Teachers' didactic reading practices

Year: 2018

Author: Tverbakk, May Line

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

The subject Norwegian previously had the main responsibility for teaching reading and writing to students. According to the Norwegian curriculum, LK06, the responsibility was shared with teachers from all other subjects. Research into the implementation of LK06 shows that teachers didn’t share a common understanding of this element in the curriculum (Hodgson, Rønning and Tomlinson, 2012). Some teachers held a limited understanding of what the new responsibility meant for their role as teachers in the different subjects. In 2013, LK06 underwent a revision, aiming to state more clearly for teachers their responsibility for teaching the skills in their subjects. The current study investigates the situation after the revision and focuses on reading in Norwegian, Science and Social studies.  
The aim of the current study is to investigate how teachers interpret and reflect about their responsibility for teaching reading, and how they actually teach reading to their students in the three selected subjects.
The overarching question for the study is: What characterizes teachers’ didactic reading practices? The sub-questions are: a) what ways of working do teachers make use of when teaching reading, and to what extent can the work methods support pupils’ learning? The question focuses on the actual teaching situations and the teachers’ work with factual texts, including the structure, organization and content of the lessons. And, secondly: b) how do teachers, from a didactical perspective, interpret, reason and reflect about reading? The question focuses on teachers’ expressed reasons, evaluations, reflections and knowledge, i.e. their “beliefs”.
The present study has used video observations and qualitative interviews. The data comprises data from nine different teachers from the chosen subjects. Video data have been analysed using interaction analysis (Jordan and Henderson, 1995). Interview data have been analysed using a phenomenographic approach (Marton and Booth, 2012).
Results indicate that teachers view reading skills as important. However, as expressed through their beliefs and their actions, there is a focus on knowledge acquisition as the objective for reading, and less, if any, focus on objectives regarding the actual reading process and progress in the development of pupils’ reading skills. The latter may suggest a relatively low awareness of developing pupils’ metacognitive skills regarding reading as a central tool to support their learning processes.
The findings are important contributions to the current debate concerning renewal of subjects, in-depth learning, focus on early intervention and progression in students’ reading, and perspectives on key competencies in teacher education.