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Influencing teachers’ theoretical orientation to expository essay writing through instructional material design
Issue Date: 
Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Educational Research Association of Singapore, Singapore, May 2006
Research has established that the teaching methods played out in classroom lessons tend
to reflect teachers’ theoretical orientations (Johnson, 1992). It seems possible then to improve the effectiveness of teaching by seeking to bring about change in teachers’ theoretical view of their subject. This exploratory paper inquires into the extent to which English language teachers can be influenced, through instructional material design, to adopt a social-cognitive theoretical orientation to expository essay writing and to its teaching. Instructional materials were designed to engage students in the learning of goalreferenced thinking during writing and of discourse practices conventional to expository writing. Teachers’ guides were provided and discussion sessions held to familiarise teachers with the philosophy underlying the materials. Lessons were observed for evidence of a social-cognitive orientation to writing instruction as opposed to the formfocused, product-centred orientation that teachers tended towards at the beginning of the study. The results tentatively suggest that instructional materials can, to some extent, influence writing teachers’ classroom practices by initiating a shift in their theoretical
orientation towards the socio-cognitive dimensions of writing. Implications for teachers’ professional development will be discussed with reference to the role that school climate and teacher-researcher collaboration in materials design can play in changing teachers’ theoretical orientation.
Project number: 
CRP 5/04 AC
Appears in Collections:CRPP - Conference Papers

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