Introduction

Bowker (1992)

Lin, LaCounte, Eder (1988)

Rindone (1988)

Brady, Dingman, Mroczka, (1995)

Eberhard (1989)

Dehyle (1992)

Backes (1993)

Pierce (1994)

Lamdin (1996)

Borland & Howsen (1998)

Lamdin (1998)

Hagstorm, Kleinfield & McDiarmid (1989)

Conclusion

 

Assignment Paper: Dropout Factors for Native Populations in U.S. and Canada: ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY of Related Research

Introduction

To do a good job on a research project, one must be passionate about the topic. In choosing a topic for study, I wanted to be passionate about it and have it relative to my teaching practice. I currently teach in a small, isolated Inuit community in the central Arctic. The population of Taloyoak is just under 700 people, one-third of which are school-aged children. In the past, students would travel outside of the community to get their high school education. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, many would dropout only to return to low paying jobs or social assistance. Ninety percent of Inuit students in Canada left before high school graduation (Kleinfeld, McDiarmid & Hagstrom, 1989).

Within the last decade, there has been a push for the development of community high schools in these isolated student populations. Taloyoak had its first graduating class of twelve students two years ago. There was much celebration about the success of these students. However, the rate of dropout is still very high. Poor attendance and high truancy leads to students leaving school early. There appears to be more to the problem of dropout than simply having a high school in the community.

My research into the phenomena of Inuit dropout has been challenging; there appears to be very little written about Inuit populations. The most available research is about the American Indian. American Indians and Inuit have many differences however both are Native populations and have been encouraged to assimilate to western culture and schooling.

The following articles are written about the educational experiences of American Indians with regards to the dropout phenomena. Four of the articles are not specific to Natives but give insight into the overall picture of the dropout situation. It is my hope that my future research project will fill the gap in writing about the dropout phenomena of Inuit students for I feel that dropout is one of the greatest barriers to the success of the new Inuit government, Nunavut.

Format of the Annotated Bibliography

The annotated bibliography is set up in two parts:

On the Surface: This section deals directly with what the article has to say. The section provides the reader with a quick look at the article's main ideas, themes or hypothesis; research method or design of study; and conclusion or results. Much of this section comes straight from the text of the article. In essence, this section selects only the bare elements of the research and describes only the parts that are most important.

Going Deeper: Going deeper means looking closer at the research and finding out if the article is truly worth reading. This is the section that critiques the article to find the positives and negatives of the author’s work. I have tried to relate this section to my experiences teaching Inuit students to see if what was said in the article coincides with my perspective.

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Bibliography information:

Bowker, A. (1992). The American Indian Female Dropout. Journal of American Indian Education, 31 (3), 3 - 19.

On the Surface:

Main Ideas / Themes / Hypothesis:

    • to identify the factors which contribute to the educational success of American Indian females
    • -success' appears to be defined as being able to stay in school to graduation,
    • to identify the factors which contribute to the lack of educational success for American Indian females
    • to develop a research project which might replace current practices in American Indian education with better alternatives

Research Method / Design of Study:

    • two year period (1989 - 90)
    • three states among residents of five reservations and members of seven tribal groups
    • 991 women participated in the study, used a stratified random sample to choose females for interviewing
    • data gathered through individual interviews using a set of pre-designed questions
    • employed a cross-sectional design
    • participants were categorised according to level of education attained
    • open-ended interview questions
    • interview instrument designed using the most current research on gender, at-risk youth and high school dropouts

Conclusion:

No real formula for success or failure was found. They report that all of the women who dropped out of high school possessed at least one of the characteristics that are considered as risk factors for dropouts.

Women in the study were from different family backgrounds with varying values and different personal and school experiences. They all were exposed to a reservation environment with many social problems. "That in itself placed American Indian girls at greater risk than any other female ethnic minority group in America" (Bowker, 1992, p. 14).

Going deeper - Is the article worth reading?

This article has problems because the author tries to draw conclusions for which there is no support: Bowker (1992) reports that the only common thread that is found among those women who dropped out was that they were from reservations and that made them at a greater risk for failure than other ethnic groups. Unfortunately, Bowker’s subjects were all chosen from the reserve and thus she has not supporting evidence; she did not interview any women from other ethnic groups and should not make such a comparison.

Also the article does not report many new ideas for why people drop out of school. The author only goes to say that those that show more than one of the at-risk characteristics have a greater potential to drop out.

The author does not clearly define the interview tool used nor does she give examples of the types of questions asked. This report would have improved with including quotes or case studies to let the reader fully understand how data was collected.

Bowker (1992) devotes much time to convincing the reader about the negatives of dropping out. For most people, this concept is already quite strong.

Many of the at-risk characteristics are seen in the Inuit population and are not confined to a study of American Indian females.

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Bibliography information:

Lin, R., LaCounte, D., & Eder, J. (1988). A study of Native American students in a predominantly white college. Journal of American Indian Education, 27, 8 - 15.

On the Surface:

Main Ideas / Themes / Hypothesis:

    • examines the effect of school environment on academic performance and gradation expectations of Indian students
    • factorial analysis reduced the variables to four factors: attitude toward college education, attitude toward professor, the perception of campus hostility, feeling of isolation
    • if the problem of low academic performance is primarily a matter of individual "motivation" the question remains to be asked as to why American Indian students gradually lose their "motivation" to achieve such that their severe drop in performance at the ninth grade level results in poor or inadequate high school preparation for college and they continue to lose motivation during their college years?
    • Purpose of study to compare and contrast American Indian and White students with regard to the factors that affect academic performance

Research Method / Design of Study:

    • collected data from students in a predominantly white mid-size college
    • questionnaire with followed the conventional "motivational" approach with minor modifications
    • survey administered to regular classes
    • to increase representation of American Indian students in the survey, questionnaires were handed out at the Indian Career Service Centre
    • 632 students surveyed: 225 male, 370 female, 87 Indian (13.8% versus the 5% of college population), 508 White, 21 other, 16 did not reveal background
    • The Indian sample divided into academic status with sample distribution did not deviate significantly from that of the general Indian student population of the College.
    • used 10 Likert-type questions relating to student’s perceptions of college environment,
    • most important factor was the feeling of hostility against the (Indian) on campus,
    • second most important is the attitude toward college
    • third is attitude toward professor and the feeling of isolation

Conclusion:

  • The hostility they feel against them and the sense of isolation are much more pronounced for Indian students that White.
  • For both groups, attitude toward college is a key variable that correlates with most other variables. A statistically significant difference exists between the two groups of students on GPA, the perceived campus hostility, attitude toward college education and the feeling of isolation.
  • Indian attitude toward college is more positive than that of White students.
  • No significant difference was found between the two groups in perception of the probability of getting a degree and the attitude toward professors.
  • Feeling of isolation is related to the feeling that the White campus is hostile towards them.
  • By shifting the focus to environmental factors from problems in individual psychology, the study uncovered neglected problems.
  • It is necessary that Indian students become aware of the unspoken hostility felt by Indian students.
  • Indian student attitude and perception towards college is more positive perhaps because they are aware of the importance of college education for their future.

Going deeper - Is the article worth reading?

The article uncovers a need to look beyond individual psychology and the "motivational" issues to sociological factors associated with Native dropout. It uses statical evidence to show that hostility and isolation are important issues that cannot be blamed on the dropouts. The author attempts to make comparisons between Indian and White students, however the sampling in the study is appears to be weak: only 87 students were Indian and 508 students were White. It is also interesting that the data for non-native students was collected from a mid-sized college. Would data from larger colleges been different?

A deliberate attempt was made to increase representation from the Indian population; thus, one may wonder about how representative the population was of Indian students. Perhaps, only the more vocal of the Indians took time to put in their grievances. Nevertheless, from my experience, I can see the author’s findings on hostility and isolation to be on track. Many of our Northern students dropped out when placed in a school that was multi-cultural (Cambridge Bay, Yellowknife). Now that we have community high schools, these same students have returned and are finding success.

The author also does not determine if the four factors are dependent or independent variables. Determining how factors relate to themselves or to other elements may also present a different view of the dropout issue.

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Bibliography information:

Rindone, P. (1988). Achievement motivation and academic achievement of Native American Students. Journal of American Indian Education, 28, 1 - 8.

On the Surface:

Main Ideas / Themes / Hypothesis:

    • Only recently has idea of achievement and motivation and other psychological theories from a culturally based perspective been pursued
    • This study examined the background of Navajo individuals, who had completed at least a four-year college degree to identify those characteristics that were most influential
    • postulates that identification of these factors can lead to a development of an n appropriate model to measure achievement motivation and academic achievement for a Native American perspective

Research Method / Design of Study:

    • population consisted of 400 Navajos who attained at least a four-year degree
    • participants were identified from 1983 - 1986
    • sample of 200 participants, randomly selected
    • participants were mailed a survey
    • questionnaire relates to family characteristics, educational background, socioeconomic status, language background and demographic data
    • a second questionnaire was mailed two months later to ensure a representative sample
    • 107 of 200 questionnaires were returned; of 107: 11 - BA, 78 - MA, 4 - Ph.D., 14- other degrees,
    • of 107: 87% were born on the reservation 80 females and 27 males aged 23 - 53 years old

Conclusion:

    • Achievement motivation and aspirations toward high academic achievement have been prevalent factors among Native American and other minority groups
    • findings indicate that family (stability of traditional values) is the way to academic success of high achieving Navajos.
    • Data indicated that SES did not appear to be an important factor
    • A stable family life with traditional values becomes a more important determinant of achievement
    • indicates that the teacher encouragement for school success may have influenced their achievement
    • Despite an overwhelming amount of literature indicating that minority students underachieve because of "lack of motivation" and "having no desire to excel" - this study doesn’t find it to be so
    • Parents and family were able to motivate and encourage children to succeed

Going deeper - Is the article worth reading?

Unfortunately, the author makes conclusions about one group without making any type of comparisons with other groups. The author looks only at Navajo students without looking at groups outside of their small sample size. A better study would look carefully at other groups before making conclusions about motivation and academic achievement.

The article attacks the idea that minority students fail due to lack of motivation. The sample size is small; thus open-ended interviews with subjects may have helped to provide data to support the author’s findings more strongly. The author provides the reader with tables of sample questions from the questionnaire that is helpful in understanding the data collection tool. The author alludes to studies in bilingual education however this is not referenced so the reader is left with no support. This questionnaire may be useful in a survey form for study of successful Inuit. I think that results may show that the most successful (highest paid or most prestige) Inuit come from residential schools and thus have lost their culture and reduced the strength of ties to the family. This notion contradicts the findings in the article.

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Bibliography information:

 

Brady, J.V, Dingman, S.M., Mroczka, M.A. & . (1995). Predicting success for American Indian students. Journal of American Indian Education, 34, 10 - 30.

On the Surface:

Main Ideas / Themes / Hypothesis:

This study used a battery of neuropsychological tests that assess sequential and simultaneous processing

There are difficulties assessing children with instruments normed for another culture

Indian students with academic potential need to be advised about career options and tracked into college preparatory courses

Research Method / Design of Study:

    • Subjects: 40 men and 40 women - American Indian, volunteers, enrolled in colleges or universities in Montana, variety of linguistic and cultural groups, 17 indicated they had first learned a language other than English, 74 indicated they intended to complete a 4-year college degree
    • Materials: self-report questionnaire - to collect demographic information, Cognitive Laterality Battery of eight tests of cognitive function, with good internal reliability
    • Three tests of importance: Localization, Form Completion, Orientation described in article

Conclusion:

The three tests of Simultaneous processing are positively correlated with the number of American Indian students enrolled in college. Those enrolled may be especially good at using their simultaneous processing capacity of integrating and synthesising many parallel problems at the same time or multitasking through a variety of different types of problem situations. American Indian students may have an underlying learning style for simultaneous processing. Since capacity for simultaneous processing appears to be related to remaining in school, the author hopes that norms will be established for use with this population. This gives objective and valid means for identifying American Indian students with academic potential who are being left out of the system.

Going deeper - Is the article worth reading?

The author delves deeply into cognitive testing. Unless this testing is accessible for me, I will not be able to apply this research to the Inuit population.

The three tests used are said by the author to have good internal reliability. However since the subjects were currently enrolled, their brains may have developed simultaneous processing while at college. If this is the case, it may be difficult to determine academic success for students who have not yet entered college. In fact, it appears that the level of processing is greater the more years the student is in college. Basing academic success on this cognitive element may be incorrect.

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Bibliography information:

Eberhard, D.R. (1989). American Indian education: a study of dropouts, 1980 - 1987. Journal of American Indian Education, 29, 32 - 40.

On the Surface:

Main Ideas / Themes / Hypothesis:

    • purpose: to provide data to characterize American Indian Secondary urban dropouts
    • looked at dropouts and stayers between 1980 and 1981
    • six variables: academic achievement, family constellation, gender, family mobility, school attended, tribal affiliation
    • There is inaccurate reporting of dropouts to date.

Research Method / Design of Study:

Variable examination:

    • Academic achievement: Proficiency and Review (PAR), grade point average (GPA) - expected that GPAs and PAR scores would be higher for stayers than dropouts
    • Family Constellations: Chi Square test - expected that more stayers than dropouts would be from two-parent families
    • Gender: Chi Square test - expected that there would be more female stayers than male
    • Family Mobility - Chi Square test - expected that stayers would move less than dropouts, "all dropouts are withdrawals but not all withdrawals are dropouts."
    • Schools Attended - Chi Square test - it was known what effect the school attended would have.
    • Tribal Affiliation - Chi Square test - It was expected that there would be no difference between dropouts and stayers with respect to the tribes to which they belong
    • recorded and transcribed group interviews - Spring 1987,
    • three sets of interviews: American Indian pupils in urban district high schools, in urban Indian Centre with American Indian GED pupils, American Indian parents

Conclusion:

  • American Indian retentions (those who have failed grades) seldom stay in school, six of 51 graduated
  • There needs to be accurate reporting of dropout data so those problems can be correctly identified and solved; school systems need to change their retention policies
  • Variable Summary and Implications:
  • Academic summary - no statistically significant relations between attendance at an alternative education program and dropping out or staying -- Indian pupils with low PAR scores and low GPAs are at high risk of dropping out
  • Family Constellation - Statistically, parental status had no effect on dropping out -- only two-parent families had more children staying in school than dropping out. --- If Indian parents are willing to risk the sometimes threatening experience of interacting with urban school personnel, they may well be helping their son or daughter to remain positive about their school experience
  • Gender - little indication of one sex dropping out more than the other -- insufficient to change the conclusion that females are no more likely to drop out of school than males
  • Family Mobility - individualized learning and computer systems support the learning styles in school; help meet the needs of students to move often
  • School Attended - it is beyond this research to identify the problem presented in this area; individual schools are important and do have impact upon the dropout situation
  • Tribal affiliation - the level of the school’s knowledge of tribal background and low Navajo dropout do not appear related -- is evident that the schools need to become more sensitive to American Indian culture

 

Going deeper - Is the article worth reading?

Problems in study:

  • Not clear on how the data was collected -- Was it gathered from school records? Sampling?
  • Schools attended - unclear what the author meant by "It was known what effect the school attended would have."
  • Family Mobility - deals with how often the student moves - conclusion is not based on this - implies only that individualised learning and computer systems were needed
  • Tribal Affiliation - deals with what tribe the student is -- conclusion from study is not based on this -- implies only that schools need to become more sensitive to American Indian culture which was not mentioned in the test design
  • Author makes conclusions that go beyond the scope of the study (ie. decentralisation of schools, empowerment of Indian students, learning must be individualised, mobility is a dangerous ingredient, schools need computers, Indians appear to have an advantage in being able to realize the most positive change by school innovation) -- no data to support these statements -- these elements can apply to all pupils in all schools

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Bibliography information:

Dehyle, D. (1992). Constructing failure and maintaining cultural identity: Navajo and Ute school leavers. Journal of American Indian Education, 31, 24 - 47.

On the Surface:

Main Ideas / Themes / Hypothesis:

    • culturally specific factors important: racial and economic relations in community and school, home child-rearing patterns of non-interference and early adulthood, cultural integrity and resistance
    • enthographic study -- looked at stories of youth, interviews, cultural factors over time
    • looked at interactions, understanding and strategies related to education, schooling, success and failure both in and out of school among Navajo, Anglo and Ute

Research Method / Design of Study:

    • 7 year ethnographic study of Navajo and Ute youth in a border reservation community
    • analyzed issues as leaving school, race relations, academic achievement, culture change with the context of school and community
    • 179 dropout questionnaire,
    • data base of 1489 youth tracked over 10 years, started in 1984
    • several hundred ethnographic interviews and observation in school and communities
    • Four data sets: master data base from school records, ethnographic field notes and collected documents, interviews with a convenience sample of school leavers, a questionnaire
    • 629 students forming six different cohorts from classes 1984 - 1989, from each of the two high schools with complete four-year high school records
    • questionnaire contained 27 open-ended statements expanding to 78 variable with probe questions which began with "you left school because. ."
    • total of 168 people who had left school were interviewed and completed questionnaire
    • ages 22 - 26, younger than 21, older than 27

Conclusion:

    • 3 factors emerged from questionnaire:1) student - teacher relationships, 2)content of schooling, 3)parent support -- also need to include: distance from school, reading problems, feeling unwanted, institutional racism, "pulled out/pushed out"
    • how leaving school involved culturally embedded factors with pointed toward larger sociological and political factors -- social control (jealousy instead of pride] -- pushed out
    • feeling of being unwanted in school - institutional racism, teachers don’t care etc --- pulled out
    • most culturally secure group of youth were one of the most traditional - felt school was irrelevant, expressed little trouble in school and dropped out primarily because of pregnancy and/or work needs -- in many ways the factors associated with school was marginal on their decisions to leave school
    • Navajo and Ute youth faced institutional racism that created a job ceiling in their community whether or not they completed high school
    • left school due to being "pulled out" because of family and community pressure or "pushed out" by an non-accepting Anglo society
    • jealousy instead of pride when someone does well - teasing as social control for Navajo also teasing used as a means to maintain a position of cultural solidarity
    • negative pressure from those in community while also facing a school that expected them to do poorly because they were Indian
    • pressure on student to be "Indian"
    • pregnancy - different attitude for Navajo - celebrated, drop out of school to be an adult
    • having to leave for work - help family
    • Many Anglos did not know what it was like to live on a reservation - unaware of the deep cultural feelings and roots

 

Going deeper - Is the article worth reading?

The article has good, clear concept definitions. The article is easy to read and gives quotes and case examples. There is confusion with how the sampling was done for distribution of questionnaire: How were the participants chosen?

The issues relate closely to Inuit as observed in my years as a teacher. I was especially interested in the act of teasing for social control and cultural solidarity as identified by the article. The ‘pulled out’ and ‘pushed out’ theories should be reconsidered in further study of Inuit. The article gives an interesting idea of how the community may need to be ‘re-educated’ on the role that schools play in the future of their children.

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Bibliography information:

Backes, J.S. (1993). The American Indian high school dropout rate: A Matter of Style? Journal of American Indian Education, 32, 16 - 29.

On the Surface:

Main Ideas / Themes / Hypothesis:

  • Purpose: to determine the effect that learning style has on the learning success or failure of American Indian Chippewa (Metis) high school students as compared to non-American Indian (or non-Native) high school students
  • no significance difference was found among the personal learning styles between graduates and dropouts in either the American Indian Chippewa (Metis) or the non-American Indian populations
  • study did indicate a statistically significant difference in learning styles of Metis students as compared with non-American Indian students
  • recommendations to address the dominant learning style of Metis students include teacher awareness of learning style, staff development and adoption of constructivst/cognitive approaches to teaching
  • a mismatch between learning style and teaching methods may influence the dropout rate among American Indians
  • Questions (paraphrased)
  • What is the dominant personal learning style of Metis students who successfully graduated?
  • What is the dominant personal learning style of Metis students who have dropped out prior to graduation over the past 4 years?
  • What is the dominant personal learning style of non-American Indian students who successfully graduated in 1992?
  • What is the dominant personal learning style of non-American Indian students who have dropped out of school over the past 4 years?
  • Is there an overall significant difference in the learning style of Metis and the learning style of the non-American Indian students?

Research Method / Design of Study:

  • personal learning styles of Metis students in Belcourt, North Dakota were identified and compared to styles of non-American Indian students from Crookston, Minnesota
  • Crookston chosen as parallel group because of its relative size match, educational program, contrasting homogeneous population and dropout data representative of other upper Midwest communities
  • dropout = a student who discontinued attendance in school and did not graduate or transfer to another public, private or state approved education program,
  • non-completion = students who entered the ninth grade but did not graduate with their class 4 years later and had not enrolled in another public, private, or state approved education program
  • non-completion = those who became parents and discontinued schooling; told host school officials of their intention to transfer schools but failed to ever enroll in the designated school; developed attendance and discipline problems that resulted in discontinuation; would be considered traditional dropouts as defined in the school manual
  • Metis = mixed blood among the American Indian Chippewa and persons of European descent with French being the dominant European blood
  • learning style = basic channel through which the mind receives and expresses information
  • subjects were graduated and dropouts from two separate schools: on reserve, off
  • to determine learning style - used Gregorc Style Delineator - Research Edition
  • instrument identifies four channels:
  • concrete sequential (orderly, step-by -step, hands-on, detailed, structured, accurate, factual),
  • abstract sequential (logical academic, structured, a reader, a researcher, evaluative, analytical, thinker, debater, studious),
  • abstract random (sensitive, emotion, personalization, imaginations, interpretation, holistic view, flexibility, part of a social group, discussion),
  • concrete random (independence, creativity, calculated risk-taking, varied, unusual, experimenter, inventor, problem-solver, intuition, variety of options)
  • Gregroc Style Delineator - contains 40 words separated into ten - 4 word sets, subject assesses the relative value of the four words in each set using self as a reference point. Subjects rank in order the ten sets of four words, subjects give a 4 to the word which most powerfully describes them to a 1 to the least descriptive ---- test took 10 - 15 mins
  • Sampling:
  • researcher on site as a part of regularly scheduled social studies class for graduates,
  • for Metis dropouts - contacted by phone and met at the community college,
  • for non-native dropouts - contacted by phone and met at the learning centre,
  • other non-native dropouts administered text at county jail in Crookston
  • data was analyzed using mean style scores for the total subject populations as well as by comparison of graduate and dropout population (subgroups)

Conclusion:

    • dominate personal learning style of both of the Metis subgroups was found to abstract random
    • dominant personal learning style of both the non-America Indian subgroups was found to be concrete sequential
    • no significant differences were found in the learning style mean scores between Metis dropouts and graduates for any of the four learning styles
    • no significant differences were found in the learning style mean scores between non- American Indian dropouts and graduates for concrete sequential and abstract random learning styles
    • overall importance of this finding is that a dominant learning style of the total population of Metis students was shown and that the learning style (abstract random) coincides with deductive, holistic instructional methodology
    • the dominate learning style of non-American Indian students (concrete sequential) coincides with inductive, linear methodology that dominates traditional classrooms
    • no significant difference existed between the dominant personal learning styles of the dropout and graduate subgroups of either population may indicate a limitation of this study
    • most effective application of the learning style theory is the understanding of teachers - teacher’s ability to adapt to individual differences, recognizing and building on the strengths of students

Going deeper - Is the article worth reading?

    • Recommendations for teacher adaptive strategies --- however, many teachers are more knowledgeable about these learning styles but some of the traditional teaching methods may be counter-productive for Metis students or any student with a learning style that requires adapting of the traditional teaching style
    • I wonder - given my limitation on understanding quantitative research, what values would be given if the non-American Indian student population had been subdivided into ethnicity (Black, White, Hispanics, Asian etc) ? Would minority populations have values similar to that of the Metis?
    • In my experience teaching Inuit, there are differences in approach that have to be taken - I’m not sure if this difference is due to overall differences in learning styles or simply background, environmental influences, lifestyle or experiences.
    • It is too bad that the learning styles did not come up with a significance difference between dropouts and graduates -- doesn’t help understand the issue of dropout and how learning styles might affect dropout rates within ethnic groups
    • research gave another insight into why Native students may not succeed in school (beyond SES, cultural discontinuity, poverty etc)
    • Gregorc Style Delineator is very culturally bound according to Dr. Marti Cleveland-Innes and would therefore be a poor tool when trying to determine cultural differences in learning styles.
    • connects well with brain-based learning theories, Multiple Intelligences theory

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Bibliography information:

Pierce, C. (1994) Importance of classroom climate for at - risk learners. Journal of Educational Research,88, 37 - 42.

On the Surface:

Main Ideas / Themes / Hypothesis:

    • Purpose - to examine how one effective teacher, teaching at-risk learners, created a classroom climate that enhance learner outcomes
    • classroom climate- defined as the physical, emotional, and aesthetic characteristics of the classroom that tend to enhance attitudes toward learning
    • to discuss the findings of a qualitative case study of an effective seventh grade social studies teacher who taught primarily at - risk students in an urban setting, to describe how she created a classroom environment that diminished the risk factors involved in learning and increased the students’ level of academic achievement
    • at risk = students who exhibit a wide range of educational problems, including the failure to respond positively to the instruction offered in basic academic skills, the manifestation of unacceptable social behaviour in school, the inability to keep up with their classmates in academic subjects and a limited repertoire of experience that provide background for formal education
    • classroom environment = the physical, emotional, and aesthetic characteristics of the classroom that tend to enhance attitudes toward learning
    • What were the effective behaviours exhibited by the teacher? How did these behaviours facilitate the student/teacher interactions that led to the development of the safe-haven atmosphere?

Research Method / Design of Study:

  • subject: teacher Mary Morgan - 24 yrs of experience, effectiveness determined by recommendations of teachers, administrators, parents, and former students
  • participant observation is the method of data collection
  • observed on a daily basis for 12 weeks in the natural environment of her classroom
  • observations recorded in the form of audiotapes and field notes, cited verbal and non-verbals teaching behaviours and patterns, teacher personality characteristics and the way in which these factors facilitated student learning,
  • triangulated the observations and conclusions of the author, the teacher, and students to increase accuracy of recorded data
  • data categorised, analyzed, interpreted using an analytic induction approach

Conclusion:

    • major assertion generated from the data analysis was that normative nature of this particular classroom was intimately entwined with academic classroom
    • threat of failure was diminished and the at-risk students had the opportunity to partici