First grade teachers' knowledge of phonological awareness and code concepts: Examining gains from an intensive form of professional development and corresponding teacher attitudes

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The study examined the efficacy of an intensive form of professional development (PD) for building the knowledge of first-grade teachers in the areas of phonological awareness and phonics. The PD featured frequent in-class support from highly knowledgeable mentors for one school year, in addition to an introductory two-day summer institute and monthly workshops. Pre- and post-assessment of participants on a Teacher Knowledge Survey (TKS) indicated weak knowledge of phonological awareness and phonics concepts prior to PD and large, significant gains in each area by year-end. In addition, to investigate factors potentially associated with teachers' responses to training, a Teacher Attitude Survey (TAS) was administered before and after the PD. The TAS measured teachers' attitudes regarding PD, external and internal motivation to participate, intentions to actively engage in learning and implementing new instructional methods, sense of self-efficacy as reading instructors, and premises about reading instruction (e.g., about whole language). Attitudes on a subset of these factors, teachers' initial knowledge scores on the TKS, and years of teaching experience (estimated by age) accounted for significant portions of the variance in performance on the TKS after training. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

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Reading and Writing