Matching Items (14)

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Surveying Arizona's third through fifth grade teachers about their confidence in teaching the cognitive demands of the Common Core State Standards to all students

Description

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this descriptive study was to gain an understanding of the confidence level held by third, fourth, and fifth grade teachers as to their preparedness for teaching the

ABSTRACT

The purpose of this descriptive study was to gain an understanding of the confidence level held by third, fourth, and fifth grade teachers as to their preparedness for teaching the cognitive demands of the Common Core State Standards (Arizona's College and Career Ready Standards) to all students, in particular Hispanic students living in poverty, who occupy close to a third of all classroom seats in Arizona. The achievement gap between Hispanic students living in poverty and non-Hispanic students of non-poverty status is one of the largest achievement gaps in Arizona, which has existed with minimal change for more than 12 years. By gaining an understanding of the teachers' confidence in teaching critical thinking skills, further support and professional development is suggested to link a teacher's knowledge to instructional practice that in turn increases the academic achievement of Arizona's poor Hispanic students.

The process of gaining this understanding was by using a multi-dimensional survey with 500 third through fifth grade teachers in two uniquely different, but representative, Arizona school districts. Approximately one-third of those teachers responded to the multi-dimensional survey about teaching the critical thinking (CT) skills of Arizona's College and Career Ready Standards for English Language Arts. The survey asked teachers to rate their levels of preparedness for teaching CT to several types of students, to choose a CT definition, describe the relationship of CT and reading, explain how they teach CT to students who are reading below grade level, express the support they need to teach CT to those students, and rate the effectiveness of several CT classroom vignettes for different types of students. Although the questions involved several types of students, the primary focus was on exploring the teachers' position with teaching CT to Low SES Hispanic students.

A disconnect was revealed between the teachers' perception that they had the ability and knowledge necessary to teach critical thinking skills and their ability to identify ineffective critical thinking instructional practices. This disconnect may be interfering with the link between the professional development teachers are currently receiving to implement Common Core State Standards and teachers actively engaging in learning what is needed to effectively teach critical thinking skills to their students.

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Date Created
  • 2014

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A qualitative study of urban elementary school teachers' perceptions of accountability in their practice

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ABSTRACT Current federal and state education mandates were developed to make schools accountable for student performance with the rationale that schools, teachers, and students will improve through the administration of

ABSTRACT Current federal and state education mandates were developed to make schools accountable for student performance with the rationale that schools, teachers, and students will improve through the administration of high-stakes tests. Public schools are mandated to adhere to three accountability systems: national, state, and local. Additional elements include the recent implementation of the Common Core standards and newly devised state accountability systems that are granted through waivers as an alternative to the accountability mandates in the No Child Left Behind Act NCLB of 2001. Teachers' voices have been noticeably absent from the accountability debates, but as studies show, as primary recipients of accountability sanctions, many teachers withdraw, "burn out," or leave the profession altogether. The present study is based on the premise that teachers are vital to student achievement, and that their perspectives and understandings are therefore a resource for educational reform especially in light of the accountability mandates under NCLB. With that premise as a starting point, this dissertation examines practicing urban teachers' experiences of accountability in culturally and linguistically diverse schools. To fulfill these goals, this qualitative study used individual and focus group interviews and observations with veteran elementary school teachers in an urban Southwestern public school district, to ascertain practices they perceive to be effective. The study's significance lies in informing stakeholders, researchers, and policymakers of practicing teachers' input on accountability mandates in diverse urban schools.

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Date Created
  • 2013

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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

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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Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Journeys, adventures, bridges and puzzles: a case study approach to understanding teachers' conceptions of STEM

Description

Legislative changes and discussions about the United States falling further and further behind other nations in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) achievement are growing. As they grow, STEM instruction

Legislative changes and discussions about the United States falling further and further behind other nations in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) achievement are growing. As they grow, STEM instruction in elementary school has earned its place as a national area of interest in education. In the case of Ivory School District, teachers are being asked to radically change their daily practices by consistently implementing inquiry-based STEM experiences in their classrooms. As such, teachers are being asked to scale a divide between the district expectations and their knowledge and experience. Many fourth grade educators are teachers who have been trained as generalists and typically do not have specific background or experience in the philosophy, instructional strategies, or content associated with STEM. Using a prototype approach, this study aims to understand how such teachers conceptualize STEM instruction and the relationship between their experience and conceptions.

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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

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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

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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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

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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Supporting and fostering the development of alternatively certified teachers: creating a collaborative community

Description

First-year alternatively certified teachers face significant challenges as they attempt to address the complexities of classroom teaching, particularly when they are assigned to teach in urban school settings. As the

First-year alternatively certified teachers face significant challenges as they attempt to address the complexities of classroom teaching, particularly when they are assigned to teach in urban school settings. As the number of alternatively certified teachers continues to increase, it is important to provide them with professional development opportunities that address the challenges that they encounter in their first year of teaching. This action research study was conducted to examine a professional development model designed to support the development of a small group of first-year alternatively certified teachers in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College (MLFTC) at Arizona State University. As first-year teachers within the Induction, Masters, and Certification (InMAC) program, their professional learning needs were unique. They had an immediate need to effectively acquire knowledge and apply it in their teaching practice as they concurrently completed coursework to obtain their master's degree and certification while serving as the teacher of record. This study provided the opportunity for five first-year alternatively certified teachers to participate in a project that provided professional development to meet their specific needs. This two-pronged professional development model included two components: (a) a mentoring component provided by a recently retired master teacher, and (b) a learning community that included opportunities for observation, collaboration, and reflection with National Board Certified teachers. This study was designed to improve teaching practices and increase teaching self-efficacy among the first-year alternatively certified teacher participants. Results from the mixed-method study provided evidence that the model benefited the participants by improving their teaching practices and increasing their teaching self-efficacy. In the discussion, the importance of non-evaluative feedback provided by the mentors was emphasized. Further, highly developed interpersonal relationships, effective communication processes, and helpful collaborative procedures were useful in understanding how alternatively certified teachers benefited from mentor feedback and guidance. Finally, implications for future practice and further research were offered.

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Date Created
  • 2013

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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

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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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

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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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

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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Created

Date Created
  • 2012