Assignment: The Context of the Classroom Setting
Part A: The first section of your Action Research Project asks you to identify a problem to solve that focuses on improving teacher practice and P – 12 student learning.
Draft: Part A
In the first section of this action research project I will address the context of classroom setting. Although, it is as important as the teaching itself and understand it is essential in creating learning environments in which every student can thrive. According to Pallardy, context is a classroom’s characteristics such as the composition of the student body, classroom structures and resources. Furthermore, by establishing that context is dependent on student learning we are able to come up with an action research question that will be discussed in this essay. The action research will be on the reading workshop; Is motivation among students a big challenge when it comes to reading literacy?
In addition, a reading workshop is one way to structure a class. Developing strong reading skills in students is one of the key goals in an educational program. Reading workshops encourages the students to become better readers. To accommodate the children’s variability, I assess the children through instructing them to write journals on what they have read and giving them vocabulary tests on that week’s reading. This helps when it comes to identifying student with a reading problem and can be able to tailor lessons to individuals.
One of the concerns that I have experienced in this classroom setting of reading workshops is children’s motivation to read books that they have selected. Their ability to choose the right book and their commitment to stay with the book until they finished is also a concern when it comes to their motivation when reading books. These findings were drawn from the data of the journals and vocabulary test that I had assigned to them. The journals that they wrote the boys in the class performed poorly more than the girls. There is also the fact that the boys in the class didn’t find satisfaction in reading unlike the girls. The boys also were not reading books of their own accord unlike the girls in the class who spent hours with ‘series’ books and other chapter books.
The classroom has 24 students; 52% are boys and 48% are girls. The last two tests on vocabulary showed that girls performed more than the boys. Also, the literature review was discouraging: the boys were lagging the girls. This concerns may be a product of the independent reading workshop and of the freedom of children to choose their own books during that session.
Through observation and interaction with the boys that excelled in the literature reviews I noted that families had a strong impact and the boys that saw their fathers at home read were more likely to choose to read. Therefore, having spoken with the school administration I invited some of the male role models for the boys. I invited teachers, some of their fathers, other school male employees to visit the class and talk about their reading habits. Some of them were frank about their discovery about reading for pleasure, sometimes not until adulthood. Hearing some of the sorts reading preferred by the men, I expanded the reading selection in my classroom including more of non-fiction as I was convinced the boys would engage more.
In the next literature review, the boys had improved without a doubt and in the vocabulary tests that I gave them after. This showed that motivation is one of the problems that children struggle with in a classroom setting. There are other solutions to meet this problem to ensure that every student within the class thrives and not only a specific group.
Efron, S. E., & Ravid, R. (2013). Action research in education: A practical guide. New York, NY: The Guilford Press.
Chapter 2, “Choosing and Learning About Your Research Topic” (pp. 13–38)
Chapter 3, “Approaches to Action Research” (p. 48)
Mertler, C. A. (2017). Action research : Improving schools and empowering educators (5th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
NCTEW. (n.d) retrieved from http://www.ncte.org
Lawlor, L. A., Hansen, C. C., Zambo, D., & Horn, P. (2015). Empowering teachers and engaging students. Educational Digest, 80(6), 4–8.