Negotiating Networks: Exploring the Interaction and Intersection of a Teacher's Beliefs, Literacy Policy, and Instruction Public Deposited

Downloadable Content

Download PDF
Last Modified
  • March 20, 2019
  • Comperatore, Aubrey
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • The increasing standardization of literacy curriculum and instruction compounded with high-stakes accountability measures present unique challenges for teachers and policymakers (Barrett-Tatum, 2015). Teachers’ beliefs and interpretations of content, curriculum, instruction, and students shape the implementation of new mandates (Remillard & Bryans, 2004). However, when policy messages conflict with teachers’ perceptions of literacy instruction, implementation may compromise their instructional self-efficacy (Apple & Teitelbaum, 1986), instill a learned dependency on outside resources (Papola-Ellis, 2014), and erode their instructional beliefs (MacGillivray, Ardell, Curwen, & Palma, 2004; Stillman & Anderson, 2011; Valli & Chambliss, 2007). The black box (Black & William, 1998) of teachers’ policy enactment as manifested through their instruction has remained largely hidden to researchers and practitioners, as existing literature positions the teacher and the policy as separate entities. Informed by a sociomaterial perspective, this study uses a revelatory single-case study design and interpretive research methods with analysis grounded in cultural-historical activity theory and actor network theory to analyze the interplay between policy narratives and the internal and external factors influencing one teacher’s classroom literacy instruction. First, tracing the moments of the social translation (Callon, 1999) of North Carolina’s Read to Achieve policy, legislative, practitioner, and media texts were analyzed for evidence of ways discourse constructed a social narrative framing literacy, instruction, and learning. Findings revealed that the policy’s narrative plot privileged positivistic research and an autonomous model of literacy (Street, 2003). Second, using observational and interview data collected over a five-month period, the study details the instructional beliefs and policy landscape of one North Carolina third-grade teacher under Read to Achieve and other local literacy policies. Comparisons between the teacher’s ideal and actual literacy instruction lead to analysis of how she negotiated the influential factors within her instructional system—through compliance with, adherence to, resistance of, and defiance against political and curricular directives. This study concludes with implications for teacher educators, practitioners, and policymakers. Further implications include calls for policymakers to consider the social construction of policy design and researchers to delve into the impacts of teachers’ views on race with regards to their literacy instruction.
Date of publication
Resource type
Rights statement
  • In Copyright
  • Justice, Julie
  • Hall, Leigh
  • Glazier, Jocelyn
  • Griffin, Dana
  • Davis, Cassandra
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2017

This work has no parents.