Elementary teachers' engagement in the problem-solving process for Response to Intervention in mathematics
University of Delaware
For this study, I investigated elementary teachers' engagement in the Response to Intervention (RTI) problem-solving process, which included examining the nature of their talk, their productiveness in the stages of the process, and the resources they turned to as they planned for intervention instruction. There were three research questions that guided my study: 1) How did teachers in each of two professional learning communities (PLCs) engage in the Response to Intervention problem-solving process? 2) To what degree do the teachers' self-reported perceptions of their uses of the UST and their engagement in the RTI problem-solving process align with the researcher's PLC observations? 3) How do teachers use resources to plan for targeted instruction aligned with students' mathematical thinking? I used a qualitative research design to collect data from teachers who participated in two PLCs within one school. First, PLC meetings were observed for two teams of teachers, a third grade team and a fourth grade team, as they engaged in the RTI problem-solving process. Second, all four teachers from each of the teams and the mathematics coach participated in a one-on-one interview. My research revealed four significant findings: 1) Teachers in this study used different types of more, less, and non-descriptive talk as they engaged in the different stages of the problem-solving process; 2) When teachers used primarily more descriptive talk during Stages One and Two of the problem-solving process as they analyzed and described students' thinking, it appeared that they were more productive in the overall RTI problem-solving process because these teachers were more successful at designing interventions targeted to students' thinking; 3) Teachers' self-reported perceptions mostly aligned with my observations of their PLC meetings, and teachers in each PLC talked in ways that were similar to types of talk they used during observed PLC meetings; 4) Teachers sought out resources for planning interventions that were not surprising, and teachers in PLC1 talked more descriptively about the resources linking the resources to their students' thinking, while teachers in PLC2 talked less descriptively about the resources while planning.