16 December 2009


I think its time for some closure on Educational Research. Through talking to several people, I have drawn the conclusion that Ed. Research is one of the most stressful classes in the program. Well good. At least it's over. In the words of another professor, "let the stress ooze out of your fingertips, use the words "I" and "me" freely". It looks like the tone of the current writing class is going to be much more conversational, so I thought it would be appropriate to have a (probably one-way) conversation about Research. Let's finalize that and get back to the casual style of writing with which we are more comfortable, shall we?

I think I'll just post the summaries sent to me by my colleagues about their presentations in a nice numbered list with my comments following:

  1. "My paper was about pacing calendars.  Teachers and administrators are in agreement that they want pacing calendars but would like them to be flexible documents that allow teachers to do what is best for their students yet gives them direction in accomplishing all the state standards before the testing window in April. ~R.G." This presentation had a great opening, in which she took many large books and dropped them on the table and reminded us what it was like to be a new, overwhelmed teacher.

  2. "Title:  The ADD Learner The research took a closer look at children with ADD and the challenges each faces when trying to learn and survive in the educational environment. The study looked at people who are affected by ADD and how parents, teachers and family can have a huge impact on the success or failure of the person with ADD. ~T.B."  I learned so much from this one! There are so many issues that students with ADD deal with each day. Many of the symptoms were unknown to me previous to this class. Hopefully, I'll be able to recognize them now and offer some assistance.

  3. "Student Nutrition or a lack of it is a large part of our Discipline problems.  Google the Healthy Schools Program and read a little.  The schools that have done a whole school concept have been extremely successful. How much better could our schools be if our Professional Development was on Nutrition and Fitness and the teachers, staff and students share this together with parent education.  I would rather spend time teaching than dealing with the behavior problems we are dealing with now. ~S.T." This one took a really hard look at the nutrition programs of our schools and made me re-think some of the choice I make in my own life. I also loved the "fake food" that looked exceptionally real

  4. "Homework in Elementary Schools -- While the current research CLEARLY states that there is no academic benefit to giving elementary students homework, EVERY teacher interviewed uses it regularly. Conclusion: teachers assign homework out of tradition and not based on available research. ~K.R." Even though this one was specifically about elementary school, I did a lot of soul searching about homework in my own classroom. I wondered, WHY do I give homework? Is it necessary? Is there a correlation in my class between student achievement and homework? Interesting!

  5. "Mine was Cell Phones in School. Basically, it was looking at the pros and cons of using cell phones at school. I also looked at using cell phones for technology use in the classroom. ~K.B." If you've read this blog for very long you know exactly how I feel about this one! I embrace technology integration, especially cellphones. Its the one piece of technology that nearly 100% of students have, even if they have no internet access, they have a phone.

  6. "All things are difficult before they become easy."- Thomas Fuller "This quote best describes English language learners and writing skills. With a variety of effective teaching methods available it all comes down to each individual English language learner, meaningful experiences, and daily writing practices. ~R.J." I really had to take a hard look at the way in which I deal with ELL and ESL students in my class. I constantly wonder, am I being too easy on them? Am I using skills which will enable them to be more successful? Or am I JUST enabling?

  7. "The topic of my presentation was the motivation of Pre-Advanced Placement Students.  Here's a run down of what I found the most important to me:
    1) Students can't achieve without motivation.  Doesn't happen.
    2) Giftedness isn't just genetics, so you can gain it or lose it based on your environment.
    3) It's not about stopping apathy, but correcting the state prior to apathy.
    4) The three main sources of motivation identified by the students were parents, college, and accomplishment.
    5)  The three main sources of apathy identified by the students were not understanding, when hard work doesn't pay off, and low grades. (Remember they're perfectionists...)
    My favorite quote due to its percise truth: "I've been taught that if you work hard, it will happen."  We teach this to our kids all the time, but do we really teach them what to do if it doesn't? ~S.A." Yikes. What do we do when students work hard and they don't get all they had hoped for? Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. I've used those words in conversation many times since hearing this presentation. Thanks for good information. I'm rethinking how I treat my honors and non-honors kids.

  8. "What Teacher strategies helped you learn Spanish Fast. Students were interviewed to find the most effective strategies that helped them learn the language fast. They were Span. III students. The most repetive pattern was repetion and a descriptive teacher. ~Z.B." This one had the best video, made by students, I had seen in quite some time. Really enjoyed seeing the fruits of a caring teacher's labor.

All of the presentations, even the ones not listed here, were top notch. I am in a class with some really high achievers. That really puts the pressure on my to be on my game. Thanks to all of you who responded with summaries. And to those of you who weren't able to, thanks also! This class and the people contained in it have already made a tremendous impact on me, both personally and professionally. I'm looking forward to growing both as a colleague and as an instructor. Keep up the good work guys!

As always, thanks for reading.

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