Citation
Ready to Read?

Material Information

Title:
Ready to Read? Transformative professional learning in early Head Start
Creator:
Soden, Rebecca Dawn ( author )
Language:
English
Physical Description:
1 electronic file (88 pages). : ;

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Early childhood education -- Curricula ( lcsh )
Education, Preschool ( lcsh )
Genre:
bibliography ( marcgt )
theses ( marcgt )
non-fiction ( marcgt )

Notes

Review:
This study explored the potential for fostering adult transformative learning and social justice within one Early Head Start program participating in an intensive scientifically-based literacy reform initiative. Ready to Read is a literacy development project targeted to support infants and toddlers who have been identified as at-risk for reading failure due to the systemic effects of poverty. The Ready to Read project logic model asserts that by providing a strong theoretical foundation to teachers on literacy development and reading strategies, classroom practices will change. The professional development activities designed within the project include monthly trainings, weekly coaching and reflective practice groups. This qualitative case study explored the adult learner's perceptions of the impact of these activities as well as the process of moving from knowledge development and awareness of early literacy developmental trajectories to sustainable change in interactions with children and families. From the perspective of the adult learners, how did this praxis occur, if at all, and what types of transformations in thinking and actions did learners experience as a result of the initiative? Findings from analysis of individual interviews, observations and document reviews revealed several themes related changes in how participants viewed themselves as educators, their ability to deliver evidence-based programming and their role in fostering meaningful family engagement. In addition, participants expressed an elevated view of the competencies of very young children through experience with this project. Content analysis across multiple data sources revealed emerging examples of collective change within the learning community as framed by the U Process of transformative organizational learning (Scharmer, 2007). The results of this study are preliminary yet hold promising possibilities for impacting the quality of early learning environments for young children. Professional development projects and coaching initiatives designed for infant/toddler caregivers could benefit from rigorous empirical investigation in order to understand the process of transformative change within individuals and organizations seeking to address poverty related barriers and inequity of opportunity confronting our youngest learners.
Thesis:
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Colorado Denver.
Bibliography:
Includes bibliographic references.
General Note:
School of Education and Human Development
Statement of Responsibility:
by Rebecca Dawn Soden.

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Source Institution:
University of Colorado Denver
Rights Management:
All applicable rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier:
904623590 ( OCLC )
ocn904623590

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READY TO READ? TRANSFORMATIVE PROFESSIO NAL LEARNING IN EARLY HEAD START by REBECCA DAWN SODEN B.S., University of Nebraska, 1996 M.S ., U niversity of Nebraska, 1997 A thesis s ubmitted to the Faculty of the Graduate School of the University of Colorado in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the d egree of Doctor of Education Le adership of Educational Equity 2014

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This thesis for the Doctor of Education degree by Rebecca Dawn Soden has been approved for the Lead ership for Educational Equity Program by Shelley Zion, Advisor & CoChair Alan Davis, CoChair Pamela Harris November 20, 2014 ii

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Soden, Rebecca Dawn (Ed.D., Leadership for Educational Equity) Ready to Read? Transformative Professional L earning in Early Head Start Thesis directed by Execut ive Director Shelley Zion and Associate Professor Alan Davis ABSTRACT This study explore d the potential for fostering ad ult transformative learning and social justice within one Early Head Start program participating in an intensive scientifically based literacy reform initiative. Ready to Read is a literacy development project targeted to s upport infants and toddlers who have been identified as at risk for reading failure due to the systemic effects of poverty. The Ready to Read project logic model asserts that by providing a strong theoretical foundation to teachers on literacy development and reading strategies, classroom practices will change. The professional development activities designed within the project include monthly trainings, weekly coaching and reflective practice groups. This qualitative case study explored the adult learne rs perceptions of the impact of these activities as well as the process of moving from knowledge development and awareness of early literacy developmental trajectories to sustainable change in interactions with children and families. From the perspective of the adult learners, how did this praxis occur, if at all, and what types of transformations in thinking and actions did learners experience as a result of the initiative? Findings from analysis of individual interviews, observations and document revie ws revealed several themes related changes in how participants viewed themselves as educators, their ability to deliver evidence based programming and their role in fostering meaningful family engagement. In addition, participants expressed an elevated vi ew of the competencies of very young children through experience with this project. Content analysis across iii

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multiple data sources revealed emerging examples of collective change within the learning community as framed by the U Process of transformative o rganizational learning (Scharmer, 2007). The results of this study are preliminary yet hold promising possibilities for impacting the quality of early learning environments for young children. Professional development projects and coaching initiatives de signed for infant/toddler caregivers could benefit from rigorous empirical investigation in order to understand the process of transformative change within individuals and organizations seeking to address poverty related barriers and inequity of opportunit y confronting our youngest learners. The form and content of this abstract are approved. I recommend its publication. Approved: Shelly Zion and Alan Davis iv

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SYNOPSIS This study explore d the potential for fostering ad ult transformative learning and social justice within one Early Head Start program participating in an intensive scientifically based literacy reform initiative. Ready to Read is a literacy development project targeted to support infants and toddlers who have been identified as at risk for reading failure due to the systemic effects of poverty. The Ready to Read project logic model asserts that by providing a strong theoretical foundation to teachers on literacy development and reading strategies, classr oom practices will change. The professional development activities designed within the project include monthly trainings, weekly coaching and reflective practice groups. This qualitative case study explored the adult learners perceptions of the impact o f these activities as well as the process of moving from knowledge development and awareness of early literacy developmental trajectories to sustainable change in interactions with children and families. From the perspective of the adult learners, how did this praxis occur, if at all, and what types of transformations in thinking and actions did learners experience as a result of the initiative? Findings from analysis of individual interviews, observations and document reviews revealed several themes related changes in how participants viewed themselves as educators, their ability to deliver evidence based programming and their role in fostering meaningful family engagement. In addition, participants expressed an elevated view of the competencies of very young children through experience with this project. Content analysis across multiple data sources revealed emerging examples of collective change within the learning community as framed by the U Process of transformative organizational learning (Scharmer, 2007). The results of this study are preliminary yet hold promising v

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possibilities for impacting the quality of early learning environments for young children. Professional development projects and coaching initiatives designed for infant/toddler careg ivers could benefit from rigorous empirical investigation in order to understand the process of transformative change within individuals and organizations seeking to address poverty related barriers and inequity of opportunity confronting our youngest lear ners. vi

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TABLE OF CONTENT S CHAPTER I. INTRODUCTION .......................................................................................................... 1 Problem Statement .......................................................................................................... 2 The Critical Years of Birth to Three ............................................................................... 2 Poverty and the Fragmented System of Early Care and Education in Denver ............... 3 Community Based Reform and Lessons from Head Start .............................................. 4 II. RESEARCH QUESTION ........................................................................................... 19 III. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEW ORK .............................................................................. 20 Professional Development and Coaching ..................................................................... 20 Transformative Learning in Adulthood ........................................................................ 23 Understanding the Individual and Organizational Paradox .......................................... 26 IV. RESEARCH METHOD ............................................................................................ 29 Sampling ....................................................................................................................... 30 Data Collection ............................................................................................................. 30 Limitations .................................................................................................................... 34 V. FINDINGS .................................................................................................................. 35 Teacher Self Perception and Passion ............................................................................ 35 The Hard Stuff .............................................................................................................. 36 Knowledge and Use of Evidence based Strategies ....................................................... 37 Impact on Children and the Image of the Child as Competent ..................................... 38 Individual and Organizational Chang e ......................................................................... 39 vii

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Theory U Emerging within Ready to Read ................................................................... 40 Example: Responsive and Reciprocal Family Engagement ........................................ 41 VI. IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS .................................................... 47 Expanding the Impacts of Professional Development Initiatives ................................. 47 Attention to the Process of Learning and Change within PD Initiatives ...................... 48 Concurrent Projects to Address Workforce Retention and Equity ............................... 50 Future Research ............................................................................................................ 51 VII. CONCLUSION ........................................................................................................ 53 REFERENCES ................................................................................................................. 55 APPENDIX A. ....................................................................................................................................... 63 Recruitment Script ........................................................................................................ 63 Interview Protocol ......................................................................................................... 63 B. ....................................................................................................................................... 66 Data Collection Schedule: Interviews and Field Notes ................................................ 67 Codes and Descriptions ................................................................................................. 67 Excerpts for each Theme .......................................................................................... 69 C. ....................................................................................................................................... 76 Problem Statement ........................................................................................................ 76 The Critical Years of Birth to Three ............................................................................. 76 Poverty and the Fragmented System of Early Care and Education in Denver ............. 77 Community Based Reform and Lessons from Head Start ............................................ 78 viii

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Professional Development and Coaching ..................................................................... 81 T ransformative Learning in Adulthood ........................................................................ 84 Understanding the Individual and Organizational Paradox .......................................... 87 ix

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CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born. Henry David Thoreau The l ess than optimal high school graduation rates within the neighborhoods of Northwest Denver and the seemingly inequitable educational opportunities available in this geographic area are heavy concern s of local families, educators and community leaders (Zion, 2011). Disparities of this nature ha ve been a leading catalyst for educational reform s across the country (Darling Hammond, 2010) and have resulted in innovative neighborhood based efforts to address opportunity gaps Neighborhood educational reform efforts align nicely with the mounting evidence that the earliest years of a childs life are the most impactful time to intervene with supports that have the power to alter life trajectories and improve educational attainment throughout primary school and into college S tudies of educational interventions demonstrate that children who are behind their classmates when they enter the public school system a re very likely to remain behind their peers (Masse & Barnett, 2002) and that these gaps will often continue to grow. Findings from early litera cy studies suggest that children who lack a rich exposure to vocabulary and language at age three have an 88% probability of being labeled as poor readers in third grade and that children labeled as poor readers in third grade have an 80% probability of st ill being labeled as poor readers at the beginning of high school (National Early Literacy Panel Report, 2008). Preschool reform initiatives in several communities across the nation have demonstrated progress in closing 1

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achievement gaps between White, Bla ck and Latino students (Darling Hammond, 2010) particularly when these gaps are associated with underlying issues of socio economic disparity Several literacy initiatives implemented within Colorado during the last decade have demonstrated success with i mproving reading outcomes for preschool age children (Klute, 2009) but few, if any, of these initiatives have focused on the language and literacy development of infants and toddlers. Problem Statement Th e Critical Years of Birth to Three H anushek and Lindseth (2009) outline an argument for preschool education that shifts the discussion from a civil rights issue to one of investing in human capital. Basing their position on the work of Nobel laureate economist James Heckman, they state that investme nts made early in life enhance learning later in school and even into careers, making such investments economically attractive (p. 207). Developments in neuroscience are providing new evidence that brain infrastructure and biochemical pathways are well established by age three, with 90% of the structural specificity needed for complex learning tasks already havi ng occurred by the time a child enter s Kindergarten at age five (Shonkoff, 2009). Genetic research findings indicate that childrens experiences very early in life can alter gene expression and shap e development in ways that we have previously thought were determined at birth (National Scientific Council on the Developing C hild, 2010). New knowledge gained through interdisciplinary research and co llaborative neighborhood based projects such as those proposed in Northwest Denver suggest that childrens emotional readiness for school is closely tied to the architecture of the brain and that excessive stress in early childhood 2

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has lifelong implication s on health and educational outcomes (Gunnar & Fisher, 2006). One need not be a rocket scientist to understand that a child who is ill or depressed cannot fully utilize the learning environment provided in school (Ziglar & Styfco, 2010, p. 133). Pov erty and the Fragmented System of Early Care and Education in Denver T he reality in many urban communities is that the system of education for very young learners is unfunded, fragmented and complex for families to navigate. Lack of access to basic health services, family support services and quality education programs is a pervasive concern for many families of very young children (birth to five) in Northwest Denver. When these services are available, the extent to which they are high quality, accessible and aligned across disciplines is unclear. In 2011, Denver was home to more than 134,000 children under the age of 18 (Office of Childrens Affairs, Denver Great Kids Head Start, 2012). Approximately 26,598 children were under three years of age. Near ly one out of every three babies (birth to 3) in D enver is living in poverty which is a surprising statistic for the capital of a state described as a national leader in producing scientific talent, ranking eighth for science & engineering doctorate holders as a percentage of the workforce (National Science Foundation, 2012) This poverty is not equally distributed in Denver, but is concentrated in certain neighborhoods, including those served by the Northwest Denver neighborhood project where in recent years 20% of babies were born to moms without a high school degree (Piton Foundation, 2012) and 1 in 10 pregnant moms received no prenatal care. In Northwest Denver, 1 in 10 moms is under nineteen years of age when she becomes a parent, taking on the responsibility of preparing her baby for school and 3

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for life. In Colorado, she is often alone on this journey because only a small percentage of c hildren have access to a publicly funded preschool education In 2011, only 15% of t hree year olds were afforded the opportunity to attend a publicly funded education program in Colorado ( Barnett, Carolan, Fitzgerald & Squires 2012). During the 2011 2012 school year less than 17% of the 14,000 young children living in poverty within Den ver neighborhoods were able to access publically funded care and education through Head Start (Office of Childrens Affairs, 2012). Less than 2 out of every 10 Denver children who qualified for free preschool during the most critical years of brain develo pment actually received this comprehensive educational support (Office of Childrens Affairs, 2012). Community Based Reform and Lessons from Head Start D enver area children who were in a position to maximize their early learning educational opportuni ties by attend ing a quality preschool programs actually received significantly less public funding to do so than children in traditional K 12 schools ($3,623 per preschool child compared to $11,530 per K 12 child) Teachers in preschool classrooms (on ave rage) made less than 50% of the salary that their K 12 counterparts made (NIEER, 2012) A recent analysis by Whitebrook (2014) revealed that m any ECE teachers earn wages that are near the poverty level These teacher often rely on public programs such as WIC, SNAP, housing subsidies, or Medicaid to supplement their wages and to provide for themselves and their own children (Whitebrook, 2014) Even within Head Start, a publicly funded educational program for young learners, a 2013 assessment found that a pproximately one quarter of teaching staff had accessed at least one type of public financial support in the last three years ( Child Care Services Association, 2013). 4

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Forty eight percent of teaching staff within center based early learning programs reporte d worrying about having enough food for their family and sixty four percent worried about paying their monthly housing costs ( Child Care Services Association, 2013). Traditionally, teachers working within early learning programs have not participated in pre service education through institutions of higher education. Often their education begins when they become employed in the field. Further, many early learning programs do not set a continuing education requirement for teachers. As a result, the ECE fi eld often uses the term professional development to cover the entire spectrum of education and training available to early childhood education teachers and leaders. Professional development encompasses all aspects of in service education, from introduct ory training, to informal workshops to college level work for credit or a degree (Whitebrook, 2014). Understanding the professional pathways of teachers in Early Head Start and other educational programs that have been shown to impact lasting gains for y oung children are ripe areas for identifying best practices within professional development systems. Although r esearch has demonstrated that high turnover pr events programs from improving (Whitebrook, 1996) compelling evidence suggests that stability amon g a team of well trained teach ers provides an essential ingred ient for improving and sustaining better services for young children (Whit e brook, 2014) An other essential element of neighborhoodbased education reform involves making progress toward eleva ting the role of professionalism within early learning programs, identifying the essential elements of an early care and education system, and understanding the external forces that 5

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impinge upon the ability to effect change on childrens behalf (Goffin & Washington, 2007, p. 17). Recent efforts toward cradle to career educational reform have involved valuing families, program staff and classroom teachers as educational leaders. Advocates of authentic parent and staff engagement can learn from Head Starts accomplishments. Described by many as a federal program that feels like a grassroots effort marked by parent involvement and community volunteerism (Rose 2009, p. 122), Head Start programs throughout Denver have succeeded at bringing parents and teachers together in partnerships for early learning. Programs have done this by hiring community based teachers and parents as staff members and supporting them to become licensed educators, by giving parents leadership authority within the program, by including parents and teachers in curricular decision making and by creating social networks between staff and parents as a key feature of program activities (Henrich & Gadaire, 2008). This study explore d the potential for fostering adult transformative learning and social justice in an early childhood care and education program which is participating in an intensive scientifically based literacy reform initiative. Ready to Read is a literacy development project targeted to support infants and toddlers who have been identified as at risk for reading failure due to the systemic effects of poverty withi n Northwest Denver Specifically, this study will explore the constraints and resources for transformativ e learning present within the professional development activities occurring through the Ready to Read early literacy project at Prospect Valley Early Head Start (a Colorado Montessori School ) The theory of change (Figure 1) for Ready to Read proposes that when teachers are provided with a theoretical foundation and culturally responsive 6

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framework for understanding childrens language and literacy development through an approach called Cradling Literacy they will engage in more frequent and rich verbal i nteractions with children throughout the day. It also asserts that teachers will be more motivated to implement Dialogic Reading (an interactive method of sharing picture books with young children ages birth to age three where children learn to become sto rytellers) more frequently if they have this theoretical foundation for understanding childrens language and literacy development (Klute, 2011) The end goal of the Ready to Read professional development initiative is that these improved interactions wil l s upport childrens oral language and communication skills (which are associated with school readiness and later reading success leading to 3rd grade reading proficiency). 7

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INPUTS ACTIVITIES OUTPUTS SHORT TERM OUTCOMES LONG TERM OUTCOME Leadership Staff Time Parents/ caregivers Financial resources Existing evidence base Existing implementatio n settings Implementati on partners Dissemination partners Expertise of external evaluation team Colorado early childhood policy environment Provide services through existing center -based infant/toddler programs. Provide trainings in Dialogic Reading strategies for parents and community volunteers in two types of settings: center based birth-age 5 classrooms Conduct Cradling Literacy training for center -based teachers to provide a theoretical framework for Dialogic Reading strategies Use LENA System to provide meaningful feedback to parents about the frequency and quality of their verbal interactions with children Evaluate in tervention across settings D evelop and share models and materials Number of parents and volunteers trained in Dialogic Reading Number of teachers trained in Dialogic Reading. Number of teachers trained in Cradling Literacy Number of parents with whom LENA feedback is shared. Frequency with which parents receive LENA feedback. Dialogic Reading training models and materials that can be used across early learning settings Parents and volunteers in center -based settings gain knowledge and skills in the implementation of Dialogic Reading T eachers and facilitators gain knowledge and skills in the implementation of Dialogic Reading and theoretical foundations of early literacy development Teachers gain a theoretical foundation and culturally responsive framework for developing childrens oral language and communication skills from the Cradling Literacy Training. Teachers engage in more frequent and higher -quality interactions w ith the children in their care. Parents engage in more frequent and higher -quality interactions with their children. Parents and teachers incorporate Dialogic Reading techniques effectively during shared book reading with infants and toddlers. Parents engage in shared book reading more frequently with their children. Childrens oral language and communication skills increase. Third grade reading proficiency Teachers and Facilitators continue to implement what they have learned in support of the language dev elopment of successive cohorts of children. Figure 1: Logic Model for Ready to Read Program (Klute, 2011) 8

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CHAPTER II RESEARCH QUESTION T he Ready to Read logic model asserts that by providing a strong theoretical foundation to teachers on literacy development and reading strategies, classroom practices will change. The professional development activities designed within the project include monthly trainings, weekly co aching and reflective practice groups. This study explored the adult learners perceptions of the constraints and resources that exist within these activities as well as within the process of moving from knowledge development and awareness of early literacy developmental trajectories to sustainable change in interactions with children and families. From the perspective of the adult learners, h ow does this praxis occur (if at all) and what types of transformations in thinking and actions do the learners ex perience as a result of the initiative? The specific research questions proposed for the study are: 1. How do teachers coaches and administrators at Prospect Valley Early Head Start describe their experiences with the Ready to Read literacy project? 2. What examples of transformative learning are present within the professional development activities occurring through the Ready to Read ? 3. How do participants describe their collective experience of challenging their own assumptions, clarifying and s trengthening their own values and aligning their own behaviors and practice with these beliefs and theories? 19

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CHAPTER III CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK How to use and leverage the presence and power of certain places for accessing the authentic dimension of self in individuals and in communities, is one of the most interesting research questions for the years to come." Otto Scharmer The proposed study will draw on several interdisciplinary theoretical frameworks from the fields of ed ucational leadership, psychology, adult learning and organizational management to explore the research question s of interest. Addressing this problem of practice through a conceptual framework that combines the lens es of instructional coaching and transfo rmative learning theories contributes a unique perspective and adds to the existing research base on professional learning within early childhood care and education. As importantly, the findings from this study will serve to inform loca l stakeholders within the Denver community about the variety of factors that contribute to professional learning and the implementation of evidence based early literacy strategies. Professional Development and Coaching Recent evidence demonstrates that a well prepared education workforce is necessary in order to provide highquality early learning experiences that narrow the academic achievement gap for vulnerable children while supporting all children and families to achieve their full potential (Powell, Diamond, Burchinal, & Koehler, 2010). Teachers and administrators are asked to be pedagogical leaders who are fluent in the latest child development research, evidence based strategies and promising practices. Less clearly understood however, have been the strategies tha t early learning programs have used to support adult learners with the implementation of evidence based and 20

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research based classroom practices. With P 20 educational reform efforts clearly focused on the utilization of practices deemed effective based on the best available research evidence (Buysse, Sparkman & Wesley, 2003) questions begin to surface around how professional development initiatives structure adult learning experiences in ways that are transformative, meaningful and reciprocal in nature whil e adhering to the level of fidelity deemed appropriate to close opportunity gaps in measurable ways (Webster Wright, 2009). Meaningful professional learning will require cultivation of broad participation and leadership that is accountable for community concerns (Warren & Mapp, 2011 p. 228) which may or may not align with scientifically based evidence. Coaching is a common method of providing professional development to staff in early childhood educational settings (Winton, 2010). C oaching in the earl y childhood field is defined as a learning process based on a collaborative relationship that is intentionally designed to promote sustainable growth in the necessary attitudes, skills, and knowle dge to effectively implement best practices for the develop ment of young children and their families (Colorado Coaching Consortium, 2009, p. 2) While there are a growing number of studies that point to the effectiveness of coaching as a model of professional development (Buysse, Winton, & Rous, 2009; Cusumano, Armstrong, Cohen & Todd, 2006; Joyce & Showers, 1984) there is still much to be learned. The content delivered through coaching initiatives can range from supporting programs to improving global quality (such as health and safety procedures or staff educ ation) and curricular implementation and the nuances of teacher child relationships (Hemmeter & Fox, 2009), and literacy development (Neuman & Cunningham, 2009) however the 21

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method by which the content is delivered usually involves a relationship between tw o people, an expert (the coach) and a novice (the teacher). A recent review of forty four professional development initiatives that included coaching with early childhood teachers (Isner et al., 2011; Tout, Isner & Zaslow, 2011) found evidence that such approaches often do improve early educator practice, child outcomes, or both. As importantly though, the review found that improvements to quality and chi ld outcomes were not universal and there is little evidence surrounding the features of the coaching models or the processes and activities which lead to quality improvement. Models for providing coaching vary across initiatives In some cases, coaching is part of an umbrella of professional development supports that are provided to a teacher (including coursework, training and/or consultation). Structurally, coaching models can vary in several ways, ranging from how much time is available for coaching, whether teachers have release time for coaching, and the types of data available to support the development of coaching goals. Much of the coaching occurring within the early childhood field is funded with an expectation for improvement as part of an outside accountability system or other measure of effectiveness. Recently, coaching models that include specific evidence based literacy strategies combined with technological and online learning supports have shown promising result s (Pianta, Mashburn, Downer, Hamre, & Justice, 2008, Neuman & Cunnigham, 2009). Although there is some evidence the goodness of fit between the coach and the teacher has important implications for coaching effectiveness (Germain, 2011), little is known about the relationship between these factors and successful implementation of specific models. It is reasonable to assume that characteristics of the teacher and the 22

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coach (credentials, experience, philosophy, cultural background, motivation to change, se nse of efficacy, and the level of choice associated with the initiating and sustaining the coaching experience) could be related to how successfully certain types of coaching models can be implemented. For adults to relate to infants and tod dlers well it is imperative that they come to understand what science has discov ered about how children function and grow and also to better understand their own personal meta theory of childrear ing. Unexamined beliefs about who chil dren are and how they function perme ate the behavior of many well meaning adults. Unexamined, these assumptions often become the base for childrearing practice. We need to be more conscious of how our assumptions play out in our relationships with young children (Lally 2006 p 13). Adult learning theory (Mezirow, 2000; Freire, 1993, Cranton, 2006) suggests that in order for professional learning to have the most meaning for society, it should be transformative and restorative in nature, addressing social justice and inequity within our educational systems. Can exploration of current professional development efforts within Northwest Denver uncover new insights into the process of coaching and how teachers experience coaching as a support for transformative learning? Transformative L earning in Adulthood Transformative learning refers to the process by which we transform our taken forgranted frames of reference (meaning perspectives, habits of mind, mind sets) to make them more inclusive, discriminating, open, emotionally capable of change, and reflective so that they may generate beliefs and opinions that will prove more true or justified to guide action (Mezirow, 2000, p. 78). Friere (1993) posits that the people in 23

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a school (teachers, leaders, families and children) are all su bjects working together to unveil reality, critique that reality and then re create a new reality (p.69) C ritical reflection and critical thinking are important adult learning techniques that can promote transformational learning whether or not that lea rning is focused on a critique of dominant cultural norms and systems. Mezirow (1990) describes critical reflection as thinking that involves a critique of the presuppositions on which our beliefs have been built (p. 1). Brookfields (2009) definition is similar and includes the deliberate attempt to uncover, and then investigate, the paradigmatic, prescriptive, and casual assumptions that inform how we practice (p. 125). Cranton (2006) describes this as Awareness of Self and explains that it involves asking learners to reflect on their personality, preferences, perceptions and habits of mind. Brookfield and Preskill ( 1999) argue that well facilitated discussions can lead to transformative learning through the teachers intentional use of several s trategies, one of which involves surfacing assumptions. Freire argues that if the structure of schools does not permit dialogue, then the structure must be changed. He goes on to outline six attitudes that need to be present for meaningful and authentic dialogue These attitudes include a) l ove for the world and human beings b) h umility c) f aith in people and their power to create and recreate, d) t rust e) h ope that the dialogue will lead to meaning and f) c ritical thinking for the continued transformation of reality (Friere, 1993 as cited in Cranton, 2006, p. 161). Fetherston and Kelly (2007) outline five assumptions regarding what transformative learning entails These assumptions about transformative learning served as initial guidepos ts for e xploring individual perceptions of change within Ready to Read. 24

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Transformative learning involves profound shifts in our understanding of knowledge, the world, and ourselves. Reflection is essential to the achievement of transformation. Transformati on is a process precipitated by experiences or information that disrupts current understanding. Teaching for transformation involves creating spaces for critical dialogue The concept of transformative learning resonates with an education for conflict transformation. Th is conceptual framework addresses learning on an individual level and aligns nicely with the coaching model and training model used within the Ready to Read professional development initiative. Evidence within the literacy coaching rese arch suggests that an individualized mentoring approach to adult learning provides better results in regard to improving instructional practice than traditional classroom instruction (Neuman & Cunnigham, 2009). The research is less clear about the potenti al of coaching and mentoring to facilitating transformative learning within adults, although there has been some initial work in this area (Fisher Yoshida, 2000 & Fisher Yoshida, 2009). In addition, there is little known about the learning impact of coaching situations that place individuals in conditions that are potentially adversarial. It seems that little research attention has been paid to the tensions within the ecology surrounding professional coaching relationships (e.g. exhausting and over demand ing work or involuntary participation in professional development) that might distort the potential and prospects of learning though relationships in practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Waters, Marzano and McNutly (2003) argue for an awareness of these condit ions in their meta analysis of 25

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balanced leadership practices. Their findings indicate that different perceptions about the implications of change can lead to one persons solution becoming someone elses problem (Waters et al., 2003, p. 7). Understanding the Individual and Organization al Paradox Bronfenbrenners (1994) seminal work frames all human learning and growth within the context of several interacting ecological systems. These concentric social environments are nested within one another and ar e the dynamically changing systems within which individual learning takes shape. Adults bring a wealth of cultural, ethnic, and social capital to the learning process (Dewey, 1938; Friere, 1993; Vygotsky, 1978; Rogoff, 1990). Communities are instrumental in defining which language and interactional strategies are valuable, in determining how one should manage oneself, and in expressing the overarching beliefs, values and ideologies through which we approach school and life. The notion of peripheral parti cipation in adults suggests that changing locations and perspectives within a community of practice are key to the formation of identity and group membership (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Of particular importance when considering adult learning, is the notion t hat a ttain ment of new knowledge is impacted by ones own self image, including our beliefs about what we will and will not be capable of doing in the future (Smith, 1998, p. 85), through empowering experiences as well as experiences of disintegration, wounding and pain (Cajete, 1993, p.209). As professional and personal identity develops and transforms, knowing emerges and is thus located within the complexities of the community itself. Adult communities of practice cycle through shifts in particip ants (novices join and experts leave) as well as in ways of viewing work within 26

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the community. These shifts result in a process of reproduction, transformation and change (Lave & Wenger, 1991, p.123) at an individual as well as at a group level. Peter Senges research and applied work in the area organizational learning is premised on the understanding the connections between individual and collective change within organizations. There is nothing more personal than vision, yet the visions that ultimately prove transformative have nothing to do with us as individuals (Senge, Scharmer, Jaworski, & Flowers, 2004, p. 131). Senge (2006) proposes that an organization striving to build this type of learning opportunity into their system for adult learning and professional development should create spaces that allow for five core learning disciplines to emerge. These disciplines include 1) Systems Thinking 2) Personal Mastery 3) Mental Models 4) Building Shared Vision and 5) Team Learning. These f ive discip lines and the transformational changes within individuals align to one another in a collective process the Senge (2006) refers to as a U Process. Theory U ( Senge, Scharmer, Jaworski, & Flowers, 2004) describes t he foundational learning capabilities of organizations and schools in the following model and has been further refined by Scharmer (2007) into a framework that defines how groups and organizations experience transformation as a shared process of change through five distinct movements (Figure 2). Scharmer (2007) theorizes that for sustained and meaningful change to occur within organizations and society, there is a collective path that should be experienced. W e need to move first into intimate connection with the world and to a place of inner knowing that emerges from within, followed by bringing forth the new, which entails discovering the future by doing (Scharmer, 2007, p. 6). The pathway of this change is 27

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expressed along the U as moving through the stages of CoInitiating, Co Sensing, Pre sencing, Co Evolving and CoCreating. Theory Figure 2: The U Process and the Five Movements (Scharmer, 2007) Creating professional development strategies that allow participants to flow through the U Process by connect ing the ideas presented to their o wn life experiences and building shared intent for change allow ing for observation of themselves and others while confronting differences, reflecting on the source and motivation for the change, and bring together theory and practice by prototyping new behaviors could lead to true reform and transformational learning that is sought within organizations and early childhood professional development initiatives such as Ready to Read. 28

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CHAPTER IV RESEARCH METHOD T his study incorpora te d a qualitative approach within the case study tradition. A qualitative meth od was chosen for this project because the research questions posed were an attempt to unders tand how people interpreted their experiences within the professional development initiative and the meanings that they attributed to their experiences (Merriam, 2009). Patton (1985 as cited in Merriam, 2009) describes qualitative research endeavors as an effort to understand the interactions that occur within a unique context. This understanding is an end in itself, so that it is not attempting to predict what may happen in the future necessarily, but to understand the nature of that setting what it means for participants in that setting, what their lives are like, whats going on for them, what their meanings are, what the world looks like in that particular setting and the analysis to be able to communicate that faithfully to others who are interested in that setting (Patton, 1985, p.1). The qualitative case study is an in depth description and analysis of a bounded system (Merriam, 2009, p. 40). The bounded system within which the proposed study was conducted is Prospect Valley Early Head Start and included the participants involved in the Ready to Read professional development initiative that is occurring at this school. The criteria for selecting the case included locating an Early Head Start program within Northwest Denver that was participating in an evidencebased professional de velopment initiative as part of an educational reform effort. The Prospect Valley program meets these criteria. 29

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Sampling The research question of interest in this study was explored through a case study of Prospect Valley Early Head Start where the teach ers, children and families in full day infant/toddler classrooms are participating in the Ready to Read project. A request o f support for the study was extended to the Executive Director of Colorado Montessori which operates the Prospect Valley Early Head Start program. Colorado Montessori partners to implement the Ready to Read professional development initiative which is funded through a Social Innovation Fund grant award. Several groups of individuals within the Prospect Valley community we re invited to participate in the cas e study. S ix early childhood teachers who work within the three infant and toddler classr ooms at Prospect Valley as well as two literacy coach working directly with the classroom teams participated in this investigatio n. The family services advocate who works closely with the families of children enrolled in the classrooms was also be invited to participate in this study. The Prospect Valley school director was also invited to participate as well. Informal observatio ns of t he children and families were included in the study as community members went about the daily activities in classrooms and the routines of the day (including drop off and pick up). Data Collection The qualitative nature of this research endeavor positioned the researcher herself as the primary instrument of data collection. The lenses that she brought to this study both enable and inhibit particular kinds of insight (Rosaldo, 1989, p. 19) and these lenses are likely to be reflected in both dat a collection and analysis activities. Rosaldo (1989, p. 2) asks, Do people always in fact describe most thickly what matters 30

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most to them? The nature of this type of research requires a high level of ethical integrity as it involves direct observations discussions and interactions with participants. Particular sensitivity was paid to the perception of researchers role within the school and to the responsibility for informed consent, voluntary participation and preservation of confidentiality. A copy of the invitation to participate and the informed consent approval letter can be found in Appendix A. Data collection occur red through individual and group interviews, observations of professional development sessions observations of coaching activities review of videotaped reading interactions and review of training materials and other professional development documents. Case study observations, interviews and document analysis within the school span ned a time frame of approximately six month s, from early August to January Data collection activities during that include d observations and documentation resulting in audio files, interview transcripts, jottings, field notes, observer comments and memos. The following table describes the data coll ection methods and the timeline for collection activities. Table 1: Timeline of Research Activities Month Research Activities Type s of Data Collected August/September Obtain ed informed consent from participants NA September Observed Reflective Practice Group (9/7/13) Field notes from observations 31

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Month Research Activities Type s of Data Collected Observe d one coaching session per classroom Documents (coaching logs, training materials, reading videos and data reports used in coaching) October Observe d Reflective Practice Group (10/26/13) Observe d one coaching session per clas sroom Field notes from observations Documents (coaching logs, training materials, reading videos and data reports used in coaching) November January Conduct ed individual interviews with participating teachers coaches and director (8 interviews) Audio files, transcripts, jottings and field notes Individual interviews were conducted with teachers, the lite racy coach, and the school director in order to answer the research questions of interest. One onone semi structured interviews were scheduled in person with each participant and were conducted at Prospect Valley T he interview s took an average of 45 minutes to complete and there was no established reliability and validity related to the interview. The inte rview 32

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protocol can be found in Appendix B. Interviews were recorded and transcribed. Participants were compensated with a gift card for their willingness to participate in the study. Two group coaching sessions were observed as a part of the data coll ection process. Each of the sessions las ted approximately ninety minutes Coaching sessions included all members of each classroom teaching team and the coach for Prospect Valley. They were held onsite at the early learning center. Conversations during these coaching sessions were audiotaped and transcribed. Field notes were also collected during the sessions and used alongside the transcriptions for analysis. As a part of the professional development work coaches completed logs and detailed coaching plans to inform and document the coaching process. This archival data was available for document analysis in this study. There is no established reliability and validity related to the coaching log data. Participants in the Rea dy to Read professional development initiative meet together every six to eight weeks for training and reflective practice. These sessions are generally held outside of the traditional work week. The study investigator attended two of these reflective pr actice sessions and recorded detailed field notes. Each session was approximately 2 hours in length and included thirty participants. Each session included a combination of whole group, small group and individual activities. Field notes of each session were completed and transcribed by the investigator within 48 hours of completion of the session. 33

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Limitations There are several limitations to this qualitative case study of Prospect Valley Early Learning Center and their participation in professional learning activities through Ready to Read. First, the data collected for the study reflected a relatively small proportion (3 months) of the thirty six month initiative. Additionally, the study involved only one individual interview with each participant which may have impacted to the richness of the data available related to the topic of interest. 34

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CHAPTER V FINDINGS E ach one of us has that capacity to move from a limited and confining sense of identification to an expanded sense of awareness. That is what we mean by transformation. James O'Dea Qualitative analysis of all data collected during individual interviews, field observations of coaching sessions and reflective practices along with document reviews resulted in several findings and provide insight into the research questions of interest in this study. Several themes em erged as a result of this inquiry and serve to answer the first research question s : How do teachers, coaches and ad ministrators at Prospect Valley Early Head Start describe their experiences with the Ready to Read literacy project? Participants described their experience of the project in relationship to changes that they observed in teacher beliefs and knowledge alon g with observed changes in childrens behaviors and literacy development. These themes offer examples of the impact that participation in Ready to Read has had on teachers, children and the Prospect Valley Early Learning Center community. Teacher Self Per ception and Passion Each interview included some discussion on the part of the respondent about the impact that Ready to Read made on her belief in herself (either as a teacher, a coach or an administrator). Particularly relevant in this regard, the dire ction of impact on beliefs were described as positive changes and a reconnection with passions that had brought these individuals into the field of early childhood to begin with. 35

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I know every day isnt going to be stellar. Thats just not part of early c hildhood at all. Well have days that are really wonderful and other days are just awful. But if you look at it as a whole its nice to see teachers who have the passion for working with children and families. And I think -I could have seen that without being part of this project, but I think the project has had a great effect on the teachers belief in themselves, their own self confidence. They feel much more confident as educators than they used to. (Ind Int #1, pg 9, line 21) T he passion thats returned has been a wonderful thing to watch and finding ways to share thatat parent meetings, like, this is how we want to educate your child, and this is how you can help us. (Ind Int #2, pg 6, line 3) I think the impact, though, is just watching the t eachers excited about the projects or about ideas that they have and that passion that theyve gotten. Ive always been passionate, but Ive not always seen my coworkers as passionate. And that always bothered me. So seeing their eyes light up when they re talking about lesson plans or when theyre talking about ideas, I think thats what -thats the reality for me. (Ind Int #3, page 8, line 7) T hey know that this is working. Its making their jobs easier. The children are loving i t. I mean, its -its totally different from last year (Ind Int #3, page 8, line 22) While examples of passion and a renewal of a belief in themselves as teachers were expressed, participants also described aspects of the project that were hard. The picture painted of the work did not only include sunflowers and roses, but touched on the real challenges of working as a teacher in the field of early childhood which has historically been underfunded and not aligned well across educational sectors. The Hard Stuff Participants expressed ex amples of situations that were diff i cult to work through or which took collaboration to overcome. These experiences included well established challenges of working within the field of early care and education (particularly within infant/toddler care) and the sometimes overwhelming desire for educational reform efforts and our individual and organizational learning to move more quickly on behalf of children and families. 36

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I think when the momentum is going and youre having great c oaching sessions and a teacher quits is a little bit disappointing because then theres a new relationship that needs to be established with a new member. Though weve had consistency with at least one member in each classroom, weve had some turnover in our toddler rooms. And that -it wasn't -I understand it, but when youre in a project and you invest in this and you see the momentum and then you take a few steps back, was a little disappointing. And then bringing somebody back on board and trying to catch them up to speed, to where were at, has been a challenge because this training doesn't come monthly. Weve had to plan other ways to catch them up. (Ind Int #2, pg 6, line 16) Not being impatient in giving those words when your intention is t o hear them but yet youre not really listening, because youre giving those words. You dont really know how much they know because you dont -you havent had that chance to slow down. And this program has shown me, yeah, these little ones have a lot to say about whats in front of them. (Ind Int #3, pg 11, line 13). Sometimes its hard to communicate with the parents. The hardest thing is just that -mostly is like miscommunication and not working together. (Ind Int #4, page 5, line 19) I get kind of frustrated and have to take a breath, take a breather, calm down and try to do it again. Try to find things to work it out It is really heavy. It is. It just feels like every year, were coming up with these concepts of what we need to do and how to work with it. Youre working for yourself, youre also worki ng with the team and the parents and the community. Its like everybody is just right. (Ind Int #4, page 7, line 12) Knowledge and Use of Evidence based Strategies Dialo gic reading was highlighted by several participants as an example of a t eaching strategy that was appreciated throughout the project. One bilingual toddler teacher described how when she learned this strategy, she recalled having used a similar technique when her da ughter was young not because she knew about it, but because she could not read the books her daughter brought home from school. Instead of letting that be a barrier, she would h ave conversations about the pictures with her daughter. At a project training, this teacher vulnerably shared with the whole group the moment her daughter realized (because she was now fully bilingual and could read the English words) 37

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that her mother hadnt actually been reading the printed words to her for all of those years This was a powerful example of the type of sharing that happened among project participants during trainings and coaching sessions. Several participants identified new strategies for working with children and familie s as a result of the being a part of the project. So seeing their [teachers] new lens on what they can do in their classroom has been really rewarding. ((Ind Int #2, pg 3, line 26) And it is just really neat to see how effective some of these intervention s really are. What a difference. Between the time I was there before the project was started and what the toddler room was like and what the toddler rooms are like now is like night and day. (Ind Int #1, pg 5, line 8) I think talking with parents about the importance of reading even if they dont know how to read in the language. (Ind Int #6, page 11, line 26) T he teachers are trained using the cradling literacy program. The teachers are highly trained. The parents are offered lots of opportunities to get trained themselves. The teachers are provided with the extra support of coaches who have some experience working in the field and have an idea of how to best facilitate that kind of learning with kids. (Ind Int #1, pg 5, line 3) Impact on Children and the Image of the Child as Competent All of the participants interviewed for this project expressed satisfaction about the impact that they perceive the Ready to Read project as having on the development and growth of the infants and toddlers enrolle d in the Prospect Valley Early Learning Center. While examples of childrens growth focused primarily on language and literacy skills, there were also comments related to childrens expressive communication, disposition for learning and shared engagement with peers. I think what I enjoy the most is just seeing the positive effect its having on all the children. Its so good as an educator to be able to walk into a classroom and say, Wow, these people are doing the right thing. These kids are happy. These kids are functioning well. (Ind Int #1, pg 6, line 21) 38

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The children are so much more literacy focused. Every single one of those children. I mean, when they leave the baby room, theyre already handling books. Theyre already reaching out and tr ying to read books themselves. They like to look at the pictures. They like to talk about the books in whatever way they're able as babies. (Ind Int #1, pg 5, line 12) And the children just love books. It used to be that the reading area was just nonexistent. It would never get any attention during the day. The kids would never go over there on their own, ever, ever, ever. And now, you know, half the time when they're in the middle of their work cycle, you have two or three kids who are over the re looking at books, who are reading to each other, you know, who are asking the teacher, read me, read me, read me. (Ind Int #1, pg 5, line 27) Several teachers made specific comments about seeing the competencies of infants and toddlers through new eyes and realizing that children at this young age can often do much more than caregivers give them credit for. B efore I started working on this par ticular project, I don't think I was as aware. I mean, it just hadnt bubbled to my conscious mind as much that babies and toddlers are very capable people. They can do so much more than I really thought they could. So I have learned that, just from thi s project (Ind Int #1, pg 11, line 4) And it was really nice to see the love of books really explode, we discovered that we didn't have enough books and we had to continue to order more books. And the parents were seeing the same thing at home, and coming in and mentioning to the director that, Wow, they really love to read books. And it was from that whole project. (Ind Int #2, pg 5, line 23) We want our children to be able to be ready when they go to school. But not only that, we want them to be ready when they're with us, you know -that is what were going to do and I think being involved in this project has turned the teachers thinking around into more intentional ways of doing things versus, Im just gonna sit here and read a story for entertainm ent. Im gonna read the story and I want to know what the children know about this book, about the pictures, the words that they know. (Ind Int #3, pg 6, line 12) Individual and Organizational Change During the individual interviews, participants were a sked to consider how they would represent their experience in the Ready to Read project if asked to paint a picture or write a piece of music. The responses to this question, while consist ent with the 39

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themes outlined above, express the complexity associat ed with engaging in this type of individual learning alongside a team of other learners within ones organization. They express a sense of community and shared experience that leaves one feeling that the collective experience of participating in this work is equally as important to consider as the individual changes in teacher knowledge or childrens outcomes. It would be this new community of enthusiasts -enthusiasm around literary, for the families, for the teachers, for the children. But also I woul d see light bulbs about the heads of the teachers, because, Aha, I can do this. We can incorporate that. This really blends in well with that. And the children are excited and happy to know that they can approach anybody with their story to share amongst each other and with their families. (Ind Int #2, pg 7, line3) Id draw a picture of me of really improving from where I came from, from what I thought I was as a teacher back then and now its a big different thing because I know a lot more, Im learning a lot more and, you know, Ive improved a lot.(Ind Int #5, page 12, line 14) Lots of happy sounds because there are so many smiles that result from this project. Kids are happier. The teachers are happier. In turn, the parents are happier. So there w ould be a lot of bright colors; a lot of bright sounds, opposed to the music. There would be some reflective time, you know, some quieter parts in the music, I think, because so much of the work that the teachers are doing is when you become more reflecti ve. I think there would be -a lot of it would be at a pretty fast pace, because it feels like the teachers are always moving and, of course, the children are always in motion. Theyre growing; theyre developing; theyre moving around. (Ind Int #1, pg 9, line 22) Theory U Emerging within Ready to Read In an effort to look for and begin to identify examples of the U Process ( Scharmer 2007) within the Ready to Read project, analysis of the data included a specific focus on unpacking examples of observations and descriptions of participants engaging in any of the U Process movements (CoInitiating, Co Sensing, Presencing, CoCreating and Co Evolving). Examining data collected from field notes, coaching session observations, individual interviews and coaching logs during the short time period of this investigation provides a tentative example of the U Process. The example uncovered 40

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relates to the groups journey of change regarding what they believe about and how they engage with families enrolled at Prospect Valley Early Learning Centers. Example: Responsive and Reciprocal Family Engagement Co Initiating is demonstrated when you witness groups stopping and actively listening to one another. It also involves listening to oneself in order to join with others around an area of common commitment and shared intent for change (Scharmer, 2007) Examples of co initiating during the Ready to Read project emerged during a Cradling Literacy training focused on Family Engagement. The agenda fo r the training included objectives and activities that s et the stage and space for dialogue between colleagues about what fa mily engagement means to them. Specific goals were identified for family engagement and included promoting family well being, positive parent child relationships, parents as lifelong educators, supporting educational aspirations of the family, supporting engagement in transition, connecting family to peers and community, and creating advocates and leaders. Two examples of coaching logs from sessions subsequent to the training include deepened awareness and dialogue around how family engagement is conceptu alized by the teaching team. One coaching session (Figure 3) included rich discussion about building relationships with children, parents and coworkers related to the goals identified above and the emerging interest in focusing on this area as a piece of t he coaching work with the goal of increasing family engagement by sharing more family stories between parents, teachers and children 41

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Figure 3: Coaching Log Example Co Sensing as defined in Theory U i s the disposition of being open to observing and listening to the experiences and desires of one another. In this case, it would be reflected in teachers and coaches who are open to exploring the desires of one another in regard to promoting meaningful family engagement and to observing one anothers e xperiences with family engagement Several coaching logs seem to reflect co sensing conversations that are related to sensing family engagement. For example, one coaching goal was specifically defined as f ind out from families what they already do at home to encourage their children around language and literacy development. The strategies discussed during this coaching session document the teaching teams approach to sensing as they call out specific activ ities which included talking to the parent of a new child about how she sees her goals for her childs literacy and observing daily routines for conversations along with an intentional focus on noticing the childs confidence with 42

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vocalizations and patte rns of listening An example of this was discussed during coaching as teachers explored a childs behavior of attending to a book reading from across the room while engaged in another activity but repeatedly demonstrating that he was attending to the stor y (through verbal responses and visual contact) while playing Participants also described examples of sensing within the individual interviews. I think its maybe clarified my perspective on myself. I think its made me a little more confident that I do know what Im doing. That I do know what I -I do have a contribution to make. I think its just kind of crystallized a few things for me. (Ind Int #1, pg10, line 15) I enjoy the most is working as a team and trying to listen t o all these other teachers, their ideas and what they can accomplish through the years working with the children that they ve worked with in their classroom. (Ind Int #4, pg 4, line 23) While not specifically related to family engagement, the flavor of the above excerpts seem to be consistent with the experience of sensing as conceptualized within Theory U. One respondent did share an example of cosensing related to family engagement. This example could represent the intent of this movement as a space for suspending judgement s and seeing from the whole. Sometimes you need to have come through the fire yourself in order to really understand what another person may be going through or at least be able to empathize and have their understanding. (Ind Int #5, pg 4, line 37) Pres encing is possibly the most elusive of the movements described within the Theory U Process. Senge, Scharmer, Jaworski, and Flowers (2004) argue that this movement is where the real potential lies for groups to truly change old patterns of seeing and actin g. Countering the notion that teams work together as a machine does (distinct 43

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parts fitting within a whole), the concept of presencing borrows from the natural world the idea that the whole is entirely present in any of its parts. When this wholeness is recognized it sparks collective and organizational transformation. Jarwoski (2004, p.223) describes it as the call to service that most of us deny throughout our whole life, to give ourselves to something larger than ourselves, to become what we were meant to become. Scharmer (2004. P. 228) argues that every one of us may be able to change the world, but only as we experience more and more of the whole in the present and only as we learn to use ourselves as instruments for something larger than our selves to emerge, whenever we act. Schar mer cautions that this mo vement of presencing should not lead us to become instruments of any organization or professional development agenda, but to become instruments of life itself and the emerging future. This complicates any attempt to define data collected for this inquiry into a category that accurately represent examples of presencing. Flowers (2004, p. 219) describes it as the mystery at the bottom of the U. Beyond human comprehension, she argues that it is larger than our human minds can encompass. Despite these cautions, this investigation did seek to identify evidence of presencing. One tentative example emerged that seemed to reflect the intent of presencing possibly a precursor to the spark. T he following excerpt suggests the act of letting go and holding space for the collective future to surface. Ive learned to be more patient. I always want change to happen right now, you know, and its hard for me to be patient sometimes when I just see w hat they need to do [Laughter]. I can see whats wrong with this child or whats wrong with this picture in general, you know, and I think I know how to fix it. But what Ive learned is that really the best thing to do is to let the other person figure t his out for themselves. And so its really about relationship for me to s t ep back and stop trying to fix it. [Laughter]. Because thats my first impulse and I need to stop 44

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doing that and Im getting much better at it as time goes on. (Ind Int #1, pg10, line 6) Co Creating in Theory U is represented by exploring new ways of doing the work and by prototyping these new actions. There were several examples of co creating around family engagement within the data set collected for this inquiry. The example included below is fr om field notes taken during a reflective practice session. A my stood and sugges ted that the group give Charmaine a chance to share her success with incorporating a Family Book into the daily routine within the classroom. Amy acknowledged that C harmaine put a lot of thought into this and came up with a whole new way of engaging with families . Charmaine stood up from her seat, smiling at the room and holding a well worn book that looked similar to a photo album, memory book or journal. She shared about the background of why she chose to embark on this project with families and highlighted two goals. She wanted to get to know families on a personal level and have a different kind of communication with parents . As other teachers began to ask questions, Charmaine highlighted that the parents who wrote in the book most actively were the parents who normally didnt talk to her in person. She also stressed that writing in the book was optional. She didnt badger them she just left the book . Charm aine made this a two way communication. She wrote in the book about her values and her life... that was the key . Charmaine shared some of her deep thoughts and they (parents) did the same . (FN#2, line 86) Multiple examples of prototyping around family engagement were evident in the coaching notes and in the coaching observations. In addition, several examples of family engagement actions were discussed during the individual interviews I think one of the first modules that we covered was relationships and so immediately they came back into the classroom and created a book about the families to keep inside their classroom. And they took pictures and they asked the parents to come to a parent meeting and tell their story, tell the story of the child, and they were excited. And, from that, the parents were, like, we really want to be involved with our childs education. So then more books were created to send home and this is what were learning at school so heres a color book for you. So there was this bridge between families and staff that took off within the first bundle of relationships. 45

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E xamples such as this reinforce the finding that co creating was evident within the Ready to Read project. C oEvolving is defined within Theory U as embodying an entirely new way of acting and thinking that involves facilitating change from the whole through expansion of the newly created ways of doing things. In involves assessing what has been tried and what s hould be continued or expanded. When applied to larger innovation s, it often includes the involvement of additional stakeholders (Scharmer, 2007). Because the U process unfolds over longer periods and in different forms it is difficult to provide solid examples of co evolving within the constraints of this investigation However, there is one excerpt that speaks to the sustainability of the family engagement work happening within this team. I think some of the key things would be the relationships that are built, that have been built with the parents and the teachers.that bond that they have. Theres more theres conversations happening, not only with the children but with the parents. (Ind Int #3, pg 9, 3) Applying the concepts and movements of the Theory U Process to the professional development activities within the Ready to Read project did surface tentative examples of each movement. However, several methodological limitations which exist within this inquiry which require that these findings be interpreted as exploratory in nature and as only a partial view into the transformational learning that is potentially occurring as a result of these professional development efforts. 46

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CHAPTER VI IMPLICATIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS W hat we know about individuals, no matter how rich the details, will never give us the ability to predict how they will behave as a system. Once individuals link together they become something different. Relationships change us, reveal us, evoke more from us. Only when we join with others do our gifts become visible, even to ourselves. Margaret Wheatley and Myron Kellner Rogers This investigation offers a limited but meaningful view into the experiences of Early Head Start teachers coaches and administrators who participated together in a long term professional development initiative. The conceptual frameworks informing this inqui ry included individual and group learning theories. Adult trans formative learning and the Theory U Process guided the research questions, analysis and interpretation of the data collected. The inquiry sought to examine how participants viewed the process of par ticipating in the professional development effort as well as how they described the professional and personal changes that they experienced as a result of participation. The analysis and findings from this inquiry, while largely explorator y in nature, lead to several impl ic ations for Prospect Valley and for the la rger field of early learning within P 20 education. Expanding the Impacts of Professional Development Initiatives Findings from this study converge with those of other recent coaching inquiries with teachers of very young children (Moreno, Green & Koehn, 2014 and Wasik & Hindman, 2011) which demonstrate promising results for changing individual teacher practice. Findings from this study reveal that teachers and coaches perceived benefits of the initiative as flowing well b eyond the specific child outcomes identified within the 47

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Ready to Read Logic Model. Clear themes emerged related to teachers improved view of themselves as educators, of the competencies that young children enter early learning settings with, and the untapped potential of meaningful family engagement as a mechanism for transforming communities. These outcomes were not articulated within the original Ready to Ready logic model however they were foremost on the minds of participants as they described their experiences on the project. Coupled with the them e that participants perceived improvements in regard to their implementation of evidence based practices, these additional unanticipated outcomes highlight here important areas to consider for future learning These outcomes seem to offer areas of streng th and perceived efficacy upon which future professional development work within Prospect Valley Early Learning Center can be built in order to continue learning along the Theory U Process. When communities of teachers and professionals come together along the U, positive changes and improved outcomes happen for children and families. Attention to the Process of Learning and Change within PD Initiatives Coaching and reflective team discussi ons seem to provide the spark and scaffolding for the positive changes described by the participants of Ready to Ready project. Neuman and Cunnigham (2009) suggest that professional development initiatives which fail to include coaching (and offer trainin g or coursework alone) have limited impact and that, as a field, we have more to learn about how the components of professional development systems work together toward sustainable changes in practice As one participant in this study articulated the issu e, with as much as we deliver the importance of relationships in the beginning of the the childs life for literacy, I think you must have relationships yourself as a coach or a program director to work with the teachers and the staff, and I just see the value in it and I wish that all training and content delivery can be followed up 48

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with someone who has a relationship with that teacher to just do check ins (Ind Int #2, pg 9, line 25) The findings from the current study further this notion and indicate t hat attention should be paid to the relationshipbased nature of professional learning and the structures that support deepening conversations and reciprocal dialogue among teachers, coaches and administrators. Findings from this inquiry suggest that professional development initiatives could benefit from providing equal consideration to the elements of the change process within the initiative as is often paid to the weight of specific evidencebased practices and targeted interventions Relationships matter within professional development initiatives relationships with one self, with colleagues and with families. Elements highlighted through this inquiry as important to consider include understanding and leveraging the relationship based nature of adult learning by including amp le time and space for the flow of reflection and learning along the U For example, it might prove beneficial for initiatives to offer flexibility in implementation in order to recognize and respond to the emerging U process chan ges within individuals and groups Understanding these process outcomes and how the y align with the structural elements within the professional development initiative (training, coaching, and reflective practice groups) is an important area of future work a nd could offer a pathway for i ncluding multiple participant voices within school communities to inform the design and implementation of professional development initiatives within early learning environments. Additionally, m ore research is needed on the relational characteristics that contribute to learning within coaching, training and teaching communities of practice and how to better facilitate reflective, courageous and empowering conversations in order to facilitate learning and practice transformati ons within communities. 49

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Concurrent Projects to Address Workforce Retention and Equity A heavy challenge was identified within this study as participants highlighted the impact that high staff turnover has on communities engaging in collaborative professional learning. This study serves to spotlight the need for recognition of the systematic inequities and workforce challenges within the early childhood field as they significantly hinder change efforts For example, t he national mean hourly wage in 2012 for teachers in private for profit and nonprofit early learning programs was $13.70 compared to a mean hourly wage of $32.63 for elementary school teachers (Whitebrook, 2014). Compensation policies lead to turnover and retention issues within ECE that create challenges for professional development initiatives seeking transformative learning for individuals within learning communities. For pre K teachers i n publicly fu nded programs operating within community based agencies, health and retirement benefits are typically less substantial than those earned by public school teachers. Approximately one quarter (26.6 percent) of teaching staff who left Head Start programs in 201213 did so because they were seeking higher compensation/benefits packag e within programs connected to school systems (OHS, Program Information Report, 2012). Four of the participants is this study specificall y discussed how they came to be employed as teachers with Colorado Montessori. All of them described this as a special relationship and discussed their experiences from the perspective of a parent as well as the perspective of an employee. W he n I first started with Colorado Montessori I just needed a job. I was very, very young. And I really needed a job. I was a single parent. So, having my son here with me at Colorado Montessori has been -oh, Im getting emotional. Theyre happy tears. Its been good. Its been really good. It real ly does work both ways when you have a child at the same center or even the same agency, because you -you're behind the scenes, 50

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you know, and you know the challenges that the agencys facing or the center is facing. But you also know what great things a re going on. So its really, really different. But I think its a great opportunity. I think I had a great opportunity, and I took advantage of it. I ran with it, you know. Yeah, sometimes it was hard. Sometimes it was different. But, you know, at t he end, I can look at my son and say, Wow, you know, this is a Mile High Colorado Montessori kid. Examples like this highlight the reality that early learning programs are often two generation programs which facilitate the optimal learning and lifelong success of young children as well as their families. Without concurrent programs that address systemic workforce issues, ECE programs are unable to leverage the full value of investment s in professional learning experiences such as Ready to Read. Future Research Future research on this topic should explore effective methodological approaches to investigating transformative change within individuals and organizations Early learning environments are complex and evolving. Research designs seeking to under stand the impacts of professional development initiatives should take these individual and group complexities into account. This study was limited by the nature of the data collection as a small part of the entire initiative only a slice in time (three months) of the three year project. It involved only one individual interview with each participant and, if expanded to include a series of several interviews over the entire project, would have offered a more complete picture of the individual and group changes experienced throughout the initiative. Future research should take this into account. Finally, future inquiries into the impacts of professional learning on individual teachers experience of transformation should include analysis of the structure s within professional development projects (coaching models, dosage of coaching, frequency and components 51

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of reflective practice groups degree of ownership by the participants themselves versus the a prescribed set of knowledge and skills ) Understanding how these structural elements and approaches to professional development lead to learning and change among participants is an area ripe for future exploration. 52

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CHAPTER VII CONCLUSION The impact of professional learning experiences within the field of early childhood and the perceptions of participants involved in these initiatives are an area of interest for those concerned with reforming educational systems and s upporting equity of opportunities for very young children. The qualit ative case study of the professional learning activities at Prospect Valley Early Learning Center explored through this analysis offer s several insights into the experiences of teachers, coaches and administrators working with the Ready to Read Project. W hile the research methodology and length of data collection activities limit the generalizability of findings beyond the project, findings and implications could be used to inform the ongoing implementation of the Ready to Read initiative. These findi ngs supplement the formal evaluation of the Ready to Read project (McCrae, J. & Wacker, A, 2014) by adding a qualitative lens of participant perceptions to the quantitative analysis of the impacts under investigation Clear themes emerged through the analysi s of the professional learning activities explored throughout this study that have important implications for planning transformative experiences for individuals and groups of learners. Study participants expressed positive changes in regard to their per ceptions of themselves as educators and a descr i bed reconne c ting with passions that had brought them individuals into the field of early childhood to begin with. Participants described an elevation in their view of children as competent learners and expressed changes in their knowledge and implementation of evidence based early literacy practices. The participants also 53

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described more difficult aspects of the project, including the systemic challenges of working in the early learning field and engaging wit h colleagues who end up leaving part way through the project. When describing what they enjoyed most about the initiative, the theme of community emerged and the value of working with collaboratively with colleagues and families. Additional analysis wa s conducted in order to explore examples of organizational change using the U Process (Scharmer, 2007) as a conceptual framework. Examples of observations and descriptions of participants engaging in any of the U Process movements (CoInitiating, Co Sensi ng, Presencing, Co Creating and CoEvolving) was conducted and revealed that the process of change did seem to be emerging along the U in at least one area of practice, Family Engagement. Implications for professional development initiatives are provided which include an enhanced recognition of the opportunities for individual transformation identified through this analysis and an awareness of the process of change and a key area of focus. Under standing how the process of change aligns with key stru c tural components of professional learning initiatives (like coaching and reflective practice groups) is an important area for future research. 54

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childhood inter vention. New Brunswick, NJ: National Institute for Early Education Research. McClusky, H. Y. (1970). An approach to differential psychology of adult potential. In S. M. Grabowski (Ed.), Adult learning and instruction (pp. 8095). Syracuse, NY: ERIC Merriam, S. B. (2009). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. San Francisco: Jossey Bass. Mezirow, J. (1990). Fostering critical reflection in adulthood: A guide to transformative and emancipatory learning. San Francisco: J ossey Bass. Retrieved online: http://www.grahamrussell pead.co.uk/articles pdf/criticalreflection.pdf Mezirow, J., & Associates. (2000) Learning as transformation: Critical perspectives on a theory in progress CA: Jossey Bass. Moreno, A., Green, S., & Koehn, J. (2014) The effectiveness of coursework and onsite coaching at improving the quality of care in infant toddler settings. Early Education and Development 0: 123, Taylor & Francis Group. National Early Literacy Panel. (2008) Developing early literacy. Retrieved from http://lincs.ed.gov/publications/pdf/NELPReport09.pdf National Scientific Council on the Developing Child (2010). Persistent Fear and Anxiety Can Affect Young Childrens Learning and Development: Working Paper No. 9. Retrieved from www.developingchild.harvard.edu National Science Board. 2012. Science and Engineering Indicators 2012. Arlington VA: National Science Foundation (NSB 1201). Neuman, S.B. & Cunningham, L. (2009). The impact of a practicebased approach 59

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to professional development: coaching makes a difference, American Educational Research Journal Vol. 46 (2), pp. 532566. Office of Childrens Affairs, Denver Great Kids Head Start. (2012). Community Assessment. Retrieved from http://www.denverg ov.org/Portals/713/documents /Community_Assessment_Update_2012.pdf Pennington, M. C. (1996). The "cognitive affective filter" in teacher development: Transmission based and interpretationbased schemas for change. System, 24, 3, 33750. Pianta, R. C., Ma shburn, A. J., Downer, J. T., Hamre, B., & Justice, L. M. (2008). Effects of web mediated PD resources on teacher child interactions in pre kindergarten classrooms. Early Childhood Research Quarterly 23(4), 431 451. Piton Foundation. (2012). Community facts and advanced neighborhood summaries. Retreived from http://www.piton.org/CommunityFacts Powell, D. R., Diamond, K. E., Burchinal, M. R., & Koehler, M. J. (2010). Effects of an early literacy professional development intervention on head start teachers and children.Journal of Educational Psychology, 102(2), 299312. doi: 10.1037/a0017763. Rogoff, B. (1990). Apprenticeship in thinking: cognitive development in social context. New York, NY: Oxf ord University Press. Rosaldo, R. (1989). Culture and Truth. Beacon Press, Boston, M.A. Rose, E. (2009) Learning from Head Start: preschool advocates and the lessons of history. In Wong, K & Rothman, R. (Eds.) Clio At The Table: Using History to Inform and Improve Education Policy. New York: Peter Lange Publishing Inc. 60

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Shonkoff J.P. (2009) Investment in early childhood development lays the foundation for a prosperous and sustainable society. In: Tremblay RE, Barr RG, Peters RDeV, Boivin M, eds. E ncyclopedia on Early Childhood Development [online]. Montreal, Quebec: Centre of Excellence for Early Childhood Development; 2009:15. Available at: http://www.child encyclopedia.com/documents/ShonkoffANGxp.pdf Accessed March 11, 2012. Showers, B. and Jo yce, J. (1984) Peer coaching: A strategy for facilitating transfer of training. New York, NY: Centre for Educational Policy and Management Taylor, K. (2006). Brain function and adult learning: Implications for practice. In New directions for adult and continuing education, no 110 (pp. 7185). Retrived August 20, 2007 from http://www.interscience.com (through Educational Full Text). Smith, F. (1998). The book of learning and forgetting New York: Teachers College Press.Vlez Ibez, C., & Greenberg, J. (1992). Formation and transformation of funds of knowledge among U.S. Mexican households. Anthropology and Education Quarterly,(23) 313335. Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in s ociety. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Warren, M. R. & Mapp, K L. (2011). A Match on Dry Grass: Community Organizing as a Catalyst for School Reform New York: Oxford University Press. Waters, J. T., Marzano, R. J., & McNulty, B. A. (2003). Balanced leadership: What 30 years of research tells us about the effect of leadership on student achievement. Aurora, CO: Midcontinent Research for Education and Learning. Published online at: 61

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http://www.mcrel.org/pdf/LeadershipOrganizationDevelopment/5031RR_Balance dLeadership.pdf Webster Wright, A. (2009). Reframing professional development through understanding authentic professional learning. R eview of Educational Research, (79) 702739. Whitebook, M. (April 2013). Staffing a universal preschool program will be no small task. EdSource Today Retrieved from http://eclkc.ohs.acf.hhs.gov/hslc/data/pir/20122013pdf/20122013_pir_form.pdf. Whitebrook, M. (2014). Building a skilled teacher workforce. Retreived from http://www.irle.berkeley.edu/cscce/wp content/uploads/2014/09/Building a Skilled Teacher Workforce_September 2014_925.pdf Winton, P. (2010). Professional development and quality initiatives: Two essential components of an early childhood system. In Wesley, P. & Buysse, V. (Eds.) The quest for quality: Promising innovations for early chil dhood educators. (pp 113139). Baltimore: Paul H. Brookings Publishing Co. York, L. (2005). Adult learning and the generation of new knowledge and meaning: Creating liberating spaces for fostering adult learning through practitioner based collaborative action inquiry. Teachers College Record Volume 107, Number 6, June 2005, pp. 12171244. Zigler, E., & S.J. Styfco. 2010. The Hidden History of Head Start. New York: Oxford University Press. Zion S. (July 2012). Northwest Denver Promise Neighborhoods Planning Project Submitted to US Department of Education, Promise Neighborhoods Competition. 62

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A PPENDIX A R ecruitment Script R eady to Read: Transformative Professional Learning in Early Head Start Hi, I am Rebe cca Soden from the University of Colorado Denver. I am conducting a research study to understand what it is like to be a part of the Ready to Read Project. The study will provide information that will inform our continuous improvement efforts. We would like to ask all teachers and coaches working in Prospect Valley Early Head Start classrooms to be a part of the study. As part of the project, I will be observing a few of your training and coaching sessions. I will also ask you to complete a short (30 m inute) interview about your experiences. As a thank you for giving us this extra time to help with the research, Ill give you a $25 gift card when you complete the interview. The results of this study will be used to understand the experiences of partic ipants in early literacy professional development projects. Participation in the study is voluntary. If you do not want to be part of the study, you will still be able to participate in any of the professional development options. Does this sound like som ething youd be interested in helping me out with? Interview Protocol C OMIRB Protocol 13 2264 Rebecca Soden Ready to Read: Transformative Professional Learning in Early Head Start Semi -structured Individual Interview Protocol Introductory Script: Your time is so valuable and I appreciate the opportunity to speak with you today. As you recall, I am interested in understanding a little bit more about how t eachers (family service workers and coaches) view professional learning projects, like the one that you are participating in through Ready to Read. Even though we call this an interview, if its okay with you, Id like it to be more of a conversation where we can openly discuss your experiences with professional learning. I want you to know that I am n ot here as part of an evaluation of Prospect Valley or of Ready to Read. Ive been in interviews about my center or my job before, and sometimes I worried about what I was saying. I dont want you to worry about saying anything wrong because there arent right or wrong answers to these questions Ill just be asking you about your experiences. What you say to me today will not be shared with anyone else. When Im finished talking with everyone, Ill take the information from all of the interviews and observations and look at them all together. Then, Ill write a paper that discusses the big ideas that seemed to come up from everyone. Does that sound okay? 63

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History with Prospect Valley and Ready to Read o Share with me a little bit more about who you are ? o How did come to be a teacher (family service worker/coach) at Prospect Valley ? o How do you describe your role at the center? o What do you think about the center? (Or, whats important for me to know about the) o The children? o The community? o Tell me about the Ready to Read project. What is the project about and what kinds of things happen in the project? (Or, what do you do in the project?) Perceptions of the Project o Share with me your thoughts on what it has been like to be a part of the project. o What things did you enjoy the most? o What things did you find harder to be a part of? o Describe how the project has impacted you. o What have your successes been? What would you high five yourself about? o Have there been disappointments or things that made it hard? What did you find frustrating? o If you could draw a picture that represented this project for you, what would you put in the picture? Perceptions of Transformation I wonder if youd help me understand your experience from a different l ens now. Lets think about these next questions as being less about you as a part of this project and more about you as a whole person (regardless of your role at the center or your work on the project). o Would you say that anything has changed about the way that you look at yourself ? 64

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o A s a learner? o As a teacher (family service worker/coach)? o As a parent? o As a citizen? o Would you say that your points of view have changed? o Examples o Would you say that any of your habits have changed? o Examples o Is there anything else that you think would help me to understand what your experience has been? Closing Script: Thank you so much for your generosity and for your time. I appreciate what you do every day and I cant thank you enough for the opportunity to hear your thoughts. 65

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APPENDIX B A ppendix B is separated into two sections. The first section, Data Collection Schedule provides a timeline describing how the study was conducted. This section includes dates and times of data collection; the methods of data collection, whether it was through observations, interviews or document review. The table also describes the partici pants in the study, where th e collection of data took place and the purpose for collecting certain data. The second section, Coding and Descriptions provides the definitions and considerations that guided the analytical approach to capturing emerging th emes within the data. The second table provides spec ific excerpts from field notes, interview transcriptions and coaching notes that correlate with each of the six main categories. 66

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Data Collection S chedule: Interviews and Field Notes Table 2: Timeline of Data Collection Activities D ate Data Type Who Purpose September 2013 IRB Consent Teachers and Coaches, at Training Describing project and obtaining consent for participation October 26, 2013 Field Notes All consented participants Observation of Training Session November 5, 2013 Transcribed Audio 2 participants Individual Interviews November 7, 2013 Field notes & Transcribed Audio 3 participants Coaching Observation November 13, 2013 Transcribed Audio 2 participants Individual Interviews November 14, 2013 Transcribed Audio 1 participant Individual Interview December 5, 2013 Field notes & Transcribed Audio 3 participants Coaching Observation December 6, 2013 Field Notes All consented participants Observation of Training Session December 10, 2013 Transcribed Audio 2 participants Individual Interviews December 12, 2013 Field notes & Transcribed Audio 3 participants Coaching Observation January 6, 2013 Transcribed Audio 1 participant Individual Interview October 2013 May 2014 Document Review All consented participants Coaching Logs Codes and Descriptio n s Table 3: Descriptions of Codes Themes/Codes Description of Codes Perception/Passion Excerpts within this theme focused on participants descriptions of changes in how they 67

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Themes/Codes Description of Codes perceived themselves as educators or caregivers as well as examples of renewed passion for the work. Hard Stuff Excerpts within this theme focused on participants descriptions of challenges and areas that they described as being hard to deal with or overcome. Knowledge and Application of Evidence Excerpts withi n this theme focused on participants descriptions of changes in practices that they are using in the classrooms, with families or in interactions with colleagues. Competency of Children Excerpts within this theme focused on participants descriptions of how they see children as competent learners and as able to use the tools within the classroom in appropriate ways (as learning tools). Community Excerpts within this theme focused on participants description of themselves as being involved with a communi ty of learners (either with other participants in the project or with the children or with parents) Co Initiating Examples of individuals gather ing together with the intention of making a diffe rence in something that matters to them Examples of the team identifying a common int ention around their purpose, who they want to involve, and the process they want to use. This includes that behavior of listening to one another. Co Sensing Examples of this included individuals observing thems elves and others for opportunities that might we worth pursuing, ideas for changes that they want to make in their own practice based on what the opportunities they are sensing from themselves and others. Presencing Examples of participants connecting to their own source of inspiration and to the collective inspiration around creating new possibilities for how to do this work. Sparks of insight into how the group might change together. Co Creating Examples of the team members trying a new way of doing something prototyping and talking about these new ways with one another. Co Evolving Examples of the participants reviewing the prototypes of what worked and what didnt work. Then talking together about how to modify/improve for the future. 68

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Excerpts f or each Theme Table 4: Excerpts Themes/Codes Examples of Excerpts Perception/Passion I think what I enjoy the most is just seeing the positive effect its having on all the children. Its so good as an educator to be able to walk into a classroom and say, Wow, these people are doing the right thing. These kids are happy. These kids are functioning well. I know every day isnt going to be stellar. Thats just not part of early childhood at all. Well have days that are really wonderful and other days are jus t awful. But if you look at it as a whole its nice to see teachers who have the passion for working with children and families. And I think -I could have seen that without being part of this project, but I think the project has had a great effect on t he teachers belief in themselves, their own self confidence. They feel much more confident as educators than they used to. (Ind Int #1, pg 6, line 21) So seeing their new lens on what they can do in their classroom has been really rewarding. ((Ind Int #2, pg 3, line 26) the passion thats returned has been a wonderful thing to watch and finding ways to share thatat parent meetings, like, this is how we want to educate your child, and this is how you can help us. (Ind Int #2, pg 6, line 3) I think the impact, though, is just watching the teachers excited about the projects or about ideas that they have and that passion that theyve gotten. Ive always been passionate, but Ive not always seen my coworkers as passionate. And that always bothered me. So seeing their eyes light up when theyre talking about lesson plans or when theyre talking about ideas, I think thats what -thats the reality for me. (Ind Int #3, page 8, line 7) they know that this is working. Its making their jobs easier. The children are loving it. I mean, 69

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Themes/Codes Examples of Excerpts its -its total, totally different from last year (Ind Int #3, page 8, line 22) its just drawing a picture of me of really improving from where I came from, from what I thought I was a teacher back then and from now its a big different thing because I know a lot more, Im learning a lot more and, you know, Ive improved a lot.(Ind Int #5, page 12, line 14) Hard Stuff I think when the momentum is going and youre having great coaching sessions and a teacher quits is a little bit disappointing because then theres a new relationship that needs to be established with a new member. Though weve had consistency with at least one member in each classroom, weve had some turnover in our toddler rooms. And that -it wasn't -I understand it, but when youre in a project and you invest in this and you see the momentum and then you take a few steps back, was a little disappointing. And then bringing somebody back on board and trying to catch them up to speed, to where were at, has been a challenge because this training doesn't come monthly. Weve had to plan other ways to catch them up. (Ind Int #2, pg 6, line 16) Not being impatient in giving those words when your intention is to hear them but yet youre not really lis tening, because youre giving those words. You dont really know how much they know because you dont -you havent had that chance to slow down. And this program has shown me, yeah, these little ones have a lot to say about whats in front of them. (Ind Int #3, pg 11, line 13). Sometimes its hard to communicate with the parents. The hardest thing is just that -mostly is like miscommunication and not working together. (Ind Int #4, page 5, line 19) I get kind of frustrated and have to take a breath, take a breather, calm down and try to do it again. Try and find things to work out. It is really heavy. It is. It just feels like every year, were coming up with these concepts and what we need 70

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Themes/Codes Examples of Excerpts to do and how to work with it. Youre working for yourself, youre also working with the teamwork and plus the parents and the community. Its like everybody is just right. (Ind Int #4, page 7, line 12) Knowledge and Application of Evidence First of all, th e teachers are trained using the cradling literacy program. The teachers are highly trained. The parents are offered lots of opportunities to get trained themselves. The teachers are provided with the extra support of coaches who have some experience wo rking in the field and have an idea of how to best facilitate that kind of learning with kids. And it is just really neat to see how effective some of these interventions really are. What a difference. Between the time I was there before the project was started and what the toddler room was like and what the toddler rooms are like now is like night and day. (Ind Int #1, pg 5, line 3) Competency of Children The children are so much more literacy focused. Every single one of those children. I mean, when they leave the baby room, theyre already handling books. Theyre already reaching out and trying to read books themselves. They like to look at the pictures. They like to talk about the books in whatever way they're able as babies. (Ind Int #1, p g 5, line 12) And the children just love books. It used to be that the reading area was just nonexistent. It would never get any attention during the day. The kids would never go over there on their own, ever, ever, ever. And now, you know, half the t ime when they're in the middle of their work cycle, you have two or three kids who are over there looking at books, who are reading to each other, you know, who are asking the teacher, read me, read me, read me. (Ind Int #1, pg 5, line 27) before I start ed working on this particular project, I don't think I was as aware. I mean, it just hadnt bubbled to my conscious mind as much that babies and toddlers are very capable people. They can do so much more than I really thought 71

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Themes/Codes Examples of Excerpts they could. So I have learn ed that, just from this project (Ind Int #1, pg 11, line 4) And it was really nice to see the love of books really explode, we discovered that we didn't have enough books and we had to continue to order more books. And the parents were seeing the same th ing at home, and coming in and mentioning to the director that, Wow, they really love to read books. And it was from that whole project. (Ind Int #2, pg 5, line 23) We want our children to be able to be ready when they go to school. But not only that, w e want them to be ready when they're with us, you know -that is what were going to do and I think being involved in this project has turned the teachers thinking around into more intentional ways of doing things versus, Im just gonna sit here and read a story for entertainment. Im gonna read the story and I want to know what the children know about this book, about the pictures, the words that they know. (Ind Int #3, pg 6, line 12) Community Lots of happy sounds because there are so many smiles that result from this project. Kids are happier. The teachers are happier. In turn, the parents are happier. So there would be a lot of bright colors; a lot of bright sounds, opposed to the music. There would be some reflective time, you know, some quiete r parts in the music, I think, because so much of the work that the teachers are doing is when you become more reflective. I think there would be -a lot of it would be at a pretty fast pace, because it feels like the teachers are always moving and, of course, the children are always in motion. Theyre growing; theyre developing; theyre moving around. I think that pretty well covers it. (Ind Int #1, pg 9, line 22) It would be this new community of enthusiasts -enthusiasm around literary, for the fa milies, for the teachers, for the children. But also I would see light bulbs about the heads of the teachers, because, Aha, I can do this. We can incorporate 72

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Themes/Codes Examples of Excerpts that. This really blends in well with that. And the children excited and happy to know that they can approach anybody with their story to share amongst each other and with their families. (Ind Int #2, pg 7, line3) Co Initiating See below example Co Sensing Presencing Co Creating Co Evolving Example: Responsive and Reciprocal Family Engagement 1. Co Initiating 2. Co Sensing 73

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3. Presencing So I think that noticing the trend thats going on this year, very, very protective with their kids, which is not to say that other parents have never been protective. But Ive seen it more so. But Ive never -I don't think Ive ever had a lot of parents that were interested in, What time do they eat lunch? And, what goes on during lunchtime? Why are you going outside when its cold? You know, I jus t -theyre very curious. They want to know these things and whereas before, Im kind of comparing here, whereas before, you know, they weren't really -you know, This is your school, you're gonna stay here. Bye, have a good day. And, you know, they were gone. And at the end of the day, How was his day? Oh, good, you know. And, you know, I mean, just very ritual things that were occurring. And now its not the same. So Im thinking that the perspective is that they want to know. They want to know what their child is doing all day and they want to know why. So theyre very curious . Teacher Interview Sometimes you need to have come through the fire yourself in order to really understand what another person may be going through or at least be able to empathize and have their understanding maybe. Teacher Interview 4. Co Creating 74

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Amy stood and sugges ted that the group give C. a chance to share her success with incorporating a Family Book into the daily routine within the classroom. Amy acknowle dged that C. put a lot of thought into this and came up with a whole new way of engaging with families . C. stood up from her seat, smiling at the room and holding a well worn book that looked similar to a photo album, memory book or journal. She shared about the background of why she chose to embark on this project with families and highlighted two goals. She wanted to get to know families on a personal level and have a different kind of communication with parents . As other teachers began to ask questions, C. highlighted that the parents who wrote in the book most actively were the parents who normally didnt talk to her in person. She also stressed that writing in the book was optional. She didnt badger them she ju st left the book. C. mad e this a two way communication. She wrote in the book about her values and her life... that was the key . C. shared some of her deep thoughts and they (parents) did the same . Training Field Note I would have to say, again, the passion thats retur ned to the teachers has been a wonderful thing to watch because they see themselves more as a teacher, not a caregiver and so theyre finding ways to share that with parents, share it at parent meetingsthis is how we want to educate your child, and this is how you can help us. And many of them told me in the beginning that there wasnt a love for reading that they were raised with. So they have seen the importance of reading and are excited about it now, so that was huge. Coach Interview 5. Co Evolving I think one of the first modules that we covered was relationships and so immediately they came back into the classroom and created a book about the families to keep inside their classroom. And they took pictures and they asked the parents to come to a parent meeting and tell their story, tell the story of the child, and they were excited. And, from that, the parents were, like, we really want to be involved with our childs education. So then more books were created to send home and this is what wer e learning at school, so heres a color book for you. So there was this bridge between families and staff that took off within the first bundle of relationships. Coach Interview 75

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APPENDIX C P roblem Statement Th e Critical Years of Birth to Three H anushek and Lindseth (2009) outline an argument for preschool education that shifts the discussion from a civil rights issue to one of investing in human capital. Basing their position on the work of Nobel laureate economist James Heckman, they state tha t investments made early in life enhance learning later in school and even into careers, making such investments economically attractive (p. 207). Developments in neuroscience are providing new evidence that brain infrastructure and biochemical pathways are well established by age three, with 90% of the structural specificity needed for complex learning tasks already havi ng occurred by the time a child enter s Kindergarten at age five (Shonkoff, 2009). Genetic research findings indicate that childrens e xperiences very early in life can alter gene expression and shap e development in ways that we have previously thought were determined at birth (National Scientific Council on the Developing C hild, 2010). New knowledge gained through interdisciplinary research and collaborative neighborhood based projects such as those proposed in Northwest Denver suggest that childrens emotional readiness for school is closely tied to the architecture of the brain and that excessive stress in early childhood has lifelong implications on health and educational outcomes (Gunnar & Fisher, 2006). One need not be a rocket scientist to understand that a child who is ill or depressed cannot fully utilize the lear ning environment provided in school (Ziglar & Styfco, 2010, p. 133). 76

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Poverty and the Fragmented System of Early Care and Education in Denver T he reality in many urban communities is that the system of education for very young learners is unfunded, frag mented and complex for families to navigate. Lack of access to basic health services, family support services and quality education programs is a pervasive concern for many families of very young children (birth to five) in Northwest Denver. When these s ervices are available, the extent to which they are high quality, accessible and aligned across disciplines is unclear. In 2011, Denver was home to more than 134,000 children under the age of 18 (Office of Childrens Affairs, Denver Great Kids Head Start 2012). Approximately 26,598 children were under three years of age. Nearly one out of every three babies (birth to 3) in Denver is living in poverty which is a surprising statistic for the capital of a state described as a national leader in producing scientific talent, ranking eighth for science & engineering doctorate holders as a percentage of the workforce (National Science Foundation, 2012) This poverty is not equally distributed in Denver, but is concentrated in certain neighborhoods, including those served by the Northwest Denver neighborhood project where in recent years 20% of babies were born to moms without a high school degree (Piton Foundation, 2012) and 1 in 10 pregnant moms received no prenatal care. In Northwest Denver, 1 in 10 moms is under nineteen years of age when she becomes a parent, taking on the responsibility of preparing her baby for school and for life. In Colorado, she is often alone on this journey because only a small percentage of children have access to a publicly funde d preschool education In 2011, only 15% of three year olds were afforded the opportunity to attend a publicly funded education program in Colorado ( Barnett, Carolan, Fitzgerald & Squires 2012). During the 2011 77

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2012 school year less than 17% of the 14,000 young children living in poverty within Denver neighborhoods were able to access publically funded care and education through Head Start (Office of Childrens Affairs, 2012). Less than 2 out of every 10 Denver children who qualified for free preschool during the most critical years of brain development actually received this comprehensive educational support (Office of Childrens Affairs, 2012). Community Based Reform and Lessons from Head Start D enver area children who were in a position to maxi mize their early learning educational opportunities by attend ing a quality preschool programs actually received significantly less public funding to do so than children in traditional K 12 schools ($3,623 per preschool child compared to $11,530 per K 12 child) Teachers in preschool classrooms (on average) made less than 50% of the salary that their K 12 counterparts made (NIEER, 2012) A recent analysis by Whitebrook (2014) revealed that m any EC E teachers earn wages that are near the poverty level These teacher often rely on public programs such as WIC, SNAP, housing subsidies, or Medicaid to supplement their wages and to provide for themselves and their own children (Whitebrook, 2014) Even w ithin Head Start, a publicly funded educational program for young learners, a 2013 assessment found that a pproximately one quarter of teaching staff had accessed at least one type of public financial support in the last three years ( Child Care Services Ass ociation, 2013). Forty eight percent of teaching staff within center based early learning programs reported worrying about having enough food for their family and sixty four percent worried about paying their monthly housing costs ( Child Care Services Ass ociation, 2013). 78

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Traditionally, teachers working within early learning programs have not participated in pre service education through institutions of higher education. Often their education begins when they become employed in the field. Further, many early learning programs do not set a continuing education requirement for teachers. As a result, the ECE field often uses the term professional development to cover the entire spectrum of education and training available to early childhood education teac hers and leaders. Professional development encompasses all aspects of in service education, from introductory training, to informal workshops to college level work for credit or a degree (Whitebrook, 2014). Understanding the professional pathways of tea chers in Early Head Start and other educational programs that have been shown to impact lasting gains for young children are ripe areas for identifying best practices within professional development systems. Although r esearch has demonstrated that high turnover pr events programs from improving (Whitebrook, 1996) compelling evidence suggests that stability among a team of well trained teach ers provides an essential ingred ient for improving and sustaining better services for young children (Whitbrook, 2014) Another essential element of neighborhoodbased education reform involves making progress toward elevating the role of professionalism within early learning programs, identifying the essential elements of an early care and education system, and unders tanding the external forces that impinge upon the ability to effect change on childrens behalf (Goffin & Washington, 2007, p. 17). Recent efforts toward cradle to career educational reform have involved valuing families, program staff and classroom te achers as educational leaders. Advocates of 79

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authentic parent and staff engagement can learn from Head Starts accomplishments. Described by many as a federal program that feels like a grassroots effort marked by parent involvement and community voluntee rism (Rose 2009, p. 122), Head Start programs throughout Denver have succeeded at bringing parents and teachers together in partnerships for early learning. Programs have done this by hiring community based teachers and parents as staff members and supporting them to become licensed educators, by giving parents leadership authority within the program, by including parents and teachers in curricular decision making and by creating social networks between staff and parents as a key feature of program activi ties (Henrich & Gadaire, 2008). This study explored the potential for fostering adult transformative learning and social justice in an early childhood care and education program which is participating in an intensive scientifically based literacy reform in itiative. Ready to Read is a literacy development project targeted to support infants and toddlers who have been identified as at risk for reading failure due to the systemic effects of poverty withi n Northwest Denver Specifically, this study will explore the constraints and resources for transformative learning present within the professional development activities occurring through the Ready to Read early literacy project at Prospect Valley Early Head Start (a Colorado Montessori School ) The theory of change (Figure 1) for Ready to Read proposes that when teachers are provided with a theoretical foundation and culturally responsive framework for understanding childrens language and literacy development through an approach called Cradling Literacy they will engage in more frequent and rich verbal interactions with children throughout the day. It also asserts that teachers will be more motivated to implement Dialogic Reading (an interactive method of sharing picture 80

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books with young children ages bi rth to age three where children learn to become storytellers) more frequently if they have this theoretical foundation for understanding childrens language and literacy development (Klute, 2011) The end goal of the Ready to Read professional development initiative is that these improved interactions will s upport childrens oral language and communication skills (which are associated with school readiness and later reading success leading to 3rd grade reading proficiency). The proposed study will draw on several interdisciplinary theoretical frameworks from the fields of educational leadership, psychology, adult learning and organizational management to explore the research questions of interest. Addressing this problem of practice through a conceptual fr amework that combines the lenses of instructional coaching and transformative learning theories contributes a unique perspective and adds to the existing research base on professional learning within early childhood care and education. As importantly, the findings from this study will serve to inform local stakeholders within the Denver community about the variety of factors that contribute to professional learning and the implementation of evidence based early literacy strategies. Professional Developme nt and Coaching R ecent evidence demonstrates that a well prepared education workforce is necessary in order to provide highquality early learning experiences that narrow the academic achievement gap for vulnerable children while supporting all children and families to achieve their full potential (Powell, Diamond, Burchinal, & Koehler, 2010). Teachers and administrators are asked to be pedagogical leaders who are fluent in the latest child development research, evidence based strategies and promising pra ctices. Less clearly understood however, have been the strategies that early learning programs 81

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have used to support adult learners with the implementation of evidence based and research based classroom practices. With P 20 educational reform efforts clea rly focused on the utilization of practices deemed effective based on the best available research evidence (Buysse, Sparkman & Wesley, 2003) questions begin to surface around how professional development initiatives structure adult learning experiences in ways that are transformative, meaningful and reciprocal in nature while adhering to the level of fidelity deemed appropriate to close opportunity gaps in measurable ways (Webster Wright, 2009). Meaningful professional learning will require cultivation of broad participation and leadership that is accountable for community concerns (Warren & Mapp, 2011 p. 228) which may or may not align with scientifically based evidence. Coaching is a common method of providing professional development to staff in earl y childhood educational settings (Winton, 2010). C oaching in the early childhood field is defined as a learning process based on a collaborative relationship that is intentionally designed to promote sustainable growth in the necessary attitudes, skills, and knowle dge to effectively implement best practices for the development of young children and their families (Colorado Coaching Consortium, 2009, p. 2) While there are a growing number of studies that point to the effectiveness of coaching as a mode l of professional development (Buysse, Winton, & Rous, 2009; Cusumano, Armstrong, Cohen & Todd, 2006; Joyce & Showers, 1984) there is still much to be learned. The content delivered through coaching initiatives can range from supporting programs to improving global quality (such as health and safety procedures or staff education) and curricular implementation and the nuances of teacher child relationships (Hemmeter & Fox, 2009), and literacy development (Neuman & Cunningham, 2009) however the 82

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method by whi ch the content is delivered usually involves a relationship between two people, an expert (the coach) and a novice (the teacher). A recently review of forty four professional development initiatives that included coaching with early childhood teachers (I sner et al., 2011; Tout, Isner & Zaslow, 2011) found evidence that such approaches often do improve early educator practice, child outcomes, or both. As importantly though, the review found that improvements to quality and chi ld outcomes were not universa l and there is little evidence surrounding the features of the coaching models or the processes and activities which lead to quality improvement. Models for providing coaching vary across initiatives. In some cases, coaching is part of an umbrella of pro fessional development supports that are provided to a teacher (including coursework, training and/or consultation). Structurally, coaching models can vary in several ways, ranging from how much time is available for coaching, whether teachers have release time for coaching, and the types of data available to support the development of coaching goals. Much of the coaching occurring within the early childhood field is funded with an expectation for improvement as part of an outside accountability system or other measure of effectiveness. Recently, coaching models that include specific evidence based literacy strategies combined with technological and online learning supports have shown promising results (Pianta, Mashburn, Downer, Hamre, & Justice, 2008, Neuman & Cunnigham, 2009). Although there is some evidence the goodness of fit between the coach and the teacher has important implications for coaching effectiveness (Germain, 2011), little is known about the relationship between these factors and success ful implementation of specific models. It is reasonable to assume that characteristics of the teacher and the 83

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coach (credentials, experience, philosophy, cultural background, motivation to change, sense of efficacy, and the level of choice associated with the initiating and sustaining the coaching experience) could be related to how successfully certain types of coaching models can be implemented. For adults to relate to infants and tod dlers well, it is imperative that they come to understand what science has discov ered about how children function and grow and also to better understand their own personal meta theory of childrear ing. Unexamined beliefs about who chil dren are and how they function perme ate the behavior of many well meaning adults. Unexamined, these assumptions often become the base for childrearing practice. We need to be more conscious of how our assumptions play out in our relationships with young children (Lally 2006 p 13). Adult learning theory (Mezirow, 2000; Freire, 1993, Cranton, 2006) suggests that in order for professional learning to have the most meaning for society, it should be transformative and restorative in nature, addressing social justice and inequity within our educational systems. Can exploration of current professional development efforts within Northwest Denver uncover new insights into the process of coaching and how teachers experience coaching as a support for transformative learning? Transformative Learning in Adulthood Transformative learning refers to the process by which we transform our takenforgranted frames of reference (meaning perspectives, habits of mind, mind sets) to make them more inclusive, discriminating, open, emotionally capable of change, and reflective so that they may generate bel iefs and opinions that will prove more true or justified to guide action (Mezirow, 2000, p. 78). Friere (1993) posits that the people in 84

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a school (teachers, leaders, families and children) are all subjects working together to unveil reality, critique that reality and then recreate a new reality (p.69) C ritical reflection and critical thinking are important adult learning techniques that can promote transformational learning whether or not that learning is focused on a critique of dominant cultural norms and systems. Mezirow (1990) describes critical reflection as thinking that involves a critique of the presuppositions on which our beliefs have been built (p. 1). Brookfields (2009) definition is similar and includes the deliberate attempt to u ncover, and then investigate, the paradigmatic, prescriptive, and casual assumptions that inform how we practice (p. 125). Cranton (2006) describes this as Awareness of Self and explains that it involves asking learners to reflect on their personality, p references, perceptions and habits of mind. Brookfield and Preskill ( 1999) argue that well facilitated discussions can lead to transformative learning through the teachers intentional use of several strategies, one of which involves surfacing assumptions. Freire argues that if the structure of schools does not permit dialogue, then the structure must be changed. He goes on to outline six attitudes that need to be present for meaningful and authentic dialogue These attitudes include a) l ove for the world and human beings b) h umility c) f aith in people and their power to create and recreate, d) t rust e) h ope that the dialogue will lead to meaning and f) c ritical thinking for the continued transformation of reality (Friere, 1993 as cited in Cranton, 2006, p. 161). Fetherston and Kelly (2007) outline five assumptions regarding what transformative learning entails These assumptions about transformative learning served as initial guideposts for exploring individua l perceptions of change within Ready to Read. 85

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Transformative learning involves profound shifts in our understanding of knowledge, the world, and ourselves. Reflection is essential to the achievement of transformation. Transformation is a process precipitated by experiences or information that disrupts current understanding. Teaching for transformation involves creating spaces for critical dialogue The concept of transformative learning resonates with an education for c onflict transformation. This conceptual framework addresses learning on an individual level and aligns nicely with the coaching model and training model used within the Ready to Read professional development initiative. Evidence within the literacy coach ing research suggests that an individualized mentoring approach to adult learning provides better results in regard to improving instructional practice than traditional classroom instruction (Neuman & Cunnigham, 2009). The research is less clear about the potential of coaching and mentoring to facilitating transformative learning within adults, although there has been some initial work in this area (Fisher Yoshida, 2000 & Fisher Yoshida, 2009). In addition, there is little known about the learning impact of coaching situations that place individuals in conditions that are potentially adversarial. It seems that little research attention has been paid to the tensions within the ecology surrounding professional coaching relationships (e.g. exhausting and ove r demanding work or involuntary participation in professional development) that might distort the potential and prospects of learning though relationships in practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Waters, Marzano and McNutly (2003) argue for an awareness of thes e conditions in their meta analysis of 86

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balanced leadership practices. Their findings indicate that different perceptions about the implications of change can lead to one persons solution becoming someone elses problem (Waters et al., 2003, p. 7). Un derstanding the Individual and Organizational Paradox B ronfenbrenners (1994) seminal work frames all human learning and growth within the context of several interacting ecological systems. These concentric social environments are nested within one anothe r and are the dynamically changing systems within which individual learning takes shape. Adults bring a wealth of cultural, ethnic, and social capital to the learning process (Dewey, 1938; Friere, 1993; Vygotsky, 1978; Rogoff, 1990). Communities are inst rumental in defining which language and interactional strategies are valuable, in determining how one should manage oneself, and in expressing the overarching beliefs, values and ideologies through which we approach school and life. The notion of peripher al participation in adults suggests that changing locations and perspectives within a community of practice are key to the formation of identity and group membership (Lave & Wenger, 1991). Of particular importance when considering adult learning, is the notion that a ttain ment of new knowledge is impacted by ones own self image, including our beliefs about what we will and will not be capable of doing in the future (Smith, 1998, p. 85), through empowering experiences as well as experiences of disinteg ration, wounding and pain (Cajete, 1993, p.209). As professional and personal identity develops and transforms, knowing emerges and is thus located within the complexities of the community itself. Adult communities of practice cycle through shifts in participants (novices join and experts leave) as well as in ways of viewing work within 87

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the community. These shifts result in a process of reproduction, transformation and change (Lave & Wenger, 1991, p.123) at an individual as well as at a group level. Peter Senges research and applied work in the area organizational learning is premised on the understanding the connections between individual and collective change within organizations. There is nothing more personal than vision, yet the visions that ultimately prove transformative have nothing to do with us as individuals (Senge, Scharmer, Jaworski, & Flowers, 2004, p. 131). Senge (2006) proposes that an organization striving to build this type of learning opportunity into their system for adult le arning and professional development should create spaces that allow for five core learning disciplines to emerge. These disciplines include 1) Systems Thinking 2) Personal Mastery 3) Mental Models 4) Building Shared Vision and 5) Team Learning. These fiv e disciplines and the transformational changes within individuals align to one another in a collective process the Senge (2006) refers to as a U Process. Theory U ( Senge, Scharmer, Jaworski, & Flowers, 2004) describes t he foundational learning capabilities of organizations and schools in the following model and has been further refined by Scharmer (2007) into a framework that defines how groups and organizations experience transformation as a shared process of change thr ough five distinct movements (Figure 2). Scharmer (2007) theorizes that for sustained and meaningful change to occur within organizations and society, there is a collective path that should be experienced. W e need to move first into intimate connection with the world and to a place of inner knowing that emerges from within, followed by bringing forth the new, which entails discovering the future by doing (Scharmer, 2007, p. 6). The pathway of this change is 88

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expressed along the U as moving through the stages of Co Initiating, Co Sensing, Presencing, Co Evolving and CoCreating. Theory Figure 2 : The U Process and the Five Movements (Scharmer, 2007 ) Creating professional development strategies that allow participants to flow through the U Process by connecting the ideas presented to their own life experiences and building shared intent for change, allowing for observation of themselves and others while confronting differences, reflecting on the source and motivation for the change, and bring together theory and practice by prototyping new behaviors could lead to true reform and transformational learning that is sought within organizations and early childhood professional development initiatives such as Ready to Read. 89