Case Studies of Four Teachers: The Openness of the Tasks They Implement, the Adaptations They Make, and the Rationales They Offer for Adapting

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Seth Arthur Parsons (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Gerald Duffy

Abstract: Research has demonstrated that open literacy tasks--assignments that are authentic, collaborative, challenging, student-directed, and sustained--are beneficial for students' motivation and learning. Researchers contend that teachers must be adaptive when using open instruction. However, little research has examined the relationship between tasks and adaptations. Researchers have further suggested adaptive teaching is a characteristic of effective literacy teachers, and many teacher educators advocate adaptive instruction in teacher preparation programs. Nevertheless, little research has examined how or why teachers adapt their instruction. Therefore, this study examines the openness of the tasks teachers implemented, the adaptations they made, the rationales they offered for adapting, and the relationships among these phenomena. I used collective case studies to examine four third-grade teachers' instruction. I observed these teachers' literacy instruction to identify tasks and adaptations and conducted post-lesson interviews to ascertain teachers' rationales for adapting. The openness of the task was rated using a rubric. Adaptations and rationales were coded to categorize how and why teachers adapted. I used a rubric to rate the thoughtfulness of both adaptations and rationales. Through this research I found statistically significant differences in the openness of the tasks teachers implemented and in the thoughtfulness of their adaptations and rationales across closed, moderately open, and open tasks. Teachers adapted more when using open tasks, and adaptations as well as rationales were more thoughtful when teachers used open tasks. Implications for theory, practice, policy, and future research are discussed.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2008
Reading (Elementary)--Study and teaching

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