Teacher research is associated with (1) the development of critical pedagogy in preservice teachers (Liston & Zeichner, 1987), (2) increased learning among new teachers (Wilson, Floden, & Ferrini-Mundy, 2001), and (3) expanding practice-based knowledge of inservice teachers (Cochran-Smith & Lytle, 2001). To foster the development of inquiry skills and evidence-based decision making, a number of teacher candidates at Portland State University conducted research as part of their teacher education program. The following studies are representative of their efforts.
|LITERACY STRATEGIES AND THEIR EFFECTS ON MATH ANXIETY IN MIDDLE SCHOOL STUDENTS
Erin Mahony, Joe Ballman, and Matt Hagen
The purpose of this action-based study was to examine the extent to which implementation of classroom literacy strategies helps reduce the anxiety associated with the course requirements of a mathematics class. The subjects of the study were twenty-four middle school students who participated in a month long math unit. Initial and final surveys, pre and post unit assessments, and teacher journal notes were used for data collection. In conjunction with apparent learning gains, student reports and teacher observations show that levels of anxiety appear to have been reduced.
INVESTIGATING ADOLESCENTS' SCIENCE STEREOTYPES AND THEIR RELEATIONSHIP TO
The purpose of this study was to explore how reflective journaling influences adolescents’ attitudes toward science. Two middle school classes and two high school classes participated in this study. Pre- and post-questionnaires were used to asses the change in students’ attitudes toward science over a seven-week period. To determine whether students have negative stereotypes about science and scientists, we used the Draw-a-Scientist Test. Journaling was used as both an intervention and a source of data about students’ perceptions of science and science careers. Results from pre- and post-questionnaires showed that students’ attitudes toward science became more positive over the course of the study. We also found that both the middle and high school adolescents in this study adhere to the traditional stereotypes of scientists as Caucasian males working indoors. We concluded that it is possible that these traditional stereotypes lead to negative attitudes toward science careers, particularly for girls and students of color.
Cochran-Smith, M., & Lytle, S. (2001). Beyond certainty: Taking an inquiry stance on practice. In A. Lieberman & L. Miller (Eds.), Teachers caught in the action: Professional development that matters (pp. 45-60). New York: Teachers College Press.
Liston, D. P., & Zeichner, K. M. (1987). Critical pedagogy and teacher education. Journal of Education, 169(3), 117-137.
Wilson, S. M., Floden, R. E., & Ferrini-Mundy, J. (2001). Teacher preparation research: Current knowledge, gaps, and recommendations. Washington, DC: OERI, U.S. Department of Education.
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