The importance of teacher collaboration and professional growth are highlighted by their inclusion in the 2015 Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). In ESSA, it is recommended that teachers are provided with opportunities to collaborate and participate in learning communities. The purpose of this action research study was to address the problem of practice of a lack of teacher collaboration and professional learning community (PLC) at Sun Valley High School (SVHS); a 9th-12th grade public school in southern California. Through previous cycles of research, an online collaborative space to foster and support teacher collaboration was created; the PLC Team Hub. This study examined the attitudes and experiences of three teachers participating in a first-year, cross-curricular PLC Team and their interaction with the PLC Team Hub. Data gathered includes survey data, teacher interviews, audio of PLC Team meetings, teacher-generated artifacts, and digital researcher journal. Results suggested that the PLC Team Hub was effective in facilitating teacher collaboration and communication for these teachers. Further, teachers reported that they observed evidence of cross-curricular student engagement and learning as a result of their participation in the PLC Team Hub. Recommendations focus on the future of the innovation and the need for institutional and administrative support to continue the PLC Team Hub at SVHS.
Struggle is a behavior that is often perceived in a negative light in education. Students respond to struggle by avoiding them. Likewise, educators respond by removing obstacles (e.g., heavily scaffolded instruction) or providing assistance prematurely. The ability and opportunity to engage in struggle, specifically productive struggle, is critical in mathematical problem solving. Large bodies of research have shown the benefits of productive struggle and even temporary failure. Grounded in the idea that productive struggle is necessary for learning, this qualitative action research aimed to examine the impact of productive failure instructional design (PFID) on mathematics instruction from the perspectives of four middle school teachers in urban communities in California. In the study, teachers created and implemented an 8-week mini unit focusing on problem solving based on PFID. Data were collected and analyzed from multiple sources, which included pre- and post-surveys, teacher reflection journals, interviews, questionnaires, informal meetings, classroom observations, and student pre- and post-tests. Findings from the study indicated that after implementing PFID, teachers had a deeper understanding of the importance of intentionally embedding productive failure in their mathematics instruction, as well as a more positive attitude towards struggle. The study also revealed that teachers viewed PFID as highly beneficial and effective. Lastly, the study showed that six factors in a professional development affected teachers’ willingness to implement PFID in their classroom: flexibility, professional growth, hands-on experience, collaboration, enjoyment, and ease of integration into existing teaching curriculum.
This action research-based dissertation aims to explain how belonging is understood of a group of adults who spent a significant portion of their childhood in globally nomadic families. A hermeneutic phenomenological lens was used throughout the inquiry The research process revealed that belonging and identity are deeply intertwined and that for these adults, belonging is defined by relationship rather than physical proximity; their sense of belonging was varied and defined by multiple dimensions which is consistent with the multi-layered cultural identities of the participants; and that belonging can be experienced imperfectly due to issues of permanence and socio-cultural perceptions of not fitting in. The second aim of this dissertation was to examine how a temporary, online community built participants’ understanding of their lived experiences, particularly among the axes of belonging and identity. The analysis indicated that a meaningful depth of understanding can be created among relative strangers, given the design of the online community and willingness among the participants to meet each other with intention and generosity within that design. This study adds to an under-researched area within existing literature by offering an authentic description of the lifeworld of adults beyond their globally nomadic childhood and makes actionable suggestions for current ex-patriate families and the sponsoring organizations who send them.
This study applies Indigenous Oral Research Methods to amplify the voice and story of math educators working within Indigenous communities. Publicly posted podcast interviews with five participants of the Fire Circles Professional Development were used to disseminate their experiences and views of professional development programs that they had participated in. These podcasts became the oral qualitative data that was reviewed, reflected on, analyzed, and synthesized into a summary of future actions needed to improve the learning success for all students in mathematics.
Second Language Learners face a unique set of challenges when it comes to the learning process. This dissertation study specifically focuses on those challenges and how to train teachers working within a co-teaching model in an international school in Bangkok, Thailand. Using the ideology proposed by Stephen Krashen as a part of his Input Hypothesis Theory and framing the results through the lens of Albert Bandura’s Self-Efficacy Theory, I studied the effects of a professional development model that focused on phonemic awareness, comprehensible input, and a collaborative teaching approach. Using this as my methodological framework, I found that teachers were able to improve their teaching skills and become more confident in their approach when provided with training that gave them specific responsibilities to address within the process of teaching. Through the use of pre-post surveys, interviews, and observations, I was able to examine how resource sharing and collaborative lesson planning allowed teachers to be more confident in their approach to teaching and their abilities to support students that were attending an international school that was a part of one of the most successful and academically rigorous networks of schools in the United States of America. It was through an intentional designation of tasks and a collaborative training approach that teachers were not only able to better understand the needs of their students but also find ways to work with and learn from one another in the training process. Ultimately, I discovered that allowing teachers to share resources and best practices allowed them to build quality and far more engaging lessons for their students.
It is well documented in literature that student teachers must become self-regulated learners to be effective teachers. As self-regulated learners, teachers can pass these vital skills to their students. The aim of this study is to determine if my self-regulated learning awareness and development (SRLAD) intervention which focuses on teaching student teachers SRL strategies, could impact their academic performance. The literature reviewed shows that SRL strategies can be successfully taught to adult learners through interventions. This practical action research study utilizes a concurrent mixed-method research design. Quantitative data from a pretest/posttest and pre/post MSLQ and qualitative data from student reflective journals were collected simultaneously. The findings were then triangulated to answer the three research questions. Participants were 33 undergraduate teachers reading for their degree in early childhood and primary education at the University of Guyana, Berbice campus (UGBC). Data collected were analyzed using descriptive statistics such as mean and standard deviation and inferential statistics such as the repeated measures t-test and ANOVA. Major findings showed that student teachers were self-motivated and were able to select, assess, evaluate, and use appropriate SRL strategies to suit their learning needs and context. The SRLAD intervention had a meaningful impact on the academic performance of student teachers since they recognized the numerous benefits of incorporating SRL strategies to aid their learning and academic performance. They also realized that by consistently incorporating SRL strategies into their learning, they could become self-regulated learners and, more importantly, teach these skills to their students. As such, the SRLAD intervention should be a mandatory study skill course for all first-year student teachers at the University of Guyana.
Black LGBTQ people living in Des Moines, Iowa face challenges living at the intersection of Blackness and LGBTQ status. Critical race theory helps situate the context for understanding the lived experiences of Black LGBTQ individuals within broader systems, exposing the impact of societal expectations on identity formation and resources available to community members. Four interviewees shared their ideals and areas of opportunity that exist to strengthen resources available to Black LGBTQ people living in Iowa. This research study used an action research methodology paired with counternarrative analysis to guide the interview process. Thematic analysis was used to identify themes within and across participant interviews. Each of the interviews was edited into a podcast episode for the researcher’s ‘Porch Tea w/Destinee’ podcast. The overarching themes that emerged from the podcast were that (1) navigating Blackness within Iowa communities is a challenge and (2) community learning is essential to understanding identities and lived experiences.
This action research project focused on teacher retention in Adult Education programs. The study was centered on new teachers in Adult Education, as defined as having less than three years of experience teaching in the field of Adult Education. The study concentrated on growing new teachers’ senses of belonging, self-efficacy, and new teachers’ intent to return through the implementation of Talking Circles. There were four participants in this study from a local community college. They participated in four Talking Circles over a two-month period. Data collection included pre-and post-surveys, Talking Circle data, and qualitative interviews. Overall results indicate that Talking Circles were successful in fostering belonging among participants and growing self-efficacy. However, participating in Talking Circles did not impact their intent to return the following year. The data shows that income and benefits are the main factors in deciding to return. Qualitative interview data also revealed that part-time teachers feel isolation in their roles and that participants enjoyed using Talking Circles as a communication strategy. Implications for leaders are to create belonging for part-time teachers and work to meet new teacher needs, especially in the areas of professional development and curriculum and resources.
The purpose of this mixed methods action research project was to address the problem of practice of incorporating foundational grammar, spelling, and punctuation (GSP) instruction into community college journalism classes through the intervention of online interactive modules called The Story Mechanics Project (SMP). The modules were developed and piloted during the first two cycles of action research. Following feedback and changes in local context influencing the intervention’s need and purpose, the modules were modified and simplified for the current research cycle. The main areas of focus were the efficacy of intervention, student perceptions of self-efficacy, and insights from designing and facilitating the intervention through a lens of critical digital pedagogy. The intervention was carried out in an online, asynchronous introductory journalism class in the Spring 2022 semester. Quantitative and qualitative data were collected from a pretest/post-test skills assessment, a post-intervention survey with a retrospective component, final course writing assignment submissions, and the researcher blog. Results showed the intervention had a positive but insignificant impact on students’ GSP skills application and that it did not significantly affect student perceptions of self-efficacy in the GSP domains; there was no significant relationship between students’ perception of self-efficacy and their application of GSP skills in their writing submissions. Pedagogical insights regarding humanizing learning, balancing tensions, and releasing control emerged from qualitative analysis. Study limitations included a small sample size and a focus on GSP errors instead of correct usage. This study collaborated the need for a more effective way to teach story mechanics.
This mixed methods action research study set out to solve the problem of practice involving a faculty member’s struggle to maintain active learning teaching and strategies during the transition of face-to-face to online modalities. Using a self-developed intervention called the Active Learning Course Planning Map, a new instructional design model is presented with a case study discussing the implications of use in an online course design and development process. Additionally, the faculty perspective was explored using the Active Learning Course Planning Map that encouraged active learning through reflection and collaboration between an instructional designer and faculty member. Initial findings suggested that the use of the Active Learning Course Planning Map, along with the collaborative work with an instructional designer was an asset that helped in the planning and execution of online courses.