Defending my Doctorate….I finished!

I made it!!

I defended on April 2nd and passed.

Graduation is May 12th, 2010. WOW, it’s finally here.

Here is my topic: Because Writing Counts! Discovering the Perceptions of Middle School Content Teachers About Writing in Their Classrooms

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this qualitative interview study was to examine the factors of teachers’ perceptions and choices about writing across all disciplines in an urban, highly ELL populated middle school more closely. Four teachers were studied in depth, and data collected included in-depth interviews. Findings indicated three main assertions related to the research questions which sought to understand if teachers see a link to writing and learning, how teachers perceive and utilize writing in their content area classroom, as well as what factors influenced their implementation practices. These assertions are that: (a) Writing is both process and product providing proper evidence to be a mode of learning. They claim that it is helpful for processing, clarifying, reflecting, and also can solidify what has been learned. In some cases, it also provides a record or product of what has been learned providing confidence in the learner, which is significant for the ELL student. The research has unquestionably proven that the cognitive operations that students utilize during the writing process have helped illuminate the real power of writing;  (b) Teachers usage of writing (for literacy for ELL and English fluent students) depends on the goal or purpose, the timing, and the audience; This included writing to learn strategies that draw on past knowledge, prepare for new learning, review and/or fuse relevant knowledge, and to then extend knowledge; (c) Teachers are influenced by both internal and external factors which affects their implementation efforts. I found that staff development classes had the biggest influence on these teachers, but there were many areas of writing in content areas, especially the junior high areas of math and science, in which teachers could use more writing to learn strategies, and how to couple their already practicing cooperative learning strategies with writing through a staff development class or modeling. This study is in preparation for designing an intervention for staff development on teaching writing to learn strategies in any middle school; especially one with a high ELL population.

 

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