Date of Award

6-5-1997

Degree Type

Thesis (On-Campus Access Only)

Degree Name

Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT)

First Advisor

Mark Bailey

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative study was to see how Reader's Workshop was used in middle school language arts classes. The previous educational research emphasizes how important a whole language approach is to help create a meaningful learning environment for students. The combination of natural context with personal experience creates an environment where students can be successful. The key questions examined: what reasons do teachers give for choosing Reader's Workshop and what adaptations do teachers create in this program in order to address their particular teaching style and each unique group of students?
The data were gathered through a variety of methodological approaches including observations, written surveys, and informal interviews. The data showed that teachers who were instructed to use the program were not vested, and therefore did not feel motivated to make adaptations that fit their teaching style or their particular student's needs. The experience did not hold meaning for these teachers. In contrast, teachers who made the choice were vested in the
program. Therefore, choice is as important for teachers as it is for students in creating a motivating and meaningful learning environment. Further research needs to be conducted with teachers who volunteer to be a part of a long term study where the same student's growth can be monitored over a period of time.

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