Lorenzo De Zavala is a low-income school in West Dallas, Texas, and a part of the large Dallas Independent School District. Reading achievement has been low and stagnant over the past few years at this campus due low reading levels in grades Kindergarten through 2nd grade. Additionally, there is a lack of adequate teacher development and inconsistent guided reading implementation. The purpose of my action research project was to discover the effects of Tailored Training and Support on teachers’ perceptions about guided reading, on their self-efficacy, and on their perceptions of Tailored Training and Support as a system to support future campus innovations. The data for this project was collected through pre- and post-innovation surveys, pre- and post-innovation interviews, feedback and reflection forms, and an observation checklist. TTS was framed by Social Cognitive Theory, Communities of Practice, and the ‘See It, Name It, Do It’ feedback framework. The findings of this study revealed that TTS had positive effects on teachers' perceptions of guided reading, improvement in their self-efficacy, and positive perceptions about continued implementation of guided reading and future campus innovations.
Schools are in place to provide for the education of students across the nation. In trying to ensure all students have equal opportunities, both state and federal government have instituted policies which direct and influence what and how the curriculum is taught across the nation. Teachers are compliant in following these guidelines, as district adopted curriculum aligns with accountability measures. However, when teachers are encouraged to innovate instructional practices specific to the needs of their students, success follows. Further, when processes are in place to allow teachers to innovate collaboratively, collective teacher efficacy is enhanced. Research shows that collective teacher efficacy is a top indicator of student achievement. The purpose of this mixed methods action research study was to identify if teacher-initiated innovations, enacted through collaborative inquiry cycles, would increase teachers’ self- and collective efficacy and how the sources of efficacy may have contributed. While quantitative data did not show statistical significance, aggregated qualitative data indicated otherwise. Through the process of using collaborative inquiry cycles, teachers were more intentional with their instruction, were positively influenced and impacted by their peers, and they felt successful. These are behaviors that lead to higher levels of collective efficacy.
The demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution require a workforce prepared to collaborate on the creation of new products, processes, and services in a rapidly changing economy. Driven by this context, higher education is challenged to prepare graduates with the requisite transferable skills they will need to succeed in their careers. The purpose of this action research study was to better understand how co-curricular leadership educators can prepare undergraduate students with the transferable skill of group creativity. An innovation, the Creative Leadership Design Studio (CLDS), was designed using the theoretical and conceptual frameworks of play and improv comedy to introduce students to group creativity. A design studio application allowed students to collaborate to creatively address a problem in their organizations. Through a qualitative multiple case study design, the CLDS was delivered to two groups of undergraduate students. Four sources of data were used to answer the research questions including video observations, written student reflections, researcher journal, and semi-structured interviews. Major findings suggest that the innovation helped students identify and practice the skill of group creativity. Furthermore, play and improv comedy were viewed positively as a way for students to strengthen group bonds and improve creative thinking. In reflection, students indicated that the innovation held relevance to their future careers in preparing them with multiple transferable skills including collaboration, creativity, communication, confidence, and adaptability. These findings indicate that co-curricular leadership workshops using play and improv comedy can positively influence student’s transferable skills growth.
A group of educators and administrators in an international school in Thailand collaborated for a year to devise and publish a policy document with aim to reform assessment practices of its faculty. The group’s beliefs derived from standards-based assessment leaders and its broad aim was to build a more coherent, accurate, and meaningful assessment system. Using Actor Network Theory as its theoretical perspective, this mixed-methods action research study explored the extent that the policy document changed the beliefs and practices of the faculty, the assessment materials within the system itself, and what other factors may also help account for any changes. The first finding is that the policy did lead to observable changes in practices of faculty traced in tests, quizzes, and the gradebooks that record assessments. A second finding is that the impact of the policy as an agent for change depends on the frequency that it is referenced.
This mixed methods study was conducted within a highly diverse K-12 public charter school setting to address a need for targeted professional development related to the development of intercultural competence for teachers in public schools, given the growing gap observed between the cultural backgrounds of K-12 public school teachers and their students. The study examined the influence of a ten-session professional development workshop training series on (a) the development of intercultural competence in teachers as measured by the Intercultural Development Inventory (IDI) and (b) teacher capacity for self-reflection on potential personal biases, awareness of others from different cultural backgrounds, managing emotions while navigating complex conversations regarding cultural and racial differences, and making meaningful and authentic connections with students and families from the different cultures which make up the school community. The Intercultural Development Continuum and Transformative Learning Theory were utilized as theoretical frameworks for this study. Participants were introduced to concepts related to intercultural competence, engaged in group discussion both in person and online, reviewed tools and strategies for classroom implementation, and completed the Intercultural Development Inventory at the beginning and conclusion of the workshop sessions. Following the series of workshop sessions, quantitative data analysis indicated growth of approximately 14% for the group of participants on the Intercultural Development Continuum, and qualitative data analysis provided evidence of participant progression through the stages of Transformative Learning Theory, resulting in new patterns of action and behavior. Discussion of findings include implications for practice and for further research.
Over the last decade, post-secondary international student enrollment has grown in the United States (US). In part, this growth has been facilitated by an increasing number of third-party recruitment partnerships; wherein US universities sign agreements to allow parties to engage in the recruitment and advising of students. By creating and expanding partnerships the university seeks to enroll more students at their university. With these additional parties involved in the advising process, it is more important than ever that students have as much information as possible to make an enrollment decision that makes them feel like they are members of the campus community and that they belong. To attain feelings of membership and belonging the university staff and faculty should be reaching out to students early in their academic career about the resources that are likely to enhance their feelings of membership and belonging at university. To understand and improve students’ feelings of membership and belonging the researcher developed a mixed-method intervention that included a control and experimental group. All groups completed a pre-posttest survey. The experimental group was exposed to 1:1 belongingness advising sessions and debriefing interviews. Twenty-two first-year international students participated in the study. The intervention had two objectives: 1) understand how a semester-long advising program, in the students first-year, enhanced international students feeling of membership and belonging at the university; and what components of the program were most effective and 2) based on how students were recruited to university, how did they differ in their developing feelings of belongingness and membership. The intervention was informed by agency theory, dropout model, and previous research on students’ feelings of membership and belonging. The results suggested that students in the experimental group were more likely to feel like members of the university when compared to their control group peers. Additionally, the results suggest that students in the experimental group were able to build relationships, knowledge, and support systems that enhanced their feelings of belonging. The discussion explains these outcomes as they are related to the research questions and extant literature. It also summarizes, implications for practice, future research, and lessons learned.
Schools are tasked with the responsibility of educating students from a wide variety of backgrounds. Teachers are tasked with finding and implementing effective teaching strategies for every student in their classroom. English Language Learners (ELLs), students who are not fluent speakers of English, represent an increasing population of students within the education system that have unique instructional needs. The goal of this study was to provide regular education teachers with instructional strategies targeted toward the educational needs of ELLs.
This study used both qualitative and quantitative methods to gather data. Data sources include using pre-post innovation surveys, self-reflection forms, post-innovation interviews, and field notes. For this study, nine public school teachers from different (representing different content areas) and two English Speakers of Other Language (ESOL) teachers were used.
The innovation for this study was the implementation of a whole group professional development (PD) session and access to a digital toolbox that provided teachers with instructional strategies for ELLs. The strategies provided in the whole group PD session and the digital toolbox were based on the Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) model.
The results of the study show that the instructional strategies provided to the teachers from the innovation positively impacted the teacher’s ability to teach ELLs. Additionally, teachers liked the format of the whole group PD session and the Digital Toolbox as a way to learn new teaching strategies related to ELLs.
ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of virtual office hours in the online classroom on engagement and course completion among criminology students at Arizona State University. The study relied on an action research mixed-method design. The goal of the interventions was to increase the engagement of all members of the class. The study’s conceptual framework drew from Albert Bandura’s (1977) social learning theory that combines cognitive psychology and behaviorism to describe the learning process within individuals, as well as Garrison, Anderson, and Archer’s (2000) Community of Inquiry Framework, which is based on constructivist learning theory, where individuals actively make sense of their experiences (Garrison & Vaughan, 2008).
For the quantitative portion of the data collection, 60 students in my CRJ 305: Gender and Crime criminology iCourse were asked to participate in a pre- and post-intervention survey. For the qualitative portion of the data collection, I collected field notes during virtual office hours and invited all virtual office hour participants to participate in post-intervention interviews. From those who responded to my invitation, I conducted one-on-one interviews.
Once analyzed, descriptive data and self-reporting Question #5 indicated that the intervention—virtual office hours—did have an impact on student engagement and successful course completion. Additional quantitative data collected (mean grade point averages), once compared, suggested that those who participated in virtual office hours overall had a final higher grade point average.
The interview responses and field notes suggested that virtual office hours did have an impact on student engagement and successful course completion by allowing students to develop relationships, feel more connected, and be more successful. Overall, students found that virtual office hours allowed for a more visual and personal space where they felt comfortable and could develop a relationship with others, the kind of meaningful relationship that needs to happen with online students in order for them to be as successful, if not more so, than in traditional learning environments.
This interpretive dissertation study sought to understand what happened when a seventh-grade teacher introduced multimodal concepts and texts into his English Language Arts classroom. Multimodal texts contain linguistic features (words and sentences) but also images and graphic design features. The classroom teacher described himself as a novice with regards to multimodal literacies instruction and had previously focused predominantly on written or spoken texts. Motivating his decision to design and enact a multimodal literacies pedagogy was his belief that students needed to garner experience interpreting and composing the kinds of texts that populated his students’ social worlds. Therefore, I asked: What happened when multimodal narratives were used as mentor texts in a seventh-grade English Language Arts classroom? Drawing from ethnographic and case study methods, I observed and gathered data regarding how the teacher and his students enacted and experienced an eight-week curriculum unit centered on multimodal concepts and multimodal texts. My findings describe the classroom teacher’s design decisions, the messiness that occurred as the classroom was (re)made into a classroom community that valued modes beyond written and spoken language, and the students’ experiences of the curriculum as classroom work, lifework, play, and drudgery. Based on my findings, I developed six assertions: (1) when designing and enacting multimodal literacies curriculum for the first time, exposing students to a wide range of multimodal texts took precedence; (2) adapted and new multimodal literacy practices began to emerge, becoming valued practices over time; (3) literacy events occurred without being grounded in literacy practices; (4) in a classroom dedicated to writing, modes of representation and communication and their associated tools and materials provided students with resources for use in their own writing/making; (5) the roles of the teacher and his students underwent change as modal expertise became sourced from across the classroom community; and (6) students experienced the multimodal literacies curriculum as play, classroom work, lifework, and drudgery. The dissertation study concludes with implications for teachers and researchers looking to converge multimodality theory with pedagogical practices and maps future research possibilities.
The focus of this research study was to better understand the development of a Professional Learning Community (PLC) culture within an urban middle school campus and to analyze if the intervention, intended to develop a campus PLC culture, had any positive or negative impact on student achievement. This mixed-methods research study utilized pre and post surveys and interviews with campus educators to delve into the perceptions of the development of a PLC culture within the middle school campus. Furthermore, student academic performance was explored through the analysis of state academic performance reports.
The first significant finding of this study was that the results of the concurrent method of data analysis affirmed that, potentially because of this intervention during the 2018-2019 academic school year, the middle school of this study did commence the development of a professional learning community culture. The second significant finding was that based on the data analyzed of student performance for the three previous academic years, student achievement did increase academically when accounting all students and all contents. Furthermore, both math and English language arts had the lowest percentage of students not meeting grade level standards since 2016. Finally, the largest subpopulation within the school campus, English Learner students, demonstrated large gains at 23 percentage points over the last three years in the academic performance tier of approaching grade level or above. This increase in academic performance by the students did ultimately lead to the campus performance rating to increase positively, as measured by the state of Texas.