• "That's A Hard Question": Undergraduate Students Talk About Culture

      Montague-Winebarger, Caitlin N.; Leonard, Beth (2012)
      In this project I examine the ability of undergraduate students to articulate a working definition of culture and cross-culture. The students were predominately elementary education majors, enrolled in one of two culture-based elective courses at the University of Alaska Fairbanks during the 2010-2011 school year. Through the use of semi-structured interviewing and participatory/observational autoethnographic fieldwork, I provide several viewpoints from which to look at this complex issue. Through the examination of historical and institutional documents, I show that the School of Education within the University has had a long-standing commitment to teacher education in the Alaskan context, including creating teachers who understand the importance of cultural relevance. As this project shows, how students are taking up this aspect of theft teacher-training program is varied, and few students were able to provide a concise and applicable definition or framework for thinking about culture and cultural difference. In order to create culturally relevant teachers, the School must undertake more and better activities to provide students carefully structured experiences with cultural diversity, and culturally diverse learners, as well as ways to talk about those experiences. Like many other universities, students at the University of Alaska Fairbanks come to classes with many stereotypes about cultural groups and the importance, or lack thereof, of multicultural education. In my project, this came forth as resistance to talking about cultural diversity, and resistance to multicultural coursework. The students actively worked minimize cultural difference in favor of thinking in terms of individual, personality, and place-based difference.
    • The Influence Of Positive Mother-Child Verbal Interactions On Adolescent Mothers' Literacy

      Baron, Heather-Lee M.; Rickey, Melissa; Melvin, Mary Jo; Reyes, Maria Elena; Rickard, Anthony (2010)
      The purpose of this six-month qualitative microethnographic case study was to determine what influence a family literacy program based on positive mother-child verbal interactions would have on the participating adolescent mothers' literacy skills. The design of the program was founded on the Hart and Risley study (1995) and their findings regarding the five categories of significant family experiences that enhance children's vocabulary: language diversity, feedback tone, symbolic emphasis, guidance style, and responsiveness. These experiences stress the importance of affirmative interactions between children and their parents. The three adolescent mothers who participated in the study were single, white, of low socioeconomic status, and enrolled as high school seniors in the same school district in rural northwestern Pennsylvania. One participant was 11 weeks pregnant with a boy, one participant was parenting an 11-month old girl, and one participant was 18 weeks pregnant with a boy and parenting a one-year-old boy. The study found that the girls who participated in this program showed a growth of one grade level in their expository text reading levels. The results also suggest a relationship between the participants' attitude and motivation scores and their participation level in the study. Finally, the researcher believes that external/environmental factors may also have influenced the participants' participation level and the overall results.
    • The practice of teachers reading aloud in the classroom

      Bost, John C.; Hogan, Maureen P.; Noon, Doug; Kardash, Diane (2014-05)
      This inquiry, which involved use of a teacher survey and classroom observations, was designed to explore how teachers use the practice of reading aloud. This small case study, of one urban elementary school in Alaska, also set out to examine how teachers view the practice of a read-aloud. Studies have identified a number of effective components of a read-aloud. This study found teachers in agreement on some important reasons to read aloud and the components of a read-aloud that they value. The teachers in my inquiry appear to value reading aloud and they all share similarities in how they use the read-aloud practice. All of the teachers agreed that the three most important reasons to read aloud are: for enjoyment, to expose students to texts that they may not read otherwise, and to promote a love of literature and/or reading. Most of the teachers rated two components in particular as very important: animation and expression, and modeling fluent reading.
    • The Quality Schools Model Of Education Reform: A Description Of Knowledge Management Beliefs And Practices Using Baldrige In Education Criteria

      Nelson Cope, Dale L.; Porter, David; Monahan, John; Allen, Jim; Johnson, Paul; Lofthus, Jeffrey; Morotti, Allan (2008)
      This study used a concurrent nested mixed-methods approach to analyze the implementation of the Quality Schools Model of education reform through the lens of the seven Malcolm Baldrige Education criteria. Specifically, this study was an inquiry to determine the difference in beliefs and implementation related to knowledge constructs between and within groups of school staff based on professional role, years of education experience and years of experience working in the Quality Schools Model district. This research also used structural equation modeling to examine the fit between the Baldrige in Education theoretical model and actual practice of the Baldrige concepts in the context of rural Alaska school districts implementing the Quality Schools Model of comprehensive education reform. A 72-item questionnaire was used to measure beliefs about importance of concepts and perceptions of the concepts in practice. The questionnaire was administered to a convenience sample of 212 administrators, teachers, and classified staff in three rural Alaska school districts. Qualitative data was gathered through 14 semi-structured interviews with community members, elders, school board members, parents, and school staff. Results from the questionnaire data showed that job classification was the greatest predictor of mean responses. Administrators perceived knowledge activities were in practice to a greater degree than teachers. There were no significant differences in beliefs about importance or practice among participants based on years of education work experience or on experience in the current school district. The results showed ambivalence and sticky transfer in the street-level implementation of the QSM with significant large differences between belief and practice scores for all groups. A structural model of Baldrige in Education factors with leadership as the exogenous factor was created for the QSM. Results showed that leadership had a direct effect on knowledge management, and knowledge management had a direct effect on strategic planning, and an indirect effect on process management and the outcome variables of student, stakeholder and market focus, and results. There was no direct or indirect path between the knowledge factor and staff focus factor, leading to a recommendation to increase knowledge creation and sharing opportunities for that group.
    • The Quality Schools Model Of Education Reform: A Description Of Staff Focus Beliefs And Practices Using Baldrige In Education Criteria

      Mccauley, Susan Ann; Madsen, Eric; Monahan, John; Lofthus, Jeffrey; Allen, Jim; Jorgensen, Spike; Porter, David (2008)
      This study used a mixed-methods approach to analyze the implementation of the Quality Schools Model through the lens of the seven Malcolm Baldrige Education Criteria. Specifically, this study was an inquiry to determine the beliefs and practices of one of the criterion, Staff Focus, and the effect on these perceptions of professional role, years of education experience and years of experience working with the Quality Schools Model. Through structural equation modeling, this research also examined the fit between the Baldrige in Education theoretical model and actual practice of the Baldrige concepts in the three studied school districts implementing the Quality Schools Model. A 72-item questionnaire with two response scales was used to measure staff members' perceptions of the importance and practice of Staff Learning and Staff Motivation. The questionnaire was administered to 212 administrators, teachers, and classified staff in three rural Alaska school districts. Qualitative data about the implementation of the model was gathered through 14 semi-structured interviews with community members, Elders, school board members, parents, and school staff. Results from the questionnaire data showed that Staff Learning and Staff Motivation were considered very important by staff members irrespective of job classification, years of educational experience, or years of QSM experience. While the majority of staff members perceived Staff Learning and Staff Motivation as practiced frequently or always practiced, they perceived them as significantly more important than in practice in their district and schools. Administrators' perceptions of the frequency of practice of Staff Motivation were significantly higher than those of teachers or classified staff. Qualitative data revealed that learning required by staff for QSM implementation is demanding and complex, particularly during initial implementation of the model. However, staff and community members attributed improvements in student learning and the increased participation of students in their learning to implementation of the QSM, and these were motivating factors for staff members, as were the shared vision and shared leadership components of the QSM. The structural model corroborated the importance of Staff Focus showing that it was directly, positively effected by Leadership and that it had a direct, positive effect on Results.
    • The use of social network analysis by school librarians to evaluate and improve collaborative networks in their secondary schools: a pilot study

      Rinio, Deborah; Jacobsen, Gary; Adams, Barbara; Stanley, Sarah; Richey, Jean; Gerlich, Bella (2018-05)
      Social capital, in the form of relationships among teachers, results in sharing information and resources, which leads to improved student academic achievement. As schools continue to seek out ways to improve performance, social capital is often overlooked in favor of development of human capital in the form of professional development and training. Schools that have implemented collaborative groups have the potential to increase social capital, but often fail to structure the groups intentionally or evaluate their outcomes. School librarians in secondary schools often face challenges when it comes to collaboration. The job of a school librarian is inherently collaborative. To effectively serve the school's population, school librarians must understand the needs of their community. To teach information literacy skills, they must have access to students, typically via classroom teachers. Not surprisingly, collaboration between teachers and librarians is a major focus of both professional and research literature, yet librarians report it is one of their biggest challenges. Librarians are urged to start small, work with the teachers who are willing, and hope that others in the school will see the value of collaboration; in other words, build it and they will come. This research sought to determine if school librarians could use social network analysis as an evaluative and strategic planning tool. This study used a mixed-methods approach in a three-phase process to collect social network survey data in two secondary schools, develop the Social Network Analysis for School Librarians (SNASL) Process, and pilot test the process with the school librarians in the pilot schools using participatory analysis. Analysis revealed that the SNASL Process has the potential to enable school librarians to evaluate and improve upon the collaborative network of their school by identifying individuals in specific role positions and producing generative insight regarding the structure of the school network.
    • What Would Captain Underpants Do? A Literary Analysis Of Children In School

      Carter, Jeanne Noelle; Reyes, Maria (2006)
      Using cultural studies and critical discourse analysis as guiding theories, this study focuses on the literary representation of school experience by analyzing popular children's literature. The study focuses on literature appealing to the 8--12 year-old audience. Books of primary examination include L. M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables series, Barbara Park's Junie B. Jones series, Beverly Cleary's Ramona Quimby books, Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants series, J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter series, Andrew Clemenet's Frindle, C. S. Lewis's Chronicles of Narnia series, Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl books, Betty McDonald's Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle books, and Walter Dean Meyer's Monster. The general trends found are: (1) Books featuring female protagonists are often concerned with relationships. The protagonists are frustrated that the roles and expectations of school do not allow space for discussing relationships or personal information. (2) Books featuring male protagonists generally focus on themes of power structures and how the students use subversive methods to assert their values in spite of the dominant administrative authority. (3) When books feature children who are working on character or ethical development, those children are often removed from the school context and placed in a more fantastical context. (4) The literature surveyed implies that students value unrealistically committed teachers with no interests outside of the children, who can make lessons clear, relevant, and interactive.
    • Who's "fat", who's not: sociocultural influences on female adolescent's body image

      Paxton, Lindsay Astheimer (2004-12)
      Sociocultural influences, media, parents and peers, on adolescent females' body image, as perceived by female high school students of a military related community were investigated. A body image survey was administered to 26 adolescent females. Ultimately, the research revealed that media, parents and peer groups influenced adolescent body image and significantly contributed to female students' perceptions and attitudes.