Understanding Teachers' Knowledge and Perceptions on Writing Through a Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) Professional Development Opportunity

Understanding Teachers' Knowledge and Perceptions on Writing Through a Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) Professional Development Opportunity

Yuko Iwai (University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, La Crosse, USA), Leslie Rogers (University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, La Crosse, USA), Debra McKeown (Texas A&M University, College Station, USA) and Mary Brindle (University of New Mexico (former), Albuquerque, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/IJTEPD.2019070107

Abstract

Teachers must be equipped with the skills necessary to effectively deliver quality instruction, especially when implementing an evidence-based practice. Delivering these practices with high levels of fidelity requires knowledge that goes beyond what is learned in initial teacher preparation programs, often requiring ongoing and targeted professional development. In the current study, 19 teachers and instructional personnel attended and completed a professional development opportunity to learn how to use the Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) model, an evidence-based practice, when teaching writing. Pre- and post-professional development surveys were completed and analyzed to evaluate whether meaningful outcomes occurred. Results indicated that the professional development caused participants to re-conceptualize their knowledge and perceptions of quality writing and quality writing instruction and to explicitly share intentions to implement SRSD writing instruction in their classrooms. Results will be shared and implications for future research discussed.
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Introduction

It is critical teachers be equipped with the skills necessary to effectively deliver quality evidence-based instruction. Teaching a subject often requires content knowledge that goes beyond what is learned in initial teacher education programs (Goldschmidt & Phelps, 2010) and targeted ongoing professional development (PD) plays a key role in helping teachers attain the required knowledge and skills (Ochsendorf & Taylor, 2016). There is a plethora of research documenting the continued need for effective PD opportunities for practicing teachers, especially PD that equips teachers with the skills to implement evidence-based practices (Harris, Graham, & Atkins, 2015; McKeown, FitzPatrick, & Sandmel, 2014; Plotner, Mazzotti, Rose, & Carlson-Britting, 2016).

Evidence-based practices are those instructional techniques with an adequate number of high-quality studies supporting their effectiveness at improving outcomes for a range of students (Cook & Odom, 2013; Cook, Smith, & Tankersley, 2012). While numerous evidence-based practices have been identified through research and their implementation is supported through federal law (i.e., Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, Every Student Succeeds Act), there is a critical and vast divide between research and classroom implementation of identified evidence-based practices (Cook & Cook, 2011; Cook, Tankersley, Cook, & Landrum, 2008). Implementing evidence-based practices requires systemic change (Fixsen, Naoom, Blase, Friedman, & Wallace, 2005), change in teacher instructional routines and methods, as well as improved content and pedagogical knowledge (Cook, Tankersley, Cook, & Landrum, 2008; Torres, Farley, & Cook, 2012). Effective PD advances teacher knowledge, increases teacher skills, and improves teacher attitudes toward new practices, including routines and methods. In other words, effective PD can increase teachers’ willingness to implement specific procedures, leading to positive student outcomes (Desimone, 2009; Klinger, Boardman, & McMaster, 2013).

This study focuses on evidence-based PD on writing. Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) is an evidence-based instructional model often used to improve students’ writing. SRSD includes scaffolded and explicit instruction in the writing genre as well as in the self-regulatory behaviors needed to persist through the difficult task of writing. While there are hundreds of studies focusing on the effectiveness of SRSD on students’ writing quality (Lane, Harris, Graham et al., 2008), studies of PD for SRSD are limited. While there are studies on practice-based PD for SRSD (Harris, Lane, Graham et al., 2012b; Festas et al., 2015; McKeown, FitzPatrick, & Sandmel, 2014), their effect on teachers’ intention to implement and develop teachers’ views on writing are not known. Therefore, this study examines the effect PD addressing the SRSD instructional model has on inservice teachers’ understanding and views of the SRSD instructional model including their intention to implement SRSD, quality writing, and quality writing instruction.

The research questions guiding this investigation were: (1) Does a professional development opportunity on SRSD affect inservice teachers’ perceptions of quality writing and quality writing instruction? (2) Does a professional development opportunity affect inservice teachers’ knowledge and perceptions of and intention to implement the SRSD model of writing instruction?

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