ERIC Number: ED476655
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 2003
Supporting Iron Sharpening Iron: Developing a Swagger in the Hearts of Urban Math and Science Students.
Dixon, Michael D.
Due to the increasing achievement gap between schools of urban settings and their suburban counterparts, and in an environment where statewide testing that may begin to hinder the graduation of many urban students, there is a need to close the gap especially in the areas of Math and Science. Teachers in such environments face the daunting task of accelerating learning for urban students in two arenas: conceptual and affective. The conceptual tasks observed during this study included: building up the basic skills of students, developing literacy and proficiency around test taking, as well as completing the curriculum for Calculus. The primary affective tasks observed during this study included: confidence (swagger) development; positive interaction around the "Truth" of their academic status; and work ethic development. In order to do all of the conceptual and affective tasks in a limited amount of time, acceleration was needed. The purpose of the proposed teacher-action research case study was to meet those conceptual and affective needs while accelerating student learning. Out of this emerged a new educational paradigm, known as Quality Complex Instruction (QCI), which was developed by integrating the cooperative aspects of Complex Instruction with the intentional management techniques of Total Quality Management. From the analysis of interviews, survey data and observations during this study, a conceptual framework developed, known as the QCI spiral, that addressed the specific conceptual and affective needs of students in order to accelerate learning. The objective of this framework was to develop a model that validated both the conceptual and affective components of learning, as well as integrated them in a framework that allows them to be dealt with simultaneously in an urban mathematics classroom setting. The implications of this research include the use of Tom Sawyer heuristic development in urban math classrooms, to make high level challenges a pleasure. Also the use of Spiraling, Deliberate memory, Algorithms, Recapitulation and Test based problem solving (SMART) methods of teaching that developed out of the QCI spiral. Another major finding that developed from this research is the development of data informed "Swagger" development, management and maintenance. Because of issues around basic skills, self-image, test taking ability, students in this environment were subject to what Claude Steele would call "Stereotype Threat". This creates an environment in which students of color under perform. To counter this hindrance in the setting studied, data and group accountability are vital to 'show the students the truth' of where they are, but to also develop a sense of confidence, based on skill development that helps them to see themselves succeeding, therefore internalizing a deeper work ethic. (Contains 62 references.) (Author)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, April 21-25, 2003).