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It Takes a Village: An Inquiry into the Importance of Community in Educational Success

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This research looks at a group of students from Tumaini Children's Home in Nyeri, Kenya. The purpose of this paper is to explore why this particular group of students is so academically successful. Quantitative research was taken from the average

This research looks at a group of students from Tumaini Children's Home in Nyeri, Kenya. The purpose of this paper is to explore why this particular group of students is so academically successful. Quantitative research was taken from the average 2013 test scores of Tumaini students who took the Kenyan Certificate of Primary Education (KCPE) exam in comparison to the scores of students who are not residing in the orphanage. Qualitative research involves interviews from those students who live in Tumaini and interviews from adults who are closely connected to the orphanage. The purpose is to understand why the students are performing so well academically and what support they have created for themselves that allows them to do so.

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2014-12

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Teacher stressors in an Arizona urban school district

Description

Teachers have the one of the most difficult, yet most rewarding jobs to guide our impressionable youth into academically prepared independent thinkers. This undertaking requires a commitment, as well as an enormous effort that can oftentimes be overwhelming. Teaching has

Teachers have the one of the most difficult, yet most rewarding jobs to guide our impressionable youth into academically prepared independent thinkers. This undertaking requires a commitment, as well as an enormous effort that can oftentimes be overwhelming. Teaching has been found to be a stressful profession for several decades with the potential concern of negative consequences for both teachers and students. The purpose of this study was to view mutual influences that affected the stress levels of urban teachers, as well as gather possible solutions to help alleviate some areas of stress. This study evaluated an urban school district in Arizona to uncover existing stressors for elementary teachers. Through qualitative analysis, this study utilized focus group interviews within this urban district, which consisted of 20 teachers in various grade levels. Four to five teachers formed each focus group, where participants responded to six open-ended questions in a candid setting. Using the grounded theory, major and minor themes emerged as a result of teacher responses that revealed trends and commonalities. Additionally, participants relayed their suggestions to mitigate some of these stressors. This study revealed that the some of the stressors that surfaced were common to the entire group, while some grade level subgroups differed in areas of stress. The suggestion to implement purposeful support systems to improve the stress of teachers was recommended with the proposal to reexamine the results for their effectiveness in future studies.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2013

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Interpreting critical literacy in a natural history museum

Description

The purpose of this study was to investigate critical literacy practices in two prehistoric exhibits in a natural history museum. Bourdieu's habitus and Bakhtin's dialogism served as theoretical frames to collect and analyze data. Data were collected and triangulated using

The purpose of this study was to investigate critical literacy practices in two prehistoric exhibits in a natural history museum. Bourdieu's habitus and Bakhtin's dialogism served as theoretical frames to collect and analyze data. Data were collected and triangulated using field notes, interview transcriptions, archives, and other data sources to critically scrutinize textual meaning and participant responses. Spradley's (1979) domain analysis was used to sort and categorize data in the early stage. Glaser and Strauss's (1967) constant comparative method was used to code data. My major findings were that museum texts within this context represent embedded beliefs and values that were interwoven with curators` habitus, tastes and capital, as well as institutional policies. The texts in the two Hohokam exhibits endorse a certain viewpoint of learning. Teachers and the public were not aware of the communicative role that the museum played in the society. In addition, museum literacy/ies were still practiced in a fundamental way as current practices in the classroom, which may not support the development of critical literacy. In conclusion, the very goal for critical museum literacy is to help students and teachers develop intellectual strategies to read the word and the world in informal learning environments.

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Created

Date Created
2013

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Korean parents' perspectives on Korean American children's literature

Description

There are few studies on parents' perspectives on multicultural literature. Most studies on Korean American children's literature have relied on the researchers' content analysis of the books, rather than readers' responses to them. To fill this gap, this study sought

There are few studies on parents' perspectives on multicultural literature. Most studies on Korean American children's literature have relied on the researchers' content analysis of the books, rather than readers' responses to them. To fill this gap, this study sought to understand the Korean/Korean American parents' perspectives on Korean American children's literature by examining their responses to seven picture books on Korean American children. Data were collected for this qualitative study by interviewing ten Koreans/Korean Americans, twice. The first interview focused on stories about their immigration to the U.S., involvement with their children's reading, and experiences reading books related to Korea or Koreans published in the U.S. The second interview focused on their responses to seven Korean American children's literature books. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, coded, and analyzed. The parents' responses, which were infused with their personal, social, and cultural marks, focused on five themes: (a) use of Korean names without specific cultural description, (b) misrepresentation of Korean/Korean American experiences, (c) undesirable illustrations, (d) criteria for good Korean American children's literature, and (e) use of Korean words in English books. The parents' stories about their involvement with their children's reading suggest that to promote multicultural literature, libraries or schools should offer lists of multicultural literature. The parents' responses showed concern about stereotypical images of Korea or Korean American in the U.S. media that often get transferred to stories about Korean Americans in Korean American children's literature. This study confirms the importance of editors and reviewers, who are knowledgeable about the Korean culture and Korean American experience. It also suggests that more books with varied images of Korean Americans, and more stories about Korean Americans children's authentic experiences are necessary in order to represent the complexity and divergence within Korean people and the Korean American culture.

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Date Created
2013

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Bilingual Latino high school boys' reading motivation: seven case studies examining factors that influence motivation to read

Description

This qualitative case study examines seven bilingual Latino boys who were motivated readers. Several theories were examined in relationship to the study: sociocultural theory, reading motivation theories, and gender schema theory. Prior studies involving reading motivation of boys and Latinos

This qualitative case study examines seven bilingual Latino boys who were motivated readers. Several theories were examined in relationship to the study: sociocultural theory, reading motivation theories, and gender schema theory. Prior studies involving reading motivation of boys and Latinos showed a gap between boys and girls in reading achievement, high school completion, and college enrollment. Studies about reading motivation included choice in books, reading amount, social context of reading, habitual reading habits, and out-of-school reading as important factors that influence reading motivation. Additionally, Latino cultural factors such as machismo and familismo were examined as factors that influence motivation to read.

The study participants attended a large, urban school in Arizona and were selected from senior English classes after completing a participant selection survey. On the participant selection survey, boys self-identified their gender, language, and ethnicity; by several questions about attitudes toward reading and reading amount rated on a 10-point Likert scale gauged reading motivation. Each participant participated in an individual interview, completed a 60-question questionnaire/survey, and either attended a group interview or a second individual interview.

Data were triangulated by using data from these three sources and was coded as it was collected using Nvivo qualitative coding software. Coding began with five, basic categories derived from the study questions: motivation, home experiences, school experiences, school performance, and attitude toward reading. As coding continued, the coding categories expanded to include categories such as location of reading materials, access to books, choices in reading, format of texts, and many others. Eventually, there were four distinct categories that stood out in the findings: reading self-perception, purposes, preferences, and practices. The findings have a correlation to previous studies about reading motivation, but also add to the growing field of literature in the area of Latino boys' reading motivation.

Keywords: reading, motivation, self-efficacy, situational interest, Latino, boys, high school, gender, types of reading, reading purposes

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2015

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Listen to the poet" [electronic resource]: what schools can learn from a diverse spoken word poetry group in the urban southwest

Description

This dissertation shares findings from a yearlong qualitative case study of Young Voices Rise (YVR), a diverse spoken word poetry group in the urban Southwest. The study examined the group's characteristics and practices, adolescent members' views of their writing and

This dissertation shares findings from a yearlong qualitative case study of Young Voices Rise (YVR), a diverse spoken word poetry group in the urban Southwest. The study examined the group's characteristics and practices, adolescent members' views of their writing and themselves as writers, and changes members attributed to their experiences in YVR. Data sources included interviews with six adolescent poets and two adult teaching artists, observations of writing workshops and poetry slams, collection of group announcements through social media, and collection of poems. Sociocultural theory guided the study's design, and grounded theory was used to analyze data. This study found that YVR is a community of practice that offers multiple possibilities for engagement and fosters a safe space for storytelling. The adolescent participants have distinct writing practices and a strong sense of writing self; furthermore, they believe YVR has changed them and their writing. This study has several implications for secondary English language arts. Specifically, it recommends that teachers build safe spaces for storytelling, offer spoken word poetry as an option for exploring various topics and purposes, attend to writers' practices and preferences, encourage authentic participation and identity exploration, and support spoken word poetry school-wide.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2015

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I am not Prometheus: traditional literacy and multimodal texts in secondary classrooms

Description

This dissertation explored the literacy practices that developed around comics when two secondary teachers (one AP Science and one AP English) used comics in their classroom instruction for the first time. It also explored the ways the teachers and their

This dissertation explored the literacy practices that developed around comics when two secondary teachers (one AP Science and one AP English) used comics in their classroom instruction for the first time. It also explored the ways the teachers and their students positioned comics within their specific classroom contexts. Historically, comics are a marginalized medium in educational circles—widely considered non-academic despite the recognition by scholars for their sophistication as a multimodal medium. Scholars, librarians, teachers, and comics authors have made the case for the inclusion of comics in educational contexts citing their ability to support the literacy development of struggling readers, engage reluctant readers, promote lifelong reading, and convey information visually. However, the roles comics can play in educational contexts are still under researched, and many gaps exist in the literature including a lack of real world contexts and clearly reported instructional strategies. This study aimed to fill these gaps by reporting the literacy practices that students and teachers develop around comics, as well as contextualizing these practices in the classroom contexts and students’ and teachers’ experiences. Drawing from a social semiotic view of multimodality and the view of literacy as a social practice, I conducted a qualitative case study using ethnographic methods for data collection which I analyzed using an interpretive framework for qualitative data analysis and constant comparative analysis. I found three literacy practices developed around comics in these contexts—Q&A, writing about comics, and drawing comics. I also found that teachers and students positioned comics in four primary ways within these contexts—as a tool, as entertainment, as a medium, and as a traditional form of literature. Based on my findings, I developed three assertions: 1) there is a disconnect between teachers’ goals for using comics in their instruction and the literacy practice that developed around the comics they selected; 2) there is a disconnect between the ways in which teachers position comics and the ways in which students position comics; and 3) traditional views of literature and literacy continue to dominate classrooms when multimodal texts are selected and utilized during instruction.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2018

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A Middle School's Journey from Improvement Required towards Professional Learning Communities

Description

The focus of this research study was to better understand the development of a Professional Learning Community (PLC) culture within an urban middle school campus and to analyze if the intervention, intended to develop a campus PLC culture, had any

The focus of this research study was to better understand the development of a Professional Learning Community (PLC) culture within an urban middle school campus and to analyze if the intervention, intended to develop a campus PLC culture, had any positive or negative impact on student achievement. This mixed-methods research study utilized pre and post surveys and interviews with campus educators to delve into the perceptions of the development of a PLC culture within the middle school campus. Furthermore, student academic performance was explored through the analysis of state academic performance reports.

The first significant finding of this study was that the results of the concurrent method of data analysis affirmed that, potentially because of this intervention during the 2018-2019 academic school year, the middle school of this study did commence the development of a professional learning community culture. The second significant finding was that based on the data analyzed of student performance for the three previous academic years, student achievement did increase academically when accounting all students and all contents. Furthermore, both math and English language arts had the lowest percentage of students not meeting grade level standards since 2016. Finally, the largest subpopulation within the school campus, English Learner students, demonstrated large gains at 23 percentage points over the last three years in the academic performance tier of approaching grade level or above. This increase in academic performance by the students did ultimately lead to the campus performance rating to increase positively, as measured by the state of Texas.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2019

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More math minutes: learn-to-teach, teach-to-learn

Description

More Math Minutes is an action research study, set in a high school in the southwestern United States, designed to examine the effects of collaborative peer-group learning for low-performing Algebra I and low-performing Algebra II students. This study is grounded

More Math Minutes is an action research study, set in a high school in the southwestern United States, designed to examine the effects of collaborative peer-group learning for low-performing Algebra I and low-performing Algebra II students. This study is grounded in Social Cognitive Theory and Constructivist Theory including Bandura’s self-efficacy theory and Vygotsky’s theory of proximal development. Participants are comprised of 20 low-performing Algebra I students as the peer-learners and 20 low-performing Algebra II students as the peer-teachers participating in a peer tutoring intervention. Quantitative and qualitative data was collected through pre- and post-self-efficacy questionnaires, pre- and post-mathematics knowledge assessments, semi-structured student interviews, photo-voice, and observations. A concurrent mixed methods design was used to analyze both types of data simultaneously. Results identified the experimental peer-teachers mathematical performance was impacted more than that of the peer-learners. Students were also more motivated to learn mathematics and to seek assistance from peers. The peer-teachers had a significant increase of self-efficacy for self-regulated learning and acknowledged learning occurred for both the peer-teachers and the peer-learners as a result of the peer instruction intervention.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2018

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Early childhood education/Educare Career Express ECE2: a program for retention and completion of community college students in the area of child development

Description

There is a national shortage of highly qualified early childhood educators. For many early childhood educators, this career path begins with the Child Development Associate credential. Community colleges are well-positioned to award this credential and address the shortage of highly

There is a national shortage of highly qualified early childhood educators. For many early childhood educators, this career path begins with the Child Development Associate credential. Community colleges are well-positioned to award this credential and address the shortage of highly qualified early childhood educators. However, many students arrive at community colleges academically unprepared, with excessive work and family responsibilities. The purpose of my participatory action research study is to explore the impact of internships on early childhood education student attitudes towards persistence in their course of study. This study has the potential to impact strategies used with child development majors in the community college setting. Successful community college students who persist through their plan of study to graduate will experience the benefits that college completion brings. In addition to the interests of college completion, these students will enter the workforce or university setting with valuable work experience and professional credentials achieved in a supportive community. Both outcomes have the potential to positively affect the growth of the early childhood workforce. The findings of this study reveal that student interns placed in high-quality, early learning centers found support in the relationships with their mentor teachers, valuable experiences with the children in the rooms, and a new sense of self-efficacy when offered opportunities to participate in professional development activities, leading to persistence in their course of study.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2019