An examination of the role of the teacher in early reading
The research presented here considers the role of the teacher of reading in the child's first year of school. It was undertaken in an attempt to find out more about how teachers go about teaching children to read. The research was inductive in design and adopted an ethnographic methodology. The research was undertaken in two parts with five teachers in all providing case studies of practice. In the first part. the roles adopted by three Reception / Year One teachers were examined and the literacy tasks they provided for children were analysed. The results of this study led the researcher to question a) the focus of the classroom observation on predetermined aspects of practice and, b) the omission of the teachers themselves from discussion of their practice during the duration of the research. The secondp art analysesth e largelys pontaneousli,t eracyr elatedr esponsesm adeb y two further Reception / Year One teachers to the children in their classes and the comments these teachers made about their thoughts and actions in interviews after the teaching sessions. The findings include an analysis of the layers of concern that appeared to influence teachers in their interactions with children about literacy. Examination of these interactions also suggested ways in which teachers may adopt procedures that go some way towards compensating for the differences between home and school learning that have been identified by other researchers. These findings led to the development of a model of practice which shows teachers to be acting in both reactive and proactive ways. This view of practice led the researcher to question models of initial and inservice training for teachers of reading which are based on proactive models.