The role of teacher knowledge and beliefs in classroom practices: A study of one fourth grade teacher's writing instruction
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The study focused on one teacher’s knowledge and beliefs about writing and how that knowledge and beliefs impacted her classroom writing instruction. One fourth grade teacher in an urban low SES elementary school participated in the study. Using a qualitative research methodology, multiple sources of data including teacher interviews and classroom observations were collected and analyzed. Sources of teacher knowledge and beliefs were documented and findings suggest that the sources are varied and diverse. At the same time knowledge and beliefs were not always aligned with instruction. Factors such as demands of assessment, professional development availability, challenges of the classroom context, and level of preparation for teaching writing influenced the practices that were implemented. Factors notwithstanding, the introduction of authentic writing by the researcher as participant observer improved teacher’s self-efficacy in teaching writing and students’ achievement. Findings have implications for preservice teacher preparation and inservice teacher professional development, the impact of high stakes assessment on classroom writing instructional practices, and understanding and promoting the importance of authentic writing activities.