A narrative of change through teacher development and literacy networking in an urban elementary school: A tale of two teachers...

Henriette Penny S Bryan, University of Pennsylvania


The main research question is: What happens when an urban university/elementary school partnership forms, designed to offer teachers a collaborative staff development opportunity to become engaged as adult learners and direct agents for language curriculum change? The enhancement of teaching practices was through an on site, long term commitment to the PENN Literacy Network Seminars. The in-service linked school staff with PCRP II, an integrative language arts framework for reading, writing and speaking across the curriculum. Often educational research selects either a group or an individual focus. This inquiry applies a broader ecological approach to studying adults in their historical/cultural contexts, just as we have begun to conceptualize children more wholistically in theirs. The purpose of reconstructing intensive portraits or case stories of Seminar design and acceptance as well as two first grade teachers' experiences was to capture a more multidimensional understanding of intention and actualization and the interrelatedness of personal, professional and organizational change as learning. Research was an inductive, ethnographic type exploration. Data were collected through individual and collaborative participant observations, individual and group focus interviews as jointly constructed conversations, written documentation, collaborative teacher generated curriculum materials and student work. Narratives resulted from interactive phases of collecting, analyzing and writing as critical reflection. Forces impacting change emerged as composite stories of lives-in-progress, gathered from teachers and phenomena in the cultural context of school as workplace. They concerned perceptions and beliefs about meaning and mechanics, outside constraints, conflicts of control and governance, course structure, expectations and leadership. The research considered educational change through staff development including the importance of understanding adults as language learners and holders of different epistemologies which impact classroom practices. Considerations were included for incorporating a transactive theory of change as learning and growth in staff development design. Putting people, their sense of themselves and their socially derived meanings, at the center of development and renewal is requisite for understanding and designing roles and relationships in transformative change efforts. In the larger sense, it is also vital for sustaining democracy.

Subject Area

Teacher education|Language arts|Educational psychology

Recommended Citation

Bryan, Henriette Penny S, "A narrative of change through teacher development and literacy networking in an urban elementary school: A tale of two teachers..." (1992). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI9308541.