Teacher Attitudes And Perceptions Of The Influence Of Professional Development On Minority Student Achievement In Reading
Plair, Clarissa Jeanne
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This qualitative study is written from a phenomenological standpoint using Van Manen's (1990 ) hermeneutic lived experiences of the participants. Fourth grade teachers from a large urban school district in the southwestern U.S. completed an online questionnaire and participated in a focus group interview to provide insight into their attitudes and perceptions about how professional learning experiences influenced high levels of reading for urban, minority students living in poverty. There are few studies which connect teacher professional learning to student achievement in reading. The current study uses a Vygotskian (1978) theoretical perspective to analyze the data collected and add to the conversation on what might work to augment academic achievement in reading for impoverished, urban minority students. Through teachers' voices, this study reveals the single most important factor having powerful influence on teacher professional growth - collaboration. While evidence is lacking about how to support teacher development, collaboration impacts content knowledge and pedagogical skill, possibly affecting what teachers do in the classroom and perhaps prompting increased minority student achievement in reading.