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Utah's Foremost Platform for Undergraduate Research Presentation
2022 Abstracts

“What do student behaviors tell us when listening to a teacher’s read aloud?”

Presenter: April Law
Authors: April Law
Faculty Advisor: Ann Sharp
Institution: Utah Valley University

Research has shown that when a person makes eye contact with someone who’s talking to them, there is greater connectivity in the brain (Jiang et al, 2017). However, for some individuals, maintaining eye contact can lead to further distraction (, 2015). While it is good to encourage a child to look at the person who’s speaking to them, the insistence of this behavior in the classroom can distract from the learning experience. In contrast, a child who is not exhibiting traditional listening behaviors may be listening very well. This leads me to my research question, “What do a student’s behaviors tell us when they are listening to a teacher’s read-aloud?” I will be objectively observing the student’s gaze, posture, facial expressions, and reactions. There are many concerns in the classroom and in the home based on a child’s observance or inobservance of traditional listening behavioral expectations. I postulate that the traditional behaviors that are commonly believed to show good listening need to be revisited. I have chosen three focus students from three different third-grade classrooms to observe behaviors exhibited during the teacher’s read-aloud. Afterward, I will quickly interview the focus student and another student to gauge interest in that day’s read-aloud experience. Questions will be open-ended to determine if they found the different parts of the story to be interesting. Even though a variety of focus group students will be interviewed, I will only be focusing on the focus student from each classroom for this project. From this research, I hope to broaden understandings of appropriate listening behaviors in young children, so teachers and parents can more effectively communicate, and a stronger focus can be made on teaching rather than on behavior management.