“Teacher Reflective Practice as a Response to Technical Rationalism”
by Xylecia G. Fynn-Aikins
The purpose of this dissertation was to examine how the researcher, as an African American teacher in an urban school, used reflection to inform her pedagogical practice for her second grade, African American students. In this dissertation, reflection functioned as a response to technical rationalism, an epistemology that relies solely on scientific processes, calculability, and empiricism to determine norms and prescriptions for practice. Practice that emerges solely from technical rationalism often disregards the needs of urban, African American students. Reflective pedagogical practice has long been theorized as a method to combat the Injustice Inherent in conscious rationalization. In this autoethnographic study, the researcher examined the possibilities of reflection as a response to technorationalism. Autoethnography is a research methodology that allowed her to write from a personal and self-analytical viewpoint as researcher and subject. Data was generated over a nine week academic quarter. Crystallization was used to allow for the generation of multiple genres of data, which increased opportunities for constructing meaning and examining the complexities of the research questions, as well as for discovering new aspects of one’s relationship to a topic. Through reflective dally journaling she chronicled classroom experiences and her responses to those experiences. The data was analyzed thematically. Within each theme, data was further analyzed through writing as a method of inquiry. Data was represented through poetry, narrative writing, and photographed images. The data suggested that reflective practice provides practitioners opportunities to extend beyond mere technicism in order to consider and respond to the needs, interests, and backgrounds of individual students. Through this study, the researcher found that her subjectivities, inclusive of the technorationalism, which she critiques, Influenced her reflective practice. The researcher found that reflective practice frequently provoked her 1 to confront her own assumptions, as well as change or modify both her thinking and responsiveness towards students and practice. The findings of this research indicate that reflective practice serves as a viable response to technorationalism, thus enabling the practitioner to construct meaning for practice that is not available through sole adherence to technorationalism.
Researchers will discuss topics related to cultural humility on Friday, Dec. 4, from 1-3 p.m. in room 915 as part of the Stress, Trauma, and Resilience Speaker Series.
Dec. 4 presentations:
Jesse Owen, Denver University
“Cultural Humility and Self Awareness”
Joshua Hook, University of North Texas
“Cultural Humility and Application to the Counseling Relationship”
Cirleen DeBlaere and Donnie Davis, Georgia State University
The College of Education and Human Development’s Center for the Study of Stress, Trauma, and Resilience is to facilitate multidisciplinary approaches to produce compelling models for understanding and coping with stress that can be applied to real-world settings, such as education, parenting, couples and families, military and sports. The purpose of the speaker series is to provide a series of talks that can catalyze research collaboration and community partnerships. These talks focus on topics that align with our core interest in basic and applied research on stress in a variety of contexts.
Middle School English Teachers’ Experiences with Educational Reforms and the Reasons Why They Stay
by Sarah Vogt Klein
This study seeks to answer the question: Why do teachers remain in the profession in light of current challenges brought on by educational reforms and negative depictions from mainstream media? I frame this case study (Merriam, 1988) in theories of sensemaking (Maitliss & Chamblis, 2014; Weick, 1995) and critical pedagogy (Freire, 1970; Giroux, 2011). I use a sensemaking lens to explore and make sense of how teachers have experienced and interpreted educational reforms and then examine the reasons why they persist in the profession. I use critical pedagogy to examine the ways in which teachers’ voices have been silenced by the dominant culture among the educational reforms and how this silencing has influenced teacher morale. The participants in this study are middle school English teachers in a suburban school district in the Southeast U.S. I plan to recruit five to six teachers from six middle schools to participate in this study who have a minimum of 10 years’ experience teaching middle school English. My data collection will consist of multiple individual interviews to allow teachers to share their stories and experiences. I intend to employ critical discourse analysis (Fairclough, 1992: Gee, 2004). Using critical discourse analysis to analyze interview responses will allow for a thorough examination of teachers’ experiences and identify any power struggles that may influence the morale of the teachers. Additionally, the methods I plan to use afford opportunities to discover the reasons why English teachers stay in middle schools.
Black Women Pursuing Doctorates in Mathematics Education: An Examination of Stories of Their Mathematical Experiences
by Nathalie Nicholle Dames
The research shows a lack of representation of Black women in mathematics education. The purpose of this study was to explore Black women’s perspectives on how their mathematical experiences influenced their decisions to pursue a doctoral degree in mathematics education. The following research questions framed the study: What perspectives do Black women who are in pursuit of a doctorate of philosophy degree in mathematics education have about their mathematical experiences? How have those perspectives of their experiences influenced their pursuit of a doctorate of philosophy in mathematics education? Purposeful sampling was used to select seven participants for this study that self-identified as Black women and are currently in a doctoral program in mathematics education. Individual and group interviews conducted with the participants were analyzed using a constant comparative approach. The objective was to gain an understanding of their mathematical experiences as learners with respect to their trajectories in becoming doctoral students in mathematics education. The Black women that participated in this study had a confident mathematical identity expressed through positive feelings about their mathematical abilities. Their mathematical environments were categorized by advanced mathematics courses in classrooms with supportive teachers, classmates that were mainly Black, and an even split between the genders. Once this environment was challenged a crisis occurred that caused them to lose confidence in themselves. This confidence was restored by community. All of the participants began teaching secondary mathematics as a career change from their initial undergraduate degrees. Their initial graduate degrees were in conjunction with their decision to pursue this career. The decision to pursue a doctoral degree was out of a personal desire to advance academically as well as desire to affect change within their community. The findings of this study support an achievement motivation theoretical perspective. This research promotes a framework for understanding how perspectives of mathematical experiences influence decisions to pursue doctoral degrees in mathematics education.
Using Mobile Technology for Increasing Physical Activity Among Older Adults
by Chantrell Antoine Parker
Less than 35% of adults 65 years and older meet the physical activity guidelines (USDHHS, 2008). The purpose of this dissertation was to first review the literature to determine which interventions effectively increase physical activity among adults and second, test a physical activity intervention. Physical activity interventions promoted behavior change when they incorporated (a) behavior modification strategies, (b) mediated delivery approaches, (c) leisure activities, and (d) mobile devices; however, older adults were underrepresented. Thus, the purpose of this study is to investigate the effectiveness of a 12-week, theory-based (e.g., theory of planned behavior; TPB) physical activity intervention among adults 65 years and older. Using a quasi-experimental design, it is hypothesized that (a) the TPB constructs will increase from pre-intervention to the end of cycle 1 (4 weeks), from the end of cycle 1 to the end of cycle 2 (8 weeks), from the end of cycle 2 to post-intervention (12 weeks, cycle 3), and from pre-intervention to post-intervention among the intervention group compared to the control group; and (b) compared to the control group, the intervention group will report a significantly greater increase in minutes of aerobic physical activity and energy expenditure from moderate-to-vigorous physical activity across the same tour lime points. Participants will be recruited from fitness centers, senior centers, and independent living facilities. Physical activity and TPB questionnaires will be completed online at each of the time points, and participants will record their physical activity using a mobile app. Group differences on the TPB constructs and physical activity will be assessed with separate 2 (group) x 4 (time) repeated measures mixed ANOVAs. A sample size of approximately 54 is estimated. This research will provide information about the effectiveness of theory-based messages delivered via mobile devices to older adults for promoting physical activity.
Professional Profiles, Pedagogic Practices, and the Future of Guitar Education
by Robert Pethel
In recent decades, guitar education has emerged as a discipline in Pre-K-12 institutions alongside “traditional” music education such as band, orchestra, and chorus. Despite the substantial body of literature containing practical advice on teaching guitar, research-supported scholarship is lacking. Additionally, this body of literature suggests a lack of congruency between curriculum, pedagogy, and teacher preparation among guitar educators. The purpose of this study was to provide an evidentiary-based understanding of the professional profiles and pedagogic practices of guitar educators. A multi-phase investigation was conducted. In Phase One, a large sample (n = 1269) of guitar educators participated in the Guitar Educator Questionnaire (GEQ). Findings from the GEQ suggest a low (7.9) percent of music educators who teach guitar class consider themselves to be “guitar specialists.” A substantial number of respondents (68.5 percent) indicated that they rarely or never participated in guitar related professional development, and 76.1 percent of respondents reported that their pre-service training provided little or no preparation for a career in guitar education. A purposeful sample of six “exemplary” guitar educators contributed pedagogy-focused interviews and video teaching samples in Phases Two and Three. Data from the three phases were analyzed according to principles of grounded theory in order to identify potential pathways toward the continued growth and maturation of guitar education.
Race-Based Traumatic Stress: Moderating Effects of Racial Identity, Social Media, and Forgiveness
by Terrence A. Jordan II
Racism is a source of trauma that may result in a wide range of mental and physical health consequences (Pieterse, Todd, Neville, Carter, 2012). Posttraumatic Stress Disorder is one of the most commonly studied post-trauma psychiatric disorders. This review aimed to assess the evidence about trauma reactions following exposure to racism or racial discrimination. In Chapter 1, a systematic search was performed and included empirical studies that utilized measures of racial discrimination and trauma. The body of research conducted on racial discrimination and trauma in the past decade suggests that more research is needed. Specifically, what is missing from literature is a way to analyze how a race-based encounter is related to a person’s psychological and emotional reactions. Much research has tended to use generic instruments such as the Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Checklist-Civilian Version to measure trauma reactions. However, these type of instruments are not specific to a person’s racial encounter of direct psychological and emotional reactions. Due to this, Carteret al. (2013) introduced the Race-Based Traumatic Stress Symptom Scale and it is designed to assess a person’s critical incidents with racism and its mental health effects. Since the introduction of this scale, there has been one published study that utilizes it to examine the psychological outcomes of racial stress. Therefore, in Chapter 2, I seek to strengthen this gap in research. The current study will examine the relationship between racism and race-based stress reactions. This study hypothesizes that those who have memorable encounters with racism, social media, racial identity development, and forgiveness will moderate the relationship between encounters with racism and race-based traumatic stress symptoms. The hypothesis will be tested using regression-based moderation analyses. The goal of this project is that by conducting and reviewing racism and trauma literature, mental health professionals can further understand the psychological impact of racism.
“Special Education Teachers’ and Professional learning Providers’ Perspectives of the Features of Effective Professional Learning; A Q Methodological Study”
Students with disabilities (SWD) continue to struggle with schooling and beyond. To improve these outcomes, recent federal mandates have focused on school accountability in special education by targeting both SWDs’ achievement and special education teachers’ (SETs’) competencies. While strong instruction and evidence-based practices can substantially improve outcomes for SWDs, many SETs are not prepared to implement the changes necessary to achieve better outcomes. Professional learning (PL) has been prioritized by legislators, educators, and researchers as an intervention to improve the instructional practices of SETs. While Learning Forward has presented the Standards of Professional Learning (2011 ), little information is available on how these evidence-based standards align to the needs of special education and account for SETs’ unique preparation and roles. This study employed Q-Methodology, which is a structured study of human subjectivity, to explore SETs’ and special education PL providers’ perceptions about the important factors of effective PL for SETs. In this study, effective PL is defined as participants successfully learning and then using the PL content in their school setting. This study asks, “What do SETs and special education PL providers believe are the most and least important factors to SETs successfully using the content from PL experiences?” to identify and describes the participants’ perspectives and explicate possible patterns related to their specific roles or other characteristics.
A Phenomenological Case Study of Pakistani Science Teachers’ Experiences of Professional Development
by Azhar Majeed Qureshi
The significance of professional development for teachers to improve or change their teaching practice is widely acknowledged (Bergh,Ros & Beijaard, 2015). Understanding how science teachers’ experiences are constructed is crucial to create programs to meet their needs (Schneider & Plasman, 2011 ). It is also essential in the construction of professional development experiences to recognize who is being served in professional development (Saka, 2013). Professional development in science education over the past few decades has become more problematical in developing countries like Pakistan. Research of these countries have come to understand the complex factors that support or constrain changes in science teacher experiences and their reflective practices. The purpose of this phenomenological case study is to explore how secondary school science teachers describe their experiences of professional development in Punjab (Pakistan). The proposed study will help in understanding how science teachers make sense, and use of those intended goals of professional development opportunities and change their practices through the implementation of learned knowledge of professional development. The study will also try to understand how science teachers feel about professional development experiences and its impacts on their teaching practices. This proposed study will be conducted in the different cities of Pakistan by using purposive sampling approach. The qualitative data collection methods, including phenomenological interviews with science teachers and probing interviews with their teacher educators and collection of archival data, will be used. The data will be analyzed using multiple coding methods, thematic analysis and inductive and deductive content analysis. It is expected that the results of the study will help in shifting the focus of the stakeholders towards understanding the professional development experiences of science teachers in Pakistan. This proposed study will also provide a better understanding of the contexts and factors affecting the relationship between different types of professional development programs and teachers’ learning experiences. This study should also broaden the understanding of science teachers’ existing views, perceptions, beliefs and learning towards professional development.
“A comparison of IRTPR03 and Mplus for multidimensional item response item parameter and examinee ability estimation”
by Tianna Chantel Sims Floyd
Advances in computational ability have produced new software, such as Mplus and IRTPR03, which can estimate multidimensional item parameters and examinee abilities. Due to its nascence, little research has been done on the ability of IRTPR03 to estimate multidimensional item parameters and examinee abilities in comparison to other available software. This dissertation will investigate the capability of Mplus and IRTPR03 to recover multidimensional item parameters and examinee ability levels under different conditions, including different estimation techniques, different test lengths, different sample sizes, and different correlations between dimensions. In addition, the simulation will also examine the ability of each software application to estimate multidimensional item parameters and examinee abilities under a variety of tests structures ranging from a simple between-item multidimensional structure to a complex between and within-item multidimensional structure.
The Stability of Teachers’ Classroom Observation Ratings Across Classrooms
by Xiaoxuan Lei
Classroom observations have been increasingly used for teacher evaluation. When teachers teach multiple classes, their instructional quality may vary across classrooms. However, the fact that classrooms are nested within teachers is usually ignored while classroom observation data are analyzed. Simply aggregating observation ratings across classrooms or using ratings from one classroom per teacher may distort teacher evaluation results. Drawing on the measure of effective teaching (MET) dataset, this study examines whether and how teacher classroom observation ratings vary across classrooms using a multilevel cross-classified modeling approach . Two research questions will be addressed: (1) Are teacher classroom observation ratings stable across classrooms? (2) To what extent is the instability explained by observable characteristics of classrooms and teachers? This study is expected to inform the current practice of using classroom observation ratings for teacher evaluation.