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A Study of Vocabulary Instruction with Fourth Grade Students Participating in an Individualized Reading Program

Description: he purpose of this study was to determine the effects of one approach to vocabulary instruction on the reading and writing vocabulary of fourth grade students in an individualized reading program. The vocabulary instructional approach used student-selected vocabulary words as well as instruction in vocabulary strategies such as context clues, structural analysis, and definition strategies. The twelve week study exposed one fourth grade classroom to vocabulary instruction in a Reading Workshop setting. Major components of the program were mini-lessons, which often involved vocabulary strategies, the silent reading of self-selected books, one-on-one researcher/student interactions, and the self-selection of vocabulary words. The research design is descriptive in nature and used both qualitative and quantitative research methods. Qualitative data included student interviews, teacher interviews, student writing samples, and field note observations. Quantitative data included vocabulary test scores from two groups of students, Group A and Group B. Group A participated in the self-selected vocabulary approach and received vocabulary instruction from the researcher acting as participant observer. Group B received some vocabulary instruction from their classroom teacher, but did not participate in the same program. The test was constructed weekly from a class (Group A) generated list of ten words. Results from vocabulary tests indicate that the vocabulary instruction was effective in helping Group A learn vocabulary. Multiple exposures to words as well as use of vocabulary words in context influenced student performance on tests. Results from qualitative data indicate that students attend to vocabulary words in their print environment. In addition, students used vocabulary words in expressive language, including writing and speaking. The results of this study support opportunities for wide reading, implementation of a variety of vocabulary strategies, repeated exposures to vocabulary words, and opportunities for student choice of vocabulary, as ways to enhance vocabulary learning.
Date: May 2000
Creator: Pilgrim, Jodi L.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Early Childhood Educators' Beliefs and Practices about Assessment

Description: Standardized tests are being administered to young children in greater numbers in recent years than ever before. Many more important educational decisions about children are being based on the results of these tests. This practice continues to escalate despite early childhood professional organizations' calls for a ban of standardized testing for children eight years of age and younger. Many early childhood educators have become dissatisfied with multiple-choice testing as a measure of student learning and are increasingly using various forms of alternative assessment to replace the more traditional testing formats. Teachers seem to be caught in the middle of the controversy between standardized testing and alternative assessment. This research examined what early childhood educators in one north Texas school district believe about assessment of young children and what assessment methods they report using in their classrooms, as well as factors which influence those beliefs and practices. The sample for this study was 84 teachers who taught prekindergarten through third grade. An eight-page questionnaire provided quantitative data and interviews and the researcher's journal provided qualitative data.
Date: May 1994
Creator: Diffily, Deborah
Partner: UNT Libraries

"Making the Change": Middle School Band Students' Perspectives on the Learning of Musical-Technical Skills in Jazz Performance

Description: Students' perspectives in jazz education have gone largely ignored. A modified analytic inductive design allowed me to look broadly at the students' jazz band experience while specifically investigating their views about playing individualized parts, improvising, and interpreting and articulating swing rhythms. A focus group procedure was altered (Krueger, 1995) and incorporated into my teaching of 19 students. Two 30 minute sessions per week over a 12 week period were video- and audiotaped. Audiotaped exit interviews provided data in a non-social environment. All data were transcribed and coded in order to identify major themes and trends. Conclusions were verified through member checks, several types of triangulation and other qualitative analysis techniques. Trustworthiness was determined through an audit. Cognitively and physically, students had to accommodate musical techniques as these differed from those used in concert band. Some students were confused by the new seating arrangement and the playing of individualized parts. While some students could perform distinctly different swing and straight interpretations of the same song without external cues, others could only perform this task with external cues. Some changes in articulation were well within the students' capabilities while other techniques were more difficult to accommodate. Several students felt 'uptight' while they improvised alone in front of their peers, noting group improvisation and rhythmic embellishment of familiar tunes as being helpful in assuaging these feelings. Students recognized the environmental differences between concert band and jazz band, and reported more freedom of expression in jazz band. Particularly enjoying this freedom, the more willing improvisors banded together as a clique. The students' learning was viewed as being situated in the context of jazz band. 'Musical perturbation' and cognitive apprenticeship described students' physical and cognitive accommodation of the new context. The instructional strategies students found to be most helpful were student-centered and derived from cognitive ...
Date: August 1996
Creator: Leavell, Brian K.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Examining First-Graders' Construction of Knowledge of Graphophonemic and Orthographic Relationships: Reading and Writing Student-Selected Continuous Text

Description: The purpose of this study was to examine first-graders' construction of knowledge of graphophonemic and orthographic relationships. Three levels of treatment were assigned randomly to three groups of first-graders in their first semester of first grade. Treatment varied in student engagement with reading and writing texts based on student interests and in the amount of interaction students had with one another and the researcher as they read, wrote, and examined words, word patterns, and graphophonemic relationships. The study was based on a quasi-experimental nonequivalent control group design (Campbell & Stanley, 1963) with an added within-subjects factor of 12 weekly test occasions. These weekly tests involved students writing a researcher-dictated continuous text selected by students in the full-treatment group from the larger portion of text read each week. Additional elements of qualitative research were included in the design and analyses. Quantitative analyses revealed statistically significant results. Qualitative data analyses confirmed that students who interacted daily with each other and the researcher in reading and writing activities constructed more knowledge about graphophonemic and orthographic relationships than peers from the partial-treatment group and the control group. Results led to conclusions and implications involving a reexamination of current and traditional methods of spelling instruction and assessment for young children.
Date: May 1996
Creator: Frerichs, Linda C.
Partner: UNT Libraries

The Relationship of a Spiritual Calling to Motivation, Locus of Control, Burnout and Longevity in Teaching

Description: In this study, six research questions were addressed: (1) Does a teacher who has a spiritual calling have a different motivation (self, interaction, task) to his/her work than a teacher who does not have a spiritual calling? (2) Does a teacher who feels a spiritual calling have a different locus of control (internal, external) than a teacher who does not have a spiritual calling? (3) Does a teacher who has a spiritual calling have a different degree of burnout (emotional exhaustion, depersonalization, personal accomplishment) than a teacher who does not have a spiritual calling? (4) Does a teacher who has a spiritual calling have a different sense of voluntary commitment in the longevity of his/her work experience than a teacher who does not have a spiritual calling? (5) Is there a different concentration of teachers who have a spiritual calling in public or parochial schools? (6) Does the public or religious school affiliation make a difference in research questions #1 through #4? A Teacher Motivation Inventory was compiled using The Orientation Inventory by Bass, Rotter's Internal/External Locus of Control, Maslach Burnout Inventory by Maslach, Jackson, and Schwab, a Researcher-made Spiritual Calling Inventory, and longevity questions. Tukey HSD post hoc comparisons test and Chi-square Test of Independence were used. This study was conducted in the spring of 1994 in public, Baptist, Catholic, Lutheran and Jewish elementary schools. Teachers who scored in the upper third on the Spiritual Calling Inventory were categorized as having a spiritual calling to teaching. Teachers who had a spiritual calling had a significantly more internal locus of control, were less likely to depersonalize students, had greater personal accomplishment and were more likely to choose teaching again than those not having a spiritual calling. A spiritual calling had a significant relationship to some very meaningful, attractive qualities in ...
Date: December 1994
Creator: Zimmer, Katrina R. Nottingham (Katrina Rene Nottingham)
Partner: UNT Libraries