Investigating Students’ Communication, Collaboration, and Self-Agency in Their Understanding and Application of Core Teaching Practices

Investigating Students’ Communication, Collaboration, and Self-Agency in Their Understanding and Application of Core Teaching Practices

Academic Year:
2015 - 2016 (June 1, 2015 through May 31, 2016)
Funding Requested:
Project Dates:
Graduate Student/Postdoc:
Peter Cipparone, pcipparo
Graduate Student/Postdoc:
Chair Uniqname:
Overview of the Project:
The elementary teacher education program at the U-M focuses on our U-M student’s learning of core instructional practices that have proven effective in supporting children’s learning. Yet, we have much to learn about our elementary teacher education students’ understanding of these practices and their ability to enact these practices while taking our courses and once they begin student teaching in local K-5 classrooms. What do elementary teacher education students learn about core instructional practices during our courses? How well does that learning transfer once they are outside of structured coursework and interning in local classrooms? Is there something more we can do in elementary teacher education coursework to support student teachers’ learning? This project focuses on the core instructional practices of modeling reading strategies and facilitating discussion because they highlight important aspects of engaged learning. If U-M teacher education students can model their thinking process as they use reading strategies, they will be able to communicate the skills of being a reader in ways that children can understand. To facilitate a discussion with children effectively, U-M students must learn to communicate clearly, collaborate with children, and promote collaboration among children. Finally, to transfer core teaching practices from the sheltered environment of U-M to live K-5 classrooms requires our students to demonstrate agency and risk taking. This study will lend insight into our student teachers’ engaged learning, their ability to transfer this learning outside of structured courses, and how we might improve our courses to better support such learning.
Number of Graduate Students Affected Annually:
25 graduate students
Number of Undergraduate Students Affected Annually:
50 undergraduate students
Proposal PDF:
Budget Administrator:
Brenda Ely,
Final Report Fields
Project Objectives:

The objectives of this project were to (1) understand our elementary teacher education students' learning of core instructional practices that require communication and collaboration skills, and self-agency; and (2) identify ways to improve the social studies methods course to better support teacher education students' learning.

Project Achievements:

With CRLT funding, we were able to analyze elementary teacher education students' videos of their modeling and discussion facilitation with K-5 children. Based on these analyses, we identified strengths and weaknesses in students' instruction and made revisions to the social studies methods class to address weaknesses we identified. All instructors of this course have been brought into this work and use revised materials in their teaching. We also wrote three manuscripts and three conference proposals.

We continue to work on noticing how our teacher education students take up key instructional strategies for communication, collaboration, and self-agency. Based on earlier analyses we now have more clearly developed rubrics that identify key areas of growth to look for in assessing students' work on major course assignments. Based on our analyses of major assignments, we continue to make improvements to this course.
We have written three manuscripts and three conference proposals related to our findings on learning to facilitate discussions in K-12 settings with children. We have one conference proposal in development focused on learning to model reading strategies and will continue to develop manuscripts on modeling.