Presentation Title

Vocabulary Instruction in the Common Core Era: A Collective Case Study on Vocabulary Instruction in Fifth-Grade Classrooms

Authors' Names

Farrukh Nazir

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

Abstract

This qualitative research study investigates how vocabulary instruction takes place in two fifth-grade classrooms from both teachers’ and students’ perspectives. Vocabulary knowledge possesses key importance in learning to read, academic success in all school subjects, and achievement in life beyond school (Graves, 2016. p.2). The fifth-grade is a critical period for successful transition to middle school. The change in the nature of text from narrative text in storybooks to informational text in the textbooks becomes a challenge for students to understand and successfully comprehend (Best, Floyd & McNamara, 2004). Due to the importance of vocabulary, Common Core State Standards (CCSS) also put an increased focus on the process of vocabulary acquisition. Shifts in the vocabulary instruction after the development of the CCSS is one of the six “shifts” because of the CCSS (Coleman, as cited in Graves, 2016). Recent vocabulary research has found that vocabulary instruction in classrooms is weak, thin, and not research-based (Carlisle, Kelcey & Berebitsky, 2013; Graves, 2016; Wright & Neuman, 2014). To investigate vocabulary instruction the theoretical framework for this study drew upon the situated learning theory proposed by Lave (1988) and the activity theory developed by Leontiev (1979), both of which are derived from Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory. These theories provide a way to understand vocabulary instruction by focusing on instructional context, vocabulary activities, collaborative peer interaction, the interaction of the learner in the classroom with both teacher and students, purpose of instruction, and instructional strategies. This collective case study intends to identify how teachers teach vocabulary, strategies teachers use to teach vocabulary, and students’ perception of vocabulary instruction.

Data were collected through classroom observations in both fifth-grade classrooms for 200 hours and interviews from both teachers and students. Teachers in both classrooms were asked to identify six students total with strong, average, and weak reading skills to take their view of vocabulary. Within-case and cross-case analysis will be used to analyze data. The within-case analysis is the identification of themes and thematic analysis within each case, while cross-case-analysis is defined as thematic analysis across cases (Creswell, 2013). In collective case studies, the participants generally share some common characteristics, and the data is analyzed in both ways to discover converging, diverging, and novel themes (Creswell, 2013; Merriam, 1998, 2009).

Preliminary analysis reveals teachers use a variety of instructional strategies. Students interview analysis shows their diverse instructional needs and levels. This study is significant because of the use of a case study approach. Case studies are the best approach to investigate educational processes, problems, and programs to develop an understanding of the case and improve practice (Merriam, 2009). This study is also important because of the involvement of students in the study to understand their perspectives on vocabulary instruction in addition to the involvement of teachers. Moreover, the study is significant because it took perspectives from strong, average and struggling students. Findings of the study can be used as a guideline in devising vocabulary instruction to meet the instructional needs of students.

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Apr 27th, 9:40 AM Apr 27th, 9:55 AM

Vocabulary Instruction in the Common Core Era: A Collective Case Study on Vocabulary Instruction in Fifth-Grade Classrooms

UC Ballroom, Pod #4

This qualitative research study investigates how vocabulary instruction takes place in two fifth-grade classrooms from both teachers’ and students’ perspectives. Vocabulary knowledge possesses key importance in learning to read, academic success in all school subjects, and achievement in life beyond school (Graves, 2016. p.2). The fifth-grade is a critical period for successful transition to middle school. The change in the nature of text from narrative text in storybooks to informational text in the textbooks becomes a challenge for students to understand and successfully comprehend (Best, Floyd & McNamara, 2004). Due to the importance of vocabulary, Common Core State Standards (CCSS) also put an increased focus on the process of vocabulary acquisition. Shifts in the vocabulary instruction after the development of the CCSS is one of the six “shifts” because of the CCSS (Coleman, as cited in Graves, 2016). Recent vocabulary research has found that vocabulary instruction in classrooms is weak, thin, and not research-based (Carlisle, Kelcey & Berebitsky, 2013; Graves, 2016; Wright & Neuman, 2014). To investigate vocabulary instruction the theoretical framework for this study drew upon the situated learning theory proposed by Lave (1988) and the activity theory developed by Leontiev (1979), both of which are derived from Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory. These theories provide a way to understand vocabulary instruction by focusing on instructional context, vocabulary activities, collaborative peer interaction, the interaction of the learner in the classroom with both teacher and students, purpose of instruction, and instructional strategies. This collective case study intends to identify how teachers teach vocabulary, strategies teachers use to teach vocabulary, and students’ perception of vocabulary instruction.

Data were collected through classroom observations in both fifth-grade classrooms for 200 hours and interviews from both teachers and students. Teachers in both classrooms were asked to identify six students total with strong, average, and weak reading skills to take their view of vocabulary. Within-case and cross-case analysis will be used to analyze data. The within-case analysis is the identification of themes and thematic analysis within each case, while cross-case-analysis is defined as thematic analysis across cases (Creswell, 2013). In collective case studies, the participants generally share some common characteristics, and the data is analyzed in both ways to discover converging, diverging, and novel themes (Creswell, 2013; Merriam, 1998, 2009).

Preliminary analysis reveals teachers use a variety of instructional strategies. Students interview analysis shows their diverse instructional needs and levels. This study is significant because of the use of a case study approach. Case studies are the best approach to investigate educational processes, problems, and programs to develop an understanding of the case and improve practice (Merriam, 2009). This study is also important because of the involvement of students in the study to understand their perspectives on vocabulary instruction in addition to the involvement of teachers. Moreover, the study is significant because it took perspectives from strong, average and struggling students. Findings of the study can be used as a guideline in devising vocabulary instruction to meet the instructional needs of students.