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The effect of a community of practice on English language development teachers

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.ABSTRACT The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) empowered a task force to design a new instructional model for English Language Development (ELD) students. The task force created a four-hour, language intensive instructional model which required ELD-indentified students to be immersed

.ABSTRACT The Arizona Department of Education (ADE) empowered a task force to design a new instructional model for English Language Development (ELD) students. The task force created a four-hour, language intensive instructional model which required ELD-indentified students to be immersed in grammar, reading, pre-writing, vocabulary and oral English conversation. This model also mandated a specific number of instructional minutes were to be assigned to each of the model's five components. Moreover, these instructional minutes were to be accounted for by ELD teachers as they developed lesson plans to teach these students. To address the substantial professional development requirements entailed by these mandates, Wenger's Community of Practice (CoP) framework was employed. A CoP was formed to assist nine ELD teachers to (a) meet mandates of the instructional model, (b) participate in professional development opportunities to gain language-based instructional strategies, (c) plan lessons together and eventually, (d) allow them to become more efficacious in their abilities to meet and implement the mandated ADE Sheltered English Instruction (SEI) instructional model developed by the ADE task force. Quantitative and qualitative data were gathered throughout the study by means of a pre- and post-questionnaire, audio taping and transcribing CoP sessions and field notes. Findings suggest the CoP served as an effective forum for increasing ELD teachers' sense of efficacy towards becoming an effective ELD teacher. Moreover, the CoP helped increase understanding of the requirements of the instructional model, participate in professional development specific to their needs and collaborate, which was largely responsible for increasing teacher efficacy.

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Date Created
2011

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Comparing graduate courses taught by the same instructor using competing approaches: traditional vs. technology-infused

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The use of educational technologies as a tool to improve academic achievement continues to increase as more technologies becomes available to students. However, teachers are entering the classroom not fully prepared to integrate technology into their daily classroom teaching because

The use of educational technologies as a tool to improve academic achievement continues to increase as more technologies becomes available to students. However, teachers are entering the classroom not fully prepared to integrate technology into their daily classroom teaching because they have not been adequately prepared to do so. Teacher preparation programs are falling short in this area because educational technology and the role of technology in the classroom is seen as an extra component to daily teaching rather than a central one. Many teacher preparation programs consist of one stand-alone educational technology course that is expected to prepare teachers to integrate technology in their future classrooms. Throughout the remainder of the program, the teachers are not seeing educational technologies modeled in their other core courses, nor are they getting the hands-on interaction necessary to become more confident in using these technologies with their future students. The purpose of this study was to examine teachers' views of educational technology in the classroom from those enrolled in a graduate program. The study consisted 74 first- and second-year teachers who were enrolled an alternative teacher preparation program. Thirty-four of the teachers received the Integrating Curriculum and Technology (iCAT) intervention and the remaining 40 teachers were part of the control group. Each teacher completed a pre- and post-intervention questionnaire and 23 of the 74 teachers participated in one of three focus group interviews. Additional data from the teachers' course instructors were gathered and analyzed to compliment the focus group and quantitative data. Results showed that iCAT participants' scores for confidence in using technology and efficacy for using educational technology increased at a faster rate than the control group participants' scores. Similarly, confidence in using technology, perceptions about integrating technology in the classroom, and efficacy for using educational technology could be predicted by the amount of hands-on interaction with technology that the teachers received during their graduate course. The discussion focuses on recommendations for infusing technology throughout teacher preparation programs so that teachers have the tools to prepare their students to use a variety of technologies so that their students can be better prepared to complete in today's workforce.

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Date Created
2012

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Thesis launch: students begin the undergraduate honors thesis process

Description

Honors colleges have offered an academically rigorous option for growing numbers of diverse students. This study took place at a large, public university that required undergraduate students to complete a thesis to graduate from the honors college. In 2017, 97%

Honors colleges have offered an academically rigorous option for growing numbers of diverse students. This study took place at a large, public university that required undergraduate students to complete a thesis to graduate from the honors college. In 2017, 97% of students who began the honors thesis prior to senior year completed it. Thus, the aim of this study was to help more students begin the honors thesis process early.

Thesis Launch was a six-week intervention that was designed to provide support for students in the critical early steps of thesis work such as brainstorming topics, examining professors’ research interests, reaching out to professors, preparing for meetings with potential thesis committee members, and writing a thesis prospectus. Thesis Launch offered web-based resources, weekly emails and text message reminders, and was supplemented by in-person advising options.

A mixed methods action research study was conducted to examine: (a) students’ perceptions of barriers that prevented beginning thesis work; (b) self-efficacy towards thesis work; (c) how to scale the intervention using technology; and (d) whether participants began the thesis early. Quantitative data was collected via pre- and post-intervention surveys, journals, and prospectus submissions. Qualitative data came from student interviews, journals, and open-ended questions on the surveys.

Quantitative data showed that after students participated in Thesis Launch, they had higher self-efficacy to work with professors, perceived fewer barriers to thesis work, and greater proportions of students began thesis work early. The qualitative data were complementary and showed that participants overcame barriers to thesis initiation, built self-efficacy, preferred an online intervention, and began thesis work early. Findings also showed that a primarily technology-based intervention was preferred by students and showed promise for scaling to a larger audience.

Thesis Launch provided a framework for students to begin work on the honors thesis and have mastery experiences to build self-efficacy. Strategies that fostered “small wins” and reflective efforts also assisted in this aim. Participants accomplished tasks tied to thesis work and customized their personal thesis timelines based on work begun during Thesis Launch. Finally, a discussion of limitations, implications for practice and research, and personal reflection was included.

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Date Created
2019

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An evaluation of business students' perceptions about their personal everyday creativity

Description

With organizations’ rising interest in creativity as one of the most sought out skill sets for graduates, it has become crucial to infuse creativity training in academic programs. This study evaluated freshmen business students’ perceptions about their personal, everyday creativity

With organizations’ rising interest in creativity as one of the most sought out skill sets for graduates, it has become crucial to infuse creativity training in academic programs. This study evaluated freshmen business students’ perceptions about their personal, everyday creativity and examined the influence of infusing creativity training in their freshmen seminar course.

This action research study drew upon the intersection of three creative self-belief theories from management and education psychology literature: Jaussi, et al (2007) Creative Identity Theory; Karwowski (2014) Creative Mindset Theory; and Tierney & Farmer (2002) Creative Self-efficacy Theory. These theories arguably stemmed from Burke (1991) Identity Theory; Dweck (2006) Mindset Theory; and Bandura (1977, 1997) Self-efficacy Theory, respectively. This approach was used to understand what factors influenced students’ perceptions about their personal, everyday creativity.

Freshmen business students participated in the study. A concurrent mixed methods approach was used to gather data from the students. Quantitative data came from a post- and retrospective pre-intervention survey that assessed four constructs: creative identity, creative self-efficacy, growth mindset, and fixed mindset. The data also came from the quantitative section of a post-workshop feedback survey asking to rate the effectiveness of each workshop. Qualitative data were gathered in several ways. Student interviews focused on asking how they defined creativity, shared reasons that motivated or inhibited them to practice creativity, and explained to what extent the workshops influenced them. Additional qualitative data came from student reflection essays and the qualitative section of a post-workshop feedback survey.

Research results suggested students gained an increased understanding in the importance of adopting a growth mindset, designating ‘creative’ as a critical identity and building confidence in their creative endeavors. The students’ interview and reflection essay data were consistent with the survey data. Finally, research results from the study highlighted the benefit of creativity training as a crucial, complementary, and iterative form of study in an academic setting allowing students to know themselves better and to prioritize their creative performances as part of their program learning outcomes.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2019

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Harnessing Emotions: The Impact of Developing Ability Emotional Intelligence Skills on Perceptions of Collaborative Teamwork in a Project-Based Learning Class

Description

The purpose of this action research study was to implement and analyze an intervention designed to improve perceptions of working with others as well as practice and improve emotional tools related to such interactions through the systematic development of ability

The purpose of this action research study was to implement and analyze an intervention designed to improve perceptions of working with others as well as practice and improve emotional tools related to such interactions through the systematic development of ability emotional intelligence (EI) related skills. The present study sought to: (1) explore high school students’ perceptions of their role as part of a team during teamwork; (1a) investigate how perceptions differed by EI level; (2) examine how students’ perceptions of their role in teamwork were influenced by being paired with more advanced (ability EI) peers or less advanced peers, based on ability emotional intelligence test scores; (3) determine if ability emotional intelligence related skills could be developed over the course of a 7-week intervention.

The intervention took place in a 12th grade US Government & Economics classroom with 34 participants for examination of general trends, and 11 focal participants for focused and in-depth analysis. Students were taught about emotion theory and engaged in two weeks of ability emotional intelligence skills training, followed by a five-week project cycle in which students were required to work together to achieve a common goal. The research design was mixed methods convergent parallel. Quantitative data were collected from post- and retrospective pre-intervention surveys regarding student perceptions about working with others and their ability EI related skills. Qualitative data were collected through on-going student reflective journal entries, observational field notes, and interviews with the focal group of participants.

Results suggested the intervention had a significant effect on students’ perceptions of working with others and perceived ability emotional intelligence related skills. Significant positive change was found through quantitative data analysis, revealing students’ perceptions about working with others in teams had improved as a result of the intervention as had their perceptions about their ability EI related skills. Qualitative analysis revealed rich, thick descriptions exploring this shift in perception among the 11 focal students, providing the evidence necessary to support the effectiveness of the intervention. Results suggested the possibilities for improved teamwork in the classroom.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
2019

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Developing Teacher Efficacy Toward Social Emotional Learning Through an Advisory Professional Learning Community

Description

This action research study explored the effects of implementing a professional learning community (PLC) as part of an eighth-grade advisory program on teacher confidence and attitudes toward social emotional learning (SEL) and perceptions of school climate. The two-semester long study

This action research study explored the effects of implementing a professional learning community (PLC) as part of an eighth-grade advisory program on teacher confidence and attitudes toward social emotional learning (SEL) and perceptions of school climate. The two-semester long study was implemented in a K-12 private independent school. Using a mixed-methods research design, this study answered the following three research questions: 1) How does participation in a PLC to develop teacher social emotional competence (SEC) and curriculum for an eighth-grade advisory program focused on SEL affect teachers’ confidence in advisory and SEL? 2) How does participation in the PLC affect teachers’ attitude toward advisory and SEL? 3) What affordances and constraints are experienced by teachers participating in the PLC during remote learning? Likert scale surveys were administered at the start and conclusion of the intervention. The surveys measured teachers’ confidence in and attitude toward advisory, how well advisory supported remote learning, and perceptions of administrative support for the program. Semi-structured interviews were conducted at the midpoint and conclusion of the intervention. The interviews assessed perceptions of the advisory curriculum, teachers’ confidence and attitudes toward advisory, and affordances and constraints of the PLC. Study findings indicated three key results. Participation in the PLC (a) promoted teacher competence and commitment toward SEL, (b) increased SEL professionalism, and (c) increased camaraderie among advisory teachers as they evaluated the affordances and constraints of remotely teaching SEL. PLC participants demonstrated a more nuanced assessment of advisory curriculum and how to implement SEL content, and an increased commitment to continued professional growth. The PLC also fostered teachers’ sense of connection with colleagues. This study contributed to existing research on professional development for SEL and its effects on teacher efficacy and school climate, including satisfaction as an SEL teacher. In relation to practice, suggestions for middle school SEL interventions include the incorporation of collective learning for teachers as well as distributed leadership to promote teacher efficacy and commitment to SEL. Future research should focus on measuring the effects of teachers’ collective learning and distributed leadership on school climate outcomes for students.

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Date Created
2021