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Effective teaching strategies according to fifth grade students: A qualitative study

ProQuest Dissertations and Theses, 2009
Dissertation
Author: Adlin Yanina Gomez
Abstract:
This study identified learners' perspectives on the most effective teaching strategies. Professionals in the field of education have worked to increase educational achievement and success by exploring ways to match instructional strategies with individual learning styles. The voices of the learners have seldom been considered in this effort. The experiential and constructive learning theories were used as the conceptual framework for this qualitative research study as both provide a basis for examining individual intellectual and educational development that can enhance the learning process. A grounded theory of effective teaching was constructed based on the responses of 22 participants who are currently completing 5th grade. The data were analyzed by reducing it into themes through the process of coding. Participants were interviewed using open-ended questions that encouraged identification of activities and strategies utilized by their teachers that enhanced their learning experiences. A theoretical model was developed that describes the teaching strategies participants reported as most useful to them. Participants were interviewed using open-ended questions that encouraged identification of activities and strategies utilized by their teachers that enhanced their learning experiences. The findings of this study indicated that instruction must be multifaceted and promote student participation to maintain interest and engagement in the learning experience. Professionals involved in the education of children are encouraged to incorporate these strategies into their lesson plans and promote active learning. The social change implications that emerged from this study involve the delivery of high quality education and an increase in student academic success, as classrooms become a strong foundation for future productive members of society.

TABLE OF CONTENTS LIST OF TABLES............................................................................................................vii LIST OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................viii

CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY..........................................................1 Introduction .............................................................................................................1 Problem Statement...................................................................................................3 Nature of the Study, Specific Research Questions, and Research Objectives.........4 Purpose of the Study................................................................................................5 Conceptual Framework............................................................................................5 Operational Definitions............................................................................................7 Assumptions, Limitations, Scope, and Delimitations............................................14 Significance of the Study.......................................................................................15 Summary of Chapter 1...........................................................................................16 Overview of the Dissertation.................................................................................16

CHAPTER 2: REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE............................................................18 Introduction............................................................................................................18 Overview of Research Strategies and Learning Styles..........................................18 Research Strategy..................................................................................................19 Review of Literature..............................................................................................20 Physiological Factors Influencing Learning..........................................................21 Socio environmental Factors Influencing Learning...............................................21 Personal Variables and Learning...........................................................................22 Federal Legislation & Learning.............................................................................22 Theories of Learning..............................................................................................23 Understanding the Concept of “Learning Styles’..................................................28 Multiple Intelligences and Learning Styles...........................................................29 Teaching Styles and Strategies..............................................................................32 Merging Teaching Strategies with Learning Styles...............................................35 Traditional Instruction and Learning.........................................................39 Educators as Active Facilitators of Learning.............................................40

CHAPTER 3: DESIGN AND METHODOLOGY ...........................................................44 Introduction............................................................................................................44 Research Paradigm................................................................................................44 Research Design ...................................................................................................44 Role of the Researcher...........................................................................................46 Research Question.................................................................................................47 Setting of the Study................................................................................................47 Procedures for Selecting Participants....................................................................49 Ethical Protection of Participants..............................................................51 Data Collection......................................................................................................52 Pilot Study..............................................................................................................54 iv

Data Analysis.........................................................................................................55 Summary................................................................................................................58

CHAPTER 4: DATA RESULTS AND ANALYSIS........................................................59 Introduction............................................................................................................59 Data Collection Process.........................................................................................59 Evidence of Quality...............................................................................................63 Researcher Bias......................................................................................................64 Data Analysis.........................................................................................................65 Findings.................................................................................................................73 Interview Question 1..............................................................................................74 Theme 1.....................................................................................................76 Theme 2.....................................................................................................78 Theme 3.....................................................................................................80 Theme 4.....................................................................................................80 Theme 5.....................................................................................................80 Interview Question 2..............................................................................................81 Theme 1.....................................................................................................82 Theme 2.....................................................................................................84 Theme 3.....................................................................................................85 Theme 4.....................................................................................................86 Interview Question 3..............................................................................................88 Theme 1.....................................................................................................89 Theme 2.....................................................................................................91 Theme 3.....................................................................................................92 Theme 4.....................................................................................................93 Theme 5.....................................................................................................96 Interview Question 4..............................................................................................97 Theme 1.....................................................................................................99 Theme 2...................................................................................................100 Interview Question 5............................................................................................101 Theme 1...................................................................................................102 Theme 2...................................................................................................102 Theme 3...................................................................................................103 Summary..............................................................................................................104

CHAPTER 5: INTERPRETATION, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS.........................................................................106 Introduction..........................................................................................................106 Overview..............................................................................................................106 Summary of Findings...........................................................................................107 Interpretation of Findings....................................................................................111 Interview Question 1................................................................................113 Interview Question 2................................................................................117 Interview Question 3................................................................................121 v

Interview Question 4................................................................................125 Interview Question 5................................................................................127 Grounded Theory Model.....................................................................................129 Implications for Social Change............................................................................134 Recommendations for Action..............................................................................135 Recommendations for Further Study...................................................................138 Researcher’s Reflections......................................................................................139 Closing Remarks..................................................................................................140

REFERENCES................................................................................................................143 APPENDIX A: LETTERS OF COOPERATION FROM COMMUNITY RESEARCH PARTNERS.............................................................................................149 APPENDIX B: CONSENT FORM.................................................................................151 APPENDIX C: ASSENT FORM....................................................................................154 APPENDIX D: INTERVIEW QUESTIONS FORM......................................................156 APPENDIX E: PARTICIPANT’S OBSERVATION PROTOCOL A ..........................157 APPENDIX F: PARTICIPANT’S OBSERVATION PROTOCOL B............................158

CURRICULUM VITAE..................................................................................................159

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LIST OF TABLES

Table 1. Demographic Information for the Two Participating Schools ......................................................................................................49 Table 2. Classroom Observations Conducted in School A and School B..............................................................................................70 Table 3. Effective Teaching Strategies in Reading............................................................74 Table 4. Effective Teaching Strategies in Math................................................................82 Table 5. Effective Teaching Strategies in Writing............................................................89 Table 6. Favorite Activities During Class.........................................................................98 Table 7. Difficult to Learn/Get/Do in Class....................................................................101 Table 8. Research Questions and Emerged Themes........................................................109

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LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 1. Data Collection and analysis flow chart ............................................................66 Figure 2. Diagram of themes emerged from Question 1 ..................................................76 Figure 3. Diagram of themes emerged from Question 2...................................................83 Figure 4. Diagram of themes emerged from Question 3...................................................89 Figure 5. Diagram of themes emerged from Question 4...................................................98 Figure 6. Diagram of themes emerged from Question 5.................................................102 Figure 7. Grounded theory model....................................................................................133

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CHAPTER 1: INTRODUCTION TO THE STUDY Introduction The field of education has been making significant contributions toward improving the quality of society. Since education is an important factor for social change and progress to occur, it is imperative that each member of this nation is entitled to appropriate education (Free Appropriate Public Education, 2007). The challenge for educators is to ensure that the quality of education is sustained in the context of various learning styles that coexist within a classroom. For effective learning to occur for all, instruction must incorporate a variety of teaching strategies that take into consideration the learners’ learning styles (Pressley et al., 1998). Research has been conducted in the areas of teaching strategies and learning styles (Kiguwa & Silva, 2007; Köksal & Yel, 2007; Vermunt, 2005). Researchers have found that to increase active learning and classroom productivity teaching must be diverse. Effective educators identify their students’ learning styles and develop instructional strategies that will address each learning style effectively (McMahon, Rose, & Parks, 2004). As learning styles are addressed, each student becomes actively engaged in the learning process. The learning process is complex. According to Davis and Franklin (2003), one’s learning style is a set of characteristics based on biological and developmental factors. Johnson et al. (2006) suggested that socioenvironmental factors could also influence the learning experience. Lack of exposure to appropriate instruction may cause learning difficulties (Vellutino, Fletcher, Snowling, & Scanlon, 2004). In addition, personal variables such as motivation and perceptions can influence the way in which learning is acquired (Morgan et al., 2008). The extent to which these variables may influence the learning process is discussed in chapter 2. It can be suggested

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that learning is an important component in an individual’s physical, social, intellectual, and emotional development. Multiple theoretical concepts have been developed in an effort to explain the learning process. Although chapter 2 provides an explanation of various theories of learning, these theories share a common goal which is that active learning occurs through the exposure of various teaching strategies. Even though there is no one learning theory that will address all individuals’ learning styles, teaching must be multifaceted to provide a context for application of each individual learning style. According to Gardner (1999), the traditional concept of general intelligence simplifies the complexity of the human cognition. He theorized that individuals possess multiple intelligences that are manifested according to the circumstances in which learning is occurring. Chapter 2 provides a detailed explanation about multiple intelligences as conceptualized by Gardner. Consistent with the concept of multiple intelligences, research (Köksal & Yel, 2007; McMahon et al., 2004) has demonstrated that when considering multiple approaches in the design of classroom activities, learners will have the opportunity to acquire new knowledge through their preferred learning style. In many educational institutions, educators encounter a variety of ability levels within one classroom. Some learners may perform at expected grade level standards whereas others may find instructional material highly exigent (Johnson, 2006). Although this diversity of ability levels has become a challenge for educators, proactive educators incorporate individual learning style strategies into their instructional plans to provide each learner an opportunity to learn. This

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gives all students the opportunity to be exposed to the same content in diverse ways (Vincent & Ross, 2001). Ford and Chen (2001) suggested that matching students’ learning styles with instructional strategies can increase students’ performance and learning. Sutliff and Baldwin (2001) recommended that teachers investigate their students’ various learning styles and ensure that differentiated instruction is included in their lesson plans. Differentiating the curriculum in the classroom by addressing the learners’ individual learning styles can make a positive impact in their learning and academic progress. Chapter 2 discusses further the dynamics involved in differentiating instruction and learning styles. Considering that educators are expected to cover state standards, administer classroom assessments, meet administrative demands, and prepare for state assessments, limited time is left to address each learner’s learning style during instruction. Although educators may have a desire to do everything within their capacity to ensure the academic progress of all learners, they may lack time and support to accomplish this goal effectively. However, if the teaching strategies have been recognized by the learners to be effective and simple in nature, perhaps educators may be willing to incorporate them into their lesson plans. Thus, a curriculum can be highly effective once the learner’s voice is acknowledged (Kinchin, 2004). Problem Statement Research has been conducted in the areas of teaching strategies and learning styles (Exley, 2003; Ford & Chen, 2001; Kiguwa & Silva, 2007). Most studies suggested that effective educators take into consideration the students’ learning styles when developing a lesson and during the delivery of instruction. The majority of research studies measured learning styles and

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teaching preferences using normative assessments. The opinions, perceptions, and experiences of the learners have not been equally examined. For example, Vincent and Ross (2001) explored the importance of matching learning styles with teaching strategies using quantitative methods. Although they found that active learning will occur when teaching strategies match students’ learning styles, they failed to consider the preferences and experiences of the learners at a personal level. The research problem being addressed is the limited availability of literature that takes into consideration the learners’ perceptions and experiences in the identification of effective teaching. Specifically, a gap exists in the literature that fails to address children’s opinions and experiences with effective teaching strategies using qualitative methodology. Nature of the Study, Specific Research Questions, and Research Objectives This research study identified participants’ opinions and perceptions about effective teaching strategies according to their experiences in the classroom. The study used grounded theory to examine teaching effectiveness that is based on the research question, What are the most effective teaching strategies according to fifth grade students? The participants in this study were fifth grade students attending an urban school district. Participants were interviewed individually using a questionnaire consisting of 20 open-ended questions that allowed them to express their ideas and opinions about effective teaching. The research design is discussed in greater detail in chapter 3. This research study developed a theoretical model that describes which teaching strategies have proven to be useful according to the participants’ personal experiences. Participants were encouraged to reflect upon their academic career rather than limiting

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themselves to this year’s educational experience. As a result, the participants were able to express their preferences in teaching strategies and effective learning. Purpose of the Study The purpose of this study was to explore effective teaching strategies according to the participants’ experiences and opinions using a qualitative methodology. This study developed a theoretical model that identifies effective teaching strategies as determined by the children’s perceptions and experiences as fifth grade students in this nation’s public school classrooms. Educators are encouraged to consider these strategies when developing lessons plans. Conceptual Framework Due to the complexity of the learning process, there is no one theory that can adequately explain this phenomenon. Learning can be acquired through the exposure of various teaching forms (Sutliff & Baldwin, 2001). Experiential Learning Theory suggests that learning occurs when the learner connects personal experiences with meaning acquisition. When personal experiences have little or no connection to present curriculum, students may find it difficult to learn. Research has found that traditional instruction fails to consider the various intelligences and learning styles learners possess (Kösal & Yel, 2007). Learners will have more opportunities to learn through their preferred learning style when multiple approaches are considered in the design of classroom activities. Constructive Theories of Learning suggest that knowledge is based upon the way in which meanings are constructed. Learners are continuously constructing meanings from their interaction with their environments. When there are a variety of ways of interacting with the curriculum materials, there is a greater possibility that students will be able to construct meaning

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and learning (Kinchin, 2004). The subject matter becomes meaningful when learners begin to internalize new concepts through various activities (Dewey, 1938). Although other theoretical models may provide additional understanding about the learning process, experiential and constructive learning theories concur in that those individual experiences that promote intellectual and educational development will indeed enhance the learning process (Dewey, 1938). Learning will become meaningful when learners begin to incorporate their previous experiences with new knowledge. Proactive educators incorporate various teaching strategies to address their students’ learning styles (Ford & Chen, 2001). As new concepts are presented using creative multiple modalities, the delivery of instruction will be enhanced and active learning will occur. Learners should not only have a new concept explained to them and be expected to master it instantly. Rather, learners must have various and personally meaningful opportunities to hear, manipulate, apply, and practice the new concept in order to master such concept (Exley, 2003). Educators should be listening to the learner’s voice so their needs are met more efficiently (Kinchin, 2004; Miller, 2007). Learners should be given the opportunity to analyze and identify which teaching strategies enhance their learning experiences. The learners in this research study, like the general population of students in public school systems across the United States, may have never had the opportunity to express their teaching preferences. Consequently, educators may have not been aware of which specific teaching strategies, including those that may be simple in nature that might make a positive impact in their learners’ educational progress when implemented in a consistent manner. By exploring further the learners’ experiences and

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perceptions about effective teaching strategies, lesson plans may be developed that will enhance the students’ learning process and promote active learning within our nation’s classrooms. Operational Definitions Academic progress: Process of measuring students’ success or failure in educational standards. The Indiana Department of Education requires the administration of the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress-Plus (ISTEP+) to measure what each student is able to perform at each grade level and to determine possible academic gaps (Indiana Department of Education, 2009). Academic standards: According to the Indiana Department of Education (2009), this term refers to specific knowledge and skills that are expected to be learned at each grade level. Acuity assessment: This is a standard-based measurement developed by McGraw-Hill and mandated by the Indiana Department of Education’s Differentiated Accountability Model (DAM) for Title 1 schools under the improvement status. This measurement evaluates Language Arts, Math, Social Studies and Science (Indiana Department of Education, 2009). Adequate yearly progress (AYP): It requires schools, districts, and states to demonstrate consistent annual improvements in academic achievement on state tests. As stated by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, schools under this status are mandated that all students (100 %) achieve academic proficiency by the 2013-14 school year (Indiana Department of Education, 2009). Being a writer: This is a K-6 written language program developed by the Developmental Studies Center (2007) that teaches students to develop their creativity and skills as writers. This program also develops social and ethical values through community-building elements and

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guided partner work. It incorporates selected children’s literature to use as models of various genres of writing. Curriculum: Dewey (1956) emphasized the importance of considering the learner’s real interests when planning lesson plans. Teachers should develop a plan that facilitates learners’ interaction with the instructional content, materials, and resources in an effort to meet educational objectives. Differentiating instruction (curriculum): According to Sutliff and Baldwin (2001), it is adapting instruction and adjusting the curriculum to meet students’ needs and learning styles. Educational needs: Wasburn-Moses (2005) emphasized the importance of addressing the educational weaknesses of students for effective learning to occur. Guess the covered word: This activity is part of The Four-Blocks Literacy Model, developed by Drs. Patricia Cunningham and Dorothy Hall and published by Carson-Dellosa Publishing Co., Inc. (2001). This program intends to teach students to use context clues to solve an unknown word (Cunningham, Hall, & Sigmon, 1999). For instance, the teacher has sentences on sentence strips or on the visual presenter. One word in each sentence is covered with two small pieces of paper. One covers the first letter (i.e., onset) and the other covering the rest of the word (i.e., rime). The teacher reads the sentence with the student, saying blank for the covered word. The teacher encourages students to take guesses as to what the word could be, reminding students that the word had to make sense in the sentence. The teacher writes the words the students guess on the board, and then removes the paper that covers the first letter. She then cross checks the students’ guesses to see if they begin with that letter. She then takes some additional guesses, if necessary, or asks the children to vote on the words remaining to determine

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which is the best choice answer. The same activity is used with sentences and paragraphs instead of words (Cunningham, Hall, & Sigmon, 1999). Factor captor game: This activity is incorporated in the Everyday Mathematics curriculum developed by The University of Chicago and published by McGraw-Hill Companies (2007) for students attending grades preschool to sixth. The purpose of the game is to practice factoring of numbers. For instance, player 1 chooses a two-digit number on the grid and covers this number with a penny. Then, the player records this number as a score for the round. Next, player 2 covers all the factors of player 1’s number. Each factor is recorded as player 2’s score for the round. Once player 2 misses any factors, player 1 is entitled to cover them and add them to his/her score. The players then switch roles and continue playing until all numbers on the grid have been covered. The player with the higher total score is the winner. Four-square writing: This method was developed by Judith S. Gould and Evan J. Gould (1999) to teach basic writing skills applicable across grade levels and curriculum areas. It is commonly used to teach narrative, descriptive, expository, and persuasive forms of writing. Prewriting and organizational skills are taught through the use of a graphic organizer. This visual and kinesthetic activity is utilized to focus students on writing. It is also utilized to help students develop details and to enhance word choice. Teachers provide students with the organizer or students can fold their papers into 4 squares. This method is multi-level and can be modified for any genre. Highly qualified teacher: As mandated by the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, teachers of core academic subjects must possess proper educational credentials (e.g., bachelor’s

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degree or higher) in the subject area taught, have acquired state teacher certification, and demonstrate competence in the area(s) taught. Hypermedia: When various forms of media (e.g., video clips, graphics, audio, text, etc.) interlace to create a form of information (Howard, Ellis, & Rasmussen, 2004). Inadequate instruction: When a lesson is presented without considering the learner’s needs and/or academic standards. According to Vellutino, Fletcher, Snowling, and Scanlon (2004), those who are deprived of appropriate educational experiences may demonstrate learning difficulties. Instructional material: Activities and resources used for teaching and learning. These activities should be designed to address a variety of learning styles (Loo, 2004). Instructional strategies: Plans or methods that are used to facilitate learning and increase learning opportunities. These methods must match students’ learning styles for active learning occurs (Nolen, 2003; Vincent & Ross, 2001). Intelligence tests: A statistical measurement used to compare an individual’s abilities with those of a representative sample of a population (Sattler, 2001). Interactive technological environment: Environment in which learners have the opportunity to interact with various modes of technology (e.g., video, audio, graphic, text, etc.), as they become sources of learning (Howard, Ellis, & Rasmussen, 2004). Lattice method: This activity is incorporated in the Everyday Mathematics curriculum developed by The University of Chicago and published by McGraw-Hill Companies. Mathematics is taught using arrangements that are formed by a grid of numbers. Learning style(s): Also referred to as learning modalities or learning preferences. An

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individual’s unique mode(s) of processing, acquiring and applying new knowledge. As Vincent and Ross suggested, these preferences are the blueprints of the curriculum. Mental processes: Cognitive functions that serve as channels for knowledge acquisition (Howe et al., 2000). Multiple intelligences: Different forms of cognition that each individual possesses (Gardner, 1999). Multiple-Intelligence Theory-based instruction: According to Köksal and Yel (2007), this term refers to instruction that considers and incorporates various instructional approaches in the design of classroom activities. Learners are provided with various opportunities to acquire new knowledge through their preferred learning style(s). Multifaceted teaching: Instruction that is delivered using various teaching modalities and strategies (Kiguwa & Silva, 2007). Nifty Thrifty Fifty: This is a Four-Blocks Literacy list of 50 words for intermediate grade students developed by Cunningham and Hall (2000). This program is published by Carson- Dellosa Publishing Co., Inc. Each word is multisyllabic, contains common roots, prefixes and suffixes (Cunningham, 2009). For each Nifty Thrifty word a student knows, she or he will be able to read 7 other words. Normative assessments: Measurements that are based on the performance of other learners across the nation and are administered and scored in a standardized or consistent manner (Sattler, 2001). Results are used to compare the performance of a learner relative to the performance of her peers.

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Popcorn game: This game involves having a story or paragraph available for reading. Each student takes turn to read the story of paragraph. To switch turns, the child who is reading says popcorn to assign the new reader. The student popcorns the next reader. The game continues until the assigned reading is completed. Publishing books: Students compose written work on selected topics throughout the school year. Once a student completes a written work or book, she or he is encouraged to share the book by reading it to the classmates (Cunningham, Hall, & Sigmon, 1999). Classmates are encouraged to discuss the book with one another. Read 180: It is an intensive reading intervention program published by Scholastic, Inc. that focuses on differentiated instruction. It includes adaptive and instructional software, literature, as well as direct instruction in reading, vocabulary, and writing. Responsiveness to intervention: According to the Individual with Disabilities Education Improvement Act in 2004 (P.L. 108-446), this is a process or model utilized to determine whether a child demonstrates academic progress through exposure to research-based instruction that address their specific academic needs. Scientifically based instruction: The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 requires that lessons must be developed using systematic and rigorous methods. It involves systematic data analyses and observational methods that can validate the data across evaluators. This type of instruction has been accepted by peer-reviewed journals or approved by independent experts through scientific reviews. Scientifically based interventions: According to the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, this supplemental academic assistance must be based on empirical and systematic methods that

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involve rigorous data analysis adequate to test hypotheses and justify generated conclusions based on hypotheses. Observational methods should also be used to provide valid and reliable data across observers. This type of assistance has been accepted by peer-reviewed journals or approved by independent experts through scientific reviews. Sensory-rich entertainment: Designed to stimulate one’s senses in an effort to create a highly sensational and exciting experience (Howard, Ellis, & Rasmussen, 2004). Sparkle game: This activity is used to practice spelling words with the entire class. Students stand in a circle while the teacher gives the class a word. The first student repeats the word (e.g., “collar”). The next student says the first letter(c). The next student says the next letter (o), and so on. If at anytime a student provides the incorrect letter, she or he must sit down. The students continue giving a letter at a time until the word has been correctly spelled. Once the last letter is given, the next student says the word (e.g., collar), and the last student says “Sparkle.” The teacher then gives the next word and the cycle repeats. Special education programs: Educational assistance designed to meet the individualized needs of the learners (O'Connor & Yasik, 2007). Specific reading difficulties: Inability to decode words, as well as read fluently and accurately at expected grade levels. This inability may be due to a disorder on one or more of the basic psychological processes that will consequently hinder the ability to decode words at expectancy (P.L. 108-446). Story web: This is a graphic organizer utilized during reading and writing. It is utilized to demonstrate the elements of a story (i.e., character, setting, problem, and solution) and to retell a story (Cunningham, Hall, & Sigmon, 2000).

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Students with special needs: Students who are unable to learn at expected grade levels due to disabilities that are hindering the learning process. These students receive an individualized education plan that is tailored to meet their specific educational needs (O'Connor & Yasik, 2007). Title 1 schools: As determined by the Public Law 221 and the No Child Left Behind Act (2001), these are educational institutions with high percentages of students from low-income families that are entitled to receive additional federal funding to help educate these students using supplemental instructional support. Traditional education: Established ways and customs utilized to deliver instruction that have been existent for many years and accepted by society. This method focuses on intellectual learning and may lack of opportunities for experiential learning (Dewey, 1956). Assumptions, Limitations, Scope, and Delimitations For this study, one of my assumptions was that the participants were willing and capable of adequately describing their preferred teaching strategies. In addition, I assumed that the data gathered will support the development of a grounded theory model based on the participants’ experiences and opinions regarding effective teaching. Finally, I assumed that the results will provide the reader with teaching strategies that can be utilized in our nation’s classroom to promote effective teaching and active learning. Although this study intends to promote positive social changes in our nation’s educational system, it may present some limitations that will be discussed in this section. As discussed in chapter 2, learning is a complex process that can be influenced by various variables such as physiological (Davis & Franklin, 2004), socioenvironmental (Johnson et al., 2006), and personal (Guerrero et al., 2006; Morgan et al.,

Full document contains 173 pages
Abstract: This study identified learners' perspectives on the most effective teaching strategies. Professionals in the field of education have worked to increase educational achievement and success by exploring ways to match instructional strategies with individual learning styles. The voices of the learners have seldom been considered in this effort. The experiential and constructive learning theories were used as the conceptual framework for this qualitative research study as both provide a basis for examining individual intellectual and educational development that can enhance the learning process. A grounded theory of effective teaching was constructed based on the responses of 22 participants who are currently completing 5th grade. The data were analyzed by reducing it into themes through the process of coding. Participants were interviewed using open-ended questions that encouraged identification of activities and strategies utilized by their teachers that enhanced their learning experiences. A theoretical model was developed that describes the teaching strategies participants reported as most useful to them. Participants were interviewed using open-ended questions that encouraged identification of activities and strategies utilized by their teachers that enhanced their learning experiences. The findings of this study indicated that instruction must be multifaceted and promote student participation to maintain interest and engagement in the learning experience. Professionals involved in the education of children are encouraged to incorporate these strategies into their lesson plans and promote active learning. The social change implications that emerged from this study involve the delivery of high quality education and an increase in student academic success, as classrooms become a strong foundation for future productive members of society.