Teacher Education

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    Experiencing Readers Theater in a first-grade bilingual classroom
    (December 2023) Walker, Marlene Jeannette; Torres, Annette; Anderson, Nancy; Kaye, Elizabeth
    This qualitative case study explored the use of Readers Theater through the experiences of emergent bilingual students in a first-grade bilingual classroom. Readers Theater is a strategy that has produced great results in helping the development of literacy in reading fluency, motivation, and comprehension. The research regarding the use of Readers Theater with students in the lower elementary grades enrolled in bilingual education classrooms is very limited. Emergent bilinguals could benefit from using teaching strategies that integrate the practice of all language domains, listening, speaking, reading, and writing, to allow them access to academic content. I collected qualitative data from observations, conferences, and student artifacts from emergent bilingual students who were in my one-way dual language classroom in a North Texas school district. The analysis of the data pointed to the following findings: the students perceived Readers Theater as an engaging and enjoyable experience, engaged in metacognitive activities such as, self-evaluations, helping and evaluating their peers, and being aware of the processes involved, and engaged in complex literacy processes, where they demonstrated understanding of character feelings, retelling and summarizing the story, and using new vocabulary.
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    Engaging in youth participatory action research to change our world: Middle school emergent bilingual students
    (December 2023) Solano, Griselda Ivette 1988-; Burke, Amy; Anderson, Nancy; Hansen-Thomas, Holly
    As the population of the United States continues to change, so do the students in the classrooms and their needs. As a result, dual language bilingual education programs have become very popular and widely implemented in elementary schools. The goals of dual language bilingual education programs are to serve Latinx students. Yet, their growth in popularity has created some inequities in program implementation for Latinx students. Additionally, implementing the standards and literacy curriculum often focuses on a single story that fails to include minoritized students' diverse voices and stories (Adichie, 2009). Literacy goes beyond reading and writing and can serve as a tool that acknowledges and embraces all voices while eliminating inequities. Additionally, critical literacy and Culturally Sustaining Pedagogies aim to validate students' lived experiences while providing a space to interrogate and reimagine the world they live in and to enact change through action. This study explored how sixth-grade emergent bilingual students enrolled in a dual-language program engaged in a youth participatory action research project in an afterschool setting. Students engaged in the youth participatory action research project through critical literacy practices and culturally sustaining pedagogies. Three themes were identified representing the space created by the youth: space to explore identity, space to interrogate and reimagine, and space cultivated agency.
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    The instructional decisions and considerations teachers utilized with the integration of multimodal texts during a global pandemic
    (December 2023) Hilton, Aimee 1975-; Anderson, Nancy; Kaye, Elizabeth; Burke, Amy
    The COVID-19 global pandemic challenged the educational system in unprecedented ways. Teachers were tasked to shift modes of instruction and incorporate new multimodal curriculum with very little preparation time. Obstacles of incorporating technology into teaching were amplified by the lack of teacher preparation. Prior to the pandemic, research and theory clearly illustrated how multimodal texts support students as they employ the affordances to make meaning (Jewitt, 2008; Kress & van Leeuwen, 2001). Although many teachers were not adequately prepared, the pandemic provided a unique opportunity or case where teachers were required to use multimodal texts and multimodal digital texts despite the existing hurdles. The purpose of this qualitative study was to describe the planning and teaching considerations teachers utilized as they integrated multimodal texts into their instruction during the pandemic. Three individual case studies of teachers resulted in a cross-case analysis. Through surveys, interviews, and observations, the data provided a narrative perspective of their instructional decisions, use of multimodal texts, and their affordances in classroom instruction. Four themes emerged such as professional development, multimodal knowledge, multimodal texts, and instructional considerations. When teachers receive the explicit professional development over the best practices of multimodal texts and their affordances, then their multimodal knowledge grows which will then change how the teachers make their instructional decisions and shift their instructional approaches.
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    Autonomous fearless use of language: Understanding non-fiction English text with fifth-grade bilinguals through culturally sustaining pedagogy
    (December 2023) Ramos-Rivera, Margarita 1973-; Torres, Annette; Anderson, Nancy; Stewart, Mary A
    At schools in the Unites States, English-centric hegemonic policies often hinder emergent bilingual students from fully applying their linguistic skills to read non-fiction texts. This phenomenon necessitates investigation into how Culturally Sustaining Pedagogy (CSP) can be utilized to support fifth-grade bilingual students’ understanding of non-fiction texts in English. This qualitative descriptive study documents the process of five participants utilizing their entire linguistic repertoire, engaging in translanguaging practices while experiencing CSP instruction to enhance comprehension of non-fiction texts. The research questions guiding this study are: How do emergent fifth-grade bilingual students use language when reading and writing about non-fiction texts in English? How does culturally sustaining instruction relate to the students' use of language while reading and writing about non-fiction texts in English? Five important themes were identified, representing features appearing to support emergent bilingual (EB) students’ understanding of non-fiction texts. These features included translanguaging inquiries during reading discussions, adeptly integrated linguistic translanguaging in written practices, validation of autonomous flexible translanguaging, demonstration of self-identity and belonging, and the promotion of school community and diversity.
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    Aspirante bilingual educators’ development of critical consciousness: A critical qualitative inquiry
    (December 2023) Solano, Ivonne Janeth 1983-; Annette Torres Elias; Nancy Anderson; Mandy Stewart; Dan Heiman
    The critical teacher shortage of bilingual educators in the state of Texas has created a need to examine the experiences of preservice teachers or aspirantes in teacher preparation programs. Recent research has also documented the need for future bilingual educators to be critically conscious (Cervantes-Soon et al., 2019) to fulfill the purpose of bilingual education as a transformative endeavor. Palmer et al., (2019) consider critical consciousness the foundational goal of bilingual education. The purpose of this study is to explore how aspirante (pre-service) bilingual teachers enrolled in a teacher education program at a local Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), understand, interpret, and reflect on the role of critical consciousness as a foundational goal in becoming a bilingual educator. A critical qualitative inquiry approach rooted in Xicana/Feminista epistemologies was conducted in a study that incorporated three phases. The first phase consisted of an exploratory survey; the second phase consisted of aspirantes engaged in two critical professional development sessions, and the last phase consisted of aspirantes participating in a 1-1 plática. Aspirante bilingual educators engaged in critical professional development comprised of two sessions that fostered dialogue surrounding critical consciousness including language, culture, pedagogy, and policy as well as in a 1-1 plática (conversation). This exploration of aspirante bilingual educators’ embodied knowledge around critical consciousness provided an opportunity to critically listen to their understandings, interpretations, and negotiations surrounding critical consciousness in Dual Language Bilingual Education (DLBE). This study aimed to learn the ways in which aspirantes engaged with elements of critical xii consciousness through their lived experiences, consciousness raising, and counternarratives as they participate in critical professional development and pláticas. The critical professional development sessions explored racial literacies, critical multilingual language awareness, and policy formation. Findings indicate that aspirantes’ experiences in bilingual education shape their beliefs about teaching, learning and biliteracy fostering the practice of interrogating and reimagining education. Additionally, a critical consciousness framework reveals how aspirantes understand and interpret critical consciousness and their advocacy lens. Finally, this inquiry explored the ways in which aspirantes engage in counternarratives. Aspirantes engaged through advocating for self, utilizing navigational capital in higher education, and counternarratives about gender roles.
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    What are the lived experiences of caregivers to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities
    (December 2023) McDaniel, Lisa Koenig 1972-; Keeley, Randa; Trujillo-Jenks, Laura; Goo, Minkowan
    The purpose of this qualitative phenomenology design was to describe the experiences of caregivers to adults with I/DD in the State of Texas. The theory guiding this study was the social constructivism framework which focused on how language and culture frame how individuals communicate, experience, and understand reality. In this study, the social constructivism framework assisted in understanding the challenges, and coping strategies employed by caregivers as they navigate the demands of caregiving. This study was guided by one research question: What are the lived experiences of caregivers of adults with I/DD that contribute to their perceived quality of life? An individual, semi-structured interview was completed with each of the four participants. The participants were asked three general questions: (a) What have you experienced in providing care to an adult with I/DD; (b) What are the highlights of your experience; and (c) What would you change. Through the narratives and experiences of the participants, several themes emerged such as familial bonds, challenges, coping mechanisms, and the need for support. The theme of family bonds underscores the connections that fuel caregiving journeys, while the challenges and coping strategies unveil the resilience of caregivers in navigating multifaceted responsibilities. The study's implications provide evidence for policy changes and societal shifts that can empower caregivers, enhance their support systems, and amplify the quality of life for both caregivers and those they care for.
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    Investigation of the role of the parent in the initial evaluation for special education services: Increasing collaboration within K-12 school districts to create a positive working relationship
    (December 2023) Brandt-Bersosa, Amy Elizabeth 1980-; Dr. Randa Keeley; Dr. Maria Peterson-Ahmad; Dr. Laura Trujillo-Jenks
    The purpose of this study is to investigate how K-12 school districts can create and increase a positive working relationship with parents and guardians who have students that are actively going through the Initial Evaluation process to determine if their student meets eligibility criteria to receive Special Education Services. A phenomenological study was conducted to address two research questions: (RQ 1) What is the parent experience from the start of the Initial Evaluation to the placement of their child receiving special education services? (R Q2) What types of collaborative involvement parents experience with the school district during the initial review process? This qualitative study was conducted with n=10 research participants to discover their personal responses on how to create positive working relationships with campus level staff who are conducting Initial Evaluations on students to determine if the student qualifies to receive special education services. Parents continue to voice their concern regarding their involvement with the local school district and the role of the parent involvement is being further researched to identify positive ways to build a positive working relationship between the parent and the school district.
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    Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian families experiences with special education in the United States
    (December 2022) Elramly, Nehal E 1977-; Keeley, Randa; Peterson, Maria; TrujilloJenks, Laura; Goo, Minkowan" <
    DECEMBER 2022 The parents’ role in implementing appropriate educational programming for children with disabilities was written into federal legislation under the Education for All Handicapped Children Act of 1975 (EAHCA). Yet the nuances, legalities, and overly complex language used in special education paperwork has proven to be a deterrent and hindrance to many minority parents and families. This dissertation seeks to add to the current literature on minority families in special education with a specific focus on the underrepresented group of Middle Eastern, North African, and South Asian Americans. Results of this study reinforce the suspicion of lack of understanding of their roles and rights regarding special education and disabilities. Because of the small participant size, findings of this study may not be generalized to the greater population but can provide evidence and guidance to educators working with students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Implications and findings will be discussed with further recommendations for future research and educational opportunities.
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    Special education teachers’ perception of video modeling
    (May 2023) Sefah, Emmanuel 1980-; Minkowan Goo, Ph.D.; Shann Hwa (Abraham) Hwang, Ph.D., CFLE; Randa G. Keeley, PhD
    ABSTRACT EMMANUEL SEFAH SPECIAL EDUCATION TEACHERS’ PERCEPTION OF VIDEO MODELING MAY 2023 The current study investigated special education teachers’ perception on video modeling (VM) intervention to improve the skills of students with disabilities using survey methodology. The study was conducted to determine if special education teacher characteristics (grade-level assignments, age, educational level, instructional setting, years of teaching, work location, and training influence their perception of VM, the differences in the perception of VM use among special education teachers who teach in elementary, middle, and high school, and the relationship between special education teachers’ training and their confidence in the use of VM. According to 235 special education teachers (K-12) who responded to the survey, 76.6% strongly agreed or agreed that using VM benefits students with disabilities. ANOVA results showed significant differences in the perception of VM based on years of teaching. Special Education teachers’ perception of VM significantly differed between teachers with 0 - 5 years of experience and teachers with 6 -10 years of experience. Special Education teachers with less experience were more likely to use VM. No significant differences were found in special education teachers’ perception of VM based on teachers’ grade-level assignments, age, educational level, instructional setting, years of teaching, work location, and training. Based on regression analysis special education teacher training of VM use positively correlates with their confidence in using VM. Findings may guide future research in implementing and training special education teachers to use VM to teach students with disabilities.
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    Measuring teacher candidate self-efficacy using varied learning environments to implement explicit instruction
    (May 2023) Beecher, Schuyler 1993-; Keeley, Randa; Peterson-Ahmad, Maria; Trujillo-Jenks, Laura
    The call for research in the special educator preparation community is needed to help provide successful strategies to support effective teaching and student learning (Brownell et al., 2019). The purpose of this study was to better understand the impact of a learning environment for pre-service educator self-efficacy and their implementation of explicit instruction. Through qualitative and quantitative investigation, this study helped better understand alternative technology learning environments and how they impacted pre-service educator performance on expected assignments in their preparation program.
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    Comparing classroom spelling lists and sound-specific digital flashcards as therapy materials for first graders with speech sound disorders
    (May 2023) Bradburn, Christina 1977-; Green, Laura; Gill, Cynthia B; Keeley, Randa; Mehta, Jyutika
    School-based speech-language pathologists (SLPs) are charged with minimizing the negative educational impact of their students' speech sound disorders (SSDs) (Ehren, 2000; Wallach, 2009, 2014). Current studies on SSDs in children are rich with discussions of therapy-and child-level contributions to gains in speech sound production (Byers et al., 2021; Farquharson et al., 2020; Jesus et al., 2019; Namasivayam et al., 2019; Preston et al., 2019; Rehfeld & Sulak, 2021). However, while many studies have supported using curricular content during language interventions (Ehren, 2009; Wallach, 2014; Wallach et al., 2009), there is little theoretical and no empirical evidence to demonstrate that using academically integrated therapy materials (AITM) during intervention provides a positive educational impact for students with SSDs. The purpose of this study was to determine if the materials used during school-based speech therapy could impact spelling performance in the classroom. In addition, the study sought to determine if there were differences noted in speech sound production performance when AITM vs. CATM (commercially available therapy materials) were utilized in business-as-usual therapy. Five first grade students with moderate to severe SSDs participated in this study. A single participant, alternating treatment design was used to compare the effectiveness of using AITM and CATM during intervention for SSDs. For spelling performance, results from quantitative and qualitative measures (visual inspection of the data, calculation of a d-statistic, Percentage of Nonoverlapping Data (PND), a pre-and post-test spelling assessment, and teacher/student social validity questionnaires) were varied with four out of five participants demonstrating gains in spelling on at least one measure. When comparing the relative effects of the two therapy materials on speech sound production in the classroom, quantitative and qualitative data indicated that speech sound production was better for four out of five participants when AITM were used during intervention. This early feasibility study sought to examine data on the potential academic impact of materials used during speech intervention. Results indicated that further study is warranted on the use of AITM during intervention with speech sound disorders, specifically the impact on interprofessional practices and the workloads of school-based SLPs.
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    Effects of imitation therapy for non-verbal children with autism in Zambia
    (2022-12-01T06:00:00.000Z) Peele, Muchinka; Gill, Cynthia B; Goo, Minkowan; Mehta, Jyutika
    Imitation is a skill that emerges early to serve an important cognitive and social function in a child’s typical development (Ingersoll, 2011). Many children with autism (CA) have demonstrated deficits in imitation skills, and they show a general failure to understand relationships and communicate with other people (Heinmann et al., 2006). Problems with imitation in CA can hinder the development of communication which may later affect social learning. It is suggested that teaching imitation to CA leads to broader improvements in social functioning and other social-communication skills including language, pretend play, joint attention, and spontaneous gesture use (Ingersoll, 2008; Ingersoll & Schreibman, 2004)). Imitation therapy, an intervention developed by Zedler (1972), has been used for non-verbal children who did not imitate, and the results showed that imitation skills for the children improved, and verbalizations increased when the children were taught to engage in imitation (Gill et al., 2011). Unfortunately, there is no data available to demonstrate that this technique has been used with children in Zambia and, in fact, there is very little data or research on treatment of non-verbal children with autism in Zambia (Nyoni & Serpell, 2012; Kabali et al., 2019). This study attempted to ascertain preliminary data on the treatment of children in Zambia. It involved utilization of imitation therapy with three young children with suspected autism who were non-verbal. Effectiveness of the intervention was measured by counting the changes in the number of utterances, the different phonemes (speech sounds) produced, the number of non-verbal imitations, and the number of reciprocal verbal imitations. For these three children, an intense intervention using imitation therapy resulted in significant changes in all areas for the children. This preliminary study suggests that imitation therapy may be an effective intervention for non-verbal children in Zambia.
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    The impact of using Elkonin sound boxes for students who are at-risk for dyslexia
    (12/15/2020) Germany, Sarah Elizabeth; Keeley, Randa
    Dyslexia is a common, lifelong, language and brain-based learning disability that can affect language processing and may lead to difficulties with reading, spelling, and writing. Symptoms of dyslexia include problems with decoding or single word reading, poor reading fluency, and poor spelling (IDA, 2018a). The use of Elkonin Sound Boxes (ESBs) is a specific instructional method used primarily with early elementary students; ESBs help students build phonemic awareness by segmenting words into individual sounds or syllables (Durst & Joseph, 2016). Adding to the current literature on the importance of early screening, early identification, and early intervention related to students’ overall reading progression from the results of this study. Results indicate that ESBs is associated with an increase in identifying letter sounds and word identification of CVC words across all participants. Discussed are the implications of these findings and future steps for further research on ESBs intervention.
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    Response to intervention and school leadership
    (1/31/2020) Paschall, Melody C; Myers, Diane; Pemberton, Jane
    The purpose of this study was to examine Response to Intervention (RtI) implementation in schools from the campus administrator’s point of view, exploring components and critical factors that influence the process. The significance of the study is to provide an extension point to determine if there are trends in the RtI implementation process regarding the components in relation to school leadership’s perception and experience. A web-based survey was administered to a large group of assistant principals and principals (N = 564) in 211 school campuses in grade levels K-12. Of the 564 administrators, 157 responses were obtained. The survey consisted of 20 Likert-type items that addressed the school administrator’s knowledge and implementation of the RtI process. The components surveyed were universal screening, progress monitoring, tiered instruction, and data-based decision making. Within each component, five questions were asked about the administrators’ knowledge of the purpose, resources and support, time for implementation, training, and the component of linguistic and cultural responsiveness regarding the RtI process was asked across all the sections. The results of the t tests on the data compared elementary to secondary administrators’ perceived knowledge on four components of RtI, including the fifth component, linguistic/culturally responsive evaluated as a separate question. Three of the 20 questions with a confidence level of 95%, comparing the elementary and secondary administrators, showed no differences in knowledge. For the remaining sixteen questions, the t-test results indicated a significant difference in the means for the responses between the elementary and secondary administrators. There was a higher correspondence of agreement among elementary administrator responses on all components regarding the questions as compared to the secondary administrators’ responses. The results can assist future researchers and practitioners when evaluating the RtI process in public school settings regarding training needed to support school leaders. The study also has the potential to guide further research needed for school administrators to be able to more effectively use the RtI process to identify students at-risk of mastering grade level standards. By using the RtI process more effectively and closing education gaps for students, there is potential for fewer special education referrals on campuses.
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    Implementing the flipped classroom in principles of biology to determine effects on student academic performance.
    (10/3/2018) Gardner, Kacee; Westmoreland, Sandra
    The purpose of this study is to determine the effects of using the flipped classroom model on academic performance as opposed to using a traditional lecture style method. Moreover, this study examines if lower achieving students perform differently than high achieving students when the flipped model is implemented. Researchers used the 2015 fall semester as a control year and all topics in Principles of Biology at Texas Woman’s University were taught using traditional lecture. In the 2016 fall semester, two topics in Principles of Biology were taught using the flipped classroom model. Data from consenting participants were used from identical pre-and post-tests administered in both semesters. Results indicated that there was no significant difference in academic performance on the two topics taught traditionally in 2015 and using the flipped model in 2016. However, in 2016, participants did perform significantly better on test items taught traditionally as opposed to those taught using the flipped model. Results also indicated that lower achieving students improved at a significantly higher magnitude on topics taught using the flipped classroom model than did high achieving students.
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    Mathematics teachers and the inclusion of students with mathematical learning disabilities
    (1/2/2020) Steffek, Edward Frank; Myers, Diane
    This study investigated teachers’ perceptions of their abilities to teach mathematics and which evidence-based interventions they were currently using to teach students with mathematical learning disabilities (MLD) in their inclusion classrooms. In this descriptive study, a researcher-designed survey instrument was used to investigate (a) demographic and educational characteristics of inclusion teachers of MLD at the middle and secondary levels, (b) participants’ knowledge of MLD, (c) how prepared and supported participants felt they were to teach students with MLD, and (d) whether or not participants were using evidence-based teaching strategies and interventions in their inclusion classrooms. Participants were 98 middle and high school math, special education, and/or inclusion teachers from five North Texas suburban school districts who were currently teaching mathematics classes. Survey results provided a snapshot into participants’ perceptions of their abilities to teach mathematics and which evidence-based interventions they were currently using in their inclusion classrooms; these results can shape future research and highlight teachers’ training needs. While the majority of the results aligned with current research, some results did not align with current research, indicating the need for caution when making broad generalizations. The findings in this study support continuing the discussion about the most effective teacher preparation opportunities for middle and secondary mathematics teachers related to the unique characteristics and learning styles of students with MLD. Study results indicated that teacher education programs should provide current evidence-based research to their future teachers in easy-to-use methodologies with non-intimidating terminology, school administrators should support ongoing professional development opportunities that promote the instructional effectiveness of teachers, and that the participants felt overworked, undertrained, but still yet have the best of intentions to meet the educational needs of their students including their students with MLD.
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    Teaching job interviewing skills to high school students with autism spectrum disorder using video modeling
    (9/20/2019) Maurer, Adela Lozano; Goo, Minkowan
    Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) have difficulties with reciprocal social interactions and interpersonal communication, which may negatively impact the transition from high school to the workplace. In particular, the job interview process can be very challenging for young adults with ASD. This study used a multiple-probe, across participants design to examine the effectiveness of video modeling (VM) in teaching interviewing skills to students with ASD and whether skills learned through VM can generalize to an office setting. The intervention consisted of viewing nine interview videos: one introduction video, seven question-response videos, and one closing video. After each video was viewed, the student role-played the behaviors illustrated in the video. Results of this study indicated that using VM is an effective means to teach job interviewing skills (JIS) to high school students with ASD.
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    Student success in advanced academics: Identifiers and predictors
    (10/17/2019) Hollis, Savannah; Malone, Peggy
    Research indicates improved academic performance and higher college attendance rates for students participating in advanced courses in high school (Shaw et al., 2012). Advanced academic programs may also build human capital while preparing students for college by exposing them to higher level curriculum and teaching time management skills (Klopfenstein & Thomas, 2009). Unfortunately, due to the continued underrepresentation of minority and low-income students, these programs have developed reputations for being too exclusive (The Broad Report, 2013). Furthermore, it is argued that students capable of excelling in advanced academics courses fail to be appropriately identified as high achieving and do not participate. An expanded literature review will focus on the impact of access, student preparedness prior to enrollment in advanced classes, and the social-emotional needs of advanced students. As the two largest advanced academic programs, most data pertains to the College Board’s Advanced Placement Program and the International Baccalaureate Diploma Program.
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    Using self-monitoring to increase on-task behavior in a juvenile justice facility
    (8/20/2019) Lively, Rachel; Myers, Diane
    Limited research exists on the use of self-monitoring interventions in the juvenile justice setting. This replication study used a randomized multiple-baseline design across participants to determine if there is a functional relationship between the self-monitoring intervention and an increase in on-task behavior of three male students in a secure juvenile facility in Texas. The self-monitoring intervention consisted of a student worksheet to track behavior, a vibrating watch to remind students to record their behavior, and individual training in how to use the worksheet and watch. Results indicated that self-monitoring was associated with an increase in on-task behavior across all participants. Also discussed are implications of these findings and future directions for similar research in the juvenile justice setting.
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    Meeting the needs of long-term English learners using translanguaging pedagogical practices
    (8/19/2019) Hughes, Elizabeth; Hansen-Thomas, Holly
    This paper explores the effects of monolingual standardized testing on Long-term English Learners (LTELs) and develops research-based interventions to counteract the difficulties these linguistically diverse students face when trying to meet standardized English expectations. This primarily quantitative study uses linear regression to analyze factors that predict English Learners’ (ELs) academic growth on assessments, and the results are supported through qualitative data on translanguaging interventions provided during the 2018-2019 school year by English Language Arts and Reading (ELAR) teachers in a rural Texas School district. The quantitative variables, particularly expenditure per student, predicted academic growth for ELs but were not significant predictors for non-EL growth. The qualitative results were obtained using anonymous surveys the teacher participants completed throughout the school year. The translanguaging strategies showed potential to improve standardized English assessment scores. The results of this study will provide information for other educators to revise current perceptions and pedagogy for LTELs.