Katherine Safsten, Brigham Young University Through ethnographic research on how the schools are changing the lives of the Himba tribe in northern Namibia, I argue that primary and high school education does not always provide an even playing field for the students to move on to a desired carreer, whether or not it involves a university education. Throughout my research, I found that multiple factors come into play in a child’s education, and in Otutati, Namibia, these are not addressed; thus, the likelihood of academic failure increases for each child. These factors include parental involvement, school infrastructure, classroom methods the use of English in school (although the Himba speak Otjiherero), and the physical location of the schools. Perhaps the biggest factor comes from the value Himba give to education. In Otutati, many parents have the expectation that children go to school for the purpose of bringing money home in order to take care of them; however, some parents fear that their children will not return home to help them and begin to view education as criticism of their traditions that threatens to take their children away from Otutati. While in Namibia, I conducted interviews with students, parents, teachers, and community members, learning about the motivations for schooling and what sort of value is given education. I spent 20 hours observing classrooms in both the primary and secondary schools. The conflict between the values imposed by “western-style” education and Himba values goes beyond the schoolhouse. I found it to be a pervasive source of suspicion and inequity. For example, if a Himba graduate earns a money, thus maintaining career, many outside his or her family become jealous. As I interviewed many young people, I learned that not only is it difficult to graduate, but also that many older students fear to obtain too much of an education for fear of jealousy and cursing from other community members. The lack of value for education has created a community environment in which children find it difficult to succeed. Their school system has not accommodated to create a feasible learning environment, thus setting children up for failure, especially relative to the urban population of Namibia.
Purpose: This systematic review was conducted to gain a better understanding of the contextual factors, mechanisms, and outcomes associated with organizational learning in inpatient hospitals. Background: Organizational learning is a positive change process by which organizations enhance their ability to achieve their desired outcomes. In hospitals, examples of desired outcomes include improvements in patient safety, care quality, patient experience, and financial viability. Although a growing body of research supports organizational learning as an effective strategy for achieving gains in each of these performance areas, the literature on organizational learning in inpatient hospitals has not been systematically reviewed. Thus, nursing researchers and leaders are without a practical resource to guide their efforts to study and foster organizational learning. Methods: Databases searched were CINAHL, MEDLINE, Academic Search Premier, Business Source Premier, PsychINFO, SCOPUS, Web of Science, and Sociological Abstracts. The search terms used were ("organi?ational learning" OR "team learning" OR "group learning" OR "collective learning" OR "learning organi?ation*" OR “workplace learning”) AND (hospital OR hospitals) with no limits set on date of publication. After an initial scan for duplicates, approximately 2,300 articles remained. Article titles were sorted for relevance based on the following criteria: reports empirical data from an inpatient hospital setting, treats organizational learning as a process rather than an output, situated in an inpatient hospital setting, written in English, published in a peer-reviewed journal, refers to human improvements in knowledge, cognition, or behavior. Article abstracts were reviewed, followed by a review of the full text. The remaining 197 articles were scored using the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. During the appraisal process, 47 additional articles that did not meet the inclusion criteria or had critical methodological flaws were removed. Data extraction was performed for the remaining 150 articles, with a focus on contextual factors, mechanisms, and outcomes associated with organizational learning in inpatient hospitals. Results: Contextual factors associated with organizational learning included: shared purpose, motivation, psychological safety/relationships, infrastructure, skills in organizational improvement, and experience as a team. Mechanisms associated with organizational learning included: interaction, collective reflection, deliberate learning, practice, retention, and leadership. Outcomes associated with organizational learning included: clinical outcomes, patient outcomes, team outcomes, financial outcomes, and adoption of new/improved clinical practices. Implications: Organizational learning is an important process for improving patient care and performance in inpatient hospitals. This systematic review provides a practical resource for nursing leaders and researchers to advance the practice and science of organizational learning.
Evolution is central to understanding Biology and Health. Nevertheless, many people still don’t accept evolution as a well founded principle and mechanism of change (Pew 2016). The central research of this project is to examine the acceptance of evolution among Biology majors at the beginning and end of their undergraduate experience, the reasons as to why they accept or reject evolution, and if applicable, why they changed their minds during their undergraduate experience. Previously, the acceptance of evolution in non-major Biology courses (Ferguson and Ogden) has been investigated. The results show that students can change their opinions on evolution and the leading factors for this were: 1) the teaching of evolutionary evidences drove changes in acceptance; 2) the importance of a role model; and 3) helping students overcome misconceptions. Further, previous studies examined students' observations and knowledge of evolutionary theory and found that the degree of conflicts perceived between religion and science was negatively correlated with their knowledge of evolution. Main Objective: The objective of this research is to better understand the acceptance of evolution among students majoring in Biology. Methods: We will administer a short "pre-interview survey" and we will conduct interviews with students majoring in Biology, that are enrolled in Biol 4550 and Biol 4500, in order to better understand the reasons why they accept or reject evolution and why they change or don't change their minds throughout their undergraduate experience. The survey and interview questions are designed to investigate the opinions of evolution and how the students changed throughout their undergraduate experience and over the course of the semester. The recordings will be transcribed and quantified by binning answers into categories. Given the high % of students that are LDS, we will ask a few additional questions concerning religion and the student's knowledge of their religion's position concerning evolution. Hypotheses: We proposed that as students knowledge of the evidence for evolution increased over their college years that acceptance would increase. We further hypothesized that religious students would have to reconcile their religion's position on science and evolution with their growing knowledge of evolutionary theory.
The mission of Utah State University is to be one of the nation's premier student-centered land-grant and space-grant universities by fostering the principle that academics come first, by cultivating diversity of thought and culture, and by serving the public through learning, discovery, and engagement. Aggies Global Observatory is an effort to fulfill this mission statement by providing a resource which interprets current events through geopolitical frameworks in order to encourage a variety of perspectives, inform the public, provide resources for continual learning, and cultivate undergraduate engagement with the public. The project is accessible to the public as a website with a set of essays which explain basic premises of political geography. The essays define geopolitics, geographical entities, power, geopolitical codes, identities, boundaries, and flows. Student authors who work on the project write essays about topics which appear in the news in which they clearly attach defined concepts to actual events. Essays are added continually and older pieces are organized into archives. Geopolitical assessments do not often offer rose-colored lenses through which to view historical or continued action. Introducing concepts through relevant topics helps encourage individuals to expand the perspectives they are comfortable discussing and promotes active reflection on how to craft a better future. Our project will be successful if readership better understands the relationships which drive the world they live in and can further interpret news related agendas and information. In the process, the project enhances students’ knowledge of political geography and provides experience in writing about academic concepts in a way that allows communication to a non-academic audience.
Research suggests there may be two potential issues for teachers in teaching English Language Learners (ELLs): lack of recognition of linguistic barrier between the student and the teacher, and assuming that the ELLs’ are not capable of learning English (Reeves, 2008). These issues can only be addressed by attaining a better understanding of the ELLs’ learning needs, both academically and emotionally, and exploring related teacher dispositions. To explore the learning needs, five students conducted qualitative research with six adult ELLs. the participants were selected from the Southwest Adult School, Dixie State University ESL program, and from the local community. Fifteen open-ended questions were posed to the interviewees. The interviewees’ answers provided new insight to what teachers of ELLs need to keep in mind. The interviews revealed that a mutually productive learning environment require three impactful elements: patience, human connections, and support. The presentation will discuss how and when the three elements will implemented to deviate the notion of the two potential issues in teaching ELLs.
A Case Study Investigating the Impact of a Summer MS to PhD Bridge Program on the Science Identities of Underrepresented Minority Students.
There are a number of factors that influence a student’s persistence in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields; one is the student’s science identity. Across the globe there is a growing trend of young people not being able to envision themselves as scientists. This trend is particularly noticeable in student’s who are part of underrepresented minority (URM) groups. However, research shows that developing a scientific identity is an essential part of becoming a scientist. Building a scientific identity does not happen overnight and requires repeated exposure to different settings. An individual’s identity is linked with not only retention in STEM fields, but also future career planning. Individuals with a scientific identity are more likely to enter and stay in STEM career paths. Our project focused broadening participation in STEM in the U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI) community by providing experiences that can help build a scientific identity. We developed interventions at critical STEM Pathway exit points (middle/high school, early college, and graduate school) to help build individual’s scientific identity. For this project we define an individual with a strong science identity as an individual who displays (1) competence (demonstrates meaningful content knowledge), (2) performance (uses the tools, ways of acting, and fluency of a scientist in informal and formal settings), and (3) recognition (self-recognizes and is recognized by others as a scientist). For this proposal, we focus specifically on the graduate school exit point. We developed a Bridge to PhD program for master’s students from the USVI to participate in an eight-week research experience at an R1 institution. We used a case study approach to measure the influence of the Bridge to PhD Program and supporting activities (i.e. pre/post-family programming events, career development plans, weekly mentor meetings) on the participant’s scientific identity. The case study approach provided detailed insight on small groups of participants (n=3). Participants completed pre/post-assessments that measured their competence (STEM content knowledge), performance (talking about and using scientific tools), and recognition (self-recognition of being a science person); pre/post-interviews, and participated in pre/post-family programming events. These data will allow us to determine if students began constructing a science identity during the intervention.
English is a difficult language to learn due to its complicated nature. However, if English learning can be guided by tutors who are trained to assist English Language Learners (ELL), the process can be simplified and meaningful. Students Helping English Language Learners (SHELL) Tutoring Program at Dixie State University is a unique tutoring program for international students. The uniqueness of the program underlies in the fact that all of the tutors are teacher education majors who are trained in the theories and methods of Second Language Acquisition (SLA). Appropriate literacy instruction is the key to helping the international students be successful in academics. However, literacy instruction for international students is not just teaching them how to read and write, but to assist them to adapt to the new culture. The SHELL tutors assist the international students in various ways to become familiar with the new environment and culture. Through trial and error, the tutors understand the importance of knowing efficient and appropriate teaching strategies for the specific individual they are in touch with. Based on the rules of qualitative research, the tutors gained understanding of the importance of knowing efficient and appropriate teaching strategies for each international student they are in touch with. At the same time, the tutors find themselves negotiating their identities as a teacher. They become aware of the improvement they are making in their teaching through communications with the international students. They notice the changes in the way they see culture and the world around them. This presentation will explore SHELL tutors’ experience in teaching International Students literacy through culture.
A common practice among young adults throughout the United States and other countries is to delay or take time off during school for a “gap year.” The activities chosen differ, but often include travel, work, or volunteering. This time away from formal schooling is promoted as a way to mature and become more focused for school. However, others worry that this practice lowers the likelihood of college completion. Missionary service for members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is a unique type of gap year. Previous literature has investigated the academic, social, personal benefits of gap years with mixed results; however selection into gap years confounds the impact of taking time off with unobservable personal characteristics. To overcome selection issues, I exploit an exogenous policy change that lowered age requirements for missionary service resulting in a large increase in the number of women serving missions. I use data from Brigham Young University undergraduate students before and after this lowering in the age requirement for female missionaries, to measure the impact of taking time away from school on academic progress, academic performance and choice of major. The policy and panel nature of the data allow me to estimate using a difference in differences model. Preliminary results show that the mission policy age change did impact the age of service and number of missionaries for both men and women. Students impacted by policy change also had lower average GPA and a lower likelihood of changing their major. However, I expect that regression results will show that going on a mission will increase academic performance and affect major-related decisions. This research contributes to the understanding of women’s experience in post-secondary education and how they prepare for future careers.
How can dance-history integrated learning improve comprehension and retention of history content? Studies show that using the mind and body together continually develops and improves a person’s ability to remap their brain and rejuvenate the central nervous system. Staying active mentally and physically in developmental years creates connections in the brain and body building foundations for cognitive development and improved memory and comprehension. This same connection is how dancers are able to learn concepts, vocabularies and information both kinesthetically and mentally. If these sorts of physical memorization techniques, and kinesthetic learning experiences were applied to history teaching, students may have an increased ability to engage with as well as retain historical information. Memory is a crucial part of maintaining and furthering knowledge and understanding in history, yet instructors still stand in front of students, verbally regurgitating the information students need to know in hopes they will understand and retain any of it. One solution for this in the past has been reenactment teaching as a way of engaging students in the material. But this also brings up ethical issues of dishonoring the past, and the people who actually experienced those events. While the intentions behind this method are well-meant, they often cause more problems than they solve and don’t usually offer students any more retention of the events than lecture style instruction. I believe dance-integration can be the solution to this issue. I will be analyzing sources on both dance and history pedagogy. I will use evidence from these sources to create a new argument for how the two subjects may be integrated in ways that will prove to have more successful results for students. I will examine studies and statistics of successful dance-integration projects and synthesize that information with the current failures in history teaching. I will also draw on my own experiences integration projects that I have worked on as a student at SUU. My thesis is that history learning will be more effective if it can be integrated with a creative movement component, as this will facilitate better retention of facts and help students to engage kinesthetically with the past, instead of emotionally. I believe teaching a connection of the body and mind together will foster improved memorization and comprehension of historical events, while steering away from reenactment experiences that minimize real lives and events of the past.
As course management systems (CMSs) become ubiquitous in university settings, their design and construction needs to be critically analyzed in order to improve the teaching and learning experiences of professors and students respectively. Over time mediums like verbal direction, printed copies, textbooks, student-teacher meetings, and email have been assimilated into the information pipeline. CMSs have promised to streamline these processes into one unified hub, but instead are usually implemented in conjunction with existing mediums. As a graphic design student interested in user experience design (UX), for my Honors thesis I investigated the cognitive loads that students experience while interacting with inconsistent educational systems. Poorly organized systems—combined with the actual content of the class—contribute to cognitive overload. By exaggerating the reality of how students receive information, I created an immersive exhibit titled ‘Overload’ which turned a critical eye to the current state of the educational ecosystem. Through an overwhelming blend of analog and digital mediums, the exhibit prompted viewers to consider their own experience giving and receiving information in academic settings, while also emphasizing the importance of system design and how changes to a system affect user experience. My research and exhibit have contributed to the discourse on CMSs by providing both a student and a design perspective. * Please note: my thesis research and exhibit can be presented in a number of ways. If selected, please contact me directly to discuss what might be the best medium for this conference.
Evaluating the effectiveness of Comprehensive versus Risk-Avoidance Sexual Education Curriculum in Northern Utah
In the United States, there are two approaches to sexual education in publics schools: risk-avoidant curriculums; often referred to as "abstinence-only", and comprehensive sex education (Alford, 2001). Currently, Utah educators must follow a state-mandated curriculum and without special permission, it is illegal for health teachers to deviate from the state-mandated curriculum at all (Steadman, Crookston, Randy, & Hall, 2014). As outlined by the state of Utah, educators are only allowed to discuss contraception with written parental permission. In addition, any discussion that appears to advocate, promote, or teach the logistics of contraception is forbidden and punishable by law (Steadman, et al., 2014). The Institute of Medicine found that abstinence-only programs do not reduce high-risk behaviors that put youth at risk for HIV and other STI infections. However, comprehensive sex education was found to be effective and does not have an impact on a teen's first reported intercourse, frequency of sexual interactions, or number of partners (Starkman, 2002). For the purpose of this study, parental attitudes towards the two sexual education curriculums will be evaluated to determine if there is a discrepancy between what is currently being taught in public schools regarding sexual education and reproductive health; and what parents would prefer to be taught to their children. Working in conjunction with a small, urban city health department, a cross-sectional social survey will be disseminated to parents with children under 17 years old in two, northern-Utah counties. Utilizing a social survey to gather qualitative data, parental preferences towards sexual education curriculums will be assessed to determine what Utahans want to be taught in public schools. The findings may be utilized to advocate for more research to be done and for policy changes that will improve sexual heath education in Utah and other states.
Enhancing Number System Knowledge to Promote Number Sense and Adaptive Expertise: A Case Study of a Second-Grade Mathematics Student
Instruction for developing students’ number sense is a critical area of research in mathematics education due to the role number sense plays in early mathematics learning. Specifically, number system knowledge— knowledge of the systematic relations among Arabic numerals and the skills in using this knowledge to solve arithmetic problems—has been identified as a key cognitive mechanism in number sense development. We view number system knowledge as a component of number sense and theorize that it plays a critical role in second-grade students’ understanding of relationships among numbers and adaptive expertise with mathematics problems. The purpose of this exploratory case study was to investigate the variations of an 8-year-old student’s number system knowledge learning as she participated in an instructional treatment over 9 weeks. Our main research questions were: 1) In what ways does a student struggling in mathematics develop number system knowledge during a 9-week period in her second-grade classroom? 2) How does the instructional treatment influence her number system knowledge and number sense development during the 9-week period? The case in our study was selected based on her low pretest score combined with her desire for making sense of mathematics. Data were collected with a number sense assessment (which included a targeted number system knowledge assessment), student interviews, and classroom observations. Data were triangulated using these multiple sources. The analysis involved a multiple-cycle coding process that resulted in themes regarding the development of adaptive expertise and the union of procedural and conceptual knowledge in mathematics instruction. The results suggest that this instructional treatment provided this case-study student to develop more pronounced adaptive expertise in mathematical problem solving. Additionally, it revealed the importance of mathematics instruction that includes numerals linked to quantities in order to help students to conceptualize basic mathematical practices. Typical elementary school teachers are challenged by reaching the needs of students struggling in mathematics. Number system knowledge is a predictor of later mathematics achievement, and an in-depth analysis of how and why one struggling student develops number system knowledge during a 9-week instructional treatment within the context of her mathematics class provides exploratory evidence to help researchers and teachers develop and implement similar practices in elementary mathematics instruction.
This study investigated the effect of college-level algebra on critical thinking skills. Students were given critical thinking tasks to perform at the start, middle, and end of math classes during the 2016-17 academic year. They were also offered the opportunity to discuss their performance afterwards. Results did not show a clear relationship between mathematical reasoning and improved critical thinking skills; however, several possible influences on the findings raise interesting questions for additional research.
Purpose: Evaluate the effect of interprofessional education (IPE) on undergraduate students’ attitudes of IPE, perceptions of working together, and ratings of teamwork. Background: The culture of education prepares healthcare professionals in silos, then expects them to work collaboratively upon graduation. Medical errors, resulting from communication issues, are considered a leading cause of patient death. Interdisciplinary education of future professionals may prevent communication issues and reduce patient deaths. IPE of undergraduates may improve communication of future professionals educated in universities without medical schools. Research Questions: Following a semester-long IPE class: 1. How do students describe their perceptions about ability to, value of, and comfort in working in interprofessional teams? 2. What are students’ ratings of teamwork, interprofessional interactions and relationships? 3. What are students’ attitudes toward IPE and opinion of usefulness of IPE activities? 4. What are the differences between healthcare student groups’ (nursing, dietetics, medical lab science, pre-professional etc.) perceptions of working together, attitudes of IPE, and ratings of teamwork? Methodology: A pre-post descriptive quantitative design was used. A total of 110 undergraduate students completed questionnaires at the beginning and end of an interprofessional health professions course. Study subjects included students from the following majors: nursing, dietetics, medical lab science, pre-professional, and other health-related professions. Quantitative data included survey results of three validated instruments used in IPE research: Attitudes Towards Healthcare Teams (ATHCT), Interprofessional Socialization & Valuing Scale (ISVS), and The University of West England Interprofessional Questionnaire (UWE IPQ). Data were analyzed using a two-tailed paired t-test. Findings: Student responses showed significant increases in IPE scores with two of the three instruments. Students participating in the interprofessional course reported significantly increased scores on the ATHCT (M baseline = 3.75; M follow-up = 4.17; p = .000; 5-point Likert-type) and ISVS (M baseline = 3.72; M follow-up = 5.35; p = .000; 7-point Likert-type). Results of the UWE IPQ were mixed. Students reported significantly increased scores on the interprofessional relationships subscale (M baseline = 3.42; M follow-up = 3.92; p = .000; 5-point Likert-type), while scores on the other three UWE IPQ subscales were not significant. Conclusions and implications: IPE of undergraduate students in health-related majors can significantly improve their attitudes toward interprofessional collaboration. While IPE may serve to augment collaboration among future health professions, it cannot substitute for hospital interaction. In the undergraduate setting for future health professionals, IPE should be used in conjunction with hospital experiences.
In an education community concerned with improving student resilience in rigorous learning experiences, I have observed how modern trends in youth-oriented literature (both children’s literature and Young Adult Fiction) underestimate the cognitive abilities of young readers. This underestimation and its resulting literary produce has the limiting effect on young people’s acquisition of more formidable critical thinking skills. The question this presentation seeks to address is how can youth-oriented literature better serve the development of critical thinking in young readers? This project is established upon the tested conclusion that young readers are capable of understanding forms of figurative language, found in “Figurative Language Development Research And Popular Children's Literature: Why We Should Know, “Where The Wild Things Are,”” by Herbert L. Colston and Melissa S. Kuiper. This presentation will first establish the current state of youth-oriented literature in the United States—one in which books are written with marketing in mind. Then, it will discuss how specific children’s authors, such as Diana Wynne Jones (Howl’s Moving Castle) or Ursula K. Le Guin (Wizard of Earthsea), have been able to instill their works with deeper, more complicated, themes (e.g., identity, gender, race relations) that inspire critical thinking as well as rich writing content (i.e., imagery, figurative language). By establishing that the philosophy of youth-oriented literature today is flawed in that it fails to challenge its readers, this presentation hopes to show how it can be improved by youth-oriented writers, as well as parents and educators. Improvements would include: raising standards to more a rigorous degree, no longer shying away from “complicated” topics, and delivering young people the best example of writing possible whether or not it “goes over their heads.” These improvements would result in that students have every opportunity to gain the most astute abilities of critical thinking to apply in all their continued years of education.
Demonstrations have become widely used and respected instructional tools in chemistry. This poster reports on the results of a study that evaluates the effectiveness of lab demonstrations versus self-directed student labs in an introductory chemistry course. Final exam scores across twelve semesters for each method of teaching were compared statistically, and the scores on the demonstration portion of the exam were found to be significantly higher on average than the scores on the experiment portion of the exam. This suggests that demonstrations are a more effective method of helping students retain information than self-directed experiments.
Understanding Parental Attitudes toward Abstinence Based and Comprehensive based Sexual Health Topics in Northern Utah
There are only two types of sexual education programs that are taught in the United States, comprehensive sexual education and abstinence-only until marriage programs (Steadman, Crookston, Randy, & Hall, 2014). These are state mandated programs and withoutspecial consent it is illegal for health teachers to teach anything other than the state mandated curriculum (Steadman, et al., 2014). Utah state law only allows a discussion of contraception use with parental approval and is up to the local school board if that can even be offered (Steadman, et al., 2014). If condoms and contraception are discussed amongst students, teachers are not allowed to explain how to use and or promote condoms or contraception even among students who engage in sexual behaviors in the state of Utah.The current study is looking at the possible discrepancy between what is currently being taught in public schools regarding sexual education and what parents would prefer to be taught. We are working with a small urban city Health Department to administer a cross-sectional social survey to the parents in two counties of Northern Utah. The survey will assist in gaining a better understanding of the knowledge, opinions, and attitudes of current practices but also parental opinions of different evidence based opt-in options as well. We anticipate that the survey results will express parents wanting a more comprehensive form of sexual education for their children rather than an abstinence based program. The finding from this project will be used to influence policy changes and improve sexual health education in Utah and other states as well.
This paper intends to expand and deepen the current research on Learner-centered Teaching (LCT), a pedagogy that seeks to shift the focus of an educator from his or her own teaching to the learning of those being educated. It is modern application that stems from a significant amount of research conducted on learning. The research regarding LCT, however, seems to be focused on modern examples and contexts. No one has looked to the past to find examples of LCT techniques present in the methods of ancient educators. This paper begins the research on historical examples of LCT and intends to open a discussion on the comparisons that can be made between historical teaching methods and the methods included in LCT. One of the learning theories that plays a significant role in LCT is Constructivism. This paper illustrates the presence of constructivist learning in historical education settings through a case study analyzing some of the teaching methods of Jesus Christ. Regardless of one’s belief in historical authenticity, Jesus is an excellent example because his teachings are well-known, widely available, and offer a look into ancient instruction. This paper analyzes interactions that Jesus had with others in the New Testament Gospels and makes connections between Jesus’s teaching methods and those related to constructivism in LCT. The purpose of making these connections is not to suggest that Jesus taught exactly as is outlined in LCT; rather, it is to show the usefulness of studying historical examples of LCT and to encourage such research. Although Jesus does not fit the modern definition of a learner-centered teacher, certain aspects of Jesus’s teaching closely resemble the methods of LCT. New historical insights will aid in a better understanding of LCT. The goal is to expand its area of research, which will undoubtedly lead to better implementation. It will also strengthen the argument for its use in modern education. Other historical teachers should be researched in this way, and connections with learning theories other than just Constructivism should be explored. This paper intends to point out this gap in current literature and call for additional research.
Many barriers hinder refugees from regularly exercising upon immigration to the United States. The purpose of this research project is to improve program planning with the goal of helping refugees achieve optimal wellbeing. This project involves ten sessions with refugees, including a component of exercise teaching preceded by a focus group and self-administered survey. Sessions are conducted at the Refugee Education and Training Center in Salt Lake City throughout the fall of 2017. Focus group discussion includes perspectives on perceived susceptibility of getting enough exercise, perceived severity of conditions accompanying sedentary lifestyle, perceived benefits of regular exercise, and perceived obstacles that make regular exercise difficult. Class participants are also asked to discuss their motivation for exercise and their opinion on resources for exercise. Though data is still being gathered for this project, current analysis shows that participants enjoy the exercise class. Focus group data shows that some participants believe a lack of regular exercise will lead to sickness, weight gain, and the potential for diagnosis of diabetes. Data shows that few class participants exercise regularly. In general, participants who did not exercise regularly tend to be unclear about benefits of physical activity for physical and mental health. The majority of class participants do not know of community resources for exercise. Conclusions drawn from our preliminary data show that more exercise classes should be offered to refugee populations in the community. In addition to exercise classes, there is a need for refugee education surrounding the benefits of physical activity as it pertains to physical and mental health.
As the world becomes a more global community, it is extra valuable to understand different languages and cultures to enhance communication and understanding. The three languages that are explored in this project are English, Chinese, and Korean. Each of these languages are globally significant because of their major influences in technology, politics, and business. This documentation project will aim to provide further justification for maintaining global awareness and literacy, especially in a time when many nations are increasingly drawing inward and fearing interaction outside their own borders. In the case of English, there is a growing market for teaching this language in foreign countries as it provides economic advantages to learners. This teaching market is an increasingly popular and successful avenue for start-up businesses, volunteer work, and non-profit organizations in developing areas of the world. The purpose of this research project is to analyze a month-long, volunteer English-teaching experience in China. This project documents a personal foreign language experience while being abroad for a month as an English teacher to young Chinese students. In addition to recording my experience of teaching English as a foreign language, I have kept a log of my individual efforts in attempting to learn basic Chinese and maintain my second language abilities in Korean. My efforts to explore these three avenues of teaching, learning, and retaining foreign language during this experience is analyzed through the lens of follow-up research concerning theories on language learning. This project explores the variety of methodologies that can be used to assist the language learning process while trying to participate in global activities. This project is important initially as volunteer work, but I would also like to contribute to literature and curriculum ideas that relate to foreign language immersion, for teachers and learners. Through my documentation project, I also hope to provide further analysis on retention strategies recommended for people who are interested in learning and maintaining multiple languages.
Climate Confusion in the Classroom; Perceptions, Methods, and Background of Utah Secondary Education Science Teachers
In 2016, a nationwide study out of Pennsylvania State University surveyed 10,000 secondary education public school science teachers and found that “teachers’ knowledge and values can hinder climate education” (Plutzer, 2016). This groundbreaking study showed that a teacher's knowledge of and belief in climate change, affected what they taught in the classroom. A 2017 study, focusing on the northern Utah area, is an attempt to replicate and verify the above results. The study area, which includes some of the largest school districts in the nation, encompasses Weber, Ogden, and Davis school districts, which serve approximately 113,000 students. To assess the views of the teachers in these districts, an email invitation to take the survey was sent directly to all associated junior high and high school science teachers that had publicly available email addresses, a total of 190 of the 220 listed science teachers in these districts. Survey participants were asked questions to assess their knowledge of climate change as well as their teaching practices in the classroom. These responses, as well as answers to demographic questions were evaluated to determine the impact that their knowledge and beliefs had in their teaching. While the survey is ongoing, preliminary data analysis indicates that even in the context of a conservative state, teachers in northern Utah, in general, follow the same patterns shown in the nationwide Plutzer (2016) study. This strengthens the theory that teachers who lack a knowledge of or belief in climate change, tend to convey that message to their students, thus clouding the scientific consensus on climate change.
Grammatical and Narrative Content Adequacy in Story Retells Told by Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) Before, During and After Narrative Instruction
Emily Kunz, Shea Long, Melany Reeder, and Brigid Crotty, Utah State University Education It has been proposed that asking a child to make up their own story, rather than to retell a story, is a more stringent test of narrative ability and may tax the linguistic system revealing weaknesses not apparent in less difficult contexts (eg., retelling stories). At least one study has shown that children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) experience content-form tradeoffs as they master narrative discourse (DeLucchi, Fricke, Kaye, Crotty and Gillam, 2015). The content-form tradeoff was observed when children with ASD with typical grammatical skills and poor narrative proficiency were shown to experience significant grammatical difficulties as they mastered narrative discourse. The purpose of this study was to determine whether content-form trade-offs were observed in stories children with ASD were asked to retell. Five children with ASD ranging in age from 9-12 were asked to retell stories weekly, during a baseline and narrative treatment period over the course of 12-16 weeks. The stories were scored for grammaticality and narrative proficiency. Story retells were observed to be grammatical whether elicited during baseline, early, mid or later treatment sessions. Children with lower language skills experienced times when they were completely unable to recall a story, particularly early on in instruction, although when they did, they experienced good grammatical accuracy. Children with higher language skills were always able to remember parts of the story and were highly grammatical. The story model (retell) may make it less difficult for students with ASD to focus on and remember content while also maintaining grammatical accuracy.
Kristine Jolley, Brigham Young University Education This research-in-progress examines the role of action research in teacher movement toward reform-based mathematics education during a sustained professional development initiative. This initiative, which provided coursework for the Utah Elementary Mathematics Endorsement (UEME), was implemented as a Brigham Young University/Alpine School District partnership collaboration. Although the UEME is offered at several sites across Utah as a major state professional development initiative in mathematics education, our collaboration was unique in incorporating action research as a major component. We pose and seek to answer the following question: What happens to teachers’ knowledge and theories regarding reform-based mathematics education as they engage in action research on a reform-based mathematics education practice of their choice in their classrooms? We have examined data collected from three cohorts of participants over the 4-year duration of the grant; each participant was involved for 2 years. Of the 53 participants, 12 (4 from each cohort) were purposefully selected according to pre- and post-measures of participants’ mathematics beliefs, knowledge, and practice as well as the dimensions of gender, ethnicity, professional assignment, and years of teaching experience. Qualitative analysis of relevant data from these participants is contributing to our understanding of the role of action research in teacher movement toward reform-based mathematics education. We are currently writing the analysis section of a manuscript based on these data. Recognition of the need for improvement in mathematics teaching and learning is not new, yet implementing the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics adds a new layer of challenge. This in-depth study of action research as a professional development practice should inform decision-making regarding the inclusion of action research in subsequent Endorsement programs as well as in other professional development initiatives. Further, this study should add its own unique contribution to the research conversation on a broader scale.
Raschelle Davis, Dixie State University Education The general populace in America has many misconceptions concerning space; this is due to lack of explicit, clear education. As children grow and observe the world around them they can create misconceptions about how things work. Research shows that this is particularly true when children are learning about space (Brunsell and Marcks, 2007). Many of these misconceptions can be corrected or avoided if the teacher has specific knowledge of the science content and how to teach it (Bulunuz and Jarrett, 2009). As a mother of a young boy I have been asked many questions about space and how it all works. I was never sure how I should answer those questions, since I did not fully understand how it worked myself. This past year I became involved in a NASA astronomy project in my teacher education program that teaches space science to students using a hands-on approach. During my first astronomy event I could not help but be amazed with the questions and the confusion that some of the students had about space while looking through the telescopes. This gave me the desire to learn more about space and teaching children about space. This research project explores children’s misconceptions about space, the problems with how children are currently being taught about space, and how students could more effectively be taught about space in order to reach clear understanding.
Bold Talk for a One-Eyed Fat Man: The Importance of Classic Western Literature in the Contemporary Classroom
Are classic, young-adult novels set in the American west a dead genre in the American classroom? Despite its historical impact on popular culture, young-adult novels set in the American west have seen a considerable decline in relevance in American public schools. While classic young-adult literature receiving heavy rotation in current young-adult classrooms, as well as young-adult literature published in the current century, may have its place, Western, young-adult literature published in the 1960’s and 1970’s should still be read, taught, critiqued and celebrated. The general argument against including western, young-adult literature on the reading lists of public schools in the western states, where, arguably they should be the most prevalent, is that the texts are significantly passé and therefore not relevant to contemporary secondary students. While the majority of criticism in favor of western literature is also dated, this paper makes the argument that although the texts and various criticisms may seem behind the times, it should also be taken into account that present-day society is remarkably similar to society when the texts were initially published. Interestingly, not only is present-day society similar to society in the late 1960’s and 1970’s, but a recent interest in regionalism as opposed to vast commercialism also seems to be making an impact on society. By presenting literature that draws attention to the history of a local area, a literary gap created by an interest in who we were as a society and where we came from may be filled. The research conducted takes the classic, western, young-adult novel, True Grit by Charles Portis and that text with a more popular and more contemporary novel, The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton. It’s through this comparison we are able to appreciate and understand the relevance of classic Western literature in the contemporary classroom.
Nicolette Parrish, Dixie State University Education In a world where it seems nearly impossible for American Indian people to succeed, this presentation will draw upon first-hand interviews with terminal degree-holding American Indian women to demonstrate their successes, failures, resiliency, determination, and strengths in the face of an educational system that has historically been a source of pain and trauma for their communities. Indeed, the relationship between American Indians and academia has not always been a pleasant one. In 1879, Carlisle Indian School was the first Indian boarding school to be opened in the United States. The first boarding schools took American Indian children thousands of miles away from their homelands and forced them to live a foreign lifestyle. They were not allowed to speak their language or live by their traditional and cultural values. A new life was forced onto them and for years American Indians struggled to cope with that cultural and geographical dislocation. 135 years later, American Indians are still struggling to make a connection with the modern world and with their cultural world. It is rare to see an American Indian with a doctorate degree and it is even rarer for that person to be a woman. The quality of education and lack of resources on reservations often leaves American Indian children behind. For this reason, the aim of this project, to collect the oral histories from those that have overcome these obstacles in the face of so much adversity, is especially valuable.
Logan Carter, Southern Utah University Education Many students learn best from hands on activities. I myself have had several experiences that have led to deeper understanding and growth. I have participated in many scientific extra-curricular activities such as the SUU Science and Engineering fair, The International Science and Engineering fair, and NCSSSMST conventions. Throughout all of these I gained a deeper understanding of scientific concepts. To test the hypothesis that learning in elementary school students may be affected positively by experiential learning because it engages them in whole brain learning, I have designed an engaged learning set of activities. I will test these activities on approximately twenty students between the ages of nine and eleven at North Elementary School. I will measure how students respond to a set of experiential learning activities through pre and post-activity assessments. For example, we will learn about parental care in amphibians, specifically Alytes spp. -the midwife toads. Male midwife toads wrap the fertilized eggs on their legg’s and care for them until they hatch. The activity would be to split the students into groups and making one group gives the other group the eggs (balloons on a string) to the other group to simulate caring for them. That group would then race to a finish line with the balloons around their legs, making sure not to break any of the eggs. The students with the most unbroken eggs would be awarded a prize for parental care. Experiential learning is an effective way for students to gain knowledge.
Lauren Ezzell and Lauryn Chapman, Snow College Education Most secondary level public schools have school counselors. However, the actual responsibilities of counselors are seen differently by people. There are studies demonstrating the perspective of principals’, teachers’, and counselors’. Yet, little attention is paid to the parents’ perspective and no attention to the students’. That’s why the research, Perceptions of School Counselor’s Responsibilities, is important. Surveys were distributed to high school students and parents throughout Utah. Surveys asked what were the counselors’ three main jobs. The majority of responses were: scheduling, ACT prep, graduation requirements. Participants were asked if there were jobs their counselor was supposed to do, but wasn’t, and what service they would like them to provide. Data was analyzed using SPSS to determine correlative trends then compared to the Utah Model for Comprehensive Guidance and Counseling. College students were also surveyed to determine their understanding of the counselors’ job. Students were asked two questions: What is the job of the college counselor? and What is the job of the college advisor? Responses were coded into five categories: knew job of counselor, knew job of advisor, unaware of difference, knew both, and didn’t know either. Results show when problems arise students confide in teachers instead of counselors, although parents thought differently. When asked what job counselors should do, the majority said emotional/wellness counseling. Results compared to the Utah Model, showed ‘Guidance Curriculum’ was given 3% (students) and 2% (parents) but the state gives 22%. Responses of college students showed only 5% knew the jobs of both the counselor and advisor, and only 15.1% of students knew the job of counselor. As a result, individuals are unsure of the school counselors’ job, which leads to the counselors being viewed as glorified registrars. This research could have lasting impacts on not only schools, but also individual students.
Erika Longino, University of Utah Education DesignbuildBLUFF is a development program wherein graduate architecture students apply custom designing and construction skills to make homes for Navajo families and individuals in need. 39% of the Utah reservation is under the poverty line and the whole Colorado Plateau is in an ecologically vulnerable position. There is clear evidence that water tables are dropping and native biodiversity is suffering because of anthropogenic climate change. Therefore, the human communities in the region are especially needful of proper infrastructure for sustainable development. DesignbuildBLUFF provides diverse services to many groups. The aim of this investigation is to map a framework for sustainable expansion and overall systematic improvement. The investigation will eventually produce a document outlining the inputs and outputs of DesignbuildBLUFF, environmentally and socially. Ecological components like soil quality, solar potential, rainfall, and plant inventory are noted and analyzed quantitatively. Social impacts are gathered using interviews and census data. The data is pulled together in a cohesive, aesthetic map and used to plan DesignbuildBLUFF’s trajectory. The document will provide a clear framework for acknowledging and eliminating unnecessary features, reducing the ecological footprint of the organization, and improving important social relations. This document is not a definitive “master plan”, rather it provides the necessary data and suggestions for growth that take into account whole systems thinking.
Shayla Miller, Dixie State University Education My research focuses on the positive side effects of using models and representations to facilitate student learning in the classroom. The science lesson was taught and recorded to a class of thirty students. The students made visual models/representations of their knowledge about ecosystems from the lesson taught. Test scores were improved, and the information was proven to stay in long term memory according to end of level testing.
Amber Christensen, Weber State University Education Session Title Women and nutrition in the back country: How their calorie intake and calorie expenditure affect their body composition while backpacking Summary Abstract This study examines the factors that influence change in women’s body composition while backpacking through a mountainous terrain. To see the changes and why they happened, pre- and post- data was collected to measure body composition while participants filled out food logs to generate calorie intake and calorie expenditure. Full Abstract Women are becoming more frequent in the back country as the benefits of nature are becoming more known. Since men have dominated the outdoor world, there is more research conducted on men in the outdoors than there are on women. Nutrition research in the back country is also a new research subject that is gaining interest. Adding women, nutrition, and the back country for research is a topic that not many have touched on. Why is this all relevant and what could it mean? From looking into women and their nutrition in the back country, we can get an inside look at what changes their bodies are making and what factors are causing these changes. During this study women over the age of 18 enrolled in a National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) course of their choice went into the back country of Wyoming for thirty days. Before they left for the back country, pre-tests were recorded of their body composition using Weber State University’s Bod Pod which recorded lean muscle masses and body fat masses. During their expedition they were asked to keep a food log. Their leaders recorded their distance traveled during each day which was then calculated into energy expenditure. Upon returning, post-tests were recorded using the Bod Pod to compare results between before and after. Measurements and data have been collected on these women as well as their food logs. A conclusion will be made from analyzing the data from both Bod Pod measurements and the food and nutritional intake vs energy expenditure. Currently the process of entering this data is underway and will be completed within the coming months. Once this data is entered and analyzed with the results from the Bod Pod, conclusions can be made to determine if these women received adequate calorie intake to at least match calorie expenditure and what affects their nutrition intake had on changes to their body composition. Measurable Outcomes 1. Changes in body composition; lean muscle mass vs fat mass. 2. If calorie intake was sufficient to support calorie expenditure. 3. Nutritional value of the foods consumed and how they affected performance.
Claudy Eckardt, Weber State University Education Obesity is a growing epidemic in the United States. Statistical facts show that one third of U.S. children, between the ages of 2-19, are obese. A common health risk found in children who are overweight is that they will continue to stay overweight throughout the course of their lifespan. Long-term health consequences of obesity only to be found in adults have become more prevalent in children as well. Prevention is the key to reducing this dangerous epidemic and its consequences. The purpose of this study was to investigate children’s knowledge on the causes and consequences of being overweight. This study used a qualitative research method. Two participants were interviewed for case studies. Both participants were between the ages of 8 and 11 and were from different ethnic backgrounds. Each child was given nine questions to answer. Each child was given an adequate amount of time to thoroughly understand each question and respond. Interviews lasted between five to ten minutes. Parental consent was given before the interview process. Results showed that the participants were exposed to the risk factors of obesity. Each child demonstrated a clear understanding that obesity has negative health consequences and expressed preventative measures as well. Furthermore the participants proved that obesity was not only limited to the school or home environment but multiple environments.
Kassandra Sqrow, Weber State University Education Opportunities for children to interact and connect to the natural environment through play are declining. The benefits of outdoor play are well documented (Little and Wyver, 2008) and show the important role it contributes to healthy child development. Yet, fears and anxieties parents have about the outdoor environment are the most potent forces that prevent parents from allowing their children to play outdoors (Furedi, 2002; Louv, 2006). Identifying the beliefs and attitudes parents have about outdoor-based play can provide valuable insights for recreation and youth professionals to understand how to encourage outdoor play in families. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore parents’ perceptions on factors that constrain or facilitate the level of outdoor play that they encourage in their children. Parents with children ages 4 to 10 years old were recruited through a local school to participate in focus groups. Research participants were asked about their perceptive on the role outdoor-play has on their child’s development and characteristics of outdoor play spaces that influence the level of outdoor play their children engage in. Data will be analyzed by identifying recurring themes and patterns of parents’ perceptions and factors that influence the level of outdoor-based play in their child’s life. The data for this study is currently being collected and will be analyzed by November 2014. Implications for practice will be discussed.
Content-Form Trade-offs in the Spontaneous Stories Told by Chi ldren with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Implications for Assessment and Instruction
Samantha DeLucchi, Telesha Fricke, Kamilla Okey and Brigid Crotty, Utah State University Education Children with ASD often experience marked difficulty achieving proficiency in narration, and often require explicit instruction to learn this important discourse skill. The present study was designed to extend the work of Colozzo et al., 2011 by examining the relationship between content and form in the narratives of school-age children with ASD as they participated in a narrative intervention program to improve their knowledge of story structure and ultimately, to improve their ability to create coherent, organized narratives. Children received two, individual, 50-minute intervention sessions weekly for a period of about 7 – 11 weeks. Children were asked to make up their own stories once weekly. These stories were scored for narrative proficiency and for grammatical accuracy. Findings revealed that prior to beginning narrative treatment, all of the children’s grammatical accuracy was high while their narrative proficiency scores were low. In the first weeks of treatment, all children experienced a significant decrease in grammatical accuracy (<70%), however their narrative scores were observed to increase. Narrative proficiency scores continued to increase and become stable for all children. Interestingly, grammatical accuracy returned to normal (90% or greater) during the last weeks of intervention as children’s narrative proficiency became stable. The findings from this study support the presence of a content-form tradeoff, as children learn difficult linguistic skills, other skills that are ordinarily stable, may fluctuate until the new skill is mastered. The absence of grammatical errors may not be taken as an indication that the student is proficient in constructing a coherent, organized narrative. Further implications are discussed.
Improving the Use of Mental State Verbs by Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Two Narrative Production Tasks: Story Retelling and Spontaneous Story Generation
Mary Ann Hammon, Sydney Sneddon, Madeline Williams and Brigid Crotty, Utah State University Education Children diagnosed with ASD often experience marked difficulty in the comprehension and production of narrative discourse that extends well into their adolescent and adult years (7, 8, 9, 10). These narrative difficulties appear to be linked directly to the core symptoms of ASD that manifest in failure to plan using information from multiple sources, a hyper-focus on details at the expense of gist-level propositions and limited use of mental state and causal language to encode goals and motivations of characters (11). Theory of Mind (ToM) accounts propose that a core deficit in ASD is an inability to infer the emotional or mental states of others. Deficits in ToM have been shown to significantly impair one’s ability to engage in ongoing social interactions and to develop the linguistic knowledge (e.g., mental state and causal language) necessary for understanding the relationship between events in discourse (9). Mental state and causal language is necessary for the establishment of a causal framework to link story grammar elements together. The overarching goal of this project was to test whether a program designed to teach narrative language skills was effective for increasing the use of mental state and causal language for children with high functioning autism (ASD). A multiple baseline across participants study was conducted with 5 children with ASD (ages 8-12). Intervention was provided for two 50-minute individual sessions per week for a total of 21-33 sessions (depending on the student). Children’s spontaneous stories and story retells, collected weekly, were analyzed for the use of mental state and causal language before, during and after intervention. All of the children made clinically significant gains after participating in the instruction, with clear changes in the use and complexity of mental state verbs during both types of narrative production tasks (story retell, spontaneous generation). The gains were maintained after intervention was discontinued.
Syntactic Complexity and Narrativ e Competence for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): Balancing Complexity with Content in Spontaneously Generated Stories
Mercedes Sanford, Ryan Pearson, Kate Summers, and Brigid Crotty, Utah State University Education Deficits in complex syntax may not be apparent in stories that children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) create on their own. That is, in self-generated stories, complex syntactic forms are not obligatory in order to get the “message across.” However, in order to create complex stories, those that contain complicating actions and events, complex sentences are unavoidable. Although children with ASD have been said to have typical syntactic skills, it is possible, that this is due to a preference for syntactically simple utterances. The purpose of this study was to examine the syntactic complexity of stories created by 5 children with ASD as they participated in an intervention to improve their narrative skills. Stories were elicited once weekly from single scene picture prompts; recorded, transcribed and then coded for narrative proficiency and syntactic complexity. Results indicated that during baseline when children were not receiving instruction, their self-generated stories contained more simple sentences (75-100%) that contained one main verb as compared to complex sentences (0-25%) that contained two or more main verbs. Their narrative skills during baseline were judged to be below average. Over the course of instruction, children’s narrative skills and their use of complex sentences increased in a similar pattern. Individual differences were observed in the impact that this pattern of change had on children’s verbal fluency and grammaticality. These differences will be discussed in terms of a cognitive load hypothesis.
The Relationship between Narrative Proficiency and Syntactic Complexity of Story Retells Elicited from Children with ASD
Taylor Anderson, Megan Israel Sen, Amy Nielsen, and Brigid Crotty, Utah State University Education Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) have been shown to use substantially more simple sentences as compared to complex sentences in their spontaneously generated narratives (Sanford, Pearson, Summers, Crotty and Gillam, 2015). However, Sanford et al., showed that children with ASD began to use substantially more complex sentences in their stories during and after narrative treatment (>50%). It is possible that children with ASD may experience greater difficulty using complex sentences in stories they must generate than in retelling stories they have heard. The purpose of this study was to examine story retells of 5 children with ASD before, during and after narrative intervention for syntactic complexity. Results indicated that during baseline when children were not receiving instruction, their story retells contained more simple sentences than complex sentences. The use of complex sentences was observed to increase as children became more proficient in their narrative production skills. When compared to stories children generated on their own (spontaneous stories), the story retells contained more complex sentences overall, but were often associated with less verbal fluency particularly as children were mastering narrative skills. The findings will be discussed in terms of trade-offs in verbal fluency, grammaticality and the use of complex sentences during different stages of narrative proficiency as a function of initial language knowledge.
Jadyn Naylor, Michael Jensen, and Kevin Duncan, Utah State University Education From 2007-2008 the United States and the rest of the world suffered the largest economic downturn since the Great Depression, a period which has been termed the “Great Recession”. This occurred when, as a result of the subprime mortgage crisis, residential and business investment declined, leading to the collapse of several major financial institutions and significant disruption in the flow of credit to businesses and consumers. The contraction of GDP growth and record unemployment that followed inspired congress to pass TARP in 2008, authorizing the US government to purchase $700 billion worth of “troubled” assets. In 2009 President Obama passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to boost demand for goods and services and create jobs. On top of these legislative measures, the Federal Reserve lowered the federal funds rate to nearly zero, to increase liquidity, and gave banks $7.7 trillion in emergency loans to promote market trust. These responses have been said to reflect the federal government’s faith in Keynesian economic theories, theories which encourage government manipulation of currency and interest rates to counteract fluctuations in the economy. Trust in markets to correct themselves is all but nonexistent at the federal level. Whether or not this distrust is justified is the subject of our research. Previous research has found that economic freedom is positively correlated with increases in wealth, education, health, and political freedom. With our research we hope to determine if and how economic freedom affects the speed and robustness with which an economy recovers from economic downturns. Because the United States government is based upon the ideas of federalism, economic policies vary from state to state. We will use this property to our advantage for our research, comparing each state’s level of economic freedom to various measures of that state’s economic health. These data will be analyzed before, during, and after the recession. Our hypothesis is that states with higher economic freedom rankings recovered from the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008 more quickly than states with lower economic freedom scores. To determine the level of economic freedom in each state, we will be using the Economic Freedom of North America ratings published by the Fraser Institute each year. The Fraser Institute measures the extent to which the policies in each state promote or limit economic freedom based on the state’s size of government, tax code, and labor market restrictions. The Fraser Institute does this at both a sub-government level and an all-government level, giving each state two rankings. We will be testing our hypothesis against both rankings. Our methodology is to compare these rankings to several economic variables: Real GDP, percentage unemployment, and number of jobs created per capita. We will be using periodic measurements of these data across time, from 2006 – 2013. In examining the relationship between these variables and the Fraser Institute’s economic freedom rankings we expect to determine whether there is any correlation, at the state level, between economic freedom and quality of economic recovery, and if there is, to determine the nature of the correlation.
John Lorz, Utah Valley University Education How about a 20% increase in the class average on the mid-term exam compared with the previous two academic years of the same course? In this session two students share their experiences as (newly piloted) peer mentors in a low-performing, upper division genetics class. Student attitudes towards genetics improved and both mid-term and final grades increased by double-digit percentages. Not only did these peer mentors increase student success, but also experienced a personal developmental opportunity in preparation for graduate school, including this conference presentation and an anticipated peer-reviewed publication to follow.
How a Small Group of Middle School Students Engaged with Data and Evidence While Addressing a Local Water Quality Issue
David Turner, Utah State University Education Problem based learning is an approach to education where students develop solutions to authentic problems (Hmelo-Silver, 2004) with support from scaffolding (Wood, Bruner, & Ross, 1976; Reiser, 2004). Computer based scaffolding helps students organize thoughts and arguments while solving problems (Belland, Glazewski & Richardson, 2008). We examined how students from one small group constructed order in their interactions and arguments as they solved an environmental issue using a stakeholder lens.
Kristin Murphy, Utah State University Education Past research shows that parents interact more positively with their children and use more supportive language during play than during teaching interactions (Kwon, Bingham, Lewsader, Jeon, & Elicker, 2013). Children with normal language development tend to have parents who use more language supporting speech, (Vigil, Hodges, & Klee, 2005) than parents of children with language delays. The specific research question addressed in this study is: Do maternal (maternal depression, education levels, parenting stress) or child factors (language development, social-emotional development) influence maternal language behaviors in teaching and play contexts?
Tyler Mathis, Brigham Young University Education We need to improve our educational system through giving our teachers more chances to be given constructive feedback through teacher evaluations. As teachers receive feedback and are put through effective teacher evaluations their performance will improve and the upcoming generation will be more educated. This will greatly beneficial to the future of our society as a whole. Teacher evaluations is an important topic to raise awareness of to help produce effective and beneficial teaching to the upcoming generation. The topic I will address is how we can make teacher evaluations more effective by exploring ways to quantitatively measure teachers’ effectiveness through examining student gains. I will also examine why implementing teacher observations will be an asset to teacher performance and a necessity in teacher evaluations.
Jonathan Welling, Brigham Young University Education The demographic shift of Mexican immigrants within the public school system in the US has created a great need for teachers to better understand the expectations that immigrant families bring with them from their education system in Mexico. This research provides contextual information to educational stakeholders in the US to better accommodate to the needs of immigrant students from Mexico. This study explores the norms, roles and expectations of teachers, parent and students in the education system in Irapuato, Mexico. Data was collected from observations and interviews with teacher, parents and students from three different public high schools in Irapuato, Mexico: CBTis- a technical school, The Official Preparatory School of Irapuato- a standard public school and SABES- a small rural school. Analysis was done using a systematic approach of open coding to identify emergent themes. Preliminary results provide contextual information explaining the expectations parents hold for the teachers in Irapuato, Mexico. The data is valuable in understanding the norms, expectations and perceived roles held immigrant Mexican families. Applications of this data may be used to facilitate both collaboration between teachers and Mexican immigrant parents and the adjustment of immigrant students to a new educational system.
Examining Student Performance Related to the Use of E-text/Course Content in Business School Classrooms
Shadlan Gale, Utah Valley University Education This paper presents ongoing research comparing the learning performance of students using online and electronic textbooks/course content (e-text) for business-related classes versus students using traditional, hard-copy textbooks. In fall 2013, the Woodbury School of Business (WSB) at Utah Valley University (UVU) converted over fifty courses to e-text only. The WSB made this transition in many of its classes for various financial reasons as well as to provide students with a more interactive way of learning course material through the application of the additional learning tools that can only be found within the e-text platforms. In a previously published paper, the authors showed that no statistical difference was found in test scores for students at UVU taking a class which implemented the use of e-text among three different delivery types: live, hybrid, and online. This paper focuses more on discovering if student performance and test scores change by using e-text versus hard-copy textbooks and not in relation to the delivery type of the course.
English Language Learners in a Kindergarten Classroom: How pre-service teachers can help them improve reading competency
Shawnie Cram, Dixie State University Education English Language Learners (ELL) are confronted with many challenges such as insufficient language proficiency, lack of content knowledge, and adjusting to a new culture. Classroom teachers make efforts to effectively work with these students so they can become a vital member of the classroom community. However, if there is only one teacher in a classroom, they often do not have the time to assist the ELL at an adequate level. Using the participatory action research approach, this paper examines the ways in which a pre-service teacher can assist the classroom teacher by clearly identifying the goal for the ELL student. The goal set by the classroom teacher for this *ELL student is to reach grade level reading competency by the end of the academic school year. Through comprehensive discussions between the classroom and pre-service teacher, the methods and strategies based on Second Language Acquisition theories were decided to be implemented as tools of instruction. The pedagogy of reading across curriculum in a kindergarten classroom is utilized as the basic mode of instruction as the pre-service teacher and the classroom teacher collaboratively use different methods and strategies. The current data of the action research indicates that in three months, the ELL will reach approaching grade level proficiency with the assistance of the pre-service teacher. By the end of the academic school year, the author anticipates the ELL will demonstrate his reading competency at grade level.
Examining the Faculty Experience Related to the Use of E-text/Course Content in Business School Classrooms
Shadlan Gale, Utah Valley University Education This paper presents ongoing research to examine faculty experience and attitudes toward the implementation of electronic textbooks/course content (e-text) for college courses. In fall 2013, the Woodbury School of Business (WSB) at Utah Valley University (UVU) converted over fifty courses to e-text only. The WSB made this transition in many of its classes to reduce costs and provide students with more interactive course materials through additional learning tools found within the e-text platforms.
Christopher Green, Utah State University Education Statics is a gateway engineering course. Many students use their performance in a statics course to evaluate and judge their desire to continue within an engineering field. Students’ performance can be adversely impacted by misconceptions they may have regarding class content and analysis techniques. Feedback from instructors can help students navigate through their misconceptions. It is critical that this feedback be concise and timely to prevent a slip in self-efficacy, or an increase in their frustration. Both factors can negatively impact a student’s desire to persist in engineering. Implementation of online learning logs allows students a timely communication avenue that can reveal to the instructor indications of such factors. This study is designed to explore common misconceptions exhibited through learning logs in a pre-professional engineering statics class. Ninety student logs were consensually evaluated in a fall 2013 statics course delivered at Utah State University. A “discourse analysis” technique was used to review learning log data to discover students’ trouble areas within the class. Results indicate typical stumbling areas that students encounter in a statics course and allow insight into specific instruction areas that need to be refined to better deliver content to the class as well as individuals.
Evaluating the Utility of the Teacher Behavior Checklist as a Tool for Assessing Graduate Instructor Performance
Jessica Hill, Utah Valley University Education The transition to junior faculty member can be difficult for graduate students (Sorcinelli, 1992). Despite significant teaching requirements for most assistant professor positions, many graduate programs minimize teaching experiences. Due to this climate, the developmental process of novice graduate instructors is poorly understood (McKeachie & Svinicki, 2010). We investigated the utility of the Teacher Behavior Checklist (TBC), a measurement tool developed by studying master teachers (Buskist et al., 2002), as a means to evaluate classroom performance of first-time and novice graduate instructors (GIs).