Leadership Research: Vol 03, No 1. (2012)

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    Gifted education and the inclusion educational approach
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2012) Granholm, Sarah-Jane
    This Research Project sought to determine more about whether the needs of gifted students are being served successfully within the current educational approach of inclusion, and whether teachers are properly supported and professionally prepared to accommodate these types of learners (and other Special Education students in general) into their regular education (inclusion) classrooms. A mixed-methods survey gathered information from 24 regular education classroom teachers across four separate schools in two neighbouring school districts in British Columbia during the winter of 2012. The vast majority of Special Education students in surveyed teachers’ classrooms were identified as having a learning disability, while few were identified as being gifted, echoing previous gifted education researchers’ fear of a “quiet crisis” in this area. A strong majority of participants believed more students would benefit from a Special Education designation. Results also revealed that although the majority of participants had been involved in professional development directed related to Special Education at some point, they felt professional unprepared and improperly supported to address the needs of these students in their regular education (inclusion) classrooms. More, the entire range of Special Education students represented considerable challenges of incorporation to participants. The majority of teacher time on accommodations went to those with learning disabilities, while the least went to gifted students. This study concluded that a concentrated effort by school districts and the Ministry of Education alike needs to be undertaken in terms of focused professional development and support of its teachers in Special Education policies, ideologies, and strategies, whilst seriously addressing the gap between the policy and practice of inclusion in regular education classrooms.
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    Mathematics professional development and the impact on teacher practice over time
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2012) VanderRee, Christine
    First Steps in Mathematics, a mathematics professional development program being delivered in a Vancouver Island school district, was examined with the purpose of determining its impact on teacher practice. Factors that led to elementary teachers? ability to implement and/or continue to practice components of the program were identified. Mixed methods research following an explanatory design was conducted on the four cohorts of teachers who had completed or were participating in the training. The 116 eligible participants were invited to complete an on-line survey which collected both quantitative and qualitative data. From the 71 participants who completed the survey, four key informants who had demonstrated extensive implementation and continued use were selected and interviewed. An increase in teacher efficacy was found. Teachers' mathematical understanding increased as well as their preparedness to teach mathematics in all aspects of the curriculum, even those that extended beyond the scope of the course. Key factors that contributed to program implementation included: its ease of use, the ability to plan for instruction as well as the monitoring of student growth. Key factors that contributed to the program?s continued use were similar to implementation but also included the influence of support from school-based and district-based colleagues including curriculum support teachers, learning support teachers, district numeracy support and program facilitator support. Recommendations were then made to the school district and the Island Numeracy Network. The author determined that it was important to continue with the current level of support for the First Steps in Mathematics program in the school district, including the funding of the training and the continued development of resources to support the program, specifically the locally developed course binders and website. Formal and informal leadership was determined to be an important part of the program?s success and therefore aspects of it - particularly involving - leadership and collaboration should be expanded.
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    Primary teachers’ beliefs on the role of play in early childhood education
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2012-04) Smith, Katie M.
    The purpose of the current study was to gather primary teachers’ beliefs about the role of play in early childhood education. In order to gather these beliefs, all primary teachers in School District 70 (Port Alberni) were given a multi-method survey to complete (Appendix A). The surveys were distributed in October of 2011 and teachers were given two weeks to complete and return the survey. Ten out of a possible twenty-seven surveys were collected from primary teachers in Port Alberni. The data that was collected demonstrated strong beliefs in the importance of play in early childhood education. All responding teachers reported the benefits of play to the child as a whole as well as their education. Many early childhood educators in Port Alberni believe play to be an integral part of early childhood education.
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    What do parents perceive to be effective characteristics of a family literacy program? An action research project
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2012-04) Jamieson, Nicole; Moll, Rachel
    This study examined how a Grade 1/2 teacher implemented a family literacy program for the families of the children in her class. Using action research, this research study asked the question, “What do parents perceive to be effective characteristics of a family literacy program?” The researcher implemented a family literacy program for a six-week period in her classroom. Before beginning the study, the researcher invited parents to participate in an information evening designed to provide ideas and strategies for reading with their child at home. After the six-week study period, data was collected in the form of a survey. Through literature review, analyzing both qualitative and quantitative data, and reflecting on the feedback from participants, this study provided the researcher with information to guide the development of her family literacy program. The data collected during this study showed that parents found the family literacy program effective when children were able to choose their own books and were taking books home every night.
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    Parents and middle school transitions: a look at parental concerns
    (Electronic version published by Vancouver Island University, 2012-04) Dawson, Julie
    The purpose of the present study was to examine the concerns parents of Grade 5 students had about their children transitioning into middle school at Grade 6. The study was a mixed methods design that gathered information on parental concerns in order to determine common themes and differences. The study took place over two weeks in the fall of 2011. The survey (Appendix B) recipients were sixty-eight parents from three Grade 5 classes within two schools belonging to a school district on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. A total of twenty-nine parents responded and provided information about their concerns regarding social, academic, and procedural impacts that transition may cause for their children. The results of the research were that parents had varying levels of concern within each of the categories as well as between the categories. Results also demonstrated that there were differences in the data based on whether a child was male or female. The most significant finding was that issues within the social category scored top concern overall and highest average level of concern on the survey. The principal conclusion from that result was that parents viewed bullying as the number one social concern regarding middle school transition. Parents also demonstrated significant concern about negative peer pressure and changes in self-esteem. Implications for practice based on the present study discuss how parents, teachers, and students need to be involved in effective and extensive transition programming that provides a structure which helps stakeholders to become more aware of the social, academic, and procedural issues and concerns. Orientation programs and opportunities for parents to liaise with teaching staff need to be put in place to alleviate parental concerns about their child’s transition into middle school.