Journal of Research in Childhood Education Vol. 18, No. 1, Fall 2003
Multiage Teachers’ Beliefs and Practices
This study examines the instructional and organizational practices of multiage teachers in the intermediate elementary grades and the beliefs that guide their practices. Qualitative case study design was used to construct individual portraits and a cross-case analysis of four teachers in multiage classrooms serving students in grades 3 through 5. Data collected via interviews and classroom observations revealed four categories of beliefs to be salient across the cases: differentiated instruction, social collaboration, flexible grouping, and student interest. Other commonalities among the cases included team teaching, a separation by grade level for one content area, and identifying the role of the teacher as a facilitator of the learning process. Also, three of the four teachers had special education backgrounds, and all teachers were instrumental in initiating multiage programs in their districts.
The Impact of Engagement in Large-Scale Assessment on Teachers’ Professional Development: The Emergent Literacy Baseline Assessment Project
-Kyriakides and Kelly
This paper presents findings of an investigation into the impact of teachers’ engagement in the Emergent Literacy Baseline Assessment (ELBA) project upon their professional development. The ELBA project was designed to identify Cypriot students’ literacy skills upon entry to primary school. A secondary purpose was to enable pre-primary teachers to assess students using effective and developmentally appropriate methods. Findings support the importance of establishing links between teachers’ professional development and assessment reform policy by providing teachers the opportunity to be actively involved in the development, implementation, and evaluation of system-wide assessment initiatives. For the purposes of this study, 132 teachers received training and then they administered the ELBA performance test to their students. Self-assessment questionnaires and a focus-group interview provided data about the perceived impact of ELBA upon teachers’ professional development. Arguments in favor of engaging teachers in large-scale tests in order to improve their professional skills in assessment and suggestions for further research are provided.
A Profile of Elementary School Teachers Involved in a Professional Development School
-Everett, Tichenor, and Heins
This exploratory study identifies the characteristics of elementary school teachers who were involved in professional development school (PDS) activities at one PDS site. It describes 42 teachers’ level of involvement in the PDS partnership using both a subjective (respondents’ self-report) and an objective (university team’s assessment, based on the number and types of PDS activities in which teachers had engaged) measure of involvement. Using survey data collected at the end of the second year of the PDS’s implementation, the researchers calculated univariate descriptive statistics, cross-tabulations, and correlation coefficients to profile who participated in the PDS and the extent to which they did so. They found that, on both measures of level of involvement, most of the teachers were somewhat or highly involved in PDS activities. While the two indicators are moderately, positively, and significantly related to each other, they yielded different results when they were analyzed in relation to four other sets of variables. The findings point to the need to explore more fully the characteristics of those teachers who do participate in PDS partnerships in order to develop more effective strategies to involve teachers in such collaborative arrangements and to achieve PDS purposes.
A Teacher’s Use of the Environment To Facilitate the Social Development of Children
In the mid-1600s, when schooling became compulsory and the public support of schools was mandated, its socialization function was forthright. Curriculum and instruction were designed for both academic and social development. Today, in the morass of high-stakes testing and the all-encompassing emphasis upon academic achievement, socialization via schooling is masked. In this case study, the efforts of a 4th/5th-grade teacher were examined. The environment the teacher created was viewed in relation to the teacher’s declared goals of socially developing students, Erikson’s industry versus inferiority crisis, and empowerment via shared authority by teacher and student.
Transition From Elementary to Middle School and Change in Motivation: An Examination of Chinese Students
This study examines whether a change in motivation occurred from 5th-grade elementary school to 6th-grade middle level school for students in the People’s Republic of China, as had been identified among U.S. students. A total of 260 Chinese students, 138 in the 5th grade and 122 in the 6th grade, participated in the study. The students’ motivation was examined using the Patterns of Adaptive Learning Survey in the following aspects: personal achievement goal orientations, perceptions of the classroom goal structure, academic efficacy, academic self-handicapping strategies, and cultural dissonance between home and school. While no significant difference was reported between male and female students, significant main effects were found between students in the 5th and 6th grades. Specifically, a significant difference was found in two out of eight subcategories: performance approach goal orientation and cultural dissonance between home and school. The findings indicate that the causes of difference in the Chinese students’ motivation by grade/ school level could be different from those of their U.S. counterparts.
Copyright Association for Childhood Education International Winter 2003/2004
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