This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Differences between high and low level preservice teachers' instructional conversations with elementary school students: A grounded theory study




Henderson, Shannon

Type of Degree



Curriculum and Teaching


This grounded theory study attempted to explain differences observed in preservice teachers’ instructional conversations with elementary school students using an instructional framework and explicit conversational scaffold. Specifically, the study focused on how 23 preservice teachers engaged in weekly interactive read alouds with second and fourth grade students over a 10-week period. Three transcripts of each preservice teachers’ instructional conversations, audio recordings, lesson plans, reflections, and a final paper were coded and analyzed using the constant comparative method of analysis. Data from this study revealed preservice teachers varied very little in their initial instructional conversations before introduction of the instructional framework and explicit conversational scaffold. Findings also suggested the use of an explicit conversational scaffold raised the level of preservice teachers’ instructional conversation during an interactive read aloud with elementary school students. Further, three indicators were identified as distinguishing between higher and lower levels of instructional conversation. These indicators comprised of a preservice teachers’ ability to: (a) engage in effective uptake and responsivity, (b) maintain a “themal coherence” throughout the instructional conversation and (c) model, teach, and reveal use of situation appropriate research-based comprehension strategies. Finally, this study provided preliminary support for the use of transcript analysis to facilitate preservice teachers’ instructional conversations when engaged in interactive read alouds with elementary school students.