Perceptions of English Teachers About Professional Development for Evidence-Based Writing Practices

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Writing teachers in a southern school district have not consistently implemented evidence-based practices (EBPs) in writing instruction as indicated by students not meeting proficiency levels on state and campus writing assessments. Despite professional development (PD) provided to writing teachers, writing assessment scores remained lower than state level scores between 2012 and 2019 at the target campus. Teachers’ perceptions of their competence related to the implementation of writing strategies in the classroom, their perceptions of how district and campus PD supported their skill development, and their efficacy in designing and implementing lesson plans focused on teaching writing strategies were explored in this study. Bandura’s self-efficacy theory was the framework for this study, which included elements of competence, motivation, and persistence in striving for success in spite of failure to achieve goals. In the local setting, 6 high school English teachers with experience teaching the writing process elected to participate in this qualitative case study. Teacher interviews, teachers’ lesson plans, and a list of district PD sessions were used as sources of data for this study. Data analyses included coding and theme development. Study results indicated teachers feel well-prepared by PD presenters who model, engage, and provide relevant lessons for successful implementation of EBPs into classroom practice. Consequently, a PD project was developed allowing teachers to participate as both the student and the instructor within a writing workshop model focusing on EBP use. This project developed from study findings could promote positive social change by assisting school districts in planning future PD which could improve teachers’ knowledge, skills, and sense of efficacy, while also leading to improvements in students’ writing skills.

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