Week 2 How is Qualitative Research a good lens through which to view classroom research?

EDET 636 Week 2

How is Qualitative Research a good lens through which to view classroom research?

Qualitative Research is a good lens through which to view classroom research because the individual (teacher) doing the research wants to understand their (students) experiences, how they construct their worlds, and what they characterize their experience as (Merriam, page 5). The idea is to understand something.

The basic steps in qualitative research are exploring issues, understanding experiences, and answering questions by analyzing and making sense of the data collected. According to QSR International Pty Ltd’s website, all data is unstructured. Data can come from open-ended survey responses, interviews, audio recordings, videos, pictures, web pages…

Merriam talks about the different forms of qualitative research. The three forms of research are positivist, interpretive and critical. A positivist assumes that reality is observable, stable, and measurable; interpretive research assumes reality is socially constructed (page 9) and lastly those who engage in critical research build their questions in relation to who has power (page 10). The way you frame your research questions influences your view towards how the world is constructed. For instance, if you have a positivistic view, you adhere to factual knowledge and you concentrate on facts, according the article “Positivism.”

When I think about doing qualitative research in the classroom in the form of positivism, I think about researching my students’ behavior. Why students behave the way they do, or why during certain times of the day their behavior changes. My research would consist of learning about my students’ experiences at home and in school, collecting data from what I see and hear (in the form of surveys, interviews, audio recordings), recording my observations, creating and implementing the plan, and then drawing conclusions.

We focus a lot on behavior and cultural values in our school/district. This is my first year using ClassDojo as a way to creative a positive classroom atmosphere and manage my classroom behavior. I’ve heard great things from colleagues, who recommended I use it for primary grades. If ClassDojo works for my kids, and in the end have positive attitude, I would recommend it to other teachers.

References:

Merriam, S., & Merriam, S. (2009). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass.

Positivism – Research Methodology. (n.d.). Retrieved September 9, 2015, from http://research-methodology.net/research-philosophy/positivism/

What is Qualitative Research? (n.d.). Retrieved September 9, 2015, from http://www.qsrinternational.com/what-is-qualitative-research.aspx

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7 thoughts on “Week 2 How is Qualitative Research a good lens through which to view classroom research?

  1. Tristan Leiter

    I like how qualitative research allows us to do observation that gets us to understand our students, dig into what is actually going on, to help them succeed. It doesn’t just look at the numbers on the tests and assignments. This doesn’t give the whole person analysis, and we may miss a very important thing about the student that allows or does not allow them to learn in the way we teach. It not only helps the student, but it helps us learn how to teach better. If we are constantly focused on our scores, are we focused on how the student learns best? Maybe we are, but sometimes I think if we are so focused on the scores, we take our focus off of our students, not all teachers, but I’m sure there’s some. So to sum up my rambling, I like how it gets us to look at our students as a whole person.

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  2. I use ClassDojo and I love it. Equally important is that both my students and their parents love it too. You can customize what behaviors you want to give and take away points for and change them as needed. It is also a fast and easy way for parents to send me a text message. I can also send out entire class broadcasts to remind parents about upcoming events and assignments. If you need any help with it, please let me know!

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    1. I only have 6 students in my class, and 3 of those parents responded back (phone and email). That’s one of my goals this week to communicate with parents via classdojo. What do you do when a student isn’t earning any points, or refuses to complete a task because he doesn’t have points like everyone else? I’ve tried different things already, and I need some other strategies.

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      1. I told my students up front that we don’t cry or get mad when we don’t get a point because we can always earn one later. The goal is to end the day with 5 points total. I have also told a student who wasn’t complying that if he stopped and followed my directions, I would give him a point for following directions. I started Class Dojo last year when I taught kindergarten. I looped up with my students so almost all of them were familiar with it. The goal for the ones that are difficult is to catch them being good. As soon as they do something correct. Even if it is just sitting quietly. If they see they will still earn points they will usually will get on board.

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  3. “The idea is to understand something.” I like this. It is so easy as a teach to look at test scores to gain an understanding about a students, but what does that really tell us? Qualitative research allows us to delve deeper into our students instead of just focusing on their grades. It encourages us to understand why students perform the way the do, and hopefully figure out a way to make changes to improve our classrooms. When I look at grades on a test, I can tell if the class was able to test well on a topic, but it doesn’t help me understand anything about what my students actually learned.

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