Term of Award

2006

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Department

Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Ming Fang He

Committee Member 1

NA

Committee Member 2

NA

Committee Member 3

NA

Abstract

This is a narrative inquiry into writing pedagogies of middle school language arts teachers and an administrator. Six teacher participants were interviewed and observed, their lesson plans were analyzed, and their instructional practices and writing philosophies were examined. Overarching research questions were (1) What role does writing pedagogy play in a language arts program? (2) What strategies were used to teach writing? and (3) What types of assessments were utilized? The theoretical framework of my research was based on Dewey's (1897) philosophy of education with roots in hermeneutic phenomenology by van Manen (1990). Methods of inquiry were based on narrative inquiry (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000; Phillion & He, 2001) and classroom-based action research (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 1993; McKerman, 1993). Data collection methods included school portraiture, participant profiles, interviews, lesson plans, and the researcher's reflective journal. Although there is an abundance of research on writing, there is limited information on how teachers view their own praxis and how that impacts achievement in state mandated writing tests and writing proficiency. This study is significant for teachers, educators, administrators, and policy makers at the middle school level. It helps middle school teachers to develop a holistic writing pedagogy where writing is perceived as a process, woven into all content areas, and captures multiple aspects of literacy development. It helps middle school teacher educators to get up close with the real world of writing praxis, recognize the challenges and concerns of this praxis, and develop a university curriculum pedagogically compatible with the holistic middle school pedagogy. It helps middle school administrators to foster a community of learners where teachers, students, parents, and staff work together to weave the importance of writing into school curriculum, which promotes student achievement. It also helps policy makers to recognize successful practices, concerns, challenges, and future directions of middle school writing practices in order to make policies that meet diverse needs of middle school population and to create a policy milieu where all members of the society work together to help all students to reach their highest potential in an increasingly diverse American society.

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