Descriptive Stats

To accompany my latest post “Stuck” …

Teacher Participants

N=6

Average Experience 14 Years

3,3,7,10,11,24

Teachers responded to two-four surveys; each about the communication they have with the parents of their students identified as ESL.

Amount of Parent Communication Per Month
Zero 5
Once 1
Twice 0
Three or More 0
 Referrals in Current School Year
Zero 6
One 0
Two 0
Three or More 0

Parent Participants

All parent surveys were sent home in Spanish and English.  All parents responded in Spanish.  Some surveys were returned partially complete, while others were answered in full.  Overall, parents confirmed they had not been contacted by parents but explained they only expected to be contacted if there was a concern regarding grades or behavior.  I was concerned by one response, which prompted more investigation.  A parent, when asked if they wished to hear from teachers more, wrote that she wished she could be more involved, but work and a lack of transportation prevented that.  While many did not come forward to say they wish they had more contact, reading through the lines informed me otherwise.

Analysis

Overall, teachers reported little to no contact with parents.  Parents affirmed this and added they did not feel they needed to hear from teachers unless there was an issue with behavior or academic performance.  However, I felt this was not a holistic representation of the school, nor did the results agree with other research that support the need for communication.  With the data sample used, I can conclude that minor redirections some students require in class do not necessarily call for communication with parents.  The students participating did not exhibit behaviors that would require contact home, regardless of ESL status.

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Stuck – Or So I Thought

As I dove into the mass of parent surveys, teacher responses, student grades, attendance, and behavior I found something not altogether surprising.  My data seemed to be inconclusive.  The teachers didn’t report any communication with home and the parents vocalized they only felt they needed to hear from the teacher when the student was in trouble.  Furthermore – the students who had participated earned satisfactory grades and had no reports of behavior referrals.

In a panic, I emailed my professor and some classmates with the subject line reading “stuck”.  In the message I detailed my specific situation, including the lack of breakthrough data and acknowledged the small sample size.  Thankfully, some fantastic classmates and my professor stepped up to suggest a school improvement plan because of the seeming complacency regarding communication with home.  My classmate went on to suggest community outreach through face-to-face meetings that could assist the parents in adjusting to a new culture.

I now have my work cut out for me.  I will finish synthesizing the data I have, research home communication, and develop a school improvement plan.  Sounds easy, right?  After this weekend, I’m thankful for a community of learners who came to my aid when I was feeling down and out.  On we go!

March 15 Memo

Communication

It is important to consider that at the middle school level, there generally tends to be less communication between parents and students than seen in elementary schools.  Bearing this in mind certain groups of students (i.e. ESL) require communication between parents and students, as studies have shown a positive correlation between parent and teacher involvement and student success.  

From preliminary data, teachers communicate with parents 1-2 times per week/biweekly. The remaining data to be collected will determine if parents believe this is sufficient.

Reflection:  I will use tips from classmates to expedite the responses I receive.  I will create more in depth questions to solicit more data from teachers.  

Goals:  Within the next week, I will receive all surveys from students and teachers and will have collected academic and behavioral data.

Data Collection in the Trenches

I have sent out survey questions to parents and am still working on receiving consent from others.  To collect teacher data, I plan on creating a google form to better keep track of results and make it more convenient for them.  I will begin student observations later this week after some testing has finished.

At this point, I only have consent from five students (about a third of the total population).  In order to make up for small numbers, I will administer more teacher surveys and ask more in depth questions.  If I can’t have as much widespread data, it will be more detailed.

Preliminary Data Collection

To begin, I compiled a list of all students who are identified as ESL within the school where I teach.  Currently, there are 17 active ESL students and 8 flagged as “monitor” status.  Using the College Review Board-approved consent and assent forms, I sent home information to parents about the study.  At this point, I have received six forms.  I hope to receive consent from at least half of the students.  I have had to provide additional copies and check in with students regarding the status of their paperwork.

I have been in close contact with the ESL teacher at the school and have interviewed her regarding her communication with parents.  I will begin dispersing interview questions to teachers this week.  I will also translate the parent survey questions into Spanish and send them home with students who have already consented to participate.  Additionally, I will begin to create a template for classroom behavior observations as well as grades.

Purpose

The purpose of this blog is to document the action research of a middle school teacher in Kentucky.  Action research can be defined as “any systematic inquiry conducted by teachers…or others with a vested interest in the teaching and learning process or environment for the purpose of gathering information about how their particular schools operate, how they teach, and how their students learn” (Mertler 2016 p 315).  Essentially, action research is performed by a party invested in students in order to gain perspective on a situation, and find a solution or method to enhance the educational experience of students.  I will be focusing on ESL students – specifically at the amount of communication that takes place between their home and teachers.