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A Case Study of a Teacher's Implementation of Science Inquiry and Discourse for Linguistically Diverse Elementary Students

Sharp Leach, Jenay
Thesis/Dissertation; Online
Sharp Leach, Jenay
Mintz, Susan
Brighton, Catherine
This paper describes a grounded theory of how a purposefully selected teacher implemented a reform model of science instruction in a linguistically diverse elementary science classroom. A qualitative case study examining the science inquiry teaching practices and discourse interactions of a teacher of linguistically diverse elementary students before, during, and after participating in professional development (PD) was used to generate the theory. Interpretive research methods produced a description of the teacher-student discourse interactions and the teacher’s planning and use of instructional strategies in the time period surrounding the PD. Constant-comparative analytic techniques were used to analyze observation, interview, and document data, and were supplemented by discourse analysis of classroom observation transcripts. Findings indicated that in implementing a reform model of science instruction in a linguistically diverse classroom, the teacher resisted changing her inquiry and discourse practices due to perceived barriers within the institutional context, perceptions of her students’ needs, and limited content knowledge. These factors influenced her choice of instructional models, which impacted the teacher-student discourse interactions and consequently, the students’ conceptual understanding. Results from this study add to the knowledge base about teacher discourse practices for English Language Learners (ELLs) in science and have implications for research and PD for teachers of ELLs, a traditionally underrepresented group in science.
University of Virginia, Curry School of Education, PHD (Doctor of Philosophy), 2015
Published Date
PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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