Examining the beliefs and practices of successful teachers in a high poverty school

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Christy Maranda Howard (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Samuel Miller

Abstract: The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the beliefs and practices of successful teachers in a high poverty school. Specifically, this study examined the role of teacher beliefs and how these beliefs were enacted in the classroom. This multiple case study of three teachers took place in one middle school during a unit of study for each teacher and examined teacher experiences and instruction throughout the unit of study. Data collection included classroom observations, audio recorded interviews, teacher assignments and information from school, district and state websites. Data were analyzed using the constant comparative method (Strauss & Corbin, 1990). Through this analysis, three major themes surrounding teacher beliefs and practices emerged from the observation and interview data: (a) teacher beliefs enacted - this theme showed a connection between what participants said and what they did in their classrooms, particularly related to high expectations, student interests and needs, autonomy, social experiences, and cultural connections, (b) agency through resistance - teachers discussed in this study how they didn't feel they could be successful unless they pushed back against the standard curriculum by developing their own approach to teaching, which usually focused on culturally responsive teaching and building a community of learners and (c) support from colleagues and administration that impacted instructional decisions. These findings suggested that successful teachers in high poverty schools held and enacted beliefs that were centered on high expectations, social learning experiences and meeting the interests of students. As teachers acted on their beliefs, they also enacted agency in order to "push back" against the contextual constraints, primarily in regard to curriculum demands and assessment mandates, discussed in this study as "non-negotiables." In order to meet these demands, while still enacting their beliefs, the successful teachers in this study had to consider what was indeed negotiable within the context of local, state, and national mandates. In determining how they could navigate these negotiables, these teachers were able to find a balance that allowed them to develop instruction to meet the unique needs of their students.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2014
Agency, Instructional Practices, Literacy, Teacher Beliefs
Teachers of children with social disabilities $z United States $v Case studies
Teacher effectiveness $z United States $v Case studies
Educational leadership $z United States $v Case studies
Children with social disabilities $x Education $z United States
Poor children $x Education $z United States

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