Learning from Text: Examining Teacher Thinking and Practice in AP Environmental Science
Nachtigal, Sara Leslie
MetadataShow full item record
The ability to read and make sense of sophisticated subject-matter texts is an essential educational standard for navigating the twenty-first century. Although new standards emphasize critical reading and interpretation skills (CCSS, 2010; NGSS, 2013), students are rarely supported to learn from text in secondary classrooms (Greenleaf & Valencia, in press; Moje, Stockdill, Kim, & Kim, 2011). In science education, an emphasis on inquiry- and project-based learning tends to focus on building content knowledge with little attention to texts (Osborne, 2002). Research suggests teachers have little experience supporting text-based learning (Greenleaf et al., 2011). The purpose of this qualitative, comparative case study was to understand how teachers worked with texts in an AP Environmental Science course that had been redesigned to support text-based learning. This study was situated in a project-based learning approach developed to support students in under-resourced urban schools (Parker et al., 2011); previous findings indicated teachers in the course had previously worked around text with lectures and labs. In response, the course was redesigned with educative curriculum and aligned professional development. Guided by a conceptual framework based on the Interconnected Model of Professional Growth (Clarke & Hollingsworth, 2002), this study focused on four AP Environmental Science teachers during the first half of the 2014-2015 school year. Two teachers had previous experience with the project-based curriculum; two did not. Data sources included three interviews per teacher, classroom observations, and formal and informal professional development. Findings from this study show that when teachers were grounded in the interactive nature of support for text-based learning and in the curricular approach of the APES course, they not only encouraged content learning from text in their classrooms, but also provided adaptive and responsive support for students. As teachers changed their practice to incorporate learning from text, subsequent shifts in their beliefs and goals were evident. Teachers drew on professional development and the educative curriculum for support; however, more support was needed to encourage professional reflection on practice, including how teachers facilitate student thinking in discussions about content and texts.
- Education - Seattle