Open Access Dissertation
In this qualitative study, I examined and interpreted the literacy instruction of a fourth grade instructor who identified herself as a student-centered teacher. I sought to understand and interpret the beliefs and attitudes of my participant, Julie. Through seven unstructured interviews and five observations, I collected, and simultaneously interpreted, data. Julie freely shared her beliefs, successes, challenges, and frustrations regarding her literacy instruction. Because of the contextual nature of the study I sought emerging themes through analysis and reflection. Four themes surfaced: attitude and philosophy, environment, instructional practices, and impact on students. Julie possessed an attitude that all students could learn and believed in creating a community of acceptance. She worked to build a positive, productive environment for all students, free of labels. Julie's instructional practices focused on motivating students to take responsibility for learning. She used formative assessment to create flexible, fluid groups, avoiding fixed ability groups. All of Julie's students experienced academic growth as measured by district mandated assessments. In addition to academic growth, Julie's students engaged in the learning process, rediscovering lost curiosity and a thirst for knowledge. Students that saw themselves as less worthy than their peers found their voices and recognized their strengths as a result of Julie's teaching practices and encouragement. The study offers implications for educators. Among them is the important role formative assessment plays in learning. In addition, relinquishing control of learning to students offers motivation and engagement on their part.
Date of Award
Doctor of Education
Department of Languages and Literatures
Victoria Robinson, Committee Chair
1 PDF file (vi, 126 pages)
©2012 Carolyn Marie Wiezorek
Wiezorek, Carolyn Marie, "Student-centered literacy instruction: An examination of an elementary teacher's experience" (2012). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 505.