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Master's Thesis (Action Research Report)

The Effects of Collaboration on Teacher Empowerment

Available from: St. Catherine University

Action research

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Abstract/Notes: The purpose of this action research project was to measure the effects that collaborative curriculum planning had on three early childhood classrooms in a private Montessori school. The study population included six early childhood teachers who collectively designed a curriculum and helped collect data for the first seven weeks of the intervention. Each participant filled out a teacher feedback form which was based on Spreitzer’s (1995) psychological empowerment scale to measure changes in perceptions of four different aspects of empowerment: meaning, competence, self-determination, and impact. The primary researcher also analyzed data from individual teacher journals, notes from weekly discussions, and observations in all three classrooms. Analysis of the data indicated that collaborative curriculum planning led to a heightened sense of competence, self-determination and impact among the six participants. Further research is needed to determine the correlations between collaborative curriculum planning and student engagement.

Language: English

Published: St. Paul, Minnesota, 2017

Doctoral Dissertation

Language Learning and Technology in and for a Global World

Available from: University of California eScholarship

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Abstract/Notes: More than ever before, schools and societies are looking to educate children in and for a global world. In the United States, these efforts have taken the form of increased interest in incorporating global or international perspectives into educational curricula, programs, and policy over the past decade (Hayden, 2011; Parker, 2011; U.S. Department of Education, 2012). Despite this interest in what I call global education, ambiguity remains regarding what it means to provide an education for a globalized world, both in terms of its underlying motivations and its ultimate execution in practice (Ortloff, Shah, Lou, & Hamilton, 2012).Two components often placed at the heart of these efforts in the United States—second/foreign language and digital technology—both reflect and contribute to understandings of global education. This study, rooted in an ecological theorization of discourse, asked how different school actors (teachers, administrators, parents, and students) position these two components in education today, how these positionings differ across groups, and what this means for understandings of global education. These questions were investigated through two complementary approaches: a survey distributed to a large cross-section of schools around the United States and an in-depth focal case study of one school. The survey was distributed to teachers, students, parents, and administrators at a broad range of U.S. secondary schools and assessed perceptions of second/foreign language and digital technology in education today. The focal case study focused on two secondary classrooms at a multilingual immersion K-8 school in the western US over a four-month period; data collection included field notes, analytic memos, and audio/video recordings from participant observations as well as multiple rounds of interviews with five students, four teachers, two administrators, and three parents. Data were analyzed using iterative rounds of inductive and deductive coding (Miles & Huberman, 1994; Saldaña, 2009) and critical discourse analysis (Blommaert, 2005; Fairclough, 2001).Findings suggest that second/foreign language and digital technology were positioned in a range of different ways that had concrete ramifications for schools and that built up divergent understandings of global education. The survey component of the study highlighted common discourses reproduced across groups, including: second/foreign language learning as a way to promote cultural understanding and awareness as well as economic opportunity; or digital technology as a threat to learning and as an omnipresent necessity. The focal school offered a more detailed look into these different discourses and their reproduction across groups. Analysis revealed trended similarities and differences across groups. For example, even though parents, teachers, and administrators often articulated a similar understanding of second/foreign language and digital technology, parental actions suggested more alignment with economic-based understandings of these two components. These differences in how second/foreign language and digital technology should be positioned within a global education created a “battle” between parents and the focal school as well as tension within the learning environment. The impact of these discourses and battles on students was unclear: while students at times voiced the discourses that their parents, teachers, and administrators reproduced, data also suggests that students were influenced by outside sources. These findings suggest that resulting understandings of global education were multiple and divergent across school groups. Data analysis also revealed the potential that anxiety, concern, or even fear of globalization and its effects could undergird adult understandings of second/foreign language and of digital technology: beneath economic as well as cultural motivations for second/foreign language and for digital technology learning resided trepidation about a changing world, changing identities, and the unknowns that lay ahead. This suggests that, underneath multiple and complex discourses, there can be a singular discourse that manifests in different ways, nuancing understandings of ecological approaches to discourse. It also suggests that different understandings of global education could stem from the same place: fear or anxiety in the face of a globalizing world. These findings highlight the need for a global education that equips students to navigate a changing world, its challenges, and any potential fears that may arise from these changes and challenges. The study concludes with a pedagogical framework built around discourse analysis that could offer students tools to understand their globalizing world.

Language: English

Published: Berkeley, California, 2017

Doctoral Dissertation

An ethnographic investigation of a teenage culture in a Montessori junior high school

Available from: ProQuest Dissertations and Theses

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Abstract/Notes: This dissertation presents an ethnographic study of a teenage culture in a Montessori junior high school. Ethnographic research usually includes both interviews and observations. The standard methodological procedure is to first elicit from cultural participants their perceptions of meanings; then, second, this elicited information provides an analytical framework with which to identify and interpret observed enactments of patterned behavior. This study describes the first only; that is, an array of ethnographic elicitations and an analysis of them. The initial task was to develop interview procedures suitable for young people between the ages of eleven and thirteen. Three techniques were developed and employed to assemble a data base of cultural information. Analysis of that data base revealed the importance of two organizational principles in terms of which the junior high students conducted their daily cultural affairs: "personality and moods" and "trust". Their affairs took place within and between friendship groups. A friendship group consisted of those who shared various degrees of compatible "personalities and moods" and who could be variously trusted not to betray private friendship information. The students recognized a range of several types of friends from the least trusted "people you know" to the most trusted "best friends". These students daily set up situations of trust. They daily tested each other's willingness to hold information as confidential and thereby succeeded through the friendship ranks based on their mutual compatibility of "personality and moods" and on their willingness to trust and be trusted. Others who were "disliked" or hated had incompatible "personalities" and could never trust one another. They either ignored one another or had occasional fights.

Language: English

Published: Buffalo, New York, 1986

Article

✓ Peer Reviewed

Literacy in Early Childhood Settings in New Zealand: An Examination of Teachers' Beliefs and Practices

Available from: SAGE Journals

Publication: Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, vol. 31, no. 2

Pages: 31-41

Australasia, Australia and New Zealand, Literacy, New Zealand, Oceania, Perceptions

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Abstract/Notes: Recent research indicates that children develop the emergent knowledge and skills that lead to formal literacies in their homes and early childhood settings long before school entry. The research evidence is clear that emergent literacy needs to be actively encouraged in the early years, if children are to have optimum chances of learning to read at school. In New Zealand, there are only a few studies of how literacy is promoted and practised in early childhood settings. This paper examines how 107 teachers in a range of early childhood settings believe that they promote literacy and their reflections on the ways in which Te Whāriki (the national curriculum) influences that practice. The implications for promoting literacy in early childhood settings are explored.

Language: English

DOI: 10.1177/183693910603100206

ISSN: 1836-9391, 1839-5961

Article

Public Montessori Elementary Schools: A Delicate Balance

Available from: ProQuest

Publication: Montessori Life, vol. 20, no. 4

Pages: 26-30

⛔ No DOI found

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Abstract/Notes: Public Montessori elementary schools have two challenges: They strive to achieve a child-centered Montessori environment and must also address the demands of state and federal requirements developed for more traditional educational settings. This study analyzes how schools were operating on both fronts. On the one hand, the study measured the degree to which schools reported they were living up to the ideals of establishing truly Montessori environments within public schools (based on characteristics identified by the American Montessori Society as essential for the success of Montessori schools in the public sector). On the other hand, the study also gauged public Montessori elementary school leaders' perceptions of the greatest challenges facing their schools. This study incorporates public Montessori elementary school leaders' descriptions of their schools on several dimensions. First, participants provided basic school characteristics, such as admission criteria, enrollment information, and enrollment trends. They followed with Montessori practices and attitudes, outlining teacher background and classroom structure. Next, testing practices and attitudes toward standardized testing were described. Finally, they enumerated the greatest challenges facing their schools. (Contains 5 tables and 3 figures.)

Language: English

ISSN: 1054-0040

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