2015 Teacher Researcher Grant Recipients
Hui Jiang, Special Education Itinerant Teacher, Marie Pense Center, NJ, "Bringing Funds of Knowledge to School: Culturally Responsive Approaches that Connect Home Culture with School Practice for Preschool-Aged Children in Chinese Immigrant Families"
This study aims to investigate and document ways to bring children's home literacy to classrooms and connect their home culture with school experiences by using teacher-made picture books featuring target children and their families. The research will attempt to explore the following questions: (1) how do teachers document and bring to school rich home cultural experiences that do not fit mainstream American values and lifestyles? (2) How does the experiences of visiting and learning from children's home life influence teacher's educational philosophy and promote other culturally relevant teaching practices? (3) How do children benefit from having teacher-made picture books featuring their lived experiences in the classroom? (4) How does this approach promote children's early literacy skills and social emotional development?
Sarah Orme, English teacher, Monticello High School, VA, "The Pulitzer Project"
The researchers plan to create a multimedia research project for the students which intends to enrich their writing process and elevate the quality of their writing production. They are investigating this to discover whether or not the integration of multimedia will increase student performance. Students view research papers as existing in an isolated space, and this vacuum prevents high engagement. They intend to promote an atmosphere where students will truly learn for the sake of learning and even more importantly, discovery. The researchers believe students will value their research experiences if they can first see their projects published to a global audience, and then like Pulitzer Award-winning publications--receive recognition for work that goes beyond a grade alone. As a goal for this project, we are incorporating our own "Pulitzer," to recognize work that transcends mere completion. We believe that all these components will lead to writing and research that is high quality, professional, and most importantly, interesting to the students' audiences and the students themselves. Essentially, the researchers are asking if the incorporation of multimedia into a research-based unit increases student engagement and writing and are seeking to answer this question with a three-pronged unit (a traditional research paper, a multimedia essay, and a podcast).
2015 Research Foundation Grant Recipients
Toby Emert, Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Education, Agnes Scott College, "ESL Learners and High-Tech Storytelling: Promoting Academic Confidence"
This action research project focuses on gathering data about the experiences of a selected group of second language learners--all children of refugee families living near Atlanta, Georgia--as they negotiate the 21st century literacies necessary to complete an autobiographical storytelling assignment. The study addresses this population's literacy needs by providing targeted, high-interest, high-skill instruction while gathering information about students' experiences with the instruction that provides insight into students' strengths and learning gaps.
Jennifer Escobar, English Instructor, Moreno Valley College, "Examining the Effects of a Critical Reading Selection Framework and Process in the Community College Classroom"
This research project will implement a Framework and Process for Selecting Readings in an Inland Empire Community College English classroom which has a significant percentage of students from underrepresented populations. The study seeks to gain insight into the ways that course readings affect students' academic literacy, cultural and community literacies, and engagement. Research collaborator: Aja Henriquez.
Robert Marx, Doctoral Candidate, Vanderbilt University, "'My Sadness is a Knife'": Spoken Word Poetry in the English Language Arts Classroom"
This research project extends the author's pilot evaluation--of a brief, multi-session spoken word program integrated into grade 9-12 English classrooms in four high schools local to Nashville, Tennessee--by including a fall cohort of programs implemented locally as well as in New York City, where spoken word programming has a strong history. The study explores the extent to which spoken word poetry offers students distal benefits derived from increased self-esteem, engagement, and critical consciousness. Student participants include those who have been historically underserved due to minority status or poor prior academic achievement.