EXCELLENT TEACHING OF LITERACY IN AN URBAN SCHOOL: INCLUDING NEW LITERACIES AND YOUTH DEVELOPMENT
Oliver-O'Gilvie, Heidi P
Turner, Jennifer D.
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This is a single case study of an excellent teacher of literacy in an urban school. The study examines and exposes the practices and pedagogy this teacher possesses in order to assist students as they become literate thinkers and processors of information. I conducted this study using qualitative inquiry methods in an effort to explore the life experiences, instructional style, and content knowledge of my case study subject. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to investigate the pedagogy and processes an excellent teacher of literacy employed in order to design literacy instruction that increased student achievement in literacy. Through data collection, from daily literacy lessons, materials analyses, and formal and informal interviews, several themes emerged. These interrelated themes are (a) including new literacies, (b) inclusion of safe competition, and (c) youth development and empowerment. I developed three research questions to guide my study. 1. How do effective urban literacy instructors define good teaching? a. What personal experiences have shaped those beliefs? b. Do they believe that their teaching methods are shaped by the particular context they teach in? If so, how? 2. What kinds of practices do effective urban literacy educators employ? a. What professional development opportunities have influenced their instruction? b. How does the school/community context (neighborhood, leadership, colleagues) shape their teaching? 3. How does this instruction impact learners? What do teachers believe has been the impact on the urban learners? a. Do they believe that their practices have affected urban learners in particular ways? b. How have they measured and defined their effectiveness with urban learners? Data collected included interviews, fieldnotes, audio recordings, artifacts, and standardized assessment scores. Authentic data, such as discourse analysis and interviews, provided a detailed outline for student academic development and teacher choice. Results from data analysis revealed that students developed and advanced using this teacher's mixed methods approach to literacy teaching and learning. These findings suggest that components found within his literacy instruction provide students with opportunities to develop a range of skills needed to become more literate and expand their ways of thinking and knowing.