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Abstract

Background & Objectives Previous project research identified three challenges for Qatari middle school students studying science: 1) a curricular and "real world" need to learn from both Arabic and English texts; 2) poor student reading comprehension across languages; 3) teaching methods that require reading comprehension and oral fluency without attention to reading processes. To help students improve their reading comprehension Qatari teachers need 1) a deeper understanding of reading as a strategic, goal-oriented process and 2) practical techniques for helping students read more strategically. There are also challenges for teacher learning. The baseline research found that teachers have a general idea of what they should report they do, but when observed in the classroom the strategic reading practices were not evident. A key objective, therefore, of teacher development in this project was helping teachers make connections between their learning and practice. Lesson Study (Lewis & Perry, 2006) is an approach to teacher development in which teachers collaboratively study an idea for improving their practice, plan a lesson together that incorporates the idea, observe student learning while the lesson is being taught by a member of the group, and then reflect on the lesson's effectiveness. This cycle is implemented multiple times to promote greater understanding. Pilot Lesson Study programs were initiated at one boys' and one girls' Qatar independent preparatory school. The programs aimed to promote science and English teachers' knowledge of strategic reading processes and their repertoire of techniques for incorporating this knowledge into teaching. This presentation examines the programs' contribution to teacher development. Method The programs in each school brought together three English and three science teachers with two members of the research team and met for six weeks. The teachers were interviewed using the same protocol before, in the fourth week, and in the week following the program. Group meetings were audiotaped, and the weekly lessons taught by group members observed. Researcher notes also provide triangulation. Transcripts of the interviews and session meetings were coded for comments indicative of the ways in which participants' knowledge, perceptions, and practices changed over the course of the six weeks. Results Areas of development identified include conceptual knowledge of reading, reading strategies, and means of professional development; perceptions of reading-related challenges faced by students and teachers; and teachers' repertoire of instructional and assessment techniques. The key components of Lesson Study that seemed to foster this development are: the reflective cycle linked to teachers' actual practice, a focus on student learning, and support provided for a community of practice. Furthermore, the inclusion of teachers from two disciplines (English and science), a unique component for Lesson Study programs, enabled participants to gain a wider perspective on their practice. Conclusions The qualitative analysis identifies a number of positive outcomes for participants and provides insight into the characteristics of Lesson Study that promote these outcomes. Future research using a more controlled experimental procedure will address whether these outcomes also lead to improved student reading.

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/content/papers/10.5339/qfarc.2014.SSPP0470
2014-11-18
2020-10-25
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