Reflections on Human Abilities and Learning

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Effective teaching is not only teaching the material to students but having a genuine impact on student learning and their passion for learning. These types of teacher accomplish these goals through organization, knowledge of their field and the curriculum, genuine enthusiasm, and a sensitivity to their student’s individual needs. I think good teachers are those that are lifelong learners, always willing to pick up new ways of teaching things or keeping up to date with new curriculum practices. One of the most important things, in my mind, is that good and effective teachers take the time to learn who their students are and are willing to adapt lessons and offer multiple approaches to learning so every student has an opportunity to grasp the material. I would not say my idea of a good, effective teacher has necessarily changed since the beginning of the semester. Rather, I believe my ideas have expanded to include more than just the personality and engagement of the teacher, but the things that no one sees. Things like organization, willingness to go above and beyond the expectations of the material, attention to diversity of learning and students, and much more.


Teachers are held to many standards to maintain the quality of the profession and the quality of the education students are receiving. This semester has taught me a lot about how children grow, especially concerning their intellectual development and how broad the range of abilities in one classroom can be. Piaget’s theory of cognitive development and Bronfenbrenner’ bioecological model are just two examples of the ways children learning changes as they grow and what influences their development. By learning about how my students evolve, I can learn more about contributing to that growth. One example of this would be to use scaffolding to encourage students to challenge themselves to reach information just in the range of their grasp. I learned this by studying Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development.

When thinking of my future, I try to think of how much I’ve learned since studying more about human ability and learning. Through this semester, I think one thing really stood out to my from the course content. It is truly the way a teacher introduces the material and organizes the class content that enables her students to learn in a positive manner. A teacher has the most influence when creating a positive learning environment, when creating assessments that are worthwhile, and when motivating his/her students. This course has taught me a lot about how I can mold my classroom to contribute to a student’s learning experience, and I hope I will continue to develop my knowledge to best serve my students.


On my path to becoming a teacher, I know this continued growth and the way I come off in the professional world are factors that will influence the type of job I am offered. One thing to consider in this endeavor is my digital identity and how I will prepare it to market myself upon graduation. I have yet to truly participate in social media outside the context of Facebook. I think that an important start to creating a positive digital identity is to set up a blog/website devoted to making myself appear as professional in my digital identity as I am when meeting in a face-to-face manner. A good start to this may be starting or continuing this professional blog but enhancing it with a professional picture of myself (not candid) with a devoted presence to my lifelong education learning. LinkedIn is another resource I would consider using to enhance my digital identity. Overall, this is an area that I know I will reflect on and work towards as I continue on my path towards graduation.



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Reflections on Social Contexts Affecting Urban Youth

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According to 2016 data from the U.S. Department of Education, 82% of teachers in the United States public schools were identified as white. This number has remained steady over the last 15 years with 84% of teachers identified as white in 2000 (US Dept. of Educ., 2016, p.1). However, when looking at the enrolled student data in public schools, only 50% of students are white, 16% Black, 25% Hispanic, and the other 9% composed of Asian/Pacific Islander, American Indian, or 2 or more races. These minority students are concentrated in urban areas with increasing minority percentages occurring yearly. These minority percentages are predicted to overcome the white population by 2025 by raising to 54% of students (National center for education statistics).




By looking at these numbers it is important to note that all teachers need to become culturally competent when teaching in this diversifying education environment, but more specifically in urban schools with high minority populations. One of the first steps in reaching cultural competence, is to try and understand the social backgrounds that these youth come from and how it has affected their educational outcomes.

It is important to determine what aspects of the social backgrounds affect youth educational outcomes and how we as teachers can accommodate these backgrounds through awareness and personalizing our lessons. According to Urie Bronfenbrenner and his bioecological model of development, there are “physical and social contexts in which we develop,” that are like, “ecosystems because they are constantly interacting with and influencing each other” (Woolfolk, 2014, p.86). Within this system, every person develops within the smallest frame point, a microsystem, which includes the immediate relationships to the person like home, family, school life, etc. This microsystem influences and is influenced by the other systems (mesosystem, exosystem, and macrosystem) where things like the neighborhood, work, school environment, media, and widely shared cultural values are all placed. So, when looking at what influences an individual and their educational development we can see that there are many social relationships that will have an effect that can positively or negatively affect a student’s educational outcome.


By looking at one particular example of a social aspect that particularly affects the urban schooling environment, we can relate it to how it’ll affect a youth attending these schools. One example is the socioeconomic background of these students which is heavily influenced by the education their parents received. “About 1 in 5 Americans under the age of 18 lives below the poverty level” and 9% of children in the United States live in extreme poverty (Woolfolk, 2014, p.233). There are many urban schools that are considered high poverty in areas around the U.S.. The affects that face students of lower socioeconomic status, which is “one of the most meaningful cultural dimensions in people’s lives,” are largely placed on student achievement (Woolfolk, 2014, p. 233). It has been proven through studies that being of a lower socioeconomic background has a correlation to lower average levels of achievement on test scores. Furthermore, these students “face great challenges in pursuing a higher level of education and being successful even if they have favorable individual characteristics, such as ability and motivation” (Cilesiz and Drotos, 2016). This just brings the circle of poverty for these students around when they do not go to college and get professional careers. Other achievement biases exist for these urban youth, as well.

Another general characteristic of urban schools is the greater composition of minorities resulting in greater racial and ethnic diversity (Ahram et. al). One concern of schools is that there are “some ethnic groups [that] consistently achieve below the average for all students” (Woolfolk, 2014, p.240). These achievement gaps can be seen when looking at education completion gaps where only about 60% of African American, Latino, and Native American students graduate from high school, while around 80% of White students graduate. Most educators and researchers believe that these differences occur due to the history of discrimination and the “product of cultural mismatches” (Woolfolk, 2014).

These are just two aspects of the social context of many of the American urban youth population which teachers need to be aware. However, there are many other unique issues that could be discussed with this population. So, how can teachers serve these students when facing these issues or others that may concern differences in social background between yourself and your students? Using culturally relevant pedagogy, fostering resilience, and developing caring teacher-student relationships are all tools to use in the classroom to aid your students (Woolfolk, 2014, p.256).

Overall, it is a sense of cultural competence that teachers must strive for when working in all environments. But, when looking at the educational gaps for minority students and particularly urban youth, it is extremely important that teachers learn to bridge cultural barriers. This video really examines cultural competence and how teachers can work towards this goal:





Ahram, R., Stembridge, A., Fergus, E., & Noguera, P. (n.d.). Framing Urban School Challenges: The Problems to Examine When Implementing Response to Intervention. Retrieved December 07, 2016, from
Cilesiz, S., & Drotos, S. M. (2014). High-Poverty Urban High School Students Plans for Higher Education: Weaving Their Own Safety Nets. Urban Education, 51(1), 3-31.                    doi:10.1177/0042085914543115


Racial/Ethnic Enrollment in Public Schools. (2016, May). Retrieved December 07, 2016, from


The State of Racial Diversity in the Educator Workplace (Rep.). (2016). U.S. Department of      Education.

Woolfolk, A. (2014). Educational Psychology: Pearson New International Edition. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited.


Reflections on Technology in the Classroom

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Technology is an essential component to most modern day teaching environments. It is used so often by teachers and schools that it is often unnoticeable in all of its varied forms and the way technology skills are implemented from the start in our early childhood classrooms. From the use of a Smart Board, in class computer work, integration activities using Word or Google Doc, PowerPoint, internet research, and beyond are all ways that technology has helped teachers with their instruction.

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So, has technology deepened instruction or is it just a distraction to students? In my opinion, I think technology can deepen instruction in many ways when used correctly. Though, let’s be honest, when not monitored students may get distracted in lessons because of the technology. In the article, “Plugged in or Tuned Out” by Mark Blankenship, he gets a college student’s viewpoint who graduated high school in the 90’s but just went back to college to get her bachelor’s degree a decade later. After this big technology gap in her education, she sees “technology in the classroom as beneficial” because the utilization of technology in the classroom can bring in interesting and captivating lessons compared to the “archaic” way of teaching. For more of her viewpoint and a teacher’s viewpoint in using technology in the classroom, here’s a link to the article:,uid&db=ehh&AN=48123379&site=ehost-live&scope=site

There are some issues I can see that would result from using technology on a regular basis in the classroom. I think if an educator is not integrating their technology into their own teaching, then they are really taking the personality and individuality out of their teaching approach. By relying on things like YouTube videos/other media, technological games, and presenting through PowerPoint lectures, a student may be overwhelmed and get distracted with their learning. Instead face-to-face interaction either through collaboration through peers or simply connecting with your students through positive classroom dialogue are important ways to supplement the technology use.

Another issue is the very active digital divide that occurs in our society. Not all students have the opportunity to use technology like broad speed internet at home and this divide can create an opportunity gap for these students. Hopefully, this divide will decrease as school systems offer more use of personal equipment in the school.

Overall, I believe the positive aspects of technology extremely outweigh the cons of technology use for educational purposes. One example of how vast the opportunities are for incorporating technology in the classroom is the use of virtual reality and its deliverance of “immersive, simulated worlds, enabling complete focus on content without distructions” (K-12 Horizon Report). Virtual reality can enhance STEM education by offering authentic virtual learning situations in cases where a real lab/experience is too expensive to offer. Besides virtual reality, technology is so diverse in opportunities that it can truly tailor and transform the educational experience for all types of students. Here’s a video on how technology will transform education:


Becker, S. A., Freeman, A., Hall, C. G., Cummings, M., & Yuhnke, B. (2016). NMC/CoSN Horizon Report: 2016 K-12 Edition (Rep.). Austin, TX: The New Media Consortium.
Blankenship, M. (2010). Plugged In or Tuned Out?. Education Digest, 75(5), 61-64.

Reflections on Teaching Techniques for a Better Classroom

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In my future classroom, I have many things to consider in developing a class environment and method of teaching to best meet the needs of my students.

Motivation in the classroom is something that every teacher needs to aspire for with each and every lesson. Teachers can use both intrinsic motivational factors and external motivational factors to energize their students and help them work harder inside and outside the classroom. Intrinsic motivation is based on seeking and conquering “challenges as we pursue personal interests and exercise our capabilities” (Woolfolk, p.477). A teacher can find ways to connect to their students’ interests to get them interested in the subject matter; positive feedback is a component of this motivation. Most of my teaching goals will be based on developing intrinsic motivation. Extrinsic motivation is created through “external factors such as rewards and punishments” (Woolfolk, p.477). Motivating students can be done through giving rewards such as good grades or an in-class reward to extrinsically motivate. To read more about this subject:


Assessment techniques vary between teacher and teacher but they all aspire to effectively assess student’s current knowledge and skills. As a science teacher, it is important to understand that my students will come from different beginnings of science background knowledge. I can use a pretest to help me determine what my students already know. Then, in my lessons I can use this knowledge to focus on areas of weakness and backup areas of strength. Formative assessment will occur throughout my lessons to ensure I am on track for meeting my classroom teaching objectives. Finally, my summative assessment will occur in various forms because not every student is able to sit down and show their knowledge on a 50 question multiple-choice exam. Portfolio assessment may exist in the form of a lab log to help these students, as well. In my classroom, assessment will never be done without cause, because it takes up class time and excessive assessment can deter students’ from enjoying the subject.


Learner-centered methods of teaching involve engaging students in the material instead of using passive learning methods. Group discussions, hands on lessons, and presenting new ideas multiple times or in different ways are all learner-centered teaching methods. I will use these methods in my classroom as both a way to make sure each of my students are engaging in the material and not being distracted or discouraged during a long lecture. As a future secondary educator, I want my students to take the knowledge they learned in my class and feel actively connected to the material due to the engagement methods I use as a teacher. This video shows ten expectations that students may develop in the classroom that are considered more student-centered that teachers should take into account when creating their lessons:


There are various classroom design principles that will be helpful in developing a positive, organized classroom that will enhance my desire to implement student-centered learning. I believe in using desk clusters or tables to enhance the ability for group-work and classroom discussions. As a science teacher, my classroom will need several interest areas to enhance the lessons with hands on areas and offering flexible teaching arrangements for the variety of lessons we will be dealing with. Example of science classroom that has an action zone in the front/middle of the classroom with areas along the sides of the tables for other teaching areas:

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Finally, actually developing lessons that will target the learning objectives of each unit is a full time job in itself. Using the backward design method ensures that your lesson plans have purpose and that classroom time is being used effectively. By starting with “what the learner will need in order to accomplish the learning goals,” students will be able to see that their lessons are developed with “explicit and transparent priorities” which will prevent confusion and frustration in the classroom (Wiggins and McTighe, p.15-16). Here is an example lesson plan that utilized the Backward Design Framework:

Unit Title: ___5th Grade Science- Animal Needs: Cellular Respiration___________________                                                                    

Established Goals: Students will understand the basic ideas behind animal energy needs including why cellular respiration is needed for animals.

A. describe the process of cellular respiration including initiating items: glucose and oxygen, and products: carbon dioxide, water, and ATP energy.

B. describe how and where cellular respiration occurs.


Understandings: Students will understand that…

·         Animals need food for growth, body repair, and energy.

·         Without food, animals would not survive.

·         Animals get energy from food using cellular respiration.

·         Cellular respiration can be done aerobically and anaerobically.

·         Cellular respiration is done in the mitochondria organelle in the cells.

Essential Questions:

·         Why do animals need food?

·         How do animals get energy from their food?

·         What is cellular respiration?

·         Where does cellular respiration occur?



Students will know:

·         Why animals need food

·         Basic definitions involving the cellular respiration process

·         Explain the basic process of cellular respiration


Students will be able to:

·         Relate animal needs to a potential career in the science field- wildlife biologist

·         Use research skills to perform a hands on experience involving cellular respiration

·         Express the needs of animals using the learned cellular respiration vocabulary



Performance Tasks:

·         Perform an experiment involving yeast and various sugar containing liquids to determine how the level of sugar affects the cellular respiration process. (What product occurs when yeast is mixed with various sugar amounts and how can we measure this product?)

·         Create a diagram listing the step by step process of cellular respiration. Include a drawing of the cell and organelle where cellular respiration occurs. Be able to explain this process in a small description.

Other Evidence:

·         Read an excerpt on the wildlife biologist and use science reading comprehension to answer two questions about the excerpt and how it relates to current learning objectives.

·         Following the experiment, fill out observations and answer follow up questions.

·         End of week quiz on cellular respiration process including beginning needs (glucose and oxygen) and products (carbon dioxide, water, and ATP energy), writing out definition of aerobically and anaerobically, and answering what organelle this process occurs in.

Key Criteria:

Students need to answer the three basic functions that food have for animal needs: growth, body repair, and energy. Students must understand what two things are needed for cellular respiration to occur and what products occur at the end of cellular respiration. They must be able to explain the difference between aerobic and anaerobic cellular respiration. Finally, students need to know where cellular respiration occurs in cells. Tests need to include:

·         Correct spelling of vocabulary terms

·         Use of complete sentences in long answer questions



Summary of Learning Activities:

·         Class discussion of why animals need food using p. 110 of lab notebook as a guide to facilitate conversation.

·         Play video Gotta Eat!- Crash Course Kids 1.1 to summarize animal food needs.

·         Read “Wildlife Biologist” excerpt in Be a Scientist Notebook Student Journal: Grade 5 and answer two questions based on this reading in their science lab notebooks, p.111-112.

·         Perform inquiry activity: food and respiration in small groups. Groups are responsible for performing the experiment and recording their observations in their notebooks. Individually, they will answer the four questions that follow up the experiment, p.113-114. As a class, the teacher will review the experiment and make connections to learning content from the inquiry activity.

·         Introduce cellular respiration discussion including definitions and step by step guide to this process.

·         Draw out animal cell and label organelles, highlighting the mitochondria where cellular process occurs.

·         Discuss aerobic and anaerobic cellular respiration emphasizing similarities and differences, then have students write out explanations in lab notebook, p.116.

·         Informal quiz with whole class to assess knowledge retention. Review material in class and send home review guide for studying

·         In class quiz at end of week on cellular respiration process including beginning needs (glucose and oxygen) and products (carbon dioxide, water, and ATP energy), writing out definition of aerobically and anaerobically, and answering what organelle this process occurs in.



Walters, F. S., & Newman, M. (2008). Understanding by Design (2nd Edition). Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe. TESOL Quarterly, 42(1), 162-165. doi:10.1002/j.1545-7249.2008.tb00220.x

Woolfolk, A. (2014). Educational psychology: Active learning edition. Boston: Pearson

Reflections on Behavioral and Cognitive Perspectives of Learning

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There are many different perspectives when it comes to learning. Two perspectives that are notable to understand are the behaviorist and cognitive perspectives of learning. The behaviorist perspective of learning “generally assumes that the outcome of learning is a change in behavior, and it emphasizes the effects of external events on the individual” (Woolfolk, 2014, p.272). There are generally four behavioral learning processes which include contiguity, classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and observational learning. On the other hand, the cognitive perspective of learning assumes that “mental processes exist, that they can be studied scientifically, and that humans are active information processors” (Woolfolk, 2014, p. 312). Cognitive theories deal with the cognitive processes of working memory, cognitive load, and knowledge.

The differences between the two perspectives deal with the assumptions behind what is learned. The cognitive perspective believes that through memory and thinking processes, knowledge and strategies are learned. Because of this new knowledge, our behaviors are effected and change in behavior can be possible. The behavioral theorists believe the behaviors, themselves, are learned. Cognitive learning occurs when reinforcement exists in the form of information with how behaviors will change or occur. This behavior can be learned through reinforcements such as Pavlov and his experiment involving classical conditioning:


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Here is a summary showing the general differences between the cognitive and behavioral perspectives of learning:

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It is important for teachers to apply these perspectives of learning to instruction because it enhances your capabilities as a teacher by understanding the learning process. By “applying behavioral learning principles to understand and change behavior,” a teacher is performing an applied behavior analysis. An example of this includes using praise appropriately. This sets clear specifications and expectations regarding appropriate behavior. Applied behavior analysis reinforces the perspective of behavioral theories. By using and understanding the theory behind cognitive perspective of learning, it is possible to reach every student through the development of their knowledge processing. Making lessons meaningful, encouraging thinking and understanding, and supporting cognitive organization are all tools teachers can use to enhance learning for their students. These are tools I plan to use in my classroom for both the behavioral and cognitive perspectives.

A limitation of the behavioral perspective can be explained by Bandura and his suggestion that “we all may know more than we show,” which he explained in his early study involving preschool children, aggression, and a “Bobo” doll (Woolfolk, 2014, p. 300). Video of experiment:


A limitations of the cognitive perspective is the emphasis on building memory. Memorization does not necessarily cause critical skill learning but rather a building of inert knowledge, which is generally useless.



Bandura’s Bobo Doll Experiment. Everywhere Psychology, 28 Aug. 2012. Web.
Woolfolk, Anita. Educational Psychology: Pearson New International Edition. Harlow: Pearson Education Limited, 2014.



Reflections on Teaching with Differences

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As a future teacher, there will be opportunities everyday to interact and encounter differences in my students, their parents, and the community I may be teaching in. There will be differences in religion, race, socioeconomic status, gender, traditions, and intellectual/physical ability. It will be my responsibility to observe these differences and plan to accommodate any individual needs or differences in both the way I teach and how I interact with those around me.

One of the most important things to do as a teacher is to reach out to those who are different than you are. One can do this by developing a strong relationship with your students and parents. It will help you find what is important to both the students and the parents. By reaching out, your understanding of these differences will increase. Reach out to each and every student, no matter how similar or different they may be to you. Regular check-ins are something I plan to do in my classroom. This may be as simple as round table discussions in my classroom concerning weekend activities or sending out weekly/monthly emails to the parents concerning classroom goals and activities.

Socioeconomic differences between myself and my students have already occurred in my limited teaching observations. One area this really affects is providing enough time to eat the free breakfast and lunch the school provides. Some students, I’ve noticed, really look forward to this opportunity for eating and it is up to me to make sure they have enough time take advantage of the provided breakfast. I would do this by accepting that my lessons in the morning need to be flexible enough to allow the students to be eating during at least the first twenty to thirty minutes of class.


Another example of accommodating this socioeconomic differences in my class is to understand the difference in technology access my students may have. Despite the idea that everyone these days has access to the computer and internet at home, this is not the case. Just providing class time or enough time for a student to visit the library for access to computers is one way to assign online homework and have all my students able to complete the assignment.

Here’s an article about technology access and the divide in socioeconomic class:

Overall, in mostly any job position one can find will have opportunities to interact with others who are different than ourselves. However, the classroom will need to have a teacher who will embrace these differences in students as opportunities to enhance growth as it it is so vital and important in building the mind and self-confidence of our youth.

Reflections on Cognitive Development

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At every stage in life, we are constantly learning something new. People have tried to understand how we develop and construct knowledge for thousands of years.  Modern educational psychologists have proposed several ideas on this cognitive development. These theories often ask whether we learn due to environmental stimuli or do we use cognitive thinking to construct knowledge based off of perceived information (Hammond et al. 2001, p.6).

This cognitive structuring is explained by several different educational psychologist models. These models include Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development, Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development, Erikson’s Stages of Development, and Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model of Development.

Jean Piaget believed that our biological maturation and environmental influences allowed children’s minds to structure and restructure themselves throughout four stages of development:


Some of the benefits of this model include a comprehensive overview of how the brain and thinking develops as a typical child ages. This model lends itself to approximation versus absolution which is critical for the education field and teaching children by typical development skills at certain ages. Some negatives to this theory is the sharp stages that children must jump to rather than a continuous range. This may underestimate some children’s skills and overestimate others.

The key takeaway of Piaget’s theory is human intelligence is gained through actual experience and is considered a process over time.

Leo Vygotsky was a psychologist who believed in a social development of cognition. He believed that interacting with peers was the way to develop skills. Vygotsky also came up with a model called the zone of proximal development. It essentially means that by knowing what a child knows and what a child needs to learn, there is a zone of proximal development in between them. This zone can be reached by giving the student the right assistance to achieve to this level of learning or task.



A benefit to this model is the development of scaffolding, also known as the assistance we can provide to students to understand the next level of knowledge. Many teachers use scaffolding in the classroom to help students begin to understand new concepts. Homework may be used to test retention of the new material.

Some cons to this theory is there is no mention to developmental issues and there is no ability to measure levels of cognitive development using a common scale.


Erik Erikson’s Stages of psychosocial development dealt more with the sociocultural forces that characterized eight stages that a person confronts and hopefully masters throughout their life. This scheme can be seen here:




The final model we can see that characterizes cognitive development is Bronfenbrenner’s Bioecological Model. Bronfenbrenner basically suggests that people have four levels of ecological systems that they constantly interact within because individuals and their environment affect one another. Here’s an image of this model:


Image Source: Center for Child and Community Development

From this model, we can say that a student’s socio-economic status can have an impact on their learning as it really effects the mesosystems of the student. An example can be seen with the academic achievement gap witnessed between high income and low income students. “Poverty significantly affects the resources available to students” and due to this, students facing poverty struggle more in their academic achievement (Lacour and Tissington, 2011). To read more:


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These theories of cognitive development and the understanding of learning can be crucial for educators implementing their curriculum. Understanding the thought processes of your students due to their stage of development and their prior knowledge, and it will become easier to create a plan to continue their development using your own knowledge of how our minds create new knowledge.



Darling-Hammond, L., Austin, K., Orcutt, S., & Rosso, J. (2001, December 27). How People Learn: Introduction to Learning Theories [Scholarly project]. Retrieved from

Lacour, M., & Tissington, L. D. (2011, July). The Effects of Poverty on Academic Achievement. Educational Research and Reviews, 6(7), 522-527.

Reflections on Putting Research to Use

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Research is an important aspect to improving our current education system. As many of us have realized through our own education experience as students, educators are very capable of performing their own research in and out of their classroom. Here is a short video clip promoting the idea of teachers becoming researchers done by Mike Bell of the Evidence-Based Teachers Network.

In the video, something that stood out to me was when Mike Bell compared teachers who did research versus teachers who may not be interested in research. He said “their mind is more focused on whether the student is learning or not” about the teachers who research, “while less effective teachers, their focus is on what they are delivering. So simply doing a bit of research is beneficial to you and your students.”

This does not mean that teachers who do not do research automatically are considered less effective teachers. Rather, I think he meant this about teachers who are not concerned with educational research at all. Researchers have much to offer the teachers themselves through their findings of the studies. It is up to the teachers to utilize this research in ways that will benefit their classrooms by continuously learning and sifting through the studies and journal articles. Here is a link to an excellent article on how teachers can use research in improving their curriculum:


Now, let’s look at a real world example of a teacher making a decision based off of evidence they have found in research.


I think it is important to delve into current research in order to reflect on the two opinions that likely arise during the homework debate. Firstly, I would like to consider that though the note says “there will be no formally assigned homework,” that does not mean that there will be no work needed to be done by said student. The students are responsible for the “work that your student did not finish during the school day.” So, we could consider that practice in subject areas is being given to students and is their responsibility to manage both in time and in finishing it.

But, that is not what the grit of the debate is about. Rather, parents want to know whether this will be beneficial to their children’s success or if it is harming them. Current research indicates that despite homework not being proved to improve student performance, there is a positive correlation between homework and standardized test performance in science and math. This study done by A.V. Maltese, R.H. Tai and X. Fan, did conclude that there was no significant relationship between homework and grades. Though, standardized tests are utilized in important things like college acceptance and school success rates. If homework helps students succeed at these tests, it may not be wise to get rid of it completely. Another study showed that homework is perceived by students as more important and less boring than time spent in class (Zuzanek, 2009).

In my opinion, I think it truly depends on the work assigned in class by the teacher and how much of it needs to be taken home to complete. I feel as though research shows that work done outside of school only positively benefits the students’ success in the classroom and it may have been hasty to enact a no homework policy.


Maltese, A. V., Tai, R. H., & Fan, X. (2012). When is Homework Worth the Time?: Evaluating the Association Between Homework and Achievement in High School Science and Math. The High School Journal, 96(1), 52-72. doi:10.1353/hsj.2012.0015

Zuzanek, J. (2009). Students’ study time and their “homework problem”. Social Indicators Research, 93(1), 111-115. doi:

Reflections on Myself

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Hello! My name is Alyssa Ruchti and I am currently a graduate student at UW-Whitewater. I am working on my Master of Science in Education with an emphasis in Curriculum and Instruction.



Outside the classroom, I have a lovely family with my husband, Jordan, who is a computer programmer at UW- Madison. We have a 4 year old daughter named Grace who just started Pre-K. We recently bought a house in Stoughton, WI, and are having fun making the house our home. I absolutely love reading, mainly fiction novels. I also enjoy watching football (Go Packers!) and spending time outside.

Prior to attending UW-Whitewater, I received my Bachelors degree in Biology from UW-Milwaukee with a Minor in Chemistry. I then went to UW- Madison’s School of Pharmacy for two years of graduate education. Throughout these processes, I had several amazing professors who instilled in me a passion for the sciences through their creative lessons and caring attitudes.


After realizing that the pharmacy profession was not something I wanted to continue to pursue, I sat down with one of the previously mentioned professors to talk about potential career options moving forward. Based off my own personality and skill set and knowing that I loved children, I decided to focus on education. Particularly, I want to focus on secondary science education. For the last year, I have worked at a Montessori school as a teacher’s assistant to gain experience working with children.

My favorite teachers have been the passionate, funny teachers who care about their students’ lives and welfare. A great example of this type of teacher can be seen in this New York Times video.

Mr. Wright seems like an ideal High school science teacher with a lot of excitement to share. Teachers from my own high school inspired me to choose secondary education versus going the route of elementary education. My calculus teacher, Mr. Shanklin, was my own version of Mr. Wright. He talked to us as peers, learning our interests and daily lives, which gave us more of a connection to him. He used multiple platforms for teaching to maintain interest in the material and used a goals system to garner a feeling of accomplishment.

Like Mr. Wright and Mr. Shanklin, as I gain experience and education in this field, I don’t want to lose a youthful exuberance for the subject matter. I want my students to take more out of my classroom then Avogadro’s number, instead taking away lifelong skills.


link to video:

link to UW-SOP picture: