Teachers’ adaptations and rationales as they relate to openness of task and student motivation

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

Abstract: Prior research has investigated teacher adaptations and rationales as they relate to literacy instruction. This research hinted at a relationship between instructional adaptations and open tasks, notably that open tasks seemed to produce more adaptations than closed tasks. Further, research in the motivation field has determined that high-challenge tasks, which are similar to open tasks, produce higher student motivation than low-challenge tasks. Based on the prior research, this study was constructed to examine the connections between teacher adaptations and rationales, task openness, and student motivation. Would open tasks allow for more and higher quality adaptations and rationales? Further, would open tasks produce higher student motivation than closed tasks? Four second-grade teachers were selected for the study, from two types of classrooms, scripted and unscripted, in which it was assumed the tasks found in the classrooms would be different. Five average-level student participants were selected in each classroom. The unscripted teachers received an intervention to ensure that their tasks included open task features, whereas the scripted teachers received no intervention. I observed each teacher for five days during their literacy block to identify potential adaptations and collect tasks. I conducted post-lesson interviews of the teachers to determine adaptations, their rationales for adapting, and the perceived motivation of participating students. I conducted post-lesson interviews of selected student participants about their motivation while completing tasks. Confirmed adaptations and their rationales and the thoughtfulness of each were coded and rated according to prior established criteria. I rated the openness of tasks with a rubric. Modified motivation data was collected and subsequently analyzed according to Turner's (1995) codes. The unscripted teachers produced made more and higher quality teacher adaptations and required more open tasks than their scripted colleagues. However, the student motivation results were ambiguous and neither set of students could be determined to be "more motivated." Implications for practice, policy and future research are discussed.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2009
Adaptation, Teacher knowledge, Teacher reflection, education, student motivation
Effective teaching.
Motivation in education.
Task analysis in education.
Education, Elementary.

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