Teaching adaptations as they are related to academic task and student engagement

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Roya Qualls Scales (Creator)
Institution
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site: http://library.uncg.edu/
Advisor
Gerald Duffy

Abstract: Researchers claim that effective teachers adapt their instruction to meet their students' learning needs (see for instance, Bransford, Darling-Hammond, & LePage, 2005; Duffy, 2005; Pressley, Allington, Wharton-McDonald, Block, & Morrow, 2001). Little research has examined how teachers adapt their instruction or their reasons for doing so. While more open tasks lead to more student engagement and learning in different studies (Miller & Meece, 1999; Thornburg, 2005; Turner, 1995), there is little evidence to show how teaching adaptations are related to the openness of literacy tasks and student engagement. In this study, I used a mixed-method multiple case study design (Creswell, 2005) to study six teachers' literacy instruction in each of the six elementary grade levels. Specifically, I explored the teaching adaptations as they are related to academic tasks and student motivation as measured by engaged time on task. I observed each teacher's literacy instruction approximately every three weeks over one school year to identify the teaching adaptations and rationales for those adaptations, the openness of literacy tasks and student motivation as measured by engaged time on task. After each observation I interviewed the teacher for the purposes of verifying that adaptations were changes on-the-fly and to collect their rationales for adapting. Six case studies, one each from kindergarten to fifth grade, revealed that there is an overall low to low relationship between the quality ratings of adaptations and the openness of tasks. Thus, adaptations occurred most frequently during closed tasks and were rated overwhelmingly as minimally thoughtful. Counter to findings from previous research on tasks and motivation, this study also found that engaged time on task was high despite the fact that the tasks were closed. Implications of how contextual issues influence methodological procedures, and studying thoughtfully adaptive teaching as it relates to tasks, teachers, engagement, and rationales are discussed.

Additional Information

Publication
Dissertation
Language: English
Date: 2009
Keywords
Adaptation, student engagement, Motivation, Teaching, Time-on-task, education, student motivation
Subjects
Effective teaching.
Motivation in education.
Teacher effectiveness.
Education (Primary)