Adaptive Teaching: Reflective Practice of Literacy Instruction

Adaptive teachers are considered visionary and effective in their teaching. These teachers apply a flexible approach to instruction as they build upon students’ interests and inquiries. However, despite the intuitive and appealing nature of adaptive teaching, there is limited empirical data on teachers’ adaptations and rationales for adapting. Moreover, although adaptive teachers are considered visionary, there is little research that explores teacher visioning in relation to adaptive decisions.

To meet this need, the current study provides an in-depth analysis of two teachers’ instructional visions, adaptations, and rationales for adapting their literacy instruction. Two upper elementary teachers were selected for this study based on teacher and principal recommendations. Classroom observations and interviews were used to gather data; qualitative methods were utilized to analyze the interviews and the field notes. Findings suggest teachers adapted their instruction to scaffold student understanding and to promote instructional tasks to engage and support student learning. Evidence was found for the influence of visioning on instructional adaptations. Theoretical and practical implications of the study are discussed.