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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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Cross-disciplinary collaboration between two science disciplines at a community college

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Health science students like students in many disciplines exhibit difficulty with transferring content from one course to another. For example, the problem explored in this study occurred when overlapping concepts were presented in introductory biology and chemistry courses, but

Health science students like students in many disciplines exhibit difficulty with transferring content from one course to another. For example, the problem explored in this study occurred when overlapping concepts were presented in introductory biology and chemistry courses, but students could not transfer the concepts to the other disciplinary course. In this mixed method action research study, the author served as facilitator/leader of a group of colleagues tasked with investigating and taking steps to resolve this student learning transfer problem. This study outlines the details of how an interdisciplinary community of practice (CoP) formed between chemistry and biology faculty members at a community college to address the problem and the benefits resulting from the CoP. Quantitative and qualitative data were obtained from transcripts of meetings of the faculty members, notes from other formal and informal meetings, classroom visits, a questionnaire containing Likert and open-ended items and interviews. Transcripts, notes, and interviews were coded to determine common themes. Findings suggested the CoP was an effective means to deal with the matter of student transfer of content across courses. In particular, the CoP agreed to use similar terminology, created materials to be used consistently across the courses, and explored other transfer specific approaches that allowed for transfer of course content. Finally, the benefits of the CoP were due in large part to the collaboration that took place among participants.

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Date Created
2011

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A Study on Brazilian Secondary Teachers in a Community of Practice Focused on Critical Thinking

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The purpose of this action research was to work with Brazilian trained educators in a Community of Practice (CoP) to explore how teachers collectively define and talk about critical thinking (CT). The research also examined how past teaching experiences shaped

The purpose of this action research was to work with Brazilian trained educators in a Community of Practice (CoP) to explore how teachers collectively define and talk about critical thinking (CT). The research also examined how past teaching experiences shaped their attitudes toward emphasizing CT in teaching. In addition, the research studied how participation in a CoP focused on CT changed classroom planning. The study is grounded in Community of Practice and Social Constructivism. As an international school, this study examined related research conducted in Jordan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Pakistan. This qualitative action research was 12 weeks in length with six participants who were all from Brazil and worked at a private bilingual international secondary school. Participants completed an initial interview and final interview. They also completed online journals, which were assembled weekly for 45 minutes, and maximized their efforts constructing a unit plan utilizing the Understanding by Design method. The results of the study describe the teachers’ definition of critical thinking, and also present an understanding of how the CoP shaped their attitudes. This, in turn, resulted in members’ updated classroom planning, which was due to participation in the cohort. Further issues and credibility, contextualization, and transferability as well as researcher positionality were discussed.

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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

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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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Date Created
2019