Sustaining instructional practice and English reading ...

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Title  Page:   Sustaining  instructional  practice  and  English  reading  comprehension  achievement   through  teacher  inquiry  learning  to  accelerate  achievement                     Authors:    Meaola  Amituanai-­‐Toloa  (the  University  of  Auckland)  &  Rosi  Fitzpatrick  (Teuila   Consultancy  Limited)  with  Laepa  Sililoto-­‐Malele  and  Malo  Sepuloni                           Correspondence  should  be  addressed  to  Meaola  Amituanai-­‐Toloa,  Project  Lead  Researcher,   Contact  details:  [email protected]      

Abstract   This  paper  reports  the  first  phase  of  a  one  year  sustainability  project  (in  progress)  funded  by   the  New  Zealand  Ministry  of  Education  to  sustain  and  accelerate  the  English  reading   comprehension  achievement  of  students  in  Samoan  bilingual  contexts  in  mainstream  schools   in  New  Zealand.    Two  years  earlier,  a  professional  development  took  place  with  the  first   cluster  (Cluster  A)  involving  three  schools  and  their  seven  teachers  and  students  in  the  first   year,  and  with  the  second  cluster  (Cluster  B)  of  ten  schools  with  more  than  40  teachers  and   their  students  the  second  year.      Baseline  English  achievement  on  Supplementary  Test  of   Reading  Achievement  (STAR)  and  classroom  observations  of  instruction  were  gathered  from   both  clusters  in  2012  (beginning)  and  2013  (beginning)  respectively  to  examine  where   students  and  teachers  were  at  and  to  identify  professional  development  needs.    In  both   clusters,  the  baseline  showed  a  general  pattern  of  achievement  where  students  were  high  in   decoding  but  low  in  reading  comprehension  –  a  finding  that  is  similar  to  previous  profiling   studies  of  Pasifika  students  in  New  Zealand  when  assessed  on  the  same  battery.  The  profiles   for  classroom  instruction  showed  that  in  both  clusters  teachers  were  low  on  Extended  Talk   but  by  the  end  of  the  year  had  increased  their  talk  resulting  in  similar  increases  in  talk  by   students.    At  the  beginning  of  the  current  year,  a  new  group  of  teachers  some  of  whom  were   involved  in  the  previous  year  participated.    Student  achievement  of  selected  five  priority   learners  per  teacher  and  classroom  observations  were  collected  for  the  nine  teachers  to   identify  professional  development  needs  for  sustainability  using  the  Teaching  as  inquiry   model  supported  by  intense  in-­‐class  facilitation  of  teacher  practice.    We  report  the  initial   stage  of  the  professional  development  and  the  decision  to  use  teaching  as  inquiry.                                      

 

Introduction:  

The   sustainability   project   (in   progress)   is   a   by-­‐product   of   two   years   of   professional   development   with   teachers   in   bilingual   units   in   two   clusters   of   low   to   medium   decile1   mainstream  schools  in  New  Zealand  involving  altogether  13  schools,  more  than  50  teachers,   and   almost   1000   students.           The   overall   project   aimed   to:   (a)   identify   the   extent   that   the   provision   of   professional   learning   and   development   helps   teachers   build   classroom   communities   of   learning;   (b)   identify   the   elements   of   current   pedagogical   practice   that   positively   impact   on   student   achievement;   and   (c)   strengthen   the   provision   of   bilingual   teaching   and   learning   in   order   to   raise   achievement   for   Pasifika   students.   The   strategic   purpose  was  to  build  learning  communities  through  the  use  of  bilingual  tools,  such  as  student   language,   culture,   and   identities   and   have   access   to   responsive   pedagogical   professional   opportunities  with  the  ultimate  goal  of  changing  classroom  instructional  practice  to  enhance   students’  academic  achievement.       Two   clusters   of   mainstream   schools   (Cluster   A   and   Cluster   B)   were   targeted   by   the   Ministry   of   Education   (MOE)   initiative   to   raise   and   accelerate   achievement   for   priority   learners   in   the   bilingual   units   within   these   schools.     Cluster   A   began   professional   development   in   June   2012   and   Cluster   B,   the   following   year.   Teachers   in   each   cluster   were   observed  at  the  beginning  of  the  year  to  identify  professional  development  learning  needs.    It   was  found  that  teachers  were  not  making  optimal  use  of  students’  linguistic  oral  proficiency   in  both  L1  and  L2  to  raise  critical  thinking  and  discussions  in  text  reading.    After  intensive  in-­‐ class   facilitation   with   teachers   to   extend   children’s   talk   in   order   to   raise   achievement,   the   same   teachers   in   each   cluster   were   again   observed   at   the   end   of   the   year   for   instructional   shifts.     Results   at   the   end   of   each   respective   year   showed   that   teachers   increased   their   Extended  Talk  and  when  they  did,  children’s  Extended  Talk  increased  too.    This  prompted  the   sustainability   phase   this   year   with   the   teacher   instructional   observations   conducted   at   the   beginning  of  the  year  for  a  new  group  of  teachers  some  of  whom  were  involved  in  previous                                                                                                                           1

 A  ‘decile’  is  a  Ministry  of  Education  ranking  from  1  (being  the  lowest)  to  10  (being  the  highest)  system  for  schools   according  to  the  socio-­‐economic  status  of  a  school’s  community.  

year.   This   is   reported   in   this   paper.     Also   reported   are   the   planned   professional   development   sessions   and   the   planned   follow-­‐up   in-­‐class   facilitations,   based   on   the   teacher   instructional   data.       Achievement  gaps   Achievement  ‘gaps’  between  students  who  are  second  language  learners  and  those  of   the  majority  language  have  been  noted  in  research  to  have  existed  for  quite  some  time.      This   is  particularly  evident  in  English  literacy  scores  on  standardized  tests  in  English.    Thus  it  is   presenting  a  challenge  for  educators  globally.    According  to  recent  commentaries,  literacy   instruction  is  facing  a  major  theoretical  challenge  where  although  resolved  for  some  of  the   more  immediate  pressing  issues,  for  example,  in  beginning  reading  instruction  in  the  case  of   reading  comprehension,    evidence  suggests  that  overall  effectiveness  in  teaching  reading   comprehension  is  somewhat  limited.    Furthermore,  research  has  not  had  much  influence  on   effective  comprehension  instruction  (Pressley,  2002;  Sweet  &  Snow,  2003).        

While  achievement  gaps  are  evident  internationally,  for  example,  for  Latinos  (Garcia,  

2003)  and  African  American  (Lee,  2003)  students  in  the  United  States,  similar  gaps  also  exist   in  New  Zealand  for  students  who  are  of  minority  groups,  speak  a  language  in  addition  to   English  and  come  from  low  socio  economic  areas  where  most  of  them  attend  low  decile   mainstream  schools  (Amituanai-­‐Toloa  &  McNaughton,  2008).      Maori  (Indigenous)  and   Pasifika  (of  Pacific  Island  descent)  are  the  two  groups  of  students  that  are  more  often  than   others,  implicated  in  the  Ministry  of  Education  (MOE)  goals  and  initiatives  to  raise  their   achievement  in  English  literacy.      Disparities  between  these  two  groups  and  the  even  bigger   disparities  between  these  two  groups  and  the  majority  group  had  been  reported  on  since  as   early  as  the  1950s  (Openshaw,  Lee,  &  Lee,  1993)  and  continued  until  three  decades  later   when  it  surfaced  again  this  time  escalating  to  a  warning  of  pending  ‘crisis’  if  the  disparities   are  not  resolved  urgently  (Ramsay,  Sneddon,  Grenfell,  &  Ford,  1981).      

 

Three  decades  on,  the  education  system  in  New  Zealand  has  been  undergoing  many  

developments  from  school  restructuring  to  designing  initiatives  expected  to  raise  the   achievement  of  second  language  students  from  minority  groups.    However,  despite  these   initiatives  and  professional  development  programs  for  teachers  up  until  now,  the   achievement  of  these  students  still  remains  much  the  same  as  it  was  then  despite  little   improvement  noted  in  some  areas  (Flockton  &  Crooks,  2001).    We  must  stress  that   professional  development  programs  in  general  in  New  Zealand  have  been  successful  and   influential.    However,  while  they  have  been  for  most  students,  they  have  not  been  influential   enough  to  raise  and  sustain  achievement  of  minority  students  particularly,  second  language   learners.          

This  has  also  been  the  problem  in  the  United  States  in  the  case  of  second  language  

learners  who  are  not  performing  and  are  not  achieving  in  schools  especially  those  from   minority  groups  (Garcia,  2003).      It  was  found  that  with  all  the  initiatives  that  had  been   conducted  for  the  purpose  of  raising  achievement,  the  initiatives  had  very  little  effect.    In   addition,  Harwell  (2003)  noted  that  raising  student  performance  and  achievement  has  had   phenomenal  economic  costs  associated  with  it.    She  concluded  that  the  reason  why  this  is  so   is  because  attention  has  been  focused  in  the  wrong  areas  and  not  where  it  counts  –  in  the   classroom.    She  states:   “…  too  little  attention  has  been  paid  to  what  actually  goes  on  in  the  classroom   (p.1)     This  suggests  the  need  to  refocus  attention  on  classroom  practice  and  the  urgency  of   providing  teacher  professional  development  that  changes  not  only  practice  but  behaviors  in   ways  that  lead  to  student  performance  and  higher  student  achievement.    This  means  putting   due  recognition  on  teachers  in  the  belief  that  they  are  important  and  that  they  can  raise   student  performance  and  higher  student  achievement.    Some  have  even  argued  that  if  every   reform  initiative  is  to  succeed,  a  vital  place  from  which  to  begin  is  recognizing  that  teachers  

are  important  in  this  task  (Ferguson,  1991;  Armour-­‐Thomas,  Clay,  Domanico,  Bruno,  &  Allen,   1989)  and  a  high  quality  professional  development  to  enable  teachers  to  learn  new  strategies   for  teaching  and  change  their  teaching  practice  in  the  classroom  for  application  for  learning   is  what  teachers  need  when  given  the  opportunity  (Alexander,  Heaviside,  &  Farris,  1998).         Studies  in  New  Zealand  have  found,  given  the  low  achievement  of  minority  students,   that  the  greatest  variance  in  student  achievement  is  not  the  school,  nor  the  environment  but,   the  teacher  (Alton-­‐Lee,  2004)  so  it  makes  sense  that  teachers,  through  a  specific  evidence-­‐ based  focus  on  classroom  practice  in  a  high  quality  professional  development  program  be   given  the  opportunity  to  learn  and  to  modify  their  practice  in  order  to  raise  student   achievement  and  sustain  it  (Hattie,  2003).     One  such  New  Zealand  study  was  conducted  to  sustain  achievement  for  primarily   indigenous  and  ethnic  minorities  in  low  socio-­‐economic  areas  that  have  long  been  associated   with  low  levels  of  achievement,  particularly  in  literacy  (Lai,  McNaughton,  Amituanai-­‐Toloa,   Turner,  Hsiao,  2009).    Against  the  backdrop  of  schooling  improvement  reviews  there  have   been  suggestions  that  small  gains  over  the  short  term  are  possible  with  well-­‐designed   interventions,  but  for  children  in  the  middle  primary  school  years  such  as  children  in  the   current  study,  the  criterion  against  which  effective  interventions  need  to  be  judged  is   sustained  and  systematic  acceleration  across  levels  of  achievement  in  order  to  achieve   equitable  distributions  of  achievement.    The  quasi-­‐experimental  design  study  was  a  three-­‐ year  research  and  development  collaboration  among  schools,  government,  and  researchers   to  raise  reading  comprehension  through  critical  discussions  of  achievement  and  teacher   observation  data  and  linking  research  on  effective  comprehension  practices  to  specific  needs.     It  was  found  that  the  collaboration  resulted  in  increased  rates  of  achievement  that  were   variable  but  sustained  across  three  years  (see  Lai  et  al.,  2009).   In  the  present  study,  similar  goals  for  teachers  are  anticipated  particularly  in  relation   to  their  instructional  practice  as  a  means  to  sustain  practice  for  overall  purpose  of  

transferring  to  student  achievement.    Outcomes  from  the  previous  two  years  have  shown   instructional  shifts  particularly  the  discussions  around  data  and  the  understanding  that   teachers  had  gained  in  relation  to  the  specific  purpose  of  the  tools  they  used  and  what  the   tools  measured.    With  this  knowledge,  teachers  in  the  sustainability  phase  were  excited  to  be   part  of  the  study  and  were  looking  forward  to  further  new  knowledge.  We  ask  the  question  in   this  paper:  Given  teachers’  new  knowledge  and  the  focus  of  Extended  Talk  for  students,  what   were  the  instructional  pedagogical  patterns  and  particularly  that  of  Extended  Talk  that   occurred  in  the  guided  reading  lessons  within  teachers’  classrooms  at  the  beginning  of  the   year?  We  hypothesized  that  Extended  Talk  as  a  strategy    to  raise  reading  comprehension   achievement  may  have  been  taken  up  productively  by  teachers  in  their  attempt  to  extend   their  students’  talk  not  only  in  vocabulary  but  also  in  their  understanding  of  texts.     Methods:     Participants:     Schools     Nine  low  to  middle  decile  schools  from  South  (n=6),  West  (n=2)  and  Central  (n=1)   Auckland  schools,  in  New  Zealand,  and  their  nine  teachers  were  involved.    Most  schools  were   primary  schools  of  year  0-­‐6,  and  others  were  full  primary  schools  of  year  0-­‐8  students.    All   schools  had  a  Samoan  bilingual  unit  with  Samoan  students  taught  by  Samoan  teachers  who   are  culturally  and  linguistically  similar  to  their  students.     Teachers     Nine  female  teachers  from  nine  schools  were  involved.    They  ranged  in  age  from  30-­‐ 55  years  old.    Some  were  Island  born  and  were  originally  trained  and  taught  in  Samoa  and  on   arrival  in  New  Zealand,  had  undergone  retraining.      Others  were  New  Zealand  born  and   trained.    All  were  Samoan  and  fluent  in  both  Samoan  and  English.      

Students   Five  students  were  selected  by  each  of  the  nine  teachers  for  the  study  according  to   the  criteria  agreed  upon  with  teachers.    That  is,  students  have  to  be  at  STAR  stanine  4  or  just   below.    The  goal  was  to  accelerate  these  students  to  above  the  national  norm  to  stanine  6-­‐9.       Although  45  students  were  selected,  only  40  were  noted  to  have  data.    Of  these  40  students,   one  was  in  year  2,  four  were  in  year  4,  13  were  in  year  5,  12  were  in  year  6,  three  were  in   year  7,  and  two  were  in  year  8  (five  students  had  missing  data  so  were  not  included).   Measures:   Classroom  observations:   Nine  classroom  observations  of  reading  lessons  were  conducted  lasting  30-­‐ 40minutes  each  at  the  beginning  of  the  sustainability  year.    The  observations  were  conducted   for  two  reasons.    The  first  one  was  a  snapshot  of  instructional  practice  to  provide  a  critical   examination  and  discussion  of  teachers’  pedagogy  based  on  beliefs  and  ideas  of  teaching  and   learning.    The  other  was  to  see  what  teacher  instruction  was  like  in  these  contexts  given  the   hypothesis  that  teachers  might  not  have  been  effectively  utilizing  children’s  linguistic  oral   proficiency  and  cultural  prior  learning  enough  in  the  classroom  discussions.    In  addition,   teachers  are  probably  not  inquiry  learners  and  therefore  not  critically  examining  their  own   practice  in  order  to  be  effective  teachers  (Cardno,  2003;  Ministry  of  Education,  2009).    These   were  video  recorded  and  were  transcribed  for  coding  and  analysis.       Supplementary  Test  of  Achievement  in  Reading  (STAR):   The  STAR  test  results  of  children  were  collected  to  examine  where  students  were  at   in  terms  of  academic  achievement  in  English.    The  STAR  assessment  is  normally   administered  at  the  beginning  and  end  of  the  year  as  part  of  normal  school  assessment.    It   has  four  subtests  (subtest  1  –  4)  for  years  3  –  6  and  six  subtests  for  years  7-­‐  8.    Subtest  1  tests   decoding,  subtest  2  tests  sentence  comprehension,  subtest  3  tests  paragraph  comprehension,  

subtest  4  tests  vocabulary,  subtests  5  tests  different  genres  and  subtest  6  tests  language  of   advertising.    The  STAR  test  is  measured  in  stanines.    Stanines  are  normalized  standard  scores   having  a  mean  of  five  and  a  standard  deviation  of  about  two  (Reid  &  Elley,  1991).  They  are   expressed  as  a  scale  of  nine  units  with  a  low  of  one  and  a  high  of  nine.  In  the  Progressive   Achievement  Test  (PAT)  manual  for  example,  stanine  nine  is  described  as  “outstanding”,   stanine  seven  and  eight  as  “above  average”,  stanine  four  to  six  as  “average”,  stanine  two  and   three  as  “below  average”  and  stanine  one  as  “low”  (Reid  &  Elley,  1991,  p.  23).  The  nine   stanine  units  may  be  considered  as  nine  categories  of  reading  attainment,  making  it  “highly   suitable  for  interpreting  performance  on  the  PAT:  Reading”  (Reid  &  Elley,  1991,  p.23).    For   the  purposes  of  this  paper,  the  baseline  achievement  of  students  at  the  beginning  of  the   sustainability  year  will  only  be  reported  as  a  group  in  relation  to  instructional  practice  for   professional  development  needs.       Data  analysis   Supplementary  Tests  of  Achievement  in  Reading  (STAR)   The  student  achievement  on  the  STAR  tool  were  analysed  using  means  and  standard   deviations  for  the  45  priority  learners  from  year  3  to  year  8.      Stanines  and  raw  scores  for  the   whole  group  were  also  analysed  in  addition  to  mean  scores  in  the  subtests  of  the  STAR.      For   the  purposes  of  this  paper,  the  group  stanine  and  group  subtest  mean  scores  will  only  be   reported.       Instructional  Observations   The  instructional  observations  were  coded  and  analysed  by  frequencies  and  means  based  on   exchanges  within  a  unit  of  exchange.      These  are  described  with  examples  below.    A  unit  of   exchange  (UoE)  is  a  complete  interaction  on  a  topic  before  moving  to  a  new  topic.    An   example  of  a  UoE:  

T:  I’m  talking  about  words,  what  are  the  words  in  that  paragraph  that  actually  stick   out  for  you  and  that  paints  a  picture  for  you?   C:  inaudible   T:  where  does  it  say  that?     C:  it  says  “flicking  a  casual  glance  towards  the  post”   T:  speak  up  loud,  please   C:  it  says  “flicking  a  casual  glance  towards  the  post”   T:  can  you  tell  the  line  that  it’s  in?  Ok,  got  it,  everybody  put  your  finger  on  that  word,   on  that  line...‘flicking  a...what?’   ALL:  a  casual  glance  towards  the  post   T:    ok,  good  [child],  what  is  the  picture  that  these  words  paint  for  you?  Tell  us  the   picture  that  you  had  in  your  mind?   C:    he’s  looking  at  the  post   T:  Who’s  he?   C:  the  coach   T:  ok,  this  is  the  picture  that  [says  the  child’s  name]  sees  in  her  head  [T  Writes  on  the   board]…  sees  the  coach...is  looking  where?   C:    towards  the  post   T:  towards  the  post.    Ok,  this  is  the  picture  that  [child]  had.   Coding  and  Reliability  of  instructional  practice:   Text  Related  (T)  Exchanges  were  any  exchanges  that  dealt  specifically  with  the  text   at  hand.    For  example:   T:  What  do  you  think  the  text  might  be  about?   C:  Something  to  do  with  the  war   C:  The  great  war   C:  the  army  

  Vocabulary  Elaboration  Question  (VE)  was  any  interaction  seeking  elaboration  on   a  word  in  the  text  whether  by  the  teacher  or  students.    It  could  be  a  question  or  a  comment.     For  example  this  interaction  on  the  word  ‘columnist’:   T:  compulsory  military  service.    So  you  have  to  work  for  the  military,  yeah?  What’s   another  word  for  military?   C:    army   T:    army-­‐  fantastic.  So,  that’s  what  this  word  mean-­‐conscription.    You  will  be  working   and  you  have  to.       C:    ...(inaudible)…   T:    it’s  not  description…   C:    scription...just  scription…   T:    I  don’t  know,  we  have  to  look  that  up.    I  want  you  to  write  that  word  down,  when   we  finish  so  I  can  see.      

   

Vocabulary  Elaboration  Comment  by  Teacher  (VECT)  was  any  comment  made  by   the  teacher  that  elaborates  more  on  vocabulary.    For  example,  this  vocabulary  elaboration  by   the  teacher  on  the  word  ‘stretcher-­‐bearer’:   T:  Yes,  fantastic.  So  a  strentcher-­‐bearer  is  a  person  that  carries  the  stretcher.       Extended  Talk  by  Teacher  (ET)  was  any  elaboration  on  the  topic  by  the  teacher  or   child.  For  example  this  excerpt  of  children  and  teacher  talking  extensively  about  what  they   wanted  to  find  out  about  bears  before  they  read  the  text  together:   T:    yeah,  you  buy  them  from  the  shop  but  where  else  would  you  see  it?  Come  on.    

What  is  it  for?  What  is  a  stretcher  for?     C:      for  help  when  you’re  injured  

T:    Silas  the  stretcher-­‐bearer  .    What  is  a  stretcher-­‐bearer?  What’s  a  stretcher-­‐bearer?   C:  something  you  lie  on   T:  something  you  lie  on,  yes.    Where  have  you  seen  it.  Come  on,  bring  your  prior   knowledge.    Where  have  you  seen  it?   C:    i  sleep  on    it   T:    you  slept  on  it?      At  your  aunty’s  house,  at  home?  Like  in  the  house?    Where  have   you  seen  a  stretcher  ?   C:  when  we  went  camping   T:    yeah,  but  where  else  would  you  see  it?     C:  army?   T:  is  it  only  in  the  army  that  you  see  the-­‐   C:    shop?   T:    okay,  Loreal  said  when  people  are  injured...and   C:    (inaudible)   T:    and  just  to  lie  them  down?  okay,  so  what  if...what  else  do  they  do  with  that?     Okay,  so  she  said  it’s  to  lie  the  injured  people  on  the  stretcher...and  then  what?   So  where  do  you  see  people  injured?  Where  do  you  see  people  injured?     C:    the  hospital     T:  really.   C:    in  the  war?   T:    what  about  on  the  rugby  field?  Do  you  not  see  people  injured  on  the  rugby  field?   Do  you  see  a  stretcher  on  the  rugby  field,  do  you?  Yes,  that’s  where  you  see  them.       Incorporation  (I)  was  any  interaction  that  used  the  prior  knowledge  and  experience   of  the  child.  For  example:   T:  Come  on  Nico,  you  have  to  go  and  fight  in  the  war.    Never  mind  your  wife  and  your   kids,  your  dad,  your  mum  you  have  to  go...and  you  and  you  and  you.  Think  about  it,   what  does  that  mean?     C:    that  the  government  is  telling  people  to  fight...   T:  yeah,  but  what  do  you  think  about  that?    What  do  you  think?  Do  you  care  about  the   war?  Do  you  care  about  your  children...You’ve  got  a  baby.  Do  you  care  about  that?  So   what  do  you  think  about  that?  Come  on,  think!     C:    (inaudible)  

T:    but  what  do  you  think?    If  it  was  you  what  would  you  think?     C:    I  really  won’t  go   T:    why  not?     C:  I  have  a  family     Checking  and  Evaluation  by  teacher  (TC)  and  or  child  was  any  interaction  that   directs  the  child  to  check  the  responses  made  in  relation  to  the  text  being  read.    For  example:   T:    where  is  the  fight...come  one,  look  in  your  text,  look  in  your  text.    Where  is  the   fight?  Where  is  it?  Does  it  say?     C:  no     Feedback  (F)  was  any  exchange  by  teacher  to  child  that  had  elements  of  further   constructive  information  to  add  to  child’s  knowledge.       T:    fantastic,  I  like  the  way  you’re  thinking.  Fantastic.    Do  you  have  a  question  about   the  government?  Do  you  have  a  question  about  the  government  and  their  decision?       C:    (inaudible)   T:  who’s  he?   C:    John  key   T:  are  we  talking  about  John  Key  here?    do  you  think  we’re  talking  about  the   government  at  the  moment?     C:    no   T:  which  government  are  we  talking  about  here?  At  the  time...awesome,  at  the  time.   Let’s  read  the  last  paragraph     Awareness  (A)  was  any  interaction  that  noted  the  rules  of  Exchanges  which  focused   on  child’s  awareness  through  teacher  comments,  questions,  explanations  or  feedback  which   explicitly  draws  attention  to  the  relevance  of  the  child’s  knowledge  or  reflection  on   knowledge,  to  the  rules  of  participating,  and  to  the  purpose  or  ways  of  participating.  For   example:    

T:  is  there  an  overall  impression  of  …  what  do  you  the  text  …  cos  these  words  are   from  the  text  that  we  are  going  to  read.    What’s  the  overall  overstanding  about  these   words,  what  do  you  think  it  might  be  still?  No,  wait  …  don’t  say  it  cos  we’re  going  to   move  to  this  side.   It  is  important  to  note  that  some  codes  were  split  to  take  into  account  the  child’s   responses  given  Extended  Talk  as  the  goal  of  the  study.    For  example,  Extended  Talk  was  split   into  Extended  Talk  Teacher  (ETT)  and  Extended  Talk  Child  (ETC).    Incorporation  was  also   split  into  Incorporation  by  teacher  (IT)  and  Incorporation  by  child  (IC),  Checking  and   Evaluation  (C&E)  had  Teacher  Checking  (TC)  and  Child  Checking  (CC),  Awareness  (A)  was   added  another  code  to  include  the  strategies  that  teacher  and  child  used  during  reading   (AVE).    This  was  also  done  with  Feedback  (F)  to  take  into  account  High  Feedback  (FH)  and   low  feedback  (FL).    In  the  end,  a  total  of  13  codes  were  used.           Results    

We  report  here  the  overall  summary  of  the  group  achievement  of  students  on  STAR  

and  the  instructional  practice  from  teacher  observations  at  the  beginning  of  the  sustainability   year  and.    Also  reported  are  the  planned  six  professional  development  sessions  for  the  whole   year.       Student  Achievement     Results  of  the  STAR  tests  at  the  beginning  of  the  year  show  students  at  mean  raw   score  of  m=52.98  (SD  8.17)  Stanine  mean  m=3.65  (SD  0.58)  stanine.    This  is  well  below  STAR   national  norm  of  Stanine  5.    In  STAR  subtest  achievement,  students  were  high  in  decoding   with  correct  responses  of  83%  and  low  in  reading  comprehension  with  only  38.38%  correct   responses.   Instructional  practice  of  teachers  

Table  1.       The  instructional  practice  of  Sustainability  Samoan  bilingual  teachers  at  beginning  of   year  

Teacher  

Teacher  

Teacher  

Teacher  

Teacher  

Teacher  

Teacher  

Teacher  

Teacher  

1  

2  

3  

4  

5  

6  

7  

8  

9  

TR  

16  

25  

8  

14  

21  

6  

14  

17  

22  

VEQ  

10  

15  

2  

6  

 9  

2  

5  

3  

1  

VECT  

4  

2  

0  

1  

 6  

0  

0  

0  

0  

 

  ETT  

9  

7  

3  

3  

5  

3  

6  

12  

15  

ETC  

9  

7  

3  

2  

5  

5  

9  

13  

17  

IT  

5  

6  

1  

6  

6  

2  

2  

0  

18  

IC  

4  

6  

0  

6  

1  

4  

1  

0  

16  

TC  

5  

           5  

3  

3  

11  

5  

9  

9  

1  

CC  

4  

2  

2  

2  

11  

3  

9  

8  

1  

AS  

1  

3  

2  

0  

0  

0  

0  

4  

3  

AVE     FH     FL  

6     7     1  

2     1      6  

10     4     13  

1                  11          3  

8     4     2  

2     6     3  

0     14     2  

4     10     8  

             5     9     16  

Total   (Mean)  

143   (12.6)   53   (5.08)   13   (1.04)   63   (7.0)   70   (7.07)   46   (5.01)            38   (4.02)   51   (5.06)   42   (4.06)   13   (1.04)   38   (4.02)   66   (7.03)   54   (6.0)  

  Table  1  shows  the  instructional  practice  of  teachers  at  the  beginning  of  the   sustainability  year.    Generally,  the  majority  of  exchanges  were  related  to  the  text  at  hand  (TR)   with  a  mean  of  m=12.6  followed  by  Extended  Talk  by  chidren  (ETC)  with  a  mean  of  m=7.07   and  high  feedback  (FH)  with  a  mean  of  m=7.03.      Extended  Talk  by  teacher  (ETT)  was  also   high  (m=7.0)  but  lower  than  ETC  thus  suggesting  that  there  was  some  control  on  teacher  talk   which  might  have  allowed  children  to  talk  more  than  usual.    Vocabulary  elaboration   comment  by  teacher  (VECT),  Teacher  checking  (TC),  and  Incorporation  by  teacher  (IT)  had   similar  means  of  m=5.08;  m=5.06;  m=5.01  respectively  but  lower  than  ETT  and  ETC  and  FH.      

 

It  is  important  to  note  that  mean  exchanges  of  low  feedback  (FL)  were  quite  

high  (m=6.0)  compared  to  vocabulary,  incorporation,  and  checking  and  evaluating  means.     When  compared  to  FH  means,  this  is  quite  alarming.    According  to  Hattie  (2003),  high   feedback  is  one  of  the  most  important  and  influential  aspects  of  teacher  instruction  on   achievement.    High  feedback  by  teachers  in  this  study  were  noted  to  provide  encouragement   for  students  to  critically  think  and  engage  with  the  topic  which  in  turn  had  encouraged   students  to  respond  using  more  words  in  complete  and  simple  structured  sentences.    For   example,  in  the  reading  discussion  excerpt  below,  the  teacher  asked  the  students  what  the   government  should  do  given  that  too  many  of  the  soldiers  are  dying  in  war.    For  example:   T:    isn’t  that...what  do  you...what  do  you  think  about  that?  Think  about  that.    It  says  in   here  that  the  Government  what...   C:    introduced  conscription   T:    the  government  introduced  conscription...what  does  that  mean?  What  does   that...think  about  it?  I  want  you  to  think  about  it.    Think  about  it...the  government   introduced  conscription,  what  do  you  understand  of  conscription?       Come  on  Nico,  you  have  to  go  and  fight  in  the  war.    Never  mind  your  wife  and  your   kids,  your  dad,  your  mum  you  have  to  go...and  you  and  you  and  you.  Think  about  it,   what  does  that  mean?     C:    That  the  government  is  telling  people  to  fight...   T:  yeah,  but  what  do  you  think  about  that?    What  do  you  think?  Do  you  care  about  the   war?  Do  you  care  about  your  children...You’ve  got  a  baby.  Do  you  care  about  that?  So   what  do  you  think  about  that?  Come  on,  think!     C:    (inaudible)   T:    but  what  do  you  think?    If  it  was  you  what  would  you  think?     C:    I  really  won’t  go   T:    why  not?     C:  i  have  a  family  

T:  yeah...yeah,  what  about  you?  What  about  you,  Caleb?   C:    (inaudible)...helping  and  then  they  might  volunteer  again   T:    yeah,  that’s  good  thinking.  I  like,  I  like  what  Caleb...it’s  volunteer  so  it’s  up  to,  but   why...what  do  you  think  about  this  government  decision,  if  it  was  you  what  do  you...   C:    (inaudible)...when  you  go  out,  you’re  protecting  them...and  they  can  get  hurt   T:  but  what  if  the  fight...what  if  the  fight  is  not  in  New  Zealand?  But  its  um...is  the  fight   in  New  Zealand?     ALL:  no   Discussion  and  Extended  Talk  around  vocabulary  began  with  the  teacher  asking   students  about  their  understanding  of  the  word  “conscription”.    The  discussion  around  this   word  had  created  further  discussions  and  Extended  Talk  when  the  teacher  used  the  strategy   of  incorporation  to  elicit  students’  prior  knowledge  “Come  on  Nico,  you  have  to  go  and  fight   in  the  war.    Never  mind  your  wife  and  your  kids,  your  dad,  your  mum,  you  have  to  go  …  and   you  and  you  and  you.”    The  teacher  then  moved  to  encourage  students  to  critically  think  if   they  were  in  such  a  situation  by  asking  “Think  about  it,  what  does  that  mean?”.      Responses   by  students,  for  example,  “I  really  won’t  go”  and  “I  have  a  family”  or  “…helping  and  then  they   might  volunteer  again”  show  that  understanding  of  texts  can  be  enhanced  provided  the   teacher  has  a  planned  pattern  of  instruction  to  follow.      For  this  teacher,  there  is  a  clear   pattern  of    Extended  Talk  around  vocabulary  followed  by  Extended  Talk  by  incorporation   and  lastly,  Extended  Talk  using  critical  thinking.     In  another  excerpt  this  pattern  is  also  present.      For  example:   T:    So  those  are  the  people  that  are  going  to  look  at  how  to  find    if  the  spider  is  poison   or  not,  eh?  Cos  if  we  look  at  that  word  ‘serious  infection’  what  do  you  mean  by  that   word?  Yes,  malo?   C:    you  get  sick  and  you  get  chicken  pox   T:    very  good,  very  good.    Ua  a  fia  lou  tino,  a?  Ua  tele  le  afiaga.  Ua  lavea  oi  le  mea  lea  o  

le  spider,  a?  You  get  infected  by  the  spider’s  poison,  yes  Josh?   C:  what  was  around  you?   T:    Your  po’o  around  you.    Yes,  Elizabeth?  I  like  the  way  you  are  wait  -­‐     C:    after  the  spider  bite  you,  you  have  a  red  mark  on  your  skin   T:    a  red  mark  on  your  skin  after  the  spider  bite  you.    Why  did  he  leave  that  red  mark?   Why  did  the  spider  leave  that  red  mark  on  your  skin?  (long  pause)   C:    um  because...   T:    who  can  help  Elizabeth,  Josh?   C:    it  bites  you   T:    yeah,  because  the  spider  bit  you,  eh?  And  then  he  left  the  red  mark  and  the   swollen,  ua  fula  lou  lima,  ua  le  mafai  e  gai’oi.    Yes  Richard?   C:    inaudible   T:    they  can  be  killed  from  it,  eh?  Because  of  the...what  happened?   C:    infection     T:    infection...and?  And  what  else?  What’s  that  liquid  that  goes  in  your  body  that   makes  it  -­‐     C:    poisonous?   T:    poisonous,  good  boy  Tommy,  well  done.   The  initial  discussion  was  around  vocabulary  on    the  words  ‘serious  infection’  in   relation  to  poisonous  spiders.    Again,  the  discussion  generated  further  discussions  when  the   teacher  incorporated  children’s  prior  knowledge  using  Samoan  language  and  commented     “ua  afia  lou  tino.    Ua  tele  le  afiaga.    You  get  infected  by  the  spider’s  poison.”    The  teacher  then   moved  to  critical  thinking  by  asking  “Why  did  he  leave  that  red  mark?”  to  get  children  to   think.       In  the  above  two  selected  excerpts  of  Extended  Talk,  a  specific  pattern  of  Extended   Talk  is  noted.    This  is:  

1. Extended  Talk  around  vocabulary     2. Extended  Talk  when  incorporation  is  used   3. Extended  Talk  when  critical  thinking  is  encouraged   Given  the  focus  of  this  paper  is  Extended  Talk,  it  appears  that  teachers  had    taken  on   board  the  utilization  of  students’  oral  proficiencies  to  extend  talk  during  discussions  in   guided  reading  lessons,  and  in  their  uptake  of  the  professional  development  the  year  before,   had  attempted  to  apply  their  new  learning,  understanding  and  knowledge  to  their  current   practice  in  order  to  sustain  student  achievement.        

Moreover,  it  is  important  to  note  there  was  variabiity  amongst  teachers  in  their  

instruction  depending  on  the  focus  of  the  reading  lesson.    Nevertheless,  their  attempts  as   they  are  reported  here  were  to  ensure  that  the  goal  of  Extended  Talk  is  the  focus  for  practice   for  their  students  at  the  beginning  of  the  year.        

Generally,  the  student  achievement  pattern  where  students  are  low  on  reading  

comprehension  and  high  on  decoding  in  addition  to  the  patterns  evident  in  teachers’     instructional  practice  formed  the  basis  of  the  professional  development  workshops  and  the   in-­‐class  facilitations  that  followed.       Professional  development  workshops   For  the  study  reported  here,  six  workshops  for  teachers  were  planned  and  organized   for  the  year.    The  workshops  were  based  on  the  feedback  at  beginning  of  the  sustainability   year  of  instructional  practice  of  teachers  and  student  achievement  in  English  and  Samoan.     While  the  achievement  of  students  is  not  the  main  focus  of  this  paper,  it  is  worth  mentioning   here  because  of  the  prevailing  pattern  of  low  reading  comprehension  and  high  decoding   which  is  similar  to  other  profile  studies  (Lai,  McNaughton,  Amituanai-­‐Toloa,  Turner,  &  Hsiao,   2009)  of  students  such  as  those  in  this  study.    These  had  identified  professional  development   needs  and  the  workshops  were  discussed  and  planned  accordingly  with  teachers  based  on  

the  evidence.    However,  because  of  the  variability  noted  in  teachers’  instruction,  it  was   decided  that  in  order  to  work  closely  with  each  teacher  in  the  in-­‐class  facilitations,  the   Teacher  as  inquiry  model  would  have  to  be  adopted  to  ensure  that  each  teacher’s  needs  are   addressed  if  they  are  to  own  their  own  inquiry.    The  six  planned  workshops  were:     1. Teacher  as  Inquiry  –  Understanding  Theory   2. Feedback  of  baseline  achievement  and  instruction   3. Understanding  Bilingual  Education   4. OTJ  (Overall  teacher  judgement)   5. Teacher  as  Inquiry  –  Teacher  inquiry  research   6. Feedback  Instructional  practice  and  Writing  moderation   In  Class  Facilitation  (ICF):   Facilitation  was  an  important  part  of  the  professional  development  of  teachers.     Facilitation  with  teachers  was  dependent  on  the  outcomes  of  the  analysis  of  baseline   instruction  and  student  achievement  to  identify  professional  development  needs  for   sustainability.    Planning  for  in-­‐class  facilitation  followed  after  the  results  feedback  and  the   learning  community  discussions  around  the  data  and  instructional  practice  were  completed.     The  two  facilitators  in  collaboration  with  the  teachers  used  the  Teacher  as  Inquiry  model  to   target  each  teacher’s  needs  and  then  planned  their  inquiry  cycle  from  their  achievement  and   instructional  data.      It  is  important  to  note  that  the  facilitation  is  not  the  focus  of  this  paper   but  is  mentioned  here  nonetheless  to  provide  a  scoping  context  for  future  reporting.     Discussion    

We  asked  the  question  at  the  beginning  of  this  paper  that  given  teachers’  new  

knowledge  and  the  focus  of  Extended  Talk  for  students,  what  were  the  instructional   pedagogical  patterns  and  particularly  that  of  Extended  Talk  that  occurred  in  the  guided   reading  lessons  within  teachers’  classrooms  at  the  beginning  of  the  year?    We  hypothesized  

that  Extended  Talk  as  a  strategy    to  raise  reading  comprehension  achievement  may  have   been  taken  up  productively  by  teachers  in  their  attempt  to  extend  their  students’  talk  not   only  in  vocabulary  but  also  in  their  overall  understanding  of  texts.      

The  findings  show  that  generally  the  majority  of  interactions  between  teachers  and  

students  were  around  the  text  and  that  there  was  high  Extended  Talk  by  students.    However,   there  was  a  distinct  pattern  of  Extended  Talk  in  teachers’  instruction  which  shows;  Extended   Talk  around  vocabulary;  Extended  Talk  when  incorporating  children’s  prior  knowledge;  and   Extended  Talk  when  critical  thinking  is  encouraged.    This  pattern  suggests  that  teachers  had   modified  their  practice  to  include  all  other  strategies  to  enhance  reading  comprehension   instruction  through  Extended  Talk.    This  means  that  teachers  were  not  teaching  in  isolation   but  had  integrated  their  new  knowledge  and  understanding  into  their  pedagogy  to  sustain   achievement  of  their  students.    In  other  words,  teachers  have  found  some  balance  in  their   instructional  practice.        

 The  effectiveness  of  the  in-­‐class  facilitation  during  the  year  will  be  able  to  be  

reported  on  when  the  end  of  year  instructional  practice  and  achievement  data  are  analysed.     This  is  in  progress.    These  will  provide  detailed  evidence  of  individual  teachers’  inquiry  focus   and  evaluation  including  the  overall  project.    Given  the  instructional  variability  across  and   between  teachers,  it  would  be  interesting  to  see  what  the  facilitators  did  with  each  teacher   and  how  further  new  knowledge  and  understanding  had  impacted  teachers,  their  students’   achievement  and  their  practice  as  a  result  of  it.          

   

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