Matching Items (36)

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Biology education in the age of global accountability: Exploring best instructional strategies and practices that promote academic excellence

Description

Abstract As we move forward in education reform in the globalized 21st century, the United States must visit new ways to teach science in high school classrooms. The goal of

Abstract As we move forward in education reform in the globalized 21st century, the United States must visit new ways to teach science in high school classrooms. The goal of this investigation is to analyze the current research literature for the best and most promising teaching strategies and techniques in secondary education biology classrooms that promote academic excellence for all students. Looking at policy and school reform literature in science education to establish the context of the current system, the paper will not focus on the political as or systematic changes needed to ground an overall successful system. However, because of their inherent effect on the education system, the political aspects of education reform will be briefly addressed. The primary focus, by addressing the emphasis on standardization, inflexibility of instruction and lack of creativity specifically in high school biology classrooms, seeks to clarify small changes that can influence students' academic outcomes. The United States is performing on such a poor level in science and math proficiency that it cannot match students abroad and this is seen through test scores and the production of competent graduates. This investigation serves to organize literature from education researchers and showcase best and promising teaching and learning practices that catalyze academic excellence for all students in our pluralistic, democratic and complex schooling and societal contexts.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013-05

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School Participatory Budgeting in Carson Junior High

Description

Participatory Budgeting (PB) can create changes within individuals and between them and their community. PB processes allow people to determine how to spend a portion of a particular budget (in

Participatory Budgeting (PB) can create changes within individuals and between them and their community. PB processes allow people to determine how to spend a portion of a particular budget (in the case of School PB, a portion of the school budget). These processes help address the underrepresentation of youth in the realm of civics.

I spent time with the steering committee and teacher coordinator of school PB in Carson Junior High to explore the impact of school PB on students’ knowledge, skills, attitudes and practices in relation to civic engagement. In the study I used quantitative and qualitative components. The participants were unique in that they all had prior experience in civic engagement programs in Carson Junior High that were organized by the teacher coordinator of school PB.

The main findings suggest that the participants reported a significant amount of learning in civic knowledge. In comparison, their overall perceived growth in attitudes, practices and skills were much lower. School PB helped the participants in the steering committee to grow in different ways than their other civic engagement programs by providing them with knowledge about budgets, their school’s mechanisms and other students within their school. They also became more familiar with the democratic process of voting and more comfortable with public speaking and presenting.

Recommendations for future research on this process include compiling quantitative and qualitative data from a larger sample consisting of students who had prior civic engagement experience and students who didn’t, and students with different ethnicities from different grades. Another recommendation for future research is to conduct a longitudinal study following school PB participants to high school and beyond to explore long-term impacts.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019-05

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Improving Science Education in International Schools Through Professional Development Targeting Next Generation Science Standards Assessment Design

Description

This study explores the impact of a professional development (PD) activity conducted for teachers of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) at 15 American-curriculum international schools. The intervention involved

This study explores the impact of a professional development (PD) activity conducted for teachers of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) at 15 American-curriculum international schools. The intervention involved teachers utilizing the 3D-PAST screening tool to systematically evaluate the alignment of teacher-designed assessments with the constructs of the NGSS and best practices in science instruction. Data about the way the intervention enhanced or challenged teachers’ understanding of the NGSS were collected via a multiple methods approach. The New Framework of Science Education Survey of Teacher Understanding (NFSE-STU) was used in a retrospective pretest-posttest fashion to assess changes in teachers’ understanding of NGSS constructs. Subsequently, interviews were conducted with participants which provided data that expanded upon the NFSE-STU findings. The Refined Consensus Model of Pedagogical Content Knowledge (RCM-PCK) was used to interpret the findings and situate the study within the extant literature on teacher PCK. The intervention was found to have a statistically significant effect on teachers’ understanding of the NGSS in all areas measured by the NFSE-STU. Additionally, data suggest that the intervention elicited changes in teachers’ classroom practices and improved collaborative professional practices. Also highlighted in the analysis was the significance of the relationship between the intervention moderator and the participants as a strong predictor of the way the intervention was perceived by teachers. The findings strongly support the suggestion that international school administrators seeking to maximize the impact of science teacher professional development should consider PD activities that train teachers in the use of aids to align NGSS assessments, because doing so simultaneously enhances teacher understanding of the NGSS while encouraging meaningful changes to professional practice. The study contributes to the nascent body of literature utilizing the RCM-PCK to situate understanding of science-teacher PCK, and fills a void in literature examining PD in American curriculum international schools, and highlights issues with potential to serve as foci for additional cycles of action research in the areas of international schools, science teacher and NGSS-related professional development, and the use of tools similar to 3D-PAST within other teaching disciplines.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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Exploring Outdoor Makerspaces to Develop STEM Skills

Description

As an urgency has emerged to prepare students to be future-ready, makerspaces have been developed as a technique for teachers to use in classrooms to build science, technology, engineering and

As an urgency has emerged to prepare students to be future-ready, makerspaces have been developed as a technique for teachers to use in classrooms to build science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) skills. Makerspaces expose students to innovation and are powerful tools in training students to use science and engineering practices as they invent, discover and tinker. While indoor makerspaces have been studied in multiple settings, little research has been performed to understand the relevance of makerspaces in outdoor settings.

The goal of this study was to aid 20 elementary teachers in developing their understanding of the usefulness and benefits of outdoor makerspaces. A constructivist approach was used in order for participants to overcome pre-conceived barriers about taking students outside for learning. In this qualitative study, participants took part in a hands-on professional development session to learn how to integrate nature into instruction, then used outdoor spaces to engage their own students in three or more outdoor sessions. Teachers reflected before, during and after the intervention to see if the likelihood of engaging students in outdoor learning changed.

The findings of the study showed that spending time outside with students led to a multitude of benefits for both students and teachers. Benefits included increased student engagement, expanded learning for students and teachers, and STEM skill development. These findings, suggest that outdoor makerspaces introduce a new platform for training students and teachers about science and engineering practices while providing authentic science connections, high engagement, and benefits to social and emotional balance.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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Equity in Action: Estimating the Association Between Funding, Expenditures, Tuition, and Affirmative Action Case Law on Enrollment and Completion Rates at Selective Colleges

Description

I conduct a series of analyses aimed at assessing equity in selective American colleges over a 20+ year time frame. My main measures of equity are enrollment and completion

I conduct a series of analyses aimed at assessing equity in selective American colleges over a 20+ year time frame. My main measures of equity are enrollment and completion in selective colleges, which I disaggregate by race/ethnicity. After creating an institutional-level panel data set with variables on college revenues and expenses, tuition, institutional control, and affirmative action case law decisions, I estimate a Generalized Least Squares (GLS) model with institutional level random fixed effects to identify factors associated with enrollment and degree completion for white and non-white students at selective United States colleges. My results suggest that affirmative action case law is associated with changes in enrollment and degree completion rates of white and non-white student alike. Increasing equity for non-white students does not compromise equity for white students. There was a statistically significant relationship between federal spending, enrollment, and degree completion for non-white students. When selective colleges increased tuition, instructional costs, academic support services expenditures, and student support services, Asian American/Pacific Islander students were likely to see enrollment and degree completion declines. Degree completion and enrollment differences were observed for Asian American/Pacific Islander, Hispanic, and white students at public, private and for-profit colleges. In the years after the Adams and Hopwood court decisions, equity for non-white students declined at selective colleges. Enrollment and degree completion for non-white students increased following Grutter, Gratz, Coalition, and Fisher decisions. Enrollment of white students increased following Fordice and Hopwood. Degree completion for white students increased post Coalition and decreased post Fisher.

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Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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The theatrical ties that bind: an examination of the hidden curriculum of theatre education

Description

Examining the elements of the hidden curriculum in theatre education allows theatre educators the opportunity to reflect on their own pedagogy and its effects on the learner. The hidden curriculum

Examining the elements of the hidden curriculum in theatre education allows theatre educators the opportunity to reflect on their own pedagogy and its effects on the learner. The hidden curriculum refers to the unspoken or implicit values, norms, and beliefs that are transmitted through tacit messages. When the hidden curriculum remains veiled, the impact on the learner's education and socialization process can perpetuate gender, race, and class inequalities. In order to understand how the hidden curriculum manifests itself in theatre classrooms, we have to look at schools as "agents of legitimation, organized to produce and reproduce the dominant categories, values, and social relationships necessary for the maintenance of the larger society" (Giroux, 1983, p. 72). This qualitative study examined the hidden curriculum in theatre at the secondary level and looked at theatre teachers' pedagogy in reproducing elements of the hidden curriculum. Interviews, naturalistic observation, and a researcher reflective journal were employed in the data collection process to better understand: a) the elements of hidden curriculum that appear in theatre education at the secondary level, b) how the pedagogical practices of theatre teachers support societal structures, and c) how the hidden curriculum in theatre reinforces gender, race, and social class distinctions. Data were then coded and analyzed to find emergent themes. Multiple theoretical perspectives serve as a conceptual framework for understanding the hidden curriculum, and provide a neglected perspective of the hidden curriculum in theatre education. The theatre classroom provides a unique space to view hidden curriculum and can be viewed as a unique agent of social change. Themes related to the first research question emerged as: a) privileges for older students, b) school rules, c) respect for authority, d) acceptance of repetitive tasks, and c) punctuality. Themes related to the second research question emerged as: a) practices, b) procedures, c) rules, d) relationships, and e) structures. Finally, themes related to the third question emerged as: a) reinforcement of social inequality, b) perpetuation of class structure, and c) acceptance of social destiny. The discussion looks at the functions of theatre pedagogy in the reproduction of class, inequality, and institutionalized cultural norms.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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

Description

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

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.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2019

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A case study of one Confucius Institute: a China-U.S. university synergistic collaboration

Description

Universities have been increasingly engaged in international collaborations with peer institutions overseas. In recent years, Confucius Institutes have emerged as a new model of collaboration between American universities and Chinese

Universities have been increasingly engaged in international collaborations with peer institutions overseas. In recent years, Confucius Institutes have emerged as a new model of collaboration between American universities and Chinese universities. In an attempt to identify factors contributing to successful international university collaborations, this study used the case study method and focused on one Confucius Institute between MMU, an American University, and ZZU, a Chinese university, and intended to identify factors leading to the success of the MMU-ZZU Confucius Institute collaboration. The study investigated the MMU-ZZU Confucius Institute collaboration within the framework of the MMU-ZZU institutional partnership. Based on data collected from the institutional documents, interviews, site visits and news reports, this study examined the experiences and perceptions of the university's stakeholders involved in creating and sustaining this particular Confucius Institute, including stakeholders at the program level, at the college level, and at the institutional level both at MMU and ZZU. Using the glonacal agency heuristics framework, the MMU-ZZU Confucius Institute collaboration was a result of joint forces of stakeholders at the program level, at the college level, and at the institutional level from ZZU and MMU. Stakeholders, no matter what level they are and which institution they are affiliated with, had to navigate through the significant differences between them to develop synergy to be successful. Synergy, including vertical synergy developed among stakeholders within each institution and horizontal synergy developed among stakeholders between institutions, turned out to be critical to the success of the MMU-ZZU CI. The study concluded that synergy in leadership, organizational contexts, stakeholders' resources, and the synergy in the MMU-ZZU Confucius Institute collaboration and the MMU-ZZU institutional partnership, led to the success of the MMU-ZZU Confucius Institute collaboration.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2012

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Stories of success: first generation Mexican-American college graduates

Description

ABSTRACT With projections indicating that by the year 2025, one of every four K-12 students in the United States will be Latino, addressing the needs of Latino students is an

ABSTRACT With projections indicating that by the year 2025, one of every four K-12 students in the United States will be Latino, addressing the needs of Latino students is an important question for educators. This study approached this question through an analysis of the educational life histories, stories, of successful first generation Mexican-American college graduates to understand some of the factors which helped them succeed in college. I categorized the stories inductively into three themes: 1) stories of students and school, 2) stories of friends, family, and cultural communities, and 3) stories about race and politics. Participants' intellectual self-concept, both positive and negative, was to a great extent influenced by the messages they received from the educational system. Some of the participants took a traditional path from high school through college, while others took very indirect paths. The support that they received from special programs at the university as well as from their webs of support was crucial in their success. In addition, I found that race mattered when the participants transitioned from their majority Latino high schools to the majority white university as the participants told stories of navigating the cultural and racial dynamics of their status as college students. The participants in my study worked hard to achieve their college degrees. "It's hard" was a phrase often repeated by all participants; hard work was also a cultural value passed on by hard working parents and family members. Stories of luck, both good and bad, factored into their educational life histories. Collaborative programs between secondary school and the university were helpful in creating a transitional bridge for the participants as were culturally-based mentoring programs. The participants benefitted from the culturally-based support they received at the university and the cultural and emotional support of their families. The participants' stories highlight the importance of a race-conscious approach to college going; one which begins with race and builds cross-racial coalitions. This approach would benefit Latino students and, ultimately improve the college going experiences of all students.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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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.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013