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  • Limiting possibilities: The imagined futures of social studies teachers

    Alvey, Elaine (Taylor & Francis, 2023-10-05)
    This paper analyzes the imaginings of sustainable futures and possibilities for action toward these imaginings articulated by social studies teachers. Participant stories about a day in the life of an imagined future largely leave intact major systems and discourses including those which have actively contributed to problems they identify including climate change. I argue that weakened imaginations and aspirations of possibility function to increase toleration for the most traumatic ecological tragedies both impending and already unfolding. Importantly for the field of social studies education, this data illustrates that while teacher participants consistently articulated desires to include issues of climate crisis in their social studies classrooms, they lack robust understandings of the possibilities for action in the face of complex environmental or climate justice challenges.
  • Climate futures: Classroom engagements for imagining otherwise

    Alvey, Elaine (Taylor & Francis, 2023-11-07)
    Given the realities currently at hand, it is easy to imagine the worst-case scenario climate futures, to become paralyzed by climate grief or to disengage all together. Inspired by pedagogical engagements with imagination and drawing on foundational geography skills, this three-day mini-unit invites secondary students to first analyze localized impacts of climate change, and then look to examples of positive climate futures before finally imagining for their own community’s resilient climate future.
  • I'm a killer whale: the process of cultural identity development from the perspectives of young indigenous children

    Lunda, Angela; John, Theresa; Green, Carie; Richardson, Lisa; Hyslop, Polly (2022-12)
    This qualitative single case study examined the phenomenon of cultural identity development from the perspective of young Indigenous children situated within the context of their southeast Alaskan community. Decades of assimilationist policies have eroded cultural identity among many Indigenous Alaskans, yet a strong cultural identity is known to be a protective factor for Indigenous peoples. Building on Indigenous identity development theory, the study sought to answer the research questions: (1) How do young children demonstrate their cultural identity through interactions on the Land? (2) How do community organizations support cultural identity development (CID) in young Indigenous children? (3) What role do peers play in nurturing cultural identity development (CID)? And (4) How do teachers and families nurture CID? The primary data source was video collected by children wearing forehead cameras as they engaged in semi-structured activities on the Land; video data were augmented by surveys, interviews, children's drawings, and careful observations. These methods allowed the researcher to examine the child's lived experiences to begin to untangle the rich interactions between children, the Land, parents, and educators, and to describe CID nurturing factors. Reflexive thematic analysis was employed to discover themes and patterns in the data. Findings reveal that children demonstrate their Indigenous identity by learning and exhibiting traditional ecological knowledge, which includes intricate knowledge of the Land, subsistence practices, and core cultural values. The process of cultural identity development was supported by the community through vision and funding for cultural initiatives. Peers, parents, and educators contributed to the cultural identity development of the young participants by enacting moves to increase confidence and competence on the Land. This study has implications for policymakers, educators, families, and others interested in nurturing healthy identity development among young Indigenous children.
  • The Bias, Stigma, and Social Construct of a Disability Label: A Meta-Synthesis

    Wallace, Karen (University of Alaska Southeast, 2014)
    The current climate in education is moving toward more inclusive education which means more and more students with a special education need are attending class in the general education classroom with a general education teacher. Sadly, many general education teachers in these inclusive classrooms are not prepared to have students with special education needs in their classroom because they do not have the knowledge or experience teaching these exceptional students. Research suggests teachers hold a bias toward students with a special education label and have preconceived notions of how these students will perform in their classroom. It is unfortunate for these students because at this time is when they need help the most. School is not only about learning what a person needs to know, but also when children learn about themselves and their peers. Research suggests that students given special education labels tend to have more difficulty due to the label they are given. This presumption of a label sets students up to interacting with teachers based on the label. This meta-synthesis of the literature on labels, bias, stigmatization, and the social construct of the disability label investigates how students with special needs, and the people around them, respond to the special needs label.
  • Autism: An Evolutionary Etiology: A Meta-Synthesis

    Titus, Cristina Bruketta (University of Alaska Southeast, 2014)
    This meta-synthesis attempts a detailed look at how Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) evolved from Kanner’s initial identification in 1943 to today’s current understanding. Emphasis will be placed on characteristic change, prevalence increase, causality, and evolution of treatments, techniques, and methods. Equal weight will also be placed on what the best overall treatments, techniques, and methods should be used with an individual with autism.
  • The Fundamental Disconnect Between Understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder Cognition: Implications of Empathy: A Meta Synthesis.

    Busch, Kathleen (University of Alaska Southeast, 2015)
    This meta-synthesis reviews literature on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in relationship with empathy. Specific areas addressed within this meta-synthesis include perspective taking, Theory of Mind, affective vs. cognitive empathy, mirror neurons, imitation/mimicry all in how it relates to those with ASD and their understandings to those typically developing. This meta-synthesis addresses those with high-functioning ASD more so than those who are lower functioning as research and literature did not have a significant amount of information on those lower functioning. The goal is to provide a better understanding of the disconnect that we share from one to another.
  • Building Resiliency: A Meta-Synthesis

    Stalder, Rebecca (University of Alaska Southeast, 2017)
    This meta-synthesis of the literature on children who experience trauma, and what we can do in the school setting to support children and teach them to build and shore up their resiliency factors. It takes a closer look at what is working, what educators can do to support children, and assist their families overcome the impact of trauma in their lives.
  • Writing Difficulties of Students with Learning Disability: A Meta-Synthesis

    York, Kimberly (University of Alaska Southeast, 2013)
    This meta-synthesis of the literature of special education students with handwriting difficulties analyzed factors that affect handwriting. A number of students with learning disabilities have handwriting difficulties. Legible handwriting continues to be an important skill for children to develop in elementary school and difficulty with this area can affect any child’s proficiency at school work. Many factors affect handwriting proficiency. Many areas of the brain are accessed when handwriting activities take place. With purposeful and sequential handwriting instruction including occupational therapy as well as evidence-based practices was the key areas that helped students improve their handwriting skills in addition to on-task behavior. This meta-synthesis of the literature on special education students with handwriting difficulties investigates the challenges of handwriting.
  • People with Disabilities and the Justice System: A Meta-Synthesis

    West, Erica C. (University of Alaska Southeast, 2016)
    Individuals with disabilities are overrepresented in the criminal justice system. This meta-synthesis explores the experiences of juveniles and adults with disabilities in the criminal justice system. Topics discussed include rates and characteristics of offenders with disabilities in the criminal justice system, experiences of offenders with disabilities within the justice system, recidivism risk factors for offenders with disabilities, and recommendations and needed changes for the criminal justice system.
  • Response to Intervention and Students with Emotional and/or Behavior Disorder: A Meta-Synthesis

    Price, Vicki R. (University of Alaska Southeast, 2014)
    The reauthorization of IDEA in 2006 mandated RTI programs would be implemented for students with academic and behavioral problems. The multi-tiered approach uses assessments, data collection, and observation to develop and employ appropriate supports and interventions. Students with EBD benefit from RTI data collected using PBIS. Professional development is essential for the success of PBIS. The data collected from RTI using PBIS helps IEP teams who provide support to students with EBD, to develop goals and objectives by designing instructional strategies to help students develop pro-social behaviors. This meta-synthesis of the literature of RTI/PBIS and students with EBD reviews the ways data collected using these interventions are used for professional development and instructional strategies
  • Generational Silence: Impact on the Over-Identification of Alaskan Native Students with Learning Disabilities: A Meta-Synthesis

    Van Flein, Barbara (University of Alaska Southeast, 2017)
    This meta-synthesis investigates the research and literature on the connections between historical trauma and the over-identification of Alaska Native students receiving special education services under the specific learning disability category. Historical trauma is defined. Intergenerational transmission is explained. The silence surrounding trauma and the loss of language fluency is explored and contextualized as a problematic factor in the disproportionate number of Alaska Native students being labeled as having a learning disability. The implications of misidentifying students, as well the life-long impact of receiving a disability label are discussed. Suggestions are reviewed with a focus on the ongoing development and practice of a special education teacher through the lenses of multiculturalism, critical theory and postmodernist thought. Not addressed in this meta-synthesis are issues of identity as they relate to and connect with historical trauma, colonialism and language.
  • The School-to-Prison Pipeline: How Education Has Failed Our Most Vulnerable Students: A Meta-Synthesis

    Vandivier, Andrew (University of Alaska Southeast, 2018)
    Beginning in the 1980’s, America began a ‘war on crime’, taking a tougher stance with longer sentencing on minor crimes. During this same time, and acting in concert, federal educational legislation began the policy of Zero Tolerance within schools. This meant that disciplinary issues, previously handled within schools, were now being addressed as criminal charges. This increased harshness and severity in punishment for school aged youth created a school-to-prison pipeline in which tens of thousands of students became incarcerated in juvenile and adult correctional facilities. The unintended consequence of creating safer school environments was that a disproportionate number of economically disadvantaged, minority, and youth with emotional disturbances were excluded from their learning environments and locked away in correctional institutions. Over the past four decades increased awareness about this disproportionality, along with a better understanding of mental health issues, has caused an upward trend in alternative educational strategies for our most at-risk and vulnerable student populations. Many of these alternative school settings still lack appropriate behavioral management interventions, social services, and mental health clinicians necessary to deal with root cause issues, but we are gradually trending back away from exclusionary, restrictive, and punitive punishments.
  • Response to Intervention Effective Practices: A Meta-Synthesis

    Clement, Tracy (University of Alaska Southeast, 2014)
    The purpose of this meta-synthesis is to assess the effectiveness of the Response to Intervention (RtI) framework. This paper reviewed research articles and other literature that explored effective practices within the RtI program, in an effort to properly implement interventions, and expedite the identification of a learning disability. After reviewing the research it was concluded that the RtI process, if implemented correctly could benefit students who are at risk academically and behaviorally. The research indicates that there are many components to RtI, including fidelity of instruction, proven curriculum, effective leadership, and regular progress monitoring, training and professional development. All of these factors are key to the efficiency of the RtI program. Some other components identified for the consideration of an effective RtI program was teacher collaboration, teacher self-efficacy and teacher perceptions; the inclusion of the family were also noted as important.
  • Social Stories™ for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Meta Synthesis

    Walton, Carolyn (University of Alaska Southeast, 2015)
    Throughout the last decade, the popularity of Social Stories™ by Carol Gray (or if deviated from Gray’s story prescriptions, social stories) to help decrease challenging behaviors and to increase positive social skills has risen. This strategy has been used primarily for individuals under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Despite the widespread approval by teachers, many limitations affect the validity of the Social Story™ or social story intervention and what skills people (i.e. receptive and expressive language, reading skills, cognitive abilities) need in order for this approach to be successful. Further research is needed in order to solidify the findings from several research studies. This meta-synthesis of the literature on Social Stories™ and/ social stories examines the effectiveness of this type of intervention for individuals on the Autism Spectrum.
  • FASD

    Sampley, Tina (University of Alaska Southeast, 2017)
    Regardless of our current knowledge base on the consumption of alcohol during pregnancy, the mistake continues to be made with the result being children born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. As these children move through their public education, it is often the case that their challenges are not met and they do not receive adequate help to overcome their difficulties with academics and social skills. When these students begin to transition into their adult lives, secondary conditions often arise from our failure as a support network to intervene on their behalf earlier on. This meta-synthesis of the literature on individuals with FASD investigates the current realities of the difficulties surrounding prenatal alcohol consumption as it relates to children, their families and communities.
  • Chess Instruction in the Mathematics Classroom: Implications for Critical-Thinking and Academic Skills: A Meta-Synthesis

    Gates, Russel L. (University of Alaska Southeast, 2015)
    Chess instruction during the school day or in a club format has been shown to increase achievement in mathematics, science, and reading comprehension. Students of all achievement levels experience positive growth in achievement within a relatively short period of time. Critical thinking skills, perseverance, and motivation to learn are also increased with the implementation of chess instruction. This meta-analysis of the literature on chess instruction and critical thinking skills investigates the increasing mathematics, science, and reading comprehension for students, particularly those who experience learning disabilities.
  • Working with Individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders: A Meta-Synthesis

    Rehmer, Shelby (University of Alaska Southeast, 2014)
    This meta-synthesis of the literature on working with individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) examines the characteristics of individuals with FASD and the need for supports and services for these individuals in the classroom. There are behavior characteristics unique to FASD and these behaviors coupled with sensory processing deficits lead to distinctive challenges for individuals with FASD. Early identification, supports and services are critical to address challenges for individuals with FASD in the classroom, yet are often unavailable or unidentified.
  • Universal Design for Learning as a Method for an Inclusive Classroom: A Meta-Synthesis

    Ross, Carrie (University of Alaska Southeast, 2018)
    The movement for students with special education needs to have access to the general education curriculum, to be educated with nondisabled peers, and to learn in the least restrictive environment has been ongoing and continues to be an issue in education today. Although past and current education laws support and encourage the inclusion of students with special education needs, many states and school districts still struggle to move to inclusion models, reform the school system, and provide appropriate support and training to teachers on best practices for teaching in an inclusive setting. This meta-synthesis looks at one possible model as an effective method for implementing inclusion. The model being considered and analyzed is known as Universal Design for Learning (UDL).
  • Limited Evidence Based Practices in Special Education: What’s a Teacher to Do?: A Meta-Synthesis

    Capp, Robyn (University of Alaska Southeast, 2016)
    Since the enactment of No Child Left Behind, there has been a push for scientifically based methodologies in education. While the same holds true for special education, the progress is notably slower than in the general education field. Research in regards to Evidence Based Practices (EBPs) in special education is extremely limited. Furthermore, the individualization of special education and the variation in which each individual presents their disability require that educators not use one approach to meet the needs of all students. Given the limited availability, educators must familiarize themselves with the characteristics of EBPs to make informed instructional decisions. EBPs must be implemented with fidelity. Furthermore, they must monitor student progress and be responsive to each individual’s needs. It is clear that education is in the midst of a scientific based reform. The availability of research is limited, and additional research will need to be conducted in the future.
  • The Importance of Play and Developing Executive Functions in Early Childhood Education: A Meta-Synthesis

    Riesenberger, Jesse (University of Alaska Southeast, 2015)
    This meta-synthesis reviews literature on the development of executive functions in early childhood education. This paper focuses on the use of play in the early childhood classroom and the research supporting the use of play as a teaching tool. The author included studies that addressed both typically developing children and children with developmental delays. Papers reviewed had a focus on ages 3-5 with the exception of longitudinal studies which included older participants. The author includes her professional view of this subject and how the literature included in this paper will be used to support her early childhood program.

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