Action Research Aids Albuquerque

By Raisch, Michele | Journal of Staff Development, Summer 2005 | Go to article overview

Action Research Aids Albuquerque

Raisch, Michele, Journal of Staff Development

Literacy leaders put data to work in developing and conveying effective teaching methods

When teachers in Albuquerque, N.M., began to break through the walls of isolation, they learned not only about each other, but also about themselves as teachers. Through a literacy project that focused on enabling a core group of literacy lead teachers to work with study groups in elementary schools, teachers gained in efficacy and were able to translate new strategies into effective practice that spread throughout their schools.

The Albuquerque district began a different approach to literacy in 1997 under a federal Goals 2000 grant. The goal of the project, called Literacy Leaders, was to help teachers better meet students' literacy needs by learning quality teaching methods.

In 2000, three district-level elementary resource teachers taught teacher leaders to facilitate literacy study groups at their schools. The resource teachers met monthly during the school day to plan, and met each month after school with literacy leaders at school sites. Literacy leaders were divided into grade-level cohorts: three groups of K through 2nd-grade teachers and three of 3rd- through 5th-grade teachers, with a district resource teacher working with each division. The third resource teacher worked with one cohort group of early childhood leaders in preK-K classrooms. The literacy leaders continued to teach, but they learned new strategies for teaching literacy, methods they then shared in the school-based study groups.

Teachers who volunteered to be part of the study groups initially received a stipend equivalent to time per contract hour after school once a month during the school year, the equivalent of 15 hours of professional development. Groups identified focus areas by surveying the teachers in the group.

Over time as a result of the study groups, teachers began to engage in professional conversation. One teacher described their learning as giving teachers the language to talk about their work (survey, 2001). Another noted that their professional sharing went beyond the study group meetings. The teachers said their study "created an atmosphere of professional dialogue that extended throughout the teaching day" (survey, 2001). Collaborative reflection became part of the teaching routine.

With understanding came efficacy. Eventually, half the study groups developed plans to extend their learning to other teachers in the school. Students received significantly more instruction in reading and writing strategies than they had previously.

For study group participants, the environment was key to their ability to collaborate. One teacher described the study group as a "safe haven to discuss questions about the effectiveness of (our) teaching" (survey, 2003). The teachers were leading their own professional learning. "It was professional development that was teacher-designed," said one (survey, 2003).


The positive results were not always present. As the project began, the district resource teachers were to help each study group identify a literacy focus. Each group began by outlining its plans and sharing the plans with the school administration, although the way this occurred varied from school to school. Initially, however, most study groups were unfocused. The teachers lacked clear topics for their meetings. As a result, teachers at first saw little real change in student performance.

After one semester, a district resource teacher and a consultant introduced the concept of action research to a group of first-year intermediate level elementary literacy leaders. They were to observe and collect field notes. The professional development leaders gave them examples and modeled how to gather observational data in the classroom.

Each group was challenged to develop an action plan, in which the study groups focused on one aspect of teaching reading or writing and then collected data on what happened during the lesson (observational) and in the resulting student work. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Cite this article

Cited article

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)


1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited article

Action Research Aids Albuquerque


Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25,

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.