Florida Atlantic University research symposium 03152013


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Literacy Pedagogy to Combat Severe Poverty in Haiti- Yvonne Aja - Alex Lizzappi- Faculty Mentor: Philomena Susan Marinaccio, Ph.D.

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Florida Atlantic University research symposium 03152013

  1. 1. Literacy Pedagogy to CombatSevere Poverty in Haiti- Yvonne Aja - Alex Lizzappi- Faculty Mentor: Philomena Susan Marinaccio, Ph.D.
  2. 2. Struggling to read is the cause of most Haitian students leaving school by 4th grade. FAU and the Miamibased non-profit organization "Ayiti Now Corp" are collaborating to provide a culturally-relevant literacyintervention to Haitian teachers and Haitian children of poverty. Ladson-Billings (1995) characterized culturallyrelevant teachers as attending to students’ academic needs, ensuring that students learn that which is mostmeaningful to them, inviting the students to engage the world and others critically, allowing students tomaintain their cultural integrity and valuing their skills and abilities and channeling them in academic ways.Our research will provide teacher and student training as well as access to childrens literature in HaitianCreole and textbooks in French for a Literature Circle intervention (Daniels, 2010).When teachers engage their students in quality literature in a culturally relevant environment it allows thestudent the opportunity to interpret from more than one perspective and point of view; be purposeful andreflective; and promotes curiosity, inquiry, and critical thinking.Methods: Research subjects will consist of 6 teachers and 40 children from 3th grade at the AEMSA School inSt. Marc, Haiti. For a one-week period in August 2013 an FAU professor will provide teacher training in thisliteracy approach through online Blackboard recordings. The literature circle training will be presented in afast-track course for 3 hours per day for 5 days. The literature circle reading strategy combines reading,writing, thinking, feeling, talking and taking action by encouraging students to get excited about literature whiledeveloping a community of learners where everyone’s input is important and valued (Long & Gove, 2004).During training Haitian teachers will be introduced to grade-specific literature selections in Haitian Creole andFrench, trained in literature circle participant roles and responsibilities, and learn before-during and after meta-comprehension strategies.Researchers will use a formative process to develop a classroom observation instrument for use in Haitianclassrooms to determine the fidelity of implementation of the Literature Circle (Newman, Lim, & Pineda, 2011).This observation instrument will be used to measure the occurrence of observable teaching practices that arealigned with the Literature Circle training. Results: This research intervention proposal is being written forimplementation during the 2013-2014 Haitian School year.ABSTRACT
  3. 3. PURPOSE OF RESEARCH● The purpose of the reading experience will be to increase students’achievement in reading and to provide learning opportunities thatpromote an intrinsic desire for the love of reading.● Through an increase in students reading achievement they will bebetter equipped to complete their primary schooling and advance tosecondary school.● A program in which Haitian teachers are trained to provide research-proven strategies to enhance reading experiences.● Not only students reading scores will improve; teachers will alsogain confidence and demonstrated improved skills after professionaldevelopment.
  4. 4. WHY HAITI NEEDS LITERACYINTERVENTIONThe reality of education in Haiti is too inadequate,unproductive and inefficient.- Lack of government investment:* (20% of education budget serves 70% of the population)* (Education budget IS 2% of GDP, 2009);- Poverty ($2/day) & Extreme poverty ($1/day);- 92% of all primary schools are privatized; Tuition cost;- Child labour; Over-age children; Reduced attendance;- Lack of oversight/regulation and licensed schools;- Illiterate parents or disengaged guardians;- Unqualified teachers (which results in):*High rate of student repetition and dropout*Lack of reading-comprehension teaching strategies;- Low teacher salaries*High teacher turnover rate- Lack of resources: technology, supplies & textbooks;- Language barrier; French is imposed;- Antiquated national testing;- Lack of physical access to schools; Long distance walk;- Classroom/Students ratios & no individualized attentionOf Haitis 10 millionperson population, asurprising 6 millionare under the age of21. Sadly, only abouthalf of those childrenattend school. And ofthose children, onlyabout 30% finishprimary schooling!
  5. 5. The majority of the students at AEMSAhave low reading-comprehensionproficiency furthermore reduced whenreading in French. The inability to readand learn impairs the graduation ratesand leads to permanent dropouts inprimary school. Illiteracy increases thepercentage of students trapped bypoverty.WHATS THE PROBLEM AT AEMSAa community school serving marginalized children of poverty
  6. 6. AREA OF FOCUS STATEMENTThe focus of the research is to collect studentsacademic achievement data pre/post theliterature circle attended by teachers trained onmetacognitive / comprehension strategies.
  7. 7. POPULATION SAMPLESix teachers will be trained by a FAU professor viaonline Blackboard recordings.Four teachers are female. All teachers are nativeHaitians. Their ages range from 28 to 49 years, withan average age of 37 years.All teachers have been teaching at AEMSA since2000 except one since 2010. One teacher has 29years of school teaching experience.All the students from AEMSAs 3rdgrade class will be invited to participatein the literature circle, averaging about40 students.Parent/guardian approval is requiredthrough a signed consent and assentform.Five to seven groups will be createdconsisting of 6 - 8 students.According to lastyears 3rd gradedemographics, 60%are female, 91% areover the age of 8, 53%are over the age of 12and 50% are restavek.
  8. 8. RESEARCH QUESTIONS● Are there pre/post intervention differences in the comprehensionachievement of students?● Are there pre/post intervention differences in the attitude scores ofstudents?● Are there pre/post intervention differences in the academic achievementscores of students?● Are there pre/post differences for teachers after inservice/training(awareness workshop) reflections of their own literacy pedagogy?● Are there pre/post differences for teachers after inservice/training(awareness workshop) reflections of their students literacy pedagogy?
  9. 9. THEORETICAL BACKGROUND● Comprehension StrategiesIRA identified six comprehensionstrategies that research suggests arecrucial in developing readingcomprehension:● Metacognitive StrategiesMetacognition has been described as thinking about thinking. More specific definitions includereferences to knowledge and control of factors that affect learning, such as knowledge of self, thetask at hand, and the strategies to be employed (Baker and Brown 1984; Palincsar and Brown 1981)Metacognition plays an important role in comprehension (Flavell, 1970 , 1974).Palinscar & Brown identified six metacognitive strategies that help foster comprehension (1984,1989).(1) Prediction/Prior Knowledge(2) Think-Alouds(3) Text Structure(4) Visual Representation,(5) Summarizing,(6) Questions/questioning (National Reading Panel, 2000)(1) clarifying the purpose of reading;(2) activating relevant background knowledge;(3) allocating attention to the important ideas;(4) evaluating content for internal consistency and compatibility with priorknowledge;(5) self-monitoring to verify comprehension; and(6) drawing and testing inferences.Readers skilled in these strategies seek to establish "meaningfulness" in their reading and value careful selection ofstrategies and of their comprehension.
  10. 10. LITERATURE CIRCLE DEFINITION● Student should spend most of their time reading texts that they can read and want to read (Allington, 2002;Ivey & Baker, 2004).● Literature circles assist the students in responding to literature more critically, while improving fluency and tocreating an environment in which students can use their personal experiences and prior knowledge (Kong &Fitch, 2003).● Literature Circles combines reading, writing, thinking, feeling, talking and taking action beyond the obviousby encouraging students to get excited about literature while developing a community of learners whereeveryone’s input is important and valued (Long & Gove, 2004).● All literature circles share three common elements: diversity, self-choice and student initiative (Daniels,2002).● Learn to read by reading (Smith, 1990).● Daniels (1994) defines literature circles as, small-group, student-directed meetings to share the same bookwith peers through discussion of the literature where the topics are chosen by the students and supported bythe teacher. Each group member prepares to take specific responsibilities in the upcoming discussion, andeveryone comes to the group with the notes needed to to help perform that job (pg. 13).Schlick Noe, K.L. & Johnson, N.J. (1999)
  11. 11. LITERATURE CIRCLE DEFINITION1. Children choose their own reading materials.2. Small temporary groups are formed, based on book choice.3. Different groups read different books4. Groups meet on a regular predictable schedule.5. Students use written or drawn notes to guide both their reading and discussion.6. Discussion topics come from the students7. Group meetings aim to be open, natural conversations. Often the conversations digress totopics relating to the students or loosely to the books, but should eventually return to the novel.8. The teacher serves as a facilitator, observer, listener and often a fellow reader, alongside thestudents. The teacher is not an instructor.9. Students are given roles or jobs to complete for each group meeting.10. The teacher should model how students facilitate each role or job.11. Evaluation is by teacher observation and student self-evaluation and should also includeextension projects.12. A spirit of playfulness and fun pervades the room.13. New groups form around new reading choices.(Daniels, 1994)Discussion prompts can be given by the teacher to encourage a direction for the students responses, such as"How does the setting affect the characters?""What are alternative solutions to the characters conflicts in the text?""What connections can you make with regard to the characters situation(s)?"
  12. 12. FORMATS FOR DISCUSSIONBonnie Campbell Hill, Katherine L. Schlick Noe, and Nancy J. Johnson
  13. 13. INFORMATION FOR THE DISCUSSIONBonnie Campbell Hill, Katherine L. Schlick Noe, and Nancy J. Johnson
  14. 14. INFORMATION FOR THE DISCUSSIONBonnie Campbell Hill, Katherine L. Schlick Noe, and Nancy J. Johnson
  15. 15. ROLES IN LITERATURE CIRCLESSummarizerThis role involves preparing a brief summary of the reading that was assigned for that days meeting. The summaryshould include the main ideas or events to remember, major characters, symbols or other significant highlights of thepassage. Good summarizers are important to literature circles, as they can help their peers see the overall picture(DaLie, 2001). Also include important events.Vocabulary EnricherAlso called the Word Master or Word Wizard, this role is to record important words for that days reading. Words thatare unusual, unknown, or that stand out in some way are usually chosen by the student. Their page number anddefinition is also recorded. Often students do not see this role as particularly stimulating; however, it can be a rolesuited to students who are still developing confidence in English classes or textual analysis.Travel TracerThis role involves recording where the major shifts in action or location take place in the novel for the reading section.Keeping track of shifts in place, time, and characters helps students keep track of important shifts in the novel. Artisticstudents also are drawn to this role, as artwork can be incorporated into this role as well. The students role is todescribe each setting in detail, using words or maps that illustrate the action.InvestigatorThis role includes investigative work where background information needs to be found on any topic relating to the book.Historical, geographical, cultural, musical or other information that would help readers connect to the novel is oftenresearched and shared with the group. The research is informal in nature, providing small bits of information in orderthat others can better understand the novel.Figurative Language FinderThis role includes identification of various types of figurative language, including but not limited to simile, metaphor,personification, hyperbole, and idiom. This may lead to discussion about the authors craft - why the author chose touse those particular words or phrases, and whether or not they were effective. This in-context identification can bemore relevant and memorable than isolated instruction by the teacher of these types of tools.
  16. 16. Discussion FacilitatorThis role involves developing a list of questions that the group might discuss about the section of the novel to bediscussed for that meeting. Questions should be designed to promote lively conversation and insights about the book;they should be open-ended and should not be "yes/no" questions. A student with this task asks these questions to thegroup to prompt discussion; overall, the job is to keep the group talking and on-task. Questions that a student might askcould be: "What was going through your mind when you read this passage?" or "How did the main character change asa result of this incident?"LocatorThis role involves locating a few significant passages of text that are thought-provoking, funny, interesting, disturbing, orpowerful. The quotations are copied down with properly cited page numbers. A student with this task can read thepassages out loud him/herself or ask other group members to read as well. Commentary and discussion will begenerated from these passages.IllustratorAs the term implies, this job entails drawing, sketching, or painting a picture, portrait or scene relating to the appropriatesection of the novel. Collages from magazines, images from the internet, and other media can also be used. Thestudent with this role then shares the artwork with the group, explaining the passage(s) that relate to the art. Oftenstudents who do not like to write do very well with this role. The pictures usually generate interesting groupconversations.ConnectorThis role involves locating several significant passages in the novel and connecting these passages to real life. Theconnections might relate to school, friends or family, home, the community, or they might relate to movies, celebrities,the media etc. Students should also feel free to connect incidents or characters with other books that they have read.Of all the roles, this role is often the most personal in its focus.ROLES IN LITERATURE CIRCLES
  17. 17. DATA COLLECTION METHODOLOGYHow will the data be collected?Observations● On-going teacher observation and active participation in group discussions is critical inassessing student progress both individually and in whole group. Daniels (1994) notes that mostassessment should be formative, ensuring that students are provided with timely feedback tolearn more effectively. Observations can meet such formative assessment criteria.Portfolios● Collections of student products, collected and assembled in a meaningful fashion, provide theopportunity for reflection, discussion, response to the book, and displaying a students best work.Portfolios can take on many forms, ranging from writing, art, video/audiotapes, learning logs,student journals, personal responses etc. (Daniels, 1994).How often will data be collected?● At every scheduled discussion.
  18. 18. SELECTION OF LITERATURECompelling content -- action, suspense, dialogue, humor, controversy: Most teachers look for booksin which the story blasts off from the first few pages. Books with action and conflict automaticallyprompt response. As Janine King said, "If students disagree with what the characters are doing, theylltalk. If they think the characters making some bad choices, they can get pretty riled up and want totalk about that, too."Realistic characters: As readers, we all want characters we can come to know, characters so real thatthey could walk down the street with us.Picture books with strong, colorful illustrations that support the story: Illustrations can be as importantas story content in sparking response, particularly for beginning readers.* Monson, D. (1995). Choosing books for literature circles
  19. 19. PROCEDURESSETTINGSSeveral classrooms at AEMSAPrimary School where thestudents reside will serve as theprimary setting for delivering thereading program.Teachers will receive their trainingvia online Blackboard recordingsprovided by an FAU professorover the course of a one-weekperiod.READING PROGRAMThe reading program will be implemented in twophases.● First, the teachers will be trained on readingpedagogy for struggling students, with asignificant emphasis on strategies that areappropriate for low income students.Furthermore, hands-on practice in writinglesson plans, creating literacy activities, andselecting and using appropriate readingresources will be provided.● The second phase is the delivery of thereading program to students. The readingprogram will occur once a week for theentirety of the academic school year.
  20. 20. INSTRUMENTS AND RESOURCESWill use a Teacher Exit Reflection Survey developed and validated by a team ofseven FAU faculty members and doctoral students with expertise in readinginstruction. The survey utilize a retrospective design in order to collectinformation about both their growth as well as the students tutored.Demographic information, tutor changes in confidence, knowledge, and skills,and student changes in attitude and reading skills will be solicited usingquantitative and qualitative formats.A state-administeredreading test, will beutilized in obtainingboth pre- and post-intervention scores.
  21. 21. TIMELINE OF RESEARCHSeptember 2013 - July 2014 Haitian School Year