Award Date


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Curriculum and Instruction

First Committee Member

Thomas W. Bean

Number of Pages



The focus of this study was to explore the changes in literacy practice that occurred after two middle school science teachers completed their participation in a long-term staff development project on content area literacy. There were two participants in this study, were a sixth-grade life science teacher in her 22nd year of teaching, and an eighth grade physical science teacher in her 4th year of teaching. Multiple data sources were collected, including field notes from the staff development meetings, interviews of participants and other school personnel, classroom observations, descriptive surveys, lesson plans, exit slips and evaluation forms; Qualitative methodologies were used to guide analysis, classification and interpretation of the data collected. The data were read and reread to construct domains and themes (Spradley, 1980) found in each teacher's literacy practices and beliefs. Additionally, the methods of critical discourse analysis were used to analyze the data for issues pertaining to the influential social and political structures of secondary schools (Fairclough, 1989). This second type of analysis afforded opportunities to regard the teachers' literacy practices as social in nature and assumes asymmetrical power distributions within and among three different social contexts---an immediate local context (e.g., the science classroom), a wider institutional context (e.g., teaching, middle school), and the larger social contexts (e.g., Discourses of literacy, adolescents, and schooling). The results showed that the teachers' epistemological stances toward teaching and learning had profound impacts on the strategies they continued to use after the staff development. Findings also indicated that the larger societal Discourses about adolescents, high stakes assessment, and teachers as individuals were reflected in the teachers' decisions to use particular instructional approaches.


Content Area Literacy; Development; Effects; Investigation; Literacy; Literacy Practices; Long; Middle; Middle School Teachers; Practices; Project; Qualitative; Schools; Science; Science Teachers; Staff; Staff Development; Teachers; Term; Two

Controlled Subject

Curriculum planning; Science--Study and teaching; Teachers--Training of; Education, Secondary

File Format


File Size

3092.48 KB

Degree Grantor

University of Nevada, Las Vegas




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