This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

Making Teacher Thinking Transparent: An Examination of Teacher Think-Aloud Instruction




Woods, Sarah

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Curriculum and Teaching


Students need both knowledge of metacognitive reading strategies and how to effectively use these strategies to encounter successful reading experiences. There is growing research on the success of strategies (i.e. visualize, infer, monitor thinking, annotate text) in classroom settings. However, there is limited research on providing Black students metacognitive instruction on how to use these strategies for the improvement of their reading comprehension. For the present study, an embedded mixed methods design [QUAL + quan] was used to examine how teachers' instructional practices were influenced after receiving professional development workshops centered on metacognitive, think-aloud instructional strategies. The workshop took place for 11 weeks for three third grade, in-service teachers at a Title 1 elementary school with a predominantly Black student population. In addition to examining students' scores on the STAR Reading assessment, qualitative data sources (the Metacognitive Awareness Inventory [Schraw & Dennison, 2004], transcriptions of teacher interviews, classroom observations, field notes, and a mid-training survey) were triangulated to explore changes in teachers' instructional practices before and after the teachers' professional development. A collective case format was used to report the findings from this study. Findings from this study suggest positive effects of metacognitive think-aloud workshops for in-service teachers. In two out of the three classrooms there was significant growth in students’ STAR Reading test. Three themes emerged from the sub-questions for research question two regarding changes in teachers’ metacognitive competencies and instruction: changes in pedagogical practices, changes in reading instruction, and metacognitive-focused instruction. The teachers were receptive towards the think-aloud workshops and began to implement more metacognitive think-alouds during their reading instruction. Two themes emerged from research question three regarding teachers’ perceptions of how their participation in the think-aloud workshops had an impact on students’ reading performance: strategies and skills. The teachers reported improvements in students’ overall reading comprehension, reading fluency, use of think-alouds in small and whole group settings, metacognitive awareness, and word attack skills. Additionally, this paper explains how the findings from this study are supported by previous research and the theoretical framework (metacognition, cognition, self- regulation and culturally responsive teaching). The paper concludes with implications for practice and plans for future research on think-aloud instruction.