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Recent documents in Journal of Educational Research and Practice

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    Bullying is a problem that has been studied in schools worldwide, but there is little research on bullying within Christian schools, a dearth which may stem from the assumption that Christian schools teach character traits that are inimical to bullying. Yet understanding the extent and nature of bullying in Christian schools may lead to a better understanding of ways to address the problem in all schools. Guided by social identity theory, which allowed for a focus on moral and character development, this study examined the extent and nature of bullying among 347 students in Grades 3 through 10 in a Christian school. Research questions addressed differences in bullying behaviors related to gender, grade, division, and the number of years a student has attended a Christian school. Data were analyzed from responses to the Olweus Bullying Questionnaire. One-way ANOVAanalysis of variance, chi-square, and t t tests indicated statistically significant differences in bullying behaviors based on gender, division, and years attending the school. Results indicated that girls were bullied more frequently than boys and by means of exclusion, rumors, sexual comments, and cyber bullying. Boys were more likely to bully than girls, and boys bullied primarily in physical ways and used racial comments more often than did girls. Bullying decreased from elementary to high school grades. The results of this study may be used to promote positive social change by alerting Christian school educators to the problem of bullying in their schools, and by assisting all educators in developing gender-specific programs to minimize the problem of bullying in general.


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    This study examined the results of promoting Palestinian students’ engagement and fostering their understanding in addition to their inquiry skills through the application of thinking routines. Six teachers teaching fourth and fifth grades participated voluntarily in this action research project during the school year 2014–2015. The researcher videotaped a number of classes, collected and discussed teachers’ and students' reflections, and analyzed classroom observation reports. During the data collection process, the researcher depicted and narrated common themes and issues retrieved from the different sources that were used to collect data. Results revealed that the implementation of visible thinking routines in English language classrooms was a challenge for both the learners and the teachers. For the learners, the challenges were their limited abilities to express themselves using English language, and for the teachers, the challenges were the extra effort that they needed to exert because it was their first experience in implementing such routines. Teachers sometimes found it difficult to decide which thinking routine is appropriate to the activities they wanted to implement. However, teachers asserted that positive changes occurred in English language classrooms and in students’ learning and interaction. Teachers expressed their admiration of how students were more engaged to explore, connect ideas, and delve deeper for better understanding of topics discussed. Classroom activities became more enjoyable, more learning directed and more learners centered. In the light of the research results, Palestinian teachers were recommended to use thinking routines to promote students’ engagement and foster their understanding.


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    We conducted this conceptual study to determine if the Institute of Education Sciences/National Science Foundation pipeline of evidence guidelines could be applied as a protocol that researchers could follow in establishing evidence of effective instructional practices. To do this, we compared these guidelines, new drug development process, and our own research on major methodological designs and found that they show remarkable consistency in the process by which types of studies intended to answer different research questions build a body of evidence for practice, whether that practice is in the instructional environment or health care environment. However, none of the protocols offers a constellation of studies at each stage that would be essential for movement to the next stage or the indicators of quality for each type of study. The goal of this effort is to develop consensus in the educational research community about a pipeline of evidence protocol that provides educators with confidence that the instructional practices they employ have a high likelihood of success and will enable a positive impact on the student’s learning and, in the broader context, the student’s ability to contribute to society.


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    This text explores how service learning may offer aspiring teachers’ (those not yet admitted to teacher education programs) opportunities to interact with and support the learning of children from low-income families of color. The article shows the potential of service to impact how aspiring teachers talk and think and what they can do in community centers serving children living in challenging circumstances. It also critiques their understandings of who they are with regard to race, social class, and language background when conducting service learning. Implications for teachers and teacher educators’ practices when mentoring university students conducting service in communities of which they are not a part are offered.


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    The powerful nature of novice teachers’ experiences in their first years of teaching has been well documented. However, the variance in novices’ initial immersion in the school environment is largely dependent on perceived personal and professional support as well as the environmental inducements that lend to novice teachers’ success in the classroom. For the purposes of this study, 72 participating novices, who were participants in an alternative certification program, drew representations of their current teaching environments. Of the 72 initial participants’ pictures, 58 were used in this content analysis. The interrater analysis involving multiple documentation of codes between and among researches, revealed five themes from the novices’ pictures: (a) concerns about students, (b) overwhelmed and struggling, (c) relationships with others, (d) concerns about education quality and excessive accountability, and (e) issues with administration. Implications are provided.


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    We examined experiences of participants in Do the Write Thing national violence prevention program for middle-level students. Using mixed methods, we conducted surveys and focus groups with students, parents, and teachers who attended the program’s National Recognition Week in Washington, DC. Results revealed important affective, behavioral, and cognitive impacts on participants, including improved relationships, increased understanding of violence, and commitment to reduce violence. Participants from cities where insufficient time and resources were devoted to the project did not experience significant change. Teachers reported developing greater empathy for their students and making substantial changes in their teaching, providing support for students and infusing activities addressing violence into their curriculum. Recommendations are made for increased program support and future research.


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    When behaviors are reinforced with a variable interval reinforcement schedule, reinforcement is available only after an unknown period of time. These types of reinforcement schedules are most useful for reinforcing slow and steady responding and for differentially reinforcing behaviors that are incompatible with some problematic behaviors. This review helps define variable interval reinforcement schedules, uses the example of a strategy to manage thumb-sucking behavior to illustrate the implementation of these schedules, and describes potential applications in school and clinical settings.


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    Young children have the capability of making decisions, informed choices, and self-assessing their progress on their choices. In this classroom of 4- and 5-year-olds, children used pictorial contracts, rubrics, and various self-assessment techniques as a method for continuous learning. Gathering and reflecting on their own evidence about their accomplishments created a reflective loop by which the child evaluated their work, made revisions and ultimately applied the criteria to other conditions. Children in this prekindergarten classroom learned to reflect on their own knowledge. It is not only intrinsically motivating but offers young children a systematic approach to further their involvement in their learning in a developmentally appropriate and engaging environment.


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    Black middle school students in the United States continue to perform poorly on standardized reading achievement tests in comparison to other racial and ethnic groups. The purpose of this research study was to examine the effectiveness of a vocabulary-focused test preparation program for Black middle school students. The theoretical framework consisted of Thorndike’s concept of test-wiseness, a test-taking capacity. Teachers at the research site were trained on Larry Bell’s 12 Powerful Words strategy that aims to make students test-wise, that is, to familiarize them with key vocabulary terms related to tests. An intact-group comparison was conducted, involving a total of N = 679 Black students in Grades 6, 7, and 8 with 370 girls and 309 boys. An analysis of covariance showed significant effects for Grade 6, marginally significant effects for Grade 7, and nonsignificant effects for Grade 8. These findings suggest that the 12 Powerful Words are effective and that their effect decreases with students’ age. As a practical consequence, instructional leaders will be able to make more informed decisions regarding test preparation and potentially reduce the number of underperforming students in classrooms.


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    There is an upsurge in the establishment of private and public universities in Nigeria. The development has opened up the need for quality and seasoned academics, but minimal opportunities exist for mentoring of young academics. This article explores the mentoring opportunities and challenges of young female academics faced in a male dominant university system. From an exploratory qualitative design, this article generates empirical evidence through structured a face-to-face interview with purposively selected 36 female academics. The participants were recruited from the Obafemi Awolowo University, a first-generation, public-owned university in Nigeria. A thematic analysis of the data revealed common challenges in mentoring female academics as inadequate and non-availability of older female role models for upcoming female academics. Other factors include fear of being stigmatized by other colleagues when a female has a male as an academic model, unfriendly gender policies, and work environment that will not cater for women’s needs (especially those in their reproductive age). Based on these findings, the article calls for more formal mentoring relationship for younger women academics. Such step will create a sense of purpose and provide requisite information that will enhance their career progression.


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    This study examined the impact of frequent of testing on study habits and achievement in mathematics among public secondary school students in Ogun State, Nigeria. Two out of the four research hypotheses postulated were accepted, whereas the remaining two were rejected. The findings showed that there were significant differences in the mean scores of students’ achievement in mathematics and study habits as a result of exposing students to varying test frequencies. In addition, the study revealed that gender is not a significant factor when planning to improve study habits and achievement in mathematics. On the basis of these findings, test frequency of every 2 weeks was recommended to improve students’ academic achievement in mathematics.


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    School administrators are choosing or required to implement instructional coaching on their campuses to improve student-learning opportunities. The school community must be aware that effective instructional coaching is job embedded, encourages teachers to become reflective practitioners, and requires time to commit to the implementation. School administrators must support instructional coaches by ensuring there is significant time allotted to provide coaches time in the classroom to observe, provide feedback, and support classroom teachers in their practice and reflection. Instructional coaches build trust and rapport with the instructional staff by implementing best-practice protocols, providing feedback, and planning the next steps. The instructional staff must be disposed to take the feedback and be willing to implement best practices and reflect upon the process. This article reflects each author’s personal experiences in their roles as a school administrator, instructional coach, and classroom teacher with the distinct focus on instructional coaching from the practitioners’ diverse perspectives. Current research on instructional coaching is examined and discussed. Best practices for classroom implementation of instructional coaching are reviewed. The article concludes that implementing instructional coaching in a school setting requires the school administrator to engage all stakeholders to understand the diverse perspectives of the individuals involved in the process. Implementing instructional coaching in a school setting must include the instructional process and student achievement as priorities.


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    Distance education has revolutionized the field of education by giving faculty the ability to reach students anywhere on Earth. In many cases, the distances between faculty and students can be rather large with associated opportunities and challenges. An obvious challenge is the need for timely communications between faculty and students as well as among the students themselves. This can be compounded if the nature of the course requires widely dispersed students to work together as a group with the transfer of documents and frequent communications driven by deadlines as well as the desire to produce a complete document that adheres to all requirements.


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    The present study examined how online faculty members structure their workspace in their homes and how their work situation affects their home environment. The case study’s goal, guided by an extension of Vischer's user-centered model of the work environment, was to address this research gap through interviews and using PhotoVoice, a technique in which participants take photos and are interviewed about them. Eighteen faculty members from a large online university were recruited through ads in the faculty newsletter. The inclusion criterion was that the individual must only work online. Interested individuals completed an email interview and emailed a photo of the area they considered work. Each participant was interviewed about his or her responses and photos for 15–20 min on the telephone. Many participants consciously separated their home and workplace through either utilizing a separate room/area or maintaining a work schedule that separated work and home through time management. However, the technology required for conducting their work (e.g., computer, printer, etc.) also played a strong role in the choice of maintaining a separate workspace; especially for full-time faculty. The use of PhotoVoice offered insights into how participants perceived and thought about their workspace. Of concern, for some faculty members was the surroundings within their defined workspace; having their books available and a beautiful view from their window were mentioned.


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    The purpose of this paper is to compare two fields of research related to school reform: professional development and educational policy. A content analysis of the literature in both fields revealed two areas where they align (i.e., a focus on teachers’ professional development and the idea that change takes time) as well as two areas where there are differences (i.e., theoretical grounding of each field and planning for teachers’ learning). Considerations for successful school reform are suggested.


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    Researchers agree that one in two doctoral students will not complete their degree, but there is little agreement on how to support and encourage these students in their scholarship. A qualitative inquiry was used to examine the reasons for delayed or expedited dissertation completion by doctoral students in an educational leadership program at a Midwestern university. Identified challenges of the dissertation process included imposter syndrome, writing anxiety, and overall productivity. Also identified were supports for the dissertation process, including the cohort model and strong mentorship. Findings indicated that doctoral candidates were highly influenced by personal or environmental factors and the perceived value of institutional support. Additionally, once delayed completers overcame their barriers and engaged in the dissertation process, their behaviors and strategies mirrored expedited completers.


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    The selection of and transition to graduate school can be a daunting task for many students. Once accepted into a program, students continue to be faced with an assortment of challenges that they must overcome to graduate. Kevin Haggerty and Aaron Doyle, in their book, 57 Ways to Screw Up in Grad School: Perverse Professional Lessons for Graduate Students, offer graduate students key pieces of advice to propel them toward success. The book’s coverage of all stages of a graduate degree from applying to colleges to graduation and professional jobs makes it applicable for all graduate readers. Key points of evaluation include: the successful use of personal stories to convey meaning, the lack of a specialized focus toward one program, and the sometimes harsh but realistic tone that is used throughout the book.


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