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Academic Language Self-Reflection and Coaching Training of Pre-service Special Education Teachers in the Context of Content Area Writing Instruction

  • Author(s): Osipova, Anna Valentinovna
  • Advisor(s): Bailey, Alison L.;
  • Haager, Diane
  • et al.

The present study investigated the impact of an ongoing and contextualized professional development (PD) model on the quality of academic language instruction delivered by pre-service special educators to early adolescent English Language Learners (ELLs) at risk for academic failure. The study investigated 1) whether a PD model combining coaching and video self-reflection has a more powerful impact on improving the quality of academic language instruction than PD models that implement coaching or video self-reflection separately; and 2) how the changes in quality of academic language instruction in turn influence ELL students' oral and written academic language. Using single subject design, the study examined the teacher' quality of academic language instruction and students' use of oral and written academic language at word, sentence, and discourse levels. Qualitative analyses of lessons' transcripts identified the patterns in teachers' instruction and students' use and structure of academic language in oral and written responses. Results indicated that coaching and video self-reflection interventions when implemented separately have a potential for improving instructional quality. The lessons in the combined intervention condition revealed higher and more stable instructional quality scores. Most importantly, teachers initially resistant to coaching or video- self-reflection demonstrated a positive change in their instruction. Qualitative analysis revealed changes specific to each condition within the teachers' academic language instruction and students' oral and written responses. Throughout the study, teachers increased attention to the multi-tiered nature of academic language and demonstrated strategic approach to lesson planning. Teacher-student interactions revealed a qualitative shift from authoritative to more dialogic style in intervention conditions. Focus ELL students' oral responses increased in length and complexity of word and sentence structure. Furthermore, teachers' questions and students' responses exhibited a qualitative shift towards a wider arrange of increasingly more complex higher order thinking skills in the combined intervention condition (Bloom & Krathwahl, 1956). Students' essays improved in academic language use and structure at word, sentence and discourse levels. The combined intervention resulted in the highest quality of students' written samples. These results have implications for teacher training programs and for instructional approaches in teaching early adolescent ELL students at risk for academic failure.

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