As I move through my first term as a Secondary English M.Ed. student, my goal has been to expose myself to as many English classrooms and teaching styles, and as much Secondary English Education theory/methodology as possible. I used this week’s “free-choice” blog assignment as an opportunity to learn more about literacy in the high school English classroom.
K12 Online Conference 2009 Presentation
"Promise Into Practice: What It Now Means to Teach Adolescent Readers”
Presented by Sara Kajder
This presentation details Kajder’s action research project on the effectiveness of various literacy practices in 9th grade “standard” (low level) English classrooms. For a complete Fall semester, she studied 4 separate 9th grade classrooms totaling 120 students that had been assessed as borderline proficient, struggling to meet 9th grade GLE’s. She separated the 4 classes into 2 groups of 60 each. Group A students were exposed to various technology-based literacy practices throughout the course of the term, whereas Group B students were taught with a more classical approach.
The following is an outline of the semester tasks and how the tools for execution varied from Group A to Group B.
Task 1: Literacy Narrative - student self-introduction
Group A: voice thread
Group B: written letter
Task 2: Independent Reading - book summary/review
Group A: book trailer
Group B: book talk, oral presentation
Task 3: Literature Circle “Projects”
Group A: podcast
Group B: presentation
Task 4: Literature Circle Groups – discussion groups
Group A: outside of class
Group B: in class
Task 5: Writers Workshop
Group A: screencast feedback
Group B: written and oral paper
Task 6: Elements of Persuasion
Group A: remix
Group B: written paper
The findings of Kajder’s action research project suggest collaboration with peers and opportunity for sharing work with an authentic audience while providing a learning environment that fosters creative expression gave students a purpose for their reading and writing, and therefore motivated them to read for comprehension and write for reading. While both groups improved literacy proficiency, the “technology-infused” (Kajder) environment of Group A posted a greater improvement in literacy proficiency than Group B. With a purpose for their work and knowing they had a peer audience to capture, students showed they possessed stronger individual and collective literacy skills than had been previously assessed.
Having viewed Kajder's presentation, I will consider the alternative technology-based forms of literary exploration and project presentation in the English curriculum when designing my own.