Reading instruction, reflective practice and student engagement in elementary school: A kindergarten case study
Kawi, Patricia M.
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This qualitative case study, conducted in a kindergarten classroom in an urban, high-needs elementary school, examined teacher pedagogy, teacher reflective practices and student engagement during English Language Arts (ELA) instruction. It looked at what the teacher did as she implemented the District mandated ELA curriculum to explore the relationship and connections between the teacher's pedagogy and student engagement. The teacher's reflective practice was studied to identify any patterns relative to her pedagogy or student engagement. Multiple findings were revealed. This teacher's pedagogical choices emerged as a key factor influencing the engagement of the students, which was also impacted by the nature of the curriculum. There was a disconnect between the teacher's stated philosophy of education, the district mandated ELA curriculum and her implementation of the ELA curriculum. Her process of reflective practice revealed themes including awareness of herself and her teaching style, of her students, and of the district, and helped inform her pedagogy and affect change. Analysis of teaching events revealed themes related to engagement, behavior management style, compliance, classroom community, and student independence. It is important to progress toward pedagogy that is conducive to student engagement and learning, which this research shows is supported by more dialogic, authentic and active curriculum, especially for our most vulnerable youth. There is value in developing teachers as regular reflective practitioners and empowering them to use those results to improve their pedagogy and all aspects of their teaching.