Teachers and researchers as co-designers? A design-based research on reading comprehension instruction in primary education (2019-11-19)
Insights from scientific reading research only partially resonate in Dutch teaching materials for reading comprehension, and hence in the classroom. As an attempt to bridge the gap between science and educational practice, a design-based research was conducted in which four primary school teachers translated four researcher-provided design principles into practice. In two successive design cycles, the teachers designed and implemented lessons on informational text structures, under supervision of two researchers. The aim of the study was to gain insight into the viability of the design principles and into the level of support teachers need in order to become effective co-designers. Based on data from lesson artefacts, teacher logbooks, panel interviews and lesson observations, we found that the teachers experienced several implementation difficulties. These difficulties were partially due to the fact that there was a tension between two design principles, and that one design principle needed refinement. However, in most cases, the implementation difficulties could be explained by teachers’ limited pedagogical content knowledge. As a result, the teachers needed a high level of support, especially in text selection and revision. Teacher beliefs and habits also interfered with the implementation of the design principles, especially when it came to the importance of working with authentic texts, and teachers’ views on effective modeling.Our study raises questions about the feasibility of equal participation of researchers and teachers at the start of a DBR project, but also shows how DBR can successfully contribute to teacher professionalization if researchers provide adequate support throughout the design process.