Dr. Paul Leslie

Dr. Paul Leslie

Research Questions

Before we get stuck into your research questions, I thought it would be great to review a process that I used with students two years ago.

Note the interactional process of working with the institution to help guide your questions. One of the 'secrets' to good research, is that is can answer more than one need. Similar to creating professional development goals, the research should answer your own questions yet also meet a need of the institution. Otherwise, you will find little support beyond the initial 'sounds great' response.

Lets review one of my own research question workshops.

 


 

Lets now look at your research question justification presentation.

From the task description:

You are required to present your observations and data collected during the teaching placement. Your presentation will include:

  • Discussion of teaching placement
    • You do need to include of course the name of the school and so forth, but what we really want to know is what factors do you think are important or relevant to your research. What factors led you to determine your research, what factors will help or promote your research and what might impact or impede your research.
  • Discussion of data collection methods and tools
    • Observations, interviews, transcripts and any other tools that you deem appropriate.
    • Rationale
    • This section needs to relate your research methods to your location. Leading from from the previous section, you can smoothly transition into a discussion of how the environment of school will support certain types of research and data collection methods you plan to use.
  • Presentation of data collected
    • Samples of raw data
    • You need to have some form of data, even if it is your own observations, to show how you have refined your research question.
  • Possible interpretations
    • Possible methods for analysis
    • Based on your observations or other data, what does it mean? What further questions does it pose for you?
  • Related reading
    • Literature review including at least two articles, one of which must be based on peer-reviewed research.
    • Discussion of how you will undertake your action research in semester two.
    • Try to find a couple articles that discuss similar types of research and then see how these mthods and research tools (questions, surveys, plans and activities etc) could be used by you in your own research.
  • Reflection:
    • Devise your research question(s).
    • It is perfectly acceptable to also show how your research question(s) have been refined by your experience.
    • Reflect on your research and why you believe it to be important to your own development as a teacher.

4103/4203

Since you will still be out next week, we should take a few minutes to review your 4103 / 4203 presentation as well. Click for Schedule

Part 3: Analysis

Analyze your syllabus and discuss the factors that impeded, promoted or otherwise influenced your ability to deliver it according to your original plans.

  • Indicate where your syllabus came from and how much input you had into its development
  • Discuss what kinds of flexibility was built into the syllabus
  • Provide a historical perspective on your previous TP experiences and highlight:
    • Factors that contributed to the implementation of prior syllabuses
    • significant and consistent barriers
  • Provide evidence of issues and factors that had an impact on your current placement and what you did to adapt your syllabus.

Look at the whole assessment document.

 

Documentation

One of the key tenets of Making Thinking Visible and of the portfolio approach is that in both, you must attempt to make visible in some manner or other your thinking. How and why are very big topics of conversation which we may have covered, but will also continue to examine.

Lets have a look at the video below first, and see if we can come up with any answers to why or how.

 


 

Why make thinking visible

 


 

Then we will examine some of your visible thinking.

mahara swc
Any volunteers? 

 


 

Once we feel we have discussed the purpose and point of making your thinking visible, lets have a look at the main parts of your lessons.

  • Lesson Objectives
    • How clear are the objectives? Are they SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, timely)?
  • Activities
    • How clear are the activities?
    • Are there opportunities for meeting the outcomes?
  • Assessment
    • Are there clear links or mapping from the outcomes to the opportunities to the assessments?
    • Give specific examples.
      • A great example of this...

outcome activity opportunity

    • Consolidation, review and extension
      • Another example

extend diff 1

 


 

Do your artefacts make your thinking visible? 

Click here for an MLU preview

 Click for a pre-preview

Thursday, 16 April 2015 17:40

Transforming Questions

Research Questions and your Action Plan

Upon your return, you will need to justify your action plan and present your reasons to us. Today, we will start to examine the research questions you wrote before your TP started. We want to see if they are still valid.

Please keep in mind that they will change again and again, but at some point you do need to actually have some questions as a focus for future actions.

  • Bring out your questions and read them with your school partners. Write (copy) them to this document. We will then be able to review them together.
  • We will then do a SWOT analysis of them. You can perform this analysis with your school team on each question individually.
    • S - strengths
    • W - weaknesses
    • O - Opportunities
    • T - Transformation

Under your question, try to come up with a short list of answers for each part of the analysis. The final section - the T - will be how you might need to transform your questions based on your experience at the schools in order to make them more achievable.

Once (or IF) you have rewritten, or transformed your questions, you can put the new question on the document under the old one. It is good practice to keep previous versions of your work in order to see how you have developed or transformed. We tend to think that change is good, but sometimes...

artfulthinking

Thursday, 26 March 2015 04:09

Making Thinking Visible

Making Thinking Visible

As I have mentioned to many of you, Dr. Rozz, Ms Julie and I are taking a course from the Harvard Graduate School of Education called "Making Thinking Visible". I was intrigued by the title of this course because it relates so closely to my own studies and work on portfolios. You can see our work in progress in the 'Files' section of the menu.

We are discovering some great revelations about teaching and learning that perhaps we knew before, but in an intuitive way, not in an explicit manner. Now, we are learning how to make thinking visible in a more structured and efficient manner. One thing that has become clear from our studies is that the use of clear, structured routines and documentation forces students to specify, sequence, separate and detail their ideas: to make meaning of their ideas. The documentation provides the opportunity to make meaning.

We have been discussing the question, “How does seeing the idea influence the understanding of the idea?” Getting ideas out on paper makes them real and makes them easier to understand. The ideas are then exposed and we are forced to take greater ownership of specific ideas rather than vague or general ideas that can be easily tweaked. Reflection becomes more public and open to scrutiny. It makes thinking open.

As Freire (1998) notes, we must create for our students and colleagues “the possibilities for the production and construction of knowledge" (p. 30). A significant aspect of the portfolio as community tool is that it facilitates the exploration of each others’ work and ideas through community access to each other’s work. Such curiosity does have limits with regards to the privacy of others, but by placing our work in the realm of the community we are actively giving permission to others to view our work - with the expectation that the community treats this work with respect. As practitioners and educators, we must acknowledge, as Freire (1998) tells us, that the cornerstone of Education is human curiosity. It is this human curiosity, within its proper bounds of privacy and respect that can lead to the epistemological curiosity that marks the liberated student.

Demonstrating Processes through Products

process product portfolio

We have been examining the idea of demonstrations of competency through performance. Documentation can come is many different forms. The issue with teaching, and many other professions is that we ‘do’ things as opposed to ‘make’ things. Of course we make handouts and lesson plans and endless documentation, but the point of our work is to teach and do. These are processes. It can be very difficult to represent processes with products.

However, if we change our language and ideas and use processes but make them visible we may be able to achieve what we currently think is impossible – turn processes into visible performances. For example in a recent lesson the thinking was captured in a mind map on the class white board in which all ideas were the students. The documentation to show performance at any time is our remaining challenge particularly in higher education when students submit an “assessment” which is the final product or performance.

Documentation and Portfolios

Have a look at this article: Putting Understanding Up Front. Once question that is raised asks, 'what is the difference between understanding and knowing?" How does this difference become manifest through 'performance'?

paul kids crayon

The article comments that,

"To learn for understanding, students need criteria, feedback, and opportunities for reflection from the beginning of and throughout any sequence of instruction." (p. 5)

How can you create opportunities for your students, rather than just activities?

transformation


iPads on Wheels

Speaking of opportunities, have a look at the iPads on Wheels document and we will discuss how we can make this opportunity happen.

References

Perkins, David and Tina Blythe. “Putting Understanding Up Front. Educational Leadership. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development. Used with permission.

Friere, P. (1998). Pedogogy of Freedom. Lanham, Maryland: Rowman & Littlefield.

Saturday, 21 March 2015 20:07

Teaching Practicum - General Feedback

Teaching Practice Observations - General feedback

teaching for learning
Teaching Competencies and Practicum

Schedule

I am observing students from three different cohorts this semester and so you may notice that the schedule is very tight. For you, this means you must pay very close attention to the calendar to ensure that you are prepared. You need to look ahead to all of your observation dates as much as you can to see if there are going to be any interruptions. 

Check the schedule to see when you are supposed to be observed and then check with the school. If you miss your observation or it is canceled for any reason, your grade will be averaged over the other observations you have received. This sounds great, but this also means you receive less feedback and therefore you other tasks will be less informed and so... You can see the knock on effect of missing the planned assessment events.

You can add the calendar to your own calendar on your mobile device and I encourage you to do so so you can see the progress on your classmates as well. This is important if you need to reschedule.

Documentation

I draw your attention to the chart I drew on the board a few weeks ago.

ed processes trans    
ed processes port approach trans

I want you to think about how you can capture your processes through the use of products. That is, how can you capture your performance in the classroom through documentation. 

Do not forget about your journal entries as well. These should be clearly based on feedback from your MCT.

Competencies

Planning for Learning

When you create lesson plans, it forces you to go through the motions of working out what you will do in the classroom. It is not simply an artefact for you to give to us. It is not simply something that we need in order to know what you are doing. I can watch you and see what you are doing.

It is an attempt for you to make your own thinking about your plan visible. By doing this, you will be able to better see what it is you hope to achieve. Writing your plan and considering all the issues helps to visualize what you are doing and then helps you to think through all the associated issues and requirements.

Consider how many students you have and how many different ideas they may have. Think about how you will encourage those ideas and then think about what you might need to encourage them.

Implementation of Learning

Classroom management, as you know, starts with good planning. Once you have made clear plans, you are much better able to manage your class and adapt to new and changing situations. If you are trying to think of what to do next and manage your students, you are going to have trouble. If you know very well where you want your class to go, it is much easier to focus on managing the behaviour of your students.

Also, the clearer you are on your plans, the clearer the students will be. If your students do not know what you want them to do, they will do what they want to do. If you want them to do different things as is often the case, you will need to be even more clear for yourself as you will have different sets of instructions.

paul primary students
Managing the classroom

Portfolio

You need to consider what you are capturing for your portfolio as well. As you know, I advocate that we use our portfolios as teaching tools and not just leave it as yet another artefact to be compiled frantically at the end of the practicum. The following diagram shows the process and perhaps the difficulties posed by the showcase portfolio.

process product portfolio
Active process VS Static Product

Motivation

The only reward your students need is the satisfaction of a job well done. A great reward system involves giving students opportunities to learn. When students learn something new, they will be rewarded by the feeling of success. Helping students feel proud of their accomplishments is the best reward. Save your chocolates for me.

emirati boy classroom
Intrinsic motivation from within

Differentiation and extension

Differentiation means giving students the chance to explore a topic through different means. Sometimes differentiation may mean giving an easier task to one student and a more difficult task to another, but only sometimes. Other times, differentiation means giving them a different way to explore the topic.

Extension means to challenge your students to go beyond the initial task and see what else they can discover that is of great, or greater interest to them. These two concepts overlap and so are often confused with each other.

Let all of your students have these opportunities. Student abilities and interests change daily and according to a wide variety of factors. Resist the temptation to label your students and question your MSTs if and when they tell you that a student is high ability or low.

Assessment for, of and after learning

Assessment is often confused with testing. The two clearly overlap, but the best assessment is actually formative. This allows you to let the student know how they are doing and provide guidance for the student, and for you to help the student further. Do this often.

Summative assessment, or testing, also can be used for feedback, but is often used for evaluation where we place a value on the results of a test. Remember, most if not all test are highly arbitrary. So, the evaluations are even more so. Do not rely on these forms for your feedback.

Teaching Practice Observations - General feedback

I am observing students from three different cohorts this semester and so you may notice that the schedule is very tight. For you, this means you must pay very close attention to the calendar to ensure that you are prepared. You need to look ahead to all of your observation dates as much as you can to see if there are going to be any interruptions. 

Check the schedule to see when you are supposed to be observed and then check with the school. If you miss your observation or it is canceled for any reason, your grade will be averaged over the other observations you have received. This sounds great, but this also means you receive less feedback and therefore you other tasks will be less informed and so... You can see the knock on effect of missing the planned assessment events. 

Documentation

I draw your attention to the chart I drew on the board a few weeks ago.

ed processes     ed processes port approach 

I want you to think about how you can capture your processes through the use of products. That is, how can you capture your performance in the classroom through documentation. 

Do not forget about your journal entries as well. These should be clearly based on feedback from your MCT.

Lesson Plans

When you create lesson plans, it forces you to go through the motions of working out what you will do in the classroom. It is not simply an artefact for you to give to us. It is not simply something that we need to know what you are doing. I can simply watch you and see what you are doing. It is an attempt for you to make your own thinking on your plan visible. By doing this, you will be able to better see what it is you hope to achieve. Writing your your plan and all the issues helps to visualize what you are doing and then helps you to think through all the associated issues and requirements.

Classroom Management

Classroom management, as you know, starts with good planning. Once you have made clear plans, you are much better able to manage your class and adapt to new and changing situations. If you are trying to think of what to do next and manage your students, you are going to have trouble. If you know very well where you want your class to go, it is much easier to focus on managing the behaviour of your students. Also, the clearer you are on your plans, the clearer the students will be. If your students do not know what you want them to do, they will do what they want to do. 

Rewards

A great reward system involves giving students opportunities to learn. When students learn something new, they will be rewarded by the feeling of success. Helping students feel proud of their accomplishments is the best reward. Save your chocolates for me.

Differentiation

Differentiation means giving students the chance to explore a topic through different means. Let all of your students have these opportunities. Student abilities change daily and according to a wide variety of factors. Resist the temptation to label your students and question your MSTs if and when they tell you that a student is high ability or low.

This presentation was delivered at: INTED Mar 2-4, 2015 Madrid, Spain

By: Paul Leslie

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sharjah Higher Colleges, UAE

See the certificate


See the presentation below...

Thursday, 26 February 2015 14:58

EDU 4003 - Week 4 & 5 - Coding your data

How to analyze your data

Watch the video below, especially from 9:00 onward. What is the primary reason that we make bad decisions?

reasons for bad decisions

How can we try to avoid making bad decisions? Many times, we need to make assumptions based on inadequate information. Here are some guidelines from the video that might help us to make better assumptions.

good assumptions

Data Analysis

This week we will be looking at your data and trying to make sense of it all. If you do not have any, you will need to get very busy and start to collect / select your data. 

4003 researchquestions

4203 coding

Reflection

We will also spend a bit of time considering the act of reflection through the use of Bloom's taxonomy. While this is perhaps more of a teaching practice session, we will be using your reflections for data after the TP, so we need to collect good reflections.

Rubrics as Assessment

In order to help appreciate the assessment process, we will spend some time this week to follow a thinking routine and apply it to the understanding of rubrics. Once you have this understanding, I think you will be able to successfully complete your mapping assignment much more thoroughly and ably, ensuring an 'A' for everyone!

Have a look at this article on rubrics for assessment and look at the following pages:

  • 1, 11 (table), 14, 20

"A rubric contains a set of standards for assessment which are cross-referenced to criteria that specify levels of performance against the standards. Rubrics are commonly used as a tool for criterion-referenced assessment; that is, assessment which measures performance against explicit pre-defined standards rather than against a standard set by the population being tested as in norm-referenced assessment."

We will look at how rubrics might affect your own learning and then at how they might inform your ability to create better assessments for your students. 

Connect >> Explore >> Challenge

First of all, what do we know about rubrics? 

Connect...

  • What rubrics have you seen in your own assignments?
  • Do you understand them?
  • Have you ever written one?

 Explore ...

  • How would you like to be assessed?
  • Do you think rubrics would help in the KG classroom?

Challenge ...

  • What do you not know about rubrics and want to know right now?
  • Can you write a rubric that parents would accept?

Share your answers..

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