Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Education and Human Services


Teacher Education and Teacher Development

Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair

Helenrose Fives

Committee Member

Kathryn Herr

Committee Member

Alina Reznitskaya


The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe and explain the manifestation of expertise among Reading Recovery teachers using the Model of Domain Learning. The focus of the inquiry was to description the components of the Model of Domain Learning, interest, knowledge, and strategic processing, as each existed among this group of Reading Recovery teachers. Highlighted is the interaction among the three components as well as how that interaction manifested as multiple stages of expertise, acclimation, early competence, mid- competence, late competence, and proficiency. The following research questions guided my inquiry:

1. When examined qualitatively and multidimensionally, how is expertise manifested among 8 RR teachers who are located in rural, Northeast, coastal elementary schools, sharing the same teacher leader and attending the same Continuing Contact sessions?

2. What is the capacity of the MDL to illuminate previously undiscovered aspects of the manifestation RR teacher expertise?

3. What constructs of the MDL may be in need of further conceptualization for the model to more thoroughly describe expertise in complex, ill-structured domains?

I collected and analyzed questionnaire responses, conducted semi-structured interviews, and made observations and recorded field notes of Continuing Contact sessions and Behind-the-Glass presentations. These data were analyzed by qualitative methods. I reported my findings through an instrumental case study.

My analysis of the data indicated that expertise in Reading Recovery teachers manifested as an interaction among interest, knowledge, and strategic processing. Contrary to previous studies using the Model of Domain learning in which authors suggested that learners would exhibit a lower level of interest at the start of their learning, I discovered that these teachers each possessed heightened interest in Reading Recovery at the beginning of their Reading Recovery career and that this heightened interest was sustained throughout their careers as Reading Recovery teachers. My data analysis also indicated that expertise among these teachers was dependent on their fluid, flexible, accessible Reading Recovery knowledge. Additionally, I found that Reading Recovery was represented by the teachers’ ability to scaffold instruction for each student. Further, analysis evidenced that the component of interest may need to be examined more broadly, with a closer look at the role of emotions on Reading Recovery teacher expertise development.

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