Global Access to Higher Education: Online English Language Learning

Maureen Andrade
Utah Valley University
United States

Contact for this presentation:
maureen.andrade@uvu.edu

Keywords: Online learning, distance education, higher education, access, self-regulated learning


 

Global higher education enrollments continue to increase (Altbach, Reisberg, & Rumbley, 2009). Demand is outpacing the ability of traditional institutions to provide access (Kamenetz, 2010; Gourley, 2009) due to recognition of the benefits of higher education and related movements for widened participation (Corver, 2010; Higher Education Funding Council for England, 2009; Trow, 2005). To address this, some nations are developing online institutions (e.g., Hamdin Bin Mohammed Smart University in Dubai, Saudi Electronic University in Saudi Arabia, Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, Spain), and traditional higher education institutions are offering more online courses and degrees. In 2012, 33.5% of all students in higher educational institutions in the United States were enrolled in a distance course compared to 9.6% in 2002 (Allen & Seaman, 2014). 

Distance learning, which entails the ability “to access knowledge from any location, at any time, for any age, and in many ways, has become a requirement for individual, community, and collective well-being” (Hanna, 2013, p. 684). It provides flexible options for learners who may have family responsibilities or be employed full-time. In fact, non-traditional students tend to participate more frequently in online courses than traditional students (Radford, 2011). Learners who have limited higher education opportunities due to admission requirements and cost may find greater access through distance learning programs. Such is the case for many potential higher education learners in Pacific nations, who have historically been faced with competitive admission standards and educational costs that are unsustainable based on local economies.

Additionally, many online distance learning programs are delivered in English; thus academic English skills are a prerequisite for success. Institutions that offer global distance education programs must account for this factor. Innovative approaches are needed to help learners acquire English language skills in online environments and build a foundation to further educational opportunity. While some institutions may choose to require a particular level of proficiency to be admitted, others have opted to expand access by providing online English language courses to help learners acquire needed skills for coursework. Learning a foreign language through distance education requires interaction, specifically input and output. Language learners need opportunities to read and listen to the target language and produce language, negotiate meaning, test rules, and get feedback (Krashen, 1985; Long, 1996; Swain, 1995). They must study the rules, systems, and structure of the language, and practice listening, reading, writing, and speaking using the language they have acquired in order to develop fluency (Nation, 2001). 

Moreover, because global online learners have differing educational backgrounds and approaches to learning, cultural factors must be addressed within the course design. To be successful in online courses, learners need a degree of autonomy and self-direction (Andrade & Bunker, 2009; Moore, 2013; White, 2003). Although English language learners may be accustomed to teacher-centered approaches and find distance courses challenging due to the transactional distance between the learner and instructor (Moore, 2013), developing self-regulated learning behaviors can mitigate this gap (Zimmerman & Risemberg, 1997). 

This presentation shares how online learning programs can be designed to offer low cost, high quality distance English language coursework and degrees within the Pacific and globally. Courses include the necessary components for English language acquisition including peer and instructor interaction to build linguistic competency. The courses are based on a learning model that addresses cultural differences and helps learners develop greater autonomy and self-regulation. Indeed, online learning enables chats over the back fence to occur on a global basis in order to improve the lives and livelihoods of individuals who can then contribute to the betterment of the communities and nations they call home. 

References
Allen, E., & Seaman, J. (2014). Grade change: Tracking online education in the United States. Babson Park, MA: Babson Survey Research Group and Quahog Research Group. Retrieved from http://sloanconsortium.org/publications/survey/grade-change-2013
Altbach, P, G., Reisberg, L., & Rumbley, L. E. (2009). Trends in global higher education: Tracking an academic revolution. Paris: UNESCO.
Andrade, M. S., & Bunker, E. L. (2009). Language learning from a distance: A new model for success. Distance Education, 30(1), 47-61.
Corver, M. (2010). Trends in young participation in higher education: Core results for England. Bristol, UK: Higher Education Funding Council for England. Retrieved from http://www .hefce.ac .uk /pubs/hefce/2010/10_03/
Gourley, B. (2009, June). Higher education for a digital age. Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of International Council for Open and Distance Learning. Maastricht, The Netherlands.
Hanna, D. E. (2013). Emerging higher education models in higher education. In M. G. Moore (Ed.), Handbook of distance education (3rd ed., pp. 684-694). New York: Routledge.
Higher Education Funding Council for England. (2009). Strategic plan 2006-11. Bristol, UK: Higher Education Funding Council for England. Retrieved from http://www.hefce.ac.uk/pubs /hefce /2009/09_21/
Kamenetz, A. (2010). DIY U: Edupunks, edupreneurs, and the coming transformation of higher education. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing Company.
Krashen, S. (1985). The input hypothesis: Issues and implications. London: Longman.
Long, M. (1996). The role of the linguistic environment in second language acquisition. In W. Ritchie, & T. Bhatia (Eds.), Handbook of second language acquisition (pp. 413-468). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Moore, M. G. (2013). The theory of transactional distance. In M. G. Moore (Ed.), Handbook of distance education (3rd ed., pp. 66-85). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Nation, I. S. P. (2001). Learning vocabulary in another language. Cambridge University Press.
Radford, A. W. (2011, October). Learning at a distance. Undergraduate enrollment in distance education courses and degree programs. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Retrieved from http://nces.ed.gov/pubsearch/pubsinfo.asp?pubid=2012154
Swain, M. (1995). Three functions of output in second language learning. In G. Cook, & B. Seidlhofer (Eds.), For H.G. Widdowson: Principles and practice in the study of language (pp. 125-144). Oxford University Press.
Trow, M. A. (2005). Reflections on the transition from elite to mass to universal access: Forms and phases of higher education in modern societies since WWII. Berkeley, CA: Institute of Governmental Studies, UC Berkeley. Retrieved from http://escholarship.org /uc/item /96p3s213.
White, C. (2003). Language learning in distance education. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Zimmerman, B. J., & Risemberg, R. (1997). Self-regulatory dimensions of academic learning and motivation. In G. D. Phye (Ed.), Handbook of academic learning: Construction of knowledge (pp. 105-125). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

 

 


Globalization and Massification: Implications on Higher Education

Helen O. Au
Curriculum Research & Development Group
College of Education, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
United States

Contact for this presentation:
helenau@hawaii.edu

Keywords: globalization, massification, international, higher education, resources


Education drives globalization, a phenomenon of increasing worldwide exchanges that combines economic, cultural, and social changes. Higher education, in particular, trains the highly skilled workforce and contributes to the research base and innovation capacity that increasingly determines competitiveness in the knowledge-based global economy (OECD, 2009). Internationalization is defined as the variety of policies and programs which universities and governments implement to respond to globalization (UNESCO, 2009). Internationalization can be defined as activities that include sending students to study abroad, setting up a branch campus overseas, or engaging in some type of inter-institutional partnership (UNESCO, 2009). The wealth of nations, schools and universities play a key role in determining the academic system and the quality and quantity of outputs. This places developing countries at a significant disadvantage, and puts special strains on most academic systems facing the dilemma of expanded enrollment and the need to support global and/or massive initiatives and pursuits. For some countries, the impact of globalization on higher education offers exciting new opportunities for study and research no longer limited by national boundaries. For other countries, the trend represents a threat on national culture, tradition, practice, and autonomy, as well as having the pressure and need to jump on the international bandwagon despite of their limited resources. 

Globally, the percentage of age cohort enrolled in higher education has grown from 19% in 2000 to 26% in 2007 with the most dramatic gains in upper middle and upper income countries; there are some 150.6 million college-going students globally, roughly a 53% increase over year 2000 (UNESCO, 2009). The United States was the first country to achieve mass higher education with 40% of the age cohort attending postsecondary education in 1960 where developing countries still educate fewer than 10% of the age group in the 21st century (UNESCO, 2009). 

The significant benefits for adults who possess postsecondary education have been well documented in the past century around the globe. Young adults with at least a bachelor’s degree earn significantly more and have more social benefits than those with less education (Planty et al., 2007). Higher education has been identified as an increasingly essential component of a country and its citizens’ economic and social well being. Governments have called for major increases in educational attainment, both to compete with other countries and to decrease the participation and graduation gaps between minority students and their more affluent peers. However, many challenges exist in the university levels due to institutional (missions and policies), financial (budget and financial aid programs), and environmental (local, regional, national, and international setting) issues despite having the massification and globalization trends in higher education. 

This research study will use Abraham Maslow’s motivational theory as a conceptual framework to answer the research questions. The two research questions are: 1) How do students and educators view higher education globalization and massification trends in the 21st century? 2) What are some of the positive and negative impacts on students, educators, and higher education? Maslow’s motivational theory has great impact and implications on educational structure, policy, practice, and programs. According to Maslow (1954), in order to maximize the effectiveness of school-wide and nation-wide programs and initiatives, such as globalization and massification, the learning community e.g., individuals, teachers, school administrators, policy-makers, private sectors, public sectors, etc. must consider student needs and their hierarchal order so that students have the opportunity, resources, networks, and capability of reaching their highest levels of potential and academic goals. Furthermore, this study will utilize quantitative and qualitative research methods or mix-method to study the international trends in higher education and to explore student’ and educators’ perspectives on the globalization and massification phenomenon. This study will utilize secondary data generated from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) databases for the quantitative research as to yield the statistical data and case study will be used to harvest the reach and deep qualitative data from students and educators.

 

 

An Investigation of Samoan Student Experiences in Homework Study Groups in Melbourne

Vaoiva Natapu-Ponton
The University of Melbourne
Australia

Contact for this presentation:
ponton.vaoiva.v@edumail.vic.gov.au

Keywords: education, Samoan student experiences


This is a preliminary study about Samoan student experiences in two Homework Study Groups in Melbourne and my research practices undertaken to determine what teaching and learning strategies assist with improving academic outcomes for this group. The importance of this study highlights the need for pedagogy to acknowledge preferred learning methods of the students in classrooms, especially those of minority backgrounds like the Samoan participants in this study.  Acknowledging the experiences and understanding that some students lack the cultural capital required to excel academically in Australian schools is important for educators.  Since commencing as a teacher in Melbourne, I have had an ongoing interest in finding out ways to improve academic learning and results for students that I teach.  In recent years, I have been keen to find out Samoan student experiences in Melbourne since research conducted overseas in the past in New Zealand, Hawaii and California, have tended to report low academic achievement for this cultural group.  I have enjoyed investigating learning preferences and exploring what strategies influence positive academic outcomes because these young people have experienced a number of disadvantages which have had a negative impact on their academic outcomes (Cahill, 2006; p.63, Vaioleti 2006). 

Finding out about the learning experiences of Samoan students in Melbourne is a study that is yet to be undertaken.  This study will make a contribution to knowledge of Samoan student experiences in Melbourne.  It will provide new perspectives on what motivates students to learn, what concerns them and the impediments this group of young people experience whilst living in Melbourne – because there is no current research regarding these issues from the Samoan perspective.  Participants of this study indicated the Homework Study Groups established, provided structure and learning strategies that improved academic outcomes.  It was not only a space participants felt they could seek assistance and support from a teacher/researcher who understood the importance of understanding their cultural values and beliefs, it was also a space where participants felt safe to express their high and lows regarding their educational experiences.  Samoan symbolic meanings are used as metaphors to describe the positive responses provided by participants in this study.

Research Questions
The broad aims of this project are to explore learning strategies and experiences of Samoan secondary school students. Samoan students have traditionally had poor academic outcomes (Wendt-Samu, 2006; Singh, 2001; Singh & Sinclair, 2001; Keanrney, Fletcher & Dobrenov-Major 2008; Podmore, Tapusoa & Taouma, 2006), and this project aims to make a contribution to developing learning strategies that improve their academic outcomes. The key questions are:

  1. Does participation in a Homework Study Group improve academic outcomes for Samoan students living in Melbourne?

  2. What learning strategies are associated with positive academic outcomes?

  3. What factors influence effective learning for Samoan young people in the Homework Study Group?

The research is based on a qualitative research design involving a case study of two Homework Study Groups for Samoan students from the northern and western suburbs of Melbourne. The design of the research included ‘action research’ and ‘reflective practitioner’ elements, as the researcher is also the person who delivers the Homework Study Group (HSG) program.
I outline the concept of  fa’asamoa as the foundation for individual’s sense of Samoanness and how this is practiced on a daily basis by Samoans who not only live in Samoa, but who reside in countries abroad, including Australia.  I illustrate this in part through reference to the traditional symbols in Samoan carvings and traditional tattoos that provide metaphoric meanings to connect with what participants said in this study as a basis for providing a strength-based analysis.  This enables me to emphasize the strong connection young people in this study have to their cultural heritage, even though they do not reside in Samoa.  In turn, the importance of fa’asamoa underpins the importance of sharing this knowledge with educators. Fa’asamoa is a physical presence as well as a mentality that can be enhanced in the educational realm where Samoan students attend school.  This enables schools to be more inclusive spaces that draw Samoan students into the educational space (classroom).

 

 


Navigating the Winds of Change during a Time of Curriculum Development in the Republic of Nauru

Alexis R. Siteine
The University of Auckland
New Zealand

Contact for this presentation:
a.siteine@auckland.ac.nz

Keywords: Curriculum development, curriculum implementation, social sciences, Pacific, Nauru


This presentation takes up the invitation of the conference organisers to ‘share global educational perspectives with neighbours’ by discussing recent curriculum development and implementation in the Republic of Nauru, a small island nation in the central Pacific. It begins with the premise that curriculum development, implementation, and change are both complex and demanding in the best of circumstances. Curriculum developers must balance international imperatives, national interests, the professional needs of teachers, as well as safeguard learning that is in the best interests of children. Educators who are experienced and knowledgeable and who teach in well-resourced schools with well-established education systems can find such change challenging. It is even more challenging in a small island nation during a time of political change and social expansion, where infrastructure is still developing, where education is seen as a vehicle for achieving economic security and where schools are often the last bastion of cultural identity. 

This presentation describes the development of a social sciences curriculum in such a context. It argues for the centrality of conceptual knowledge in a space that is contested by economic imperatives and social knowledge. Furthermore, it recognises the difficulties that occur when there is a mismatch between curriculum goals and classroom realities. The presentation has three parts. First, I describe the context in which this curriculum development occurred. The history of Nauru as well as its current political, economic, educational circumstances are not just a backdrop to the curriculum development under discussion, but influenced the nature and provision of this work. In the second section, I briefly examine the nature of curriculum and knowledge and argue for a curriculum based on a framework of curriculum described by Young and Muller (2010) as a Future 3 model, one that eschews elitist traditional knowledge and the instrumentality of learner-centred pedagogies, in favour of the intellectual development and autonomy that comes from a curriculum based in conceptual knowledge. Finally, I return to the context of Nauru to describe the realities of aligning the written curriculum, underpinned by a theoretical model with a focus on conceptual knowledge, with educators’ needs for a functional document that could guide their practice. 

The presentation is based on a paper that also documents the journey taken from the writer’s perspective as an ‘outsider’ and reflect on the expectations and realities of a 21st century education for the teachers and children of Nauru. A copy of the paper will be available for participants.

 

Harmonising Family Responses to Family Member Participation in Flexible Delivery Teacher Education in Micronesia

Terence Sullivan
University of New England
Australia

Contact for this presentation:
tsulli23@une.edu.au

Keywords: Family support, Academic performance, Local flexible delivery, Micronesia


Family and community play a closely bonded role in the lives of most people. This is also true of Pacific Island people. Culture and context have interacted for centuries to create a survival strategy that is founded on close-knit support as a way of life in order to overcome the isolation that is part of the geographical living environment of Oceania. 

Even today, many of the smaller Pacific Island countries are still considered remote and still face challenges of sustainability. However, this remoteness and fragility exists in a technologically interconnected and globalised world, in which many Pacific Islanders are the first in their families and communities to internationally compete and develop knowledge and skills through online and flexible deliveries, in the globalised system of higher education. 

These students are similar to their forbears who with the support of their families and communities, ventured over the ocean to learn and gain knowledge and skills to trade and so sustain their island communities. However, these students participate in a flexible delivery teacher education program serviced by the University of New England in Australia. Even though they remain living locally in Nauru, they still need and must negotiate the support of their family and community to accommodate the time and emotional energy required for their international higher education studies. 

The competitive, independent and critical nature of higher education learning, the foreign nature of the topics of learning and the changed daily life routines place strains on family time and responsibilities and eventually, relationships. Families are unsure of what is required of higher education participation and cannot help academically or economically, nor can they offer effective social emotional support without fully understanding the academic life their participating family member. 

Harmonising understanding and negotiation between families and students and their communities is a prerequisite and continuing necessity for the teacher education program as its outcomes affect the whole island community. The first confronting experiences of changed life circumstances and extra daily obligations were recognised by the program coordinators as hurdles to be overcome. Strategies to harmonise the tension causing inconsistencies between family members’ different worldviews were planned into the program. 

Face-to-face counselling by full-time in-country lecturers and regular visiting on-campus online lecturers and program coordinators alleviated many family and study issues. The effectiveness of this support was bolstered by the particular South Pacific knowledge and experiences of all lecturers directly involved in the program. 

Whilst there has been some attrition on student numbers in the program, it is especially heartening to be able to observe and report on the developing confidence and achievement of the students. The students’ families have also successfully reorganised their daily routines to socially support their family members. 

The program has a formative evaluation component consisting of weekly progress reports from the in-country and online lecturers and project coordinators. From these reports, strategies to sustain all aspects of the program are continually devised to ease the strain on various parties. 

Usually the students are learning valuable technology skills accessing the online program. However when Internet connection is intermittent, urgent online resources are downloaded on campus in Australia and forwarded via courier to the Nauru Teacher Education Project Centre. Personalised instruction is given via Skype and email to cater for individual student needs. 

Favourable public relations are constantly maintained through student involvement in their Nauru Government and Department of Education activities. Special events, public displays of students work in the community, TV media interviews and family information sessions are designed to ease family expectations and to ensure effective support. 

Social gatherings and celebrations amongst students and lecturers are organised for achievements, birthdays and births of new family members. University of New England logo t-shirts and carry bags to bring equipment to classes, were given to all students and a lengthy induction session was provided at the beginning of the program. All these events help maintain a sense of belonging to the university study culture and bring the project coordinators closer to the Nauru culture. 

To sum up, the program sustains itself by taking an individual interest in each student through its flexible delivery system. 


 

 

The Work of the Teacher Educator: Insights from Australian Universities

Leanne Cameron and Katarina Tuinamuana
School of Education, Australian Catholic University
Australia

Contact for this presentation:
leanne.cameron@acu.edu.au

Keywords: Education; Teacher Education


In their paper Institutional conceptualisations of teacher education as academic work in England, Ellis et al (2012) provided an analysis of the work of teacher educators in England and Scotland. In this presentation we report on the replication of this investigation in the Australian context, and compare and contrast our findings with those of Ellis et al, particularly with respect to the tension between ‘practitioner’ and ‘researcher’ categories. The analysis of job advertisements reveals deep-seated contradictions in the way that the category of teacher educator is constructed and produced. These contradictions work to effectively displace the teacher educator through what emerged as two sets of processes that we expand upon below as marketization and HR-ization. As a consequence, the ‘teacher educator’ as a category of academic worker is significantly erased from the very tool that is, on one level of interpretation, designed to define the work that the successful applicant is expected to do.

This activity of erasure is discursively structured within what we call the ‘front-end’ as opposed to the ‘back-end’ of each advertisement. The front-end is the advertisement itself; it is usually the first section of text encountered when we view a job advertisement. By its primacy of place in the genre of academic job advertisement, it therefore assumes a dominant defining role. The back-end is where the institution provides allied documentation: a more detailed position description and specific selection criteria. Within this dual structure, the normal expectation would be for the back-end to follow on fairly logically from the front-end. Such a logical progression might be from the general to the specific, or from an overview to related details.

Interestingly, our analysis did not find this type of logic at play. Instead we found the link between front-end and back-end characterised by what emerged as a set of contrasting functions: the front-end position is, in the main, used to market the institution, and the back-end is taken over by the generic descriptors associated with human resources management. Neither of these processes functions to define in any concrete way the category of teacher educator as an academic worker. Rather, the advertisements were overtaken by the institutions need to market themselves, and by the ‘generic-ization’ of the roles and responsibilities of teacher educators, fitting them into a pre-defined worker role suited to its own discourses and interpretations.

The front-end therefore became largely about the institution, and not about the teacher educator. It functioned to promote, market and sell a particular image of the institution rather than of the position being advertised. This front-end therefore exhibited as ‘large’, energetic, and hyperbolic. In thus playing to the marketization agenda, it worked at the level of corporate pitching and promotion of the institutional identity. There was intent here to construct perception, present an ‘image’, and to sell a product. Teacher education, where mentioned in this institution-centric front-end, tended to take secondary position. 

In this way the allied documentation in the back-end re-defined and re-produced what it means to be a teacher educator. Whereas the front end used the persuasive and colourful language of marketization, the back-end tended to degenerate into a flatter HR-approved set of descriptions about the work of the teacher educator. 

In this presentation we will discuss these findings and how this data has been enriched with interviews since undertaken, with a number of Head of Schools of Teacher Education Departments.

 

References:
Ellis, V., McNicholl, J. and Pendry. A. (2012). “Institutional Conceptualisations of Teacher Education as Academic Work in England.” Teaching and Teacher Education 28 (5): 685–693.

Nuttall, J., Brennan, M., Zipin, L., Tuinamuana, K. & Cameron, L. (2013) Lost in production: the erasure of the teacher educator in Australian university job advertisements, Journal of Education for Teaching: International research and pedagogy, 39:3, 329–343.

 

 

Enhancing Teaching and Learning through Formative Assessment

Steve Ventura
Advanced Collaborative Solutions
United States

Aime Trang Black
Emergent Policy & Systems, Inc.
United States

Contact for this presentation:
steve@steveventura.com

Keywords: Formative Assessment, Assessment Design, New Generation Assessment


For most of the last century, assessment was used as a way for finding out what students had learned. However, toward the end of the century, researchers began to look more systematically at the role assessment could play in actually enhancing student learning instead of just simply measuring it—a distinction that has been neatly captured as the difference between assessment for learning (formative assessment) and assessment of learning (summative assessment). 
Extant research evidence goes further to suggest that formative assessment (as compared to summative assessment) produces greater increases in student achievement than class-size reduction or increases in teachers’ content knowledge, and at a fraction of the cost. The undoubted power of formative assessment and the strength of the research base have led to a plethora of products and services that describe themselves as “formative assessment,” but in reality very few embody the principles that research has shown are essential to enhance students’ learning. 

The variety of formative assessments demonstrates the differing and often conflicting viewpoints and definitions of what formative assessment is—is it something you can purchase, is it a process, or is it a program? Thus, products and services sold by curriculum and assessment vendors marketed as “formative assessment” can be confusing and misleading. As the accountability system continues to demand enhanced student achievement outcomes, the need to be clear about what formative assessment is has never been more critical. 

In this highly participatory presentation, presenters will (1) define and provide examples of high quality formative assessment; (2) provide participants with an opportunity to delve deeper about the nature and function of formative assessment, and how the purpose of assessment can provide teachers and leaders with valid and reliable feedback; and (3) build capacity of participants to become better consumers of previously designed assessments or assessments they will create. 
There are a number of ways that accurate and thoughtful assessment design can improve teaching, learning, and leadership. The most important aspect about formative assessment is it helps determine effective instruction for improved student learning. Schooling systems that do not explicitly provide high quality research-based formative assessment opportunities for students inevitably set up themselves and their students for potential failure and lower performance ceilings. The best way to prepare for high stakes summative exams is through the creation and/or use of high quality formative assessment. This presentation is intended to assist classroom teachers and education leaders to engage and learn how to improve their formative assessment skills.

 


Negotiating Liminal Spaces | Pedagogical Reflections on the Application of Assessment for Learning – The Pacific Postgraduate Experience

 

Cresantia F. Koya
University of the South Pacific
Fiji

Contact for this presentation:
cresantia.koyavakauta@usp.ac.fj

Keywords: Pedagogy, Andragogy, Reflective Curriculum Practice, Praxis, Assessment for Learning, Postgraduate Studies, Pacific Education, Higher Education, Learning styles


 

This presentation situates the postgraduate experience as a liminal space in which the student is constantly negotiating between the ‘known’ rules of academic engagement at the undergraduate level and the ‘unknown’ expectations of the postgraduate course. It draws on the notion of liminality (Van Gennep, 1908; Turner, 1969) as a space between other spaces, a ‘threshold’ or ‘transitionary’ space of being, and explores the role of purposeful curriculum design through reflective teaching practice. 

This theoretical lens is used as an entry point to examine the findings of a longitudinal study which resulted in a comparative analysis of the delivery of Education postgraduate courses offered in three teaching modes (traditional classroom, summer schools and blended online learning) over 2007 – 2014. This is presented to demonstrate critical pedagogical reflection based on a small scale post-graduate survey conducted in 2007. 

The findings of this either year study indicate that effective teaching praxis in the Pacific must take into consideration the diverse socio-cultural backgrounds and educational learning experiences of students. It is argued that effective teaching and learning is firmly embedded in understanding the complex dynamics of andragogy in the context of the Pacific islands is imperative to improving the student learning experience and improve student learning outcomes. Beginning, mid-point and completing students who have completed the courses included in this study share the view that they have achieved a sense of accomplishment that exceeds other learning experiences. They agree that this sense of accomplishment stems from the recognition that they have acquired new knowledge and skills. 

Recommendations include the need for a strong Postgraduate academic-orientation programme, a series of short-course bridging programmes, and guided learning experiences through assessment for learning. Student reviews further justify these findings with the majority lamenting that this course ought to have been the first in their programme. 

 


Reading Trends and Perceptions towards Islamic English Websites as Teaching Materials

Zurina Khairuddin, Azimah Shurfa Mohammed Shukry and Nurshafawati Ahmad Sani
Sultan Zainal Abidin University
Faculty of Languages and Communication
Gong Badak Campus
Malaysia

Contact for this presentation:
zkzurina@unisza.edu.my

Keywords: reading trends, English Islamic websites, teaching materials, perceptions, Malaysian Muslims


As mentioned by McKay (2003), it is common practice that the culture of the native speakers is integrated into the classroom teaching materials to teach the English language. This is recommended because it is assumed that learning and understanding the language will become more successful (Kachru, 1985, as cited in McKay, 2003). However, it is a problem when other cultures are ignored which could lead to further demotivation to learn a language. Given the fact that Little, Devitt, and Singleton’s (1994) assertion that second-language learners prefer to read authentic materials rather than pedagogical texts, well-written Islamic English websites may offer an authentic reading experience to replace the secular reading materials. In other words, for Muslim English learners, Islamic content should be included when teaching the English language. Since Muslim learners have shown high interests towards Islamic writings (Ibrahim, Hamzah, Taslim, & Adnan, 2010; Aliyu, Mahmud, & Tap, 2013) the use of these writings in the classroom to teach them English can contribute to a meaningful learning experience.

In Malaysia, there are three Islamic higher education institutions that promote the integration of Islamic and secular teachings: International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM), Universiti Sultan ZainalAbidin (UniSZA) and Islamic Sciences University Malaysia (USIM). It is hoped that the Islamic-oriented texts that are presently available in the English language websites may offer an alternative solution to reading English materials that are compatible with the Muslim students whilst they gain English proficiency. Therefore, this study is conducted to identify the reading trends of English Islamic websites amongst Malaysian Muslim youths, determine the Malaysian youths’ perceptions towards the texts, and determine their perception of having the English language be taught using materials from the English Islamic websites.

This study employed the quantitative research as it aimed to establish relationships between variables and look for explanations of the basis of such relationship (Fraenkel & Wallen, 2008). A questionnaire was distributed to 180 students from the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) and the Sultan Zainal Abidin University (UniSZA). The respondents were selected from the Department of English Language where all the Muslim students were required to take additional Islamic courses. Simple random sampling technique was utilised when selecting the sample for this study. This is to ensure that every Department of English Language student has an equal chance of being selected for the study. Students were given as much time to answer the questions as needed and the session took approximately 30 minutes. As the researcher was there on site, the questionnaires were collected immediately to ensure that all students submitted the questionnaires. The questionnaire used was divided into three sections; Section A: Demographic; Section B: Current Readings; Section C: Perceptions. The 39-item questionnaire employed the Likert Scale of 5 for Strongly Agree to 1 for Strongly Disagree. The data obtained were analysed using a statistical analysis software, Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) for Windows v17.

The findings revealed that more than half of the students rated English Islamic articles as most read. The second most read (49.1%) is websites. Findings also reveal that children books and comics are the least read Islamic English texts (16.2%). The results show that 60.5% respondents were self-motivated; whilst friends and lecturers have equal influence (59.9) which indicates that the respondents perceived lecturers’ influence is as important as peers’ influence. Family influence however appears to be low (35.9%). Finally, the findings revealed that the students were self-motivated to read the materials to gain spiritual knowledge and to use the knowledge to deal with personal challenges. It also shows that the students recommend that the materials are used for pedagogical purposes in the learning of the English language. The study proposed that texts that bring enjoyment, inspiration, spiritual knowledge and personal development are used as reading materials in English lessons for Muslim students. This would enhance the motivation to read more whilst improving the proficiency of the English language.

 


Teaching Reading Comprehension in Social Studies:
A Case Study of a Junior High School in Taipei

 

Shiowlan Doong
National Taiwan Normal University
Republic of China

Contact for this presentation:
shirleydoong@ntnu.edu.tw

Keywords: reading comprehension instruction; social studies


In a previous study of mine in 2012, I explored social studies teachers’ perspectives on and readiness of their teaching competence in reading comprehension in Taipei’s junior high schools. The results showed that some teachers never thought of reading instruction having anything to do with the teaching of social studies. Even though a very few teachers were aware of the need to integrate reading instruction into their teaching, they considered reading as merely a decoding process. In the teaching practices, students were asked to read short passages very carefully and expected to understand them in minute detail; then be tested on this comprehension by questions mainly at the factual knowledge level. The majority of teachers who participated in the study were not aware of the role social studies instruction can take to teach students useful comprehension strategies, provide scaffold support, and make reading and writing connections visible to students.

Because of the above findings, I decided to conduct a reading comprehension instruction workshop for Taipei’s junior high school social studies teachers, to introduce them to how they can integrate teaching reading comprehension in their classrooms. The workshop was held every two weeks and spanned across four months. After the workshop, I recruited six volunteer teachers from a junior high school to participate in a follow-up case study which allowed me to observe how reading comprehension instruction was implemented in the real social studies classroom.

This paper presents the process and results of the above-mentioned case study, focusing on five aspects:
1. How did the social studies teachers teach students to create visual or graphic organizers that help the students see not only new concepts but also how previously known concepts are related and connected to the new ones?
2. How did the social studies teachers motivate students by providing them with interesting texts, allowing them choices in reading and writing, and helping students set authentic purposes for reading (e.g., generating reports)?
3. How did the social studies teachers help students think metacognitively about strategies, considering when and where to apply each strategy, along with how to use and provide them with numerous opportunities to practice and apply the strategies?
4. What were the difficulties and challenges the teachers experienced in the teaching reading comprehension?
5. What were the experiences and reflections of the students in learning reading comprehension in social studies classes?

Finally, this paper will also provide suggestions and recommendations for social studies teachers who might be interested in applying reading comprehension instruction to their classrooms.

 

 

Call for Participants: Fishing in the Pacific Curriculum Development Project

Lori M. Ward, Thanh Truc T. Nguyen, and Francis M. Pottenger III
Curriculum Research & Development Group
College of Education, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
United States

Contact for this presentation:
lward@hawaii.edu

Keywords: curriculum development, science, social studies


CRDG proposes to take the lead in a new, collaborative curriculum development project to create a new version of the PCC program Fishing in the Pacific. 

The original project was described as a “collaborative effort by representatives of Pacific nations to promote understanding and enrich learning about the fish resources of their shared environment, the Pacific Ocean.” It aimed to help students understand “the binding and separating natures of oceans; the factors dictating the location of resources; the effects on ocean resources of economies and cultures; prospects and consequences of establishment of Exclusive Economic Zones; and the problems and controversies over fishing rights, waste disposal, and security.” The program, published in four books between 1988 and 1991, was an interdisciplinary curriculum that incorporated science, economics, political science, and culture in the study of fish as a resource.

We propose to create a program that has the same underlying philosophy and goals, but that utilizes twenty-first century research and communication technologies to build a student-centered, collaborative curriculum based on the concepts inherent in the web 2.0 and new literacies paradigms. The content will be centered around a few core ideas: 1) the ocean as an ecological system, including changes in the ocean environment as climate change becomes an inescapable reality; 2) fish as a resource and the management of living resources; 3) political aspects of international cooperation needed to manage the shared resources of the ocean; 4) natural and man-made disasters, including pollution and marine debris, and their impact on fisheries, 5) fisheries technology, including the development of technologies that are proving destructive to both individual fish species and whole ocean ecosystems; and 6) fish as a part of diets, both locally and globally, and cultures. In addition, a digital curriculum would necessarily include instruction in online research methods and Internet skills. It would also include an explicitly collaborative element in that students from around the Pacific would be encouraged share their research with their peers from other Pacific nations and learn how fisheries practices in one country impact others in the region.

This presentation will consist of a brief description of the new project as we envision it and a call for participants from the other member-nations to collaborate on this new curriculum. We will outline CRDG’s role as the lead organization in this effort and the expected role of participating members. Because the ultimate shape of the project will depend, to some extent, on the partners that come together to create it, the session may be, in part, a round-table discussion of ideas for the curriculum. We would like to get an idea of the interest among the members, and ideally, to recruit teams of collaborators from other Pacific nations. 

 

 

 

 


Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Pre-Service Teachers’ Perceptions of Working with Students with Special Needs: Investigating the Special Education Teacher Shortage

Christina Keaulana
University of Hawai‘ at Mānoa
United States

Contact for this presentation:
ctk8@hawaii.edu

Keywords: culturally and linguistically diverse teachers, special education teacher shortage, pre-service teacher perception, overrepresentation of minorities in special education, underrepresentation of minority teachers


Teaching vacancies identified as “hard-to-fill” are predominantly special education positions in low-performing, high-poverty, culturally and linguistically diverse (CLD) communities (HDOE State Performance Plan, 2006).  In some rural areas of Hawaii 24% of school aged children receive SpEd services (Hawaii Department of Education, 2013).  Overrepresentation of CLD students in special education has been widely attributed to ineffective instructional approaches stemming from negative outcome expectancies by a predominantly White female teacher workforce (Coutinho & Oswald, 2000; Blanchett, 2006; Artiles et al., 2002).  In the U.S. the racial and cultural disparity between teachers and their students is increasing as people of color now represent over 40% of the student population in public schools nationwide (NCES, 2012) while 83% of all public school teachers are White (National Center for Education Statistics, 2013).  The literature on attitude studies of teachers proposes that limited understanding increases anxiety or fear of individuals with differences (D'Alonzo, Giordano, & VanLeeuwen, 1997), while the most important predictor of successful integration of students with disabilities in the classroom is the attitudes of teachers (Cook, 2000).

As U.S. schools are becoming more racially, ethnically, linguistically, and socioeconomically diverse, the teaching profession continues to predominantly attract White, female, middle class educators (Children’s Defense Fund, 2004;Trent & Artiles, 2007).  Students from CLD backgrounds with disabilities are not receiving instruction that is responsive to their unique cultural and linguistic characteristics as well as the educational needs related to the disability. For the purposes of this study “culturally and linguistically diverse” will be defined as people for whom English is not their primary language, or who were born into a culture significantly different to the dominant Euro-centric American culture.

U.S. colleges graduate nearly 22,000 special education teachers annually, which is less than half the number required to fill vacant positions and about 98% of the nation’s largest school districts report shortages in special education teachers. According to the Hawaii Educational Policy Center, the HDOE hires approximately 1,600 new teachers annually, of whom 56.1% hold degrees from out-of-state institutions. This heavy reliance on inexperienced, culturally disconnected out-of-state teachers who typically leave their teaching assignment within 3-5 years has lead to inconsistent educational services for local Hawaiian students with and without special needs.  Being of a similar ethnic descent may not necessarily imply an individual will be more adept in teaching students of his/her racial background, however this study does attempt to investigate why pre-service teachers who mirror the demographic of the majority of the public school population opt to avoid special education degrees.

This project investigated whyCLD pre-service teachers avoid special education careers and how they developed their perceptions about students with special needs.  A preliminary survey and focus group interviews of culturally and linguistically diverse pre-service teachers reveals key themes that explain why minority populations are grossly underrepresented in the special education field.  The outcome expectancy theory model (Vroom, 1964) was used to analyze the surveys and the grounded theoretical approach (Strauss & Corbin, 1990) was used to analyze interview data.

The Participants: 30 pre-service teachers in an associate of arts in teaching program at Leeward Community College.  The focus group students were developed on a voluntary basis and students ranged from 19 years old to 47 years old, median age is 22 years old; 8 students were Filipino, 6 students were Part-Hawaiian and 1 is Guamanian.  They have not participated in interviews or surveys prior to this study.

Key findings were as follows:

  • Pre-service teachers felt least comfortable teaching students with emotional behavioral disorders, followed by students with physical disabilities and then students with cognitive delays.

  • 100% of pre-service teachers (30/30) strongly believe teaching SpEd is more challenging than teaching general education

  • Pre-service teachers felt a moderate confidence level with respect to control over academic achievement for students with disabilities and a low confidence level with respect to control over behaviors.

  • Only 20% of CLD pre-service teachers (6/30) students report that they would be likely to pursue a degree in special education.

  • The primary challenges (ranked in order) associated with teaching SpEd: uncontrollable behavior, lack of knowledge or skills for differentiation, and low tolerance for patience.

 


Are Variations in Teaching Specific Forms of Pedagogy or Are They Appropriate Adaptations within Generically Effective Pedagogy?:

A Qualitative Case Study of Instructional Practice of a Group of Minority Teachers Teaching Reading Comprehension to Second Language Learners in New Zealand Classrooms

 

Meaola Amituanai-Toloa
The University of Auckland
New Zealand

Contact for this presentation:
m.toloa@auckland.ac.nz

Keywords: Bilingual and biliteracy, reading comprehension, specific forms of pedagogy, cultural and linguistic resources, cultural variations


Studies have described how teachers who share the cultural backgrounds of their students can use the same culture to increase the academic achievement of their students and where necessary can modify their classroom practices in cases of pedagogical ‘mismatch’ so that elements of familiar ways of teaching and learning, or language patterns or event knowledge that ‘match’ are built into the pedagogy.  For example, memorization, dramatization and repetition as forms of learning have been identified as cultural practices that ‘match’ between African American teachers and students (Delpit, 2003).  Similarly, Carol Lee (2000) describes how African American teachers could incorporate and build on to the community discourse pattern of ‘signifying’ and Cazden (1988), describes culturally based modifications in teacher talk used by Latino teachers who adopt specific registers in Spanish – English bilingual classrooms.  This paper adds to that knowledge by beginning to examine if there are forms of pedagogy known  specific to teachers in this study, and whether variations in the pedagogical practice of teachers and, whether these variations are specific forms of pedagogy in the teaching and learning of reading comprehension in English for Samoan students in Samoan bilingual classrooms in New Zealand thus contributing to analyses of the effectiveness of teaching with children from culturally and linguistically diverse communities who find schools ‘risky places’ (McNaughton, 2002).  This paper, therefore, can be seen as addressing one of the most important areas in literacy teaching and teacher education – the role of cultural differences in the teaching and learning of reading comprehension in English of second language learners Samoan children in Samoan bilingual contexts.  The question we are concerned with in this paper is how different might teachers from a ‘minority’ group use their cultural understanding in the teaching of reading comprehension in English to increase the academic achievement of students who are of the same cultural background as themselves?  We explore one facet of the general hypothesis that teachers who are better able to incorporate students’ cultural and linguistic resources into their classroom practices will be more effective (McNaughton, 2002).  We know that there are pedagogical and cultural variations within and amongst teachers generally in the teaching of reading comprehension for all students.  What we are yet to know is whether these variations are also present within and amongst teachers who might have the same ethnicity and cultural and linguistic backgrounds as the children they teach.  We argue that Samoan teachers, who share the same ethnicity and cultural and linguistic backgrounds as their students, might have variations which are culturally specific forms of pedagogy  in their practice due to their professional and cultural understandings of teaching and learning particularly of the term ‘comprehension’ and how it should be taught. 

 

 

Addressing Wicked Problems through Authentic Engagement

Richard C. Seder and Aime Trang Black
Emergent Policy & Systems, Inc.
United States

Contact for this presentation:
policyconsultant@gmail.com

Keywords: Family Engagement, Community Engagement, Complex Societal Challenges, Complexity, Partnerships, Pacific Region


Society is faced with complex problems, sometimes referred to as “wicked problems” and “social messes.” Given their complex and non-linear nature, these problems cannot be “solved” through traditional public problem-solving methods, such as through the exclusive use of experts or through direct advocacy campaigns. Practitioners, researchers, policymakers, parents, and community members alike would readily agree that education is a complex problem. The complexity arises because of the dynamic interactions between those persons working within the system, those affected by the system, and between all of those persons and their environment. 

The complexity associated with the education enterprise prevents underlying problems from being easily diagnosed and understood; solutions are not readily available; the whole is much greater than the sum of the individual parts. To this, practitioners, researchers, policymakers, parents, and community members are situated in a realm David Snowden and Mary Boone (Cynefin Framework) refer to as “unknown unknowns.” 

One way to address complex problems (e.g., education) is through effective engagement of all stakeholders. Addressing wicked problems/social messes requires a different approach, one where the affected communities are an integral part of the change process. Schools do not exist in isolation of the students, families, and communities in which they operate. Parent–school–community ties can directly affect student motivation, school participation, and efficacy of work within the classroom. Parent, school, and community ties are an essential component of dramatic and sustained improvement of student outcomes. The research and evaluation community plays an important role bringing expertise where needed, including the monitoring of program and activity progress. Too often, family, community, and researcher engagement have been described as “random acts” of siloed activities that are disconnected from instructional practice and too often are lower-level activities with parents seen as assistants to schools rather than as partners in the educational process. Instead, family and community engagement should be understood to be a shared responsibility of families, schools, and communities, as well as researchers, for student learning and achievement; continuous from birth to young adulthood; and occurs across multiple settings where children learn. This deeper level of engagement is better understood as partnership.

The idea of creating and developing partnerships between schools, families, communities, and researchers continues to gain traction across the United States. The most notable example of practitioner-researcher partnerships is the Consortium on Chicago School Research created in 1990 as a partnership between the Chicago Public Schools and the University of Chicago. This type of practitioner-researcher partnership model has been replicated across the United States, such as the Baltimore Education Research Consortium, the Kansas City Area Education Research Consortium, and, more recently, the Education Research Alliance for New Orleans. Each of these partnerships includes different levels of family and community engagement. The Institute of Education Sciences, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Education, provides funding to the development and continuous improvement activities of these types of partnerships through competitive grants centered on the critical areas of improved student outcomes in math, reading, science, and writing. In 2014, the Institute of Education Sciences funded 14 practitioner-researcher partnerships with each grant totaling approximately $400,000 over a two-year period. These types of practitioner-researcher partnerships are also envisioned for a larger-scale U.S. federally funded technical assistance program with services provided across the nation. 

This presentation will provide: 1) an introduction to the concepts of complexity, “wicked” problems, and social messes and how these concepts might apply to education; 2) discussion of engagement strategies for addressing complex organizational/societal problems and challenges; 3) authentic examples of successes and challenges in creating these types of partnerships in the Pacific from researchers’ perspectives. The presentation will close with discussion of the types of strategies that might be pursued as partnerships are pursued and developed that might lead to success across the Pacific.

 

 


Education for Human Rights and Global Citizenship in a Just and Inclusive Society

Nina Burridge and John Buchanan
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, University of Technology, Sydney
Australia

Contact for this presentation:
Nina.Burridge@uts.edu.au

Keywords: curriculum reform, social justice, human rights education, global citizenship,
social inclusion


This paper is designed to revisit the principles that underpin a ‘good education’ in preparing the global citizens of tomorrow.

It proposes that while in modern industrialised social democracies like Australia (and indeed in many countries in Europe), the focus in education policy making has been largely instrumentalist, driven by the need for human capital investment and measured by national and international testing regimes, there is a more important purpose to education. We focus on another defining purpose of education - Education for informed, active citizenship. Another term for this is what Martha Nussbaum (2009, 2010) calls ‘education for human development’:

“Education for human development ........ the goal of producing decent world citizens who can understand the global problems ... and who have the practical competence and the motivational incentives to do something about these problems. How, then, would we produce such citizens?” (Martha Nussbaum, Education for Profit, Education for Freedom, 2009)

Education for human development encompasses all the quality pedagogical practices of engaging young minds to gain knowledge and to succeed at school, within a framework of promoting education for a just and inclusive society where students understand and respect rights and their associated responsibilities - on a local as well as an international scale.

This type of education is based on the teaching of the egalitarian principles of equal respect for, and entitlement of, by all human beings to basic human rights, human dignity and opportunities for advancement, irrespective of their ethnicity, gender and socio-economic circumstances.

This discussion will be set in the context of an Australia-wide research project conducted by UTS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences in 2013 for the Australian Attorney General’s office that analysed curriculum documents for explicit and implicit opportunities to teach about human rights and active citizenship in the curriculum offerings in Australian schools.

The paper will include a summary of findings in three key areas, namely: the opportunities provided in school curricula for students to learn about human rights issues; the gaps in the curriculum provision; and teaching resources and technologies available to support students to improve their knowledge about human rights.

Overall, the study highlights that while there are opportunities in current curriculum documents, a more systematic approach is needed for greater recognition of the role of education in improving understanding of human rights and building civic values. This requires a greater focus on human rights education in the curriculum and professional development of teachers to improve their pedagogical skills and understanding of human rights.

What the report advocates is a curriculum that provides greater emphasis on matters such as a social justice human rights discourse, on the importance of ethics in everyday life and on the need to understand the great diversity of cultures that make up our 21st Century classrooms.


 


 


Moʻo Lono: An Authentic Dissertation Model to Tell a Hawaiian Story of Transformation, Timeliness, Perpetuity and Hawaiian Manaʻo

Cathy Kanoelani Ikeda
Kamehameha Schools
United States

Contact for this presentation:
caikeda@ksbe.edu

Keywords: Authentic dissertation, Hawaiian, Culture-Based Education, Indigenous Dissertation


Although there is a growing group of scholars that are responding to the call for contributions to the study of Indigenous methodologies, (Tuhiwai Smith, 2012; Kovach, 2009; Wilson, 2001), there is not enough research on Indigenous models to tell the Indigenous story. Specifically, the scholarship around Indigenous methodologies has not done enough work around Indigenous dissertation models. Four Arrows aka Donald Trent Jacobs, in his book The Authentic Dissertation (2009) suggests that authentic dissertation stories tap into the realm of authentic experience and reflection, art, creativity and spirituality.  Although the dissertation stories are different, what they have in common is the way that these dissertations honor the researcher’s voice and creativity; focus on more important questions than on research methodologies, per se; reveal virtues; and regard the people’s version of reality (Jacobs, 2009).

What is the use of creating Indigenous methodologies only to tell that community’s story through a Western dissertation frame that honors a Western lens? My paper is on my own dissertation story that started with my frustration in not being able to find a proper dissertation frame to tell the story of my research journey. It is about humility, spirituality, and opening my senses to the ʻailona or signs from my kupuna, ancestors. This dissertation story is about taking faith leaps in order to trust the universe to provide the answers. It is about both the journey and the tool that I created and used at the end of this journey. This story is about my moʻo lono, a model that privileges native Hawaiian manaʻo, thought, as well as moʻowaiwai, or the lineage of valued practices of my people. This story is also about the role of art, aesthetics and metaphor in the creation of this dissertation. Most importantly, this story is about the necessity of Indigenous researchers to alana ʻia, to rise up from the stifling rules and confines of Western academic tradition in order to present a more aesthetic and innovative dissertation.

I argue that this dissertation model can address the same necessary elements of a Western dissertation model while still honoring the moʻowaiwai of Hawaiʻi and Hawaiian manaʻo. Although I am not suggesting that this is the only model for Hawaiian culture-based dissertations, I am offering this moʻo lono story as one possible model in order to open up discussion and “chats over the back fence” around other Indigenous dissertation models. In conclusion, this paper, by closely examining the frame of the moʻo lono, sheds new light on little recognized issues of Indigenous research.

References

Jacobs, D. T. (2009). The authentic dissertation: Alternative ways of knowing, research and representation. Routledge.

Kovach, M. (2009). Indigenous methodologies: Characteristics, conversations, and contexts. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

Tuhiwai Smith, L. (2012). Decolonizing methodologies: Research and indigenous peoples. New York, NY: Zed Books.

Wilson, S. (2001). What Is an Indigenous Research Methodology? Canadian Journal of Native Education25(2), 175-79.

 

 


Connecting Our Students Globally through Innovative Projects

 

Karen Yager and Ann Prentice
Knox Grammar School
Australia

Contact for this presentation:
yagerk@knox.nsw.edu.au

Keywords: Globally connected schools


This presentation will feature ways to connect globally students from age five through to eighteen. When students share ideas and strategies with students from other countries they are encouraged to think divergently and develop innovative approaches. The students delight in reading each other’s work. Singh (2010) asserts that culture is an excellent vehicle for inspiring creative thinking and empathy.

WeWrite2connect, a global writing project, was launched by our school in 2012 and now involves students from over eight countries sharing their writing in response to a range of topics that are designed to enable students to reflect their unique culture and place. The focus of the writing tasks is on significant global issues, such as cultural identity, sustainability and the role of place in shaping our cultural identity. The tasks are cross-disciplinary, incorporating subjects such as Science and English. The sharing of these stories and poetry with a global audience encourages students to transform the quality of their writing. Ways to create a global project, such as this one, will be shared as well as all of the past writing projects and examples of student writing from across the globe.

The second global project to be shared is an international da Vinci Decathlon that was launched in 2013. The Decathlon is named after Leonardo da Vinci, one of the world’s greatest thinkers and scholars, who demonstrated a superior ability to perceive the interconnected nature of knowledge and embraced learning with a lifelong passion and determination to uncover the unknown. The competition places a particular emphasis on higher order thinking skills, problem solving and creativity. Students working collaboratively in teams are highly stimulated by competing in tasks that encompass Engineering, Mathematics, Philosophy, Code Breaking, Games of Strategy, Art and Poetry, Science, English, Science and Creative Producers. Schools from the United Kingdom, America, South Africa and India compete physically or virtually via Skype. We will share some of the tasks that we have developed that encourage students to be creative, think critically, solve problems and work collegially as a team. 

Finally, we will share a plethora of ways that you connect your students globally.

 

 

A Study on Supports for Student Learning through Student-Centered Mathematics Curricula

Fay Zenigami and Hannah Slovin
Curriculum Research & Development Group
College of Education, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
United States

Contact for this presentation:
zenigami@hawaii.edu

Keywords: Curriculum, Supporting student learners, Mathematics Education, Accessibility


A team of mathematics education faculty and special education faculty from the University of Hawai‘i, College of Education collaborated on this research to study supports needed for at-risk students learning mathematics through curricula developed for an environment where understanding is constructed and negotiated through shared meanings. Observation data from a first grade classroom and a sixth grade classroom were used to identify areas where the respective curriculum and pedagogy promoting student-centered learning posed specific challenges for struggling learners and suggested the potential supports that could help students access critical content and processes. The mathematics content for grade 1 is based on a quantities approach to developing foundational ideas in early mathematics learning, using visual interpretations of arithmetic operations on physical quantities through measures, magnitudes, and number lines. In grade 6, the mathematics builds from concepts of transformational geometry that emphasize the use of visual contexts and spatial thinking to understand concepts in key middle grades topics.
The Standards for Mathematical Practice in the United State’s Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSO, 2010) make student-centered mathematics teaching and learning for all students even more critical (Slovin, 2010). The equity principle in the Principles and Standards for School Mathematics (NCTM, 2000) sets the goal to provide all students opportunities to access challenging curriculum “regardless of personal characteristics, backgrounds, or physical challenges.” Parks (2010) suggested that reform methods might disadvantage children whose cultural backgrounds do not place value on the types of expression and interaction expected in reform-oriented teaching practices. Boaler (2002) asserted that while reform-oriented practices may disadvantage some students, the corollary is not simply that traditional curriculum is better suited for these students. Her research focused on developing a knowledge base of ways in which curriculum approaches could be made more equitable, and she believed that the variations that make curriculum more equitable might lie in teacher practices within the reform-based approaches.
This study took place in three phases. In Phase I, the research team became familiar with the school’s environment and the respective mathematics curriculum, agreed upon and used a trial observation protocol, and established a research question. In Phase II, team members discussed outcomes of observations in Phase I and agreed upon a more holistic observation protocol using “dilemmas” identified through features of both curricula. Observations were categorized by associating instructional events with dilemmas. Lastly, in Phase III, team members observed “focus students” selected by each teacher. Final analysis of the data was discussed to identify specific supports which would assist struggling students in each respective grade level.

In this presentation, we will 

  • share our methods for conducting classroom observations and defining categories of instructional events,

  • describe how we defined the “dilemmas” for students in these constructivist mathematics classrooms,

  • discuss how we reassessed assumptions made about challenges for struggling learners, and

  • report on supports for struggling learners in a classroom environment where students solve problems and engage in discourse to build understanding and make sense of mathematics concepts.

     


Collaborative Efforts of a Public School District and a University to Enhance Student Understanding of Algebra through Modeling

Judith Olson, Fay Zenigami, Linda Venenciano, and Melfried Olson
Curriculum Research & Development Group
College of Education, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
United States

Contact for this presentation:
jkolson@hawaii.edu

Keywords: Curriculum, Algebra, Modeling, Problem solving, Technology, At-risk Learners


The Common Core State Standards in Mathematics (CCSSM) (CCSSO, 2010) in the United States has resulted in curricular change that includes the earlier introduction of algebra topics into the middle grades, subsequently changing the nature of the curriculum for the Algebra I course usually associated with high school. This curriculum change, in itself, is not necessarily problematic, but a first-year algebra course is frequently associated as one in which students struggle to be successful. This is of particular concern as this course, the traditional entry point to high school mathematics, becomes the gatekeeper to subsequent study of further mathematics. Thus there is an alignment of factors that makes it important to look at building the success rate in first-year algebra. This session describes the proactive effort through a collaboration by the Hawai‘i Department of Education and the University of Hawai‘i to support student success in Algebra I with a focus on problem solving and modeling.

To address this situation, the mathematics education leadership in the Hawai‘i State Department of Education (HIDOE) decided on a three-pronged effort: 1) designing a companion course, Modeling Our World I (MOW I), to be taken concurrently with Algebra I for students needing additional content support but not remediation, 2) creating curriculum materials for MOW I, and 3) organizing professional development for teachers of MOW I. 

The MOW I course is organized to focus on mathematical modeling and opportunities to learn mathematics in a more investigative manner. It was created to support students concurrently enrolled in Algebra I but to not necessarily follow the same scope and sequence. Because of a successful track record in curriculum and professional development, the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG) at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa was contracted to write the curriculum materials used for MOW I, entitled A Modeling Approach to Algebra (AMAA) (J. Olson, M. Olson, Slovin, Venenciano, & Zenigami, 2013). AMAA is organized into several components. The instructional components include Student Pages, Teacher Notes, and Annotated Student Pages. The supporting resource materials include an Assessment Problem Bank and A Conceptual Approach to Skill-Building. All of the components are woven together through the use of technology associated with Texas Instruments Nspire PublishViewTM.

AMAA Student Pages are organized into units associated with the Traditional Pathways for High School Algebra I in Appendix A of the CCSSM. Lessons are designed so that students’ learning experiences begin by having them develop conceptual models for making sense of real-life situations and then create, revise, or adapt a mathematical way of thinking by using modeling for problem solving (Lesh & Zawojewski, 2007). In this way, students simultaneously gain an increased understanding of both the problem situation and their mathematization of the problem. AMAA has been designed around the premise that learning algebra requires more than memorizing formulas and finding answers. AMAA embodies five tenets foundational within all CRDG mathematics curriculum projects: 1) problem solving is the method of instruction to introduce new topics or concepts; 2) communication through reading, speaking, writing, critical listening, and representing mathematics in multiple ways helps students clarify, validate, or refute ideas; 3) development of understanding from a conceptual level to a skill level occurs over time; 4) new learning experiences are built upon previously developed understandings with common threads running throughout; and 5) challenging but accessible problems having multiple solutions at varying levels of complexity (open-ended) allow children of diverse abilities to respond.

For each lesson, AMAA Teacher Notes highlights suggested timing, content and objectives, modeling opportunities, insights into possible student thinking, special materials needed, and use of technology. The Annotated Student Pages contain suggestions for actions teachers might consider for specific tasks, as well as additional questions or prompts to further discussion and student thinking. In addition, professional development opportunities sponsored by HIDOE and conducted by CRDG include awareness sessions, summer workshops, and follow up sessions during the school year to provide teachers ongoing support for their implementation of MOW I to improve student success.

 


Authentic Performance Tasks: Strategies to Improve Learning

Steve Ventura
Advanced Collaborative Solutions
United States

Aime Trang Black
Emergent Policy & Systems, Inc.
United States

Contact for this presentation:
steve@steveventura.com

Contact for this presentation:
steve@steveventura.com

Keywords: Authentic Performance Tasks, Student Achievement, Assessments


As practitioners and policymakers engage to prepare students for college and career, a critical examination of the current assessment systems is warranted. Assessment systems that support multiple purposes at different levels of the educational enterprise and that include multiple forms of assessment, incorporating formative and summative measures are critical and imperative in supporting students to be college and career ready. In order to get students to be college and career ready, educators need meaningful information that will help them to monitor, adjust, and implement effective strategies to ameliorate existing gaps in achievement. 
Few will disagree that the current assessment systems often leave teachers and parents feeling frustrated and lacking information that could help them accelerate student learning. Most assessments done in schools today are after the fact and designed to reveal whether students have learned. Not enough is being done to measure students’ thinking as they learn to boost and enrich learning, and track student progress. 

Irrefutably, schools give lots of tests (often too many). However, assessments currently in use tend to focus on concepts that are easy to measure. These assessments rely primarily on multiple-choice items with fill-in-the-bubble responses. Though it may be true that these assessments (mainly used for accountability purposes) have shed light on achievement gaps between student groups, they are not always testing important knowledge and skills as per achievement standards in a comprehensive way or providing high quality information about student progress.
The purpose behind the creation of the next generation assessments was to address the issues related to previous assessment design and function. The new generation assessments will make use of smart technology, providing students with authentic, complex performance tasks, immediate feedback, computer adaptive testing, and incorporate accommodations for a range of students. The switch to authentic performance tasks will undoubtedly be a “game changer” for students and practitioners who have been so accustomed to multiple-choice items with fill-in-the-bubble responses. 

Authentic performance tasks require students to use skills, strategies, and knowledge learned while completing a real world task that an adult would need to perform in his personal or professional life. It requires the student to explain, apply, or synthesize their knowledge to show true understanding through a multiple step process/project. The intended outcome of these authentic performance tasks is to capture the full spectrum of what students know and can do. The question is: are practitioners equipped and ready to make the switch, pedagogically.
This session is rich with templates and planning tools that will permit participants to replicate these strategies as soon as they return back to school. Relevant and meaningful lesson design is critical for student success. Learn how to limit student down time and increase student curiosity, engagement, and achievement.

 

 

Lessons from an Experiment on Problem Based Learning for Pre-Service Teachers

Yangsook Kil
Department of Education, Kangwon National University
Korea

Contact for this presentation:
yskil@kangwon.ac.kr

Keywords: problem based learning, knowledge acquisition, problem solving process


Problem based learning (PBL) is spreading rapidly as an alternative to traditional direct instruction. The effects of PBL are often reported as successful. However, problems experienced by teachers in schools are unique in that they are unstructured or they are dilemmas whose solutions not easily forthcoming. Since the effects of PBL may vary with the type of problem and evaluation criteria used, it is necessary to verify if the ability to solve problems faced in schools can be taught within a limited time to pre-service teachers. Therefore, an experiment was first implemented. 
Contrary to expectations, the results were not satisfactory. Weak points were found instead. This study reported on the experiment and further analyzed conditions of successful PBL for pre-service teachers. 

Research Method
The original experiment compared the effects of problem-based learning and conventional teaching with pre-service teachers' knowledge acquisition and problem solving processes using a nonequivalent control group pretest-posttest design. 
Subjects were 104 pre-service teachers (43 in the experimental group and 61 in the control group). Unstructured problems such as rebels, low motivation, individual differences, college entrance test preparation were used for PBL. Training lasted for 6 weeks, two hours per week working with 3 different problems. Small group PBL and classroom discussion were used in turn. The teacher provided reading materials and professional advice when it was needed. The control group received the same reading materials, but was taught in lecture mode. The survey consisted of 8 items and one open question was adopted as the problem solving process test. Data was analyzed with a T-test.

Results
The major finding was that PBL was no more effective than lecturing for knowledge acquisition and in problem solving processes. However, open ended responses revealed a positive attitude toward PBL and the possible reasons of no effect, which overrode the negative effect. 

Implications of the study
Lessons from the experiment are as follows:

  • Problem solving ability to solve unstructured school problems tends to require more than six weeks of training (three problems, twelve sessions of one hour training in total).

  • The effects of PBL seem to vary between types of problems. Unstructured or dilemma problems are more difficult to solve compared to the ones solved with provision of knowledge or by clarification of the concepts (Kil, 2005). In addition, problems had to be interesting for the learners to want to increase study time and participate more actively.

  • Monitoring PBL processes by qualified tutors is important for successful PBL. This research revealed that group discussion is not a sufficient condition to identify contents to be clarified or pursued. The role of the tutor in clarifying the unknowns, identifying the study topics, monitoring the PBL processes, and leading to the test of hypothesis was greater than anticipated. 

  • Providing an appropriate knowledge base is important for problem solving. In educational problems, the necessary knowledge base was often lacking and pre-service teachers had difficult time finding it. This frustrated the learners. Ensuring that problems used in PBL have a sufficient knowledge base is an important condition for successful PBL. Developing a manual, as in medical cases that contain problems, symptoms, test results, and prescriptions is urged. 

  • Developing the evaluation criteria was a challenge, too. Since the unstructured or dilemma problem did not have one and only answer, it triggered lots of discussion. However, that ambiguity prevented the learners from feeling achievement motivation. Learners were frustrated when they could not agree on answers to the question. A prerequisite condition for PBL is agreement by professionals on the answers as criteria for problem solving. 

  • Appropriate evaluation tools to measure problem solving ability and PBL process skills are to be devised. Controlling the potential confounding variables such as the attractiveness and the difficulty of the problems caused threats to the homogeneity of pre and post testing. 

  • This research pursued the conditions of successful PBL by analyzing the weak points of a PBL experiment and reviewing prior PBL research. 

 


What should be taught at school? New directions in the sociology of education

Elizabeth M. Rata
University of Auckland
New Zealand

Contact for this presentation:
e.rata@auckland.ac.nz

Keywords: knowledge, social realism, curriculum


The sociology of education’s main focus is the inequality in educational achievement between socio-economic classes, including marginalised groups within the working class. Since the late 1990s a new and very broadly-based research programme within the sub-discipline has advanced a case for the centrality of concepts and content knowledge in the curriculum as a progressive option in support of social and educational justice. This social realist research programme breaks with the belief that academic knowledge is the preserve of conservative forces in education by arguing that all young people have the right to powerful knowledge derived from the disciplines and re-contextualised as academic subjects in schools. The research focuses on three main questions: what type of knowledge should be taught at school and why? What is the role of the teacher? What is the role of the student? My purpose in the presentation is to show how social realism addresses these questions. In doing so I discuss the intellectual traditions from which the ideas are derived, the contemporary social realist literature, the value of this research for the sociology of education, and the difference between this knowledge-based approach and two other contenders for educational influence.

The first question: ‘What should be taught at school?’ leads into a discussion of the influences of Emile Durkheim, Lev Vygotsky, and Basil Bernstein. From Durkheim comes ideas about the importance of the differentiation of knowledge in modern societies and the consequences of this differentiation for the division between mental and manual labour. From Vygotsky comes ideas about the relationship between the conceptual knowledge derived from the disciplines and spontaneous knowledge of experience. This includes the implications of the relationship for pedagogy. And from Bernstein come ideas about how academic knowledge can serve to ‘interrupt’ what he calls the ‘discursive gap’ so that students can move into the conceptual world of ‘not yet thought’ that is required for educational achievement. 

In showing the influences of these three writers on the development of the social realist research programme, I use the long-lasting debate in educational theory between development and formation to examine the respective roles of the teacher and the student. I compare and contrast three contemporary approaches to these roles, all of which contain differing views of knowledge. In the case of social realist writers such as Michael Young, Rob Moore, and Johan Muller, a Durkheimian theory of knowledge provides the justification for their ideas about what knowledge should be taught at school and the roles of both teacher and student. The second approach is constructivism; traceable through the various child-centred traditions to Piaget and Dewey. The third approach is the contemporary version of instrumental education with its background in the academic vocational divide. This is the skills and competency view of education that characterises the many varieties of ‘21st century learning’. 

 


Let's Chat About Effective School Administrator Leadership for Diversity and Equity

Barbara J. Shin
symmetry systems unlimited
United States

Contact for this presentation:
bshin7@gmail.com

Keywords: administration, leadership, dispositions


This proposal is calling for a special interest session for conference participants who would be willing to discuss the attitude of school administration leadership. The focus of the discussion would be centered on what we consider significant dispositions for effective leadership for a culturally diverse/multicultural student population in PK-12 schools. Participants are invited to bring their research, quantitative or qualitative, and/or experience as a practitioner to the conversation as well as any papers they have written on the topic. Since the definition of leadership and the opportunity to lead in K-12 schools may vary across the globe discussing these differences in themselves can be of benefit as we consider how culture matters in how we conceptualize the Principal and their administrative work. To some the K-12 Principal may be seen as management, or a craft or an art, and to others it may be viewed as a profession, requiring expert knowledge or a bureaucratic, government appointed job.

We might also want to consider if diversity is valued in our respective cultures and if equity matters. Frame for the dialogue would extend from knowledge, beliefs, values, attitudes, to professional behaviors relevant particularly to how they influence decision making. Do they matter in our respective societies?
Succinctly, a few of the guiding questions to consider for the conversation would be as follows, and those participating in the dialogue would agree at the start which questions to address  in the brief time allotted for the session.
In your country/culture:
1)  are school Principals allowed to make decisions for their school or is it a government only
                function? If so, what kinds of decisions are in their zone of responsibility? Curriculum?             Instruction? Resources? Teacher evaluation? Student progress assessments? Facilities and                        school environment? Organizational structure/management? Accountability and             reporting to parents and the community?
2)              is diversity valued and how have you addressed this in your work on school leadership?
3)              what other values are important such as world view (individualistic/collective, sense of             belonging (inclusive/exclusive, variation (diversity/homogeneity), relating             (cooperative/competitive), future view (status quo/change), conflict (manage/avoid)?
3)              is equity an issue being discussed in your education community? If so, how is it framed?
4)              what of your recent work on educational leadership can you share with participants?
5)             do we need to prepare school leaders differently for local and global work?

Chats across borders would make this special interest session one that could inform and expand our perspectives and could collectively advance our work in leadership preparation. Let’s chat across the fences about our work and our similarities and differences!

 

 

Citizenship Education in a Small Island Melanesian State in the Pacific: Exploring Effective Teaching and Learning Approaches for Good Citizenship in the Solomon Islands

Billy Fitoo
University of the South Pacific
Laucala Campus
Fiji

Contact for this presentation:
vencyfit@gmail.com

Keywords: Citizenship Education, good citizenship, citizenship values, citizenship education pedagogies,teaching approaches, methods, strategies


Citizenship Education (CE) has been a feature of policies in many nation-states including Small Island Melanesian States in the Pacific and education is viewed as a way of delivering this goal. The vision and goals of education in the Solomon Islands is for all people to develop as individuals and possess the knowledge, values, skills and attitudes needed to become good citizens of the country (Education Strategic Framework, 2007 – 2015). This study is motivated from the current behaviors found common among people in  Solomon Island societies against the vision, goals, achievable outcomes and approaches documented in the formal school curriculum for teaching values for good citizenship.

Citizenship Education is define in terms of teaching young people to fit in with society and conform to societal norms Giroux, (2000) and   good citizenship is the end product of the teaching and practice of citizenship education (Kelly 1989). Good citizenship is having right knowledge, proper behaviours, respect for authority and carrying out the duties and responsibilities of the nations (Wesley 1978). They  are people who obeys the law, pays taxes, attends school and are willing to defend their country. This include  patriotic virtues that bring individuals, groups, and communities towards allegiance to society (Kerr cited in Mutch, 2005). Further, good citizenship is the ability to play an active and morally principled part in the public life of one’s own society (Osborne, 2005). They are citizens who are empowered to critically engaged with and seek to affect the course of social events (Ross, 2012). Concerning teaching approaches, four are commonly used in teaching citizenship values for good citizenship. They are teaching citizenship as a segregated subject, Turnbull cited in Kerr and Cleaver (2002), cross curricula approach, Wilkinson citied in Kerr and cleaver (2006), the extra curricula  approach and the social study approach (Heater, 1999).

In the Solomon Islands, a good citizen is someone who relates well with authority and neighbours. Such relationship fall more easily into place with values of love, caring, generosity and respect. Respect is fundamental therefore, has represent reciprocity, cooperation, consensus, maintenance of good relationship. The other values of good citizenship has include loyalty, commitment, humility and generosity, sharing and cooperation, fulfillment of mutual obligation, honesty and integrity.

This paper explores the approaches and strategies used by teachers at school in the teaching of values for good citizenship in the Solomon Islands (SI). This presentation reports on the findings of a study conducted in the Solomon Islands with teachers in four case study secondary schools. A mixed method was used to gather the data needed to answer the research questions posed for the study and these include:  focus group and one-on-one interviews, observations, document analyses, content analyses and a survey questionnaire. From these research findings, it was revealed that the only social study approach in teaching citizenship values and the rote learning strategy that involved in the teaching process (which is present because of external factors such as examination, timing, and education goals) had become a barrier to effective teaching and learning for good citizenship outcomes. This presentation on the responses of teachers highlight  their perceptions of the teaching approaches and strategies they  use in class and the impact these have had on the teaching of values for good citizenship.  The analysis of the research data reported here provides useful conceptual insights into Solomon Islands teaching approaches and strategies that are currently and relatively unexplored. Through the identification of effective pedagogical approaches and strategies, recommendations were made regarding the approaches and strategies that are most relevant and appropriate for the teaching of  citizenship values needed for small Pacific Island nations, in particular, Solomon Islands.

 

 

Building a Global Education Perspective in Teacher Education

Ruth Reynolds, Deborah Bradbery, Joanna Brown, Debra Donnelly,
Kate FergusonPatrick, Suzanne Macqueen
School of Education, The University of Newcastle
Australia

Contact for this presentation:
Ruth.Reynolds@newcastle.edu.au

Keywords: Global Education, teacher education


This presentation addresses the challenges and opportunities that emerge when pre service teacher educators decide to work as a team to insert a global education perspective into a number of large teacher education programs, at three different campuses. Although all members came to the Global Education group from different teaching disciplines (they were mainly primary school teachers with interests in Social Studies education, Maths education, English education, secondary History and Geography, and Science education) they were alike in their attachment to values that underpin Global Education curriculum – a commitment to building a sense of community, concern for the environment and commitment to sustainable practices, and a positive attitude towards diversity and difference. 

Teacher education programs, not unlike school curricula, are increasingly crowded. Pre-service teachers and teachers generally, including tertiary teachers, are increasingly overloaded with a range of knowledge, skills and strategies they must implement in classrooms. Global Education does not fit nicely into any particular curriculum box and must address knowledge, skills and values if it is to be effective. In a university setting where knowledge tends to be tied up in course outlines to be taught in particular ways with little reference to a cohesive whole, teaching for global citizenship through Global Education is a particularly daunting challenge, especially across programmes. In fact research by Tye found very few teacher education programmes worldwide promoted Global Education (Tye, 1999, 2009) and that in recent years increased emphasis on testing outcomes and fear of being involved in any topics that may appear to be controversial has led to global education being marginalised. Additionally a study of UK pre-service teacher attitudes to education for global citizenship found significant differences depending on specialisations (Robbins et al., 2003), with those studying geography having the most positive attitudes, and maths specialists having the least positive. Another difficulty in adequately preparing teachers to deliver GE content is highlighted when we consider the demographics of pre-service teacher cohorts. In the Australian context, these university students who we need to teach future generations about multiculturalism and diversity (among many other aspects of GE) are usually middle-class Anglo Australian (Allard & Santoro, 2006) and this is not a unique Australian issue (McDonald & Zeichner, 2008; Sleeter, 2008; Zeichner, 2009). While the general population becomes increasingly diverse ethnically, linguistically and culturally, pre-service teachers are an increasingly homogeneous group. Pre-service teachers will require substantial instruction if a deep understanding of multiculturalism and diversity and a passion to work towards a sustainable future is to be enhanced.

This group has worked together for over 5 years with the support of the Global Education Project to increase their own knowledge of the area, to clarify what aspects of a teacher education program are better suited to a Global Education perspective, to work within the constraints of a university curriculum process and current university research imperatives to deliver a program of Global Education that seamlessly fits within classroom teachers’ skill set. Based around the group’s ongoing publications of their achievements and difficulties the presentation focuses on; self-reflection as a global educator; global education as pedagogy; practical global education resources for classroom teaching; global education in different areas of the curriculum; and global perspectives on global education. It may provide a guide for teachers and teacher educators who are likewise passionate about building globally minded citizens. 

 


Sustaining Instructional Practice and Reading Comprehension Achievement through Teacher Enquiry Learning

 

Meaola Amituanai-Toloa, Rosi Fitzpatrick, Malo Sepuloni, and Laepa Sililoto
The University of Auckland
New Zealand

Contact for this presentation:
m.toloa@auckland.ac.nz

Keywords: Bilingual Teaching, pedagogy, Samoan bilingual, reading comprehension


This paper reports the first phase of a one year sustainability project funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Education to sustain and accelerate the English reading comprehension achievement of students in Samoan bilingual contexts in mainstream schools in New Zealand.  Two years earlier, a professional development took place with the first cluster (Cluster A) involving three schools and their seven teachers and students in the first year, and with the second cluster (Cluster B) of ten schools with more than 40 teachers and their students the second year.   Baseline English achievement on Supplementary Test of Reading Achievement (STAR) and classroom observations of instruction were gathered from both clusters in 2012 (beginning) and 2013 (beginning) respectively to examine where students and teachers were at and to identify professional development needs.  In both clusters, the baseline showed a general pattern of achievement where students were high in decoding but low in reading comprehension – a finding that is similar to previous profiling studies of Pasifika students in New Zealand when assessed on the same battery.   Classroom instruction on the other hand were coded using evidence-based exchanges  that were known to enhance reading comprehension – namely: text exchanges (T); vocabulary (V); extended talk (ET); incorporation (I);  Checking and evaluating (C); feedback (F); awareness (A).  These main codes were then split to take into account the different kinds of exchanges, for example, text related exchanges were split into ‘text related exchanges’ (TR) and ‘non text related exchanges (NTR).  Vocabulary was split into vocabulary elaboration question (VEQ) and elaboration by teacher (VECT); extended talk by teacher (ETT) and child (ETC) for extended talk; incorporation by teacher (IT) and child (IC) for incorporation; checking by teacher (TC) and child (CC) for checking and evaluating; awareness of strategy (AS) and awareness of rules of learning (AVE) for awareness; high feedback (FH) and low feedback (FL) were the two codes for feedback.  The profiles for classroom instruction showed that in both clusters teachers were low on extended talk but by the end of the year (end of 2012 for Cluster A and end of 2013 for Cluster B) had increased their talk resulting in similar increases by students.  Each cluster showed achievement shifts at the end of each year respectively including shifts in instructional practice particularly that of enhancing oral language by extended talk by both teachers and students.  To build further on this progress and sustain the achievement,  it was decided that only one cluster would be involved in the sustainability project.   10 teachers from the same 10 schools in Cluster B and their five students each were identified in collaboration with their schools as targeted priority learners for this phase.  The criteria for student selection was that students have to be at national norm (stanine 5 of STAR) or just below.  Altogether, 50 Samoan students from year 1 to year 8 were identified. The purpose was to ensure that students who are at the national norm and slightly below in their achievement can be accelerated to higher stanines. Classroom observations of teacher instruction were conducted at the beginning of the current year in addition to collection of the 50 students' achievement data on the Supplementary Tests of Achievement in Reading (STAR) and in Anofale (the Samoan assessment) batteries for baseline profiling.   The profiles were fed back to the teachers mainly for discussion around data and what the professional development for sustainability needs are.  In addition, the needs of the planned intense in-class facilitation sessions with each teacher by the two facilitators.  Six professional development sessions throughout the year were decided on and planned with teachers.  This paper describes the initial process of professional development in this first stage of the sustainability phase including the in class-facilitation targets and tasks undertaken by the two facilitators using the Teacher as Inquiry model.

 



It Takes a Village to Raise a Child - Is There a Role of Samoan Language in Classroom Behaviour Management

Niusila Fa’amanatu-Eteuati
Victoria University of Wellington
New Zealand

Contact for this presentation:
niusila.faamanatu-eteuati@vuw.ac.nz

Keywords: classroom behaviour management, Samoan language, teaching, education, child rearing, faaSamoa


Traditional Samoan culture, language and customs continue to have an important place in classrooms, and this has implications for the teachers’ classroom behaviour management of students. Increasingly, issues arise where the contemporary practices are aligned against this cultural-historical set of values and a postcolonial education system (Tufue-Dolgoy, 2010, Tupu-Tuia, 2013). For example, teachers’ limited knowledge of preparedness for classroom behaviour management (CBM) skills has been linked with abuse and punishment of students, even though corporal punishment in schools is banned in Samoan schools (Faamanatu-Eteuati, 2011; Lesa, 2012a; Pereira, 2010). 

To provide support for teachers in Samoa, where Samoan is still predominantly the student’s first language, it is important to hear their voices about their perceptions and experiences of CBM and their use of the Samoan language in their practices of CBM. Understanding teacher perceptions and experiences of these could promote better understanding of CBM as an applied and theoretical concept, its impact on the professional support needs of teachers who have to deal with challenging behaviour, on the learning outcomes of students, and on baseline knowledge on the place of native or indigenous languages within CBM strategies. In 2014, Samoan government passed the Samoan Language Commission Act 2014, which is “to ensure the Samoan language is and remains a vibrant language, to declare the Samoan language as an official language, and to establish the Samoan Language Commission to provide its functions, duties and powers, and for related purposes” (Samoan Language Commission Act, 2014, p.2). According to a source (Radio New Zealand News, 2014), English has begun to dominate in Samoa, and the government said it was time to step in and form the Samoan Language Commission to ensure the survival of the mother tongue. At the same time it is also discovered from the education side that it is an issue as students in Samoa are [getting] very low marks in Samoan language. Therefore, government sees there is a must now for the Samoan language, not only to be a surviving language, but also to be taught to the students and the children to speak the language. Bilingualism is very much used in Samoan primary schools but as students go into secondary and tertiary, English dominates learning and medium of communication in classrooms.

Consequently, research in other countries may be equivalent to Samoa based on the researcher’s experience, in that students are suspended or expelled and it is speculated that this may be due to teachers’ misunderstandings of student diversity, the child rearing development and differences in behaviour (Dharan, 2010; Hawk, Cowley, Hill & Sutherland, 2001; Harms, 2010).
This paper is based on a literature search of educational pedagogies and beliefs about the role of Samoan language in classroom behaviour management and is part of my proposal and current research towards my doctoral study.

 

 

Multimodal Media Creation in Teacher Education

Dennis Jablonski
Southern Oregon University
United States

Garry Hoban
University of Wollongong
Australia

Contact for this presentation:
jablonsd@sou.edu

Keywords: blended media, multimodal, teacher education


This presentation will feature the trans-Pacific collaboration of two professors using student created digital media in teacher education. Several years of collaborative work have been focused on an essential research question: What thought processes and considerations are occurring when students create a blended media product for both learning and instructional purposes?

Using digital media in the classroom requires that teachers have numerous skills, including technology know-how, mastery of subject area content, and the pedagogical knowledge to effectively engage and inform students in the content while using technology. The ubiquity and accessibility of digital tools belies the complexity of creating blended media projects that meet standards of quality and knowledge creation. In the current study, the process of creating science related blended media projects was explored in a masters level class of preservice teachers in order to investigate the creators’ decisions and choices. While these graduate students were creating their projects, their think-aloud comments were recorded, and upon completion of their projects, the students’ reflective comments were captured in interviews. 

Careful examination of the transcripts revealed the preservice teachers’ multiple layers of thinking in terms of the choices they made while creating a blended media movie. Two themes emerged from the investigation: a) media creation is constructivist by nature and involves a complex combination of knowledge of content and application of technology skills, b) creating blended media is a promising pedagogical activity, as indicated by the preservice teachers’ awareness of how their choices not only develop their own understanding of a science concept, but how the process creates an instructional artifact to use in future classroom circumstances. 

What is Blended Media?
In a blended media project, the learner starts with a concept that he or she wishes to explain, or represent. In order to represent one’s ideas of a concept, it is necessary to do some preliminary research, in most cases, using resources found on the Internet. The collection of resources might include gathering science facts, such as background information on the concept, digital images related to the concept, video clips and audio clips. A storyboard format is used to organize the resources, and a script is written to provide for the narration. One unique feature available in the blended media process is the option of using slow-motion animation (slowmation) which involves taking digital pictures of student created objects manipulated frame by frame. With the speed of the animation moving at 2 frames per second, slowmation has the unique affordance of showing an abstract process, or a sequence, along with an explanatory narration. Another mode rarely used in student projects is video clips which can be downloaded off the Internet and edited with relative ease. Video clips provide the affordance of showing a real life example. This editing capability has not been so easy to do until recently, and students are encouraged to use copyright free media from Creative Commons. Taken as a whole, it is the multimodal nature of a blended media movie that makes the process unique. 

Research has shown that engaging with digital content develops multimodal literacies needed in 21st century education. We have found that introducing this process to preservice teachers inspires them to use similar projects in their own student teacher internships. Using text, audio, video, animation, in a scripted narrative provides students an opportunity to make meaning and develop understanding of sometimes difficult to understand science concepts. The emphasis has been on students as media creators as opposed to media consumers, staying true to a constructivist philosophy where students are knowledge creators, active learners and collaborators. We have focused on using science topics, but since using blended media is process driven, not content driven, the techniques can be applied to any subject area.


Needs Assessments and Root Cause Analysis: Critical Engagement Activities to Address Education for All Goals in the Pacific

Richard C. Seder and Aime Trang Black
Emergent Policy & Systems, Inc.
United States

Contact for this presentation:
policyconsultant@gmail.com

Keywords: Needs Assessment, Root Cause Analysis, Asset Mapping, SWOT, Community Engagement


Wicked problems and social messes are complex and non-linear in their nature and therefore cannot be “solved” through traditional public problem-solving methods of the exclusive use of experts or through direct advocacy campaigns. Addressing wicked problems/social messes requires a different approach, one where the affected communities are an integral part of the change process. Educators, families, communities, and policymakers across the globe have been challenged with finding strategies that will improve student achievement and outcomes. Research suggests that with leadership in place as the driver of change, four essential supports must also be in place in order to substantially influence student learning. These four essential supports are: professional capacity, school learning climate, instructional guidance, and parent–school–community ties. 

Schools do not exist in isolation of the students, families, and communities in which they operate. Parent–school–community ties can directly affect student motivation, school participation, and efficacy of work within the classroom. Specifically, a review of the research suggests that there are three dimensions of parent–school–community ties worth mentioning: 1) school efforts to reach out to parents and communities to engage them directly in the processes of strengthening student learning; 2) teacher efforts to become knowledgeable about student culture and the local community and to draw on this awareness in their lessons; and 3) strengthening the network among community organizations in order to expand services for students and their families. 

Too often, however, family and community engagement has been described as “random acts” of siloed programs that are disconnected from instructional practice and lower-level activities with parents seen as assistants to schools rather than as partners in the educational process. Instead, family and community engagement should be understood to be a shared responsibility of families, schools, and communities for student learning and achievement; continuous from birth to young adulthood; and occur across multiple settings where children learn. As schools and stakeholders (broadly speaking to include parents, communities, and policymakers) look to engage in ways that share understanding and ownership, a series of tools are available to them to plan meaningful change—needs assessments, root cause analysis, asset mapping, and strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats (SWOT) analyses. 

Needs can be defined as the gap between what is and what should be. A need can be felt by an individual, a group, or an entire community. A needs assessment, therefore, is a systematic approach to understanding what those needs are in a school and community. Root causes are the basic reasons behind the issue being observed in the community. Trying to figure out why the issue has developed can be seen as an essential part of the problem-solving process, ensuring that the right underlying causes are identified in order to generate the right types of responses. Asset mapping is an inventory of the resources (e.g., individuals, businesses, organizations, and institutions) that exist within a community that have the potential to provide programs, services, funds, or gifts-in-kind to a school, its students, and their families. The principle behind asset mapping is the belief that community can only be built by focusing on the strengths and capacities of those resources within the community. And, as short- and long-term strategies to address the issues are contemplated, a SWOT analysis helps schools and communities to identify those strategies that may realize greater success and the objectives by which progress will be measured.

This presentation will present an overview of these tools as schools, parents, and communities look to engage around education’s wicked problems and social messes. As a practical example, this presentation will include the start of a needs assessment and root cause analysis associated with out-of-school children in the Pacific Rim—those students who are either non-enrolled or chronically absent from school. This presentation will include discussion of publicly available data and a summary of research on contributing factors related to children being out of school.

 

 

 

The Humanities and Social Sciences Learning Area in the Australian Curriculum

Darren Tayler
Australian Curriculum Assessment and Report Authority
Australia

Contact for this presentation:
darren.tayler@acara.edu.au

Keywords: Curriculum, global citizenship. humanities, social sciences


The Humanities and Social Sciences learning area consists of four subjects – History, Geography, Economics and Business, and Civics and Citizenship – with the brief for the development of this learning area provided by the Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians (2008). The Australian Curriculum: History was endorsed by Commonwealth and state and territory education ministers in December 2010; the Australian Curriculum: Geography was endorsed in May 2013; and the Australian Curriculum: Economics and Business, and the Australian Curriculum: Civics and Citizenship have been made available for use, awaiting final endorsement.

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority has worked collaboratively with states and territories to develop a coherent view of the learning area, to assist education authorities and schools (particularly primary schools), in their implementation planning and delivery of the Australian Curriculum.

The aim of this project has been to provide an overview of the ‘Humanities and Social Sciences’, as represented in the Australian Curriculum, and the important learning that this learning area entails as a whole. This work has focussed on two components – key ideas and key skills. Through a content mapping exercise involving comparisons between all four subjects, it has been possible to develop a set of key ideas and a set of key skills that underpin the Humanities and Social Sciences learning area. This provides a framework for schools and teachers to better understand the intent of the learning area and identify relevant connections, in a way that recognises and clarifies the subject-specific nature of each of the four subjects.

It is expected that this work is to be published as a landing page for the Humanities and Social Sciences learning area, on the Australian Curriculum website, towards the end of 2014.

Feedback from primary teachers in particular has affirmed the usefulness of this work in the development of teaching and learning programs, using the Australian Curriculum.

This presentation will provide an overview of the Humanities and Social Sciences landing page – its purpose, development, features, and use.

 


Using the General Capabilities of the Australian Curriculum to Embed ‘Inclusivity and Intercultural Understanding’ Practices and Experiences for Students

Deborah A. Cohen
Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority
Australia

Contact for this presentation:
deborah.cohen@acara.edu.au

Keywords: Australian Curriculum, General capabilities, intercultural understanding,
21st century learning skills


The general capabilities encompass the knowledge, skills, behaviours and dispositions that, together with curriculum content in each learning area and the cross-curriculum priorities, will assist students to live and work successfully in the twenty-first century. In particular, the general capabilities of personal and social capability, ethical behaviour, and intercultural understanding provide a framework for all students to adopt more inclusive attitudes, behaviours and values.

Intercultural understanding in the Australian Curriculum combines personal, interpersonal and social knowledge and skills. It involves students in learning to value and view critically their own cultural perspectives and practices and those of others through their interactions with people, texts and contexts across the curriculum. Intercultural understanding stimulates students’ interest in the lives of others. It cultivates values and dispositions such as curiosity, care, empathy, reciprocity, respect and responsibility, open-mindedness and critical awareness, and supports new and positive intercultural behaviours.

Intercultural understanding encourages students to make connections between their own worlds and the worlds of others, to build on shared interests and commonalities, and to negotiate or mediate difference. It develops students’ abilities to communicate and empathise with others and to analyse intercultural experiences critically. It offers opportunities for them to consider their own beliefs and attitudes in a new light, and so gain insight into themselves and others.

This presentation will examine how the general capabilities learning continua can address opportunities for planning and transforming inclusive classroom practices. It will explain the origins of the general capabilities and their relationship to the Australian Curriculum learning areas and cross-curriculum priorities. Intercultural understanding is more apparent in some learning areas than others, being most evident in those aspects of learning concerned with people and their societies, relationships and interactions, and in conjunction with the cross-curriculum priorities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures, Asia and Australia’s engagement with Asia, and Sustainability.

The presentation will examine the background research for the development of the capabilities and the interrelated nature of the capabilities to support student learning in the 21st century. The
general capabilities are unique to the Australian curriculum and were endorsed as an active dimension of curriculum in the 2008 Melbourne Declaration and the original AC Shaping paper.
This capability as with all of the others is addressed through the learning areas and is identified wherever it is developed or applied in content descriptions. It is also identified where it offers opportunities to add depth and richness to student learning in content elaborations. The Australian curriculum website identifies the capabilities through the use of hyperlinked icons which provide teachers with the specific segments or sub-elements of the continua that are pertinent to teach and assess.

 


Connected by the Internet: The Community of Students

Thanh Truc T. Nguyen and Lauren K. Mark
Curriculum Research & Development Group
College of Education, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
United States

Contact for this presentation:
nguyen@hawaii.edu

Keywords: digital citizenship, community


In this presentation, we invite PCC members to consider joining our research project to explore how students define the ways in which the Internet enhances a sense of community. Community is a very purposeful group, one in which members have chosen to interact with like-minded individuals from within their society. At the School Internet Safety Initiative of the Curriculum Research & Development Group of the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa’s College of Education, we are seeking research partners from within and around the Pacific to join us in our endeavor to provide a space for the student voice who use the Internet to maintain their community of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1991, 1998).

We intend to look closely at digital citizenship. In the world of schooling, character education is a robust effort to instill values of citizenship and engagement in our young children. Being kind, helpful, and respectful are all ideals towards which we strive and our teachers should model that positive behavior as we interact with the children. However, what is digital citizenship? Citizenship is usually defined strongly by government and how one contributes to their society. But online, there is no true government; no tangible environment; no defined population online. The sense of a shared society is a virtual one, and that society morphs as the individual chooses what they want to engage in and what they want to ignore.

Mike Ribble defines digital citizenship as “using technology in good, appropriate ways as well as balancing it with other skills such as interpersonal relations, self-confidence, and exercise.” Recent scholarly works in education base their explorations on Ribble’s definition, but is that the best analogy to make? We propose to conduct a comparative examination to explore the influence of the Internet on the values of citizenship by asking three broad questions:
1. What characteristics of citizenry do people transfer from their physical, interpersonal world to their interactions on Internet?
2. How does the Internet affect people’s social capital, sense of society, and sense of community?
3. How are transferred characteristics of citizenry explained by people’s affected senses of social capital, sense of society, and sense of community?

Addressing these questions promises to help inform the discussion about the influence that the Internet has on society and the evolution of the sense of community in a digital space.

 


Making Bigger Bubbles

Debbie Nelsson, Matt Mulcahy, and Laura Beaton
Mooroolbark East Primary School
Australia

Contact for this presentation:
nelsson.debra.a@edumail.vic.gov.au

Keywords: Global Education, citizenship, one school's journey


MAKING BIGGER BUBBLES
~ The Globalisation of Mooroolbark East Primary School ~

When one casts their mind back to mid-2012, Mooroolbark East Primary School’s curriculum blind spot was more of a gaping chasm than a subtle void. Although students were occasionally exposed to global concepts, such instances were very much co-incidental, rather than being a considered or measured approach to developing in students a true global perspective. 
There was no language program, no explicit teaching of intercultural studies, limited engagement with our Asian and Pacific Island neighbours, and the term ‘global citizenship’ wasn’t in the vocabulary of staff, students or the broader school community.

To put it simply, students at Mooroolbark East Primary School were safe and warm inside their small, mono-cultural bubble. And we, as educators, were doing little to challenge this.
Fast forward twenty-four months and the change in landscape is dramatic. The transformation has been enormous and we are well on the way to ‘making bigger bubbles’.

The turning point came in June 2012 when four staff members participated in a study tour of China at the invitation of Hanban via the Confucius Institute. Engaging with China (and Asia) was now on the pedagogical radar. Later that year, our school participated in yet another Study Tour of China, this time at the invitation of DEECD Victoria and the Asian Education Foundation. Together with representatives from fifteen other schools within the Shire of Yarra Ranges we travelled to Suzhou and established a sister school relationship with Kunshan Chengbei Primary School.

This was the catalyst for change at Mooroolbark East Primary School and on return to Australia we set about our very own educational revolution........ on a Global scale!

In 2013, a new program Global Education was launched as a specialist subject. All 500 students attended Global Education for one hour per week. The impact of the program was immediate. All of a sudden, the eyes of our students (and in some instances our teachers and parents) were opened to the world. Our ‘bubbles’ seemed to expand before our eyes.

The program continues to this day. During Global Education sessions, students (aged 5 ¡V 13) undertake lessons relating to identity, cultural diversity, interconnectedness, human rights, global sustainability, peace building, conflict resolution, geography, food security, water scarcity, engaging with Asia and, most importantly, what it means to be a positive, active and informed Global Citizen.

The implementation of the Global Education program has been a significant development within the school. However, we have been conscious of the fact that true change requires ‘buy-in’ from all stakeholders and we believe additional programs have created a sense of inclusiveness across the school community. In summary, students are not the only benefactors of the school’s transformation ¡V staff and parents have engaged in several programs and developed in themselves a new found global perspective.

As well as implementing Global Education, there have been several other significant developments and initiatives. Since that pivotal moment in June 2012, Mooroolbark East Primary School has:
 - Participated in a Global Education School Cluster Project in August 2012.
 - Participated in the 2013 AEF Leading 21st Century Schools Victoria Engage with Asia Program (nominated as a first round selection in Student Outcomes at the Most Significant Change Forum).
 - Hosted 19 staff and students from Kunshan Chengbei Primary School in August 2013
 - Had a total of 21 staff members complete study tours of China.
 - Attended the Asian Education National Conference, Sydney in June 2014.
 - Integrated Global Perspectives into Art, Music and Classroom Inquiry Units.
Meanwhile, in the coming months:
 - 20 students and 7 staff will undertake an 11 day tour of China in September 2014.
 - A language and culture Chinese intern will work throughout the school in Term 4, 2014.
 - A language program ¡V Mandarin ¡V will be introduced in 2015.
 - Global Education specialist program will continue in 2015 and beyond.
While we are happy with our innovative and engaging curriculum development, we also understand that education evolves quickly. The needs of our students in this increasingly connected world will continue to change and develop, perhaps more quickly than we’d like to imagine!

However, as a school and as educators, it is incumbent upon us to ensure that our students engage in education on a global level and that we challenge them to think outside that cosy, little bubble, even if they or we find it a little uncomfortable.

The journey has only just begun and there is more work to be done, however Mooroolbark East Primary School is ‘making bigger bubbles’ when it comes to developing true Global Citizens and we are immensely proud of this.

 

 

Mathematical Modeling, An Alternate Approach to Algebra I

 

Linda Venenciano, Hannah Slovin, and Judith Olson
Curriculum Research & Development Group
College of Education, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
United States

Contact for this presentation:
lhirashi@hawaii.edu

Keywords: Modeling, Curriculum, Algebra


Modeling in mathematics provides opportunities for creative approaches in problem solving. A modeling course in the high school sequence provides teachers and students opportunities to develop new perspectives of what constitutes studies in high school mathematics. In the U.S., the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM) describe modeling both as a practice that spans K–12 and as a high school conceptual category. Thus, modeling is perceived as both process and content.

Modeling in Algebra I often elicits abstractions with letters and symbols. Unfortunately for too many students this requires a conceptual leap from prior work with arithmetic. Where the prerequisite for studying school algebra was once focused on mastery of arithmetic procedures and algorithms, the research has influenced a widespread shift to the development of the concepts that underlie algebra (Kaput, Carraher, & Blanton, 2008). Yet despite attempts to influence school mathematics in the early years, school algebra has persisted to be a body of rules and procedures for manipulating symbols and that “algebra is taught and learned as a language and emphasis is put on its syntactical aspects” (Pedemonte, 2009, p. 249). The abrupt transition from arithmetic to algebra has led students to expect algebraic procedures to lead to a result, often a number, likening them to mathematical procedures in arithmetic. (Linchevski & Herscovics, 1996). This is believed to be part of the difficulties currently being experienced in the Hawaii State Department of Education schools, as it may well be in other education systems.

Previous researchers (e.g., Doerr & Tripp, 1999; Izsák, 2010) have studied how modeling approaches with secondary students can build algebraic thinking and related skills. Creating and using models in problem solving promotes reasoning and sense making, supports understanding and meaningful use of symbolic representations, and encourages validation of ideas. Depending on the context, some models can set the stage for proof while others are more useful in theorizing about real world phenomena.

The Curriculum Research & Development Group designed curriculum to address the issue of students entering high school mathematics unprepared for a rigorous study of Algebra I. The resultant curriculum, A Modeling Approach to Algebra (AMAA), is organized to focus on mathematical modeling and opportunities to learn mathematics in a more investigative manner. It is intended to support students concurrently enrolled in Algebra I but to not necessarily follow the same scope and sequence as the Algebra I course. The mathematics of AMAA emphasize mathematical modeling as creative and productive problem solving. It diverges from a more traditional approach to algebra where operating with unknowns and problem solving results in a solution to an equation and redirects students’ focus to making sense of a context using algebraic techniques. Initial findings of students’ work show that the problems are accessible to a range of learners and that the AMAA tasks are an effective means for engaging all learners.

In this session we will share tasks and student work aligned with the CCSSM and adapted for students needing additional support to succeed in Algebra I and beyond. Participants will work on a sample modeling task and share their perspectives with other attendees in the session. Presenters will then share student sample work that depicts a range of learners, and finally explain the process used to adapt algebraic tasks into ones that make modeling central to the problem solving activity.

 


Measuring Proportionally: Elders’ Wisdom Applied to Teaching and Learning Mathematics

 

Monica Wong
Australian Catholic University
Australia

Jerry Lipka
University of Alaska Fairbanks
United States

Judith Olson
Curriculum Research & Development Group
College of Education, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
United States

Dora Andrew-Ihrke
University of Alaska Fairbanks
United States

Melfried Olson
Curriculum Research & Development Group
College of Education, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
United States

Contact for this presentation:
monica.wong@acu.edu.au

Keywords: Mathematics and Culture, Indigenous Knowledge, Elders, Measurement, Rational Numbers


We have learned from working with Indigenous people across geographical and cultural boundaries that cultures that do not prize exact or precise use of numbers hold within their knowledge a way of approaching the teaching of rational number reasoning. More specifically, while measuring and constructing everyday artifacts Indigenous People use ratios, proportions, and scaling. In fact, their nonnumeric ways of measuring provides a generalized way or a template for performing a wide array of everyday activities from star and ocean navigating to constructing patterns and clothing. 

We report on the latest effort of Math in a Cultural Context (MCC), a long-term, ongoing collaboration with Yup’ik elders, teachers, and Alaskan school districts for the purpose of developing culturally based elementary school mathematics curricular material. Measuring proportionally is one of the very few programs that use Indigenous Knowledge, ways of thinking and doing, in the teaching of, mathematics. 

We will briefly describe a central way of thinking and doing that relates directly to proportional reasoning and development of rational number concepts through the use of symmetrical measuring and measuring as comparing. We briefly illustrate how symmetrical measuring from the center is part of a spatial-locative system that permeates many aspects of Yup’ik life. This system enables individuals who must perform a wide range of everyday tasks a way to minimize cognitive load and stress through a generative way of thinking and doing. We will provide a number of different examples across activities that establishes the centrality of related concepts of center, symmetry, measuring, halving, and relative measures leading to an elegant way to teach aspects of elementary school mathematics. A key component lies within the practice and context of measuring, cuqete, which elders have reported to us as defining mathematics (meeting October 2012, Lipka with Mohatt & Ciulistet, 1998). Measuring to a Yup’ik is foundational for traveling across the tundra by star navigation, snow waves, wind direction, and other signs; it is foundational for sea kayaking, designing and building a wide array of objects from kayaks to smokehouse, and for designing and making clothing. All of this is done without the use of numbers, the sine qua non of Western schooling is numbers. 

Starting with symmetry of the body and the inherent doubling and halving that results, we will illustrate how measuring can become a cohesive and an integrative way to teach critical components of elementary school mathematics based on key principles learned from Yup’ik elders. In fact, we argue that measuring provides an alternative to counting as a way to more generally teach rational number development. To demonstrate this we will focus on how a specific generative activity involving the doubling:halving relationship can be used for rational number development including place value in base two; ratio, proportion and scaling; fractions; and rules for multiplying and dividing fractions from a measurement context.

 


Va'inga: A Tongan Conceptualisation of Play –
Implications for Learning in the Early Years

Poliana Havea
The University of the South Pacific
Laucala Campus
Fiji Islands

Contact for this presentation:
polianahavea77@gmail.com

Keywords: Early learning, play, va'inga, Tonga


“Tuku e va’inga’ mo e maumau taimi!” (Stop playing, it is a waste of time!) – is amongst some of the expressions that indicate the common misconceptions assumed by local parents, caregivers and teachers of Tongan preschool aged children with regards to the universal term ‘play’ (va’inga). Past and present early learning discourses advocate that va’inga is an extensive element of learning (ako) in the early years. It is observed as a unique form of child development and the natural means by which children learn about themselves and the world that exists around them (Leaupepe, 2010:2). Educational theorists such as Freud, Piaget and Vygotsky further propose that play is a way of expressing social behaviour and intellectual development. However, it should be noted that va’inga and the practice of va’inga should not be interpreted outside of the cultural, political and historical context from which it has emerged (Docket & Fleer, 2003).

This presentation is based on a small scale study conducted in 2014 at the USP main campus in Suva, with a sample of Tongan nationals. It investigated their perceptions of the role and significance of play in the Early Years. The findings of this small scale study will provide the basis of a larger field study for the doctoral thesis to be conducted in 2015. The study aimed to address how the practice of va’inga is conceptualized within the context of Tongan families, preschool children, and preschool teachers. In other words, the study attempted to obtain a cultural understanding of play through which to interpret how children learn in the early years in the Tongan context. The study contributes to mainstream early learning discourse and to the research literature and indigenous theories of teacher education and Early Childhood Education (ECE) and learning in Tonga. Findings will assist in informing broader decision making and planning within ECE curriculum development, teacher training pedagogies, and stakeholder involvement in the wider Pacific region.

 

 

Deconstructing the Definition of "Culture" for Teacher Education

 

Rosilyn M. Carroll
Institute for Culture, Learning & Leadership
United States

Barbara J. Shin
symmetry systems unlimited
United States

Contact for this presentation:
rcaroll@aol.com

Keywords: Culture, Teacher Education, Pedagogy


Understanding the meaning of culture is fundamental to understanding self and our relationship with others. It is critical to the development of dispositions in the selection and preparation of teachers who can be successful practitioners for students of many cultures. In our history of teaching graduate courses on cultural proficiency, curriculum, strategies and providing professional development for k-12 teachers\faculty, we have found a lack of understanding of and the meaning of culture. We started addressing this issue by providing a definition of culture and expecting that participants were able to understand the definition and how it applied to their work as teachers requiring an understanding of many cultures.

Culture is knowledge & history, inclusive of values, norms, traditions, customs, beliefs, folkways, mores, language, race, ethnicity; that determines how an individual will view the future, world, people or things; it is a complex system of patterns visible and invisible that becomes a normal way of acting, feeling, and being.( 2000 R.M. Carroll)

We were disappointed that they could not recall the definition, and definitely could not apply the definition to curriculum or cross cultural relationships for planning instruction. Our next step was to do a simple deconstruct of the definition by using a vocabulary list of the terms in the definition, most of which have come from undergraduate courses in sociology and anthropology.  After trying this with a few groups we still were not satisfied with the outcomes. We once again concluded that our graduate students were not gaining a fundamental understanding necessary to any work in diversity, equity or anti-racism essential to improving their teaching of a culturally/racially diverse population.

Our most recent work, going deeper and spending more class time on the meaning of culture has evolved to gaining greater results with our student by deconstructing the definition of culture into six constructs.

The six constructs have become a major part of our syllabus and we now teach this critical domain as a preface to cultural competency/proficiency. Some examples of course methodology will be shared in the conference presentation.

 

 


Dialogues between National Standardization and Global Diversity on Educational Policy with Acceptance of PISA – Cases of Germany and Japan

Masashi Urabe
Hiroshima City University
Japan

Akira Ninomiya
Open University
Japan

Contact for this presentation:
urabe@intl.hiroshima-cu.ac.jp

Keywords: standardization, diversity, sustainability, dialogue, PISA


PISA has contributed standardization of elementary and secondary education worldwide. This can be understood as a form of global governance that may weaken uniqueness of context and condition of each country. Acceptance and integration of PISA by the different countries promote them to challenge for a new reform. But at the same time, some countries have critically reflected on the standardization by looking into their national or traditional context. For example, Germany and Japan negotiated PISA's implementation vis-a-vis their own national context. The act of negotiation in the form of dialogue along with the critical reflection is a mark of proactive concern and not a mere passivity to global governance. Being critical to the standardization and concern to one's national context guarantee sustainability of diversity of education in the world.

In Germany, PISA has shaken the existing educational system. As a reaction to PISA, a standardized curriculum (Bildungsstandard) with national assessment test and the bifurcate educational system were introduced. In the former, standardization of each curriculum in every state in Germany, make sense of the conflicting concerns of general education (Bildung) and vocational subjects (Ausbildung). Both aimed at different competencies for the students. However, in the national assessment test only the former can be measured and not the latter. The latter reform focuses on the changing of trifurcate educational system to bifurcate educational system. The usual certification system in the trifurcate educational system was adjusted to cater with the bifurcate educational system. The two educational reforms did not come easily. It has undergone thorough dialogue addressing the conflicting concerns.

On the other hand, PISA enabled Japan to reflect on its national curriculum. The national curriculum was revised to integrate PISA competencies with the learning of the basic knowledge and skills. These were put together under the guise of "zest of living" without proper consultation with the stakeholders. While Japanese educational system is known to prepare the students for the dreaded entrance examination in the university, (i.e. focusing on getting into high ranking university), parents and students are more concerned with the learning of traditional basic knowledge and skills. However, PISA competencies were introduced in the curriculum which was reflected in the three key words (i.e. thinking, judging, and expressing competency). In the national assessment test, the traditional knowledge and skills as well as the required PISA competencies are measured separately. Inasmuch as parents and students are more interested in acquiring the former, less importance is given to the acquisition of the later. This marks the conflict between the national and global context.

This paper contends that, sustainability of diversity of education is made possible through constant dialogues/negotiation as well as by banking on ambiguous and symbolic concepts to avoid further conflict.

 

 


Measuring the Outcomes and Impact of Teaching and Learning Research Projects

 

Peter Coolbear, Rhonda Thomson, Kirsty Weir

Presented by: Bridget O’Regan,
Ako Aotearoa
 New Zealand

Contact for this presentation:
bridget.oregan@canterbury.ac.nz

Keywords: Learner experience, Impact, Research, Educational outcomes


Ako Aotearoa, the National Centre for Tertiary Teaching Excellence is committed to enhancing the effectiveness of tertiary (post compulsory) teaching and enabling the best possible educational outcomes for learners. 

A key part of Ako Aotearoa’s brief is to fund projects that are designed to enhance teaching and learning. We have a range of funding streams to meet this objective, including large grants of up to $150,000 from our National Project Fund (NPF) and small project funds (normally $10,000) through our Regional Hubs Project Funding scheme (RHPF).

From the start we have viewed our project funding – whether for large projects or small - as an investment of public money on behalf of future learners. In this paper, we present our work to date in trying to answer the question about whether this investment is producing sufficient return on behalf of the taxpayer for tertiary learners.

For many research projects, impact is measured – if at all – simply by reach: how many people are interested in and download or cite the work. While this is important, we need to do more than this: we want to measure what difference the work is making to both teaching practice and learner outcomes. This is, of course, highly complex and challenging work: there are multiple layers of intervention between a project and sustainable benefit to learners; time-frames are highly variable and causal relationships inevitably multi-factorial and complicated. However, that is no reason not to do it. 

Inevitably, the quantitative language of business comes in here. We need to be able to show a return on our investment to our government funders (and now, as we move to a co-funding model of project sponsorship, to our co-fundees as well). To balance this, we also need the qualitative stories about the transformative potential of improved experience for individual groups of learners. 

Further, we need to better understand how we can most effectively lever off the good work that has already been done and identify when and how it can be applied in different contexts within a diverse and often conservative tertiary education system.
This is a deceptively difficult and multi-faceted question and our evidence is inevitably incomplete, however we have chosen to approach this in what we believe is a cost-effective way through conversations with the project teams once projects have been completed.

Our impact evaluation framework (IEF) was developed and first trialled in 2010-2011. It has four dimensions:
• Reach (generation and dissemination of project outputs)
• Impact on practice
• Impact on learners
• Impact on the project teams themselves.

These dimensions provide the basis for a series of evaluative interviews with project teams conducted at six, 12 and 24 months after project completion. In each of these dimensions several themes are explored. We also try to distinguish between independent evidence and that attributed by practitioners.
Of course there are a range of overarching issues and trade-offs here. Two of these are, first, perpetual difficulties around attributing causality and, second, a real debate about reasonable time-frames in which to expect evidence of impact on learning with different types of projects in different contexts. 

Thirdly, some projects are interventions in specific learning environments which, if successful, should provide short-term returns, but might be expected to have an impact on limited numbers of learners. Others are much more strategic and endeavouring to achieve longer-term sustainable change which, in some cases, has much wider impact. A fourth issue is that our evidence is inevitably incomplete, especially as we are relying on the project teams’ perspectives to assemble much of the data. In particular we are presently unable to estimate the level of continuing benefit from projects.

Nevertheless, we believe the IEF does demonstrate that the work we have supported has a level of auditable impact which is a good return on the funding provided and that there is potential for that return to grow. It seems that a reasonable benchmark is that the investment of over $2m in the projects evaluated and reported on in this paper could have been spent on scholarships to support learners in their studies. If these scholarships were for $5,000 each, then 400 learners might have benefitted; if $2,000 each then potentially a significant impact on 1,000 learners. Our analysis provides an audit trail to over 60,000 learners to date having had the opportunity to benefit from the work we have supported. This suggests a very strong return on investment.

 


Humanities and Social Sciences: From Integrated to Discipline-Based Approaches within Queensland from 2000-2014

Marcia J. Rouen
Queensland Department of Education and Training
Australia

Contact for this presentation:
marcia.roeun@dete.qld.gov.au

Keywords: curriculum, citizenship


This presentation will present an overview of how past and current national and state education and curriculum policies have influenced implementation of the Australian Curriculum for the humanities and social sciences in Queensland schools since 2000.

Queensland is the third largest state by population behind New South Wales and Victoria. One in five Australians reside in Queensland. Approximately half a million students are educated in 1200 state schools in a range of locations. An additional 350 non-state schools deliver education to Queensland students in the capital city and regional cities.

From 2001 to 2012, the learning area of Studies of Society and Environment was taught in Queensland schools. In most schools, an integrated approach towards the teaching of social science disciplines and fields of study, such as, history, geography, civics and citizenship, and economics occurred.

During the period 2013 to 2015, Queensland schools will progressive implement the Australian Curriculum subjects of history, geography, civics and citizenship, and economics and business. Together these subjects contribute to the Melbourne Declaration’s Education Goals for Young Australians by providing opportunities for students to:
•      appreciate the nature of Australian society and its social, cultural, linguistic and religious diversity
•      understand Australia’s economic and political systems, history and culture
•      understand and acknowledge the value of Indigenous cultures, and possess the knowledge, skills and understandings to contribute to, and benefit from, reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians
•      understand the historical, geographical, economic and political background to selected countries and cultures of Asia, and Australia’s engagement with Asia
•      understand the values of democracy, equity and justice, and their influence on Australian society, its system of government, and participation by citizens
•      act as responsible global and local citizens.

Ministerial Council on Education, Employment, Training and Youth Affairs,
Melbourne Declaration on Educational Goals for Young Australians, December 2008, pp. 8–9.
Implementation of these Australian Curriculum subjects within Queensland schools has involved making clear what students should learn in relation to each discipline and be able to do.
Professional learning and curriculum materials for the learning area have emphasised the foregrounding of concepts and skills in ways that are specific to the subject rather than the learning area.
Advice on curriculum planning has emphasised the importance of:
•      connecting learning
•      promoting inquiry for the exploration of ideas
•      introducing sources in the early years and using an increasing range of sources in secondary
•      foregrounding concepts or tools as ways of thinking about content
•      using similar contexts or a range of contexts
•      providing opportunities for students to apply learning.

An ambitious curriculum and limited teaching time have created pressures for curriculum advisers and schools in how best to implement this curriculum change.

 

Implementing the Australian Curriculum:
Humanities and Social Sciences in New South Wales Public Schools

Anne Southwell
New South Wales Department of Education and Communities
Australia

Contact for this presentation:
anne.southwell@det.nsw.edu.au

Keywords: Australian Curriculum, history, geography, civics and citizenship,
economics and business


The purpose of this presentation is to examine the development and range of support materials for teachers implementing English, Mathematics, History and Science (including technology K-6). Syllabus development and implementation has specific state based requirements outlined in New South Wales Education Act 1990 with the additional consideration of impact of the state government reforms occurring throughout the New South Wales public service. The roles and responsibilities of the NSW Board of Studies, Teaching and Educational Standards (BOSTES) and those of the NSW Department of Education and Communities will be explored.

The BOSTES syllabus development process will be briefly examined as the first step in the implementation of Australian curriculum in NSW, with a specific focus on History, and the current development of a NSW Geography K-10 syllabus.

The public schools implementation support model supports the roll out of the Local Schools, Local Decisions reform of public education that is underway and the impact of this on teacher professional development. The impact of the publishing and presenting of online teacher professional development will be discussed.

A detailed analysis of the development processes and the various end products of the online model of teacher professional development support will be provided. A description of the different materials and the variety of online support that is available for different purposes will be explored, including registered courses and how these are managed. Teachers can gain professional accreditation for a number of registered courses.

The suite of implementation support will be examined, including the range of preparation and consultation with teachers that preceded course development.
Including:
•            The Learner and the new curriculum
•            Teaching of the new curriculum
•            Your school and the new syllabuses
•            Programming for quality teaching and assessing
•            A process for programming a unit of learning
A range of additional courses are being written at present including integrated and differentiated learning, the use of literacy and numeracy continuums.

Unregistered courses include a number of ‘capacity building’ short courses which support aspects of the new syllabuses that are new and challenging, and include for history:
•            Historical concepts and skills; historical inquiry in the primary classroom; building historical narrative using sources; World history approach; overviews and depth studies; patterns of learning for Years 7-10.

The use of webinars to provide ‘face to face’ interactive professional development using Abobe Connect software, for a variety of issues of identified implementation aspects where feedback from schools and teachers identifies some very specific support needs. These webinars are for only 30 – 45 minutes and are scheduled to be held live for after classroom teaching time access.
Examine the role of the BOSTES online ‘program builder’ software for the development of teaching and learning programs. The software development support provided by NSW DEC is a part of this initiative.

Provide an overview of the planning of teacher professional development support for geography, as the first of the next round of subjects to be implemented in NSW, and the practical changes being flagged to the support model.

The implementation of the Australian Curriculum in New South Wales public schools is the beginning of a new era in public education in large number of ways, including the impact of Local Schools, Local Decisions; the structural changes to the state government; the increasing student population; the increase in student enrolments in public schools (compared to private schools) the increasing diversification of students are just some of the challenges facing classroom teachers across a large public school system.

 

 


My Volunteer Experience in Myanmar: An Undergraduate Student’s Service Learning

 

Shyun-Yih Lin
National Taiwan University
Taiwan

Contact for this presentation:
alice88071@gmail.com

Keywords: service learning, volunteer, Myanmar


Service learning is an important way of learning and development for young people through active participation in thoughtfully organized service. It also provides structured time for participants to reflect on the service experience as well as foster civic responsibility. This paper presents my story, experience and reflections as a Taiwanese undergraduate student doing overseas service learning in Myanmar.

In August 2014, I embarked on a seventeen-day trip to northern Myanmar, as a member of Myanmar Overseas Chinese Education Service (MOCES). MOCES is a group of Taiwanese volunteers dedicated to providing assistance in education for Chinese schools in Myanmar. Its volunteers consist of kindergarten, primary and junior high school teachers, as well as some students.

From August 13th to August 20th, MOCES held a teacher training workshop for Chinese schools in the town of Lashio in northern Myanmar. The eight-day program included classes on teaching methods and computer skills. The workshop also offered a two-day program on school management for school principals. Along with another teacher, I was responsible for organizing activities outside of the training classes, including the opening and closing ceremonies and morning assemblies.

Throughout this journey, I was able to observe the situation of Chinese schools in Myanmar, and compare the differences to my own experiences back home in Taiwan. I also learned about the general situation of Chinese people in Myanmar, and the challenges they face as a minority ethnic group. This invoked me to think about multicultural issues in a non-democratic country as well.

The data was collected from my field journal, which is based upon participating observations in the teacher training workshop and informal interviews with Burmese teachers and fellow volunteers.

In this paper, I will first introduce the context of Chinese education in Myanmar and the difficulties and challenges confronting them. Secondly, I will outline MOCES’s founding and its goals, followed by a brief introduction of the teacher training program implemented at this year’s workshop. I will also include feedback from the participating Chinese-Burmese teachers, along with some moments that made the deepest impression in me. Lastly, I will describe my observations taken from this entire experience in Myanmar and share my reflections and thoughts, as well as what I think young people like me can do to make a difference, and give my suggestions on how to encourage young people to engage in volunteering and service learning.

 


Mental Wellbeing in the Classroom from a Teachers' Perspective

 

Merren L. Lawson
E.A. Southee Public School
Australia

Contact for this presentation:
merren.lawson@det.nsw.edu.au

Keywords: Mental Wellbeing


Last year I was asked to have a class half way through the year.  An eclectic group of children – autism, behavior, learning difficulties, language delays, unstable living conditions who were challenging, engaging, demanding, spirited, quirky, unique and hilarious who want your attention NOW!  The type of class at the end of the day when you go home pour yourself a goldfish bowl of wine and sit down and reflect on the day!  The type of class that sometimes is so noisy you cannot turn the radio on in the car because the sound of silence is bliss!  I am sure I am not the only teacher or educator in this room today who has experienced this type of class or the goldfish bowl of wine!  And hasn’t teaching and our clientele changed since BACK IN OUR DAY!

 

I am tired of children being labeled naughty and being given so many detentions that it starts to become ineffective.  Does it happen in your school because it is sometimes the easy way out?  However, if we as educators begin to delve behind some of these children’s facades, it can be a whole different world for them.  What do I mean by this?  You know, the child that comes to school with no breakfast or lunch, the child suffering from neglect and abuse, the child that comes to school where they have seen their parent dead with a needle in their arm, the foster child who has no idea who is to be their next foster parents, what town they are moving too, or which school they are going to attend. 

My mantra for Mental Wellbeing – IT IS WHAT IT IS we cannot fix or change children’s backgrounds however getting them to move forward is the key to their success. I reflected on my teaching practice and I thought outside the square. I embarked on teaching in ‘Real Life Terms’ and it worked.

The program - Save the Great Barrier Reef was for children to develop a strong relationship with their peers, develop their self worth, concept and esteem and become less stressed and anxious.

The program was non-threatening with lots of incidental moments in learning. For example, the once shy and traumatised child realised that if sharks have a special place in the ocean, then so do I and like sharks they were able to regurgitate facts which gave them confidence. The behavior child who found painting relaxing and seeing his artwork come alive gave him skills to discuss with visitors.  Helping children who were stressed and anxious also grew in confidence due to their acting skills by pretending to be a dugong or turtle through the Edward Debono program, or the autistic child who could give the Member for Parliament a run for his money when she questioned him during question time. The child who did not say much at all who became an expert about the Great Barrier Reef and can now engage in conversation because he had a place in the classroom. I would prepare them for what was happening the next day and many chose to bring in items or photos, pictures or experiences to share.  Most of all they loved how I was learning with them! I would say ‘See kids you are never too old’ The program was purposeful it also worked for the children that couldn’t cope with sometimes the intensity of a classroom so it gave these children a chance to relax and work at their own pace.  The children were engaged and didn’t even know they were learning and they loved that they had a voice!

It is important to assist with their wellbeing, learning, healing and recovery.  It’s not hard – take an idea that you are passionate about – could be saving the orangutan in Borneo or something in your country that you could design a program for – get connected within your school, community and children’s wellbeing.

Let’s keep the lines open, get global and continue to chat over the back fence about wellbeing!

NOW about that goldfish bowl of wine……………………………

 

 

Conversations on Changing One Elementary School’s Culture for Learning Mathematics

Melfried Olson, Fay Zenigami, and Judith Olson
Curriculum Research & Development Group
College of Education, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
United States

Contact for this presentation:
melfried@hawaii.edu

Keywords: Professional Development, Collaboration, Learning Communities, Lesson Study


This session showcases a three-year school-wide multi-faceted professional development project for grades K–5 teachers to improve and deepen their knowledge in elementary grades mathematics and its instruction to help the students at their school think algebraically and become better problem solvers. Throughout the project, teachers examined core concepts and topics in their mathematics program with the goal of developing opportunities for students to reason algebraically. Their work was conducted through intensive study and development sessions during summers and application-to-teaching sessions during the school years. A collaborative arrangement of university and public school personnel developed the ideas and cooperated in managing and conducting project activities.

During the summer sessions, teachers experienced lessons in a learner-centered environment, studied content, researched student learning, and analyzed the various approaches to teaching key topics in mathematics. These professional development activities for two consecutive summers focused on an intense study of the Common Core State Standards of Mathematics being developed in the United States with an eye to comprehending how the structure of the standards, the meanings used in describing the topics, and the connections to learning progressions around which the standards were built support teachers’ work in the professional development project. A key component of the summer sessions was the observation of a concurrent student class in which second grade children from the school were engaging in lessons the teachers had studied. This feature provided teachers “evidence” that their students were able to solve problems and engage in discourse in meaningful ways. During both summer sessions, each grade level team of teachers designed educative curriculum materials (ECMs) (Davis & Krajcik, 2005) based on a chosen mathematics topic. The topic could be one they found challenging for students to learn or one in which it was difficult to engage students in meaningful tasks.

In the application-to-teaching sessions during the school year, all teachers participated in developing, teaching, and observing research lessons using a modified Lesson Study model, completing two research lessons per year. Teachers created lessons based on the ECMs they developed and targeted particular pedagogical practices with emphasis on increasing student involvement in mathematical discourse. They purposefully incorporated the five practices of discourse (Smith & Stein, 2011), which they studied during the second summer session, into their research lessons during the final school year to further enhance class instruction and discussions. Administrative support was instrumental in allowing teachers to rearrange their day so that they would be free to observe the lessons being taught and to participate in the subsequent debriefing.

The session will present an overview of the profession development project, with particular emphasis on how two main components— designing educative curriculum materials and preparing, teaching, and reflecting on research lessons—complemented each other in this model. We will highlight the process teachers used to incorporate ideas from professional development sessions into their teaching practices and discuss how the work with research lessons formed a foundation for sustaining and evolving this professional development model at the school to examine student thinking and reasoning in mathematics. 

 


Elementary Students’ “Conversations” about Reasoning: Using Units to Build Convincing Arguments and Explanations

Hannah Slovin, Fay Zenigami, and Linda Venenciano
Curriculum Research & Development Group
College of Education, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
United States

Contact for this presentation:
hslovin@hawaii.edu

Keywords: Mathematical reasoning; concept of unit, counting, place value, rational number


 

Arguing, explaining and generalizing are different forms of mathematical reasoning; they all have a structure and follow a logical sequence in their construction. In mathematics, arguing is more than having a disagreement or a different opinion. When one argues, one is trying to convince others that something is true. Argument goes beyond conjecture; an argument is made when you are sure that, under the stated conditions, a particular statement will always be true or a solution will always work. 

With young children, their arguments or claims that something will always be true are not supported by the same evidence as with more mature people. Most students in the primary grades tend to reason inductively, relying on the examples they find to show that something is true (Ellis, 2012). We can help students go beyond merely producing examples by asking them to explain why a particular example is relevant to their argument or how the example shows that the argument makes sense. Engaging in this type of mathematical processing helps students build deeper understanding. In addition, these skills lead to being able to prove (that is, be convincing about) how mathematics works.

For young children, however, explanation, a clear articulation of the steps they took in solving a problem and why those steps made sense, can be difficult. Following someone else’s explanation well enough to formulate a constructive critique can be even more challenging. Standard for Mathematical Practice 3—Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others—in the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics developed in the United States (CCSSO, 2010) acknowledges this challenge when it says “students can construct arguments using concrete referents such as objects, drawings, diagrams, and actions” (pp. 6–7). The key here is students’ ability to situate their words in a shared context—to show as well as tell. 
This presentation is situated in the Measure Up (MU) project which is based on research by Russian mathematicians, mathematics educators, and psychologists. MU provides young students with a quantitative approach to introduce mathematics topics with the goal that students develop deep understanding and the ability to reason algebraically. The concept of unit is central to the measurement of these quantities and thus plays an important role in elementary mathematics.

The session will explore the concept of unit as it applies to key topics throughout the elementary mathematics curriculum. The presentation will trace the role unit plays starting with counting, examining questions such as, “Is three always less than 5?” We will look at unit in our numeration system and ask, “How would we write numbers if we had only four different digits—0. 1, 2, 3—to use?” We will see how students used unit to solve problems involving rational number. In this presentation, participants will learn about tasks that prompt student reasoning, explore the mathematics behind counting, numeration, and common fractions and look at students’ multiple approaches to solving problems. Examples of student work will be shared providing insight into their explanations, reasoning, and the arguments they make to peers and to themselves for why mathematics makes sense. 

 


Imperatives Old and New: Challenges Confronting Teacher Education in an Age of Accountability

John Thomas King
Southern Oregon University
United States

Contact for this presentation:
kingjo@sou.edu

Keywords: school reform, teacher education,


How are accountability-based reforms affecting the realities for which today’s classroom teachers must be prepared to face? How are these, in turn, impacting the priorities and practices of teacher education programs? What new questions do we need to be asking of ourselves in light of the changing contexts in which we work?

Within the United States and elsewhere, accountability-based school reforms are being driven by a simple, compelling, and yet fundamentally flawed narrative. The narrative rests upon two primary assertions: i) that schools are, by and large, failing, and ii) it is because of teachers and, by extension, the way they are trained and prepared. In order to improve this state of affairs, reform advocates have advanced an agenda based upon increasing standardization, measurement, and control over several key aspects of the educational enterprise. Specific reforms associated with this agenda have included replacing the patchwork of state based curricular standards with the Common Core, assessing students more frequently and attaching higher stakes to their results, connecting teacher evaluations to student test scores in order to identify ineffective teachers, and degrading the power of unions to make it easier to remove bad teachers. Emerging research is beginning to document the impact which these reforms are having upon teaching and learning. Notable impacts include a narrowing of the curriculum that is taught, focusing instruction on a narrower range of students, increasing teachers’ reliance upon didactic instruction, and diminishing the autonomy and authority of teachers over matters of curriculum and instruction. 

Each of these developments holds profound implications for the teacher education community. Clearly, teacher education programs must continue to address long-standing issues central to the enterprise of developing competent and caring teachers. Among the most critical of these imperatives is the need to equip aspiring teachers to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population of learners, to overcome the still all too frequent dichotomy between theory and practice, and to build meaningful and mutually respectful partnerships between k-12 schools and university-based teacher preparation programs. But while many of our goals and priorities as teacher educators remain the same as in the past, a whole new set of needs, challenges and possibilities are emerging as well, many of which we are only beginning to acknowledge. much less address in any sort of systematic way. These include confronting issues of teacher attrition, alienation, and de-professionalization, as well as promoting teacher authenticity, sustainable practice, and social capital. Running throughout each of these issues is the need to help educators at all levels negotiate the personal and professional tensions that arise when external developments place demands upon them which are at odds with their own existing beliefs, values or commitments.

At this point in time, teacher preparation programs have responded to the tensions arising from accountability-based reforms through some combination of the following strategies: 
1)Compliance: whether because they are legally required to do so, stand in agreement with particular reforms, or simply bow to the inevitable or find it most expedient to do so; 
2)Passive Resistance: carrying on with business as usual by continuing to address the same imperatives in the same ways as in the past while largely ignoring recent changes in the profession under the expectation that “these too shall pass;”
3)Active Resistance: deconstructing and contesting the goals and assumptions driving reforms, while providing a counter narrative regarding the aims of education, the nature of teaching and learning, and/or the potential of students and teachers; 
4)Residing with Tensions: acknowledging the legitimacy of the values undergirding different goals while asserting and supporting teachers’ responsibility to exercise professional judgment based upon the particularities of each situation.

This paper provides specific examples of each of these response strategies from within the context of the United States. It then offers a series of questions for further consideration and, it is hoped, discussion and collaboration. Among these are: 
• How is the “accountability narrative” unfolding across different national and cultural contexts? 
• What tensions are teacher educators and programs experiencing as a result?
• In what ways are we responding to these tensions at an individual or collective level? 
• Is an individual response adequate, or is collective agency appropriate or desirable? Is it feasible?