School of Education


Doctor of Education in Curriculum & Instruction (EdD)


Stacey Bose


spelling instruction, teacher instruction, multilinguistic spelling approach, orthographical knowledge, morphological knowledge, phonological awareness


Education | Reading and Language


The purpose of this embedded, explanatory multiple case study was to explain how internal and external factors shape the instructional spelling practices of third and fourth grade educators in Delaware. Internal factors were personal characteristics, such as content knowledge and pedagogy, that have been developed by past experiences and trainings. External factors were environmental and behavioral elements that vary between schools. The theory guiding this study was the social cognitive theory as it provided a theoretical framework that helped to explain influencers behind teacher choices. As an embedded case study, the main units of analysis were the schools (N = 3) and the sub-units of analysis were the educators (n = 16). Purposeful sampling from schools in Delaware helped to ensure maximum variation. Each of the two public schools included teachers (n = 4), a principal (n = 1), and literacy expert (n = 1). The private school included two teachers, one principal, and one literacy expert. Data collection involved surveys, classroom observations, lesson plans, interviews, and curriculum reviews. Thematic analysis was used to help code and identify themes within and across cases. Findings supported spelling instruction as a complex interaction between the following factors: (a) teacher content, training, and pedagogy, (b) curriculum, (c) funding source expectations (e.g., standardized assessments), (d) district expectations (e.g., levels of teacher autonomy), and (e) student knowledge and behavior.