Improving Teachers' Scaffolding Choices: A Focus on Teachers' Literacy Interruptions

By Tania Mertzman, Jennifer Vierk, Tammy Kildahl, Jessica Wintheiser, Yun-Ting Hung and Andrea Goldstein.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Since Vygotsky’s ground-breaking ideas of the social aspects of learning, teachers and researchers have explored the social aspects of instruction and how they can support or interfere with learning. The ways teachers choose to interrupt their students’ literacy process are part of teachers’ interactive instructional choices when teachers try to scaffold students involved in reading or writing that is difficult for them. To change this type of responsive, unplanned instruction it takes more than a one time lesson or inservice. It takes ongoing support for teacher change.

This study documents the changes in six teachers' understanding and use of interruption in their scaffolding decisions. The teachers videtaped their small reading groups and used these tapes to anchor their discussion of how to understand and to improve their scaffolding decisions using interruption decisions. Interruptions also formed the focus of readings and videotape observations. Transcripts of these discussions and reflections after the videotape sessions document teachers' experiences and changes. Findings show the ways these teachers changed and did not change over the semester. Teachers' voices talk about the decision-making choices and issues that these teachers found useful and/or problematic during the study. This format is recommended as a useful way to improve the social and interactive elements of on-the-spot decisions made during reading groups during ongoing professional development.

Keywords: Professional Development, Teacher Change, Literacy Instruction, Scaffolding, Reading

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 13, Issue 11, pp.7-16. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 907.656KB).

Dr. Tania Mertzman

assistant professor of reading, department of curriculum and instruction, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA

Dr. Tania Mertzman is an Assistant Professor of Reading in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Jennifer Vierk

Graduate Student, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA

Graduate student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Tammy Kildahl

Regular Education Teacher, Fratt Elementary- Racine Unified School District, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA

Regular Education Teacher and Reading Teacher Certification Student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Jessica Wintheiser

Kindergarten Teacher, Whitefish Bay School District, USA

Kindergarten Teacher in the Whitefish Bay School District and Graduate Student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Yun-Ting Hung

Doctoral Student, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, USA

Doctoral Student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Andrea Goldstein

Teacher, French Immersion School, Milwaukee Public Schools, USA

Graduate Student at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Teacher at the French Immersion School, Milwaukee Public Schools.

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