Senior teaching interns in the Baylor School of Education (SOE) will present their “Action Research” projects next week at the Action Research Symposium. Through research in the classrooms where they are student teaching, the Baylor seniors are learning to improve their own teaching practice.
The symposium will be Tuesday, April 16, from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Lee Lockwood Library, 2801 West Waco Drive. Baylor faculty members, plus teachers and administrators from Baylor’s partner schools, will get to see the project results and discuss them with students.
While working in classrooms this year, Baylor seniors have conducted studies to gauge the effects of allowing students choice in their learning topics, implementing various teaching approaches, using physical activity in the classroom, and more.
One student wondered whether eating lunch with her students would have any impact on student engagement. “I found that there were improvements from my students with whom I ate lunch,” wrote Courtney Freeman, who conducted research at Robinson Junior High School. “I noticed they were more excited to come to class each day.”
Senior Joan Cartledge at Midway High School found that giving students more praise did not improve their test scores, although it did increase their engagement in the particular lesson or activity. And Abby Graeflin at Hewitt Elementary found that five minutes of yoga before math lessons increased both engagement and assessment scores, confirming previous published research.
Erin Coleman, BSEd ’18, a master’s student in the School of Education, said that her experience with Action Research will stay with her as she graduates and begins teaching.
“Action research showed me the importance of being a reflective teacher,” she said. “I was able to see how teachers can conduct research on our own in order to improve pedagogical practices. As a future teacher I plan to implement action research whenever possible. I believe taking the time to conduct action research within my future classroom will enable me to best impact my students and help them be successful individually and as a class.”
Students’ qualitative and quantitative findings answer “the wondering” they experience while working in pre-K through 12 classrooms. The research is known as “Action Research” because it takes place in an actual pre-K-12 classroom by a practicing teacher. This form of research answers questions about specific classroom practices or sets of students Baylor seniors encounter during their internships. Teacher candidates pursuing all levels of certification conduct research and are supported in the data-collection process by onsite mentor teachers.
“The thought of conducting research can elicit a feeling of anxiety for students,” said Dr. Krystal Goree, SOE faculty member and Director of the Office of Professional Practice. “But action research does not have to be complicated or extensive. It can help teachers assess classroom practices and improve learning experiences for their students. It can be very rewarding, and the process is something that teachers can repeat throughout their careers to enhance their teaching practice and better serve their students.”
Read the full 2019 Action Research Monograph
ABOUT BAYLOR SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
For more than 100 years Baylor educators have carried the mission and practices of the School of Education to classrooms and beyond as teachers, superintendents, psychologists, health education professionals, academics/scholars and more. With more than 50 full-time faculty members, the school’s growing research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation, while graduate programs culminating in both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. prepare outstanding leaders, teachers and clinicians through an intentional blend of theory and practice.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.