Becoming teachers-researchers: A staff development for reading comprehension instruction

Mary Theresa Rounds, University of Pennsylvania


The major purpose of this study was to describe a staff development for becoming teacher-researchers including (1) how teachers socially constructed their notion of teacher-researcher; (2) how the implementation of teacher-research activities affected the teachers' thinking about their reading instruction; and (3) the development of the teachers' and the reading specialist's roles in this group experience. Four third grade teachers and two fourth grade teachers volunteered to form a group with a reading specialist for becoming teacher-researchers in a staff development on reading comprehension instruction. The participants met with the reading specialist once a week for thirteen weeks. At these meetings they discussed problems and concerns which developed from their experience as teacher-researchers in the classroom. They observed, reflected and recorded data in journals. In addition, the reading specialist conferenced and interviewed each teacher individually during the staff development. Analysis was made of all data collected i.e. transcripts from the meetings, teachers' journals, conferences and interviews. Major findings related to the notion of teacher-researcher and teacher thinking were: (1) teachers saw research as a "stepping back" or separate activity from classroom practice. (2) Teachers' implicit thinking about their reading comprehension instruction changed with their on-going involvement in the staff development. (3) Becoming a teacher-researcher directed most of the participants to be more explicit in their thinking about their classroom practices as evident mostly in their journals and final reports. Findings related to the staff development as a whole and the roles of the participants and the reading specialist were: (1) teachers varied their roles by assuming both leadership and membership functions in the group; (2) the reading specialist was the most directive group member and varied her actions to accommodate the needs of the group; (3) teachers discussed their concerns most often in the form of narratives during the meeting; (4) the reading specialist used mostly informational, expository speech while interacting with group members. Major conclusions were: (1) the participants viewed the concept of teacher-researcher as two roles: teacher and researcher; (2) teachers had a background of knowledge in reading mostly based on their personal instructional experiences which provided an implicit theoretical structure for their practice; (3) the activities of the teacher-researcher promoted teachers' explicit thinking which led to a change in practice; (4) teachers acting as learner/leaders in the group made sense of their experiences as unique individuals; (5) narratives reflected the unique roles teachers played as learner/leaders; (6) the reading specialist as a leader/learner contributed to the group development by providing space for members' interaction.

Subject Area

Literacy|Reading instruction|Teacher education|Adult education|Continuing education

Recommended Citation

Rounds, Mary Theresa, "Becoming teachers-researchers: A staff development for reading comprehension instruction" (1991). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9130286.