Artifact: Act Res Pres
Artifact: par inv pres
Before teaching (for the last ten years), I regularly presented technical work and results to others as an environmental engineer. Therefore, when I began my teaching career, I assumed that I would continue this practice. What I found was presenting results and work as a teacher was usually much less formal unless you specifically sought opportunities to do more. Therefore, prior to the Masters program, the majority of my efforts to present professional practices had been to small teams within my building, and occasionally to larger groups building-wide. These presentations were either about a unit or method I had developed, or were a district required presentation that I volunteered to give the staff.
The Masters program allowed me to delve deeply into a variety of topics related to educational research, professional practices, and more, and share these discoveries with others, while also benefitting from my classmates’ presentations. For example, my action research project (see Artifact: “Act Res Pres”) presentation allowed me to share a several research-based practices I tested to improve student learning related to decimal computations. My cohort found the learning I did related to improving student self-efficacy, based on the work of Ramdass and Zimmerman (2008), especially interesting. Their study focused on improving students’ understanding of what they know and don’t know, by helping students predict whether or not they believed they answered a given problem correctly. Applications of this concept can be found in any subject area. Therefore, it was high value learning for my entire cohort.
Another high value experience occurred during my EDAD 6580 course. In this case, I set out to learn about one thing, but had a major realization in an entirely different area that I was able to share with my cohort ( see Artifact: “par inv pres”). I was looking for research on whether parent involvement improved student outcomes for minority populations, but ended up discovering how flawed, biased, and limited the majority of the research studies I encountered were. This included how some research misuse longitudinal study results like those found in Lau and Ingels (2013). My past experiences using statistical methods allowed me to explain and share these limitations with the cohort in an effective way that was easy to understand. Several of my classmates told me after the presentation that they finally understood a number of confusing ideas related to these statistical concepts. In this case, I was able to share what Baumgartner (2001) would describe as a transformational learning experience; our learning was created from interpretations and reinterpretations in light of new experiences (Mezirow, 1996).
There is great potential for this type of work at a building level. The benefits of this work is touted by York-Barr, Sommers, Ghere, and Montie (2006) who stated “The greatest potential for reflective practice to improve schools lies within the collective inquiry, thinking, learning, understanding, and acting that result from schoolwide engagement.” (p. 67) Moving forward, I plan to look for opportunities to collaborate with my administrators to lead collective inquiry at a building level.
Baumgartner, Lisa (2001). Andragogy and Self-Directed Learning: Pillars of Adult Learning Theory. New Directions For Adult And Continuing Education, (89), 15-24.
Mezirow, J. “Contemporary Paradigms of Learning.” Adult Education Quarterly, 1996, 46(3), 158-172.
Ramdass, D., & Zimmerman, B. J. (2008). Effects of Self-Correction Strategy Training on Middle School Students’ Self-Efficacy, Self-Evaluation, and Mathematics Division Learning. Journal Of Advanced Academics, 20(1), 18-41.
York-Barr, J. (2006). Reflective practice to improve schools : An action guide for educators (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, Calif.: Corwin Press.
Lau , E., and Ingels, S.J. (2013). Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS:2002): A First Look at 2002 High School Sophomores 10 Years Later (NCES 2014-363). U.S. Department of Education. Washington, DC: National Center for Education Statistics. Retrieved [10/26/2016] from http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch.