Raichle (Rai) Farrelly_PhD Dissertation Defense

okay thank you so much everyone for coming it’s awesome to see so many people here on a break everyone should yeah okay so the title of my dissertation is emerging from the echo chamber and activity theory perspective on l2 teachers of adult emergent readers sorry Marth I forgotten can you see me okay okay um I’m gonna this is the overview of what I’m going to do today first I’ll give you some background about myself and why this topic was interesting to me why I chose to do this study I’ll talk about the purpose of the study my research questions very quickly Drive you through the literature review then the methodology I’ll talk about how I model the activity system which I’ll make clearer in a moment and then go over some of the major findings and then talk about implications and contributions of the study so I’m going to talk about two years of my life and 200 pages in 30 minutes and it’s very ambitious we’ll see how I do so first of all quickly on the background that many of you know this story already but did we push record on the video by the way okay so about five or six years ago I was assigned a TA ship at university neighborhood partners Heartland partnership center and all of a sudden I was teaching adult emergent readers adult emergent readers and these were second language learners are those who have not yet had the opportunity to acquire literacy in any language because of interrupted formal schooling or unavailable formal schooling because of nomadic lifestyle or civil unrest in their countries or poverty and a number of other reasons so all of a sudden I went from being a profession dsl teacher to a flailing ESL teacher and I was overwhelmed by how to work with these learners and I went to the research to try to find some guidance and there wasn’t much so I decided early on that this is what I wanted to do my research on and then as I moved more into my role as a language teacher educator I decided to take that perspective on my research so how can I help teachers of adult emergent readers so in this research study I’m sort of positioned from my perspectives as a teacher and l2 teacher educator and a researcher also so I’m kind of working at the heart of this and also by the way l2 means second language for those of you who don’t know and second language is any language learned after the mother tongue so the purpose of the study broadly is to better understand the experiences of l2 teachers of adult emergent readers just generally how do they make sense of their practice how do they navigate teaching in this context my guiding research questions are what constitutes the professional knowledge of l2 teachers of adult emergent readers what context-dependent relationships intentions shape both the knowledge and the practice in this context and in what ways can a better understanding of these classroom practices and context-dependent relationships and tensions help inform professional development opportunities for these teachers so I’m using an activity theory perspective which basically allows me to look at the whole activity of teachers practice and tease out all the contradictions and tensions in the relationships they’re experiencing between students materials the community the rules that exist in this system and then as these contradictions bubble to the surface I come to my major findings so I’m going to show you just the two major findings that kind of our overarching for all of the sub findings that arose as contradictions and those are one professional learning opportunities are critical components to teacher development and teacher empowerment but the structure of them is critical also so any professional development tool isn’t going to work there have to be the right tools chosen so one-shot workshops aren’t going to be as effective for example as situated ongoing communities of practice where the teachers get to work together over a long period of time focusing on the learners that they’re all familiar with a second major finding is that empowering teachers through collaborative decision-making within the program creating space for peer interaction and promoting professional growth is paramount to healthy satisfied teachers disempowerment and disenfranchisement is a very common theme in education in general so whenever we find professional development opportunities that empower them it’s going to just going to make for a happier teacher body so as i said i’m going to kind of fly through the literature review i framed the study sort of against the backdrop of teacher knowledge teacher cognition and teacher learning don’t be overwhelmed by this slide just focus on the two sides of teacher cognition you can see that teacher cognition as a field is vast it’s huge everything a teacher could possibly know beliefs attitudes assumptions what they know about the content they’re teaching how

to teach who they’re teaching how people learn all of that falls under teacher cognition in this study i focus mainly on personal practical knowledge so what the teachers know when they come into the classroom what they learn from their teacher education experiences and the knowledge they develop as they move through their careers i’m also looking at teacher learning specifically teacher learning in the adult ed profession or the adult ed setting but I did kind of explore in my literature review mainstream and second language teacher education programs and professional development for teachers across the spectrums teacher learning is within teacher cognition as a research domain but it’s more about the process not the knowledge so how do teachers map what they know to what they do and vice-versa how do they theorize practice which means how do they how do they look at their classroom practices what’s breaking down what’s working and how do they attach that to research in the field or how do they take research in the field things they glean in conferences and workshops etc and bring it back into the classroom so that’s all the research that kind of was the backdrop for my study activity theory is the theoretical framework for my study so I’m going to try and make this clear in a short amount of time but it’s a little bit complicated but it’s a conceptual framework it’s not so much a theory as a tool but it allows you to look at situated human practice in the context and it allows you to focus on all those interactions that happen in human activity to tease out tensions and contradictions and I’ll talk about why contradictions are important in a minute so it’s based on the work of social psychologists from Russia back in the 70s and it was elaborated upon by angstrom in the 80s and then through the 90s and now there’s a huge following of activity theory primarily in Asia and Europe it’s kind of just catching on here in the United States and I’m excited about that because I think it is a pretty useful tool in educational settings the five principles of √•ngstroms theory are that you have an activity system interacting with other activity systems as the central unit of analysis an activity system is for example in this case the ESL classroom the teacher her students other things that impact her classroom the materials the administration etc it’s multi-voice which means it has perspectives of many people involved including even the materials designers so if we have a tension between the teacher and the textbooks there’s probably something going on with textbook designers that’s making that be in this case it’s the fact that there just isn’t a market for books to teach adult emergent readers right now so there’s always a reason if you just get to all the different voices that are incorporated in the activity system it also has historicity so no activity system is static they’re always changing and developing over time so when you use activity theory you can explore human practice and see why it’s evolving and changing and how so for example in the case of one of my participants she’s been an ESL teacher for 23 years but has only seen adult emergent readers in the last four years so her whole world has just been turned upside down so her activity system today is very different from what it was five years ago and then the contradictions is the key to activity theory so as you explore activity Theory you tease out tensions and contradictions the reason why they’re so important is because with activity theory you then dive into those contradictions and you try to do something about them so then it becomes a transformative model for expansive learning it’s an empowerment model it’s not the kind of research where you just look at a setting and analyze and then walk away with some results you do all that but then you actually take it to the next step to sort of address the contradictions that have come up I keep doing this because of angstroms triangles you’re probably all like why does she keep doing that I’m everything I talk about now is in triangle mode so thanks terms triangles hell to frame the activity system and these are the components of the activity system the subject is the person from whose perspective we’re looking at the whole activity so in these cases we’re looking from the perspective of the ESL teacher the rules are the things that regulate all the interactions there’s explicit and implicit rules in the classroom it might be what time does class start do you come with pencil and paper who does the assessment measures etc there’s also rules in the program so who does the scheduling and the hiring and the firing the division of labor can either be horizontal as between students in a classroom or vertical between administration and teacher or teachers and students in some classes and then the community comprises everybody who impacts the activity system administration learners other teachers community members etc and then the instruments is the tools actually and those can be conceptual or physical at the conceptual level they include teacher knowledge teacher beliefs at the physical level they include the materials like the textbooks the

worksheets etc and also professional development is a tool that’s used the object is the goal that all of the activity in the activity system is directed towards and so in this case the object is student learning and the outcome is the transformation that takes place if the action directed at the object is effective so then ultimately you do have level gains and improvement in English language learning and literacy acquisition so I’m going to jump now to the methodology quickly this is a qualitative study it’s an ethnographic multiple case study I chose case study because it’s the best to choose when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are blurred or non-existent and so in this case I couldn’t really imagine understanding teacher practice about being in the classroom so I spent 20 hours in each classroom and when I moved to the interview phases with the teachers I was able to you know attach their responses and understand their experiences in relation to what I observed in the classroom I’m working in an interpretivist constructivist paradigm which acknowledges that there are no absolute realities truth is not singular and we all create know what knowledge is created by the knowers so there’s multiple realities and it’s created through our lived experiences and this was really important to be able to kind of give voice to the participants and also give me voice and give me the right to interpret and tell you a story about this research in the end so my two participants are fabulous women and excellent teachers and I’m so grateful to them for letting me have them in the study Sophia like I said as a career teacher 23 teachers teaching ESL and a great background for teaching ESL with a BA in education and MA TESOL but she’s only taught literacy level for the past four years her students are primarily refugee populations from all over the world and their range in age from 20 to 60 on her role she’d have 60 people and on any given day she’d have around 30 in her class but if I looked at her role all 60 were coming every single week they just never came on the same days because of job interviews and other challenges in their lives which makes it very difficult if you can imagine to teach and be continuous with a curriculum when your students are here Monday Tuesday Wednesday Friday just kind of randomly I’ve named her program the bright future Academy it’s a large adult program run by the district it’s very advanced it’s got great facilities and the students pay to go it’s about 30 per term but they can get a voucher and their incentives are provided by DWS the Department of Workforce Services so they can get bus passes and food stamps and things for taking English classes and then of course learning English and being members of a learning community Nancy Ann is in a very different situation she’s in a small community-based program the classes are six to ten people similar learner backgrounds literacy level but it’s very cozy her classroom is a bedroom in an apartment complex and like I said she’s a brand-new teacher she’s got her be a TESOL now but she’s a retired nurse so she’s always kind of navigating her identity as brand new to the field but she’s got such amazing knowledge for teaching literacy because that’s all she’s been doing since she’s become a teacher she’s at the Global Partnership Program it’s as I said a small community-based program there’s no incentives to attend and it’s free it’s an open door policy so students kind of come and go as they please sometimes you have them for two weeks sometimes you have them for two years it just depends on how well they gel with the program and if they stay so data collection as I mentioned I did observations 20 hours in each class non-participant i sat in the back of the class and just observed I did interviews with the participants four hours each individually and then two hours in a joint session with the participants together like a focus group and then I used some documents from their teaching emails that we exchanged throughout the time and then I also went to some ESL listservs to kind of do some checking and check my interpretations and make sure that what I was saying was going on might also be happening in other situations similar to these contexts and for the most part it what it did echo what’s going on in adult ESL settings for the most part so the data analysis is guided by activity theory activity theory with the components it gives you the codes you need so you identify things in terms of what component they are in the system and then as you tease out the contradictions you can code for the contradictions and then as these emerge in chunks then you can kind of categorize and meta size and there the findings are mostly discussed based on their contradiction level in the activity system which I’ll explain in just a second in terms of trustworthiness with qualitative data because the researchers in the data and especially because of my position ality as an ESL teacher and ESL teacher trainer a researcher a social social

justice nut and a very empathic person I had to pull myself out sometimes and be careful that I didn’t get too into what the teachers were experiencing and what they were telling me and I had to try to just tell their story but not let my voice get in there so I took as many measures as I could to ensure that I used very thick rich description when riding up my dissertation so anyone who reads it can decide for themselves if this is something that they can apply to their own context I use multiple data sources prolonged engagement with my data my friends would come over and see posters and post-its and know it’s all over my kitchen I living in my data for a while if there’s still some on the wall audit trails keeping track of all my data my interviews it’s always available if somebody wants to see it I was also in a research group and I kept a researcher journal so I did take many measures to ensure that this was a rigorous study okay so back to activity theory some early criticisms of activity theory were that it didn’t have a clear methodology and people were using it in all these different ways and it wasn’t very consistent it was hard to know how you use it so one’s a 2001 she operationalized activity theory with six stages that you take to model your activity system visually represent it break down the components and analyze what’s going on in terms of contradictions so I adopted her methodology and when you do that first you model your activity system and you you identify what are the tools the rules the divisions of labor or the community members in your system and you map it out using the triangles which formatting in the new Microsoft Word is the bane of my existence I’ll have to talk to angstrom about how he does them so nicely but this is my best attempt at representing this is Sophia’s system and you can see the community teachers learners administrators caseworkers some of the rules are explicit and implicit rules for doing school for the students assessment procedures scheduling etc divisions of labor are within the classroom and outside the classroom and the larger program and then the tools include teacher knowledge beliefs professional development assessment and materials Nancy Ann’s is very similar it includes university partners and more of the community because it was such an intimate setting and there was some more involvement and it does not have much top-down decision making in terms of division of labor because she did have a lot of autonomy and control interestingly at about the halfway point in my study Nancy Ann left this volunteer teaching position and joined Sophia at the bright future Academy so her activity system became the same as Sophia’s eventually and when we did our interviews and she was at the BFA her responses kind of integrated her experiences from both programs so by the end of my study they were both at the same place working and and that was exciting for Nancy Ann because she had a paid job teaching the group she loved so another stage in once is activity ology is to decompose the system and break it into manageable chunks so now what you do is you look at it from the perspective of a doer and a tool that they use to mediate their activity so that’s either the subject or the community and how they use tools rules and division of labor and all of the action in the activity system is goal directed towards that object of getting these learners to read and write in English and be proficient and be comfortable with print literate Society so my findings as I mentioned I’m going to kind of present them in terms of where they fall in the contradiction levels a primary contradiction is a contradiction that’s an internal conflict so it’s within one component of the activity system so for example in terms of our two subjects well I’ll describe what they are in a second a secondary contradiction is between components in the activity system so what is a breakdown between the subject and the rules for example so I teased out a lot of these at the primary contradictions level and usually these are less common than the secondary but I found a 2/4 for Sophia one is that her actual classroom practices and her reported classroom practices were contradictory but interestingly she would tell me what I think she wanted to be doing on your handout there are some fabulous quotes I wish I could go through all of them but I just can’t but um under primary contradictions you’ll see Sophia talking about how she’s telling me that she does do top-down and then as she starts to describe how she does top-down she starts to second-guess herself and then she’s like um well I kind of do and then she’s like well actually no I do bottom-up so you can see her sort of second-guessing herself and you can see that she knows she should be doing more of this but in reality she’s not and then her other primary contradiction was her love hate relationship with literacy level she really really enjoys teaching these students and love celebrating their gains because at that level your biggest celebration could be that

someone could write the whole alphabet six months into a program for many other ESL teachers they can’t imagine that that would take so long you know but for this population that’s a huge step but the hate part comes in where she’s like but it is hard all the preparation the lack of support the fact that I don’t really know what I’m doing so maybe I’ll just teach the advanced levels next semester so you know it’s kind of an interesting internal conflict she has going on and then Nancy Ann hers boils down to confidence um her actual practical knowledge compared to her perceived practical knowledge are contradictory she knows a lot she mentored with Eloise who was a fabulous literacy teacher here in Salt Lake and so she was mentored by the best of the best and so she knows how to do it she also took several workshops with us on teaching adult emergent readers she took a course here at the U on it she did her partner her teacher practicum at the Global Partnership Program so she really knows so much I would argue more than Sophia who’s been teaching for 23 years but because she’s a newbie she’ll say things like oh I don’t know all the jargon I’m just the newbie I’m just my own little helper of Eloise you know and she would always undermine her ability so that was an interesting contradiction that arose with Nancy Ann in terms of secondary contradictions there’s at three levels I’m not going to talk much about to which is the doing school one it basically sort of teases out the explicit and implicit rules of doing school and the funny things that would happen when teachers would students rather would you know spit on the floor because they’re chewing leaves from their home country and things like that that just aren’t appropriate but happened between the subject and the tools we had a breakdown with the teaching materials we had a breakdown with the pedagogical and practical knowledge and then also a breakdown with their beliefs about the students and then with the division of labor there were some interesting breakdowns because of top-down decision making so for the teaching materials the availability and choice of materials doesn’t always serve the learners there as I mentioned there’s just not a lot of materials available for teaching this population so the teachers have to adapt in the case of Sophia because she’s such an experienced teacher she was very comfortable adapting but what that meant is that she moved too quickly between different materials there was no sort of sense of consistency which is really important for this population so she adapted easily but it wasn’t effective Nancy Anne on the other hand was only familiar with two core curriculum and she used those all the time and this actually benefited the students because it was so repetitive and she recycled and recycled and so with her students there were actually reported gains in decoding ability reading comprehension vocabulary development so her limitation was actually a benefit to the students but nonetheless they were always saying I wish there was more material to use for this population in terms of professional knowledge the instructional strategy choice sometimes would be contradictory they would want to do what they thought they were supposed to do based on their teacher education and teacher preparation such as using communicative language approaches getting the students to work in pairs and small groups they felt like that’s what I should be doing but the reality for this learner population is that they really need to be dependent on the teacher in the beginning and you slowly relinquish control so when they did make these attempts prematurely to have them work in groups and in pairs there was often a breakdown where it didn’t work the students got distracted they didn’t understand the directions they were talking in their home language and it just failed and so they working they were frustrated about kind of what is their role as the teacher what is my loyalty to my teacher education so Sophia mentioned even with the simplest activity it’s very hard to communicate what you want the students to do you know and it really is difficult then beliefs about the students so this was a big contradiction the teachers can only surmise what the goals of the students are that relates to another contradiction related to top-down decision-making but basically they don’t have the opportunity to interview them when they first come into the program so here comes another new student to join your huge class on a Tuesday and you have no idea where they’re from what their background is why they’re here and they’re just thrown into the group and you have to just continue teaching as you too as you do so mafia said how does one talk about goals at this level many of my students come into the class just repeating everything that I say to them I feel like I’m in an echo chamber so that’s where the title of my dissertation came from she used this reference echo chamber in two different interviews and I think that’s a common experience for her and others in this context students don’t know what you’re saying a lot of the times because not only are these students in this particular study emergent readers they also have very low oral proficiency in some contexts like as dr. Bigelow experiences in Minnesota you’ll have very high oral proficiency and some of the young adults and literacy is their barrier but here we have literacy and

oral proficiency is a big challenge for them so some frustrations in the echo chamber are that they can’t communicate with their students they can’t get to know them and have this deeper communication with them and they want to know if what they’re doing is working if it’s if it’s even effective for helping these learners in their real lives so Nancy Ann had said once I think a lot of my things are working I think they’re okay I haven’t had any really major bombs sometimes I feel like I wish I had a little more perception about whether something is going to be you know easily understood by them or do I need to do something more some more supplementing so there’s just this you just don’t know you’re in there every day teaching and you’re just not really sure it’s working and I could spend an hour talking about the standardized assessment which doesn’t show you if you’re actually making level gains because it’s targeting just above where they’re actually making their developments so another conflict is between both the subjects and professional learning opportunities as a tool in the community and the breakdown there happens between the availability of professional learning opportunities and the choice of them so when the district throws in an expert and they come in they give you a one-day workshop and then that expert leaves you’re left with handouts and good ideas and a lot of excitement but you’re not necessarily better able to theorize your practice or really sort of understand what you’re doing or take what you just learned and put it in the classroom so teachers really value being part of a professional community and a community of practice but they don’t have much opportunity in a lot of context so that was something that came up a lot they also did theorize there just with me and interviews but they told me that they just do it on their own they think about it on their own on their lunch break at home after class but they’re not having a lot of opportunity to talk to one another so and then additionally one common thing that came up a lot was that there is little opportunity or little support within the program for professional development opportunities and then top-down decision-making was another big contradiction that came up in several different ways the main ones are the intake and assessment and then the top-down program decisions so very briefly intake is where the student comes into the building hi you know I want to take classes they don’t say it like that they get interviewed and tested and they get put into a class if you take the teachers out of that process they just missed a golden opportunity to meet that student and get a chance to interview them they’re just handed through the administration to the teacher so that’s tricky and then the choice of assessment is usually a top-down decision also top-down program decisions include changing scheduling or reassigning you to a different class choice of professional development again so these are decisions that the teachers often don’t get to be part of and again remember I’m talking about my study my two participants so implications for my study throughout the whole study what came up is a case for communities of practice if you adopt communities of practice within a school setting or at least within a program or a district where teachers who work with similar populations can get together it gives them a sense of belonging so they can emerge from the echo chamber they have others to talk to about what they’re doing they can develop collaborative approaches to professional learning together peer observations study circles where you actually dive into the research together and then try and implement things in your class and then come back together and talk about it and it’s immediately accessible because they’re talking about it together in relation to the students that they all know as opposed to like I said that expert other coming in and giving them some tips and tricks and then leaving and not knowing who they teach or how they teach or what they teach then finally teacher teacher-directed approaches enables teachers to take part in knowledge construction so if you empower the teachers in their communities of practice then they’re creating the knowledge they can do action research they can question the research that gets handed to them and they can create new knowledge based on their practice so again just to sum that up it reduces isolation it gives them a voice it increases expansive learning it targets the students goals it promotes student learning allows teachers to theorize practice and it will evolve the knowledge base for teaching adult emergent readers which we desperately need right now so now I’ll go over these limitations and contributions it’s a very small sample size it’s only two teachers so future studies to try to bring in more teachers to obviously try to confirm some of my findings or not confirm them just kind of show that there they are representative in this context my researcher bias values and assumptions I did my best to keep them out but I you know they’re there I’m part of this study and then the multi-voice admit I feel like it would have been good if I could have brought in more of the actual voice from the students and from the administrators I tried to infer kind of what their perspectives might be in relation to the teachers but I didn’t get to interview

any of them to bring in those voices and since that’s important to activity theory that would be something to change in the future some contributions this study honors the value of professional learning opportunities for ell to teachers of adult Els it promotes activity theory for educational research I think it’s a really cool theory for really teasing out the nitty-gritty and not just focusing on an individual which some other theories do but thinking about the whole network and how all the interactions play into human practice and then initiation of transformations in the activity systems there were transformations that took place ask me about them I’ll tell you in the QA and then reflectivity of the teacher educator and the researcher this study has transformed me dramatically I used to be the expert other that would come in now I’m like mmm I’m gonna have to rethink that so now I want to kind of be more of a consultant go into schools help them create their own communities of practice and change the way professional learning and professional development looks for teachers and then I didn’t ever think I was a researcher I struggled forever until you know just two months ago believing I was a researcher but I am and now I’m excited because I learned a lot in the research process so I’ll continue to research I have some recommendations for teachers program administrators and teacher educators for teachers just create or join professional learning communities be involved being gauged seek them out even if it’s online there’s some wonderful program line communities of practice to be members of four program administrators creating the space and seeing the value in professional learning opportunities is really critical and then for us as teacher educators promoting reflection early in teacher education programs so that when teachers do go to the field and they’re learnt their education doesn’t match their context they’ve got this the tools to be able to theorize practice and tie it together cultivates sorry guide teachers in material selection and adaptation so when they do get to a context where tea materials aren’t available they know kind of what to do and then introduce professional learning models that are sustainable and teacher driven so when you do end up in your career if there is no professional learning opportunity in your school you can create it future research I would say implement and measure the effectiveness of teacher driven professional learning communities in adult ESL would be interesting to implement some professional learning and track it see how a study circle pans out over time see how peer observations contribute to the teachers knowledge continue to qualitatively investigate actual classroom practices of LT teachers of adult emergent readers we really need a lot more studies on this what are the teachers experiencing what’s working what’s not working a lot of studies are done from the perspective of the students student gains and etc but we need to really look from the teachers perspective and then more exploration of activity systems from the perspective of the learners I think it would be awesome to have an interpreter and redo this whole study from the perspective of some of the students how do they feel when they’re greeted at the front desk in the school how do they like the way the teacher talks to them how do they like the way the teacher presents the material how do they like the way they’re tested we really need to find that out I think it’s critical to better understanding their experience and then explore interactions among activity systems angstroms third generation activity theory is to take this whole activity system and let it talk to another one so map out the activity system of the administration or the Utah State Office of Ed and look at how those two interact and contradict and then create a dialogue in the boundary space where they meet so that we can change policy and create more support for the teachers and you know the administrators have their own challenges to funding and laws and all these other things so they need their opportunity to have voice in this situation and finally acknowledgments I want to thank my graduate committee dr Sternfeld my chair dr. Kristensen dr Huck and dr. Bigelow and dr. Harb who couldn’t be here today unfortunately I also want to thank Sophia Nancy and all their students and the administrators for letting me come into the schools and then my colleagues in this program our wings are going to be huge right now and flapping big we’re all moving on it’s awesome and my parents who are unyieldingly patient unyieldingly my dad thought a ph.d program could be done in two years he’s like he’ll be done when you’re 34 and I was like oh maybe dad you know he came over from Dublin and he finished his in two years and so he gave up that expectation a couple years ago now I says oh well you sure love Utah so that’s a good thing and then my family here in Utah we’ve been an amazing support system and an amazing distraction which is good because you kept me sane and then dr. sue Morrow and my qualitative research team because they helped me figure out kind of how to do this whole qualitative research gig and my dog Seamus has been there for 12 years I would have brought him today but he’s not with us so and that’s all sure I have a question

so since since you’ve done this how have you implemented in your life in practice yeah so um through all these discussions I kept seeing these little glimmers of like we could do this we could do that to kind of help the teachers so early on when the issues of self-confidence came up with Antion for example I was about to start teaching some professional development workshops for the state office event so I invited Nancy Ann and Sophia to join me and they co-presented they you know Sophia is really great with reading horizons and teaching from the bottom so she came in did a presentation on teaching with reading horizons and Nancy Ann came in and did this really great presentation on top-down instruction integrating the bottom and using Sam and patch the teachers loved her they were so excited so kind of just showing them that they are no errs and they are practitioners who have something to share and they are themselves awesome teachers so I started there with just kind of building up her confidence we applied to a couple of conferences that we didn’t get accepted to but I just wanted to kind of honor them and honor what they do know how to do and kind of try to empower them that way also I’ve had meetings with their lead teacher and the administrators at the bright future Academy so just by having these discussions with their director he kind of perked up a little bit was like you know to be honest I didn’t know what the point of your study was he’s like but now I get it he’s like I think this is really important so I gave him some great articles on professional development in this context and since then now they have like an hour and 45 minutes which they had nothing before to sit around a table together and actually talk about what they’re doing they’re having more meetings they have this online portal where they have discussions they upload their lesson plans so they’re all able to kind of track what the other is doing to help align the students as they move through the program and we’re still in discussion about other professional learning opportunities that we’re going to try to create like study circles and peer observations I told them I come in and volunteer to just sub them out so they can go in and watch each other you know like I just want to give them those opportunities so in the local setting those are some of the ways I’ve kind of moved it forward yeah yeah the biggest challenges are and this this goes to international development work and all kinds of other they need to be sustainable for one thing and sustainability has to happen when the people involved want to own it and the reality is these teachers are so busy and so overwhelmed in a lot of cases unsupported and so they barely have time to do their lessons teach their classes and get on to in many cases their second job you know so they the when you ask them like to come together as a group and talk about teaching you know a lot of times they’re like really so they need to be paid for this these learning opportunities professional learning opportunities and in a lot of programs there’s no funding for professional development so that’s one of the big challenges is funding an incentive for the teachers studies that have tracked professional development have shown that the teachers really benefit from it they really enjoy it but in a lot of those successful cases they’ve been paid to be there so that makes a big difference they’ll all come running to workshops when you tell them they get $75 or license your credits you know so that is I think probably one of the challenges is just the sustainability keeping the interest yeah yeah that’s your question well so I I was kind of coming at this study I wanted to really just look in the classroom and I just wanted to observe what they were doing and I really wanted to focus on how they integrate top-down and bottom-up instruction that basically means kind of the whole picture versus the parts like the phonemes and the phonetics and stuff that’s a whole nother lecture but um when I got in there and I started up interviewing them in conjunction with the observations all these other big macro structure pieces came up and that’s when I was like okay I need a theory I need a framework that’s going to let me tease all this stuff out so then activity theory was recommended to me and as I read it it was just kind of like love at first sight because it’s an empowerment model and it has not just the collect the data and see what’s going on peace but they do something about what you find peace so dr. Houk and asked me about other theories that that do come up sort of in complementation is that a word to activity theory and I I did read up on some of them and I read in some other people’s lit reviews in activity theory studies of why they chose activity theory over for example actor network theory so that one it places sort of everyone on equal playing field and you’re not looking from one perspective or another you’re just considering the

entire network and how it all works but I really wanted to privilege the perspective and the voice of my participant in relation to the others in this group and there are a few other theories that kind of explore humans interactions with the world how they mediate those through the use of tools and artifacts but like I said all of them they look at what’s happening they describe what’s happening and they do look at some relationships and stuff but they don’t have that next step which is now what and so even though in this study because of the deadlines and stuff I a lot of the proactive expansive learning hasn’t really been unfolding we’re in the works and it’s going to keep on going it’s not this dissertation doesn’t end here so that’s what I love about activity theory that’s why I chose it I’m just wondering how you handled I’ve talked about it early on like that was ti how did you end up old school yeah I ended up not using a computer software program for one they’re very expensive and for two I was afraid that I wouldn’t learn how to use it well enough to manage the data effectively so I am one of those people who still doesn’t like to read articles on the computer screen I like to print it out and write in the margins and highlight so I had I did a lot of note-taking and highlighting and I did use Microsoft Word and Excel to store as I started coding the data I did start putting it into documents so that I could label and highlight and sort of organize on the computer but I did so much I had multiple copies of all my data all my transcripts notes from the observations and the interviews and I just combed through it and then I had literally butcher paper all over my kitchen with notes everywhere and so it was very hands-on it was very traditional yeah yes well so those transformations are kind of what tamriko was asking about just the going you know inviting them to join me in professional development and then talking to their director about these professional learning opportunities so I’m hoping the transformations in their systems are forthcoming as a result of creating these opportunities for professional learning with them and you know I’m a transformation from this study to I got invited to speak at a conference that targets this learner population as a keynote speaker so I’ll be presenting this research so I caught someone’s attention with it I think it’s interesting and I’m excited to promote activity theory as an educational tool or an educational research tool yeah I think it’ll be great Oh just marginally yeah I just asked yep just no all right you’re excused thank you guys