INSERVICE TRAINING AND TEACHER VERBAL BEHAVIOR IN FIRST GRADE CLASSROOMS
The present study focused on the effectiveness of inservice training as a method for changing teacher questioning and responding behaviors in two first grade classrooms. To enhance the validity and structure of the present study beyond that usually reported in inservice training research, the format of the workshops was explicitly established prior to the training program and behaviors targeted for change were clearly and operationally defined.;To assess the rate and direction of change, audio tapes of discussions were made at specified intervals in the classrooms of all participating teachers. These tapes were transcribed and data coded for targeted behaviors according to a system developed by Blank (1973, 1977).;Changes which were sought were increases in teacher use of higher level cognitive demands, increases in the range and effectiveness of simplification techniques in response to student error or initiation, and increases in student initiation of verbal interaction. It was hypothesized that these increases would occur as a result of participation in the training program focused on the function and use of language in the classroom and based largely upon the work of Blank (1973).;Analysis of the results indicated that significant increases in targeted teacher behaviors had occurred. Questioning techniques of the experimental teachers demonstrated increased use of higher level cognitive demands. Examination of the data indicated that for experimental teachers there was a shift in the predominant mode of questioning from memory and recall to inference and application. Experimental teachers also exhibited a significant increase in the number and diversity of simplification techniques used, and responses to student error and initiation became more appropriate and more clearly focused on the need of the student. No such changes in questioning and responding behaviors were noted in the classroom discussions of the control teacher.;There was no significant increase in the frequency of student initiation of verbal interaction as a result of either of the above changes in teacher verbal behaviors in any of the participating classrooms. Students continued to respond as usual, maintaining their perception of teacher-as-questioner-and-initiator. There was no evidence that student initiated verbal behaviors had changed in response to the higher level cognitive demands.;In summary, the results of the present study indicated that inservice training can be an effective method for changing teacher behaviors, but that these changes may not be immediately reflected in student behaviors.
Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 43-01, Section: B, page: 2330.