Research Analysis Memo
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Research Analysis Memo Document Transcript

  • 1. Research Analysis Memo To: Instructor Van Baalen-Wood From: Jessica Hollon Subject: Research Analysis: How practice in the third through fifth grade classroom can affect learners’ brains and their knowledge retention Date: November 9, 2009 The following memo will give an overview of my ongoing research project concerning brain based learning in the grade 3-5 classrooms. This memo presents my research questions and objectives. This memo also describes and analyzes three secondary research sources and one primary research tool. In addition to these descriptions and analyses, this memo also includes bibliographic citations for my three secondary sources and a draft of my primary research instrument. Introduction The study of brain based learning is essentially how different classroom and teaching techniques can affect students’ brains. Much research on the effects of different techniques on students’ brains has lead to a lot of discussion on implementing different types of guided practice within classrooms. Research has already shown that, “Practice builds neurological connections and thickens the insulating myelin sheath necessary for fluency, chunking of information, brain efficiency, and deep learning” (Hill, 2006). However, teachers at Douglas Intermediate School, as well as other schools, find it hard to justify giving time for students to practice skills when there is pressure to cover so many topics in a short amount of time. My research will explore how this practice affects learner’s brains and how teachers can utilize what is already available to them to structure this practice into their daily schedules. My objectives include the following: •How can practice of concepts affect a person’s brain? •How much time do teachers, on average, at Douglas Intermediate School currently give for ungraded student practice of reading and math concepts? •What available curriculums and/or programs are there for use in guided practice? •How might teachers restructure their days to allow for guided practice within their classrooms?
  • 2. Jessica Hollon Research Analysis Memo 2 Methods This section presents and evaluates three secondary sources and one primary research tool. My secondary sources include three journal articles: Growth in Reading and How Children Spend Their Time Outside of School Reading Research Quarterly Brain Changes in the Development of Expertise Cambridge University Press Teacher Effectiveness and Computer Assessment of Reading and Math: Relating Value-Added Learning Information Systems Data School Effectiveness and School Improvement Secondary Sources Analysis: 1. Anderson, R. C. “Growth in Reading and How Children Spend Their Time Outside of School.” Reading Research Quarterly, 23.3 (1988): 285-303. Although this source is just over 20 years old, it is an article I found to be very relevant for today’s youth and their education. The article touches on brain based learning, although it was written before the time when this topic was in the forefront of education. This article also gives excellent information on a survey done concerning in class work habitats, and habitats of students outside of the classroom. It shows that practicing concepts, even informally, may add in students’ successful performance within the classroom. 2. Hill, N. M. Brain Changes in the Development of Expertise. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. I found this publication in circulation amongst teachers at Douglas Intermediate School. This article was placed into their hands by administrators wanting to spread the information the article shares. The author spends a lot of time discussing the brain, how it functions, and what activities have been proven to heighten this functioning. By starting with an explanation of the brain and it’s functioning on a more basic level, the rest of the article is easily understood when it refers to this very specific vocabulary dealing with the human brain. This article is three years old, but not out dated at all. Brain based learning is frequently a topic discussed in education, and this publication is sited in other research I have read on this topic. 3. Topping, K. J. “Teacher Effectiveness and Computer Assessment of Reading and Math: Relating Value-Added Learning Information Systems Data.” School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 11.3 (2000): 305-337. This article is cited in the curriculum guides and publications for programs that are
  • 3. Jessica Hollon Research Analysis Memo 3 computer based and promoting guided practice and brain based learning. Once looking at the article it is clear that the information, even though nine years dated, is relevant to the field of education. The curriculums that cite this article in their publications and research are in use in many schools, and have shown to be successful in the ways this article suggests such programs can be. Primary Source Analysis My primary research tool is an open-ended (qualitative) survey to be given to the teachers in grades 3-5 at Douglas Intermediate School in Douglas, WY. This primary research tool is important to this research project because it gives insight into how teachers are currently using practice that is ungraded in their classrooms in the areas of reading and math. By examining the presence of or the lack of guided practice within reading and math, I can determine the answers to three of the objectives this research sets out to reach. These objectives are: • How much time do teachers, on average, at Douglas Intermediate School currently give for ungraded student practice of reading and math concepts? •What available curriculums and/or programs are there for use in guided practice? •How might teachers restructure their days to allow for guided practice within their classrooms? (Please see appendix A for a copy of this survey.)
  • 4. Jessica Hollon Research Analysis Memo 4 Appendix A Survey of How Guided Practice is Currently Used In the Areas of Reading and Math Prepared by Jessica Hollon, ENGL 4010 This survey’s purpose is to gather data that will help determine how teachers at Douglas Intermediate School are currently using practice time that is ungraded for reading and math. It is also gathering data on which curriculums and programs are currently being utilized. Grade level you are currently teaching at DIS______________ Number of years teaching at this grade level_________________ Number of years teaching at this grade level at DIS___________________ What reading curriculum(s) are you currently using in your classroom? What is the average block of time you teach reading each day? What amount of this time (on average) is used for students to explore and practice their reading skills? Is this reading practice independent or guided? Describe how this reading practice time is structured in your
  • 5. Jessica Hollon Research Analysis Memo 5 classroom. Is this reading practice graded? What Math curriculum(s) are you currently using within your classroom? How much time on average do you spend teaching math each day? What amount of this time (on average) is used for students to explore and practice their math skills? Is this math practice independent or guided? Describe how this math practice time is structured in your classroom. Is this practice graded? If you could use other types of programs or curriculums for reading and math what would you use and why?
  • 6. Jessica Hollon Research Analysis Memo 6 Thank you for participating in this survey. Please contact the creator with any questions at jhollon@ccsd1.k12.wy.us When completed, please place this survey in the lounge mailbox of Jessica Hollon. Works Cited Anderson, R. C. “Growth in Reading and How Children Spend Their Time Outside of School.” Reading Research Quarterly, 23.3 (1988): 285-303. Hill, N. M. Brain Changes in the Development of Expertise. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006. Topping, K. J. “Teacher Effectiveness and Computer Assessment of Reading and Math: Relating Value-Added Learning Information Systems Data.” School Effectiveness and School Improvement, 11.3 (2000): 305-337.