Date of Award:

12-2018

Document Type:

Dissertation

Degree Name:

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department:

Education

Advisor/Chair:

Sylvia Read

Abstract

Research indicates curriculum mapping is beneficial for teachers and students. However, it is not effectively implemented because there are barriers in time, support, and knowledge. This research sought to remove those barriers and study the impact on teachers’ practice when they were able to work together to develop a curriculum map. The focus of the teachers’ map was the Kindergarten through third grade English Language Arts curriculum.

This work included a series of professional development sessions where teachers worked collaboratively to gain a greater understanding of the curriculum and develop a sequence from kindergarten through third grade. Teachers’ worked collaboratively to gain a deep understanding of what they were supposed to teach and how that would manifest in practice.

As teachers constructed their own understanding of the curriculum they made decisions about the expectations for students at each grade level and were able to discuss practices as a group. These discussions led teachers to be more intentional in their planning and instruction. They felt as though they had developed some consistency while still maintaining their freedom to teach within their classroom however they wanted.

I observed teachers in their classrooms and then met with them individually to talk about the impact of our work on their practice. Several ideas emerged. First, they saw a need for understanding of the content, and the value of gaining that knowledge as a group. They believed that their teaching would be more intentional as a result of our work and that this intentionality would make them higher quality reading teachers. They believed that increased intentionality, along with consistency from grade to grade and shared expectations had the potential to improve student achievement. Furthermore, teachers gained greater confidence from this work which could also improve their impact as teachers.

The community of practice was essential in moving teachers through this work as it provided them a trusting group with mutual goals and a willingness to support and challenge one another.It was essential that teachers first be able to work within a community of practice before they could traverse the journey of developing a curriculum map.

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