Sunday, June 12, 2011

Teacher Inquiry: What Does It Mean?

Teacher Inquiry:  What Does It Mean?
Prompt #5-Identify any trends and themes you find in the data.  Look to find and share any triangulation processes in May’s data collection and analysis work.  Evaluate the data and provide reasonable explanations for what you think might be happening over time that would explain the story that the data are revealing.
The analysis of the student survey clearly indicates that 2/3 of the students wanted more consistency in class routine (Dana, n.d.).  Taking into consideration Sienna’s comments, the first field note data report indicates that from the time students entered the classroom, through a forty minute period, redirections were required almost every minute with the exception of a time when students were engaged in reviewing their worksheets as a class (Dana, n.d.).  This suggests that when students have a clear understanding of what they are supposed to be doing, less off task behavior occurs.  Transition times were also a time of increased redirection.  Hence transitions from one activity to the next must be better defined and organized.  In observation number two through four, redirection did not occur the first ten minutes of class.  This data confirms that the five minute challenge agenda was actively involving students in learning reducing off task behavior.  Siena included additional insights into classroom behavior.  Lack of eye contact and targeted redirection (sometimes as “wait” time) to particular students also contributed to behavior management disarray.  Improved eye contact with students and the ten minute challenge activity represent the triangulation process in which both observations by Sienna represent a reduction in the necessity for redirection.  Implications from Sienna’s data include the need for May to make changes in her practice instead of trying to change her students’ behavior. Reviewing Sienna’s data, May acknowledged the benefit of the five minute challenge and planned to make changes that included changing her seating arrangement, improving eye contact and give more direct attention to students in need.
Prompt #6-Describe May’s class graph.  What happened over time and what are some reasons for the trends and patterns you notice?  What new goals do you think May should set for the class as a whole based on her students response to the timed agenda challenge?    
Reviewing May’s class data chart there was a little less than double the number of students completing the agenda over the nine day periods that was charted.  Although there was consistent growth from day one to nine, it is noteworthy that the most significant gain was from day one to day two (Dana, n.d.).  This might indicate that a change in the challenge might be needed to maintain students’ engagement and enthusiasm.  One suggestion I would have is to increase the stakes in the five minute challenge so that quality of work counts.  Many students will rush through their work without regard to quality.  The class as a whole could set up quality standards for the agenda parts.  Those that fail to meet the criteria will not count as having the agenda completed.   As quality increases, the time limit could decrease.  I also think that May could incorporate concrete rewards for whole class success to maintain whole class enthusiasm and effort.
Prompt#7-Describe Anthony’s and Leah’s data.  What happened over time?  What do you think May might do in the future to capitalize on Anthony’s and Leah’s success and Keep them on track during the entire class period?
In reviewing both Anthony’s and Leah’s data there was a dramatic drop from day one to day two (Dana, n.d.).  I was impressed by their immediate enthusiasm for challenging themselves and trying to meet the goal.  At day six for Anthony and day seven for Leah there was a slight regression in time (Dana, n.d.).  I was impressed by Anthony’s ability to take the responsibility for not meeting his goal on Tuesday, 5/11 due to a bathroom break.  Both students continued to make significant gains by dropping from 30 seconds to one minute daily.  Anthony and Leah are becoming role models for the class.  It would be beneficial for Anthony and Leah to serve as research assistants and graph the whole class results.  In addition they could share some tips on how they continue to improve their scores.  They could also become judges of quality work making sure that classmates are following the rubric requirements.  May’s initial wondering will naturally evolve into behavior management practices for the entire period.  She can use Anthony and Leah to participate in a focus group to help her design and implement engaging inquiries to manage behavior throughout the instructional period. 
Prompt #8-Pretend you are May, and it is now the start of the next school year.  Your assistant principal, Mr. Brown, asks you to talk about the inquiry journey at the first faculty meeting of the year.  Discuss a plan for your presentation.  What will you share and how will you share it?  Refer to Chapters 6 and 8 of The Reflective Educator’s Guide to Classroom Research for support in responding to this prompt.
Dana (2009. p. 188) states “unless that inquiry is tossed into the professional conversation and dialog that contributes to the knowledge base for teaching, the inquiry has little chance of creating change.  My biggest challenge in deciding how to prevent teacher “tune out” is how to share my enthusiasm, yet not overwhelm a staff that is often not receptive to anything new.  I would request a small portion of time to introduce the inquiry using Leah, Anthony, and Sienna to introduce our inquiry and document how they participated in our wondering.  Using these students will allow my peers to make a direct connection to similar challenges they face in their classrooms.  Following this introduction at a follow up professional development, I would present a power point of my inquiry in abbreviated form.  Its content would include: “(1) providing background information, (2) sharing the design of the inquiry (procedures, data collection, and data analysis), (3) stating the learning and supporting statements with data, and (4) providing concluding thoughts” (Dana, 2009, p188).  I look forward to the opportunity to dialogue with my peers and generate conversations about the implications of this inquiry.


Dana, N. (n.d.).  Creating a positive behavior support system in a seventh-grade science classroom [case study].  Retrieved June 2, 2011 from:
Dana, N. F., & Yendol-Hoppey, D. (2009). The reflective educator’s guide to classroom research: Learning to teach and teaching to learn through practitioner inquiry (2nd ed.).

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