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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 this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of DE-6 (2/88) A B S T R A C T 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. i i Data for this study was gained by fol lowing a study group of six secondary teachers from three curricular disciplines over a time period of three months. Group interviews during the study and individual interviews at the end of the study were collected and transcribed. The responses of the participants to the research questions are reported in detail in an effort to preserve the contextual influences. Through these responses the reader can enter into the individuals ' thought processes as participants reflect upon their personal experiences with the challenge of change. The findings of this study support and extend the literature on important components and influences to staff development. In particular, this study gained further insight into: 1. how a constructivist approach can be translated into a model of staff development 2. how influences, such as peer collaboration and peer support enhanced a change in classroom practice. 3. how a change incorporating a constructivist approach to teaching is more l ike ly to be assimilated by an individual who has a transactional or transformational orientation to curr iculum. A transmissive orientation to teaching acts as somewhat of a barrier to the conceptual change of a constructivist approach. 4. how the motivation and teacher satisfaction for participating in change is determined to a degree by perceived improvements in learning by students. i i i 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 O F C O N T E N T S • - ; ; 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 1.1 Educational Significance of the Study 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 8 C H A P T E R T W O R E V I E W O F T H E L I T E R A T U R E 9 2.1 Introduction 9 2.2 Features of Staff Development Programs 1 0 2.2 Critical Aspects Influencing a Model for Staff Development 12 2.2.1 Teachers as Action Researchers 13 2.2.2 Adult Learning Within the Teaching Culture 1 6 2.2.3 The Focus Stage of Staff Development 1 9 2.2.4 Collegial collaboration 2 2 2.3 Research and Classroom Practice 2 3 2.3.1 Constructivist theory into classroom practice. 2 4 2.3.2 Teaching Strategies 2 6 2.4 Evaluation of the Results - Qualitative Research 2 7 v C H A P T E R T H R E E M E T H O D O L O G Y 3 1 3.1 Introduction 3 1 3.2 Design and Context of the Study 3 2 3.2.1 In-service 3 4 3.3 Data Collection 3 7 3.4 Data Analysis- Responsive Evaluation of a Model for Staff Development 3 8 C H A P T E R F O U R R E S U L T S 4 0 4.1 Introduction 4 0 4.2 Participants of the Study 4 1 4.2.1 Teaml- Mathematics 4 2 4.2.2 Team 2-English 4 2 4.2.3 Team 3- Science 4 3 4.3 Summaries for Individual Participants of the Study 4 4 4.3.1 Case Study #1 Bob (Math) 4 4 4.3.2 Case Study #2 Kathy (English) 5 1 4.3.3 Case Study #3 Barry (Science) 5 6 4.3.4 Case Study #4 Rose (English) 6 1 v i 4.2.5 Case Study #5 Jeff (Math) 6 8 4.2.6 Case Study #6 Margo (Science) 6 9 C H A P T E R F I V E D I S C U S S I O N . R E C O M M E N D A T I O N S  I M P L I C A T I O N S 7 3 5.1 Introduction 7 3 5.2 Discussion of the Research Findings 7 4 5.2.1 A constructivist approach to staff development 7 5 5.2.2 Methodologies 7 8 5.2.3 The teacher as an action researcher 7 9 5.2.4 Teacher satisfaction 8 1 5.2.5 Peer support and peer collaboration 8 2 5.2.6 Evidence that students bring their own constructs 8 5 5.3 Conclusions 8 6 5.4 Recommendations and Implications 9 1 5.5 Suggestions for Further Research 9 4 5.6 Concluding Remarks 9 5 REFERENCES 9 7 APPENDIX 102 v i i 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. v i i i C H A P T E R O N E T H E P R O B L E M A N D 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. As 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. By 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 strategies 2. teacher collaboration 2 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 in Staff D e v e l o p m e n t 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 skil l 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 wi l l 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. Often the new information may find conflict rather than acceptance. "Systems of intuitive knowledge are dynamically conservative, actively defended and highly resistant to change. 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 are  important components towards changing attitudes or beliefs about  classroom practice. 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 or new instructional approach. 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 of students. Gusky and Thomas(1985) 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 growth. Since supervision of 5 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 desirable knowledge, skills and attitudes for students. They brainstorm instructional approaches. 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 the complexities in designing and facilitating 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 wi l l assesses various components of the staff development project using teacher responses to identified issues concerned with the process of staff development. 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 C H A P T E R T W O R E V I E W O F T H E L I T E R A T U R E 2.1 In t roduc t ion 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 supports the concepts which the study group put into practice. 9 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 g r a m s "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 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 routines. 3. "enhancement" function. Enhancement staff 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 1 1 accomplishment of program objectives and self-reported satisfaction of 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 n c e " F u n c t i o n 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 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 literature. 14 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 wi l l 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 studies: 1. Focus - 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 wi 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. Any 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 wi 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. Mil ler (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. At 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 Mil ler 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 to assist teachers in identifying their preferred 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: Ah , 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 if it is harmonious with the individuals' constructs. New information which is in disharmony with personal constructs wi l l 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. Values, norms and premises set the stage. 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 wi l l 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 to instructional design and delivery. 23 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 e C h a l l e n g e s f o r 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 far-reaching effect on a teacher's approach to a lesson or a unit of lessons. The teacher's attitude to the approach wi l l depend on the value of the constructivist approach he/she sees as compared to the presently practiced teaching approach, and its accessibility. Fullan 25 (1982) identifies two important attributes of innovations in classroom practice: value and technical soundness. Individuals wi 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. Novak(1977) has evolved the process of concept mapping. And the work of Joyce and 26 Weil (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 wi l l fail if the new information cannot be seen as having value and if 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 f t h e R e s u l t s - Q u a l i t a t i v e R e s e a r c h 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 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, wi l l 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 wi l l have to present the research in a manner that practitioners can relate to and interact with. This brings us full circle 29 to a constructivist approach and the recognition that a constructivist approach is not limited to the pupils of the practitioner. 30 C H A P T E R T H R E E M E T H O D O L O G Y ...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 I n t r o d u c t i o n The naturalistic paradigm was used for this study due to the complex and context-dependent nature of the staff development process. 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 3 1 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. The teachers of the study group were all staff members of a secondary school in British Columbia. The five teachers volunteered to participate in a study where the focus was the process of staff development. For the 32 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 Wei l (1986) on a designated professional day. Two staff members (both members of the study group) presented and demonstrated teaching skills and strategies acquired by attending the Joyce and Showers Summer Institute in 1988. Skills included cooperative 34 learning, framing questions and wait time. Strategies included mnemonics, concept attainment and inductive reasoning. The 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 skil l . 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. Metaphors were used to open 35 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 in making sense of 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 Collect ion 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 Data Analysis- Responsive Evaluat ion of a Mode l for Staff 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 C H A P T E R F O U R R E S U L T S 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 wi 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, wi 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. By using this approach it is hoped that other practitioners wi 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 professional development. ±2 Part icipants of the 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. Her background is in physical education. 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 approach. 4.2.3 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. During the four weeks of the study, Barry and the principal researcher experienced each other's classes, designed lessons and experimented with new teaching strategies. 4 3 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 curr iculum. 4.3 Summaries for Individual 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 i l ls . On the continuum of teacher-focused to student-focused approach to curriculum, this metaphor strongly suggests a preference to teacher centered education. Bob expressed concern that although in his math class he tended to be teacher-centered, as the metaphor suggested, he would prefer to be student focused. 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. At 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. It blinded me..." 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. Skil ls/ 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. They were not able to do that; 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-to-below-average students during the re-test: "Scores were significantly better. There were increases of approximately 20-30%...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 4 9 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 approach and new teaching strategies Kathy stated: "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 wi l l probably be filled in. So I didn't mind it, in fact." 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 strategies in the unit they designed for grammar. 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 5 1 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. We did verbs. 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. But now we get excited about things, when kids get it." 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: "my task is not 53 to give them concept that I want them to learn but to change their old concepts so that they wi l l 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. They don't know what to do with those words. 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... By 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 teacher-centered learning to students centered saying "I like it. The noise level goes up. 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' Then they'd have to come into class and think everyday." 5 4 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. I guess that's the only way I know how to do it. 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: " At 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?' ... You 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. I thought it looked like it had some value. I wasn't gung ho, hey, I'm going to do this, right away. It looked to me like something that would be useful. 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 ' l l 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. I 5 9 may just spend just a little bit more time to ask that question that wi 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. Rose acknowledged a change from teacher-centered to student centered is accompanied by insecurity. 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, It is the student's responsibility. 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 dri l l , 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 6 3 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. I don't think I view it as two different things." 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". This thought repeated 64 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. It was totally the opposite direction of how I had worked before. In the past when I had done that (grammar unit) we really worked on knowing the definitions and I emphasized if 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. I was really excited about that. It made me realize, it made me realize, how stupid the definition is and my over-dependence 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. That is the bottom line of working with somebody else: 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. The thoughts of the researcher 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 7 1 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 . A N D I M P L I C A T I O N S 5.1 I n t r o d u c t i o 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' perceptions 73 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 learner-focused 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. The research 7 4 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 prescriptive. 5.2.1 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 if 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 with student achievement Improvements 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 that adjustments would improve the effectiveness 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 wi l l take is a provocative research question worthy of further study. 5.2.6 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 ski l l , strategy, and concept introduced during the research project. However, Fullan (1982) explains that this vision makes for the difference between educational bandwagons and effective educational 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 some benefit. The most beneficial approach consists in our being able to understand the process of change, locate our place in it, and act by influencing those factors which are changeable and by minimiz ing the power of those which are not. A l l of this requires a way of thinking about educational change which has not been characteristic of either planners or vict ims of past change efforts, (p 88) It was to elaborate on the personal 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 that brought us to this study. To investigate a model of staff development meant introducing or elaborating concepts, s k i l l , and strategies of effective classroom practice as defined by the educational research to the participants. The chosen area of educational research included ski l ls , strategies and theories of education a l l related to a learner-focused education including wait time, cooperative education, inductive lessons, and the constructivist theory of 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 which found their way into classroom practice, and to ask how it was that these ideas found passage into practice, while other ideas were 86 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, skil l , 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 wi 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 learner-focused 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 alternative approaches...(p 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 understanding the 88 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 skil l or strategy if 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 'teacher culture', "...there are some deep changes at stake, once we realize that people's basic conception of education and skills are involved-that 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. 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. Learning thus involves connecting new ideas to previous knowledge, often subconsciously. Opportunities to reflect upon one's beliefs and knowledge are important for successful learning. Sometimes, learning results in the individual changing his or her conceptual framework in very significant 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 a t i o n s 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 wi l l have to make way for 90 the new philosophies and ideologies. The focus on content-driven curriculum wi l l share space with social concerns. The presently preferred teacher-centered curriculum wi l l be transformed to learner-centered. The century old organizational structure of schools wi l l now give rise to new innovations. Educators wi l l be responsible for developing a more informed, new age curriculum for all students. A starting point to all this change wil l 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 wi l l begin with individual teachers and staffs of schools. The greatest challenge, as perceived by many, wil l 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 wi l l have as its premise continuous progress of students and a de-emphasis 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 wi l l be. No longer can we assume that this wi l l be a by-product of a political era. It is here and change is imminent. 9 1 Thus the research of staff development becomes timely. The models developed wi l l receive many opportunities to be tested on different educational sites with different educational issues. Educators wi l l 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 wi l l 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 wi l l 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 wi l l 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 wi l l mean to include different elements to the total program so that it wi l l be challenging to all individuals. Change is likely to be of an evolutionary, not cataclysmic nature. 5.5 Suggestions for Fur ther 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 wi l l 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. These two aspects alone tend to 95 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, wi l l 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. 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(1989) 101 APPENDIX Curriculum Metaphors 103 Interview Questions 105 Interview (Sample) 108 Staff Development Handout 129 102 CURRICULUM METAPHORS INSTRUCTIONS: Listed below are five metaphors describing approaches to curriculum. Please read them carefully and then select one that best reflects your personal views. A. 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 M E T A P H O R 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 - INTERVIEW QUESTIONS 1. What are teachers perceptions about the c o n s t r u c t i v i s t approach i n p r a c t i c e ? S p e c i f i c questions may i n c l u d e : a) What form does the c o n s t r u c t i v i s t approach take i n p r a c t i c e ( y o u r classroom)? b) Was there c o n f i r m a t i o n i n p r a c t i c e of the n o t i o n that students have p r i o r ideas? c) Was there confirmation i n p r a c t i c e of the n o t i o n of misconceptions? d) Was there confirmation i n p r a c t i c e that concepts can be i n t e g r a t e d , or exchanged with other concepts w i t h i n the conceptual l e a r n e r ' s framework? e) What are the strengths of using the c o n s t r u c t i v i s t approach to teaching a concept? f) What are the l i m i t i n g f a c t o r s a s s o c i a t e d with using the c o n s t r u c t i v i s t approach to teaching a concept? g) what adaptations have you made or are c o n s i d e r i n g making t o the c o n s t r u c t i v i s t approach to best make i t f i t your subject area? 2. What i s the perception of teachers towards a lengthened i n s e r v i c e and c o l l a b o r a t i v e planning? S p e c i f i c guestions may i n c l u d e : a) The length and format of i n s e r v i c e - what recommendations are there f o r improvement? b) E a r l y c o l l a b o r a t i o n between the i n d i v i d u a l s of the peer support group- what hindrances were there? 105 3. What are the perceptions of teachers towards peer support- both from an personal experience and a p r o f e s s i o n a l development experience? S p e c i f i c questions may i n c l u d e : a) How i n v o l v e d were you with the o v e r a l l p l a n n i n g of the u n i t with your partner? b) How was the d a i l y time best used when meeting with your partner? c) Did the c o l l e g i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p extend i n t o the classroom- i e v i s i t s ? d) Did the c o l l e g i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p increase, or improve p r o f e s s i o n a l dialogue? e) What are there b e n e f i t s t o peer support, i f any? f) What can you foresee as being some of the problems a s s o c i a t e d with forming a new pa r t n e r s h i p ? g) What was your prime focus i n the c o l l e g i a l r e l a t i o n s h i p ? h) Did peer support a s s i s t you i n adopting a c o n s t r u c t i v i s t method of teaching as o u t l i n e d i n the i n s e r v i c e ? i) I f your partner v i s i t e d your classroom, how would you summarize t h i s experience? j) I f you v i s i t e d your partner's classroom, how would you summarize t h i s experience? k) I f you have experience with c l i n i c a l s u p e r v i s i o n , how would t h i s experience compare? 1) What motivated you to begin t h i s study, and continue with i t t o the duration? m) What i s your p e r c e p t i o n about the experience- would you embark on i t again? n) Does the peer support experience have value t o an e n t i r e s t a f f ? E x p l a i n . 106 RESEARCH QUESTIONS - ANALYSIS OF AUDIORECORDINGS OF DAILY MEETINGS a) Are aspects of the c o n s t r u c t i v i s t p e r s p e c t i v e to teaching lessons mentioned i n the d a i l y dialogue? b) Are there other i s s u e s other than c o n s t r u c t i v i s m that tend t o r e c e i v e more d i s c u s s i o n ? c) Are teachers r e f l e c t i n g about t h e i r own teaching during the d a i l y dialogues? Are teachers able t o v e r b a l i z e some of t h e i r i m p l i c i t knowledge about teaching during these dialogues? 107 .APPENDIX 3: T r a n s c r i b e d audiotape of p a r t i c i p a n t i n t e r v i e w INTERVIEW: KATHY M.M: This i s s o r t of inform a l , I have a l o t questions but there's no A,B,C's, I'd ra t h e r j u s t get your input and I ' l l s t a r t o f f with some of your viewpoints about what has happened over the l a s t few weeks. When d i d you f i n i s h the p r o j e c t ? 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 almost e x a c t l y the same t e s t as l a s t year and the marks t h i s year were much higher and I thin k I had maybe 3 or 4 i n each c l a s s that didn't pass and those were ki d s that had l e a r n i n g d i s a b i l i t i e s . I was r e a l l y p l e a s e d with the marks and I t o l d the c l a s s t h a t . One t h i n g I've n o t i c e d with the p r o j e c t encouraging even wrong answers i s that the kids seem a l o t more secure about being there and they don't, more hands are up, I've n o t i c e d . 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 out of i t . M.M.: Higher t e s t scores, t e l l us some other things that c o n t r i b u t e d t o higher t e s t scores. Can you thin k of 108 anything you've been doing d i f f e r e n t l y that you say Yes, I'm p r e t t y sure that that has had an e f f e c t . KATHY: I th i n k working with t h e i r peers that there i s a l o t more group work and that they may have homework but when they come back the next day they have t o d i s c u s s t h e i r answers with a person i n the c l a s s . I ended up l e t t i n g them work with people they wanted to work with and i t was u s u a l l y p a i r s . That was the best working combination ? Because i f a r e a l l y smart k i d was put with a not as b r i g h t k i d the slower k i d would j u s t s i t there because he didn't want to appear dumb. M.M.: They f e l t b e t t e r as long as they were together? KATHY: Yes, and they were kind of slow together but a l o t of marks improved and grammar i s u s u a l l y the u n i t when marks drop. M.M. : So you p r e t t y comfortable i n the r e s u l t s ? What so r t of t h i n g s would you do now that are d i f f e r e n t than the way you taught i t before? 109 KATHY: More student o r i e n t e d r a t h e r than me standing up there saying t h i s i s the d e f i n i t i o n of a noun - write t h i s down. We would give them an e x e r c i s e with d i f f e r e n t noun and they would have to t e l l you the word that i s used and the noun i s u n d e r l i n e d and they would have to come up with t h e i r own d e f i n i t i o n . So f o r both my c l a s s e s the d e f i n i t i o n was s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t . That's another t h i n g that has changed f o r me i s I'm not so concerned about having that d e f i n i t i o n , as long as t h e i r c l o s e . M.M.: Is your background i n E n g l i s h . KATHY: No, i t s S o c i a l Studies. M.M.: So t h i s E n g l i s h i s new to you and a l s o you're i n a p a r t n e r s h i p . How d i d you f e e l when t h i s was going on. KATHY: At f i r s t I was r e a l l y , you s t a r t to doubt y o u r s e l f . Oh God, I'm not competent enough to do t h i s but ... I t was more c h a l l e n g i n g to work with someone because they were r e l y i n g on you to do your part but our u n i t was much b e t t e r because you would be s i t t i n g there 110 c h a t t i n g and a l l of sudden come up with an i d e a . Where someone would see something and you know, she would see something i n my lesson that, oh hey ... So i t was nice t o work with someone and I was more prepared f o r each c l a s s than I normally am and I th i n k she f e l t the same way. M.M.: Even though you are the rookie teacher here, because you are new p a r t i c u l a r l y i n terms of E n g l i s h , you found that c o l l a b o r a t i o n had i t s own meaning to you and so i f you had to def i n e i t , why was i t s u c c e s s f u l and why d i d i t make you f e e l good? KATHY: It gives you a l i t t l e more confidence, e s p e c i a l l y when Renata would say Oh, thats a r e a l l y good idea, I never thought of i t . That makes me f e e l more sure of myself as 'far as my a b i l i t y , I know I s t i l l have a l o t to l e a r n but I'm heading i n the r i g h t d i r e c t i o n . M.M.: So you f e l t l i k e an equal partner i n the c o l l a b o r a t i o n . KATHY: D e f i n i t e l y . At f i r s t I didn't but i t f i n i s h e d , t h a t ' s f o r sure. 1 1 1 M.M. We use the word p r o f e s s i o n a l dialogue t o t a l k about the co n v e r s a t i o n you have with your colleagues and o b v i o u s l y your dialogue with (Rose) was d i f f e r e n t i n i t i a l l y because of the p r o j e c t . Can you t h i n k back t o your p r o f e s s i o n a l dialogue before the p r o j e c t , d u r i n g the p r o j e c t , and a f t e r the p r o j e c t . Was i t p r e t t y much as what you've di s c u s s e d and what you've d i s c u s s e d and the length of d i s c u s s i o n . Sometimes they say we have between 3 and 7 minutes of p r o f e s s i o n a l dialogue a day, would t h a t have been a f i g u r e that would f i t you or not f i t you. KATHY: At the beginning I think we t a l k e d a b i t more because we were t r y i n g to keep t r a c k and pace i t and i n the end we were missing c l a s s e s and t h i n g s , we got a l i t t l e out of synch. But we u s u a l l y ended up t a l k i n g a f t e r almost every lesson and ? We were e x c i t e d about i t . I r e a l l y n o t i c e d that the kids were f e e l i n g more comfortable i n c l a s s and not worrying so much about wrong answers. I r e a l l y l i k e d t h a t . I n o t i c e d a change i n them from September. But now we get e x c i t e d about t h i n g s , when kids got i t . 112 M.M.: Would you have wanted more of the c o l l a b o r a t i o n , f o r example has the p r o j e c t been designed that you two were i n each others classrooms. Do you see a problem with that or were you ready f o r i t them, are you ready f o r i t now? KATHY: I don't th i n k I would have minded. I get a l i t t l e nervous and I think so does (Rose) so we didn't r e a l l y f o r c e t h i s on each other, we didn't see each others c l a s s e s . I f e l t we worked together j u s t enough, without making i t a super time commitment. I f e l t we d i d enough. M.M.: Going back, your partner attended that i n s e r v i c e during the summer as w e l l . Did you make use of her e x p e r t i s e i n that area or d i d you s t i l l ? and j u s t look at content or process. KATHY: I thin k we d i d a b i t both, because we t r i e d concept attainment. M.M.: And what d i d you th i n k about that? 113 KATHY: I r e a l l y l i k e d i t . I t put more onus on the kids again and i t was the smart kids that got r e a l l y nervous about i t , what we t a l k e d about before and i t was kind of neat. You don't l i k e t o f e e l l i k e t h at, but they would get r e a l l y bothered by i t , everybody e l s e knows the concept and they're ? They're almost t h i n k i n g too much, they're l o o k i n g f o r something r e a l l y complicated. One t h i n g with the concept ? some kids j u s t don't l e t go. When you've proven t h e i r concept wrong, they hang on to i t even though i t keeps f a i l i n g time and time again t h e y ' l l hang on so when you ask, O.K. what i s i t we're g e t t i n g a t, they j u s t don't know. Even when you c l a r i f y i t they s t i l l hang on to i t . We d i d verbs. We had p o s i t i v e examples connected with verb sentences or ? sentences without. They wouldn't l e t go, i t would f a i l . There was no a c t i o n i n the sentence and they wouldn't see i t but they'd ignore t h a t . Once i t was e x p l a i n e d t o them they'd go, Oh yea. They want to have something that they can put there. We d i d that and we a l s o d i d some concept attainment. Those were things that were not expl a i n e d t o me during the days. M.M.: How d i d you f e e l a f t e r the concept attainment? 114 KATHY: I l i k e i t . The noise l e v e l goes up. I can hear i t , i t ' s c o n s t r u c t i v e noise so I don't mind. Now I have to get them t o r e l a x again and l i s t e n when I'm t a l k i n g but ? they know what I'm doing i n the c l a s s now. Which I t h i n k i s r e a l p o s i t i v e f o r us. I l i k e having them do more of i t , maybe some students would make a comment, Why don't you j u s t give i t us, i t s e a s i e r that way. I'd say No, because then I'm doing the work, not you. Yea, we know, we l i k e t h a t . Then they'd have t o come i n t o c l a s s and thi n k everyday which, at times, and y o u ' l l note, on that u n i t they had to be there everyday. M.M.: What does c o n t r u c t i v i s m mean to you and what's val u a b l e about what happened i n your classroom? KATHY: Trouble i s , I kept reminding myself through the whole t h i n g , I know that teacher i s going to come i n t o my classroom with concepts about what verbs are or what nouns are and that my path i s not to give them the concepts that I want them to l e a r n but to change t h e i r o l d concepts so that w i l l r eplace h i s with mine. I already have the ones I want. 115 M.M.: How d i d you get at t h e i r concepts when they come i n . KATHY: How we d i d i t was we read them a p i e c e of garbled w r i t i n g and asked them what was wrong with i t . They would say i t doesn't make sense, or they d i d n ' t get any s p e c i f i c s but i t sounded f i n e the f i r s t time you read. Grammar i s a u n i t that, not l i k e the science u n i t where there might be whole bunch of misconceptions about the universe, grammar i s a b i t harder to get a t . M.M.: Can you t h i n k of any one that you could get a t . KATHY: The nouns, g e t t i n g them away from person, plac e or t h i n g . I've jus t p icked t h i s up from (Rose) that i t s a l a b e l f o r something. M.M.: So a l o t of kids would come i n with what conception? KATHY: Just person, plac e or t h i n g . M.M.: And you somehow broadened t h e i r concept? 116 KATHY: Yes, and those are nouns too, more a b s t r a c t ideas t h a t they don't think of. They don't know what t o do with those words. They see them and they're not sure about them. They o f t e n t h i n k t h e i r verbs, t o be wise so i t confused them. I thin k I've gotten through t o most of them that way. M.M.: Was there something on the t e s t that the k i d s , they would look at the t e s t and say across the board these k i d s are s t i l l weak i n t h i s area, o r . . . KATHY: The tough one was p r e p o s i t i o n a l phrases. But those are d i f f i c u l t anyways. I didn't use them too much, there were only three of those that they had to p i c k out. But I gave them examples of the questions -they worked on and they s t i l l d idn't get them. So, those were tough. M.M.: Would you redesign your u n i t then, so they'd get that, or. . . KATHY: I don't know how important that part i s . You know they've been exposed t o i t so next year when they have grammar they might, you know be i n there somewhere. 117 M.M.:What, i f anything, has had an impact on what you're doing now or i n the future? KATHY: The biggest t h i n g i s the kids working together and sharing t h e i r ideas and d i s c u s s i n g them f i r s t before they b r i n g them to me. I t r i e d to do that with t h e i r w r i t i n g too, but they got very nervous when they have to read t h e i r own w r i t i n g to someone. That happens everywhere so I don't know what the answer i s t h e r e . I t h i n k i t s very personal to read t h e i r w r i t i n g to someone e l s e so they don't l i k e doing t h a t . But I t h i n k more sharing i n the classroom, that w i l l take i t away from me and put the onus on them. M.M.:' What value does c o n s t r u c t i v i s m i n e i t h e r your classroom, or i n your preparation? KATHY: Not t h i n k i n g that whatever I say i s going to sink i n or whatever book we use i s going to s t i c k . That's the b i g g e s t t h i n g . M.M.: That must have had a major impact on the way you plan your l e s s o n . 118 KATHY: Oh yes, they were ready f o r a l l the d i f f e r e n t angles. We have to have, w e l l what i f t h i s doesn't work. A l o t of i t you do on a moment so i f the k i d doesn't get something, e s p e c i a l l y i n grammar, w e l l look at i t t h i s way. I'm doing a novel now and the group work i s there, the p o t e n t i a l f o r group work. I t ' s a l i t t l e harder t o approach but I can s t i l l use the ideas as f a r as group work, sharing your answers with people. M.M.: What l i m i t a t i o n s are there i n the c o n s t r u c t i v i s t approach that you ? KATHY: By the end of the grammar u n i t I was g e t t i n g a l i t t l e t i r e d of so much group work. I t s more d i f f i c u l t and i t s more exhausting f o r us, too. Sure the kids are working together but you're monitoring them, and what i f the group i s not heading i n the r i g h t d i r e c t i o n , you have t o k i n d of turn them around so I would use i t l e s s f r e g u e n t l y . They were g e t t i n g ? on i t to get there I'm sure f o r a while. I don't know i f I'd want to use i t a l l the time, every day, but c e r t a i n l y f o r s p e c i f i c a c t i v i t i e s . 119 M.M.: How d i d you f e e l i n terms of the f a c t that you were experimenting i n your c l a s s ? KATHY: At f i r s t i t bothered me, because I thought t h i s i s my o l d room. What i f they don't get the r i g h t answers and I'm going have to give i t to them and I was r e a l l y concerned about that but then a f t e r a while I thought w e l l , next year when they have grammar i t s a l l going to be r e f r e s h e d f o r them anyways and anything I've l e f t out w i l l probably be f i l l e d i n . So I didn't mind i t , i n f a c t , we t o l d the ki d s i n beginning that we were doing t h i s . And then we kind of forgot about i t and then at the end I s a i d w e l l remember way back we s a i d we were doing k i n d of an experiment and get some new t e s t r e s u l t s , I t h i n k i t s been a good one and you've a l l improved, the marks are b e t t e r t h i s year than they were l a s t year. I t h i n k they f e l t good about t h a t . But i t didn' t r e a l l y , I was more committed to my grammar u n i t because i t was an experiment and not working alone, people are r e l y i n g on you but i t didn't bother me, t r y i n g out something new. We have a more f l e x i b l e time frame, I t h i n k than Math or another subject so i t was f i n e . 120 M.M.: So, i f you had a c l a s s and i t didn't go w e l l , do you remember a c l a s s l i k e that where i t didn't go w e l l , or d i d you have a l o t of successes? KATHY: Yes, I was pleased with a l l the c l a s s e s , I found my block F, which comes f i r s t , was o f t e n my b e t t e r c l a s s because t h a t ' s when I was r e a l l y psyched f o r i t and then my block G, which are a l s o my more obnoxious group, I was not i n t o i t as much as my F. M.M.: Did one group score higher? KATHY: It was about even. M.M.: But you know i t was higher. What makes you thin k i t was higher ?? What do you remember about the grammar u n i t from l a s t year? KATHY: The kids weren't g e t t i n g i t . You'd ask them at the end of the u n i t whats a noun and they couldn't t e l l you. Or what's a verb, these kids knew i t was an a c t i o n word but they couldn't t h i n k of the word verb. 121 M.M.: In t h i s case, from what you s a i d , i t d e f i n i t e l y wasn't a mentor r e l a t i o n s h i p , i t was a p o s i t i v e r e l a t i o n s h i p . KATHY: Yes. M.M.: Do you t h i n k t h a t ' s because you're i n your t h i r d year and you b u i l t up some confidence? KATHY: I t h i n k so and I've had the u n i t where ?? The f i r s t year I didn't have the grammar u n i t . You make i t up as you go along, more or l e s s . M.M. During the i n s e r v i c e , going back t o the f i r s t morning, using metaphors, and the way we looked at them us i n g c o n s t r u c t i v i s m and I remember everybody went home because they were exhausted from t h a t . Can you t h i n k back t o what i t was about that p a r t i c u l a r morning that, s p e c i f i c a l l y f o r you, what e f f e c t i t had on you. It made me t h i n k about p o s i t i v e r e s u l t s . Where are we coming from when we're up there i n f r o n t of the c l a s s . Not as much as with Phys Ed I don't t h i n k but with E n g l i s h I guess t h a t ' s the only way I know how to do i t 122 so now I've got a new st r a t e g y and I know i t works, to l e t the k i d s come up with the answers. So I know I d e f i n i t e l y know I'm changing on that s c a l e that we put ourselves on. M.M.: Do you th i n k you're a b i t l i k e ?? KATHY: A l i t t l e p i e c e , i t ' s one step towards t h a t . M.M.: Do you f e e l comfortable making those steps? KATHY: Yes, d e f i n i t e l y . I'm s t a r t i n g to t h i n k i t s the process that they can keep coming up with answers and not so much whether i t s the grammar u n i t or math or whatever but t h e i r going through a t h i n k i n g process. M.M.: That's a major change f o r a l o t of people. A l o t of people would f i n d that r e a l l y q u i t e t h r e a t e n i n g but you've s o r t of r o l l e d with i t . Can you th i n k why that would be, i s i t j u s t your p e r s o n a l i t y ? KATHY: I th i n k i t s comfortable f o r me. Maybe i t s something that I've been l o o k i n g f o r or c l o s e t o f o r a long time. 123 M.M.: When you're teaching how d i d you g u a l i f y u s i n g t h a t s t r a t e g y ? You. a l l use i t , o b v i o u s l y . KATHY: We're there f o r comments that k i d s make. It might not be the r i g h t answer but there's something, they t h i n k about i t and you're j u s t s u p e r v i s i n g . You're asking : Why do you thin k that? M.M.: How are the kids at responding? KATHY: They're good. They want t o . When we d i d ?? I s a i d , I for g o t t o do i t with one c l a s s but do you ?? how d i d you, what was your thought process, when d i d you see the l i g h t , s o r t of t h i n g , when does the l i g h t bulb come on. The kids were e x c i t e d about saying what t h e i r process was, how we d i d t h i s with t h i s example and I knew i t was wrong so I had to scrap i t . The kids are e x c i t e d , i t gives them a chance to j u s t i f y why they t h i n k what they do. The kids think, w e l l you know, my answer may be wrong but t h i s i s how I thought i t out. M.M.: You v i s i t e d each other's classroom. That was your choice. Let's say, i n ?? they recommended you go i n t o 124 each others classroom. How do you thi n k the p r o j e c t would have been d i f f e r e n t i f you had been t o l d you had t o go i n each others classroom. KATHY: We might have been, we would have had to been more coordinated as f a r as which lesson ??? and how we were going t o approach i t . M.M.: Do you t h i n k i t would have i n t e r f e r e d with your c o l l a b o r a t i o n i n any way? KATHY: I don't thi n k so. I f we were going t o do i t I would have l i k e d i t a l i t t l e l a t e r on i n the p r o j e c t . I wanted to get comfortable with t h i s whole t h i n g myself, f i r s t . You k i n d of have to get warmed up to i t . I don't t h i n k i t would have ruined i t . M.M.: These are a l l , again s i m i l a r s i t u a t i o n s , you've done the grammar u n i t t h i s year, you're both doing i t next year. You were asked to again get i n v o l v e d with i t would you say we've done t h i s u n i t and t h a t ' s a l l we can do or would you want new information or would you have enough to work on or would you be t i r e d of i t . 125 KATHY: I thin k we might want to look at what are some a d d i t i o n a l s t r a t e g i e s but there's sure, there's d e f i n i t e l y room f o r improvement. M.M.: How about going i n t o each other's classroom? KATHY: I don't think that would bother me. I'm s t a r t i n g t o f e e l more comfortable, too. My s t y l e and the way I am. M.M.: Any f i n a l thoughts on the 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 p o s i t i v e experience. You can I thin k grow with t h i s . M.M.: Can I read you the metaphor that you brought to the i n s e r v i c e . I know these are metaphors, but maybe i f I read you something you can i n t e r r u p t and say Yes, I f e e l r e a l l y s t r o n g l y about that or No, I don't f e e l t h a t s t r o n g l y about t h a t . Your f i r s t choice was the metaphor of t r a v e l . The cu r r i c u l u m i s a route over which students w i l l t r a v e l under the l e a d e r s h i p of an experienced guide and companion. 126 KATHY: I thin k I'm s t i l l a guide, but the route i s not q u i t e so ... M.M.: Each t r a v e l l e r w i l l be a f f e c t e d d i f f e r e n t l y by the journey s i n c e i t s e f f e c t i s at l e a s t as much a f u n c t i o n of the i n t e l l i g e n c e , i n t e r e s t s and i n t e n t of the t r a v e l e r as i t i s of the contours of the route. KATHY: I t h i n k that s t i l l a p p l i e s because teachers, I use that as a technique and kids w i l l get out as much as they p o s s i b l y can, h o p e f u l l y with t h i s d i f f e r e n t approach they've gotten more out of i t and they know grammar a l i t t l e b e t t e r then they would have i f I had done i t the same way I d i d l a s t year. I was t h e i r tour guide because I pointed out the ... M.M.: What do you thin k i s the guided tour? KATHY: They take i t i n , they ask questions or I would po i n t something out and say what i s t h i s , so I t h i n k t h a t ' s c l o s e r . I may be p l o t t i n g t h e i r journey but u l t i m a t e l y t h e i r , they have t o come up with t h e i r own answers or 127 d e f i n i t i o n s . They're u s u a l l y d o i n g i t themselves, I'm k i n d o f a g u i d e . I l i k e t h a t metaphor. 128 PARTICIPANT PACKAGE iARCM INTO FRACTIC] •Assumptions of the Study Constructivist Approach to Classroom Practice Teaching Skills Teaching 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 WILL M E A N T H A T TEACHING EPISODES WILL: 1. Recognize that students' prior ideas are critical and must be addressed 2. Acknowledge that new knowledge wi 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 - An 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. ( You 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? If you are not sure how could you ascertain this information? 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 wi l l find the new information in agreement with their prior knowledge. How wi l l you facilitate the linking and hence capture of the new information/concept. 134 CONSTRUCTIVIST APPROACH - PRIOR IDEAS LESSON: ELICITATION OF STUDENTS' PRIOR IDEAS What activity do you propose as an introduction to a unit that wi l l 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 wi l l you encourage all responses, including incorrect responses? How wi l l you respond to incorrect responses in a way that is encourages elaboration of the thinking behind an incorrect response? How wi l l you collect information for analysis? When wi l l you meet with your partner to discuss the results? 135 INDUCTIVE THINKING - PLANNING GUIDE PHASE 1 ACTIVITY: THE 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 wi l l be the sources of information they wi 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 wi l l you organize students for the categorizing activity? P H A S E 3 ACTIVITY Although you wi l l not know during your planning what categories the students wi l l 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 wi l l 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 wi l l 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 wi l l you connect the technical term with the concept attributes. 13 8 Appl i ca t i on 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 wi l l you organize the class for this teaching episode? How many groups of what sizes wi l l be selected? How wi l l memberships be determined? What wi l l be your instructional strategy? Define the task for the students. How wi l l cooperative groups be used during the teaching episode? What wi 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 wi l l 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 if 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 wi l l be determined. 141 


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