• Teachers’ Targets for Reading Instruction and what these Suggest

      Begy, Gerald; Rakoski, Sharon L.; The College at Brockport (1993-05-01)
      Teacher's belief systems and philosophies are formulated through professional development, reading current theory and daily interaction with children and materials. Researchers agree that teachers need an understanding of their belief systems in order to match these beliefs with effective instruction. This study examined teachers' belief systems as well as their targets or goals for reading instruction. A Likert-type survey was created and answered by approximately 40 randomly selected faculty members from a rural western New York school district, representing a wide range of experience levels in grades K through 6. Teachers were also given the opportunity to freely respond by stating their own articulated goals for reading instruction. The objective was to answer the following questions: What are teacher targets for reading instruction? Do these targets fit into known or unknown categories? What do these targets suggest? Analysis of the data found that teachers' targets for reading instruction as articulated in a free response format include academic goals (those that are measurable by traditional testing techniques) as well as aesthetic goals (life-long goals difficult to measure using traditional methods). Teachers see their role both as an instructor of skills and as a facilitator to learn a love of reading. In addition, the survey results show that more teachers hold to a whole language approach to reading instruction than to a skills-based or phonics approach to reading instruction. Finally, from all research read and from studying these two instruments carefully, it seems apparent that teachers need to develop ways to blend the three approaches to reading instruction and take the necessary time to develop a philosophy, reflect on that philosophy often and develop instruction based on their own goals and philosophy of how children learn best.