Wayne State University

Research Newsletters

The Politics, Practices, and Possibilities of Migrant

Children Schools in Contemporary China

 

Min Yu

College of Education

Wayne State University

Detroit, MI

 

In this book, Yu examines the dynamics surrounding the education of children in the unofficial schools in China’s urban migrant communities. This ethnographic study focuses on both the complex structural factors impacting the education of children attending unofficial migrant children schools and the personal experiences of individuals working within these communities. As the book illustrates in careful detail, the migrant children schools serve a critical function in the community by serving as a hub for organized collective action around shared grievances related to issues of education, employment, wellbeing, and other social rights. In turn, the development of a collective identity among teachers, students, parents, and other members in the migrant communities makes it possible for activists to begin to working to address multiple forms of discrimination and maltreatment while simultaneously moving towards the possibility of more profound social transformation.

2016. New York: Palgrave Macmillan US.

Exploring Instructional Practices in a Spanish/English Bilingual Classroom through Sitios y Lenguas and Testimonio

Gabriela Romero

Department of

Curriculum & Instruction

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

 

Christina P. DeNicolo

Teacher Education Division

Wayne State University

Detroit, MI

 

Claudia Fradkin

Department of

Curriculum & Instruction

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

 

Drawing from Chicana feminist perspectives and Pérez (Living Chicana theory. Third Woman Press, Berkeley, pp 87–101, 1998) theories of sitios y lenguas (space and discourses) the authors reposition understandings of teaching and learning through a qualitative case study of a first grade Spanish/English bilingual classroom. Through analysis of field notes, interviews, and the teacher’s testimonio, the authors examine how sitios y lenguas functions as a tool to identify ways that home languages and cultural backgrounds are valued resources for learning in one bilingual classroom. Findings show how theorizing classroom spaces (sitios) and the interchange of languages (lenguas) counters hegemonic discourses by providing a narrative that reclaims knowledge production of bilingual and bicultural communities (Anzaldúa in Borderlands/La frontera: the new mestizo. Aunt Lute Press, San Francisco, 1987: Darder in Latinos and education: a critical reader. Routledge, New York, pp 331–350, 1997; Villenas in Chicana/Latina education in everyday life: feminista perspectives on pedagogy and epistemology. State University Press, New York, pp 1–10, 2006).

The Urban Review, 48(3), 440-462.

Reforming for “All” or for “Some”: Misalignment in the

Discourses of Education Reformers and Implementers

 

Sarah W. Lenhoff

&

Jasmine B. Ulmer

College of Education

Wayne State University

Detroit, MI

 

The ways in which the language of reformers intersects with and informs reform implementation is important to our understanding of how education policy impacts practice. To explore this issue, we employed critical discourse analysis (CDA) to analyze the language used by a 21st century skills-focused reform organization to promote its program alongside the language that local actors used to explain its implementation. We examined source materials, field notes, interview data, and publicly available organizational data collected over a five-year period to critically examine how discourse 1) illustrated alignment between the stated and implicit audience for the school reform program and 2) shaped subsequent implementation. Analyses suggest the reform organization promoted itself through a discourse that all students in all reform schools were being prepared for college, career, and civic life. There was a significant misalignment, however, in the discourses regarding the appropriate student audience for the reform. Local actors questioned whether the reform program 1) was suitable for all students and 2) provided necessary supports for all students in all schools. This misalignment led to uneven implementation and resulted in some educators dismissing the goals of the program as unrealistic. Given that educational agencies have considerable freedom to choose among diverse reform programs, our analysis suggests it is important to understand the discourses through which reform organizations advertise models, implementers justify adoption, and educators respond.

Education Policy Analysis Archives, 24(108).

 “School within a School”: Examining Implementation Barriers

in a Spanish/English Transitional Bilingual Education Program

 

Christina P. DeNicolo

College of Education

Wayne State University

Detroit, MI

 

In this article, DeNicolo explores the ways that general education and bilingual teachers make sense of a Spanish/English transitional bilingual program housed at one elementary school in a Midwestern school district. An in-depth examination of perceptions and attitudes unmasks key factors regarding the implementation and interpretation of bilingual programs and how these factors impact school climate and the overall functioning of the program. Primary themes indicated that the use of specific terms, such as “school within a school,” exacerbated the sense of division between the general education and bilingual programs, adding to the challenges of achieving opportunities for bringing students together across programs.

Bilingual Research Journal, 39(2), 91-106.

Large-Scale High School Reform Through School Improvement Networks: Exploring Possibilities for “Developmental Evaluation”

Donald J. Peurach

School of Education

University of Michigan

Ann Arbor, MI

 

Sarah W. Lenhoff

College of Education

Wayne State University

Detroit, MI

 

Joshua L. Glazer

Graduate School of Education

George Washington University

Washington, DC

 

Recognizing school improvement networks as a leading strategy for large-scale high school reform, this analysis explores developmental evaluation as an approach to examining school improvement networks as “learning systems” able to produce, use, and refine practical knowledge in large numbers of schools. Through a case study of one leading school improvement network (the New Tech Network), the analysis provides evidence of the potential power of developmental evaluation for generating formative feedback for network stakeholders regarding the strengths and weaknesses of their networks as distributed, collaborative learning systems. At the same time, it raises issues and questions to be addressed in advancing the practice of developmental evaluation, chief among them being constraints on stakeholders in leveraging feedback in productive ways.

Teachers College Record, 118(13).

Embracing the Complexity of Language: Bringing All Forms of Knowledge into the Language Arts through Latino Children’s Literature

Christina P. DeNicolo

College of Education

Wayne State University

Detroit, MI

 

Multicultural children’s literature by Latino authors can be an instrumental tool for highlighting diversity in the use of language and complexity in learning a new language, as well as to support students as they connect what they are learning in English with their first languages or dialects. Children’s literature can provide a cultural foundation from which teachers can identify students’ prior knowledge, teach comprehension strategies, and introduce subject matter concepts and vocabulary. This chapter highlights instructional methods for using multicultural children’s literature to promote literacy and language learning for bilingual learners in elementary school language arts classrooms. Discussion of literature, making connections between texts, testimonio, or personal narrative, and bilingual stories all draw on students’ knowledge of culture and their first language, while providing opportunities to develop and use language across different domains and languages.

In E.R. Clark, H.L. Smith, B.B. Flores, and D.A. González (Eds.), Multicultural Literature for Latino Bilingual Children: Their Words, Their Worlds (pp. 123-144).

Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.

Video Use in Teacher Education:

A Survey of Teacher-Educators’ Practices Across Disciplines

 

Poonam Arya

College of Education

Wayne State University

Detroit, MI

 

Tanya Christ

College of Education

Oakland University

Rochester, MI

 

Ming Ming Chiu

College of Education

Purdue University

West Lafayette, IN

 

Video methods utilize tenets of high quality teacher education and support education students’ learning and application of learning to teaching practices. However, how frequently video is used in teacher education, and in what ways is unknown. Therefore, this study used survey data to identify the extent to which 94 teacher-educators used video in their teacher education courses along with the specific uses of video. Further, multilevel multivariate analyses identified what factors impacted these uses. Findings included that many teacher-educators underused video in their teacher education courses, and typically used only one type of video in each course. Any type of video use was significantly related to teacher-educator, course, and discipline-area factors, and interactions among these. Specific types of video use were significantly related to institutional-demographic, teacher-educator, support, course, discipline-area factors, and interactions among these. Implications for increasing video use and breadth of types of video uses in teacher education are discussed.

Journal of Computing in Higher Education, 28(2), 261-300.

Thinking Inside the Box: Student’s Difficulties with Boxplots

S. Asli Özgün-Koca

Thomas G. Edwards

John Barr

College of Education

Wayne State University

Detroit, MI

 

Current curriculum asks teachers to foster statistical reasoning at all grades. To do so, students must understand statistical representations such as boxplots. Understanding and interpreting statistical representations are crucial as students develop their reasoning and conceptual understanding in statistics. Boxplots are easy to create, but complicated to understand and interpret. The research studied the strengths and difficulties of middle school students in constructing boxplots and the ways they interpret the information in a boxplot.  Students in two middle schools in two different districts in the Midwest took a pre-test and post-test the day before and the day after they completed a boxplot activity using TI-Nspire calculators. Analysis of multiple test items revealed that a correctly constructed boxplot was not a strong predictor of correct responses to questions asking for an interpretation of a boxplot.  Using previous knowledge and skills to construct or make sense of a boxplot often interferes with this new way of representing and interpreting data. When previous knowledge and experiences do not provide a foundation for students to learn and interpret a new concept, it acts as a learning barrier. When this happens, new ways to introduce the concept must be found. To study boxplots, technology which offers novel ways to experience statistical representations and dynamically linked multiple representations can be helpful. Using these novel capabilities of the technology, students can create representations that they can both act on and interact with as they learn.

In M. B. Wood, E. E. Turner, M. Civil, & J. A. Eli (Eds.), Proceedings of the 38th Annual Conference of the North American Chapter of the International Group for the

Psychology of Mathematics Education (p. 1010). Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona.

Archived Newsletters