Graduation Year

2008

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Ph.D.

Degree Granting Department

Childhood Education and Literacy Studies

Major Professor

Kathryn Laframboise, Ph.D.

Keywords

Teacher talk, Discourse scaffolds, One-to-one conferencing, Engagement, Professional development

Abstract

This study examines and describes the nature of questioning moves used by two exemplary fourth-grade teachers during reading instruction. Questioning moves are defined in this study as the ways in which teachers use scaffolding questions to engage students in talk about text. Another point of interest in this study was to determine how teachers perceive the influence of instructional materials on the language they use to engage students in talk about text. This study was situated within a constructivist paradigm of inquiry and drew from the case study tradition for its design. Naturalistic methods of data collection were employed including transcripts of teacher and student talk, field notes, videotapes, and interviews with the teachers. Data analysis was conducted in two stages. First data were analyzed separately within each case to locate emerging patterns to build each teacher's profile. Then data were juxtaposed for the purpose of comparison to illuminate similarities and differences in patterns that cut across cases. In general, results show that while questioning moves used by exemplary fourth-grade teachers are different, they are simple and subtle. The questioning moves used provided scaffolding for the purpose of increasing the students' responsibility for constructing meaning from text and signaled teachers' high expectations in their students' ability to read and interact with text. Teachers' use of questioning moves was determined by the instructional focus and hinged on the nature, intensity, and support of their professional development opportunities and experiences. Additional findings, indirectly related to teachers' use of questioning moves, and the influences on their use, were themed around the nature of attention that teachers gave to their classroom environment and instructional design. Implications of the results of this study for reading teachers and educators are themed around issues of professional development and time.

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