ETLP III: 2010-2011

College and high school faculty team up to conduct mutually beneficial classroom research projects

Building upon experiences and accomplishments during its first two years, ETLP has evolved from individual research projects to decentralized, team-based groups formed around common teaching problems and questions in both high school and university classrooms. The project supports three teams of high school teachers and University faculty as they conduct collaborative classroom research projects. Research questions are required to be relevant to classroom teaching and learning interests of team members, with broader implications across disciplines.

Following a year-long schedule, teams began planning and preparation in mid-summer for projects to be conducted and data collected throughout the fall, followed by analysis in January, preliminary conclusions and reports by March, and dissemination in galleries, conferences, or publications by the spring.

CATL provides support as needed for the design and implementation of the research project, including development of research questions, data collection techniques, qualitative and quantitative analysis, and interpreting findings in the context of each team’s research questions. The teams are also guided through the process of applying for permission to conduct human subjects research through Elon’s Internal Review Board (IRB). Each team submitted a budget for expenses, such as special equipment or materials.

Research Project: Effects of Social Pedagogies on Classroom Experiences

Participants

Anthony Hatcher
Associate Professor of Communication, Elon University

Mark Meacham
Instructor of English and Journalism Teacher
Williams High School, Alamance-Burlington School System

Jessie Moore
Associate Professor of English
Professional Writing & Rhetoric, Elon University

Rebecca Pope-Ruark
Assistant Professor of English
Professional Writing & Rhetoric, Elon University

Research question

How does an explicit focus on social pedagogies in course/project design impact student and faculty experiences in high school and college classrooms?

Description

This group will explore the impact of social pedagogies on course design practices, teaching, and students’ learning. Social pedagogies broaden the context for learning by combining elements of authenticity, social construction, communication, and content. Engaged learning should involve both students and faculty members, classroom and community, learning and application, connection and contemplation. Social pedagogies provide the space to explore these tensions intentionally and open a rich area for the research in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning.

Plans are to focus on existing research , building upon the social pedagogies framework developed by a research group led by Randy Bass and Heidi Elmendorf at Georgetown University. Varied pedagogical interests and approaches would allow each researcher the opportunity to extend research conducted on this initial framework by concurrently developing their courses and exploring different aspects of the framework “petals” simultaneously. By examining social pedagogies in both secondary and post-secondary settings rather than solely post-secondary the team may begin to make some preliminary claims about the value of these pedagogies in a variety of educational settings. The proposed research question crosses disciplines and academic levels, while encouraging cooperation and research among teachers.

Research Project: Transition from High School to College

Participants

Stephen Bloch-Schulman
Associate Professor, Philosophy, Elon University

Valerie Sellers
Instructor of Science, Graham High School
Alamance-Burlington School System

Jamie Pinto
Instructor of Science, Graham High School
Alamance-Burlington School System

Ben Von Eitzen
Instructor of Science, Graham High School
Alamance-Burlington School System

Leslie Horne
Instructor of Science, Graham High School
Alamance-Burlington School System

Research question

How can we better prepare students for the transition from high school to college level work?

Project description

The goal of this research is to understand ‘analysis’, which can bea key stumbling block for students in both high school and college. Building on Blooms’ Revised Taxonomy, this group will examine analysis broadly; one who can analyze well can understand data in order to understand the past, to interpret what is, and to move into the future by making wise decisions based on that data.

Science students at Graham High School—and many at Elon—tend to feel most comfortable when working in the bottom three categories of Bloom’s revised taxonomy: remember, understand, and apply. Improving students’ ability to analyze various types of information will help them learn to evaluate and create, which are much more complex and deeper learning activities. This, the group hopes to show, will not only improve student confidence during problem solving and critical thinking activities but may also improve student test scores in all academic areas thus motivating students. If this research pinpoints areas where students struggle as they approach and engage in analysis tasks, teachers can focus efforts on those specific areas. Correlating the results for high school students and college students will allow high school teachers to better prepare their students to enter into college and will allow college professors to better assist their students as they transition into college level work.