Document Type

Dissertation

Department

Educational Leadership

First Advisor's Name

Dr. Judith Slater

First Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Co-Chair

Second Advisor's Name

Dr. Stephen Fain

Second Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Co-Chair

Third Advisor's Name

Dr. Abbas Tashakkori

Third Advisor's Committee Title

Committee Member

Keywords

teachers' espoused beliefs, instructional beliefs

Date of Defense

5-22-2001

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to investigate teachers’ espoused instructional beliefs and whether they differed in relation to schools’ socioeconomic status, extent of teachers’ educational background, or extent of teachers’ classroom experience. The study comprised a total of 242 Miami-Dade County public school educators who responded to a thirty-nine question Likert scale, Literacy Instructional Practices Questionnaire. Eighteen schools, three from each of the six regions, were purposively selected based on the socioeconomic status of students. Nine participants were interviewed using semi-standardized interview procedures and open-ended questioning techniques. Multivariate Analysis of Variance (MANOVA) results revealed that teachers’ espoused beliefs concerning the instruction of literacy and forces and influences affecting instruction do not significantly differ depending on schools’ socioeconomic status, extent of teachers’ educational background, or extent of teachers’ classroom experience. The majority of teachers appear to follow a top-down generated direct instruction model. Generally, students are taught as a whole class and ability grouped for specific skill instruction utilizing commercially produced reading and language arts texts. There was no evidence of a relationship between teachers’ espoused beliefs concerning the model of instruction that they practice or teachers’ espoused beliefs concerning research and its application to practice and the three independent variables. Interview data corroborated much of the information garnered through the questionnaire. However, interview participants espoused the belief that research did not influence their selection of instructional practices. Although teachers perceive of themselves as eclectic in their espoused instructional beliefs, they appear to follow a skills based direct instruction pedagogy in practice. Much of what teachers believe constitutes effective practice, few researchers recommend, affirming the findings of Calderhead (1993) and the National Educational Research Policy and Priorities Board (U.S. Department of Education, 1998, p. 18) that “educators rarely know research, seek it out, or act in accordance with its results.”

Identifier

FI08081518

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