ScholarWorks @ ACE Library
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Fostering Teacher Self-efficacy in Foreign Language Immersion Classrooms: A Qualitative Case Study
Foreign language immersion programs offer one approach to increasing the nation’s competitive edge in world language development. The problem the study addressed is a need for more understanding of how school leaders foster conditions that support teacher self-efficacy when implementing foreign language immersion programs’ specialized and rigorous goals. Self-efficacy theory and transformational leadership theory supported the purpose of the study to describe teacher and leader perceptions about program-related factors influencing teacher self-efficacy beliefs in Colorado’s elementary foreign language immersion programs. A qualitative case study design was used to analyze records and interviews with 15 teachers and leaders from three school sites. Once collected, data were coded and analyzed for common themes across all sites. The study findings revealed a combination of personal and external factors influenced teachers’ mixed self-efficacy beliefs. Four themes emerged: majority-language context matters, accountability tradeoffs, hindrances to the two-for-one model, and teacher agency. Specific recommendations were provided to foster greater teacher self-efficacy in the study region’s foreign language immersion programs while recommending that all dual language immersion models be reviewed in the context of the standards-based accountability paradigm and the role of academic language proficiencies. Keywords: foreign language immersion, dual language immersion, one-way immersion, teacher self-efficacy, transformational leadership, integrated content and language instruction, content-based instruction
Educator Perceptions of Student Social-Emotional Preparation for Middle School Transition: A Qualitative Study
Student transition from one school to another is considered a major life event. Transition to middle school is further complicated by the onset of puberty at this developmental stage. The problem is middle school students are not prepared socially and emotionally for the transition to middle school. A gap exists in identifying the perceptions of educators who are most closely connected with students transitioning to middle school. Schlossberg’s transition theory and democratic leadership theory provided the theoretical framework for the study. The research questions addressed the perceptions of fifth- and sixth-grade educators at a suburban middle school in Georgia on student socio-emotional preparedness and the strategies used to prepare students socio-emotionally for transition to middle school. Through a basic qualitative study 13 fifth-grade teachers, 13 sixth-grade teachers, 9 administrators, and 6 counselors were purposively selected from a population of 138 educators to complete questionnaires. A subsample of 16 of the 41 educators completing questionnaires participated in interviews. Questionnaire and interview responses were analyzed through a thematic analysis using Braun and Clarke’s six phases of data collection. Results indicated educators perceive students who have developed a strong sense of self are more successful at forming and maintaining relationships and better prepared socio-emotionally for middle school. Educators also perceived their ability to support students socio-emotionally during the transition to middle school was influenced by internal and external factors. Recommendations include a need for educational leaders and policymakers to support the integration of SEL best practices and teacher training.
Qualitative Descriptive Study of Communication as a Portal for Leadership Constructs
Communication is essential to successful leadership. The problem is communication is regarded and imparted as another business leadership construct (Fleck et al., 2019). Positioning communication as a leadership construct represents a gap in the existing literature. The purpose of the qualitative descriptive study was to explore communication as a portal for leadership constructs. Two theories used to develop the framework of communication as a portal for leadership constructs include the theory of constructivism and the trait theory of leadership. The findings from Research Question 1 describe leadership constructs essential to successful business practice as described by business leaders. The results from Research Question 2 elevate communication as a portal for other leadership constructs in successful business practice as described by business leaders. Phenomenology was utilized to explore communication as a portal for leadership constructs. The selected population of interest was a subgroup of the total West Michigan workforce consisting of 739,080 employees with a sample size of 22 business leaders. Purposive sampling was used. Unstructured interviews and five focus groups were employed for data collection. The data were analyzed thematically using HyperRESEARCH. Emergent themes were coded and categorized. Verifying the value of communication to leadership and establishing communication as a portal for leadership constructs were results of the study. A paradigm shift was recommended regarding how communication is viewed and implemented by business leaders. As a result of the study, a greater degree of importance should be assigned to the role of communication in successful leadership.
Technology Training and Educator Preparedness for the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020: A Correlational Quantitative Study
Situations arise that cause schools to suddenly close. Before the Coronavirus pandemic forced school closures, teachers were not trained for online instruction. The problem is 92% of educators in K-12 schools were not trained in digital instruction before the forced shutdowns. More research is needed to determine if participation in technology professional development prepares educators for ERE. The purpose of this quantitative correlational study was to determine if a connection exists between teacher participation in technology professional development offered by the district and teachers' preparedness to transition to online instruction in one upstate district of South Carolina, during the COVID-19 pandemic. The transformational leadership theory guided the study serving as the theoretical framework. A transformational leader is forward-thinking and able to inspire employees to adapt to change. The study consisted of 35 K-12 core subject teachers that taught in one school district in the upstate of South Carolina from 2018 to 2020. Participants completed the Preservice Teachers’ Knowledge of Teaching and Technology survey administered through email. Finding from the study answered the question of whether a correlation existed between educator participation in technology professional development and preparedness for ERE. Results were analyzed using the Spearman test in Microsoft Excel. Results showed rₛ=.40 for a weak to moderate correlation. The p-value was .03, less than the alpha value of .05, showing statistical significance. School leaders are recommended to offer technology training specific to virtual instruction to prepare teachers for the implementation of ERE.
A Phenomenological Study Exploration of Pre-planned Thematic Units in Preschool and Kindergarten
Preschool and kindergarten staff can leverage organized planning strategies to support the use of integrative thematic units. However, early-year teachers state dilemmas in selecting, preparing, and executing integrative thematic units. Challenges surface when the staff tries to follow children‘s interests and inquiries, deliver lessons, and compile materials to support lesson design. When preschool and kindergarten staff select thematic units beforehand, teachers may feel best equipped to plan, target student objectives, prepare lesson resources, and maintain lesson consistency within grade levels. Pre-selecting and pre-planning can also support diverse learners such as English Language Learners (ELLs), special needs students, or students with multiple intelligences or learning styles. Conversely, selecting thematic units more spontaneously based on the students‘ current interests could help excel a students‘ motivation to learn more effectively. This study analyzed 15 preschool and kindergarten teachers‘ thoughts and lived experiences using pre-planned or unplanned integrative thematic units within one specific, large international early childhood center in Germany. Having gathered and evaluated thoughts, opinions, livedexperiences, and planning methods from the 15 participants, the study results may prove transferable and beneficial to other contexts involving integrative thematic units in the early years.