Tag Archive: TeacherTraining

Mentoring: A grounded theory study examining how the relationship between the mentor and mentee becomes mutually beneficial (Education Papers posted on May 13th, 2014 )

This grounded theory qualitative study examined the mentee/mentor relationship between five first year teachers and their five assigned mentors in a school district in Central Florida. To generate a model that seeks to explain how and why a mentee/mentor relationship changes and evolves from that of a single directional stream of information to that of a bidirectional stream which benefits the professional development of both parties, the grounded theory approach was utilized. Three forms of data were collected: interviews, focus groups, and participant journaling. This data along with artifacts and documents describing the school setting and the use of mentors to support first year teachers allowed for a detailed understanding of what needs to be in place to promote successful relationships among first year teachers and their assigned mentors. The research revealed that in order for the relationship to provide professional growth benefits to both parties a number of factors must be present. The participants must commit to the mentoring process, invest sufficient time for meetings and activities, and become comfortable with each other through honest, respectful and open interactions. It is imperative that school administration thoughtfully pair participants and provide time to facilitate the relationship.

Hearing their voices: examining teacher perceptions during the implementation of an instructional policy (Education Papers posted on May 13th, 2014 )

The purpose of this study is to share teachers’ perceptions of their and other stakeholders’ roles and influence during the implementation of an instructional policy, the Targeted Reading Intervention (TRI), and its success. The TRI is a professional development (PD) program that uses a diagnostic reading model, a suggested set of reading activities, and web-based coaching to help classroom teachers deliver one-on-one instruction to struggling readers in rural, low-wealth schools in kindergarten through second grade. The desired outcome for the TRI is that it will improve teacher classroom practices and in turn, positively affect student achievement. However, in order for a change to occur, consideration must also be directed towards those involved in the implementation for, “What is actually delivered or provided under the aegis of a policy depends finally on the individual at the end of the line…” (McLaughlin, 1987, p.174). Using data collected primarily through semi-structured interviews, this qualitative study drew from both traditional and critical policy theories and analysis to determine the teachers’ perceptions of their role in policy implementation, what influence they believed they and other stakeholders may have had during implementation, and if and how they perceived the instructional policy to be successful. Results indicated teachers felt they had no voice in the creation of much policy and were often overburdened with implementing an enormous number of new instructional policies at once. However, when it came to implementing the TRI instructional policy, teachers felt differently, citing the high level of support, immediate student-centered results, and opportunities to make their own instructional decisions. Teachers’ perceptions of success revolved primarily around students’ achievement scores and their levels of motivation, confidence, and independence; they also cited growth in their own practice as a sign of the TRI’s success. These results serve as a reminder to policy-makers that in order for an instructional policy to be successful, it should include capacity-building and relationship-building efforts that lead to change, empower teachers, and validate their influence.

Learning to assess and assessing to learn: A descriptive study of a district-wide mathematics assessment implementation (Education Papers posted on May 13th, 2014 )

In todays mathematics education, there is an increasing emphasis on students understanding of the mathematics set forth in standards documents such as the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, 2000) and, most recently, the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics National Governors Association for Best Practices & Council of Chief State School Officers, 2010). Widespread adoption of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics CCSSM) within the United States establishes, for the first time, a common set of coherent, focused standards built on “research-based learning progressions detailing what is known today about how students mathematical knowledge, skill, and understanding develop over time” NGA Center & CCSSO, 2010, p. 4). The CCSSM sets grade-specific standards for the majority of the nations teachers and students, standards that students are expected to achieve with understanding. This requires that teachers assess whether students have developed an understanding of the mathematics set forth in these standards. Although the standards are well defined within the CCSSM, methods of identifying and meeting the needs of students who do not meet or who exceed these grade-specific expectations are not defined, and therefore it is left for individual teachers to identify ways to do so. This embedded multiple-case study explores the individual and collective experiences of a group of third-grade teachers as they worked to implement a district-initiated mathematics formative assessment and intervention process. The yearlong investigation focused on third-grade teams in two schools, their implementation of the process, and its impact on student learning. This study was designed within the context of engaged scholarship, a participative form of research that leverages the different kinds of knowledge of key stakeholders in studying complex problems. Teacher and administrator interviews, student assessment results, and professional development documents were analyzed to better understand experiences of the implementation process, influences on instructional practice, and impact on student understanding. Findings from this study suggest that these teachers faced at least eight challenges as they implemented the formative assessment practices. These challenges are described with reference to barriers identified by Cizek 2010) and clearly must be addressed in order for teachers to embrace the type of formative assessment increasingly called for in research, policy, and practice. Study findings have several implications for efforts to support teachers implementation of a formative assessment and intervention process. These findings are discussed along with directions for future research.

Examining perceptions over the effectiveness of professional development and available resources on the Common Core State Standards implementation in Arkansas (Education Papers posted on May 13th, 2014 )

The purpose of this qualitative case study is to examine the perceptions of teachers and curriculum specialists over the effectiveness of professional development and available resources of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) implementation process in Arkansas. Arkansas divided the implementation process into three stages: Phase I implemented grades K-2 during the 2011-2012 school year, Phase II will implement grades 3-8 during the 2012-2013 school year, and Phase III will implement grades 9-12 during the 2013-2014 school year. The qualitative case study investigated the effectiveness of professional development and available resources of the implementation process of Phase I by conducting semi-structured interviews with teachers and surveys with Regional Service Education Cooperative curriculum specialists. Participants who partook in the semi-structured interviews reflected upon the professional development and resources that were extended to them before and throughout the implementation process, as well as their personal implementation experiences. The participants included five randomly chosen teachers who implemented Phase I during the 2011-2012 school year and taught for a minimum of three years. Surveys were collected on the same topics through curriculum coaches who were responsible for delivering much of the Common Core State Standards professional development. Of the 15 Arkansas Regional Service Education Cooperatives, seven agreed to participate; therefore, the participants will include the literacy and math curriculum specialist from each of those seven cooperatives.

From TPACK-in-Action workshops to English classrooms: CALL competencies developed and adopted into classroom teaching (Education Papers posted on April 12th, 2014 )

As researchers in the CALL teacher education field noted, teachers play the pivotal role in the language learning classrooms because they are the gate keepers who decide whether technology or CALL has a place in their teaching, and they select technology to support their teaching, which determines what CALL activities language learners are exposed to and how learners use them Hubbard 2008). While a considerable amount of research related to CALL teacher education has focused on teachers attitudes, beliefs, and confidence regarding CALL e.g., Kamhi-Stein, 2000; Kassen & Higgins, 1997; Lam, 2000; Peters, 2006; van Olphen, 2007), there are very few studies that have investigated the impact of CALL teacher education programs Desjardins & Peters, 2007; Hegelheimer, 2006; Kessler, 2007; Kilickaya, 2009). These studies reported that teachers confirmed their learning and adoption of CALL into their classroom teaching; however, the findings are based on self-report data, which are insufficient for capturing actual classrooms CALL integration. Moreover, the Call for Papers in the January 2013 issue of the Language Learning and Technology Journal calls for research in CALL teacher education to “address another crucial factor affecting the degree and quality of implementation: teachers CALL competencies and knowledge base” p. 145). In view of the need to bridge the gap and to develop a fuller picture of how teachers integrate CALL in the classrooms, the present study used an observation instrument based on the TPACK framework Mishra & Koehler, 2006) to investigate the impact of TPACK-in-Action workshops had on English teachers in Taiwan from four different perspectives: whether the CALL workshops 1) met participants expectations in helping them integrate CALL; 2) contributed to participants perception change toward CALL and CALL integration; 3) helped participants develop their TPACK competencies; and 4) helped participants adopt the learned CALL competencies into their classrooms. The 15-hour TPACK-in-Action CALL workshops were conducted as part of the teacher professional development for 24 elementary English Teachers in Taiwan. The TPACK-in-Action model Tai & Chuang, 2012), developed specifically to help English teachers integrate CALL, was employed to guide the design of the workshops. Situated in the mixed methods research design with the guidance of the TPACK framework, qualitative data through reflections, interviews, and observations, and quantitative data through surveys and reflections, were collected before, during, and after the CALL workshops to help identify the impact of the TPACK-in-Action workshops. Findings of the present study showed that the TPACK-in-Action CALL workshops had a strong and positive impact on elementary English teachers in Taiwan. In addition to helping them showing positive perception changes toward CALL integration, it was observed that the workshops helped participants develop CALL competencies, such as integrating online materials, using cloud computing for student interaction, selecting appropriate technology for content teaching, and matching the affordance of technology to their instructional goals and pedagogy as well as adopt the learned competencies into classroom teaching. Findings indicated that observations were found to be effective in investigating the impact of the TPACK-in-Action CALL workshops. Not only were observation data triangulated with self-report data to prevent potential discrepancies from happening, they helped identify teachers CALL competencies and visualize their CALL integration. In sum, this dissertation contributed to providing empirical evidence on the effect of using observation as a measure to understand how teachers integrate CALL in their classrooms and adding a new perspective while investigating CALL teacher education. It also has theoretical implication for CALL teacher education research and pedagogical implications for CALL teacher education practice.

An Evaluation of Two English Language Learner (ELL) Instructional Models at School District ABC: Pull-in and Push-out (Education Papers posted on April 11th, 2014 )

Providing academic assistance to English Language Learners (ELLs) is varied and often ineffective. The purpose of this causal-comparative study was to determine if there was a relationship between 9th grade students’ performance on the High School Graduation Exam (HSGE) in reading and language and the Push-in and Pull-out models of instruction. Guided by Cummin’s theory, which holds that there is a common underlying proficiency between languages, archived data were collected from 106 9th grade ELL students over a 1 month period using the HSGE score sheets. An exploratory data analysis was implemented to compute descriptive statistics for each comparison group and 2 t tests of statistical significance were conducted. Results indicate that there was no significant difference by instructional model type in ELL performance on the HSGE in either reading or language. A project was designed in the form of professional development training for school district teachers to explore research-based interventions that align with state and district standards. These trainings will assist teachers in developing skills and expanding knowledge that will provide them with a better understanding of how to assess an ELL’s language development.

Preservice teachers’ knowledge and perceptions of effective behavior management strategies (Education Papers posted on April 11th, 2014 )

This study examined student teachers’ perceptions and knowledge of behavior management strategies. A questionnaire that included questions about broad behavior management techniques, behavioral learning theory, and behavior management strategies related to behavioral learning theory was given to sixty-one student teacher candidates at a large Midwestern university. Results indicated those students surveyed had a moderate level of knowledge about behavioral learning theory and common management practices. No significant differences in special education student teachers’ versus general education student teachers’ knowledge of behavior management strategies were found, nor were there significant differences between secondary and elementary education majors’ knowledge of behavior management. Student teachers felt confident in handling most misbehaviors, but felt less confident in handling aggression and violence. Field experiences such as student teaching experiences were cited as the main source of behavior management strategies. Implications of these results for training and practice are discussed.

Assessing the effect of a behavior management course on special education teacher candidates’ behavior management knowledge (Education Papers posted on March 27th, 2013 )

It is essential for teacher candidates to be knowledgeable in behavior management, but the most effective method of training teacher candidates’ in this area is unknown. In this study a behavior management course, a common method for training teacher candidates in behavior management, is evaluated. An Interactive Teaching Assessment was developed to measure participants’ knowledge of behavior management in a behavior management course and compared to participants’ knowledge in this area in a control condition. The methods, results, implications, and steps for future research in this area are discussed.

Critical elements and barriers to learning online: As identified in transition graduate coursework (Education Papers posted on March 27th, 2013 )

There is a critical need to identify effective delivery methods to increase the availability and impact of transition teacher preparation programs on knowledge and practices. The purpose of this research was to determine if the transition online courses are a viable means to increase the accessibility of critically needed transition education to teachers nationwide. Another purpose was to identify students perceptions regarding the benefits and barriers to online learning. This study examined the perceptions of 39 graduate students enrolled in 2 transition online courses offered in Spring 06. A mixed methods approach utilized an online survey, and focus group interviews to identify practitioners perspectives of the effectiveness of the online transition coursework. Students identified benefits that included flexibility, opportunity to interact with students and experts from various geographic regions, and for some students, an improved quality of learning. The most frequently identified barrier was that the coursework was time consuming. Other disadvantages included missing the face-to-face interaction, less access to professor, and technology issues. Overall, the students responses were varied; some students reported a better learning experience compared to face-to-face courses, some said it was the same, and some indicated they would have preferred the face-to-face format. Online education offers cause for optimism for improving transition practices. Students commented that the transition knowledge and skills they gained from the course was practical information that they were able to apply to current situations and programs. Students offered examples of the impact the courses had already had on their practices including improved IEP planning and implementation, knowledge and use of transition assessments, and working with families. Students perception of their online experience is vital information for online instructors. Online instructors can use this feedback to enhance teacher/student interaction, and to modify course design and organization to improve students learning experience.

Assessing the effect of a behavior management course on special education teacher candidates’ behavior management knowledge (Education Papers posted on March 27th, 2013 )

It is essential for teacher candidates to be knowledgeable in behavior management, but the most effective method of training teacher candidates’ in this area is unknown. In this study a behavior management course, a common method for training teacher candidates in behavior management, is evaluated. An Interactive Teaching Assessment was developed to measure participants’ knowledge of behavior management in a behavior management course and compared to participants’ knowledge in this area in a control condition. The methods, results, implications, and steps for future research in this area are discussed.