Matching Items (14)

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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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Date Created
2013

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Identity development of preservice elementary teachers of mathematics from teacher education program to student teaching

Description

Drawing on Lave and Wenger (1991) this study explores how preservice elementary teachers develop themselves as teachers of mathematics, in particular, from the time of their teacher education courses to their field experiences. This study also researches the critical experiences

Drawing on Lave and Wenger (1991) this study explores how preservice elementary teachers develop themselves as teachers of mathematics, in particular, from the time of their teacher education courses to their field experiences. This study also researches the critical experiences that contributed to the construction of their identities and their roles as student teachers in their identity development. The stories of Jackie, Meg, and Kerry show that they brought different incoming identities to the teacher education program based on their K-12 school experiences. The stories provide the evidence that student teachers' prior experience as learners of mathematics influenced their identities as teachers, especially their confidence levels in teaching mathematics. During the mathematics methods class, student teachers were provided a conceptual understanding of math content and new ways to think about math instruction. Based on student teachers' own experiences, they reconstructed their knowledge and beliefs about what it means to teach mathematics and set their goals to become the mathematics teachers they wanted to be. As they moved through the program through their student teaching periods, their identity development varied depending on the community of practice in which they participated. My study reveals that mentor relationships were critical experiences in shaping their identities as mathematics teachers and in building their initial mathematics teaching practices. Findings suggest that successful mentoring is necessary, and this generally requires sharing common goals, receiving feedback, and having opportunities to practice knowledge, skills, and identities on the part of beginning teachers. Findings from this study highlight that identities are not developed by the individual alone but by engagement with a given community of practice. This study adds to the field of teacher education research by focusing on prospective teachers' identity constructions in relation to the communities of practice, and also by emphasizing the role of mentor in preservice teachers' identity development.

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Date Created
2012

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Examinging nathematical knowledge for teaching in the mathematics teaching cycle: a multiple case study

Description

The research indicated effective mathematics teaching to be more complex than assuming the best predictor of student achievement in mathematics is the mathematical content knowledge of a teacher. This dissertation took a novel approach to addressing the idea of what

The research indicated effective mathematics teaching to be more complex than assuming the best predictor of student achievement in mathematics is the mathematical content knowledge of a teacher. This dissertation took a novel approach to addressing the idea of what it means to examine how a teacher's knowledge of mathematics impacts student achievement in elementary schools. Using a multiple case study design, the researcher investigated teacher knowledge as a function of the Mathematics Teaching Cycle (NCTM, 2007). Three cases (of two teachers each) were selected using a compilation of Learning Mathematics for Teaching (LMT) measures (LMT, 2006) and Developing Mathematical Ideas (DMI) measures (Higgins, Bell, Wilson, McCoach, & Oh, 2007; Bell, Wilson, Higgins, & McCoach, 2010) and student scores on the Arizona Assessment Collaborative (AzAC). The cases included teachers with: a) high knowledge & low student achievement v low knowledge & high student achievement, b) high knowledge & average achievement v low knowledge & average achievement, c) average knowledge & high achievement v average knowledge & low achievement, d) two teachers with average achievement & very high student achievement. In the end, my data suggested that MKT was only partially utilized across the contrasting teacher cases during the planning process, the delivery of mathematics instruction, and subsequent reflection. Mathematical Knowledge for Teaching was utilized differently by teachers with high student gains than those with low student gains. Because of this insight, I also found that MKT was not uniformly predictive of student gains across my cases, nor was it predictive of the quality of instruction provided to students in these classrooms.

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Date Created
2013

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Preliminary concepts for developing childhood education in emergency preparedness

Description

Being properly prepared is one of the keys to surviving an emergency or a disaster. In order to be prepared, people need appropriate education in preparedness, which includes elements of prevention, and planning. There is a definite need to better

Being properly prepared is one of the keys to surviving an emergency or a disaster. In order to be prepared, people need appropriate education in preparedness, which includes elements of prevention, and planning. There is a definite need to better prepare our nation's citizens in order for them to safely respond in times of a disaster. It also seems likely that the earlier concepts and skills are learned, the easier those concepts and skills would be to remember and the more proficient one would become in implementing them. Therefore, it seems appropriate to teach emergency preparedness concepts and skills early on in the educational process. This means that significant efforts need to be directed toward learning, what impediments currently exist, what is helpful, and how preparedness concepts and skills can be taught to our children. A survey was distributed to third, fourth, and fifth grade teachers, asking them questions about emergency preparedness lessons in the classroom. Results indicated that the majority of teachers would be willing to teach emergency preparedness if the curriculum met current academic standards and they were given adequate resources to teach this subject. This study provides ideas, concepts and motivation for teachers to use in a cross-curricular approach to teaching emergency preparedness in the classroom. This is accomplished by presenting examples of newly developed curriculum/lesson plans that meet state academic standards, based on the current Community Emergency Response Team program and on children's fiction literature for the appropriate age group. A list of literature that could be used in this development is also provided in this study.

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Date Created
2011

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Teacher learning within literacy instruction: reflective & refractive considerations on the community, interpersonal, and individual planes

Description

This qualitative study explores the learning experiences of two first-grade teachers in a progressive public elementary school in the southwestern U.S. Participants inquired into their literacy instruction practices within their reading-workshops. Weekly inquiry group conversations between teachers and

This qualitative study explores the learning experiences of two first-grade teachers in a progressive public elementary school in the southwestern U.S. Participants inquired into their literacy instruction practices within their reading-workshops. Weekly inquiry group conversations between teachers and researcher informed a perspective of learning as participation. During the semester-long study, two key questions guided design and implementation: 1) What is the nature of teachers' learning experiences related to their literacy instruction practices, contextualized within an inquiry group? 2) How do those learning experiences reflect and/or refract the community, interpersonal, and individual planes of analysis? An ethnographic perspective informed data collection and analysis; data were collected through weekly inquiry-group conversations, bi-weekly classroom observations, and in-depth interviews. A learning framework of community, interpersonal, and individual planes of analysis served as an analytic tool used in conjunction with a modified analytic induction. Teachers' case studies offer unique accounts of their learning, contextualized within their specific classrooms. Findings are discussed through narrative-based vignettes, which illustrate teachers' learning trajectories. On the community plane, apprenticeship relationships were evident in teachers' interactions with students' parents and with one another. Interpersonal interactions between teachers demonstrated patterns of participation wherein each tried to teach the other as they negotiated their professional identities. Analysis of the individual plane revealed that teachers' past experiences and personal identities contributed to ways of participation for both teachers that were highly personal and unique to each. Affective considerations in learning were a significant finding within this study, adding dimensionality to this particular sociocultural theory of learning. The ways teachers felt about themselves, their students, their community, and their work constituted a significant influence on what they said and did, as demonstrated on all three planes of analysis. Implications for practice include the significance of professional development efforts that begin at the site of teachers' questions, and attention to teachers' individual learning trajectories as a means to supporting educators to teach in more confident and connected ways.

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Date Created
2011

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Guiding educators to praxis: moving teachers beyond theory to practice

Description

The purpose of this study was to explore and report on the impact of coaching as an embedded part of professional development has on teacher learning and practice in the context of educating English Language Learners (ELLs). A close examination

The purpose of this study was to explore and report on the impact of coaching as an embedded part of professional development has on teacher learning and practice in the context of educating English Language Learners (ELLs). A close examination was made of what teachers, coaches and principals believe to be effective professional development and how the relationship between a coach and teacher affects understanding of and classroom practice with a specific population of students. The research questions were (a) How can coaching support implementation of professional development goals over traditional development activities as reported by the teacher, coach and administrator? (b) What is the relationship between the coach and teacher? (c) How does the coaching process relate to self- reported coach and teacher knowledge of instruction and practice in the ELL context? I used a qualitative approach to gather data through classroom observations and in-depth interviews. The 17 participants came from Title 1 elementary schools with high ELL populations located in the central and west valley of Phoenix, Arizona. I analyzed the data deductively then coded and categorized participant responses in relation to the literature on professional development and coaching. The findings indicated that those involved perceived embedded coaching as an effective component of professional development. What I have now termed based on my study as Professional Development Praxis (PPD). They agreed that with a structured system of coaching in place, both teachers and coaches increased their knowledge of how to best instruct ELLs as well as enhanced their ability to put research-based strategies into classroom practice. The recommendation of this study is that districts, schools and professional developers provide training and support for educators in a meaningful, effective and student centered way. Professional development were educators are provided knowledge about ELLs, opportunities for practice of what they are learning in and out of training sessions and on-going collaboration and support as they work with their students. It is the job of everyone involved in the system to better prepare educators to meet the critical needs of students who come to school with specific linguistic and academic needs.

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Date Created
2012

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The impact of lesson study on intermediate teachers' abilities to teach critical thinking, develop professionally, and gain efficacy

Description

Federal mandates, such as, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) set high standards, but in reality did little to promote critical thinking instruction and learning in our nation's schools. Race to the Top is our nation's current attempt to improve education

Federal mandates, such as, No Child Left Behind (NCLB) set high standards, but in reality did little to promote critical thinking instruction and learning in our nation's schools. Race to the Top is our nation's current attempt to improve education and thanks to this legislation there is now a set of common core standards aimed at infusing critical thinking into the curriculum. Districts in Arizona are struggling to provide common core training to prepare teachers to teach these new, rigorous standards. This is a problem because teaching critical thinking is challenging. While grade level teams often get together, little time is devoted to create lessons that are focused on deep learning and little time is set aside to observe lessons and reflect on student engagement. One potential solution to this may be lesson study. Lesson study is a method of professional development that encourages teachers to reflect on their teaching through a cycle of collaborative lesson planning and observation. The lesson study cycle connects with the constructed nature of learning provided by Vygotsky Space. This action research was designed to explore how 10 fourth, fifth, and sixth grade teachers at a K-8 school in Arizona learned how to infuse critical thinking into their lessons. This study took place from July to November of 2011. A mixed methods approach was used to collect data. Quantitative measures included Likert-items on a survey and lesson plans scored with the district rubric. Qualitative measures included open-ended survey items, transcriptions of lesson debriefs, reflective learning logs, and the researcher's personal field notes. Data were analyzed separately and then triangulated to reduce bias. Findings from this study indicate that although it was challenging for the teachers, lesson study enabled them to successfully integrate critical thinking into their lesson plans. The process of lesson study increased the teachers' efficacy to create lessons, and it helped them understand how important critical thinking was for their students. The teachers also came to value the lesson study process as a positive approach to professional development. Based on these findings, implications are made, and further action research cycles suggested.

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Date Created
2012

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Quality of professional life for teachers: identifying the behaviors and characteristics of teachers which influence their professional lives

Description

This study examined the quality of professional life at a Title I school that has achieved the Arizona Department of Education's highest accountability rating of Excelling for eight consecutive years. By examining the factors that influence the school environment including

This study examined the quality of professional life at a Title I school that has achieved the Arizona Department of Education's highest accountability rating of Excelling for eight consecutive years. By examining the factors that influence the school environment including teachers' attitudes and the connections within the teacher community at this school, a description emerged of the factors that influenced the quality of professional lives of teachers. This descriptive study sought to describe, "What is the quality of professional life for teachers at a Title I elementary school with a history of high levels of student achievement?" The research was conducted at Seneca Elementary school (a pseudonym) in the Seneca School District (a pseudonym). By examining the quality of professional life for teachers in a highly ranked Title I school, a better understanding of the quality of professional life may lead to recommendations for other schools with high levels of poverty on how to support teachers who work in high poverty schools. Within a theoretical framework of motivation-hygiene theory and socio cultural theory, the study identified principal leadership as a primary supporting factor of quality of professional life. The study also identified lack of input and lack of teacher control over curriculum and instruction as barriers to quality of professional life. Teachers described principal leadership, environment, social factors and teacher identity as contributors to enhancing the quality of professional life. Trust and focus emerged as additional factors that improved the workplace for teachers.

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Date Created
2011

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Teach what? Test what?: practices of a newly formed collaborative team working in a professional learning community

Description

This study was designed to capture the conversations and practices of seven educators who navigate teaching and learning decisions in their Title 1 elementary school. This case study was conducted to answer the research question, "What are the behaviors and

This study was designed to capture the conversations and practices of seven educators who navigate teaching and learning decisions in their Title 1 elementary school. This case study was conducted to answer the research question, "What are the behaviors and practices of a newly formed collaborative team of educators working within a professional learning community (PLC)?" In order to understand how this collaborative team worked together, data was collected through a survey, interviews, focus group discussion and questionnaire, observations of collaborative team meetings and artifacts generated from the team's work. The findings revealed that (1) participants spent the majority of their collaborative team time focusing on how to best prepare students for district and state standardized assessments; (2) teachers described themselves as learners who look to their colleagues to enhance their knowledge and skills; (3) members of PLCs need dedicated collaborative time to ensure all students and adults in the organization learn at high levels; (4) discussing and using student learning data can be difficult; (5) educators gravitate to colleagues who have similar philosophies and beliefs and (6) PLCs need supportive district, school and teacher leadership to accomplish their goals. This research study provides validation that the PLC process is a complex process of professional development designed to support school reform in an era of increased school accountability. The recommendations for school leaders are to create supportive leadership structures that allow all students opportunities to learn, build trusting environments, and provide clarity and focus of the vision for all stakeholders. District leadership needs to establish a priority for PLC work by embedding the processes in the vision, mission and goals of the district, examine policies to ensure they support the concepts of PLCs, provide access to resources and create a forum for critical conversations about teaching and learning. Policy makers need to ask the right questions so that they can design appropriate accountability systems that encourage collaboration.

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Agent

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Date Created
2011

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Implementing a K-12 train the trainer professional development model through the school improvement grant

Description

Effective professional development has been shown to improve instruction and increase student academic achievement. The Train the Trainer professional development model is often chosen by the state Department of Education for its efficiency and cost effectiveness of delivering training to

Effective professional development has been shown to improve instruction and increase student academic achievement. The Train the Trainer professional development model is often chosen by the state Department of Education for its efficiency and cost effectiveness of delivering training to schools and districts widely distributed throughout the state. This is a study of the Train the Trainer component of an innovative K12 professional development model designed to meet the needs of the state's lowest performing schools that served some of the state's most marginalized students. Pursuing a Vygotzkian social constructivist framework, the model was developed and informed by its stakeholders, providing training that was collaborative, job-embedded, ongoing, and continuously adapted to meet the needs of the School Improvement Grant participants. Schools in the multi-case study were awarded the federal ARRA School Improvement Grant in 2010. Focus questions include: What influence does the Train the Trainer component have on classroom instruction specifically as it relates to formative assessment? and To what extent does the trainer support the implementation of the Train the Trainer professional development at the classroom level? The action research study took place from August 2011 to February 2012 and used a mixed-methods research design.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2012