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Educational Research: Theory and Practice

Volume 35, Issue 1, 2024

Editor: Bob Ives

ISSN: 2637-8965

Teachers as Reflective Practitioners in Junior High School in the Kwadaso Municipality

Abraham Yeboah — Akenten Appiah-Menka University of Skills Training and Entrepreneurial Development (AAMUSTED) – Kumasi, Ghana
Nathan Ohene Gyang — AAMUSTED – Kumasi, Ghana
Grace Yeboah — AAMUSTED – Kumasi, Ghana

Abstract: The study was a descriptive survey which sought to assess how Junior High School teachers in the Kwadaso Municipality in Ghana reflect on their practices in the classroom. The target population for the study was teachers in public Junior High Schools. Convenience sampling procedure was used to select 72 teachers. Questionnaire was used for data collection. The reliability coefficient of the questionnaire was 0.88. Means and standard deviations were used to analyse the data. The findings showed that teachers reflect their practices to ensure effective delivery of their lessons. Teachers practically reflected by talking about their classroom experiences with their colleagues. Teachers cognitively reflected by reading books related to effective teaching. Teachers should be encouraged by the Ghana Education Service to keep reflecting to improve their practices.

Reference: 

Yeboah, A., Gyang, N. O., & Yeboah, G. (2024). Teachers as reflective practitioners in junior high school in the Kwadaso municipality. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 35(1), 1-15.

License: Attribution 4.0 International


Principal Talk Viewed Through the Motivating Language
Theory Lens: A Qualitative Study

William T. Holmes — University of New Mexico – New Mexico, USA
Courtney A. McKim — University of Wyoming – Wyoming, USA
Tonya Hill — United States Department of the Navy – USA

Abstract: This qualitative study aimed to gain a deeper understanding of principal practice through the voices of principal talk gathered from principals through the lens of Motivating Language Theory (MLT). A qualitative methodology was utilized to gain a deeper understanding from eight principals – four elementary and four middle level. Data were collected from semi-structured interviews based upon questions modified from Motivating Language Theory-based quantitative protocols. The data analysis was based on observed MLT patterns and open and axial coding leading to themes. The findings of this study provide a voice to the field of MLT and illustrate principal talk as a medium of administrative practice. The findings of this study were the importance principals placed upon the communication of expectations (direction-giving language), providing encouragement and praise (empathetic language), building school culture (meaning-making language and motivating language outcome), and stressing the importance of the principal-teacher interaction (motivating language) in their work. This study extends the field of Motivating Language Theory as well as extending the field of educational leadership and principal talk.

Reference: 

Holmes, W. T., McKim, C. A., & Hill, T. (2024). Principal talk viewed through the Motivating Language Theory lens: A qualitative study. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 35(1), 16-37.

License: Attribution 4.0 International


Deconstructing Curriculum and Assessment of Knowledge and Attitudes Regarding Pain in Pre-Licensure Occupational and Physical Therapy Education

Annie Burke-Doe — Hawai’i Pacific University – Hawaii, USA
Kristen Johnson — Hawai’i Pacific University – Hawaii, USA
Steve Laslovich — Hawai’i Pacific University – Hawaii, USA
Kayla Smith — University of St. Augustine – Florida, USA
Christopher Ivey — Hawai’i Pacific University – Hawaii, USA
Anna Edwards — University of St. Augustine – Florida, USA
Christopher Ingstad — Cerritos College – California, USA
Ellen Lowe — University of St. Augustine – Florida, USA
Jim Mathews — University of St. Augustine – Florida, USA
Terri Roberts — University of St. Augustine – Florida, USA
Susan MacDermott — University of St. Augustine – Florida, USA
Jon Warren — Office of the Health and Disability Commissioner – New Zealand

Abstract: The purpose of this study was to: 1) examine existing interprofessional pain management curricula in a DPT and MOT program by mapping pain subject matter to the IASP interprofessional content to determine gaps, vertical and horizontal coherence and integration; 2) evaluate pain knowledge and attitudes early and late curriculum within the current pre-licensure Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) and Master of Occupational Therapy (MOT) students; and 3) to define changes needed within the existing interprofessional pain management curricula to better prepare students for clinical experiences and professional practice. Pain content was mapped to the IASP core competencies to identify gaps in content and coherence. Students were evaluated on existing pain knowledge and attitudes using the City of Boston’s Rehabilitation Professional’s Knowledge and Attitudes Survey Regarding Pain (COBS). Two hundred and forty physical and occupational therapy students completed the study. The mean percentage of correct responses of 70.6% +/-25.6% did not significantly change across didactic terms. Curricular mapping can inform planning, design, implementation, and evaluation of the curriculum and alignment with IASP guidelines.

Reference: 

Burke-Doe, A., Johnson, K., Laslovich, S., Smith, K., Ivey, C., Edwards, A., Ingstad, C., Lowe, E., Mathews, J., Roberts, T., MacDermott, S., & Warren, J. (2024). Deconstructing curriculum and assessment of knowledge and attitudes regarding pain in pre-licensure occupational and physical therapy education. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 35(1), 38-52.

License: Attribution 4.0 International


Primary School Learners’ Age and Academic Achievement in Ghana. The Moderating Effects of School Types

Maxwell Kwesi Nyatsikor — University for Development Studies – Ghana

Abstract: The study explored the extent learners’ age variances impacted their achievement in a national education assessment in Ghana and how these were moderated by the types of schools (i.e., private and public) they attended. A multistage sampling method was used, and the data were analyzed using a multilevel modeling technique. The sample comprised 19,210 primary grade 3 and 17,088 primary grade 6 learners from 525 and 499 schools, respectively. Relatively younger learners outperformed their older peers in both subjects except for primary 3 mathematics achievement. Schools marginally reduced the age effect on both subjects except primary 3 mathematics achievement, where there was an increase. Moreover, there was a statistically insignificant difference in private and public schools’ impact on age-linked effects on subjects except for primary 3 mathematics. The study concludes that being relatively overage for a specific grade level is not beneficial, especially for English language achievement. Hence, enrolling learners at the prescribed age and school term is highly recommended.

Reference: 

Nyatsikor, M. K. (2024). Primary school learners’ age and academic achievement in Ghana. The moderating effects of school types. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 35(1), 53-71.

License: Attribution 4.0 International


A Review of Literature Exploring the Impact of Recess on Academic, Behavioral, and Social Domains

Connor Brandon — University of Montana – Montana, USA
Trent Atkins — University of Montana – Montana, USA

Abstract: Recess is a mainstay in schools. It is assumed recess has positive impacts on the academic, behavioral, and social experiences of youth. In this systematic literature review, we explored empirical studies that examined these areas. We provide a synthesis of the literature to assist researchers and clinicians in designing effective interventions. Overall, findings indicate that recess may indirectly positively influence academic outcomes and benefits students’ social engagement, but there is mixed evidence if recess directly improves problematic behavior outcomes.

Reference: 

Brandon, C., & Atkins, T. (2024). A review of literature exploring the impact of recess on academic, behavioral and social domains. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 35(1), 72-83.

License: Attribution 4.0 International


Elevating Education: Investigating High-Quality ILP Implementation in Nevada Schools

Maximum M.A. Sirabian — University of Nevada, Las Vegas – Nevada, USA
Xue Xing — University of Nevada, Las Vegas – Nevada, USA
PG Schrader — University of Nevada, Las Vegas – Nevada, USA
Randall Boone — University of Nevada, Las Vegas – Nevada, USA
Neffisatu Dambo — Oregon State University – Oregon, USA
Heather Dahl — University of Nevada, Las Vegas – Nevada, USA

Abstract: This qualitative research study examined the implementation of high-quality Individualized Learning Plans (ILPs) in Nevada high schools. Data from participating schools were analyzed using content analysis to assess the ILP documents and implementation processes. Findings revealed a significant lack of quality ILP features, with schools struggling to meet established standards. Limited resources, including funding, personnel, and time, were key barriers to effective ILP implementation. Furthermore, the study highlighted the absence of culturally relevant experiences within the ILP process. The results underscored the need for standardized ILP frameworks, resource allocation, and the integration of equity-focused strategies to improve ILP quality. Policymakers, educators, and stakeholders can utilize these findings to enhance ILP implementation and support student success in college and career readiness.

Reference: 

Sirabian, M. M. A., Xing, X., Schrader, P. G., Boone, R., Dambo, N., & Dahl, H. (2024). Elevating education: Investigating high-quality ILP implementation in Nevada schools. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 35(1), 84-103.

License: Attribution 4.0 International


I Think I Can, I Hope I Can: Professional Efficacy, Hope, and Identity among Undergraduate Engineering Students

Suzanne H. Jones — Utah State University – Utah, USA
Brett D. Campbell — Utah System of Higher Education – Utah, USA
Idalis Villanueva Alarcon — University of Florida – Florida, USA
LeAnn G. Putney — University of Nevada, Las Vegas – Nevada, USA

Abstract: This study explored relationships between hope, self-efficacy, and professional identity among a group of undergraduate engineering students at a western institution of higher education in the United States (US) over the span of an academic semester. We conducted a mixed-methods study with undergraduate engineering students to measure aspects of hope, and self-efficacy. Furthermore, we investigated how they perceived their own professional identity in terms of what it means to be an engineer and engage in the profession. Participants reported high levels of hope at mid- and end-of-semester. Those pursuing degrees requiring professional licensure reported higher levels of willpower compared to students pursuing non-licensure degrees. Students experienced increased self-efficacy towards engineering skills and processes over time. Participants’ perceptions of engineering professional identity remained consistent over the semester. Their sense of engineering work and goal orientation fell primarily into one of three archetypes: Pragmatic, Creative, and Altruistic.

Reference: 

Jones, S. H., Campbell, B D., Alarcon, I. V., & Putney, L. G. (2024). I think I can, I hope I can: Professional efficacy, hope, and identity among undergraduate engineering students. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 35(1), 104-117.

License: Attribution 4.0 International


The Benefits of Children’s Outdoor Play in Naturalized Play Environments

Ji Hyun Oh — University of Colorado Colorado Springs – Colorado, USA

Abstract: This study explored preschool teachers’ beliefs about the benefits of young children’s outdoor play and play in naturalized play environments. Three face-to-face in-depth, semi-structured individual interviews were administered. For data analysis, Charmaz’s (2006) constructivist grounded theory was employed using two steps of coding, initial and focused. These teachers’ beliefs about the benefits of children’s outdoor play in natural environments emerged in three major themes: (1) environmental, physical, and emotional freedom, (2) learning and development through outdoor play, and (3) burning off energy. The links between the findings and the existing literature, implications for practice, and recommendations for further research are discussed.

Reference: 

Oh, J. H. (2024). The benefits of children’s outdoor play in naturalized play environments. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 35(1), 118-132.

License: Attribution 4.0 International


“I have never wanted to quit more as a teacher”: How ‘Divisive Issues’ Legislation Impacts Teachers

Sarah J. Kaka — Ohio Wesleyan University – Ohio, USA
Joshua Littenberg-Tobias — GBH Education – Massachusetts, USA
Taylor Kessner — University of Texas at Arlington – Texas, USA
Anthony Tuf Francis — Oakland University – Michigan, USA
Katrina Kennett — University of Montana Western – Montana, USA

Abstract: Some state legislatures have introduced a rash of bills designed to control how K–12 teachers discuss so-called ‘divisive issues,’ such as racism, sexism, and privilege. This legislation has prompted substantial news coverage on the impact of these laws. Sidelined in this discourse are the perspectives of teachers. This mixed methods study seeks to understand the impact this legislation may have on teachers. We identified three themes salient to how teachers as ‘gatekeepers’ (Thornton, 1991) anticipate these legislative efforts influencing their practice: curricular autonomy, context, and institutional guidance. The paper concludes with the significance of these findings, including potential policy implications at the national, state, and local levels.

Reference: 

Kaka, S. J., Littenberg-Tobias, J., Kessner, T., Francis, A. T., & Kennett, K. (2024). “I have never wanted to quit more as a teacher”: How ‘Divisive Issues’ legislation impacts teachers. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 35(1), 133-156.

License: Attribution 4.0 International


Identity, Pedagogy, and Change

Emma T. Reeve-Lobaugh — University of Colorado Colorado Springs – Colorado, USA

Abstract: Teacher identity guides classroom choices and responses to proposed change, yet identity work and reflection are frequently overlooked components of professional development. Based in dialogic self theory, this qualitative study used narrative case study to examine teachers’ perceptions of interactions between their identities, choices, and responses to change. This study determined that while teachers are aware of how their identities guide their choices, they often do not acknowledge divergences between their identities and choices and do not see responses to change as connected to their identities. Further research into specific elements of teacher identity and teacher reflection is recommended.

Reference: 

Reeve-Lobaugh, E. T. (2024). Identity, pedagogy, and change. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 35(1), 157-173.

License: Attribution 4.0 International


Do Practice Style Traits of Physical Therapists Explain Practice Behaviors and Knowledge Translation?

Kristen Johnson — University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences – Florida, USA
Annie Burke-Doe — University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences – Florida, USA
Jane E. Sullivan — Northwestern University – Illinois, USA

Abstract:
Background: Evidence-based practice (EBP) is supported by the appropriate use of standardized outcome measures (OMs). Continuing education (CE) is a common method for translation of OMs knowledge to practice. However, little is known about the attitudes and behaviors of physical therapists regarding CE and knowledge translation (KT) of OMs.
Purpose: To determine physical therapists’ practice style traits (PSTs) and compare these to attitudes, knowledge, behaviors, and barriers for KT.
Subjects and Methods: Seventy-nine physical therapists who attended a CE course on OMs completed two standardized surveys. The Practice Style Questionnaire (PSQ) categorizes responses on three theoretical constructs: 1. how clinician weighs research evidence versus experience, 2. their degree of comfort in clinical practice, and 3. how evidence impacts their workload. The EBP Questionnaire (EBPQ) items are grouped into four domains: attitude, knowledge, behavior, and barriers.
Results: On the PSQ, 28% of subjects were categorized as “seekers” of evidence, 49% were “pragmatists,” and 23% were “receptives.” PSTs scores were compared to the four domains of the EBPQ. Behavior was the only domain found to be significant between traits (p = 0.00). Seekers were significantly different from both the pragmatists and receptives in their behaviors, however pragmatists and receptives did not differ.
Discussion and Conclusion: Assessing PSTs may help tailor KT interventions. Since nearly half of clinicians are pragmatists, it may be helpful to target KT interventions to this group, while considering the needs of other styles.

Reference: 

Johnson, K., Burke-Doe, A. & Sullivan, J. E. (2024). Do practice style traits of physical therapists explain practice behaviors and knowledge translation? Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 35(1), 174-185.

License: Attribution 4.0 International


Pre-service Teachers’ Preparedness and Perceptions: Active Shooter Response Training

Eric D. Laguardia — University of Central Florida – Florida, USA
Laurie O. Campbell — University of Central Florida – Florida, USA
Viki P. Kelchner — University of Central Florida – Florida, USA
Breahannah Hilaire — Stetson University – Florida, USA
Caitlin Frawley — University of Central Florida – Florida, USA
Cassandra Howard — University of Central Florida – Florida, USA

Abstract: The present pilot study explores pre-service teachers’ experiences related to active shooter preparedness and perceptions of preparedness of active shooter training and drills. A survey was conducted among pre-service teachers (N = 97) regarding (a) previous experiences with active shooter response drills, (b) perceptions of preparedness for active shooter response training, and (c) preparedness to address the psychological needs of future K-12 students after an active shooter response drill. The participants who were full time interns in schools felt underprepared to navigate shooter drills in a school setting and desired additional training at the pre-service level than they currently received. Furthermore, these pre-service teachers desired preparation that transcends safety protocol to encompass the physical and mental health needs of children.

Reference: 

Laguardia, E. D., Campbell, L. O., Kelchner, V. P., Hilaire, B., Frawley, C., & Howard, C. (2024). Pre-service teachers’ preparedness and perceptions: Active shooter response training. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 35(1), 186-198.

License: Attribution 4.0 International


Changes in Adolescents’ Peer Interactions and Friendships in the Era of COVID-19

Anita Caduff — University of California San Diego – California, USA

Abstract: Grounded in the literature on peer social capital, this study examines middle school students’ perspectives on COVID-19-related changes in their peer interactions and friendships. Qualitative analyses of 146 students’ survey responses showed that a majority experienced changes in their peer interactions and friendships. These students reported: (a) lasting changes in social-emotional states impacted peer interactions and friendships (e.g., increased anxiety); (b) changes in relationships (e.g., loss of friendships); and (c) visible changes in peer interactions (e.g., reduction in sharing behavior). Conversely, a small group of students perceived the changes in their peer interactions positively. The author argues that this paper’s findings have farther-reaching implications than the pandemic, given other types of educational disruptions. Implications for educators, schools, and communities are discussed.

Reference: 

Caduff, A. (2024). Changes in adolescents’ peer interactions and friendships in the era of COVID-19. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 35(1), 199-212.

License: Attribution 4.0 International


Using Mindfulness Meditation to Reduce Academic Anxiety in Struggling Readers

Jessica Kotik — Prisma Health Children’s Hospital-Upstate – South Carolina, USA
Christopher A. Was — Kent State University – Ohio, USA

Abstract: The current study investigated the hypothesis that implementing a mindfulness intervention could significantly alleviate anxiety caused by a deficit in reading comprehension, as well as improve trait mindfulness and efficacy. Students with reading difficulties enrolled in a corrective reading intervention program served as participants. All participants took pre-assessments to measure level of reading anxiety, efficacy, trait mindfulness, and reading comprehension. They were then randomly divided into two groups—experimental and control. The experimental group practiced a mindfulness meditation intervention adapted from Eline Snel’s (2013) Sitting Still Like a Frog: Mindfulness Exercises for Kids (and Their Parents). The control group participated in a control task, Reading the Room. Following treatment, pre- and post-treatment assessments were taken to measure any changes in level of reading anxiety, efficacy, and trait mindfulness. Results suggest that mindfulness meditation may have led to a decrease in reading anxiety.

Reference: 

Kotik, J., & Was, C. A. (2024). Using mindfulness meditation to reduce academic anxiety in struggling readers. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 35(1), 213-232.

License: Attribution 4.0 International


Secondary Teachers’ Perceived Ability to Support Student Mental Health

Kathryn Joan Watson — University of Iowa – Iowa, USA

Abstract: Schools are increasingly responsible for providing mental health support to students. These include universal, or school wide approaches such as positive behavioral intervention supports (PBIS), and/or social emotional learning. While teachers play a vital role, there is scant literature addressing secondary teachers’ perceived ability in supporting mental health. Therefore, this quantitative study analyzed survey data through a logistic and a linear regression to determine if teachers believe they have a role in supporting student mental health, if teacher confidence varies by urban, rural, and suburban schools, and what factors influence teacher confidence in supporting student mental health. The findings of the study reveal teachers do believe they have a role in supporting student mental health, and that teacher confidence is related to the frequency and familiarity they have with school-based mental health professionals.

Reference: 

Watson, K. J. (2024). Secondary teachers’ perceived ability to support student mental health. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 35(1), 233-247.

License: Attribution 4.0 International


Feedback Practices of Jamaican Teachers

Clavia Tashnie Williams-McBean — University of the West Indies – Jamaica

Abstract: Feedback is indispensable if the potential gains of formative assessment are to be realised in the classroom. Therefore, this explanatory sequential mixed methods study sought to describe the feedback content and process of 1088 Jamaican secondary school teachers in general before exploring the practices of 32 teachers of English. Data analysis showed that teachers predominantly gave summative feedback, delivered orally and to the whole class for efficiency and to address the most frequent student errors. The findings imply that formative assessment implementation can be improved by including information on where students are, where they are going, and how they can get there in teachers’ feedback. In the Jamaican context, the learning function of assessment, not the grading function, must be emphasised.

Reference: 

Williams-McBean, C. T. (2024). Feedback practices of Jamaican teachers. Educational Research: Theory and Practice, 35(1), 248-265.

License: Attribution 4.0 International