Volume 1, Issue 3, 2021

A Special Edition on the School Leader as Researcher 

turnerOur Guest Editor, Dr David Turner, Queensland Association of State School Principals.  QASSPQueensland Association of State School Principals 

The Journal's desire to stage this special edition comes from an understanding that while engagement in research from a practitioner perspective is commonplace in professions such as medicine and engineering, its application in education, particularly school leadership, is minimal at best. This lack of engagement is in our minds, a loss of potential and opportunity for sustainable evidence-based school improvement. So, in this special edition, School Leaders in Queensland, Australia, showcase their applied research work. In a showcase article by  David Turner and David Lynch, the concept of School Leader as Researcher is introduced as the foundations for what each article comes to represent in applied research. 

 

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Reimagining Education in Queensland’s State Primary Schools A New Narrative 

Dr David Turner, Queensland Association of State School Principals (QASSP), Australia

A new story of primary schooling is needed. One where joy of learning is celebrated and each learner’s potential is unleashed. While there are some indications as to what this ‘new narrative’ of education might look like, the details are still emerging. This paper is intended to begin a conversation about how we might collectively reimagine schooling, so that we may encourage the creators and empathisers, pattern recognisers and meaning makers.  Pages 1 to 22.

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Responding to a Growing Leadership Crisis

Trevor Buchanan, Principal, Bluewater State School, Queensland Australia

While there is a gradual global movement to more considered principal preparation programs, uncertainty in how best to identify these aspirant leaders remains. In this paper the author seeks to answer this question: What are the talent management processes that education systems use to attract teachers to the role of school principal, build their capacity to fulfil the role, and ultimately deploy them to where they are needed? This article therefore reflects upon some of the responses undertaken by education systems both in Australia and abroad. The intent is to contribute furtherto this pertinent discussion in Queensland, especially as our system begins the process of implementing the priorities of the Leadership Strategy 2020-2022. Page 23 to 26

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Maximising Our Impact

Dr Emily Duthiea, Dr Matthew Tomkinsb, Bernadette Hannac, a,b Principal Research Officer, Education Improvement Branch, CDirector, Education Improvement Branch, Queensland Australia 

In 2019, the Education Improvement Branch of Education Queensland started undertaking school reviews to examine the role that regions play in supporting school improvement. In 2020, this brief was expanded across the stages of early childhood and schooling to strengthen the continuity and alignment of learning and wellbeing for children and young people.  By undertaking reviews, the Branch argues it has gained valuable insights into school practice across the state. In this case study the Authors share their findings and review insights so as to inform the field about how systemic school reviews help inform the improvement of schooling. Pages 27 to 32.

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Age-Appropriate Pedagogies: The Key to Unlocking Great Results.  

Maree Frederiksen, Prep Teacher and Team Leader, Nundah State School, Queensland Australia

Over past decades a performativity culture has emerged in Queensland State Schools. In this paper, the author argues that the unintended consequence of this performativity culture has been the erosion of quality early years pedagogical practices that actually engage our youngest learners in the ‘what’. That is, the curriculum. Pages 33 to 36.

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A Strength-Based Approach: Empowering Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Students to Reach their Learning Potential

Dr Hind Hegazy, Head of Department, Solid Pathways, Queensland Australia

Solid Pathways – STEM is a statewide initiative that has the capacity to deliver online lessons to over 900 students each school term. It provides students in Years 4 to 6 the opportunity to engage in a rigorous STEM-focused academic curriculum through an online platform, as well as attend university experience days. The program draws on the Australian Curriculum’s General Capabilities of critical and creative thinking, and embedding the cross-curriculum priority of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Histories and Cultures. Students have the opportunity to build upon both their existing sense of cultural identity as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people and their self-efficacy as high achieving students. The program aims to raise students’ expectations of themselves as learners and enhance post- school aspirations to include tertiary pathways. In this paper the authors provide an insight into the initiative. Pages 37 to 41

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The Promise of Technology: A Snapshot of Kallangur State School

Blair Tomlinson, Head of Technologies, Kallangur State School, Queensland Australia

This paper references Apple’s Eight Elements for Success (Apple Education, 2015). These elements are viewed by the author as the foundations for successfully creating schoolwide technology-rich learning environments. With these points in the mind the paper provides an insight into how the notion of ‘Bring Your Own Device’ can be innovated upon for student learning outcome effects. Pages 42 to 46.

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The Impact and Legacy of NAPLAN on the Work of Australian School Leaders

Michael Ward, Principal, Crestmead State School, Queensland,  Australia

The introduction of the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) by the Australian government in 2008 was heralded with policy rhetoric from leaders in government attesting to its diagnostic purposes, greater transparency, international comparability (with suggestions of declining standards) and improved capacity for parental choice. In this article the author explores this rhetoric by exploring the concept of datafication and its impacts on schools. Pages 47 to 53

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Introducing the School Leader as Researcher Concept

Dr. David Turner, Queensland Association of State School Principals and Prof. David Lynch, Southern Cross University. Australia

This article introduces and explores an inter-play between school leadership and research practice in a context of school improvement. This work is timely because school leaders are under increasing pressure to continuously improve the performance of their schools (Barber & Mourshed, 2007; Lynch, Madden & Doe, 2015; Hattie, 2009, 2012). This paper argues that school leader research is a potent means through which the school leader can grow professionally, and is also empowered to engage more deeply, insightfully and effectively with the many variables which underpin and mediate their plans for school improvement. This concept has its genesis in a coupling of ‘practitioner research’ (Hilton & Hilton, 2017; Lynch & Sell, 2014; Robinson & Lai, 2006) with the day-to-day work of the school leader. Pages 54 to 61.

Invited Commentaries On Practitioner Applied Research 
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Strengthening Connection to Environment: The Greenbank Way

Jeff Jones, Principal, Greenbank State School, Queensland Australia

In this paper, the author provides an account of an initiative that positioned the strengthening of a connection to the environment as a catalyst for teaching improvement. Using an understanding that pedagogy impacts the environment, leaders in Greenbank School formulated a plan to refocus their classroom curriculum approaches. Pages 62 to 64

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#Whatever-It-Takes

Michael Hansena, Cathy Nixonb,aPrincipal, Cairns West State School, bDeputy Principal – Student Engagement, Cairns West State School, Queensland Australia.

The COVID-19 pandemic was acutely stressful for student’s their families and their teachers in a primary school with a high migrant population in Cairns, Australia. In this paper the authors describe how they strategised to support these families, many of whom had backgrounds that included complex intergenerational trauma, so their children continued to make learning gains at school. The authors report that their work provided an opportunity to increase capacity to connect with community and build strong and supportive relationships based on shared experience. Pages 65 to 68.

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Pivoting Toward Cultural Transformation

Penny Couch, Principal, Woodcrest State College Primary School, Queensland Australia

In the business world, ‘pivot’ describes a purposeful shift in strategy or direction. In education, this is a regular undertaking – one assesses what is working and adjust the implementation strategy accordingly. The pace at which one implemented change prior to the pandemic however was different; factors including leadership style, experience, knowledge, readiness, and even willingness, could be taken into account. During 2020, we had no option but to respond. In this article an experienced school leader provides an account of how cultural transformation, in what can only be described as, challenging times. Pages 69 to 74.

Suggest Books To Read
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Leading School Improvement: A focus on the work of the school leader (Oxford Global Press)

Ken Sell, David Lynch and Tina Doe, three accomplished and published experts in the field of education, bring together leading education researchers and school leaders to create a collection of chapters which focus on key aspects of effective school leadership. The book explores a model for whole of school improvement and examines key concepts such as; readiness for change, approaches to leadership, how to use data, parental engagement, as well as providing insights into aspects of schooling and teaching into the future. Find out more

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The Innovator's Dilemma by Clayton Christensen  (Harper Collins) 

The book clearly outlines many of the incentive traps that incumbent organizations can easily find themselves in, clearly outlining that large organizations don’t fail in innovation because they leaders would be stupid or the organization badly managed, it’s because of the exact opposite. It is the sound and rational management of these organizations that lead them to steer clear of innovation. While the book has received its fair share of criticism, it’s still a truly great primer for anyone looking to understand the issues that plague large organizations when it comes to innovation. Find out more

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 School Leader as Researcher (Oxford Global Press)

Dr David Turner has recently released a book on SChool Leaders as Researchers. This book presents a model for involving school leaders in the research process and gives specific examples of how they are contributing to the generation of knowledge about their complex work. Its genesis is in the assertion that people who are undertaking such roles offer valuable insights and opportunities that should inform school leadership practice.  Find out more.

 

Volume 1, Issue 2, 2020

A Special Edition focused on Exampling Innovation and Change in Teaching and Schooling Across the Globe

Jake2020    Our Special Edition Editor,  Dr Jake Madden,  Dean, Australian College of Researchers

David Lynch   Our Special Edition Editor, Professor David Lynch, Southern Cross University, Australia.

 

Articles in this special edition provide an insight into themes that inform the improving teaching agenda. The Journal's goal for this edition is to identify and then condense key messages from our authors to generate an insight--- an answer if you like--- into ‘how to’ engender, support and sustain ongoing teaching improvement. To that end, this edition examples four key and inert-related elements: embedding of a research culture; the power of collaboration; the use and role of professional dialogue and the importance of improving teaching in context.  An article in this edition by Dr Jake Madden and Professor David Lynch specifically focuses on these inter-related elements.

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 English as a Second Language in Kindergarten

Sabahat Nassar, Pakistan

This article looks at the theory and the practical applications of a kindergarten teacher in teaching non-English-speaking students English in their first year at school. The pedagogical approach used offers an interplay between the teacher and learner. It provides the reader with instructional strategies that inculcates meaningful learning activities leading to long term retention rather than the reliance on rote learning methodology. Pages 61 to 69

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Teaching the Arabic Language: Dealing innovatively with challenges 

Reema Jallad, Jordan

This article sheds light on the situation of teaching of Arabic language in a bilingual school where the main delivery of learning is in English. It highlights the strides an Arabic Department is making in raising the attainment and progress levels of students in their knowledge and understanding of the Arabic language. The introduction of targeted learning strategies coupled with an influx of students with a skill set predominantly below expected norms, the challenge for Arabic teachers in raising standards is not an easy task. Teachers of Arabic reading this article will be immersed in strategies that have made a difference for students in the focal school. This timely article hopes that the information and plans provided will limit the difficulties faced by other teachers of Arabic and help the students achieve and build more effective Arabic language skills. Pages 70 to 76

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Investigating Translation as a Key Strategy for Teaching Improvement

Aya Khantomani, Abu Dhabi, UAE

The significance of translation for humans is derived from the importance of language itself; for language is the subject matter of translation. Translation can be considered an intellectual effort that serves the purpose of transferring ideas, concepts, and cultures among different languages. It is therefore a practice that requires the mastering of different languages and understanding their culture. In this modern era of globalization, the world is becoming smaller and smaller thanks to the mass media, internet, social media, and the accessibility of information to everyone everywhere. Unfortunately, despite the close interaction between peoples, many communications are being misunderstood.  This is no less so in the business of schooling and engagement with parents when the language of instructions is not the same as the languages spoken at home.  This article focuses on the important role that translation plays in enhancing communication between parents and the school. Using a focal school in the United Arab Emirates, with a student population that has Arabic as its mother tongue, the study investigates ways to engage parents authentically in the teaching and learning. Pages 77 to 82

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The Effectiveness of Peer Mediation on Students’ Discipline Referral Rates 

Dr Eman Samy Hassan, Egypt 

This article investigates the effectiveness of a peer mediation program on students’ discipline referral rates and their conflicts resolution skills using an action research design. A students’ survey and a behavior incident electronic report were used as data-gathering instruments in the research to determine if peer mediation improved the climate in the school. Students’ behaviors and their conflict resolution skills were measured twice before and after the training and the data was compared and analyzed. The findings of this study provided insight into the school's discipline needs and offers schools practical steps to implementing a peer mediation program.

 Pages 83 to 93

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Pedagogical Practice for 21st Century Education

Dr Megan. Hastie1, Professor Richard Smith2, Dr Nain-Shing Chen3

1 Brisbane Australia, 2Central Queensland university, Australia, 3Prof. of Information Management, National Sun Yat-sen University, Taiwan

Debates about research into effective pedagogy have highlighted a potential crisis in Australian teacher education, that has wider implications for the teaching profession. These pedagogical debates identify misinterpretations about teachers and teaching over several decades, namely: teachers know how to teach effectively; that on graduation, new teachers can teach effectively enough to be employed; and that teaching is primarily concerned with ‘learners’ and their needs and interests rather than with ‘knowledge’. The pedagogy debates indicate that effective teaching is strategically important to the learning process if student achievement outcomes are valued. Instructional theory and design that lead to explicit pedagogical strategies are revealed as core knowledge for effective teaching. Hence, explicit instructional strategies challenge the hegemonic status of constructivist learning theories from early childhood to higher education levels. To illustrate these points, we cite evidenced-based research in which skilled e-Learning Managers, working in Blended Learning environments that used explicit instruction, proved effective in increasing the achievement levels of their students. The article proposes that teacher education programs ought to focus more strongly on how to teach effectively and its justification in the interests of students and their communities in a global digital environment. Pages 94 to 108

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Teaching English in a Second Langauge Classroom: Harnessing technology

Alberti Strydom, South Africa

The use of technology in education has become a critical part of teaching in our ever-changing world where technology has found a way to infiltrate our everyday lives. The use of 21st century teaching methods has become a vessel to help schools strive towards moulding and shaping our children to become informed and responsible citizens in a global community. This action research project explored the use of a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) as a tool to enhance learning in a Grade 4 class. A VLE was created and used as a tool for collaborative learning, flipped teaching and as a communication network for students. Students were interviewed and asked to complete questionnaires about their learning experiences while using the VLE. Assessment scores for tests in Science and Math, reading assessments and project rubrics were analysed. Comments and posts from students were revised and included in my research evidence. The results indicated an increase in engagement in learning and social skills. Students showed more confidence in their language application and most students improved their test scores. Some challenges were managing students’ use of their devices and motivating them to access at home. Pages 109 to 118

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Parental Engagement: Teachers and Parents Working Together for a Common Goal

Cathy Quinn, Australia

Schooling needs to teach the next generation the skills they require to thrive as adults. The problem lies in the fact that schools were set up for an industrial age and so a new way of thinking and teaching is required for students to be prepared for world they will be a part of, one that is, constantly changing and hasn’t been created yet. This world in which knowledge is seen as a commodity is known as the Knowledge Economy (OECD, 1996) and requires the capacity to access and use knowledge to create new knowledge and new ways of doing things (Sell, Lynch & Doe, 2016). This will require the preparation of a different type of teacher (Smith & Lynch, 2006) and a different type of school (Sharratt & Planche, 2016).  Schools need to be a place where all students can access and express their learning (Sharratt & Planche, 2016). This article will argue it will require a different type of parenting and a different relationship between parents, teachers and schools to achieve authentic parental engagement. Pages 119 to 131

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Digital Portfolios on the Learning Process: A report on a pilot program

Nadine Abou Harb, Palestine 

This article reports on a pilot program within the early childhood section of Al Yasat Private School. In using digital portfolios to communicate and share student progress with parents and student, monitoring of student progress is deemed to be more effective. In this project, the portfolio demonstrated evidence of applying learning skills required for both developing and mastery levels. The findings of this research project indicate significant improvement in student achievement and that teachers found these portfolios to be a valuable tool in monitoring student behaviour and communicating future educational goals to parents, administrators, and other teachers. Pages 132 to 138

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Teacher Feedback and Student Learning: Investigating the Use of Interactive Notebooks  

Gayle Macklin, USA

With the focus of many schools on e-learning and implementing technology into instruction, the purpose of this article is to reflect on the practice of instruction and the benefits of using an Interactive Notebook (INB) as an effective tool to engage critical thinking in an organized format. An INB is a tool that bridges students’ learning through a collection of notes from reading, listening and discussions. Carter, Hernandez, & Richison, (2009) propose a shift from students taking notes for the purpose of rote memorization for a future summative assessment to a stimulating practice of daily journaling to include both reflective and metacognitive responses students make on their own notes. The literature on brain research, multiple intelligences, and note taking all support the classroom use of interactive notebooks and by implementing the INB teachers can use the strategies to improve student progress and attainment in all subjects (Wist, 2015). By implementing the INB teachers can use the strategies to improve student progress and attainment in all subjects. Pages 139 to 145

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Health & Safety: Its role in the effective school

Joseph Jamal,  India

The effective school recognizes the relevance and importance of Health & Safety as a necessary ingredient for students to grow and develop as well as learn and achieve at school. This article argues that by understanding and adhering to health and safety standards, a school is best able to support and enable its teachers and students to achieve optimal levels of learning. This article attempts to highlight the significance of safety measures in schools and explains how one school maintains a safe and secure environment for the students and staff. Pages 146 to 153

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Improving Student Learning: A review of key improvement messages 

Professor David Lynch, and  Dr Jake Madden,  Australia

Articles in this special edition have provided an insight into themes that inform the improving teaching agenda. This article condenses key messages therein to generate an insight--- an answer if you like--- into ‘how to’ engender, support and sustain ongoing teaching improvement. To that end this article explores four key and inert-related elements: embedding of a research culture; the power of collaboration; the use and role of professional dialogue and the importance of improving teaching in context. Pages 154 to 163

The Journal of Applied Research and Innovation (JARI) is a peer-reviewed academic journal focused on publishing scholarly work that promotes and fosters applied research and innovation in all fields of endeavour.

The Journal is the flagship of the Australian College of Researchers. The College is a professional association of the world’s finest academics, scientists, innovators, and entrepreneurs who are engaged in research and development projects from a variety of fields.


 

2021 Call for Papers (General Edition)

 Submissions close   June 25, 2021. For submission, details click here


Edition Themes

Volume 1, Issue 1, 2019

   

The Concept of Teachers as Researchers (A focus on innovation in the UAE)

Volume 1, Issue 2, 2020

Exampling Innovation and Change in Teaching and Schooling

Volume 1, Issue 3, 2021

School Leader as Researcher 


 Author Spotlight

David Lynch                                                                                David Lynch is Professor of Education in the School of Education located at Southern Cross University Australia. He is a world leader in whole of school teaching improvement. He is the author of numerous books and articles on teacher education and teaching improvement: specializing in Whole of School Teaching Improvement. His research and development interests form the basis of a rethink on teaching, teacher education and the role and skills required of school leaders to effect whole school teaching improvement. David's background is in primary education and has been a teacher and senior state school principal in early professional life. His academic career includes positions as professor of education, head of campus, sub-dean, and head of the school of education at a number of universities. Two of David's key books include "Creating the Outstanding School"(2015) and "Preparation Teachers in Times of Change" (2012).  View Their work       

 

 author 5

Cathy Quinn specialises in professional development for Principals, Teachers and Parents in the area of parental engagement in their child’s learning. A dedicated teacher with a decade of experience as a school principal, Cathy moved out of the principal role and devoted her time to bringing up her three children through their critical teenage years. During this time, Cathy became aware of developments regarding “Parental Engagement in Schools” and began studying and researching the latest academic findings. View Their Work

richardsmith Professor Richard Smith is a world renowned innovator and researcher in teacher education. Richard, now retired, is the author of numerous books and articles examining the need for teacher education reform. View Their Work

 jake

 

Dr Jake Madden is an accomplished and world-renowned school leader and education improvement researcher and innovator. He is the Dean of the Australian College of Researchers and has served as a principal of seven schools in Australia and overseas. Dr Madden believes in the importance of leadership and the positive difference that it can make to teacher and student learning outcomes. His research interests lie in building teacher capacity through the development of 21st-century learning, the promotion of flexible learning spaces to meet the needs of the 21st-century learner and curriculum innovations for the real world. View Their Work

 

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Volume 1, Issue 1, 2019

A Special Edition focused on the Concept of Teachers as Researchers (A focus on Innovation in the UAE)

 Jake2020    Our Edition Editor Dr Jake Madden, Editor, Journal of Applied Research and Innovation 

The purpose of this special edition in short is to showcase not only talented teachers and how they are influencing future generations but more importantly, how expert teachers use applied research as a vehicle for effecting school improvement. This special edition has its genesis from two camps. Understanding the work of teachers and the moving away from the one size fits all professional learning approach offers school leaders a more targeted approach to improving teacher performance. Secondly, the influence of Schon’s (1983) ideas about reflection on practice centres the quest for school improvement squarely in the hands of the class teacher. Coupled with the focus of practical inquiry, the emphasis here is the desire to improve one’s own practice.

 

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Special Edition: Teachers as Researchers

Dr Linda G. Traylor, Florida USA

Creating the outstanding school starts with educators, administrators and teachers focusing their endeavours on a journey of continual improvement. Continuous improvement is a legitimate core competency that is often missed in organizations. No less so in schools. Unfortunately, continuous improvement also tends to be the first casualty in the day-to-day priorities of the busy school. Conflicts with talent, time, resources – and many other unknowns--- can derail important improvement initiatives. This article introduces a special edition on teachers acting as researchers,  as an example of continual teaching improvement, and in doing so highlights key considerations when undertaking such activities.  Pages i to iii.

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Why a Focus on the Teacher?

Dr Jake Madden, Australia 

The purpose of this special edition in short is to showcase not only talented teachers and how they are influencing future generations but more importantly, how expert teachers use action research as a vehicle for effecting school improvement. This special edition has its genesis from two camps. Understanding the work of teachers and the moving away from the one size fits all professional learning approach offers school leaders a more targeted approach to improving teacher performance.  Secondly, the influence of Schon’s (1983) ideas about reflection on practice centres the quest for school improvement squarely in the hands of the class teacher. Coupled with the focus of practical inquiry (Richardson, 1994), the emphasis here is the desire to improve one’s own practice. Pages 1 to 5

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The Outstanding School:  Building a Positive School Culture

Dr Jake Madden, Australia 

Outstanding schools are different in their contexts, histories and designs. That said, research and inspection evidence suggest they have many qualities in common. Importantly they all have competent and effective leaders. Effective leaders have a plan. A vision for learning. They know where they want to go. Effective teachers have a plan. A vision for learning in their classroom. They know what their students need to know and do. Outstanding schools are full of effective leaders and teachers, and have positive learning cultures. This article examines key themes in the literature that underpin a positive school culture. Pages 6 to 10

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Cooperative Learning: Implementing Systems to Impact Student Engagement 

Ambreen Mohammad, Abu Dhabi, UAE

This article explores how one school in Abu Dhabi, UAE implemented the Kagan model of cooperative learning as a school-wide strategy to increase student engagement, communication, critical thinking and teamwork skills. The first part discusses the four principles that differentiate cooperative learning from group work. These principles as embodied by the acronym PIES (positive interdependence, individual accountability, equal participation and simultaneous interaction) outline the conditions that must be met when designing learning experiences that are cooperative in nature. The latter part takes a look at four leadership principles i.e. creating focus, influencing others, establishing expectations, and providing the support that forms the basis of creating systems that facilitate school-wide implementation of Kagan cooperative learning. Examples of specific tools and strategies that were deployed to impact student engagement on school-wide level through cooperative learning are discussed. Pages 11 to 20

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Data – Its Use and Relevance in Schools

Asma Zafar, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Data - the word has a wider enormity to what it actually means. In simple terms, the word data refers to extended information regarding anything and everything. This includes practically everything around us including living objects, non-living things, static and non-static items, space and beyond. The purpose of this article is to discuss data in an educational environment from a practical point of view. Using the processes at Al Yasat Private School we discuss the different sources of information used, how it is collected in a consolidated form so it is both available and reliable at the same time and what relevant information we derive from it so it is meaningful for both staff, students and parents. Pages 21 to 31

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The Role of the Contemporary Library in Nurturing 21st Century Literacy Skills

Annie Madden, Australia

Much has changed in education in recent years and as schools adjust to meet the learning needs of students so does the role of the teacher-librarian. This article offers insight into how the teacher-librarian can value add to the literacy development and learning across the school through targeted support of both student and teacher. This article investigates the role a school library can play in supporting learning and reading skills for contemporary learners. In turn, how the skills learned through a proactive library environment can help to prepare our students for the world they will enter for employment. This article brings to light research from the US, UK, and Australia to elaborate on the role of school libraries and the future of these entities. Pages 32 to 39

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Assessment for Learning: Applications in the Writing Classroom

Reem Rekieh,  Abu Dhabi, UAE

This article reviews various research studies discussing the impact that particular assessment for learning strategies have on improving the attainment of writing. The purpose is to relate observations found in the literature to the context at Al Yasat Private School in an attempt to develop and implement better strategies of assessing for learning in the writing classroom. The complementary relationship between self and peer assessment engages students in the process of assessing and being assessed. Through this journey, students develop the skills in their own writing that they are able to identify as areas of improvement in their peers’ writing; ultimately leading to improved attainment. Pages 40 to 46

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Observing and Monitoring Emergent Writers in the Classroom: A case study 

Tracey Cannon, Abu Dhabi, UAE

The purpose of this action research was to observe and monitor how emergent writers developed creative writing skills using a creative writing tool known as a ‘squiggle book’. The study tracked a sample of twenty-four kindergarten students’ creative writing progress over the course of an academic year. In doing so the author addressed the need for a more innovative and unrestricted creative writing outlet where students could write freely and fully engage in the imaginative creative processes. Through the study, the sample of students also actively engaged their critical thinking, and speaking, and listening skills. The sample of students and the author sat together on a one to one basis at the end of each ‘squiggle book’ entry to assess and discuss the piece of writing completed by the student. The author kept detailed notes around these conversations and the observations made of the ‘squiggle book’ entries, these field notes formed the basis of the findings of the study. It was found that progress and attainment were not limited to creative writing skills but was shared across many significant developmental areas. Pages 47 to 52

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Guided Reading in the Kindergarten Classroom: An examination of the literature 

Saiqa Zahoor, Abu Dhabi, UAE

Guided reading is a structured, practical way of matching reading instructions with diverse individual readers in the class. It provides opportunities in a small group setting to give direct instructions to meet the needs of specific individuals. Through modeling or prompts, teacher guidance/coaching allows students to think about the reading process and helps build comprehension skills so they are able to read the text with understanding. Research evidence supports the provision of requisite guidance for students having reading difficulties. Guided Reading is one of the most widely implemented approaches to early reading instruction (Fountas & Pinnel, 1996), as it deemphasizes explicit instruction and practice of reading skills for guided reading of the students at the beginning phase.  In the past decade, much research has been carried out to provide guidance to early childhood teachers on how guided reading could address the challenges of reading in the early years. This article evaluates the existing practices of guided reading in the Al Yasat Private School against the backdrop of the available research on the subject and suggests measures for further improvement. Pages 53 to 60