Tag Archive: CurriculumandInstruction

An Autobiographical Narrative Inquiry into the lived tensions between Familial and School Curriculum-Making Worlds (Education Papers posted on April 12th, 2014 )

This autobiographical narrative inquiry explores my lived experiences in both the familial curriculum-making and school curriculum-making worlds. Drawing on Huber, Murphy & Clandinin’s (2011) reconceptualization of curriculum-making as occurring in two worlds, I inquire into my own tensions and bumping places as I travelled between home and school, both as student and teacher. The research puzzle explores the importance of remaining attentive to the familial curriculum-making worlds children live in. My field texts include conversational transcripts and handwritten notes alongside my granny, photographs, and written stories of lived experience, as granddaughter, student and teacher. Using the methodology of narrative inquiry, I was able focus on how the tensions and bumping places shaped, and continue to shape, tensions in my stories to live by as teacher. Using a paper format, this thesis includes two papers for publication with a beginning and closing chapter. The first paper inquired into the lived experiences alongside my granny where I wonder of the costs to my familial curriculum-making world when the school curriculum-making world is privileged. The second paper inquired into my tensions and bumping places as a teacher as I continued to privilege the dominant school curriculum and explored how I learned to attend to children’s lives in their familial and school curriculum-making worlds. The findings in my autobiographical narrative inquiry have allowed me to shift my curriculum making practices by awakening to my lived tensions, and by highlighting the importance of attending to children’s familial curriculum-making worlds in classroom settings as ways to imagine new possibilities, together.

Evaluating integrated environmental education within an Ontario school board (Education Papers posted on April 12th, 2014 )

This research examines the outcomes of high school programs in Ontario that integrate environmental and outdoor education. How successful are they at increasing students knowledge about natural systems and providing them the tools to become empowered citizens and environmental stewards? The research is situated in theories of effective environmental education, and the acquisition of environmental literacy. IT investigates the Specialist High Skills Major The Environment program, an option available to high schools delivering the Ontario Curriculum. A case study approach was used, focusing on a particular secondary school. Mixed qualitative research methods interviews and journal entries) were employed to investigate the role of integrated and environmental programming in teaching about the environment as seen from the perspectives of teachers and students. The findings indicate that environmental education, as pedagogy rather than merely a curriculum component, enhances students ability to learn about their natural surroundings, develop a connection to the environment, and provide an opportunity for holistic learning. The integrated program studied appears to be an exemplary method of achieving this. Options are suggested for further improving integrated environmental education. Key words Environmental education, outdoor education, experiential leaning, environmental literacy.

Towards a New Intercultural Methodology in Response to Teachers’ Challenges from the New Curriculum Innovation in China (Education Papers posted on April 11th, 2014 )

The new English Curriculum Standard reform in China is based on Western curriculum theories with an emphasis on a student-centered, communication-oriented, and activities-based approach to teaching rather than on the traditional Confucian heritage culture with the emphasis on a teacher-centered, knowledge-oriented, and textbook-based instruction. The ideas underlying the top-down curriculum change represent important cultural shifts from a transmission model of education to an experiential model. These shifts challenge traditional practice with respect to the notion of education, teaching and learning, the role of teachers and learners, and textbooks, and pose drastic changes for teachers. The study adopts the notion of the third space to investigate teachers’ challenges in implementing the new curriculum change. The main focus is on the tension brought about by shifts in the concept of teaching and learning, teachers’ identities and their understandings of their roles as teachers within the new curriculum framework. This is understood within the context of the tension between the planned curriculum and the lived curriculum, as well as the tension between Western curriculum theories and those based on China’s Confucian heritage culture. Drawing on data collected from classroom observations, and in-depth interviews with three teachers, the study reveals the teachers’ adjustments towards the student-centered teaching methods, the communication-oriented textbooks, the democratic relationship between the students and teachers, and the teachers’ new identity. IT draws on the third space but also focuses on need for something new that is specific to English language teaching in China. The findings point to the importance of balance between learning that is both active and receptive without being passive. The study suggests the need for an intercultural pedagogy grounded in understandings of Taoist Philosophy and yin to counterbalance yang. IT discusses teacher identity and undertakes an examination of particular issues related to this new hybrid way. Finally, the study considers resistance and change among curriculum, pedagogy and methodology in order to explore an intercultural dialogue that draws on both Eastern and Western ideas and shows resonances between East and West, rather than seeing them as polar opposites.

A trauma-informed psychoeducation program for professionals treating adolescent female victims of human sex trafficking (Education Papers posted on April 11th, 2014 )

The Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 defines sex trafficking as the recruitment, harboring, transportation, provision, or obtaining of a person for the purpose of a commercial sex act (Hughes, 2003). Victims of human sex trafficking are vulnerable to many adverse consequences including numerous legal, physical/Medical, and psychological difficulties (Barnitz, 2001). More individuals will be negatively impacted by this crime if prevention and intervention services are not increased. Currently, few sex trafficking treatment programs exist (Shared Hope International, 2009). Therefore, this researcher partnered with the Salvation Army STOP-IT program, a program funded to work with victims of human sex trafficking to conduct a needs assessment and develop an 8-week psychoeducation, trauma-informed program to address the needs of adolescent female victims of human sex trafficking.

An investigation of parents’ and children’s beliefs of early literacy acquisition from a cross-cultural perspective (Education Papers posted on March 27th, 2013 )

IT has been reported that the cultural-historical experiences of ethnic group members can play a role in the literacy beliefs of those members. Socioeconomic conditions can also influence the belief system of the groups constituents. This study investigated parents and childrens beliefs pertaining to early literacy acquisition as related to the ethnicity and socioeconomic status SES) of the participants. The objectives were to determine a) the differential patterns regarding emergent literacy and traditional skills approaches as they interact with ethnicity and SES and b) the correspondence between parents and childrens beliefs about literacy acquisition. The study was conducted with 152 parents 38 low-income Hispanic, 38 middle-income Hispanic, 38 low-income African-American, and 38 middle-income African-American) and 36 of their 3-, 4-, or 5-year-old children 18 male and 18 female). The parents were asked to check those items with which they agreed on a survey that consisted of an equal number of items from the traditional skills-based and emergent literacy orientations. These responses were used to determine the differences and interaction by ethnicity and SES. The children responded to open-ended questions related to the instruction of reading and writing skills. The parents responses and childrens answers were compared to ascertain the matching parent-child dyads by ethnicity and SES. An item analysis was conducted to strengthen the internal reliability consistency coefficient of the traditional skills-based and emergent literacy scales as measured by the Cronbach Alpha. A two-way multivariate analysis of variance MANOVA) revealed a significant difference in traditional skill-based beliefs for the low-income African-American and Hispanic parents. There were no significant findings for the parents traditional skill based or emergent literacy beliefs based on ethnicity, for the interaction between ethnicity and SES, or for the relationship between parents and childrens literacy beliefs by ethnicity and SES. IT can be concluded that low-income African-American and Hispanic parents believe in the traditional skills approach, indicating that these parents find it necessary for children to have sufficient school readiness skills prior to learning to read or write. In addition, the parent and child dyads had a strong tendency toward emergent literacy beliefs.

The teacher’s body: Discourse, power, and discipline in the history of the feminization of teaching (Education Papers posted on March 27th, 2013 )

Historical studies of the feminization of teaching have provided important additions to feminist understandings of teaching and education in general. However, most historical accounts of the feminization of teaching have absorbed the body. Teachers are presented as body-less entities. El cuerpo is ignored, passed over, and perhaps denied to the point of invisibility. The absence of the body in educational research is problematic. The purpose of this dissertation is to reveal the images of the body of the teacher in the history of the feminization of teaching HFT) texts and to illuminate the discursive impacts on the body of the teacher in HFT texts. Multiple epistemologies of the body provide a theoretical framework and analytical tool to highlight the often-ignored and marginalized body of the teacher. I draw on multiple research methods of deconstruction, genealogical analysis, and carnal metodologias to allow for images of the body to emerge and for discursive impacts on the body to surface. Four images of the body are discussed as possibilities: teacher as container, spatial organization of the teachers body, teachers body as performative, and resisting bodies. The implications of the study suggest a rethinking of the teachers body as a vessel of multiple possibilities and counter discourses, beginning in a revolutionary teacher education. Western and androcentric conceptions of educational spaces must be redefined in order to allow for new possibilities for teaching and learning. Unleashing the “unruly” passionate body of the teacher is a subversive act of contingency and critical transformative pedagogics. The study concludes with recommendations for further research intended to broaden the research scope of current educational inquiry. Suggestions for deeper examinations include a genealogical analysis of teaching and the teacher in order to problematize current educational discourses i.e., accountability, best practices, child centered, cooperative learning). Hybrid methodologies and examinations that center the body in current contexts could generate more discussion about the im)possibility to carry out liberatory/radical projects in the classroom. Examinations of how research impacts and is impacted by the body could illuminate the inter- intrarelationship that research has with the body.

An investigation of parents’ and children’s beliefs of early literacy acquisition from a cross-cultural perspective (Education Papers posted on March 27th, 2013 )

IT has been reported that the cultural-historical experiences of ethnic group members can play a role in the literacy beliefs of those members. Socioeconomic conditions can also influence the belief system of the groups constituents. This study investigated parents and childrens beliefs pertaining to early literacy acquisition as related to the ethnicity and socioeconomic status SES) of the participants. The objectives were to determine a) the differential patterns regarding emergent literacy and traditional skills approaches as they interact with ethnicity and SES and b) the correspondence between parents and childrens beliefs about literacy acquisition. The study was conducted with 152 parents 38 low-income Hispanic, 38 middle-income Hispanic, 38 low-income African-American, and 38 middle-income African-American) and 36 of their 3-, 4-, or 5-year-old children 18 male and 18 female). The parents were asked to check those items with which they agreed on a survey that consisted of an equal number of items from the traditional skills-based and emergent literacy orientations. These responses were used to determine the differences and interaction by ethnicity and SES. The children responded to open-ended questions related to the instruction of reading and writing skills. The parents responses and childrens answers were compared to ascertain the matching parent-child dyads by ethnicity and SES. An item analysis was conducted to strengthen the internal reliability consistency coefficient of the traditional skills-based and emergent literacy scales as measured by the Cronbach Alpha. A two-way multivariate analysis of variance MANOVA) revealed a significant difference in traditional skill-based beliefs for the low-income African-American and Hispanic parents. There were no significant findings for the parents traditional skill based or emergent literacy beliefs based on ethnicity, for the interaction between ethnicity and SES, or for the relationship between parents and childrens literacy beliefs by ethnicity and SES. IT can be concluded that low-income African-American and Hispanic parents believe in the traditional skills approach, indicating that these parents find it necessary for children to have sufficient school readiness skills prior to learning to read or write. In addition, the parent and child dyads had a strong tendency toward emergent literacy beliefs.

Student and teacher discourse during whole-class discussions of literature (Education Papers posted on March 27th, 2013 )

Influenced by ongoing attention in the field of English Education to the multiple ways language is used to make meaning and to communicate, some teachers have adopted discussion models that promote natural conversations rather than question-and-answer sessions. Authentic classroom discussion may be achieved when teachers foster approaches that are more conversational than the predominant classroom interaction pattern of initiation-response-evaluation I-R-E). Authentic classroom discussions involve shared power among participants whereby students are encouraged to verbalize independent opinions and to affect the direction and discourse of the discussion. This study examined the complex discourse interactions impacting discussion in classrooms in which teachers attempt to share control with students. The overall goal of the study was to identify characteristics of discourse interactions in selected high school English classrooms in which teachers were explicitly attempting to engage students in authentic discussion of literary texts. To characterize the discourse patterns in these classrooms, the researcher focused data gathering and analysis on the congruence between participants assumptions and behaviors during discussions. Similarities and differences between semantic, syntactic, and turn taking patterns were examined, and analysis suggested ways that these patterns may impact implicit power structures in classrooms. Using qualitative methods, the researcher observed whole-class discussions of literary texts and interviewed teachers and students in order to compare participants behaviors during discussion with their beliefs about the goals and outcomes of class discussion. After conducting content analysis with the interview transcripts, the researcher conducted conversation analysis with the discussion transcripts. Finally, cross-case discourse analysis was conducted to examine rhetorical moves related to classroom interaction patterns including questioning, helping, correcting, directing, and attributing the agency or authority behind a contribution. Analysis suggested that teacher-directed interaction patterns were prevalent even in classrooms where authentic discussion behaviors, such as extended student-to-student interactions and participants challenges of each others ideas, were encouraged. The researcher proposed that teachers attempting to engage students in authentic discussion should consider their goals and methods for classroom discussion on a continuum between I-R-E sessions and natural conversation and should teach and model strategies for engaging in authentic discussion.

An investigation of parents’ and children’s beliefs of early literacy acquisition from a cross-cultural perspective (Education Papers posted on March 27th, 2013 )

IT has been reported that the cultural-historical experiences of ethnic group members can play a role in the literacy beliefs of those members. Socioeconomic conditions can also influence the belief system of the groups constituents. This study investigated parents and childrens beliefs pertaining to early literacy acquisition as related to the ethnicity and socioeconomic status SES) of the participants. The objectives were to determine a) the differential patterns regarding emergent literacy and traditional skills approaches as they interact with ethnicity and SES and b) the correspondence between parents and childrens beliefs about literacy acquisition. The study was conducted with 152 parents 38 low-income Hispanic, 38 middle-income Hispanic, 38 low-income African-American, and 38 middle-income African-American) and 36 of their 3-, 4-, or 5-year-old children 18 male and 18 female). The parents were asked to check those items with which they agreed on a survey that consisted of an equal number of items from the traditional skills-based and emergent literacy orientations. These responses were used to determine the differences and interaction by ethnicity and SES. The children responded to open-ended questions related to the instruction of reading and writing skills. The parents responses and childrens answers were compared to ascertain the matching parent-child dyads by ethnicity and SES. An item analysis was conducted to strengthen the internal reliability consistency coefficient of the traditional skills-based and emergent literacy scales as measured by the Cronbach Alpha. A two-way multivariate analysis of variance MANOVA) revealed a significant difference in traditional skill-based beliefs for the low-income African-American and Hispanic parents. There were no significant findings for the parents traditional skill based or emergent literacy beliefs based on ethnicity, for the interaction between ethnicity and SES, or for the relationship between parents and childrens literacy beliefs by ethnicity and SES. IT can be concluded that low-income African-American and Hispanic parents believe in the traditional skills approach, indicating that these parents find it necessary for children to have sufficient school readiness skills prior to learning to read or write. In addition, the parent and child dyads had a strong tendency toward emergent literacy beliefs.

Student and teacher discourse during whole-class discussions of literature (Education Papers posted on March 27th, 2013 )

Influenced by ongoing attention in the field of English Education to the multiple ways language is used to make meaning and to communicate, some teachers have adopted discussion models that promote natural conversations rather than question-and-answer sessions. Authentic classroom discussion may be achieved when teachers foster approaches that are more conversational than the predominant classroom interaction pattern of initiation-response-evaluation I-R-E). Authentic classroom discussions involve shared power among participants whereby students are encouraged to verbalize independent opinions and to affect the direction and discourse of the discussion. This study examined the complex discourse interactions impacting discussion in classrooms in which teachers attempt to share control with students. The overall goal of the study was to identify characteristics of discourse interactions in selected high school English classrooms in which teachers were explicitly attempting to engage students in authentic discussion of literary texts. To characterize the discourse patterns in these classrooms, the researcher focused data gathering and analysis on the congruence between participants assumptions and behaviors during discussions. Similarities and differences between semantic, syntactic, and turn taking patterns were examined, and analysis suggested ways that these patterns may impact implicit power structures in classrooms. Using qualitative methods, the researcher observed whole-class discussions of literary texts and interviewed teachers and students in order to compare participants behaviors during discussion with their beliefs about the goals and outcomes of class discussion. After conducting content analysis with the interview transcripts, the researcher conducted conversation analysis with the discussion transcripts. Finally, cross-case discourse analysis was conducted to examine rhetorical moves related to classroom interaction patterns including questioning, helping, correcting, directing, and attributing the agency or authority behind a contribution. Analysis suggested that teacher-directed interaction patterns were prevalent even in classrooms where authentic discussion behaviors, such as extended student-to-student interactions and participants challenges of each others ideas, were encouraged. The researcher proposed that teachers attempting to engage students in authentic discussion should consider their goals and methods for classroom discussion on a continuum between I-R-E sessions and natural conversation and should teach and model strategies for engaging in authentic discussion.