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Swedish K-1 Teachers’ Knowledge of Basic Literacy Instruction: Examining Gains From a Professional development Program.: Participation on a symposia: Literacy learning and its relations to teachers’ knowledge and practices in kindergarten and first school years.
Dalarna University, School of Education, Health and Social Studies, Educational Work.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-2130-4797
2014 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

Introduction Research indicates that explicit, systematic instruction in phoneme awareness and in orthographic principles facilitates the reading process and many children’s likelihood of success (Adams, 1990; Cunningham & Stanovich, 1998; Lundberg, 2006). Teachers’ knowledge of language structures and processes in the reading development has a direct connection with the students’ reading skills (Moats & Foorman, 2003, Lane et al., 2009). For this reason, teachers should know the meaning of phonological and phonemic awareness and spoken language structures, that is, phrases, words, morphemes, syllables and phonemes (Brady et al., 2009; Joshi et al., 2009; Moats, 1994; 1999; 2000; Piasta et al., 2009). This basic knowledge, gives teachers the potential to be able to choose appropriate activities, provide accurate feedback, address students’ instructional needs, and adjust their teaching accordingly (Moats, 1994, 2009). Many Swedish teachers in the earlier grades lack knowledge of basic reading and writing skills (Alatalo, 2011). This means that they cannot perform systematic reading instruction or identify children’s literacy development. Studies have shown that in-depth professional development for teachers in the first grades of school on topics including linguistic awareness and language structures increase teachers knowledge on literacy instruction as well as students literacy progress (Brady et al., 2009; McCutchen 2002).    

Purpose and research questions The main goal was to evaluate whether gains in Preschool class-1 teachers’ knowledge in reading instruction would be obtained with a professional development program that continues for two years. The program consists of lectures on language structures, linguistic awareness, decoding, reading fluency and reading comprehension. To extend and intensify the professional development, the lectures are followed by recurrent missions on each topic that the teachers would perform with their students. The missions are followed of peer talks in small groups led by a special educator. The research questions are defined as follows: How does the professional development program influence preschool class-1 teachers’ knowledge of literacy instruction? How do the teachers state that the training affects their teaching?

Method 23 teachers from preschool class and 23 from grade 1 are taking part of the study. Pre- and post tests with focus on the actual skills assess teachers’ knowledge. Observations of peer talks as well as recurrent interviews with 10 teachers during the two years investigate teachers learning and experiences about effects on their teaching.    

Results There are only preliminary results since the research is in progress. Pre-test, observations and interviews show that the preschool class teachers generally are familiar with the meaning of phonological and phonemic awareness but do not know about decoding, reading fluency or comprehension. Grade 1 teachers do generally know more about reading fluency and comprehension but less about linguistic awareness. Many teachers seem to follow the textbook without reflecting on how their instruction affects the students learning.  All respondents state that the theoretical connection to their practical experiences makes them more aware of children’s literacy development, which also influences their teaching.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014.
National Category
Social Sciences
Research subject
Utbildning och lärande, Stärkt läs- och skrivdidaktisk kompetens för ett breddat synsätt kring inkludering.
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:du-15072OAI: oai:DiVA.org:du-15072DiVA: diva2:741358
Conference
3rd Biennial EARLI SIG5 Conference, 25-27 augusti 2014, Jyväskylä
Available from: 2014-08-27 Created: 2014-08-27 Last updated: 2015-03-16Bibliographically approved

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