Jonathan Edward Bush

Teaching writing in a middle school: A multiple case study of pedagogical content knowledge, context, and beliefs

Jonathan Edward Bush

  • School: Purdue University (0183)
  • Degree: Ph.D.
  • Date: 2001; pp: 172
  • Advisor: Lauer, Janice
  • Source: DAI-A 63/02, p. 582, Aug 2002
  • Subjects: Language, Rhetoric And Composition (0681); Education, Language And Literature (0279)
  • ProQuest Document Number: 726332491
  • ISBN: 9780493575711
  • UMI Number: AAT 3043703

Abstract:

    This dissertation examines three experienced middle school teachers in the act of teaching writing. It considers their classroom practices and traces the influences that shape those practices. In particular, the study discusses how the participants pedagogical content knowledges, understanding of context, and beliefs as a professional educator shape these practices and guide their approaches to the teaching of writing. A multiple case study was developed at Northside Middle School during which the researcher interviewed each participant and became a participant observer in each of the teachers’ classrooms as each teacher taught a self-selected “writing unit” that she felt exemplified her approach to the teaching of writing at the middle level. Like many middle school writing teachers, the participants had minimal training in the teaching of writing and were all professionally prepared to teach at levels other than middle school. Their teaching practices in writing were strongly influenced by their experiences as teachers. The resulting pedagogical practices were tied to individual understandings of these experiences, with only minimal pedagogical effects from teacher education or composition theory. Their understanding of context was local, with primary influences resulting from needs of students and understanding of local issues and community needs. Likewise, the classroom practices of the teachers were only minimally affected by state-sponsored highstakes testing. Beliefs were an important influence. Each teacher structured their pedagogy, within and beyond writing, to achieve a belief of “ensuring success” for her students.