Professional Problems of Teachers

Discussion in 'General Education Archives' started by Miss Kirby, Jun 5, 2007.

  1. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Jun 5, 2007

    I'm taking a class, and I need to choose a topic for a research paper. I need to choose a problem or issue we have as teachers.

    Here are some ideas...
    No Child Left Behind (I just went to a hearing for the renewal of NCLB and that was interesting)
    Homework in primary grades (I'm pondering this for next year)
    Gifted Clustering (our school is starting this next year)
    Phonics vs. Whole Language, balanced literacy

    I also have another class... Educational Research... I also need to choose a topic that I can collect data on... full fledged research proposal style. I'm thinking...
    Comprehension strategies
    Phonics vs. Whole language (again)
    (I'm not sure how we are expected to collect data in the summer, I need to ask)
    Maybe readers workshop vs. basal
    Decoding strategies

    Any ideas you could add, or topics you think might be better to look into? Thanks! :)
     
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  3. ChangeAgent

    ChangeAgent Comrade

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    Jun 5, 2007

    I think the homework question would be a wonderful investigation. Concepts of motivation can also be looked at while considering homework, and I have some wonderful professional articles if you'd like them (I just completed a research paper on motivation).

    Other "problem" issues:
    - working with students who use AAVE (African American Vernacular English; "ebonics") rather than Standard English, and that whole debate
    - ESL/ELL students and their families
    - debate of behaviorism in education (as opposed to the "humanistic" approaches), especially in regards to behavior plans and Applied Behavioral Analysis
    - lack of teachers from ethnic/racial minorities; or other lacking role models in schools (ex. male educators in elementary education; LGBT educators or other role models at any level)

    For your second paper, here are some options off the top of my head:
    - teacher burn-out
    - student reactions to being in special education
    - black-white test score gap
    - effectiveness of Summer School programs

    Let us know what you choose!
     
  4. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Jun 5, 2007

    Oh you know what might be a good one for the research...
    Retention
    I have one kiddo from this past year who we decided to retain as of then. We are going to assess him in August to determine if he has progressed enough after summer school to go to second grade. I go back and forth with this constantly. I know as a teacher I am supposed to make the final decision. Since I'm thinking about it constantly, I might as well do a paper on it. You know, retention could be a professional problem or a research problem. It would work for either of my papers. Hmmmmmmm

    Thanks for your ideas!
     
  5. ChangeAgent

    ChangeAgent Comrade

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    Jun 5, 2007

    Retention would be a great topic! What would your focus be? Here are some musings:

    - Teacher attitudes
    - Prevalence/percentage of retention per grade
    - Success of summer school in reversing retention decisions
    - Percentage/rate of student progress after completing a second year of the same grade
    - Behavioral trends of students who repeat a grade
    - Sex/Gender differences in retention

    What an exciting choice, Miss Kirby!
     
  6. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Jun 5, 2007

    Well, I'm really trying to figure out if retention is going to be a positive thing for this kid, or if it will backfire. Now, I know research is not going to tell me what is going to work for this kid, but it might help me get a basis of understanding going. I'm thinking of something like...

    What are the effects of primary grade retention?
    What is the impact of primary grade retention on student achievement?
    What is the socio-emotional impact of primary grade retention?

    I want to know the positives and negatives of retention. I'd like to see emotional and also academic achievement. Or do you think it's better to just go in one direction?
     
  7. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Jun 5, 2007

    How about...

    What are the effects of retention on the academic achievement and socio-emotional development of primary students?
     
  8. ChangeAgent

    ChangeAgent Comrade

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    Jun 5, 2007

    That sounds great.

    Depending on what research you find/gather, you could just focus on the effects of a student's first year after being retained (held back in 1st grade, so how is the student doing the second time around). Or, if data can be found, how do students who were held back in the primary grades fare 5 or 10 years down the line? This would depend on what you find or can gather, though.

    I also wonder the effects of a retained students on the new students in the grade (the retained students new classmates). Is there bullying, positive relationships, mentoring, or something else?

    So many possibilities! How exciting!
     
  9. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Jun 5, 2007

    It makes it so much more interesting when it has to do with a real student. I'm just so stuck on this situation. They wanted to retain this student in kindergarten, but mom wouldn't agree. Not the mom wants him retained in first grade. He is very small for his age, he's been used to people giving him everything, doing all the work for him. This year the parents stepped up and so did I, in holding him accountable for things. This resulted in a lot of frustration and anger. He'd be happy and excited and once something was a little challenging or above him, he'd immediately shut down and refuse to go any further. So I'm wondering, is he going to do this next year if if remains in first? Will be fine the whole time until he's challenged and continue to shut down? After I make this choice for this child, what are going to be the effects down the road? How is this going to impact his life? Scary!!
     
  10. ChangeAgent

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    Jun 5, 2007

    First--kudos to you considering all of these aspects of your student's well-being!

    I am still seeking jobs (and have an interview on Thursday!), but teaching terrifies me! I've had many placements and successful student teaching. I did very well in my classes and on the standardized teaching tests. I took one graduate course in the Sociology of Education--and the interactions of government, race, class, gender, religion, and anything and everything else is terrifying! Good for you for tackling all of these issues in this one student.

    Research always makes me a little more confident in my abilities, once I read the literature and synthesized it.

    In your case, I know you can't do it for this student, but make the choice you think is best!

    From what I have read of your situation, I would say let him move on to second. How are his academics? If they are low, is that a result of his shutting down, or is he incapable of achieving at the expected levels? If he is just shutting down, he may do that if he stays in first, or if he moves on to second. If he is academically achieving, then I would suggest moving him on.

    Of course, if he is potentially being retained, I guess grades would have to have played a part, huh?

    Frustration is not good if the material is too difficult. This situation is not as acceptable if he just doesn't want to work.

    Of course, you know all of this. I'm just typing as I think! Good luck in making your decision regarding your student!
     
  11. Miss Kirby

    Miss Kirby Fanatic

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    Jun 5, 2007

    In math he does not have many basic concepts down. In writing he can write a very simple sentence. With A LOT of help from me and a ton of frustration from him he was able to write a story, three our four simple sentences. In reading he is at a DRA 6, and he should have been a 16 in May. I think they are expected to go into second grade at a level 18.
     
  12. AngelM

    AngelM Rookie

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    Jun 5, 2007

    When I took my research class for my masters, I did my paper on the effectiveness of peer-tutoring (partner reading) in increasing reading levels among early elementary students. When I got into searching for studies, I found that there was actually a program called PALS (Peer Assisted Learning Strategies) out of Vanderbilt. There were tons of research studies and journal articles on this. It turned out to be pretty interesting, and I learned a lot. With you being a first-grade teacher, something along these lines might interest you. I felt that I came away with ideas that I could use (and that were proven effective) in teaching reading in the early grades.

    Good luck with whatever you decide!
     

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