Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



Degree Granting Department

Childhood Education and Literacy Studies

Major Professor

Janet C. Richards, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Ferron, Ph.D.

Committee Member

William Black, Ph.D.


Communication, Conversations, Language, Leadership, Relationship, Walkthrough


A safe environment, conducive to productive and transparent conversations, makes possible the improvement of literacy practices and strengthens teacher/administrator relationships for more honest and vulnerable conversations. In this autoethnographic intrinsic case study I conducted a self-study of my use of language and communication with four literacy teachers during debrief, after classroom walkthroughs, when coaching each on literacy practice. Furthermore, the component under investigation was the debrief meeting where dialogue is the key ingredient for discussing teacher classroom practice. The study was approached through identifying characteristics from my personal and professional background, to my interactions with the four literacy teachers and the insights and perceptions of my role and style as their administrator. Findings revealed, teachers in this study desired positive recognition and praise as a result of my informal classroom walkthroughs. I was able to influence the teachers' beliefs through debriefing and nurture those beliefs about themselves to enhance their attempts to teach their students more effectively. Student engagement increased as the teachers began to unpack the why, what and the how of their teaching during debrief meetings. School wide improvement efforts were also supported as teachers were able to look past themselves when they reflected on connections made to the next grade level or the previous grade level to help understand literacy curricular decisions and goal setting. The findings were discussed as they apply to the debrief experiences realized by both administrator and teacher.

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