The Effective Teaching project (full title: EXPLORING EFFECTIVE READING COMPREHENSION INSTRUCTION: CLASSROOM PRACTICE, TEACHER, AND STUDENT CHARACTERISTICS) is an exploratory and descriptive study with the primary goal of exploring the multiple dimensions of teaching and classroom reading comprehension instruction that work together to predict students’ reading comprehension gains. This project builds on analyses of video-recorded classroom observation data collected as part of projects funded by the Institute of Education Sciences at two universities (Florida State University and University of Michigan). Whereas these projects identified certain features of effective comprehension instruction in the early elementary years, the current study focuses on fine-grained coding and analysis of comprehension instruction and students’ response to this instruction in order to better understand instruction and, in turn, what to expect teachers to do to effectively teach reading for understanding. Thus, the purpose of this project is to identify contextually sensitive features of early elementary teachers’ instruction in reading comprehension that contribute to significant gains in students’ performance on measures of reading comprehension. In pursuing this goal, we plan to explore complex associations among teachers’ instructional practices (teacher moves), students’ level of participation (student moves), teacher and student characteristics, and broader instructional conditions in which literacy lessons are taught.
This project focuses on developing and studying two new coding systems for analyzing instruction in reading that involve reading comprehension and student level of participation: Creating Opportunities to Learn from Text (COLT-Teacher and COLT-Student). These systems together replace the CLE-RC originally proposed. COLT-Teacher integrates and expands on three existing classroom observation systems in order to explore the salient teacher characteristics of effective reading comprehension instruction. The first is a promising measure that has been designed to study the kind and quality of instructional practices teachers use in teaching reading comprehension. This measure, Support for Students Learning from Texts (SSLT), has undergone preliminary study (Carlisle, Dwyer, Learned, & Berebitsky, 2011). The other two are well-established systems that have been used in research: the Individualizing Student Instruction/Pathways (ISI) system (Connor et al., 2009) and the Video Analysis of Teaching Reading (VATR, see Carlisle, Johnson, et al., 2008).
The COLT-Student coding system was adapted from Chi’s (2009) conceptual framework of engagement, a student-centered cognitive model that views student engagement through observation of overt classroom behaviors. Adapting this engagement framework to be used with elementary students, we have conceptualized a four-level model of student participation, which includes Passive, Active, Generative, and Interactive student moves. The development of the two observation systems, COLT-Teacher and COLT-Student, will add greater depth to our understanding of how teachers go about teaching students to understand the texts that they read as well as a way to study the relation of teachers’ instructional actions in comprehension lessons, students’ participation, and contextual factors that impact student outcomes. The development of the COLT observation systems may also provide the foundation for classroom observation systems that are valid and can be used reliably by school educational leaders, literacy coaches, and teachers.
Chi, M. T. H. (2009) Active-constructive-interactive: A conceptual framework for differencing learning activities. Topics in Cognitive Science, 1, 73-105.
Carlisle, J., Dwyer, J., Learned, J., Berebitsky, D., & Kelsey, B. (2011). Providing instructional support for students’ learning from texts in second and third grades. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), New Orleans, LA.
Connor, C.M., Morrison, F.J., Fishman, B., Ponitz, C.C., Glasney, S., Underwood, P.S., … Schatschneifer, C. (2009). The ISI classroom observation system: Examining the literacy instruction provided to individual students. Educational Researcher, 38, 85-99.