Comparative Case Studies on the Adaptive Expertise of Novice and Veteran ESL Teachers
Walter, Chelsea Laine
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There is no single correct way to teach how to teach (Duffy, 1998). Instead, there are infinite ways teachers can be taught how to solve problems, and eventually perfect solving problems, that are unique to their situations and personal stance. Theoretical work on teachers’ using adaptive expertise with students has been used before in many academic fields, including medicine and education (Hayden et al., 2012; Mylopoulos & Woods, 2009; Pandy, Petrosino, Austin, & Barr, 2004). Using this theory in the field of education with novice teachers of SIFE and CLD students in the United States, however, is very limited. Soslau (2012) says further research is needed to understand how adaptive expertise emerges in novice teachers. Rodgers (2002) calls for further research to track the outcomes of reflection during teachers’ development as well as if this reflection can have a long-term impact on their classrooms. This dissertation presents findings on how two novice and one veteran secondary ESL teachers working with a population of students with various academic, cultural, and emotional needs adapt and serve their students and develop their own professional abilities. This study aimed to better understand the issues these teachers face as well as their attempts at modifying instruction for their students. Adopting a model of reflection and using it to expand on a teacher’s thinking is paramount in facilitating adaptive expertise. This study implemented systematic reflection via immediate oral reflections to investigate teacher perceptions and pedagogical choices during their development. From this study, implications can be drawn about the adaptive expertise of the participants as well as the overarching field of teacher development. Addressed are some of the gaps of the current empirical literature on teachers’ adaptive expertise, as well as practical applications of adaptive expertise and reflection theory.