Activity-system Analysis of a Highly Effective First-grade Teacher and Her Students

Activity-system Analysis of a Highly Effective First-grade Teacher and Her Students

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This is a case study of a highly effective first-grade teacher and her students within the 2006-2007 school year. The teacher was selected based on previous success in moving low-entry students to grade-level or above in reading as measured by the Developmental Reading Assessment (Beaver, 2001). The theoretical lens is activity theory and activity-system analysis (Engestrom, 1990, 1999) with a research background of effective first-grade teacher research (Pressley, Allington, Wharton-McDonald, Block, a Morrow, 2001). The purpose of the study was to investigate in what ways the teacher mediated the literacy learning of her students and in what ways the classroom context and idioculture---small scale culture shared by members of an interacting group (Cole, 1996; Fine, 1987)--formed by the teacher and the students mediated the students' literacy learning. The data consist of 142 hours of observation across 16 weeks, 10 interviews with the teacher, 4 administrations of academic assessments across the school year and about 690 documents including student and teacher writings. Constant-comparison analysis (Strauss a Corbin, 1998) was used with triangulation of data sources. The data suggest that the teacher's use of best practices in literacy instruction, differentiation of instruction for all students, and responsive and intuitive teaching contributed to moving all regular-education students to grade level in reading by the end of the school year. Additionally, the teacher's development of intersubjectivity, methods of teaching to multiple zones of proximal development, and use of cultural scripts for organizing her teaching contributed to student learning. Data also suggest that the rules for student behavior, the activities for increasing participation and building social cohesion, and the practices of socially mediated learning enacted by the teacher and her students produced an idioculture that contributed to moving the students to grade level in reading. A micro-analysis of a collaborative writing lesson shows the students building academic and social identities that promote learning, and traces the teacher's reorganization of the activity system for collaborative writing in response to student conflict. An unexpected finding was the teacher's self-definition as an intuitive teacher and her perception of teaching as a career linked across generations based on role-model teachers.Mark replied, a€œGood.a€ Several times across the first month she led a whole-class read through of the guidelines, and tied them to the good-citizenship certificates, specialty beads, and 1-2-3 Magic monitoring system. I observed two instances of anbsp;...

Title:Activity-system Analysis of a Highly Effective First-grade Teacher and Her Students
Publisher:ProQuest - 2008


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