Teachers' facilitation and assessment of student discussions of multiple texts: A case study of action research

Patricia Shea-Bischoff, Fordham University


The purpose of this study was to describe the effect of a collaborative action research project focusing on teachers' facilitation and assessment of student discussions of multiple texts. Utilizing an embedded single-case study design, the researcher explored: (a) teachers' beliefs and practices regarding constructivist reading theory, classroom contexts, and assessment; (b) teachers' concerns about the innovation; (c) the collaboration's influence on the teachers' implementation; and (d) the action research project as a form of professional development. The participants included 3 English language arts teachers in an urban, public intermediate school in a large city. The researcher, also reporting as an insider, served as a participant-observer. The 12-month study was conducted in five phases. Before the action research, the teachers constructed narratives of their teaching lives, engaged in study group sessions, and planned thematic units collaboratively. During the action research phase, teachers kept journals and met with co-researchers. At the conclusion, the teachers evaluated the collaborative experience as a form of professional development, reconstructed their narratives, and completed a post-study survey. Five conclusions were drawn from the analysis: (a) all of the teachers' beliefs and two of the participants' teaching practices changed significantly; (b) a philosophical dichotomy existed in the teachers' perspectives concerning the innovation; (c) teachers' pre-study action research concerns regarding the methodology were dispelled as a result of the experience; (d) teachers assessed the discussions using static measures, that is, students' dynamic literate behaviors were not assessed; and (e) teachers believed the action research project empowered them to expand their repertoires and to enact change. The study's conclusions implied that teachers who participate in a similar sociocultural-sociointeractive experience can effectively work together to enhance their professional growth in a school-based, teacher-teacher collaboration. A working model that extends current thought regarding teachers' collaborative action research as a vehicle for professional development was generated as a result of the analysis. Further research is needed to validate the Teachers' Collaborative Action Research Model for Professional Development.

Subject Area

Curricula|Teaching|Literacy|Reading instruction|Teacher education

Recommended Citation

Shea-Bischoff, Patricia, "Teachers' facilitation and assessment of student discussions of multiple texts: A case study of action research" (2001). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI3027465.