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Juxtaposing words and images: Using digital narratives to capture teachers' conceptions of literacy

Posted on:2011-01-17Degree:Ph.DType:Dissertation
University:University of Illinois at ChicagoCandidate:Weber, Catherine MFull Text:PDF
This research describes how professional development (PD) focused on multiliteracies impacts teachers' conceptions of literacy. As literacy demands become more complex (New London Group, 1996), it is critical to equip teachers to teach skills, strategies, and dispositions that create independent learners who can collaborate, problem-solve, and continue to learn using existing and future resources (Gee, 2000; Lankshear & Knobel, 2007; Leu, et al, 2004). Teachers' knowledge about subject matter and pedagogy influence the way they plan, implement, and assess instruction, which impacts student learning. Effective PD can increase teacher knowledge and improve instructional practices (John-Steiner & Mahn, 1996; Lawless & Pellegrino, 2007; Loucks-Horsley, 1995).;The study was conducted during 2008-09 in a graduate level literacy leadership course at a Midwestern university. Participants were K-8 teachers working in historically low performing urban schools (state tests scores from 18% to 45%) that varied in terms of student enrollment (n= 289 to1,827), English Language Learners (0.5% to 49.9%), and poverty (33.4% to 99.0%). There were two groups of participants: (a) Digital Narrative+PD engaged in multiliteracies PD and used the digital narrative as a reflective tool; (b) Digital Narrative Only had engaged in graduate study previously (that did not address multiliteracies) who volunteered to create a digital narrative.;Primary data were digital narratives capturing teachers' explicit and implicit conceptions of literacy, created using Photo Elicitation Interviews (Banks, 2001). This methodology used words and imagery as data to inform both researcher and participant about tacit conceptions. Supplementary data included a literacy knowledge survey and lesson plans reflecting teachers' enactment of what they learned during PD. To document content and modes of engagement during the PD, field notes, videotape, and video catalogues we maintained.;I used the Constant Comparative method (Glaser, 1965) to identify themes and patterns, and grounded theory approach (Strauss & Corbin, 1998) to develop theory about teachers' literacy conceptions. Findings suggest the digital narratives served as PD, engaging teachers in self-reflection about their conceptions. Despite similar conceptions at baseline, participants engaged in PD showed deeper levels of reflection (e.g., social and political implications of literacy) than those not engaged in multiliteracies PD.
Keywords/Search Tags:Literacy, Conceptions, Teachers', Digital narrative, Multiliteracies, Using, Engaged
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