Friday, 31 May 2019

Inquiry Blog #7: My Causal Chain

"In this model, the intervention (a new teaching approach) does not lead DIRECTLY to the ultimate desired effect (improvement in reading overall).

Rather, the theory of action or proposed causal chain is that teaching improves the children’s ability to understanding reading text and that, in turn, leads to improved reading more generally.
A positive shift in asttle reading is a desired effect of the intervention and a intermediary outcome. In this model the intervention would only be partially successful if it led to improved reading but improved reading did not contribute to more generalised reading achievement".

Here is my causal chain.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Inquiry blog #6: My patterns of teaching

In March, I wrote a blog where I talked about what the most important and catalytic issue of learning was in my classroom.  I reread what I wrote and found that I hadn't actually identified what the issue was with the learning, but more of what the problem was with my approach to teaching. 

After identifying my preliminary findings and gathering important data and evidence, I've decided the biggest issue in learning for my students was that 'my students struggled to write a summary about a text that they have read to show their understanding of the text'.  To come to this point, I have had to unpack my findings, to develop a worthwhile hypothesis.  I want to explore likely barriers for these findings and identify what key teaching actions I could use to accelerated student achievement in reading.  
Link here

1.  Developing a set of hypotheses about patterns in my teaching that could be change to more effectively address the student learning focus.

My students are struggling to write a summary because I may not be:
  • spending enough time ensuring students understand the text more deeply
  • allowing them to verbalise and discuss their learning more deeply
  • teaching enough skills and too much content
  • focussing on essentials like vocabulary 
  • skilled in supporting the lower/higher ability learners
  • differentiating the reading and tasks
  • focussed on the process
  • showing them the end result
2.  The process for developing these hypotheses.

To come to this conclusion, I am taking into consideration the following:
  • my observations of my students
  • my conversations and lessons with Dr Jannie
  • what my colleagues say about the students and their learning
  • student voice surveys
  • relevant research
3.  The hypothesis about teaching that I have decided in the MOST worth testing
Spending enough time ensuring my students understand texts more deeply by putting the lense of the language (reading, writing and oral).

4.  Testing my hypothesis and evidence I may use to support my hypothesis
  • Practical theories/strategies
    • Dr Jannie Van Hees, putting the lense on language and deep diving into text
    • Literacy expert Marc Milford's reading plan
    • Successful strategies from primary schools and previous junior classes
  • Critical discussions with colleagues
    • Collaboration across curriculum areas such as English
    • Pockets of excellence teaching within our department
  • Relevant research
    • Best Evidence Synthesis in Social Sciences
    • Key words: Asttle, reading, acceleration, ZPD
  • Gathering evidence of tests overtime in asttle reading and writing 
  • Student voice survey and learning discussions.
As I unpack the impact of my teaching on student learning, I am able to understand and formulate an intervention or set of interventions which will hopefully support the learners to achieve success.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

My preliminary findings about the nature and extent of the student challenge

Findings #1:  According to asttle, there are varying levels of reading abilities in my classroom and all the students who are level 2 are boys!.  When compared to their writing posts conducted in class (which shows their understanding of their reading) their writing ability depends on their reading abilities.  Students can’t write a summary if they don’t understand what they are reading. They struggle with the vocab and do not have enough time to 'dig deep' into text. This is supported by further evidence in the next finding. Please click on the document linked to find out more.
Findings #2: That students who struggle on average do not like reading or spend less time reading in or out of school.  These are the same students who struggle to write and have said that they need extra help and support when it came to writing. They are not motivated to read and struggle to engage with text that they can not relate to or are not interested in.

Findings #3: Writing a summary requires clear structures and scaffolding for the lower ability learners. Students think they know what a good summary looks like but acknowledge that getting there is a struggle and that many of them need help to get there. They also want more practice in writing them within a framework and need support in using key words to show their learning.

Findings #4: Although my focus is writing and reading, students wanted to the chance to talk about the context first. Having the ability to talk about the context in pairs and groups may allow for the text to be more relatable for the students who like to engage with the texts in this way. The gap between reading and writing might be shortened by talking about the text.

Next steps: I want to look at approaches and models that I could use as interventions. This will be in my next blog.

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