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Editor: Kathy Kanfield-Davis, University of Idaho, Coeur d’Alene


Editor’s Note

Author: Kathy Canfield-Davis,  University of Idaho, Coeur d’Alene

Reference: Canfield-Davis, K. (2012). Editor’s note. The Researcher, 24(1), 72.


The Role of Visual Art Instruction in the Special Education Classroom

Authors: Ann Bingham, Heidi L. Hubbard, and Julie Pennington
Institution: University of Nevada, Reno

Abstract: Over the past decade, arts education in the classroom has often been overlooked and eliminated, particularly for children with special needs. However, as this study suggests, the use of visual art instruction in the special education classroom assists teachers in the areas of academic readiness, instruction, student assessment, and social development by impacting behavior, communication and learning. Nine special education teachers, grades Pre-K through 6 who utilized an itinerant art instructor through Very Special Arts, were interviewed prior to and then observed during art lessons. The data from the interviews and observations were then examined through Csikszentmihalyi’s flow theory and Lakoff and Johnson’s conception of embodiment, which opens the analytical questions of under-utilized pedagogy through the use of art to facilitate student growth and engagement.

Reference: Bingham, A., Hubbard, H. L., & Pennington, J. (2012). The role of visual art instruction in the special education classroom. The Researcher, 25(1), 1-13.


Using a Professional Learning Community to Build Capacity for Teacher Leadership and Systematic Change

Authors: Penny Tenuto, Kathy Canfield-Davis, Russell A. Joki
Institutions: University of Idaho, Boise & University of Idaho

Abstract: The purpose of this case study was to consider using a professional learning community to help teachers build capacity for leadership and strategic change at a rural public high school. This article examines the experiences of 10 secondary teachers working to bring improvement from within a culture that had historically resisted change. Teachers participated in team-based learning while executing a more learning-centered schedule and improving the academic program. Participants reported deeper understanding of leading change, increased knowledge of teaching methods, and a sense of moral purpose as they worked toward a common goal. Findings from this study support the notion that allowing teachers to function as teacher leaders within a learning community can effectively advance the efforts of school reform.

Reference: Tenuto, P., Canfield-Davis, K., & Joki, R. A. (2012). Using a professional learning community to build capacity for teacher leadership and systemic change. The Researcher, 24(1), 14-27.


Wyoming Teachers’ Perceptions of Teacher Quality: Effects of national Board Certification and Teacher Education Level

Authors: Jayn Hellenberg, Margaret Hudson, Kimberly D. Miller, and Liann Brenneman
Institution: University of Wyoming

Abstract: Policymakers, educators, and researchers agree that teacher quality is critical to student learning. The search for comprehensive measures of teacher quality encompassing all outcomes expected of schools must remain at the forefront of research and policy discussions. A thematic research study focusing on Wyoming teachers was utilized to explore the relationship of certification level (National Board Certification or non-National Board Certification) and teacher education level (bachelor’s degree or advanced degree) with four correlates of teacher quality: instructional practice, classroom management, teacher efficacy, and teacher leadership. The purpose of these studies was to provide an extensive exploration of teacher quality and to more clearly understand the collective relationship of certification and teacher education level on the four correlates of teacher quality.In the thematic study, a significant difference was found within the certification variable (NBC and non- NBC) for frequency. National Board Certified Teachers (NBCTs) reported more frequent engagement in the indicators of teacher quality than teachers without certification. In the individual studies there were significant differences on the certification variable (NBC and non-NBC) for frequency of engagement in classroom management and teacher leadership indicators with NBCTs reporting more frequent use of classroom management and teacher leadership indicators than non-NBC teachers. Additionally, the importance of teacher leadership resulted in a significant difference with NBCTs reporting greater importance of teacher leadership indicators than non-NBCTs. The results of this study add to the research on understanding teachers’ perceptions of the importance of and frequency of engagement in high quality teaching indicators. The study provides evaluative information for the Wyoming National Board Certification Initiative and informs the initiative’s efforts to strengthen the quality of teaching in Wyoming schools. Recommendations from the study may also be helpful in informing future educational policy decisions concerning the relationship between teacher quality and student learning.

Reference: Hellenberg, J., Hudson, M., Miller, K. D., & Brenneman, L. (2012). Wyoming teachers‟ perception of teacher quality: Effects of national board certification and teacher education level. The Researcher, 24(1), 28-43.


Perceived Teaching and learning Professional Development needs of Idaho Secondary Career and Technical Education Teachers

Authors: John G. Cannon, Allen Kitchel, and Dennis W. Duncan
Institutions: University of Idaho & University of Georgia

Abstract: This study’s purpose was to identify the teaching and learning professional development needs of Idaho secondary CTE teachers (N = 725). Teachers’ perceived level of importance and competence for 35 teaching and learning competencies were used to calculate mean weighted discrepancy scores (MWDS). A little more than 61% (n=446) of the teachers participated in the study. The MWDS indicated that the most needed training areas for the teaching and learning construct were “Teaching students to think critically and creatively”, “Motivating students to learn”, “Designing and developing digital-age learning experiences”, “Designing and developing digital-age learning assessments”, and “Utilizing website development software”. Individuals involved with teacher preparation and in-service training can use the findings to inform the development of pre-service curriculum and in-service educational offerings.

Reference: Cannon, J. G., Kitchel, A., & Duncan, D. W. (2012). Perceived teaching and learning professional development needs of Idaho secondary career and technical education teachers. The Researcher, 24(1), 43-54.


Using Test Blueprints to Measure student Learning in Middle School Science Classrooms

Author: Pamela Cantrell, Brigham Young University

Abstract: This paper describes test blueprints as a method for developing end of unit tests as one measure of the effects of science teacher professional development on student content knowledge. The process for constructing test blueprints is first described relative to large-scale testing and is then modified and described for small-scale tests developed by teachers. The role of alignment to national and local standards for increasing the degree of test validity is also described. Models for subdividing the content and cognitive domains into hierarchical levels are provided from the literature and use of these levels relative to test item development is discussed. Two examples of the use of test blueprints in science teacher professional development programs are described, and overall implications are discussed.

Reference: Cantrell, P. (2012). Using test blueprints to measure student learning in middle school science classrooms. The Researcher, 24(1), 55-71.


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