Synthesis

 

While working with my group, we created a kindergarten literacy lesson which asked students to collaborate in teams to create an ending to a story. Through  research I examined various articles, and studies about lower elementary schools and students. My research examined three main areas. 1. Teacher-language and encouragement. 2. Collaboration of teachers with families, and teachers with support teams and other schools. 3. How play can be incorporated in literacy instruction. Through each of these focus windows, the  research examined how these topics affect student’s performance in social settings, and classroom settings. Each of these focus windows provided us with data to support and expand our ideas before putting our method to practice during the lesson study. 

 

 1. How teacher-language and encouragement affect student’s intrinsic motivation, and performance in social settings and classroom settings. 

 

Research suggests that student’s performance and intrinsic motivation can be compromised  or altered by the words and language that teachers use. Khon discusses the danger of teachers telling students “good job!” when they are doing an expected task.  The article discusses how praise is helpful in the moment, but not in the long run. It can be a detriment to intrinsic motivation and ultimately make students less likely to persevere through challenging tasks. “When they are doing an expected task, making the point then we are saying “good job” to children, we are in a directly telling them how to feel.” (Khon 2018) This article urges readers to examine the language that they use when speaking to children. Additionally, Forslund and Hammar’s research shows how teacher voice can either support or impede on student’s learning in a collaborative setting. When the teachers asked the students questions and gave feedback about the task during a collaborative group activity, it resulted in more “opportunities to be accountable, both at the individual and group level, thereby enabling them [students] to take greater responsibility for the group's collective work. “ (Forslund & Hammar 2018) I found Forslund and Hammar’s research to stand by Khon’s research, because the teacher's in Forslund and Hammer’s study spoke to student groups only to clarify an urge, not to compliment or encourage. 

 

 

 2. How collaboration of teachers with families, and teachers with support teams and other schools affect student’s performance in social settings, and classroom settings. 

 

Research exemplifies the importance of teachers to build strong connections with families, support teams and even other schools in the district. Ferlazzo discusses how often times contact between teachers and parents are negative. He emphasizes that these connections should be built on listening, and shared decision making rather than finger pointing, and unexpressed expectations. Parent to teacher connections should be mutualistic relationships where both parties can benefit. If parents and teachers are connecting and feeling mutually supported, the children in result will feel that support too. Parents can rely on teachers to supply them with supports to put in place at home that can support the teacher and the student’s learning at school.  Research from this article makes it clear that communication between teachers and parents is the key to the student’s success. Firlik’s Research from the Early Years Summit, discusses the importance of communication across teachers district wide. In this study, Firlik discovered that preschool teachers and preschool families had the misconception that kindergarten teachers were running a strict “boot camp like” curriculum, and they were worried that they were not setting preschoolers up for success. When this misconception was realized by the kindergartener teachers and administrators, they realized that they needed to collaborate. Through these meetings they cleared up misconceptions and decided to collaborate. This alleviated stress on the preschool teachers and families, and allowed for them to move forward in a way that would better support the students. 

 

Both of these articles from Ferlazzo and Firlik encouraged me to collaborate with my support team in order to guide our planning for lesson study.  Through our collaboration she suggested ways to support FS2 in ways that I hadn’t before that my group and I used as tools to tailor our lesson. We worked to place FS2 and a group that would best aid him. We feel proud about the accomplishments that he made during the lesson study because of the supports we put in for him based on our research. 

 

 3, How play  incorporated in literacy instruction affect student’s performance in social settings, and classroom settings. 

 

Research shows that play and literacy make a lovely pair!  According to Cavanaugh play is an important part of literacy because it encourages relationships between language and letters, helping students make connections.  Pyle also suggests

That play can help young children solidify learning, transfer skills and create connections. This research encouraged me to song-ify the instructions to our series of lessons. By eliciting movement and song, the children were able to memorize the activity instructions, and were enthusiastic about it.