This study was an observation of teachers as they attempted to employ innovative practices in their respective classrooms. These practices were strategies used by whole language practitioners who claim that their educational philosophy represents a major paradigm shift in education. It was found that, while several innovative strategies were being used in these whole language classrooms, direct instruction continued to be the teaching model most commonly used. Additionally, only 25 percent of the participants stated that they read aloud regularly to their classes although the significance of reading aloud has been established as incontrovertible. Enthusiasm of students was a very positive factor in effecting change; whereas, mandates from higher levels tended to be met with resistance. The lack of a clearly-defined philosophical base was manifested in the discrepancy between many classroom practices and the whole language philosophy. Although whole language is diefined as a philosophy, none of those whole language neophytes used this term in their definition of whole language. The results suggest that, before a teacher can successfully make the transition from a traditional teacher to a whole language teacher, one needs time and encouragement to reflect upon one's beliefs and practices. It is also believed that it is possible to initiate a transition by first utilizing whole language teaching strategies, and then gradually making the philosophical shift.
Curriculum and Instruction
University of Oklahoma/Oklahoma State University
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