such as fostering student obedience and seeing adolescence as a time of preparation. Thus, the challenge that staff developers face is to provide a forum where practitioners can relate with new information.  The interaction of an individual's personal  constructs with the new information, then, becomes as important in  19  the process of staff development as the new material itself.  Hameyer  (1982) referred to this as the degree of 'readiness' with which a teacher can interact with the new material. One premise of the constructivist approach to teaching asks participants to actively relate new information with the personal constructs that individuals bring to a learning situation. For introduced information to be realized in classroom practice means there must be a congruency between the teacher's belief system and the new information. Significant in terms of this belief system is the place where a teacher orients him/her self on a teacher-focused to learner-focused  continuum.  Miller (1986) describes three orientations to curriculum transmission, transaction and transformation- which are best thought of as being on a continuum.  Transmission, as the name implies, is the  transmittance of knowledge from practitioner to student.  Knowledge  is considered to be skills and facts and is presented using traditional methods.  A t the other end of the continuum is transformation.  Whereas transmission deals with the direct transfer of knowledge, transformation would have as its prime function the holistic development of the child.  Knowledge may in be the form of self-  inquiry or may be more of a social nature. Somewhere between transmission and transformation is an orientation Miller refers to as transaction.  The knowledge is the process.  This would include  inquiry and problem solving in general social contexts.  20  Hannay (1988) introduced metaphors identifying their preferred  to assist teachers in  orientation. To induce educational  dialogue and reflection, the metaphors allow individuals to access their conscious as well as subconscious approach to education in a non-threatening,  non-judgmental  way, and engender  in some  individuals, upon reflection, a sense of dissatisfaction marking the beginning of readiness. As Umberto Eco (1983) described in his novel,  The Name of the Rose, "through witty riddles and unexpected  metaphors, though it tells us things differently from the way they are, as i f it were lying, it actually obliges us to examine them more closely, and it makes us say:  A h , this is just how things are, and I  didn't know it" (p 574)  Metaphors used in this way follow Driver and Oldham's (1986) model of a constructivist lesson- namely orientation, elicitation of ideas, and restructuring.  New information may be assimilated i f it is  harmonious with the individuals' constructs.  New information which  is in disharmony with personal constructs will be negated.  It is,  then, the responsibility of the staff developer to approach the learning of the individual in a sensitive manner. It is simply not effective to introduce new information without creating the chemistry for change. the stage.  Values, norms and premises set  The metaphors indicate the stage of readiness and the  level of risk individuals are prepared to undertake. A staff developer must be aware that an individual who favors the transmissive  21  approach may have greater difficulty  assimilating the constructivist  approach to teaching than an individual with a transactional approach that already includes an appreciation for the learner's own viewpoint. It is a participants' personal growth as represented by movement along this continuum on which staff developers should focus.  To recognize that each individual is at his/her own stage of  readiness and at different points on the continuum, is of paramount importance to staff developers who want individuals to gain from episodes of staff development.  The new information, as presented  during an episode of staff development, can no longer be single faceted but instead should include a multitude of ideas, incremental in nature and be meaningful in that it addresses each teachers' readiness. Teacher personal constructs will determine the entry point into the continuum of ideas, skills and/or strategies thereby making the staff development experience personally meaningful and  fruitful  for each participant.  2.2.4  Collegial collaboration- Adult Learning Within the Social Milieu.  Wildman and Niles (1987) cited several authors to support their belief that collaboration is an important component of professional growth.  They believed collaboration expands  teachers'  levels of expertise by supplying a source of intellectual provocation  22  and new ideas.  Collaboration allows teachers to exchange ideas and  publicly test models instead of working in isolation.  Collaboration  places value on attempts at innovation, reassuring teachers that uncertainty is a characteristic of professional growth and not to be perceived as a weakness in teaching. Wildman and Niles cautioned that it is the teachers who must decide on the specifics of the collaboration.  "Control of collegiality,  either externally or hierarchically, is antithetical to the basic concept. Professionals cannot be forced to be collegial." (p 8) Garmston (1987) described a model of collaboration he referred to as challenge coaching. This process of challenge coaching includes identifying desirable knowledge, skills and attitudes for students, brainstorming  instructional approaches, preparing  a  personal plan and making a commitment to it, implementing the plan, and meeting, sharing revising and implementing again. Challenge coaching as defined by Garmston differs from other models of coaching.  The Joyce (1987) model of coaching involves the  practicing of a learned skill, observation of the lesson by a peer coach and technical feedback.  The goal of Joyce's technical or peer coaching  is the mastery of a skill; for Garmston's challenge coaching the goal is insightful, practical improvements delivery.  23  to instructional design and  2 . 3 R e s e a r c h a n d C l a s s r o o m P r a c t i c e - t h eC h a l l e n t h e  T e a c h e r  P a r t i c i p a n t s  This research project might best be thought of as a study within a study. One critical aspect of the study, for the researcher, was the enhancement function in this episode of staff development. For the participants of the study, the focus was the practicality of new theories and teaching strategies proposed by the educational research. The research that was introduced to the participants is described in this section.  2.3.1  Constructivist theory into classroom practice  The work of Bruner (1960) and Ausubel (1968) has turned the attention of cognitive psychologists to the study of acquisition and retention of new knowledge as a function of existing cognitive structure within the learner (Merrill and Kelety, 1981).  This  attention to the conceptual frameworks that the student possesses was the basis for using a constructivist approach in the classroom. Further to this was the notion that the learner must construct his/her own meaning from the information and assimilate the information into his/her conceptual framework.  In order to  accomplish this, a teacher's role changes from teaching a body of knowledge, using a didactic or transmissive approach, to providing a  24  program of activities from which meaning, knowledge and skill can be constructed  by the  learner.  A constructivist approach means that teaching  episodes:  a) recognize that students' prior ideas are critical and must be addressed b) acknowledge that new knowledge is integrated,  subsuming  or replacing old information through conceptual change, and that this must be facilitated by the teacher c) recognize that learning is not a passive activity, that it may cause some students intellectual conflict or dissatisfaction  (Posner,  Strike, Hewson and Gertzog, 1982).  Driver and Oldham (1986) proposed a model of a constructivist approach to a teaching episode. The main emphasis included: a) orientation - motivation towards the topic b) elicitation of ideas - students make prior ideas explicit c) restructuring of ideas - conceptual capture and/ or conceptual  exchange.  The constructivist orientation to teaching may have a farreaching effect on a teacher's approach to a lesson or a unit of lessons. The teacher's attitude to the approach w i l l depend on the value of the constructivist approach he/she sees as compared to the presently practiced teaching approach, and its accessibility.  25  Fullan  (1982) identifies two important attributes of innovations in classroom practice: value and technical soundness.  Individuals w i l l  make judgments about the value and technical soundness of an innovation prior to implementing or facilitating the transfer of theory into practice.  To this end there are two important factors:  1. During the in-service the teacher's own belief system must be revealed.  The discussion should reveal instances when there may  be conceptual conflict between the new ideas and the conceptual framework of the  teacher.  2. Teaching strategies, skills, and the format of the constructivist lesson must be clarified.  2.3.2  Teaching Strategies  The traditional modes of discussion and lecture make it difficult to facilitate the constructivist approach. To believe in learner-centered  education but to continue to use the predominant  lecture and notes method of teaching creates an immediate contradiction. In the past decade much effort has been dedicated to teaching strategies  that complement a learner-centered  classroom practice.  Johnson and Johnson (1974) and Slavin (1978) have become the noted scholars in models of cooperative education. evolved the process of concept mapping.  26  Novak(1977) has  And the work of Joyce and  W e i l (1986) regarding teaching strategies targets the learner as the individual who should be constructing meaning- not the  teacher.  These skills and strategies are gaining in popularity with teachers and these skills and strategies complement the constructivist theory. It is important to identify and introduce teaching  strategies  that complement the constructivist approach i f the staff developer's intent is that participants reshape their thinking about the approach to classroom practice being more learner-focused.  As Fullan (1982)  argued, implementation will fail if the new information cannot be seen as having value and i f it is not considered to be  technically  sound. Specific learning strategies have to be discussed, demonstrated and practiced.  Certain skills such as cooperative learning, wait time  and framing questions might also be incorporated into an effective staff development plan. If it is more desirable that teaching become more learner-centered, then a variety of experiences should be presented for assimilation by individuals at differing degrees of readiness. The  staff developer should emphasize that teachers attempting  to put research into practice are taking risks.  The preparation for  entering into uncertainty is another important component of moving research into practice.  This acknowledgement of risk, in itself, may  result in some alleviation of the stress associated with not only experimenting with a new technique, but also having another individual possibly observe the situation.  27  2.4  E  v  a  l  u  a  t  i  o  n o  ft  h  e R  e  s  u  l  t  s - Q  u  In his comparison of typical evaluations, Stake (1987) recognized that qualitative research may lead to a wealth of information that can be evaluated in a number of ways. One method of presenting the information is in the form of a case study. This form is descriptive in nature, and normally written from the perspective of the researcher/case  writer collecting  relevant facts of the situation. From this, the case writer sifts out significant facts, compares and contrasts information, and then draws generalizations. Another conventional method of evaluation is to define the characteristics of the ideal and then comparing the characteristics of the actual case to the ideal.  This methodology, like the case study  report, focuses on the outcome and/or goals of the project. A third form, response evaluation, specifically focuses on the process of the project.  The researcher concentrates on the collection  of data, that best address the issues of the study, by creating what Stake refers to as "foreshadowing question".  The issues are  identified, a formal list of questions is prepared and the observations are organized, analyzed and reported around these identified concerns. It is this model that is used in this study to determine the merits and shortcoming of a model for staff development.  28  a  l  i  t  How  the 'success' of a model of staff development would be  measured must also be determined.  One criteria may be how much  of the in-service information is transferred to the classroom, again emphasizing the outcome or product.  Another criteria may be the  amount of teacher satisfaction there is with the process and the product as expressed in the classroom.  Another consideration to be  addressed is the notion that teachers make the inferences about their own  teaching from their perceptions of students' actions (Herber and  McNergney,1988). This study correlates the success of the staff development model through teacher perceptions and their degree of satisfaction.  The  use of naturalistic inquiry for program evaluation may be  open to criticism from some quarters. Though the methodological rigor of statistical analysis of program effectiveness and teacher change may be absent, the benefits of this type of study outweigh this perceived deficit.  A meaningful evaluation focuses on issues  and, in so doing, will also opens the forum to contextual influences and their impact on staff development. In addition, qualitative research may be perceived by the teachers as being more "user-friendly".  The underlying purpose of  this study is to prepare a document that can be understood by practitioners.  If we seriously want to reduce the research into  practice gap, we will have to present the research in a manner that practitioners can relate to and interact with.  29  This brings us full circle  to a constructivist approach and the  recognition that a constructivist  approach is not limited to the pupils of the practitioner.  30  CHAPTER THREE  METHODOLOGY  ...two areas cited by Fullan and Park (1981) as barriers to change: teachers' beliefs and teaching methodology.  Through  deliberating on alternative approaches and solutions, those involved have the opportunity to engage in reflective professional dialogue about such issues. This discourse might raise consciousness regarding personal practical knowledge and facilitate individual growth.  We need to understand whether  deliberation can foster growth and change, and if so, what strategies might facilitate the process. L . Hannay and W . Seller, 1987  3  .  J Introduction  The naturalistic paradigm was used for this study due to the complex and context-dependent process.  nature of the staff  development  The purpose of the study was to facilitate research into  practice by using a model of staff development which incorporated orientation and readiness to the new information, teaching  31  methodologies, and peer support and collaboration.  The following  questions guided the research study.  1. What are teachers' perceptions of a constructivist approach to classroom practice?  2. What are teachers' concerns about peer support and collaboration in the process of moving research into practice?  3. What are the benefits and limitations of a model of staff development which has as its approach the teacher as an action researcher?  4. What are the teachers' perceptions, fears and anticipations about change in classroom practice?  3.2 Design  and  Context of the  Study  This study interpreted the perception of a study group of teachers during the 1988-89 school year. group were all staff members of a  The teachers of the study  secondary school in British  Columbia. The five teachers volunteered to participate in a study where the focus was the process of staff development.  32  For the  members of the study group this meant exposure to recent educational research and an opportunity to change practice within in their classroom.  The staff members were organized into three  collaborative teams in three disciplines- science, math and English. The participants were involved in 2.5 days of in-service which included demonstrations and practice of teaching  strategies,  discussions of new theories of learning, self reflections about approaches to teaching, and collaborative planning of a teaching unit. The study group was informed that they would be asked to comment on the value of the constructivist approach to classroom practice, as well as to comment about the role of in-service and peer support in the change process.  This model of staff development was designed to have four important  components:  1. In-service, which included: a) reflecting as initiated through discussion of each participants' own approach to curriculum and teaching. b) becoming familiar with the theory of constructivism. c) isolating teaching strategies which complement the constructivist theory as well as demonstration, dialogue and discussion of those teaching strategies.  33  2. Collaborative planning: a) discussion of objectives of a unit b) planning the concepts and teaching strategies prior to teaching the unit  3. Feedback and discussion: a) during the teaching of the unit, sharing their reflections of the study. b) visitations and videotaping of lessons for reflection and sharing.  4. Evaluation by the individuals of the project: a) individual interviews, b) group discussion.  3.2.1  In-service  Day 1- Professional Day for the School Staff  The staff members and the members of the study group were exposed to a number of teaching strategies as described by Joyce and W e i l (1986) on a designated professional day. (both members of the study group)  presented  Two staff members and  demonstrated  teaching skills and strategies acquired by attending the Joyce and Showers Summer Institute in 1988.  34  Skills included cooperative  learning, framing questions and wait time. mnemonics, concept attainment  The  Strategies included  and inductive reasoning.  professional day facilitators shaped the day around the  proposition by Joyce and Showers that learning a new skill or strategy required modeling of the skill or strategy, thus allowing the participants to experience the powerful impact as a learner. The next important phase for Joyce and Showers was the practice of the newly acquired skill. The emphasis of the professional day was to model and then have participants develop a plan to practice these strategies within their classrooms.  Day  2:  Professional Day for Study Group - Shifting  Paradigms  The  staff in-service day which focused on teaching strategies  was followed by 1.5 days of in-service and collaboration time for the members of the study group.  The purpose of this second phase of  staff development was to familiarize the study group with the constructivist theory, and to have the collaborative groups plan units of lesson with this approach in mind.  During the first session, participants identified their preferred approach to teaching curriculum.  35  Metaphors were used to open  discussion and to make each individual aware of his/her own conceptual framework  about  teaching.  The metaphors, presented to a U . B . C . graduate class in 1987 by Lynne Hannay of O.I.S.E., were developed to determine the orientation of an individual to the teaching of curriculum.  The  determination of an individual's orientation to curriculum would determine i f the participant leaned toward teacher-focused  or  learner-focused education. This, in turn, would assist the staff developer to identify some difficulties for individual participants making sense of  in  or assimilating new information about a learner-  focused classroom practice when the preference for the individual was  teacher-focused.  In the next session, participants were formally introduced to constructivism through discussion of assigned pre-reading of research pertaining to a constructivist approach.  The discussion  focused on the application of constructivism within the context of their classroom and how it figured into their own conceptual framework of how students learn. Included in the discussion was a review of the one day in-service on teaching strategies; special emphasis was given to identifying teaching skills and strategies which were congruent with the constructivist approach. During the third session of the same day the participants cooperatively planned a teaching unit.  Each collaborative team  determined the content objectives for the unit using a constructivist  36  approach to student learning. Some of the newly learned teaching skills and strategies would facilitate this objective.  Day 3:  Professional Day for Study Group - Collaboration  During this last formal day of in-service the collaborative teams of teachers concentrated on preparing an action plan which included the teaching strategies and plans for a constructivist lesson. Each team also determined the degree to which they would collaborate during the teaching of the planned unit - from planned episodes of discussion to videotaping and observation of lessons. Individuals were asked to keep a journal and to meet as a group, within a two week time frame, to discuss their progress with the teaching unit. Collaborative planning, reflection and feedback were all functions of the peer-support  teams.  Participants were  informed that any requests for videotaping and/or class coverage for visitations to other classrooms were available on request.  Data  Collection  The intention of the study was to document  teachers'  perceptions of the process of change as it related to their classroom practice.  Several naturalistic techniques were employed including  37  journal entries, taped group discussions at intervals during the teaching of the planned units, and personal interviews. The personal interviews, conducted by the researcher, followed a schedule of questions that allowed for observational and reflective information. The taped interviews were conversational in nature. The researcher was also a participant in the staff  development  project and assumed an active role as a collaborative team member. This form of active participation was included to gain greater insight into the perceptions of change as it related to classroom practice.  3.4 Staff  D a t a Analysis-  Responsive E v a l u a t i o n of a M o d e l  for  Development  This study, complex in nature, focused on teacher satisfaction of both the product - use of new teaching strategies and skills, the incorporation of a constructivist approach to the understanding of how students learn - and the process of staff development including peer supervision and reflective practice. The teacher-research teams were informed of the specific questions that the study would address: 1. What are teachers' perspectives of the constructivist approach in classroom practice?  38  a) W i l l teachers find evidence that confirms some of the claims of the constructivist approach, that is, that students have prior ideas and conceptions which influence the way they assimilate new information? b) What are teachers' perceptions about the practical application of the constructivist approach in the classroom?  2. What are teachers' perspectives of peer support and collaborative planning? a) What are the benefits and limitations of the peer support model as it was established in this study? b) Does peer support facilitate the transfer of in-service information  into practice?  A l l the taped discussions were transcribed verbatim for analysis by the researcher.  A session involving all of the participants  was planned at the end of the project to discuss and further reflect on some of the common thoughts as determined from the individual interviews. This final session was also audiotaped. The transcripts from the audiotapes of the individual and group sessions were used to support the interpretations of the researcher.  39  CHAPTER FOUR  RESULTS  4 J  I n t r o d u c t i o n  To reduce the research into practice gap means not only to change the model of staff development, but also to make critical changes in the presentation of research results.  Stake (1987)  emphasized the benefits of the naturalistic method of analyzing change in classrooms, complete with its contextual influences, ambiguity, uncertainty and conflict which are part of the ordinary experiences. Stake felt that these "vicarious experiences"  in their natural  state, as quoted by practitioners w i l l resonate with the experiences of other practitioners: "The readers can then weigh the given data against their own experiences and perhaps confront previous interpretations and temper convictions formerly held".  Clearly Stake  recognized that this form of looking at the results of research is not without its critics: "It is often....the expectation that some clever instrument, perhaps  a three-color matrix of performance  changes,  w i l l satisfy the critics that improvement is imminent."  For the naturalistic researcher Stake outlined some conditions including a need to focus and delineate the study, as well as to  40  present the data in more, rather than less, natural form.  Hence this  study identified research questions at the onset, and is concerned with change in practice, degree of satisfaction associated with the change, and the process of collaboration from the perspective of the practitioner.  The information was ascertained through interview  data and the personal reflections of the teachers involved in the research  study.  Deliberately, the responses of the participants are reported in detail in an effort to preserve the essence and contextual influences that influenced the response. B y using this approach it is hoped that other practitioners w i l l be able to relate to individuals and their experiences, tb fihd some information regarding their own practice, and perhaps to feel inspired to include some ideas in their self-managed  ±2  professional  Participants of the  development.  Study  Five volunteers and the principal researcher formed three collaborative teams in three subject areas:  science, English and  mathematics. The teams collaborated and planned a single unit to be taught to a particular grade level of student. The collaborative effort and the study extended over six weeks.  41  4.2.1  Team 1- Mathematics  James and Bob joined forces to participate in the study.  Their  reason for volunteering was the new curriculum in junior secondary math, which mandated academic streaming of students beginning at the grade 9 level. James has a degree in mathematics and has twenty years of teaching experience in the area of math.  Bob has a degree in social  studies and has taught mathematics for two years. It was determined that both James and Bob had a similar orientation to their subject area - namely a preference for the transmissive approach. Both individuals expressed a dissatisfaction with this orientation, but both felt that it was the only approach available to them in the area of mathematics.  4.2.2  Team 2- English  The English department at this junior high school is recognized for their exemplary work.  On provincial reading tests the students score  higher than provincial and district norms.  The department is chaired  by a highly respected staff member who is also actively involved in the school at many other levels.  Rose has taught English for 18  years, with the last 17 years at this school.  Kathy is a new member of the school staff. in physical education.  Her background is  The majority of her teaching load in physical  education, with some courses in English.  Kathy has no formal  teaching background in English, although she did teach the subject in the previous year. Kathy's orientation to curriculum was determined to be somewhere  between a transmissive and transactional approach to  curriculum.  Rose's preferred orientation on the continuum was  between a transactional and a transformational  4.2.3  approach.  Team 3- Science  Barry, with a degree in science, has over 20 years of teaching experience: The majority of his experience has been at this junior secondary school. Barry formed a partnership with the researcher, a science major, who, for the last few years, had been assigned as vice principal to the secondary school where the research project was undertaken.  This team spent the most time in each other's  classrooms as the researcher taught the unit to one of Barry's grade nine classes, while Barry taught the unit to his other two grade nine classes. researcher  During the four weeks of the study, Barry and the principal experienced each other's classes, designed lessons and  experimented  with new teaching  strategies.  43  It was determined that Barry's approach to curriculum on the continuum was between a transmissive and a transactional approach, while the researcher had a preferred transactional approach to curriculum.  4.3  Summaries  for  I n d i v i d u a l Participants  of the  Study  To address some of the main questions of the research study the thoughts of individuals are elaborated under  subheadings.  However, the order of the subheadings as well as the subheadings themselves may vary for each case study to reflect the particular emphasis of each participant interviewed.  4.3.1  Case Study #1:  Bob (Math) Orientation to Curriculum  During the in-service, Bob chose the metaphor of medicine as that which best described his approach to curriculum. Specifically, the metaphor described curriculum as a dispensary:  medical  treatment is given under the ever present direction of a competent physician who recognizes that each patient is unique with varying  44  ills. On the continuum of teacher-focused  to  student-focused  approach to curriculum, this metaphor strongly suggests a to teacher centered education.  preference  Bob expressed concern that although  in his math class he tended to be teacher-centered, suggested, he would prefer to be student focused.  as the metaphor Bob expressed  frustration as he believed that his subject area confined him to his transmissive  approach. In-Service  Bob's experience with the project might be best summarized by his statement:  "I guess the greatest limitation for me is in terms of  trying to re-think how I'm going to do things.  That's the big  drawback. A t this point how I'm feeling is still pretty loose and informal...I think during the next couple of months I'd like to experiment, try more strategies,  and attend  workshops."  Bob expressed his apprehensions about the in-service:  "I think  I had difficulty at the beginning with, I guess, the confusion of objectives in comprehending what the constructivist approach was, and what the cooperative approach was, in terms of cooperative teaching strategies or constructivist learning.  I think that I was a  little fuzzy to begin with on exactly where we were focusing on.  It  took a while to sink in that we're actually doing both things." Although there was uncertainty, Bob showed his understanding as he continued throughout the interview to use many of the newer terms  and concepts introduced during the in-service, thereby verbally demonstrating his understanding through his personal  anecdotes.  Bob also commented on the literature that supported the study as presented during the inservice.  "I think there is a huge gap  between theoretical educators and practical educators and that often there is conflict amongst the two.  Certainly this is a perception I  think of people who have been long separated from much of what goes on...much of that was brought back to mind, not so much by the study, but by some of the readings that you gave us. me..."  It blinded  Bob clearly gave the impression that the readings, rather than  enlightening and inspiring him, actually acted as a barrier as he viewed the readings as recommendations from individuals not in touch with his world of teaching. Skills/ Teaching Strategies  Bob expressed the greatest satisfaction with the classroom impact of the wait-time skill.  "Basically I found it a really helpful  technique. I really found the delay question technique (wait-time) a valuable tool although I find it really hard to use.  I'm still forcing  myself and there are lots of times when you want to pick up the pace." Bob experimented with the inductive strategy of teaching and cooperative learning and concluded there was value in both within his classroom, although in both cases that value was not that which  46  was anticipated.  "I really found the inductive activities helpful-  again I'm focussing on the kids, to organize things and having them look at one another's organization." Bob described one inductive lesson as one where students grouped numbers into categories of numeral types, but the anticipated numeral type that was to be the springboard for the lesson was not realized by the groups of student.  Bob concluded "... I  had hoped that the students would be able to ...inductively understand the concept of...types of numbers from the activity. were not able to do that;  They  however, it was after the activity, the post  activity, it was really easy to explain the difference and to demonstrate the difference in terms of the number line...They were able to see they were using notation descriptives rather than value factors for their grouping and so it did help them in the long run construct concepts about what numbers were. Now whether or not we were totally successful at those goals, I don't think so. I mean, I think the kids inherently found the types of numbers difficult to deal with.  Certainly our test results weren't as positive as we might have  hoped but since then we've been able to use group discussions...I constantly refer to those (groupings of numbers) although it wasn't necessarily in isolation a successful unit,  it proves a valuable  unit in a long run and the kids are still acquiring those skills and putting information together." One significant change for Bob was the introduction of cooperative learning to his classroom practice: "I'm certainly  47  involving my classes in much more group work than I have ever done and that's an important process"  Bob is honest in saying that  the activity was one which emerged out of frustration: "After evaluating the test scores I decided to re-test my students but this time I put them into was something I did partly out of frustration looking at the test scores...there was not a whole lot of planning behind it but I just decided I really want to do this again and see i f I can figure out where the problems were and so I just told them to form groups of threes." Bob's main concern to cooperative learning was the "time on task" for individual students and when asked about time on task and motivation of the students for the hour he replied: "One hundred percent.  I can't think of another situation in class where this  occurred... If I had any reservations about group activities it was keeping the intensity level up...there would be sluffers [sic] who would basically let other people do (the work)...but that wasn't a problem at all." Bob also noticed significant improvements for average-tobelow-average students during the re-test:  "Scores were  significantly better. There were increases of approximately 2030%...there were the people who had achieved in the low 80's the first time they did the test.  The second time they did the test there  obviously isn't much room for improvement...but he effectively or she effectively was able to transfer the concepts that I hadn't been able to do to that kid and (showed) a much better understanding  48  when they were intently focused on what was going on. It was the groupness [sic] of the activity and the intensity of it which is why I'm incorporating (cooperative learning)...Ideally one would want the group test then the individual test.  I haven't done that yet...I want  to see how that works and what sequence I want to use." Collaboration  In an early group discussion of the project, and in the absence of his partner, Bob expressed a concern that his partnership was not involving the same degree of collaboration as some of the other partnerships.  This initially caused Bob some anxiety.  In one of the later conversations Bob discussed his perceptions of collegial collaboration: "I guess I've always liked working with other people.  Sometimes I find that my inspiration tends to wax and  wane a lot when I'm working on my own...(collaboration) has a positive effect in terms of revitalizing...I was positively disposed to that kind of collaboration anyway and, generally, that worked really well...particularly, I think, with something...that was so different from the more traditional approach that I had taken.  Sometimes I'm  not much of a risk taker. Having someone else trying, made me feel more comfortable and you're able to discuss those instead of looking at it or interpreting it afterwards as, you know, just my failure...Finding solutions to the problems that to some extent we created ourselves and working those out with someone else, that was  49  really good...There was less anxiety in terms of trying new things, less anxiety i f something didn't work because you had someone you could commiserate with and figure out what went wrong. It wasn't just, 'I had a bad day'. There were other factors that you could focus on.  I felt really positive about that whole process and in that action." Bob also discussed the advantages and disadvantages of  videotaping. During his only visit to his partner's class he was to videotape a cooperative learning lesson. Bob found that this activity interfered with his opportunity to observe the lesson:  "As it turned  out I found that running around with this video camera really interfered with my ability to focus on some of the things that were going on, trying to capture all of the worked well in terms of dynamics, how those worked, problems the kids had with that particular activity. It was difficult for me to get the picture when involved with recording it, rather than just sitting back and watching how groups were doing things...I had some reservations about how valuable that was. Bob summarized his partnership with James: "In terms of our collaboration, I mean, virtually, we talked about it every day.  We  would ask after each lesson how something went and what problems we were having and what strategy we tried to come up with to get around the problem, and what developed that was unforeseen.  We  developed a chart that worked out really well and we had all kinds of uses for it within the unit."  50  4.3.2  Case Study #2:  Kathy (English) Skills/ Teaching Strategies  When asked about experimenting within her classroom with a more student-centered stated:  approach and new teaching strategies  Kathy  "At first it bothered me, because I thought this was my old  room, and how I've been teaching it.  What i f they don't get the right  answers and I'm going to have to give it to them.  I was really  concerned about that, but then after a while I thought well, next year when they have grammar it's all going to be refreshed for them anyways and anything I've left out will probably be filled in. didn't mind it, in fact."  So I  Kathy needed to personally justify  experimenting with alternative classroom teaching strategies.  Just  the fact that information was to be repeated next year, a safety net, allowed the participant to relax and experiment. Kathy and her partner tried many different teaching in the unit they designed for grammar.  strategies  Kathy was excited as she  expressed her enthusiasm over the unit and the results: "Grammar is usually the unit when marks drop...I finished last week and as far as marks go I gave almost exactly the same test as last year and the marks this year were much higher and I think I only had three or four in each class that didn't pass and those were kids that had  51  learning disabilities or were Severe Learning Disabled Program candidates." Another teaching strategy that Kathy tried was concept attainment which, as she described her experience, had many references to how students learn and the constructivist theory, "I really liked it.  It put more onus on the kids again...One thing about  the concept attainment, some kids just don't let go (of a concept or misconception). When you've proven their concept wrong, they hang on to it even though it keeps failing.  Time and time again they'll  hang on so when you ask, ' O . K . What is it we're getting at?'- they just don't know. Even when you clarify it, they still hang on to it. verbs.  We did  We had positive examples connected with verb sentences and  negative examples. They wouldn't let go. It would fail. There was no action in the sentence and they would see it but they'd ignore that. Once it was explained to them they'd (acknowledge)." Kathy further elaborated on the process of concept attainment: "When we did concept attainment...the debriefing I asked 'how did you do it, what was your thought process, when did you see the light'...The kids were excited about saying what their process was, how we did this with this example, and 'how I knew it was wrong so I had to scrap it'. The kids were excited. It give them a chance to justify why they think what they do.  The kids think, 'well you know,  my answer may be wrong but this is how I thought it out.' Constructivism  Kathy expressed very little uncertainty when discussing constructivism and its immediate use in her classes.  Kathy found  this move from the rigid "correct" answers more freeing not only to her students, but also to herself on a personal level. Kathy cited many indicators:  "One thing I noticed with the project encouraging  even wrong answers is that the kids seem a lot more secure about being there...more hands are up, I've noticed. So that's a really good thing that's come out of it...(my classes are) more student oriented rather than me standing up there saying this is the definition of a noun, write this down...they would come up with their own definition. So for both my classes the definition was slightly different.  That's another thing that has changed for me, is I'm not so  concerned about having the exact definition... I really noticed that the kids were feeling more comfortable in class and not worrying so much about wrong answers. I really liked that. I noticed a change in them from September. kids get it."  But now we get excited about things, when  For Kathy, the evidence was there of the benefits of this  approach to classroom practice. Kathy's concept of constructivism was also reinforced and better understood as she and her partner identified conceptions that students firmly held on to.  In her own words she described  conceptual exchange and identified misconceptions:  53  "my task is not  to give them concept that I want them to learn but to change their old concepts so that they will replace theirs with mine...  (a  misconception identified was) nouns- getting them away from person, place or and wisdom are nouns too, and more abstract ideas that they don't think of. with those words.  They don't know what to do  They see them and they're not sure about them...I  think I've gotten through to most of them." When asked about the disadvantages of a constructivist approach within the classroom, Kathy responded that her greatest change was " not thinking that whatever I say is going to sink in... B y the end of the grammar unit I was getting a little tired of so much group work.  It's more difficult and its more exhausting for us, too.  Sure the kids are working together but you're monitoring them, and what i f the group is not heading in the right direction, you have to kind of turn them around..." Kathy was positive about the transition from learning to students centered saying "I like it. up.  teacher-centered  The noise level goes  I can hear it. It's constructive noise so I don't mind.  Now I have  to get them to relax again and listen when I'm talking, but they know what I'm doing in the class now, which I think is real positive for us. I like having them do more of it, maybe some students would make a comment like 'Why don't you just give it to us. It's easier that way.' I'd say ' No, because then I'm doing the work, not you.' (Students would respond) 'Yes, we know, we like that' come into class and think everyday."  54  Then they'd have to  Further to the concept of moving from  teacher-centered  learning to student centered learning, Kathy reflected on the inservice: "It made me think, and probably made all of us think, where are we coming from when we're up there in front of the class. The big thing was, yeah, I have been very teacher oriented, not as much as with Physical Education I don't think, but with English. guess that's the only way I know how to do it.  I  Now I've got a new  strategy and I know it works, to let the kids come up with the answers.  So I know, I definitely know I'm changing on that scale  that we put ourselves on. I'm starting to think it's the process of thinking instead of coming up with answers...I think it is comfortable for me.  Maybe it's something that I've been looking for, or close to,  for a long time." Collaboration  Kathy was a third year teacher with no background teacher training in the subject of English.  Kathy was a willing participant in  the study, joining forces with a veteran of the English department. Kathy expressed some initial concerns about her background, feeling particularly vulnerable in her partnership: " A t first doubt yourself...I'm not competent enough to do this." Kathy felt her partnership with Rose was extremely beneficial both in boosting her confidence and in her preparation of lesson. "It was more challenging to work with someone because they were  5 5  relying on you to do your part.  Our unit was much better because  you would be sitting there chatting and all of a sudden come up with an idea...It gives you a little more confidence, especially when Rose would say, 'Oh, that's a really good idea, I never thought of it' That makes me feel more sure of myself as far as my ability as an English teacher.  I know I still have a lot to learn but I'm heading in the right  direction." Although the opportunity was there, Kathy did not visit her partner's class.  The partners felt comfortable with exchanging  information verbally: "We usually ended up talking after  almost  every lesson." When Kathy was asked about the option of going into each other's classrooms and why this partnership did not make use of that option she replied: "I don't think I would have minded.  I get  a little nervous and I think so does Rose so we didn't really force this on each other...I probably would have liked to bring a video camera in to video the kids.  I felt we worked together just enough, without  making it a super time commitment."  4.3.3  Case Study #3: Barry (Science) Orientation to Curriculum  Barry was uncertain about the relationship between  the  partners at the beginning of the project and expressed some of his  56  concerns.  Barry made several references to his transmissive  approach to education and his concerns with partnering with an individual with a different approach. "What I was thinking when we first started the project, I was thinking, you are going to try working way down in the transformational and I'm going to be sitting up here in transmissive.  I'm going to watch you and you are going to watch  me and I was thinking 'Oh, I guess I'm supposed to be doing some of this too, right?' ... Y o u were going to try, everything was going to be totally different and I would be the control model."  Skills/ Teaching Strategies  Barry and the researcher collaboratively worked in preparing an astronomy unit and observing each other's classes.  In the  researcher's opinion the most significant visible change in Barry's classes was an increase in wait-time, and in a greater involvement of the majority of students during a lesson.  Barry also confirmed this  observation during the interview: "...something like wait-time, yes I use that definitely more now that I did before.  I'll continue to (use  it). I would like to, it's always a case of expediency, how much you are willing to wait.  But, by the same token, what I would like to  make sure I do...I think it's probably something that is useful, it's very helpful to the kids and makes sure that everyone does stay involved and it's something that I think probably I tend to not use as well, even knowing that it is a good idea."  57  Barry experimented with cooperative learning and the teaching strategy of concept attainment and found some value in both techniques. "Concept attainment, that worked really well.  I would  think that would be certainly worthwhile as part of the classroom approach.  That's one I would not use all the time...I taught that  particular lesson and it was interesting for the kids, brought out a lot of information. I thought it was good." About cooperative learning, Barry extensively discussed the advantages  and disadvantages of this approach including: "There are  some areas where I definitely prefer to use it, little projects that we do...the project that we were doing was basically data collection so there was not a great deal of thought involved.  I'm not sure that the  project that resulted from that necessarily worked better that what could have occurred just by saying to an individual I want you to go and do something.  Not that they were bad, but I didn't see that they  particularly really beneficial...When they are asked to work on something that is...higher level of thinking, you know, you give me your ideas on how this works and I'll give you my ideas and let's see if we can come up with a set of ideas...I find that works really well...anytime you have some kind of thinking process like that, I think that group work is really a distinct advantage." Barry identified what he considered to be a drawback of group work" one of the thinks that... some of the kids who are really dedicated, they want to  58  get high marks.  Sometimes they really don't want to have to work  with someone of lesser ability."  Constructivism  Barry saw the theory of constructivism as having some value, but saw only limited application within his classrooms.  Barry  elaborated on his views of the theory of constructivism introduced during the inservice:  "I guess I was a little bit middle of the road.  thought it looked like it had some value. going to do this, right away. would be useful.  I  I wasn't gung ho, hey, I'm  It looked to me like something that  I wasn't sure exactly how I would make that part  of me and therefore wasn't sure to what extent I was doing to consider using it.  That was at the very beginning.  I thought as time  went on I seemed to use it...That is to, even in a regular teaching situation to make sure that every once in a while you sit back and ask a little more for kids' impressions of what is going on, just to kind of make sure, even if you are using a transmission approach and you really are on the same wavelength as the kids....As I said, I think that it's even kind of a background thing now...We are talking about density in grade eight, I was thinking, 'I'll bet all kinds of these kids are really not guaranteed sure of what density is.'  They  really are not totally on track with the conception of density.  I think  maybe more so now...I probably consider using a little more of it.  59  I  may just spend just a little bit more time to ask that question that w i l l check to see what the kid is thinking...It's interesting too.  I  thought of this: in a topic like that there are certain kids who have really got a good impression and if you just go with that small group in the class who have a really good impression of what density is you are guaranteed you are going to be leaving out all these other kids" Barry alluded to students having misconceptions in science. "There was certainly some signs of misconceptions and I guess with the solar system...because they had exposure to that in elementary school so it would seem that they do have certain notions that have been built up over the years...there was one girl who had as a vision of her solar system that the earth was in the center and ...all the planets were going around it, and way out here on the very outside was the sun...So, you can see where, at times, even when you spend a lot of time, and we spent a lot of time dealing with those very basic concepts and that girl still had this one...some kids really have obviously some deep seated notions of things that are very hard to change"  Barry cited another example: "The question was what can  collide with the earth and survive, or something like that.  This was a  matching I asked her (about her answer of the sun) and she said 'the sun comes out every day.'  So I said 'how often does the  sun collide with the earth' and she said 'every day' She said everyday the sun collides, and I couldn't see where she got it...In that sense, maybe digging a little deeper into what do you think, before we start would certainly have some value because obviously if you  60  had such a strong, deep rooted view of what's going on, maybe you wouldn't consider what I considered a fairly simplistic concept.  For  sure, when you're rolling along and you're explaining how things are and what's going on, these kids are not accepting of it." Collaboration  To Barry, the greatest benefit of the project was to watch another individual teach. Barry made several references  to the  benefits: "I found that it was a distinct advantage to be able to watch ...(someone) teaching the exact same area... I think that's something that could be of real value...Having a chance to sit back and do something you never get to do very often and that is to watch a colleague teach the same thing that you are you a chance to have a more objective view on what the kids are doing, how they are."  4.3.4  Case Study #4: Rose (English') Orientation to Curriculum  Rose chose a metaphor which placed her on the high end of the continuum towards a transformational approach to curriculum. acknowledged a change from teacher-centered accompanied by insecurity.  Rose  to student centered is  Rose described the personal exchange  6 1  that she had with another colleague about the project: "I was explaining to her (colleague) my feelings of insecurity and she said I think that's the sort of thing that teachers need to hear.  The other  thing that I think she really liked about what I said has to do with the fact that the teacher is no longer doing everything, student's responsibility.  It is the  It's the student doing the learning and  suddenly the focus shifts from teacher to student. I think that's what she really liked and she said she was going to try that with her class." Skills/ Teaching Strategies  Rose elaborated on the discomfort associated with changing approaches to classroom practice: " I think there is still that whole thing in there, that I realize, that I am not comfortable with it yet. Somehow or other, the old lecture method, I don't know, maybe it's because I have perfected those things...that I didn't use this time, so I think that I'm sort of trying to establish a balance of what of the old things I can bring back in here and what of the old things I should throw out and so there's a degree of discomfort... it's almost like being a first year teacher. And I feel that way to a certain degree.  There's a security in doing things in the old way and it's not  as secure trying out all these new things." Rose attended a summer institute of teaching strategies prior to project, and later became part of a team to introduce new teaching  62  strategies to the staff at her school.  Even so, Rose went into the  study not entirely convinced that learning would improve and worried that possibly the learning would not be sufficient to give desirable test scores. Rose shared her anxiety: "I planned  before  giving the test to, just to make sure that they really knew it, I was going to sneak in a lesson using my old methods. But then I was sick and had a substitute come in and I thought, O.K., I'm going to allow the substitute to give the test. To my surprise, without having gone through that drill, without me being there to coach during the test, the kids did really, really well, to the point where I have 4 failures in three classes and two of those were new kids... their marks ranged from the high 50's to the high 70's out of 80.  And no, there seemed  to be very few at the bottom end." Further to this Rose discussed the teaching strategies that she used. Specifically Rose described an inductive lesson: "They were doing prepositions. They were given prepositions without saying this is a preposition, prepositional phrases without being given a label. They would work with them. They would inductively come up with what these words do and then they would come up with a definition...they had also worked in pairs or in triads...When we finished the kids all knew what the concepts were but were not necessarily able to give me the definition of the term, but they really knew 'Oh, that's one of these kinds of words'." Rose also expanded on her feelings towards experimenting with a concept attainment lesson: "The concept attainment one(lesson), I  63  think is definitely one that, initially, when we were first presented with it, was the one that I personally had the most difficulty with, and yet it seems to me as I watched the kids using that one, they learned the most.  It gives them an exposure to words, language,  whatever, all sorts of things, but I didn't realize it would be as beneficial as it is." Constructivism  For Rose, the newly learned teaching strategies of concept attainment, inductive lessons, etc, as introduced to her during the summer institute by Joyce and Showers, and the world view of learning, constructivism, introduced during the inservice, were merging. Teaching strategies were becoming extensions of constructivism as indicated by Rose's thoughts: " I think that I'm very conscious of trying to incorporate those things that I got this summer into my classes.  I think that constructivism is a part that  was especially part of the inductive (teaching strategy). I don't even see them necessarily as being different.  I see those two, same with  the concept attainment- I mean that's exactly what that is. It asks the kid to bring his/her knowledge to it and to build from there. don't think I view it as two different things."  I  Rose further expressed  the need for the teaching strategies: " If you're using the the traditional methods which is primarily lecture - how do you draw on 30 different backgrounds? I don't know".  64  This thought repeated  itself again in Rose's interview. "I don't think, with could I have used constructivism (in isolation from teaching strategies)."  It became evident that constructivism was clearly a part of Rose's beliefs about learning: "That was a real change in the way that I had done things. worked before.  It was totally the opposite direction of how I had  In the past when I had done that (grammar unit) we  really worked on knowing the definitions and I emphasized i f you don't know the definitions then you won't be able to apply it and you won't be able to figure it out.  This time we took the examples and  they had to work toward a definition and the result was they would always say, 'Can I give you an example of this kind of preposition', but they couldn't give me the definition. that.  It made me realize, it made me  definition is and my over-dependence  I was really excited about  realize, how stupid the on it."  Rose later described a poetry unit and the enriching experience it was letting students arrive at their own interpretation of the poetry instead of imposing the 'textbook-correct' interpretation.  This  was a new approach for Rose, and she found that this approach enhanced the students' own creativity since it placed value on all of their personal ideas and viewpoints.  In addition, this led to an  impromptu team teaching lesson on poetry with another colleague, and involved students in an exciting dialogue which supported the  65  notion that every person may have a distinct interpretation of written  work.  For Rose the greatest misconceptions that she identified for the students was in their attitude towards the grammar unit: "In the beginning I think that they did come in with that whole idea that grammar is really difficult or that grammar had very little application.  Now I think that as we went through the exercises, a lot  of the kids began to realize that if they really want to use language precisely, they have to be able to master its rules. I think that they saw that and I think they also discovered, the majority of them discovered, that grammar is not a difficult thing to learn, because it wasn't, especially in the way that we had done it." Collaboration  Rose and Kathy formed a collaborative partnership which resulted in a grammar unit that they both expressed a comfort and an excitement in sharing with other English teachers. Rose was asked about her collaboration with Kathy, particularly in the light that she was the subject specialist with years of experience to her credit. Rose replied" Kathy and I do things really a lot alike, and I really thoroughly enjoyed working with her.  If there was a negative, it was  the fact that Kathy sometimes bowed to my supposed vaster  66  experience...she was content to let me take the lead in things.  But  maybe I do that easily anyway." However, Rose quickly affirmed that this was a minor detail in comparison to the benefits of collaboration:"We shared everything 50-50...she would do one thing, I would do another one, and then I especially liked, you know how you work with somebody and you have one idea and then the other person says well how about this and you just spark from one idea to another and you have a much better  product." For Rose there was another major benefit, and she was honest  to say that without her partnership: "I would have cheated a lot more.  I think that working with a partner kept me honest.  I think I  kept Kathy honest and I think she kept me honest... (for) concept attainment, I think both of us had the same experience that the really bright kids are the ones that had the most difficulty with it and that again is something that I think isn't exactly comfortable when you've got the really bright kids not shine like they usually do. So you think to yourself, well maybe I should do what I used to do, and, I think, that because I worked with somebody else and we had said we're going to do this, we did it. working with somebody else:  That is the bottom line of  I think they keep you true to your  task."  67 Conclusions  Rose also had experience with an intensive week long inservice and practical applications of clinical supervision.  Rose compared the  two experiences: "When Bob and I did the supervisory skills, we never got beyond time on task... what else...? I think changing pace in the lesson and things like that, mechanically. Basically, what I view to be fairly mechanical things.  Whereas I think in this one the  expectation is that the mechanical things are taken care of and that you really feel with the kids learning and you think about how to create a better learning environment and how to make them learn better. That's what you are dealing with, not the mechanics." Rose summarized the experience saying, "If it hadn't been for the project, I wouldn't have done the grammar unit this way and I really needed, I needed, to go through the whole experience and I needed to see the test results to show me...that (what) we learned really makes a difference."  4.2.5  Case Study #5:  Jeff (Math)  Jeff chose a metaphor that identified his approach to curriculum as being a transmissive approach. Jeff collaboratively worked with Bob who had a similar approach. Jeffs reason for  68  joining the project was, as he said it, "after 20 years, or thereabouts, of teaching he wanted to have a change."  To Jeff, the change in his  classroom practice was affirmed by the comments of a student.  Jeff  described how a young lady, who previously had not been overly involved in class, came up to him after class after a series of lessons. Her comment was that she didn't know what was different but whatever it was she enjoying the classes. Near the end of the project Jeff experienced an unexpected family crisis which took precedent over the interviews for the project. Since the project Jeff has enrolled in graduate studies in the area of math curriculum.  Jeff and the researcher have been involved  in exchanging information on constructivism and its application in the classroom.  4.2.6  Case Study #6:  Margo  (Science)  The intent of being involved in a collaborative team was to practice newly learned teaching strategies and see i f they would assist a constructivist approach to teaching that had been difficult to attain using traditional methods of teaching.  The second important  reason for participating was to experience first hand the collaborative  process.  69  Teaching Strategies  The researcher participated in the study as a collaborative partner to Barry in the subject area of science. researcher  The thoughts of the  were summarized during the group dialogue session  after  the project and individual interviews were completed. The tape of the dialogue reveals the following:" I was introduced to constructivism back about three or four years, and I just tried to play with it in my classroom but I didn't have any teaching strategies so I found I was really fighting, spinning my wheels... I started to believe yes, kids construct meaning and I had examples but I didn't have any teaching strategies to go with it so I always went back to a transmissive approach because it was the one I felt comfortable with.  I was Miss Entertainment, kids on task and  everything like this, but I was going through the frustration of having changed my thinking but not having a way of employing my changed thinking...I went to the teaching strategies  (summer  institute)....I don't just give students my knowledge.."  Further to this is the thinking that the teaching strategies illuminate other methods for letting students create their own meanings.  Cooperative learning allows students to exchange their  perceptions and do perception checks. Concept attainment and inductive reasoning give students the opportunity to make sense of new information.  The debriefing of a concept by a student,  70  associated with both techniques, enables the teacher and students to understand  a thought process associated with an answer.  Constructivism is a belief and the foundation from which all these new teaching strategies radiate. Finally, the long awaited bridge between research and practice was realized. Collaboration  The collaborative process experienced was one that was encouraging of new ideas of the research, yet vacant in the anticipated sharing of the responsibility of the creative process.  It  became apparent early on in the study that the degree of collaboration was less than expected by the researcher. It can only be hypothesized that the feeling of "you try it first" might be due to either the differences between the two individuals in their preferred curriculum orientation or perhaps an attitude that the  researcher  "must know". What did result from the collaboration was a change in practice for both individuals.  For myself it meant trying new teaching  strategies with a partner observing critically the technique and replicating parts of the lesson that had a perceived impact on learning.  For my collaborative partner, there was a change in skill  use such as wait time and an increase in educational dialogue as we attempted  to understand  and determine difficulties in learning new  71  concepts using a constructivist approach, in particular trying to identify  misconceptions.  72  C H A P T E R  F I V E  C O N C L U S I O N S . R E C O M M E N D A T I O N S .  5.1  I  n  t  r  o  d  u  c  t  A N D  i  o  I M P L I C A T I O N S  n  It is perhaps best to understand the scope of this research project by looking at it as a study within a study. At the core is the action research as conducted by teachers of the study group. Central to this action research is the approach to learning known as constructivism and some identified teaching strategies  and skills that  facilitate this approach to classroom practice. The constructivist approach is the foundation for many of the new innovations as interpreted from the guiding document for the future of education in British Columbia, the Year 2000:  a Curriculum and Assessment  Framework for the Future. (1989). Enveloping the action research conducted by the study group of teachers is the study of the staff development process. The general problem that was addressed concerned the process of staff development: specifically, how to raise the level of staff development so that it enhances classroom practice.  Specific inquiries addressed  within the context of the general problem included teachers' perceptions of collaboration and peer support; teachers'  73  perceptions  about introducing new classroom practices, skills and strategies; and the impact of an individual's preferred orientation to curriculum play on the process of collaboration and on the change toward learnerfocused classroom practice.  The study of both the staff development process and the learner-focused  orientation to education was embedded in a  constructivist orientation of individual learning. It was this paradigm,that  individuals make sense of new information relative to  their personal constructs, that was the common theme for the model of staff development and the action research project for the study group of teachers.  A secondary problem was to introduce the participants to constructivism during the inservice and inquire i f there was evidence within their classroom practice that supported this view of how students learn.  5.2  Discussion and  Conclusions of the  Research  Findings  As complex as this study was, there were some significant components and influences of the proposed model of staff development as identified by the collected data.  74  The research  question concerned with identifying some of the limiting and liberating influences to the process of staff development were all determined from the responses of the participants to the specific research questions about their perceptions of the constructivist approach to classroom practice, peer support and collaboration, and newly introduced skills and  strategies.  Included in the discussions are the following conclusions: (a) adult learners are unlikely to initiate change unless they see it as technically sound and of value;  (b) teachers measure value as how  well their students are achieving and participating in the class; (c) teachers have particular orientations to curriculum which may liberate individuals to accept new information or may act as barriers; (d) teachers participating in action research is one method to relieve the anxiety and resistance to implementing theory into practice thus allowing the research to be perceived as being experimental rather than  5.2.1  prescriptive.  A constructivist approach to staff development:  towards  understanding the perceptions of individuals involved in staff development  .  For significant planned change to occur teachers need to make sense of the new information.  As Fullan (1982) briefly elaborates,  "New experiences are always initially reacted to in the context of  some 'familiar, reliable construction of reality' in which people must be able to attach personal meaning to the experiences regardless of how meaningful they might be to others" (p 25). Staff developers must recognize that the innovation may not always be congruent with the personal paradigms of the participants. Staff developers need to recognize that participants are all at different stages of 'readiness'.  The stage of readiness may be  thought of as the personal constructs that the teacher brings to the situation. One approach to determine the stage of readiness to the implementation of a learner-centered  approach to classroom practice  was to determine the participants' preferred orientation to curriculum. If staff developers can visualize that all participants have different entry levels on the continuum and that change can be defined as movement along the continuum, then change is no longer a specific measure, but rather incremental and developmental in nature. The findings of this study support this approach to understanding change. James, Bob, and Barry were all determined to have degrees of a transmissive orientation to curriculum, favoring a teacher-centered  approach to classroom practice.  Bob and Barry  clearly favored and implemented specific skills such as wait time and cooperative learning and felt challenged and satisfied with the perceived improvements in classroom practice.  Barry and Bob both made references to a constructivist methodology but the focus was clearly on introducing skills to classroom practice. Kathy and Rose were both identified with orientations other than transmissive.  Kathy, with a transactional orientation felt  liberated by the notion of students making their own sense, and had a greater sense of her role as a teacher. Kathy indicated that she no longer believed that what she would say to a class would automatically be incorporated into their thought  processes.  For Rose, with an orientation somewhere between transactional and transformational, the information about a constructivist approach enhanced her receptiveness to a newer approach to the teaching of poetry.  For Rose there was a decreasing need to have  each student understand one "correct" interpretation of a poem instead each student interpretation was considered noteworthy. Rose directly correlated improvements in students'  writing to her change  in approach: an approach that recognized that every interpretation has its merits which in turn created a classroom environment that stimulated the creative process. Prior to the study, and as my introduction to orientations towards curriculum, I was identified as having a transactional orientation. Although I had experiences which supported my beliefs that students construct their own meaning, I was routinely using my own preferred teaching strategies which were teacher centered to bring about a situation where students construct their own meaning.  77  The personal frustrations of having a readiness for change but not the methodologies to realize these changes indicated the importance of a staff development plan which includes a "technically sound" component as identified by Fullan (1982).  5.2.2  Methodologies - skills and strategies are important components  to a staff development plan.  Each participant mentioned the value of new skills and strategies introduced during the inservice.  It may be deduced that  for most of the participants the new skills and strategies preceded their commitments to a constructivist approach. A l l of the participants had an appreciation for the skills of wait time and cooperative learning. For the participants with the transmissive orientation, cooperative learning was marked with some apprehension. Cooperative learning, in its simplest form, creates an environment where students learn from each other.  For  Bob, this initially translated to an apprehension from a loss of classroom control and possibly a greater degree of students off task, or as he stated, "If I had any reservations about group activities, it was keeping the intensity level up." There was a concern expressed that some students would not learn because they would let other students do all the work.  Bob was pleased with the results of  cooperative learning when he saw that his fears were not realized, and that student  involvement increased.  78  However, Bob quickly adapted cooperative learning into a structure of preparing for tests.  During the study Bob gave  information that would lead one to conclude that the classroom dynamics had shifted but very little along the continuum towards a more  learner-focused  classroom.  Kathy, although noting that the noise and energy of her classes increased, experimented  readily with learner-centered  approaches  to  teaching. Kathy's discussion clearly indicated a working knowledge of some new strategies, and her satisfaction with the changes: "I really liked it.  It put more onus on the kids again."  The addition of methodologies to my own practice created a sense of challenge instead of frustration - for the first time I was feeling that my classroom practice was reflecting my belief that the development of a knowledge base is a process not an acquisition. The importance of learner-focused methodologies must be emphasized in the process of change towards a constructivist approach to classroom practice.  5.2.3  The teacher as an action researcher - liberating individuals to  attempt experimenting with innovations. A factor influencing change.  The benefits of this approach in reducing the 'research into practice gap' were clearly recognizable in Kathy's and Rose's discussion. Both individuals experienced a feeling of uncertainty with the change in classroom practice and this was accompanied by the  79  uncertainty as to the effectiveness  of the new teaching  approaches.  For Kathy, she personally justified experimentation with new approaches to her class by her recognition that components of the unit would be taught again at the next level.  Rose had qualified her  experimentation by admitting to herself that she would revert back to her preferred  teacher-centered  approach to education when  reviewing the information for an upcoming exam. The uncertainty associated with change by individuals in classroom practice appears to be accompanied by a qualification or justification for risk-taking.  Something other than a chance to  improve practice, or experimentation with theories  and/or  practices  from the research literature, played a major role in individual's adoption of any new innovations.  For other individuals, particularly with a transmissive approach, an attitude of discovery through action research had a liberating effect.  No longer was there an expectation of an acceptable  and preferred goal to accompany the changes within the classroom practice.  There would be no guaranteed results that if a skill or  strategy was implemented that it would lead to improved learning. The final product of the study was not defined so that there would be no judgment of individuals. As part of a collaborative team I found that my teaching partner and myself became comfortable with each other in the classroom quickly.  The stresses of breaking the isolation barrier, and  80  still feeling comfortable with experimentation even i f at times it resulted in less than desirable teaching episodes, were relieved by the attitude of both participants that the product was not predictable. During the interviews my partner revealed that he was concerned that our different orientations to curriculum would translate into classroom practice that was vastly different from his own.  Yet, he introduced into practice most of the innovations that I  proposed.  5.2.4  Teacher satisfaction correlates  Improvements  with student  achievement  in student achievement appears to be one  measure for whether an innovation has a practical application within a classroom.  A l l the participants seemingly looked for improvement  in student performance to justify the innovation. Although Bob made references  to his surprise that students  were on task during a cooperative lesson, he saw the real value of the innovation was in the improvement of test scores. Kathy commented that although she had a level of comfort with her shift in approach, it was the improved test scores that clearly indicated the value of the innovation. For Rose, her commitment to the project was evident from the beginning. Yet Rose admitted that her intent had always been to review the recent unit using her traditional approaches as she had a  8 1  strong sense of uncertainty as to whether a more involved classroom necessarily meant improved learning.  Illness prevented Rose from  doing the planned review lesson and she was astonished at her students'  achievement as measured by testing, without the benefit  of this teacher directed review process. The participants' satisfaction of the project appeared to increase after it was determined that there was improved learning for students as indicated not only by more involvement and participation but also by test scores. Prior to this measurement, participants expressed satisfaction with the climate of the classroom but were reluctant to commit to the effectiveness until measured by improved  student  achievement.  5.2.5 Peer support and peer collaboration  For different participants peer collaboration took on its own particular meaning.  Supported by Garmston (1987)  that teachers  collaborating should have the freedom to determine the degree of their collaboration, there were no specifics given as to what form collaboration should take during the study.  The only part of  collaboration pre-determined was the planning time for the unit of instruction made available during the inservice, where the expectation was that the partners would plan the unit. For Kathy and Rose, collaboration meant the initial intensive planning of all the lessons of the unit then dividing the work load to  82  create particular lessons for the unit. Collaboration included the demonstration of a lesson (practice on a colleague in the staff room), or discussion before and after the innovation was brought to classroom practice. Ideas for improvement  were exchanged  between  the two partners after one had attempted the lesson. For Barry and myself, collaboration meant loosely defining the unit, exchanging some ideas initially, and being in each other's classrooms. Barry would try the innovations after observing my teaching of the lesson, improving upon some of the new teaching strategies i f we determined effectiveness  that adjustments would improve  the  of the lesson.  For Bob and James, collaboration meant preparing some lessons together, exchanging information about the results of the lesson, and at least on one occasion one of the partners videotaped a cooperative lesson in  mathematics.  It was clear from my own experiences that the degree of collaboration cannot be mandated as it may infringe on the comfort level of the partners.  However, one proposal to be further  researched may include several defined models of collaboration from which individuals may select.  Perhaps in my own personal situation,  I was so sensitive to my partner that I encouraged little from him in the planning of lessons and thereby found myself planning all the new innovations.  M y partner, however, found great challenge in the  practice of skills such as wait time and was a willing partner to follow my lead in trying new innovations. Whether this approach to  83  collaboration resulted from our different approaches  to curriculum or  whether it was a by-product of our personalities or a by-product of our relationship (researcher-teacher) is undetermined  at this time.  The question of whether having different orientations affects  the  form collaboration w i l l take is a provocative research question worthy of further  5.2.6  study.  Evidence that students bring their own constructs to a learning  situation: support of a constructivist approach to teaching.  As reflected by the participants' dialogue this was the most challenging concept. Yet, for the researcher, it was the underlying thrust of every skill, strategy, and concept introduced during the research project.  However, Fullan (1982) explains that this vision  makes for the difference between educational bandwagons effective  educational  and  change.  It was evident that a tangible, clearly defined skill such as wait time was preferred  and seemingly incorporated into classroom  practice by individuals with a transmissive approach to curriculum. The notion of a constructivist approach to learning was not supported to any degree in practice by Barry or B i l l .  Barry had to be prompted  during the interview to define a constructivist approach. Barry and B i l l witnessed some misconceptions that students had, but for both participants it was not a priority for them and was  84  instead an interesting, but not particularly relevant, aspect of the project. For Kathy and Rose, the notion of constructivism, was more readily incorporated into their personal realms.  For Kathy and Rose  it apparently liberated them from confines that they felt existed. Kathy revealed a comfort as her classroom practice more closely reflected her personal beliefs about learning.  For Rose the necessity  of "correct" interpretation of poetry gave way to a belief that there could be many interpretations all supported by the written word. Perhaps due to their subject area, English, the idea of misconceptions was less important than the idea that students make their own meaning of new information when involved with the creative process which dominates both of their teaching practices.  *  *  *  5.3 Conclusions  The primary aim of this study was to define some aspects of a model of staff development which would enhance classroom practice. As Fullan (1982) so aptly describes the planning of change: A framework for planning and/or coping with educational change...does not lead to an optimistic scenario, because there are too many deep-rooted factors keeping things the way they are.  I do not think that a detailed technical  85  treatment on how to plan for change is the most profitable route to take, although such a treatment may have benefit.  some  The most beneficial approach consists i n our being  able to understand the process of change, locate our place i n it, and act by influencing those factors w h i c h are changeable by m i n i m i z i n g the power of those w h i c h are not.  and  A l l of this  requires a way of thinking about educational change w h i c h  has  not been characteristic of either planners or v i c t i m s of past change efforts, (p  88)  It was to elaborate on the personal factors w h i c h are liberating and prone to influence i n a process k n o w n as staff development, and to recognize those factors w h i c h are resistant and tend to act as barriers to change that brought us to this study. T o investigate a m o d e l of staff development meant concepts, s k i l l , and strategies  introducing or elaborating  of effective classroom practice as  defined by the educational research to the participants. The chosen area of educational research included skills, strategies education a l l related to a learner-focused  and theories of  education i n c l u d i n g wait  time, cooperative education, inductive lessons, and the constructivist theory o f how students learn. The intent of the study was to gain some insight into the process of change and to determine the nature of the new ideas w h i c h found their way into classroom practice, and to ask how it was that these ideas found passage into practice, w h i l e other ideas  86  were  essentially abandoned.  Specifically, what was the teacher's  perception of the role that collaboration played in changing classroom practice.  What role did newly introduced and practiced  skills and strategies have in the process of educational change? What impact did the theory of constructivism have as a way of understanding how students learn, and as a guide to our planning of teaching episodes?  Which newly introduced idea, skill, strategy or  theory was most easily incorporated into classroom practice, and which received resistance?  Ultimately, can we effect change through  a model of staff development which includes some of the identified claims of the research that classroom practice can be enhance by including ideas such as the teacher as an action researcher, collaboration of colleagues, and a constructivist approach to staff development?  This study identified that collaboration was an important component of the staff development.  It also identified that  participants w i l l develop their own form of collaboration from discussion outside of the classroom to participation within the classroom.  Further research may answer questions about  the  different forms that collaboration takes and whether this is a factor which impacts the degree of change within classrooms. This study also began to illuminate a notion that learnerfocused teaching skills and strategies may be very difficult to introduce into classrooms if the educators are of the transmissive  87  orientation to curriculum. This conjecture was also raised in a recent study of secondary schools conducted by Wideen et al (1990) that: the pattern of instruction ... appeared to be one of 'teacher telling', recitation and seatwork.  We do not suggest  that teachers have created this situation by themselves.  Years  of socialization have promoted a concept that view teaching as a process of standing at the front of the room and presenting material.  Moreover, the universities where teachers learn their  content and pedagogy do little to demonstrate approaches...(p  alternative  168)  This study clearly showed that there was resistance to the 'big idea' of the constructivist approach, and much less resistance to single dimension skills such as wait time.  Strategies were somewhat  in between, finding less resistance from individuals who had a transactional approach to curriculum.  If it can be deemed as fact  that in most classrooms there is a preferred 'stand and deliver' approach to teaching, this notion of a learner-focused classroom may meet with resistance in most junior secondary and secondary classrooms.  Certainly, another very important idea illuminated by  the study was that the skills and strategies preceded any acceptance or acknowledgement of the merits of the constructivist approach. Fullan (1982) explains this phenomena: "it is possible to change 'on the surface' by endorsing certain goals, using specific materials, and even imitating the behavior without specifically  88  understanding  the  principles and rationale of the change.  Moreover, in reference to  beliefs it is possible to value and even be articulate about the goals of the change without understanding their implications for practice." (P 33) Another aspect of the study that came to the forefront was that teachers would only see the merit in a newly introduced teaching skill or strategy i f they saw improvement in the student's results on a test or exam.  For most of the participants, the measure of the  success of any new ideas or strategy was a test result and not any feedback from students about their enjoyment of a class or a teacher's own personal good feelings towards a teaching episode. Finally, in terms of a staff development model, the notion of allowing the participants to define the form that their own learning would take through their own definition of collaboration, and the self reflection of their orientation to curriculum appeared to be accepted by the participants.  Whether it enhanced the staff development  process or not is difficult to ascertain from this study.  What it did do  was maintain the personal needs as determined by the culture', "...there are  'teacher  some deep changes at stake, once we realize  that people's basic conception of education and skills are involvedthat is, their occupational identity, their sense of competence, and their self-concept."  (Fullan, 1982, p 33)  The attention to these  aspects of the process reinforced the identified needs of autonomy and professionalism for all the participants.  89  Learning  is an active process.  accepted  view of learning, the learning process  individuals  According to one widely  selecting from available  constructing  meaning by placing  experiences  involves  information,  and  the new information  in the context of what the individual  knows, values and can do. new ideas to previous Opportunities  already  Learning thus involves  knowledge,  often  and  connecting  subconsciously.  to reflect upon one's beliefs and knowledge  important for successful  learning.  Sometimes, learning  are results  in the individual changing his or her conceptual framework very significant  in  ways.  Year 2000:  A Curriculum and Assessment  Framework  for the Future (1989, p 9)  5  .  4 R  e  c  o  m  m  e  n  d  a  t  i  o  n  s  a  n  d  I  m  p  l  i  c  In British Columbia we are preparing for implementation of the Year 2000 document and recommendations.  More than ever before  teachers, administrators, and district educational staff w i l l have to initiate and implement change in our schools.  Firmly entrenched  ideas of what we teach and how we teach will have to make way for  90  a  t  i  o  the new philosophies and ideologies.  The focus on content-driven  curriculum w i l l share space with social concerns. The presently preferred  teacher-centered  learner-centered.  curriculum w i l l  be transformed  to  The century old organizational structure of schools  will now give rise to new innovations.  Educators will be responsible  for developing a more informed, new age curriculum for all students. A starting point to all this change will be the staff development process.  It is one thing to recognize the need for change, but entirely another situation to implement and facilitate change.  Essentially,  change w i l l begin with individual teachers and staffs of schools.  The  greatest challenge, as perceived by many, will be the changes to junior secondary school programs as we now know them.  The Late  Intermediate Program introduced by British Columbia's Ministry of Education is an educational program for grades 4 to 10 which will have as its premise continuous progress of students and a deemphasis of the boundaries that once differentiated subject areas. The  mandate of the new program is learner-focused education.  Integration of subject areas and teacher collaboration become more than just what should be but what will be.  No longer can we assume  that this will be a by-product of a political era. is imminent.  91  It is here and change  Thus the research of staff development becomes timely.  The  models developed will receive many opportunities to be tested on different educational sites with different educational issues. Educators will be examining models and adapting the models to meet their needs.  This project presents one of the models to be  considered, adapted and tested.  As the term research implies, and as  the notion of research into practice directs, this is a model for facilitating a change process.  There are no claims that the change  will be the same for each participant.  There is no claim that the  change process is a one time cataclysmic event.  There is no claim  that the process is simplistic and prescriptive.  Recommendations are included to build on the strength of a tested model for staff development. The recommendations are the result of issues identified from the data of the study, and are consistent with research literature on staff development. Recommendations include: 1. Initially create an environment which promotes educational dialogue. Using a constructivist approach will mean the expression of the participants' individual ideas in a non-judgmental setting. To elicit these ideas and create a stage of readiness for change will be the new challenge facing staff developers. 2. Provide time for reflection.  The use of journals, although it  was encouraged, was not a preferred method of reflection for most of  92  the participants. A l l the participants found value in the group discussions and in discussions with their collaborative partners. 3. Provide an opportunity for peer collaboration. This is to recognize that learning is a social process, for both student and adult learners. 4. Provide a catalyst for experimentation and change. Involving participants in action research induces and supports a predisposition for change to classroom practice. 5. Prepare increments of change. To allow for individualized change w i l l mean to include different elements to the total program so that it will be challenging to all individuals.  Change is likely to be  of an evolutionary, not cataclysmic nature.  5.5  Suggestions  for  Further  Research  To research a staff development process of the  enhancement  function is to incorporate a number of abstruse elements.  This study  incorporated the findings of a constructivist approach to teaching, a constructivist approach to learning, teaching skills, teaching strategies, action research, and peer coaching and peer collaboration. Elaboration on any one of these topics becomes important in our understanding of the complex nature of change of classroom practice. However, there are some specific questions that this study raises including:  93  1.  What are the limitations or benefits of partnering two  individuals with similar orientations to curriculum versus the partnering of two individuals with differing orientations to curriculum? The partnering may prove to be an insightful look into collaborations that result in the greatest degree of change. 2. What forms can collaboration take and which forms are seen as the most effective in nurturing change within a classroom. From this study we have seen that each participating team defined their degrees of collaboration. Does an effective model of collaboration require classroom visits, or other specific designations about the form that collaboration should take. 3. How do we reduce the importance of test marks and scores as the indicators of the success of innovations in classroom practice? This mindset tends to stifle participants and is identified in this study as a very important aspect of the contextual frameworks that participants bring to any innovation.  5.6  Concluding  Remarks  This study addresses some of the issues related to staff development and the complexity of improving the learning situation for students.  The premises underlying this study are:  94  1. that it is important to provide a supportive environment for risk-taking as teachers rethink the approach to teaching as it relates to the way students learn. 2. that some uncertainty is more desirable and dynamic than constant knowing which is static. 3.  that the teacher is a reflective practitioner  4. that collaboration and sharing is desirable to isolation 5.  that professional dialogue is important to all aspects of the  teaching profession including classroom practice. It is a study which had as its primary objective the investigation of staff development and its role in facilitating change in classroom practice. The recommendations from the B . C . Ministry of Education Year 2000 document looms before us, and staff developers may feel a sense of frustration as they recognize that not enough consideration has been given to the degree of change that is necessary for individuals to implement the suggestions.  As an administrator facing  the responsibilities of both the government mandate and the  futures  of our students, I am increasingly aware that a constructivist approach to education is not an approach that will be easily assimilated by our teaching population. The Ministry recommendations have not included methodologies that complement learner-focused education. To date, the Ministry is still measuring achievement using standardized government exams and assessments.  95  These two aspects alone tend to  contradict the findings of this study with reference to the change process. The challenge for all staff developers is to improve classroom practice.  Further to this, to improve practice to the degree that the  Year 2000 document suggests, will require models of staff development that include attention to introducing new teaching strategies which complement a learner-focused education and teacher collaboration, as well as an understanding of the change process itself.  Much is still to be learned.  96  R E F E R E N C E S  Brandt, R. (1987). On teachers coaching teachers; a conversation with Bruce Joyce. Educational Leadership. 44 (5): 12-17. Driver, R. and Oldham, V . (1986). A constructivist approach to curriculum development in science. Studies in Science Education. Eco, Umberto, 1980.  The Name of the Rose.  New York: Warner  Books, Inc. 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Educational  Research. Feb 379 - 385.  Joyce, B . and Showers, B . , (1988) Student Achievement  Through  Staff Development. Longman, New York. Joyce, B . , Weil, M . (1986) Models of Teaching.  Prentice Hall,  New Jersey. Leithwood, K . , Montgomery, D. ( 1987). Improving Classroom Practice Using Innovation Profiles. Toronto Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Loucks-Horsley, S., Harding,C, Arbuckle, M . , Murray, L . , Dubea, C , William, M . , (1987). Continuing to Learn. A Guidebook for Teacher Development. National Staff Development Council and Regional Laboratory for Educational Improvement of the Northeast and Islands. Magoon, A.(1977) Constructivist approached in educational research. Review of Educational Research. 47(4) Maslow, A . (1988) Religions, values and peak experiences. Educational Forum. 52 (3).  The  Merrill, C , and Kelety, J. (1981). Elaboration theory and congitive psychology. Instructional Science 10 217- 235. Miller, J. (1986). 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(1978) Student Teams and Achievement Division. Journal of Research and Development in Education. 12, 39-49. Schon, D.,(1984). The Crisis of Professional Knowledge and the Pursuit of an Epistemology of Practice. Harvard Business School Smylie, M . (1988). The enhancement function of staff development: organizational and psychological antecendents to  100  individual teacher change.  American Educational Research  Journal. 25(1). Stake, R. (1987). A n evolutionary view of programming staff development. In Wideen, M . & Andrews, I. (Eds).Staff Development for School Improvement. New York: Falmer Press. Stake, R., Shapson, S, Russell,L. (1987). Evaluation of staff development programs. In Wideen, M . & Andrews, I. (Eds).Staff Development for School Improvement. New York: Falmer Press. Vandenberghe, R. (1988). The principal as maker of a local innovation policy: Linking research to practice. Journal of Research and Development in Education. 22(1). Wildman, R., Niles, J., (1987). Essentials of professional growth. Educational Leadership. 44 (5) 4 - 1 0 Wideen, M . (1987). Perspectives on staff development. In Wideen, M . & Andrews, I. (Eds).Staff Development for School Improvement. New York: Falmer Press. Wideen, M , Pye, I, Naylor, C, Crofton, F. (1990) A Platform for Change: A Study of Surrey Secondary Schools. A report presented to the Surrey School Board. Year 2000:  A Curriculum and Assessment Framework for the  Future. Ministry of Education, Province of British Columbia, publication.  (1989)  101  APPENDIX  Curriculum Metaphors  103  Interview Questions  105  Interview (Sample)  108  Staff Development Handout  129  102  CURRICULUM METAPHORS INSTRUCTIONS:  A.  Listed below are five metaphors describing approaches to curriculum. Please read them carefully and then select one that best reflects your personal views.  THE METAPHOR OF MEDICINE  The Curriculum is a dispensary from which students receive medical treatments under the ever present direction of a competent and proficient general diagnostician. Each patient has unique and varying ills, but the diagnostician, using precise and scientific diagnostic techniques, prescribes the proper medicine. Many of the remedies developed by the specialist are self-administered- The diagnostician intervenes only when some problem arises with the treatment which has been prescribed, or when therapy is needed. The science of medicine rather than guesswork will be used to help each* patient to mature to his fullest potential. B.  THE METAPHOR OF GROWTH  The Curriculum is the greenhouse where students will grow and develop to their fullest potential under the care of a wise and patient gardener. The plants that grow in the greenhouse are of every variety, but the gardener treats each according to its needs, so that each plant comes to flower. This universal blooming cannot be accomplished by leaving some plants unattended. All plants are nurtured with great solicitude, but no attempt is made to divert the inherent potential of the individual plant from its own metamorphosis or development to the whims and desires of the gardener. C.  THE METAPHOR OF TRAVEL  -  The Curriculum is a route over which students will travel under the leadership of an experienced guide and companion. Each traveler will be affected differently by the journey since its effect is at least as much a function of the intelligence, interests, and intent of the traveler as it is of the contours of the route. This variability is not only inevitable, but wondrous and desirable. Therefore, no effort is made to anticipate the exact nature of the effect on the traveler; but a great effort is made to plot the route so that the journey will be as rich, as fascinating, and as memorable as possible. D.  THE METAPHOR OF PRODUCTION  -  The Curriculum is the means of production, and the student is the raw material which will be transformed into a finished useful product under the control of a highly skilled technician. The outcome of the production process is carefully plotted in advance according to rigorous design specifications, and when certain means of production prove to be wasteful, they are discarded in favour of more efficient ones. Great care is taken so that raw materials of a particular quality of composition are channeled into the proper production systems and that no potentially useful characteristic of the raw material is wasted.  103  E.  T H E METAPHOR OF N A T U R A L  RESOURCES  The Curriculum is the plan for developing and effectively utilizing the natural resources of human ability present in the student. The development of any one natural resource must be seen in terms of its effects upon the larger system. All resources that exist are by definition beneficial to humankind and should be carefully and respectfully developed. Some, however, are related to survival while others meet the non-material needs of humankind. Both of these should be developed with special care.  104  APPENDIX  2  -  1.  are  teachers  What  constructivist Specific a)  students  may  in  the  practice?  constructivist  approach take  in  classroom)?  there  confirmation  have p r i o r  c) Was  about  include:  What f o r m does t h e  Was  QUESTIONS  perceptions  approach  questions  practice(your b)  INTERVIEW  there  i n p r a c t i c e of the n o t i o n t h a t  ideas?  confirmation  i n p r a c t i c e of the  notion  confirmation  i n p r a c t i c e that concepts  of  misconceptions? d) be  Was  there  i n t e g r a t e d , o r exchanged w i t h  conceptual e)  What a r e t h e  strengths a  f ) What a r e t h e constructivist g) making  t o the  limiting  2.  the  is  lengthened  a)  inservice  The  may  and  made o r a r e  teachers  collaborative  l e n g t h and  considering make i t f i t  towards  a  planning?  f o r m a t o f i n s e r v i c e - what  f o r improvement?  E a r l y c o l l a b o r a t i o n between t h e  peer support  concept?  approach t o best  of  using  include:  recommendations a r e t h e r e b)  the  constructivist  f a c t o r s a s s o c i a t e d with  have you  perception  guestions  of u s i n g the  approach t o t e a c h i n g a  constructivist  area?  Specific  within  concept?  what a d a p t a t i o n s  your s u b j e c t What  concepts  l e a r n e r ' s framework?  approach t o t e a c h i n g the  other  can  g r o u p - what h i n d r a n c e s  105  were  i n d i v i d u a l s of there?  the  3.  What  are the perceptions  support-  both  from  professional Specific a)  your  an p e r s o n a l  development  q u e s t i o n s may  towards  experience  peer  and a  experience?  include:  How i n v o l v e d were you w i t h t h e o v e r a l l p l a n n i n g o f  the u n i t b)  of teachers  with your  partner?  How was t h e d a i l y t i m e  best used  when m e e t i n g  with  partner? c) D i d t h e c o l l e g i a l  classroomd)  r e l a t i o n s h i p extend  into the  ie visits?  Did the c o l l e g i a l  professional  relationship  increase,  o r improve  dialogue?  e) What a r e t h e r e b e n e f i t s t o p e e r f ) What c a n you f o r e s e e as b e i n g a s s o c i a t e d with  forming  support,  i f any?  some o f t h e p r o b l e m s  a new p a r t n e r s h i p ?  g) What was y o u r p r i m e f o c u s i n t h e c o l l e g i a l relationship? h)  D i d peer  constructivist  support  assist  you i n a d o p t i n g a  method o f t e a c h i n g as o u t l i n e d  i n the  inservice? i)  I f your  summarize t h i s j) you  partner v i s i t e d  I f you v i s i t e d  your p a r t n e r ' s classroom,  how would you how would  experience?  I f you have e x p e r i e n c e  would t h i s  classroom,  experience?  summarize t h i s k)  your  experience  with c l i n i c a l  supervision,  how  compare?  1) What m o t i v a t e d  you t o b e g i n t h i s  study,  and c o n t i n u e  with i t t o the duration? m) What i s y o u r p e r c e p t i o n about t h e e x p e r i e n c e you  would  embark on i t a g a i n ? n)  entire  Does t h e p e e r staff?  support  Explain.  106  experience  have v a l u e t o an  RESEARCH DAILY  teaching tend  -  ANALYSIS  OF  AUDIORECORDINGS  OF  MEETINGS  a) b)  QUESTIONS  Are aspects  of  the c o n s t r u c t i v i s t  l e s s o n s mentioned i n t h e d a i l y Are there  other  issues other  perspective to  dialogue?  than c o n s t r u c t i v i s m t h a t  t o r e c e i v e more d i s c u s s i o n ? c) A r e t e a c h e r s  during the d a i l y some o f t h e i r  r e f l e c t i n g about t h e i r  dialogues?  Are teachers  own  able t o v e r b a l i z e  i m p l i c i t knowledge about t e a c h i n g  dialogues?  107  teaching during  these  .APPENDIX 3:  Transcribed  audiotape of p a r t i c i p a n t  interview INTERVIEW:  M.M:  This  KATHY  i s sort of informal,  but  there's  no A,B,C's,  and  I ' l lstart  I have a l o t q u e s t i o n s  I'd r a t h e r  o f f with  just  get your  some o f y o u r v i e w p o i n t s  what has happened o v e r t h e l a s t  input about  few weeks. When d i d you  f i n i s h the project?  KATHY: I f i n i s h e d l a s t  week and as f a r as marks go I  gave a l m o s t e x a c t l y t h e same t e s t marks t h i s  y e a r were much h i g h e r  3 o r 4 i n each c l a s s t h a t  as l a s t  and I t h i n k  thing  with  out  really  there  noticed.  One  t h e p r o j e c t e n c o u r a g i n g even  wrong answers i s t h a t t h e k i d s  I've  I was  were  t h e marks and I t o l d t h e c l a s s t h a t .  I've n o t i c e d w i t h  about b e i n g  I h a d maybe  d i d n ' t p a s s and t h o s e  k i d s t h a t had l e a r n i n g d i s a b i l i t i e s . pleased  y e a r and t h e  seem a l o t more  secure  and t h e y don't, more hands a r e up,  So t h a t ' s a r e a l l y  good t h i n g t h a t s  come  of i t .  M.M.:  Higher t e s t  scores,  contributed t o higher  test  108  tell  us some o t h e r  scores.  things  Can you t h i n k o f  that  a n y t h i n g you've been d o i n g d i f f e r e n t l y I'm  pretty  KATHY: lot  sure t h a t  that  I t h i n k working  has  t h e y may  when t h e y come back t h e n e x t answers w i t h a p e r s o n  letting and  an  you  say  Yes,  effect.  with t h e i r peers that there i s a  more group work and t h a t  their  had  that  day  have homework b u t  t h e y have t o d i s c u s s  i n the c l a s s .  I ended  up  them work w i t h p e o p l e t h e y wanted t o work w i t h  i t was  usually pairs.  combination  ?  That  was  Because i f a r e a l l y  w i t h a n o t as b r i g h t  the best smart  working  k i d was  put  k i d t h e s l o w e r k i d would j u s t s i t  t h e r e b e c a u s e he d i d n ' t want t o appear dumb.  M.M.:  They f e l t  KATHY: lot  Yes,  b e t t e r as l o n g as t h e y were t o g e t h e r ?  and t h e y were k i n d o f slow t o g e t h e r b u t  o f marks improved  when marks  and  unit  drop.  M.M.  : So  sort  o f t h i n g s would you  t h e way  grammar i s u s u a l l y t h e  a  you p r e t t y  you t a u g h t  comfortable do now  i t before?  109  i n the r e s u l t s ? that  are d i f f e r e n t  What than  KATHY: More s t u d e n t o r i e n t e d there this  saying down.  different that  this We  definition  would g i v e  noun and  i s u s e d and  have t o come up my  i s the  them an  o f a noun -  exercise  noun i s u n d e r l i n e d  with t h e i r  own  you  and  definition.  So  slightly  That's another t h i n g that  has  changed f o r me  close.  M.M.:  Is y o u r b a c k g r o u n d i n E n g l i s h .  KATHY: No,  M.M.:  So  i t s Social  this  the  word  would  f o r both  different.  definition,  their  write  they  was  c o n c e r n e d about h a v i n g t h a t  up  with  t h e y would have t o t e l l  the  standing  definition  so  c l a s s e s the  r a t h e r t h a n me  as  i s I'm long  not as  Studies.  English  i s new  t o you  and  a l s o you're i n a  partnership. How  d i d you  KATHY: At yourself. but  ...  f e e l when t h i s  first Oh  I was  God,  I t was  really,  I'm  not  was  going  you  on  you  much b e t t e r b e c a u s e you  110  on.  start  to  doubt  competent enough t o do  more c h a l l e n g i n g  b e c a u s e t h e y were r e l y i n g unit  was  t o work w i t h t o do  someone  your p a r t  would be  this  sitting  but  our  there  c h a t t i n g and a l l o f sudden come up w i t h an i d e a .  Where  someone would see s o m e t h i n g and you know, she would see s o m e t h i n g i n my l e s s o n  that,  oh hey ...  So i t was n i c e  t o work w i t h someone and I was more p r e p a r e d f o r e a c h c l a s s t h a n I n o r m a l l y am and I t h i n k  she f e l t  t h e same  way.  M.M.:  Even t h o u g h you a r e t h e r o o k i e  b e c a u s e you a r e new p a r t i c u l a r l y you  found t h a t  and  so i f you h a d t o d e f i n e  and  why d i d i t make you f e e l  here,  i n terms o f E n g l i s h ,  c o l l a b o r a t i o n had i t s own meaning t o you  KATHY: I t g i v e s  you a l i t t l e  i t , why was i t s u c c e s s f u l good?  more c o n f i d e n c e ,  when R e n a t a would s a y Oh, t h a t s never thought o f i t .  a really  especially  good i d e a , I  That makes me f e e l more s u r e o f  m y s e l f as ' f a r a s my a b i l i t y , to  teacher  I know I s t i l l  have a l o t  l e a r n b u t I'm h e a d i n g i n t h e r i g h t d i r e c t i o n .  M.M.:  So you f e l t  like  an e q u a l p a r t n e r  i n the  collaboration.  KATHY: D e f i n i t e l y . that's  At f i r s t  f o r sure.  1 11  I didn't  but i t f i n i s h e d ,  M.M. the  We  use  the  word p r o f e s s i o n a l d i a l o g u e  conversation  you  have w i t h y o u r c o l l e a g u e s  obviously  your dialogue  initially  because of the  with  (Rose) was  project.  Can  your p r o f e s s i o n a l dialogue  b e f o r e the  the  project.  as the  project,  and  would t h a t  and  of d i s c u s s i o n .  between 3 and  fit  a f t e r the  what you've d i s c u s s e d length  about  and  different you  think  project, Was  back during  i t p r e t t y much  what you've d i s c u s s e d  Sometimes t h e y say  we  and  have  7 minutes of p r o f e s s i o n a l d i a l o g u e  have been a f i g u r e t h a t  to  a  would f i t you  day,  or  not  you.  KATHY: At  the  beginning  I think  we  t a l k e d a b i t more  b e c a u s e we  were t r y i n g t o keep t r a c k  the  were m i s s i n g  end  little  we out  of  synch.  classes  But  we  a f t e r almost every l e s s o n it.  to talk  I really  noticed  things,  ?  the  got i t .  112  talking  kids  were f e e l i n g  more  liked that.  when k i d s  a  about  wrong a n s w e r s .  things,  got  were e x c i t e d  not  i n them f r o m September. But  we  in  We  c o m f o r t a b l e i n c l a s s and I really  p a c e i t and  u s u a l l y ended up  and  that  and  and  w o r r y i n g so much about  now  we  get  I noticed excited  a  change  about  M.M.: for  Would you have wanted more o f t h e c o l l a b o r a t i o n ,  example has t h e p r o j e c t been  were i n e a c h o t h e r s c l a s s r o o m s . with that for  designed that  Do you see a p r o b l e m  o r were you r e a d y f o r i t them, a r e you r e a d y  i t now?  KATHY: I don't t h i n k  I would  little  n e r v o u s and I t h i n k  really  force this  others classes.  have minded.  so does  on each o t h e r , I felt  (Rose)  we d i d n ' t  I get a so we d i d n ' t see each  we worked t o g e t h e r j u s t  w i t h o u t making i t a s u p e r t i m e commitment. did  enough,  I felt  we  enough.  M.M.:  G o i n g back,  your p a r t n e r attended t h a t  d u r i n g t h e summer as w e l l . expertise at  you two  i n that  inservice  D i d you make use o f h e r  a r e a o r d i d you s t i l l  ? and j u s t  content or process.  KATHY: I t h i n k we d i d a b i t b o t h , b e c a u s e we concept attainment.  M.M.:  And what d i d you t h i n k about  113  that?  tried  look  KATHY: I r e a l l y  liked  it.  I t p u t more onus on t h e k i d s  a g a i n and i t was t h e smart about  i t , what we t a l k e d about  neat. get  You don't  really  concept  like to feel  and t h e y ' r e ?  When you've p r o v e n even though  positive sentences  see  really  concept  just  don't  just  hang on t o i t .  examples c o n n e c t e d without.  was no a c t i o n  again  Even when you c l a r i f y We h a d  with verb sentences  or ?  l e t go, i t would  i n the sentence  they can put t h e r e .  l e t go.  what i s i t we're  We d i d v e r b s .  They wouldn't  them t h e y ' d go, Oh y e a .  some c o n c e p t  don't  wrong, t h e y hang on t o  know.  i t but they'd ignore t h a t .  that  t h i n k i n g t o o much, c o m p l i c a t e d . One  hang on so when you ask, O.K.  they s t i l l  There  their  would  e l s e knows t h e  almost  ? some k i d s  but they  i t keeps f a i l i n g t i m e and t i m e  g e t t i n g a t , they it  They're  nervous  b e f o r e and i t was k i n d o f l i k e that,  f o r something  t h i n g w i t h t h e concept  they'll  got r e a l l y  b o t h e r e d by i t , e v e r y b o d y  they're looking  it  kids that  and t h e y  fail.  wouldn't  Once i t was e x p l a i n e d t o  They want t o have We d i d t h a t  something  and we a l s o d i d  a t t a i n m e n t . Those were t h i n g s t h a t  were n o t  e x p l a i n e d t o me d u r i n g t h e d a y s .  M.M.:  How d i d you f e e l  after  114  the concept  attainment?  KATHY: I l i k e it, to but  it.  The n o i s e l e v e l goes up.  i t ' s c o n s t r u c t i v e n o i s e so I don't g e t them t o r e l a x a g a i n and l i s t e n ? t h e y know what  mind.  f o r us.  Now  when I'm  I'm d o i n g i n t h e c l a s s  I think i s real positive  I can hear  I like  I have  talking  now.  Which  h a v i n g them do  more o f i t , maybe some s t u d e n t s would make a comment, Why don't  you j u s t  g i v e i t us, i t s e a s i e r t h a t  say No, b e c a u s e t h e n we know, we l i k e  Then t h e y ' d have t o come  c l a s s and t h i n k e v e r y d a y  M.M.:  into  which, a t t i m e s , and y o u ' l l  t h e y had t o be t h e r e  everyday.  What does c o n t r u c t i v i s m mean t o you and what's  v a l u a b l e about  what happened i n y o u r  KATHY: T r o u b l e i s , I kept whole t h i n g ,  classroom?  reminding myself through the  I know t h a t t e a c h e r i s g o i n g t o come about  nouns a r e and t h a t my p a t h  i s n o t t o g i v e them t h e  concepts that concepts  I want so t h a t  what  into  my c l a s s r o o m w i t h c o n c e p t s  old  I'd  I'm d o i n g t h e work, n o t y o u . Yea,  that.  n o t e , on t h a t u n i t  way.  v e r b s a r e o r what  them t o l e a r n b u t t o change will  r e p l a c e h i s w i t h mine.  a l r e a d y have t h e ones I want.  115  their I  M.M.:  How d i d you g e t a t t h e i r  c o n c e p t s when t h e y  come  in.  KATHY: How we d i d i t was we r e a d them a p i e c e o f g a r b l e d w r i t i n g and a s k e d them what was wrong w i t h would s a y i t d o e s n ' t make sense, o r t h e y s p e c i f i c s b u t i t sounded f i n e t h e f i r s t Grammar i s a u n i t t h a t , n o t l i k e  i t .  d i d n ' t g e t any t i m e you r e a d .  the science  t h e r e might be whole bunch o f m i s c o n c e p t i o n s universe,  M.M.:  grammar i s a b i t h a r d e r  u n i t where about t h e  t o get a t .  Can you t h i n k o f any one t h a t you c o u l d g e t a t .  KATHY: The nouns, g e t t i n g them away from p e r s o n , or t h i n g . a label  M.M.:  I've j u s t  picked this  up from  f o r something.  So a l o t o f k i d s would come i n w i t h  KATHY: J u s t p e r s o n , p l a c e  what  or thing.  And you somehow b r o a d e n e d t h e i r  116  place  (Rose) t h a t i t s  conception?  M.M.:  They  concept?  KATHY: Yes, and t h o s e t h a t t h e y don't  think of.  w i t h t h o s e words. about  them.  They don't  c o n f u s e d them.  of  them t h a t  know what t o do  They s e e them and t h e y ' r e n o t s u r e  I t h i n k I've g o t t e n t h r o u g h  on t h e t e s t  t h e y would l o o k a t t h e t e s t these kids are s t i l l  KATHY: The t o u g h  that  the kids,  and s a y a c r o s s t h e b o a r d  weak i n t h i s  area, o r . . .  one was p r e p o s i t i o n a l p h r a s e s .  those are d i f f i c u l t  anyways.  But  I d i d n ' t use them t o o  much, t h e r e were o n l y t h r e e o f t h o s e t h a t  they had t o  But I gave them examples o f t h e q u e s t i o n s -  t h e y worked on and t h e y s t i l l t h o s e were  t o most  way.  Was t h e r e something  pick out.  ideas  They o f t e n t h i n k t h e i r v e r b s , t o be w i s e so  it  M.M.:  a r e nouns t o o , more a b s t r a c t  d i d n ' t g e t them.  So,  tough.  M.M.:  Would you r e d e s i g n y o u r u n i t  that,  or. . .  KATHY: I don't know t h e y ' v e  know how i m p o r t a n t  then,  so t h e y ' d g e t  that part i s .  been e x p o s e d t o i t so n e x t  y e a r when t h e y  have grammar t h e y might, you know be i n t h e r e  117  You  somewhere.  M.M.:What, i f a n y t h i n g , d o i n g now  KATHY: The and  or i n the  has  w r i t i n g too, but own  e v e r y w h e r e so  else  impact  on what  i d e a s and I  they  d i s c u s s i n g them f i r s t  tried  got  together  t o do  that with  v e r y n e r v o u s when t h e y  w r i t i n g t o someone.  That  don't  i n the  and  t h e onus on  happens  like  doing that.  I  classroom,  that w i l l  someone  But  I t h i n k more  take  i t away from  classroom,  or i n your  KATHY: Not  t h i n k i n g t h a t whatever I  your  preparation?  o r w h a t e v e r book we  use  say  i s going to  i s going to s t i c k .  sink  That's  the b i g g e s t t h i n g .  M.M.: plan  That  me  them.  M.M.:' What v a l u e does c o n s t r u c t i v i s m i n e i t h e r  in  have t o  I don't know what t h e answer i s t h e r e .  sharing put  before  their  i t s very personal t o read t h e i r w r i t i n g t o so t h e y  you're  future?  t h e y b r i n g them t o me.  think  an  b i g g e s t t h i n g i s the k i d s working  sharing their  read t h e i r  had  must have had  your l e s s o n .  118  a major impact  on t h e way  you  KATHY: Oh y e s , t h e y were r e a d y f o r a l l t h e d i f f e r e n t angles. work.  We have t o have,  i t t h i s way.  work i s t h e r e , little  especially  i n grammar,  the p o t e n t i a l  f o r group work.  h a r d e r t o a p p r o a c h b u t I can s t i l l  What l i m i t a t i o n s  approach that  are there  and  tired  look  It'sa  use the ideas with people.  i n the c o n s t r u c t i v i s t  you ?  KATHY: By t h e end o f t h e grammar little  well  I'm d o i n g a n o v e l now and t h e group  as f a r as group work, s h a r i n g y o u r answers  M.M.:  doesn't  A l o t o f i t you do on a moment so i f t h e k i d  doesn't g e t something, at  w e l l what i f t h i s  unit  o f so much group work.  I was g e t t i n g a I t s more  i t s more e x h a u s t i n g f o r us, t o o .  difficult  Sure t h e k i d s a r e  w o r k i n g t o g e t h e r b u t y o u ' r e m o n i t o r i n g them, and what i f the  group  i s not heading i n the r i g h t  direction,  have t o k i n d o f t u r n them a r o u n d so I would freguently.  They were g e t t i n g  sure f o r a while. all  you  use i t l e s s  ? on i t t o g e t t h e r e  I'm  I don't know i f I ' d want t o u s e i t  t h e t i m e , e v e r y day, b u t c e r t a i n l y  activities.  119  for specific  M.M.:  How  d i d you  f e e l i n terms o f t h e  were e x p e r i m e n t i n g  KATHY: A t is  my  first  really  well,  g o i n g t o be left it,  about  we  filled in.  t o l d the kids  last  And  t h e n we I said  well  I  was  a while I  I t h i n k they f e l t  really,  because  i t was  I was  people are r e l y i n g  on you but  something  about  new.  frame,  I t h i n k t h a n Math o r a n o t h e r  120  said  we  test  y e a r t h a n t h e y were that.  But i t  grammar  unit  alone,  i t didn't bother  out  were  i t and  back we  not w o r k i n g  trying  fine.  We  we  and you've a l l  good about  and  I've  mind  and g e t some new  more committed t o my  an e x p e r i m e n t  anything  I didn't  remember way  t h e marks a r e b e t t e r t h i s  didn't  So  kind of forgot  I t h i n k i t s been a good one  year.  right  i n beginning that  were d o i n g k i n d o f an e x p e r i m e n t  improved,  this  n e x t y e a r when t h e y have grammar i t s a l l  t h e n a t t h e end  results,  get the  t h a t but then a f t e r  out w i l l p r o b a b l y be  doing t h i s .  I thought  r e f r e s h e d f o r them anyways and  in fact,  you  g o i n g have t o g i v e i t t o them and  concerned  thought  because  What i f t h e y don't  I'm  that  class?  i t b o t h e r e d me,  o l d room.  answers and  i n your  fact  me,  have a more f l e x i b l e  time  s u b j e c t so i t was  M.M.: you or  So, i f you had a c l a s s and i t d i d n ' t go w e l l , do  remember a c l a s s  like  t h a t where i t d i d n ' t go w e l l ,  d i d you have a l o t o f s u c c e s s e s ?  KATHY: Yes, I was p l e a s e d w i t h a l l t h e c l a s s e s , my b l o c k F, w h i c h comes f i r s t ,  was o f t e n my b e t t e r  b e c a u s e t h a t ' s when I was r e a l l y  psyched  M.M.:  it  even.  But you know i t was h i g h e r .  from  last  What makes you t h i n k t h e grammar  year?  KATHY: The k i d s weren't g e t t i n g t h e end o f t h e u n i t you.  I  D i d one group s c o r e h i g h e r ?  was h i g h e r ?? What do you remember about  unit  group,  i t as much as my F.  KATHY: I t was about  M.M.:  class  f o r i t and t h e n  my b l o c k G, w h i c h a r e a l s o my more o b n o x i o u s was n o t i n t o  I found  it.  You'd a s k them a t  whats a noun and t h e y c o u l d n ' t  tell  Or what's a v e r b , t h e s e k i d s knew i t was an a c t i o n  word b u t t h e y c o u l d n ' t t h i n k o f t h e word  121  verb.  M.M.:  In t h i s c a s e ,  f r o m what you s a i d ,  wasn't a mentor r e l a t i o n s h i p ,  i tdefinitely  i t was a p o s i t i v e  relationship.  KATHY: Y e s .  M.M.: year  Do you t h i n k t h a t ' s b e c a u s e y o u ' r e i n y o u r t h i r d and you b u i l t  KATHY: I t h i n k first up  year  confidence?  so and I've had t h e u n i t  where ??  I d i d n ' t have t h e grammar u n i t .  as you go a l o n g ,  M.M.  up some  During  You make i t  more o r l e s s .  the inservice,  going  back t o t h e f i r s t  morning, u s i n g metaphors, and t h e way we l o o k e d using  The  a t them  c o n s t r u c t i v i s m and I remember e v e r y b o d y went home  because they  were e x h a u s t e d from t h a t .  Can you t h i n k  back t o what i t was about t h a t p a r t i c u l a r m o r n i n g specifically  f o r you, what e f f e c t  that,  i t h a d on y o u .  I t made me t h i n k about p o s i t i v e  results.  Where a r e we  coming f r o m when we're up t h e r e  i n front  of the c l a s s .  Not  as much as w i t h  English  Phys E d I don't t h i n k b u t w i t h  I guess t h a t ' s t h e o n l y way I know how t o do i t  122  so now I've g o t a new s t r a t e g y let  the kids  definitely ourselves  M.M.:  come up w i t h t h e answers.  know I'm c h a n g i n g on t h a t  Do you t h i n k  piece,  Do you f e e l  process that  i t ' s one s t e p  towards  c o m f o r t a b l e making t h o s e  I'm s t a r t i n g  steps?  i t s the  o r math o r  going through a t h i n k i n g  T h a t ' s a major change  o f p e o p l e would f i n d you've s o r t  that.  to think  so much whether i t s t h e grammar u n i t  M.M.:  we p u t  t h e y can keep coming up w i t h answers and  whatever but t h e i r  that  of r o l l e d with  would be, i s i t j u s t  your  really it.  A lot  t h r e a t e n i n g but why  that  personality?  something t h a t  I've been l o o k i n g  123  quite  Can you t h i n k  i t s comfortable  time.  process.  f o r a l o tof people.  KATHY: I t h i n k  long  scale that  y o u ' r e a b i t l i k e ??  KATHY: Yes, d e f i n i t e l y .  not  So I know I  on.  KATHY: A l i t t l e  M.M.:  and I know i t works, t o  f o r me.  Maybe i t s  f o r or close t o f o ra  M.M.: that  When y o u ' r e t e a c h i n g strategy?  You. a l l u s e i t , o b v i o u s l y .  KATHY: We're t h e r e  f o r comments t h a t k i d s make.  might n o t be t h e r i g h t t h e y t h i n k about asking  M.M.:  answer b u t t h e r e ' s  i t and y o u ' r e j u s t  : Why do you t h i n k  something,  supervising.  They want t o . When we d i d ??  I f o r g o t t o do i t w i t h  the l i g h t ,  come on. process  excited,  The k i d s were e x c i t e d about  was, how we d i d t h i s w i t h  this  The k i d s t h i n k ,  answer may be wrong b u t t h i s  You v i s i t e d Let's  saying  i t .  their  The k i d s a r e why t h e y  w e l l you know, my  i s how I t h o u g h t  each o t h e r ' s  what  bulb  example and I  them a chance t o j u s t i f y  t h i n k what t h e y do.  choice.  when d i d you  s o r t o f t h i n g , when does t h e l i g h t  i t gives  I  one c l a s s b u t do you ??  knew i t was wrong so I had t o s c r a p  M.M.:  You're  that?  how d i d you, what was y o u r t h o u g h t p r o c e s s , see  It  How a r e t h e k i d s a t r e s p o n d i n g ?  KATHY: T h e y ' r e good. said,  how d i d you g u a l i f y u s i n g  classroom.  i t out.  T h a t was y o u r  say, i n ?? t h e y recommended you go i n t o  124  each others classroom.  How  would have been d i f f e r e n t t o go i n e a c h o t h e r s  KATHY: We  do you t h i n k t h e p r o j e c t  i f you had been t o l d you had  classroom.  might have been, we would have had t o been  more c o o r d i n a t e d as f a r as which l e s s o n  ???  and how  we  were g o i n g t o a p p r o a c h i t .  M.M.:  Do you t h i n k  collaboration  i t would have i n t e r f e r e d  with your  i n any way?  KATHY: I d o n ' t t h i n k would have l i k e d  so.  I f we were g o i n g t o do i t I  i t a little  l a t e r on i n t h e p r o j e c t .  wanted t o g e t c o m f o r t a b l e w i t h t h i s whole t h i n g first.  M.M.:  myself,  You k i n d o f have t o g e t warmed up t o i t .  don't t h i n k  i t would have r u i n e d  These a r e a l l ,  done t h e grammar u n i t next year.  again this  I  it.  similar year,  I  situations,  you've  you're both doing i t  You were a s k e d t o a g a i n g e t i n v o l v e d w i t h i t  would you say we've done t h i s u n i t do o r would you want new  and t h a t ' s a l l we  i n f o r m a t i o n o r would you have  enough t o work on o r would you be t i r e d  125  of  it.  can  KATHY:  I t h i n k we might want t o l o o k a t what a r e some  additional  s t r a t e g i e s but t h e r e ' s sure,  definitely  room f o r improvement.  M.M.:  How about g o i n g  KATHY: I don't to  there's  i n t o each o t h e r ' s  t h i n k t h a t would b o t h e r  f e e l more c o m f o r t a b l e ,  classroom?  me.  I'm  starting  t o o . My s t y l e and t h e way I  am.  M.M.:  Any f i n a l  thoughts  on t h e p r o j e c t .  KATHY: I d e f i n i t e l y t h i n k i t s been a r e a l l y experience.  M.M.: the  You c a n I t h i n k grow w i t h  this.  Can I r e a d you t h e metaphor t h a t you b r o u g h t t o  inservice.  I know t h e s e a r e metaphors, b u t maybe i f  I r e a d you s o m e t h i n g you c a n i n t e r r u p t feel  positive  really  s t r o n g l y about t h a t o r No, I don't  s t r o n g l y about t h a t . of t r a v e l . students  Your f i r s t  travel  guide  which  under t h e l e a d e r s h i p o f an  and companion.  126  feel  that  c h o i c e was t h e metaphor  The c u r r i c u l u m i s a r o u t e o v e r  will  experienced  and s a y Yes, I  KATHY: I t h i n k I'm s t i l l quite  so ...  M.M.:  Each t r a v e l l e r  will  journey s i n c e i t s e f f e c t of  the intelligence,  traveler  that  be a f f e c t e d d i f f e r e n t l y by t h e i s at least  as much a f u n c t i o n  i n t e r e s t s and i n t e n t  of the  as i t i s o f t h e c o n t o u r s o f t h e r o u t e .  KATHY: I t h i n k t h a t use  a guide, but the route i s not  still  a p p l i e s because t e a c h e r s , I  as a t e c h n i q u e and k i d s w i l l  they p o s s i b l y  can, h o p e f u l l y w i t h t h i s  g e t o u t as much as different  approach they've  g o t t e n more o u t o f i t and t h e y  grammar a l i t t l e  b e t t e r t h e n t h e y would have i f I had  done i t t h e same way I d i d l a s t guide because  M.M.:  year.  I was t h e i r  KATHY: They t a k e  tour?  i t i n , t h e y ask q u e s t i o n s o r I would  s o m e t h i n g o u t and s a y what i s t h i s ,  that's  so I t h i n k  closer.  I may be p l o t t i n g t h e i r their,  tour  I p o i n t e d o u t t h e ...  What do you t h i n k i s t h e g u i d e d  point  know  journey but u l t i m a t e l y  t h e y have t o come up w i t h t h e i r  127  own answers o r  definitions.  They're u s u a l l y doing i t themselves,  kind of a guide.  I l i k e that  128  metaphor.  I'm  PARTICIPANT PACKAGE  iARCM INTO FRACTIC] •Assumptions of the Study Constructivist Approach to Classroom Practice Teaching Teaching  Skills Strategies  *Peer Collaboration  129  A S S U M P T I O N S  O F  T H E  S T U D Y :  1. A n expert stance in teaching is less desirable than an experimentative, at times uncertain, approach to teaching. 2. Teaching as a reflective practitioner is desirable to an approach to teaching which involves an initial acquisition of skills and mastery of these skills. 3. Collaboration is desirable to isolation. 4. The acquisition and retention of new knowledge is a function of the existing cognitive structures of the learner. 5. A program of activities which allows the learner to construct knowledge is desirable to the transmissive approach to teaching (transferring a body of knowledge to the learner). 6. The ultimate desire is to improve the learning situation for students.  130  C O N S T R U C T I V I S T  A P P R O A C H  T O  A T E A C H I N G  E P I S O D E  (DRIVER A N D O L D H A M , 1986) a. Orientation - motivation towards a topic b. Elicitation of ideas - students to make prior ideas explicit c. Restructuring of ideas - conceptual capture and/ or conceptual exchange  USING A CONSTRUCTIVIST A P P R O A C H W I L L M E A N T H A T T E A C H I N G EPISODES W I L L :  1. Recognize that students' prior ideas are critical and must be addressed 2. Acknowledge that new knowledge w i l l be integrated, subsumed, or replaced by old information through conceptual change, and that this must be facilitated by the teacher 3. Recognize that learning is not a passive activity. The student must be actively involved in the process of conceptual capture or exchange.  131  WAIT TIME  - A n important skill for the Constructivist approach  1. Frame the question to the class. Although the activity may begin with lower order questions, it is best suited for critical thinking questions. 2. Wait for students to process the information. Wait for a majority of hands before you call on one student to answer. 3. When the student has answered, wait-they may want to elaborate. Or, encourage a further response either from the student or ask is someone else would like to explain the answer further. 4. Think - how can you encourage more responses? How can you take the fear out of incorrect responses? How can you respond to incorrect responses that acknowledges the effort of the student and is not discouraging or  132  CONSTRUCTIVISM - Conceptual Capture or Exchange Lesson - elicitation of students prior ideas. Focus on correct and incorrect student responses. ( Y o u may want to audiotape a segment of the lesson). Was there an answer that surprised you? What was it?  What concept(s)/information does the student have that may explain this response?  Is this concept held by other students? could you ascertain this information?  If you are not sure how  I N C O R R E C T R E S P O N S E -  H O W could you facilitate conceptual exchange? What would you do to lower the status of the student's ideas and raise the status of the desirable concept?  133  CONCEPTUAL CAPTURE The student w i l l find the new information in agreement with their prior knowledge. How w i l l you facilitate the linking and hence capture of the new information/concept.  134  CONSTRUCTIVIST APPROACH - PRIOR IDEAS L E S S O N : ELICITATION OF STUDENTS' PRIOR IDEAS What activity do you propose as an introduction to a unit that will encourage a number of students to formalize concepts and ideas? This may include any teaching strategy or pretest, brainstorming activity, cooperative activity which may define pretest types of questions, written assignment.  If the activity involves student responses in class, how will you encourage all responses, including incorrect responses? How will you respond to incorrect responses in a way that is encourages elaboration of the thinking behind an incorrect response?  How  w i l l you collect information for analysis?  When w i l l you meet with your partner to discuss the results?  135  INDUCTIVE THINKING - PLANNING GUIDE P H A S E 1 A C T I V I T Y : T H E D A T A SET Describe the data set to be used in this lesson. W i l l you provide the data set or have students collect data? If the latter, what w i l l be the sources of information they w i l l use?  What do you want students to gain from this classification task? What, in your opinion are the critical attributes of the data set? What categories do you bring to the set?  PHASE 2 ACTIVITY - WORKING COOPERATIVELY/CONCEPT FORMATION Are the students familiar with the inductive model? Do they need training with respect to any aspect of the process - do students know how to group? What would be the specific instructions that you would give with the task?  136  How  will you organize students for the categorizing activity?  PHASE 3 ACTIVITY Although you w i l l not know during your planning what categories the students will form, make a guess about possible categories they might construct, and then write two sample questions that would explore cause-effect relationships between those groups.  If students were successful in making inferences and conclusions about their data, the teacher may wish to push them a step further and ask them to predict consequences from their data by asking "What would happen if..." kinds of questions. Write one or two examples of hypothetical questions you might ask students about this data set.  137  CONCEPT ATTAINMENT - PLANNING GUIDE FOR LESSON What concept is the objective of the lesson? What are its defining attributes? What kind of data will be presented to the students? Is the information or concept new to the students?  Are the students familiar with the process of concept attainment. What instructions will you give with the activity?  Write a positive exemplar and a negative exemplar. Is the concept clear in the positive exemplar and absent from the negative exemplar?  Once a concept has been constructed by the students it may need a name - the teacher may need to supply the technical or common term. How will you connect the technical term with the concept attributes.  13 8  A p p l i c a t i o n requires that students determine whether further exemplars fit the concept and, perhaps, to find examples of their own. H o w w i l l you provide further experience with the concept? Describe the assignment or activity.  139  COOPERATIVE LEARNING - PLANNING GUIDE How will you organize the class for this teaching episode? How many groups of what sizes will be selected?  How  w i l l memberships be determined?  What w i l l be your instructional strategy?  Define the task for the students.  How will cooperative groups be used during the teaching episode? What w i l l be the responsibility of members of the cooperative groups - do they work on the same task or different tasks? W i l l the cooperative group report back to the teacher or to the class?  140  COLLABORATIVE PLANNING Tasks: 1. Planning the unit of lessons. Approximate timeline, approximate dates of lessons. 2. Planning when meetings between the peer coaching team members will occur. Teams may want to meet weekly. Teams may want to meet during SSR time or other times. Please establish schedule. 3. Videotaping, team teaching and/or visitations. These should coincide with a trial of a new teaching strategy or activity. The purpose is to observe the students during learning and give feedback about the learning situation for students, not the teaching. If videotaping, please videotape the students. The learning situation for the students is our focus when determining the effectiveness of a teaching episode. Recognize that teaching is very complex - other factors may interfere with predicted results. 4. Group meeting with all of the peer coaching teams for a progress report and to trouble-shoot - date and time. 5. There is an additional half-day of sub costs still available. This can be used i f the peer teams are having difficulties and need to revamp their work. We may use it to meet at the end of the project to get your feedback and conclusions about the constructivist theory in the classroom and peer coaching. This date will be determined.  141  


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