Week 3 Classroom Community an

Peer Response 1

(Mat)

Learning more about action research has caused me to reflect on how my classroom can really be a type of laboratory. I have underestimated the potential for action research as a means to improve classroom community and skills practice. It provokes me to think of the many questions that I have and address them in a methodical way.

Drawing from instruction from our first video in this module (ACE 2020, I have understood that the main role of action research is to answer questions in a very specific environment whether it be a classroom or a school. Many times when researching something, one can only find extremely broad topics or studies that were executed under circumstances from one’s own. Action research provides the most tailored information possible since it is data coming straight from your own classroom, or school.

As mentioned in the previous paragraph the main strength of Action Research is that it is laser-focused on the circumstances, participants, and situations at hand. They can give very specific insight to solve very specific problems in a given situation. This being said, they are not typically studies that are extremely beneficial or replicable in another environment. They require a lot of work and don’t necessarily apply to the situations of other people that are desirous to find research to help with their specific problems since there will always be factors that are different and not accounted for.

Reference:

American College of Education. (2021). Research Methods Module 3: Defining Action Research. Canvas. https://ace.instructure.com/courses/1830812/external_tools/118428

Peer Response 2

(Alyssa)

Action research has offered me a way to reflect on my practices, dive into inquiry regarding how I support the learners in my classroom, and discover new information about how to best support them through research and data collection. In reflecting on our Action Research assignment, I’ve been looking into the benefits and potential negative impacts of full inclusion with special education students. As a teacher in a resource room, this has always been a hot topic for me as many of my students receive the bulk of their academic instruction in the resource room on a modified curriculum yet are still expected to take grade level assessments. Action research offers me an opportunity to dive into matters that are most important to me in the education field and develop a stance on how I can use what I learn in my classroom or at the school level.

Action research in educational practice has an important role in selecting evidence-based practices to be used in a classroom. Action research is an in-depth way to gather information on a pressing, important topic and the results from this can lead to best practices to meet students. In thinking about my action research assignment, if the research I conduct shows that my students will best benefit from a full-inclusion model, I will be able to select the most appropriate evidence-based practices to support this approach.

In a study conducted by Aldridge, et.al. (2021), a schoolwide action-research collaborative lead to changes in instructional design for all staff, creating a more unified staff in their teaching techniques. This study took three years of action research by the administrators and staff, which is a time-consuming task. A challenge in this is that staff are constantly changing at schools which does require a bit of teaching for new team members. However, information gathered in action research is beneficial because it is directly related to the school population and can assist in finding solutions to very specific challenges or situations. However, as noted in the study by Aldridge, et. al (2021), the results were based on the schoolwide population at their building and therefore may not have been applicable to another school with a different population.

Reference

Aldridge, J. M., Rijken, P. E., & Fraser, B. J. (2021). Improving learning environments through whole-school collaborative action research. Learning Environments Research, 24(2), 183–205. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10984-020-09318-x

Peer Response 3

(Hope)

In my position, I can influence the reading-writing program by collaborating with the school literacy team. The literacy team meets each month to talk about what is going on in classrooms and to see if we are on track to meet our school improvement goals. Another way that I could influence the program is to participate in professional development that is offered to support ELA. For example, The Writing Revolution book study and PLC that our school did last year.

One strategy that I could use to help strengthen the reading-writing connection with shared oral communication is the implementation of Socratic Seminars. Having students explore and examine text with a purpose is beneficial. In my classroom, students use the first read to list wonderings and things that they may not understand, such as an unfamiliar word. The second read is used to answer guiding questions provided by the teacher. Then, the students have a Socratic Seminar to collaborate. They share their wonderings and discuss their answers to the guiding questions. They can also discuss what the unfamiliar words mean and use context clues to come up with a definition that they all agree on. After the Socratic Seminar, I give the students a related writing prompt. They can use their original notes from their 1st and 2nd read and they can refer to their notes from the seminar. The students love to use this strategy.

Writing should be an integral part of literacy programs at schools because it helps to further cement concepts by allowing students to organize their thoughts and put things in their own words. As cited by Yildiz and Akdag (2021), “A study carried out by Emig, detected that writing to learn was different from other components of communication such as speaking, listening, and reading, and revealed that writing to learn was more effective in learning” (p. 197).

One important way to support language development is to build student vocabulary. Understanding vocabulary helps students to communicate orally and in writing. As Swanson et al. (2017) mentioned, “to improve students’ comprehension of text so that students can ultimately acquire content knowledge, it is essential for teachers to provide explicit vocabulary instruction and teach students independent word learning strategies (e.g., reading around the word)” (p. 92).

Swanson, E., Vaughn, S., & Wexler, J. (2017). Enhancing adolescents’ comprehension of text by building vocabulary knowledge. Teaching Exceptional Children, 50(2), 84–94.

Yildiz, E., & Akdag, S. (2021). The effects of cooperative learning and writing to learn applications on academic achievement. International Journal of Progressive Education, 17(1), 196–209.

Peer Response 4

(Michael)

In my new role as Dean of Students for a small rural school, I am in a unique position to influence the reading-writing program at the school. I do not do so as directly as I did as a World History teacher, but I do have an impact on a broader cross-section of the student population. I am able to stress through intervention and discipline the importance of attending class, and paying attention while there. I also have the ability to minimize out of class time when determining consequences for low-level offenses. I believe that this can impact the program as well as the overall academic focus of the school, albeit in a small way. I am not in a position that directly impacts the student’s reading or writing, but I do try to create an environment where that learning can take place.

I do try to strengthen the reading-writing connection through the strategy of Modeling Language. This is a technique recommended to caregivers of younger children. I always try to “use language that includes rich vocabulary, abstract words and concepts, and a variety of grammatical forms” (Goodson, Barbara & Layzer, Carolyn. 2010. p.9) I have used this technique both as a teacher and as the Dean. I not only model it by using a large vocabulary, but I also try to stop any time I hear a word that is unfamiliar. An example would be if I am showing a video, or documentary in class I would stop it and ask, “What was that word?” Then we would look it up and use it in a sentence. I wanted the kids to know that it’s ok to not know vocabulary, but you have to capture the word when that happens.

The issues with writing has always been a particular focus for me. Early in my career we did a lot of cross-curriculum work with reading, but for social sciences, the writing is the only way to demonstrate knowledge. It is the real drawback to multiple choice testing. The ability to explain succinctly way something happened is not gained through rote memorization. That’s important, but not being able to put the knowledge in your head on to paper is a huge detriment to students’ education. I always felt that the focus was too one-sided, the reading is valuable, but without the writing piece, a lot of knowledge stays locked away.

The support for the reading-writing program is the best way to support language development and the role of language in our school. We have to maintain at every level an attitude that words are important and that we should all try to improve or vocabulary, and the use of that vocabulary in written correspondence is important as well. The support for language development originates with the principal and permeates through the entire faculty and school.

References

Goodson, Barbara & Layzer, Carolyn. (2010). Learning to talk and listen: An oral language resource for early childhood caregivers. National Institute for Literacy. p. 1-14 http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED511969.pdf


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