Academic journal article The Journal of Research in Business Education

Integrated Reading Literacy Interventions (Irlis): A Mixedmethod Analysis of the Perceived Characteristics for Effective Professional Development

Academic journal article The Journal of Research in Business Education

Integrated Reading Literacy Interventions (Irlis): A Mixedmethod Analysis of the Perceived Characteristics for Effective Professional Development

Article excerpt

Abstract

Background: Business educators play a strong role in preparing individuals for the workforce. The contemporary workforce requires participants to have the ability to organize, synthesize, and evaluate written and symbolic material, which is reading literacy (Hyslop, 2010). Business teachers reported they believe reading literacy is important; however they need additional professional development to enhance their ability to improve student reading literacy skills. Purpose: The purpose of this study was to identify the preferred characteristics of professional development focused on integrated reading literacy interventions in business courses. Method: A mixed-methods technique was utilized to collect both focus-groups (n=10) and survey data (n=204) from Midwestern business educators. Results: Findings revealed that business educators prefer "long-term" and applied professional development that includes "hands-on activities." Participant characteristics data was determined to have limited effect on responses; although business educators employed at Title-1 eligible schools were more likely to perceive "volunteer" as compared to "mandatory" professional development as more effective. Conclusions and Recommendations: Business educators desire professional development which is coherent, focused on the teaching of business, long-term and requires them to be active and collective learners. Because, we still do not know the impact of each of those factors, it is recommended they be further investigated; however, in the meantime professional development should at minimum be long-term, relevant to the content area, hands-on and delivered in authentic settings.

Introduction

Business educators are being held increasingly accountable, through federal and state legislation, to improve student reading skills (Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2005, 2006; Carver, 2012). As a result, business teachers are increasingly concerned over their level of preparation to teach reading in the context of teaching for and about business (Polkinghorne, Groneman-Hite, & Railsback, 2008). With the growing emphasis placed on the Common Core Standards, in all subject-matter areas at the high school level, in addition to those posited by the National Business Education Association (2007), it is likely that business educators will continue to strive to improve their students' reading skills.

The body of research that documents career and technical education programs' efforts to integrate reading skill and knowledge has greatly expanded over the last decade (National Center for Career and Technical Education Research, n.d.). However, few studies examined the preferred characteristics for the delivery of professional development programs. The intent of this study was to collect, analyze and report the preferred characteristics of effective professional development focused on integrated reading literacy interventions in business courses at the middle and high school level.

Review of Literature

Business education courses offer students an alternative context to enhance their reading literacy skills; moreover, they are designed to prepare individuals to enter the workforce or further their education - both of which require reading literacy skills which is the ability to organize, synthesize, and evaluate written and symbolic materials (Hyslop, 2010; Polkinghome & Hagler, 2010). There is little question that teachers should integrate reading literacy in their classrooms; however, many teachers report they have limited professional development focusing on methods of teaching reading (Santamaría, Taylor, Park, Keene, & van der Madele, 2010; O'Connor, 2010). As a result, many teachers need to enhance their knowledge and skills through professional development opportunities focused on the selection and implementation of reading literacy interventions.

Practicing business educators are not alone in their need for additional professional development focused on the integration of reading literacy interventions in coursework; business teacher educators also desired additional professional development (Polkinghome, Hagler, & Anderson, 2010; Polkinghome, Groneman-Hite & Railsback, 2008). …

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