Bibliography – Blog Post 2

1.Glover, Derek, and Sue Law. Improving Learning: Professional Practice in Secondary Schools. Buckingham, Open University Press, 2002.

This source explains how teachers can be effective in the classroom and maximize students’ learning capacity. It defines what a successful school is and what the culture and leadership of a successful school looks like, and specifically discusses some of the obstacles that a teacher may face in creating an effective learning environment, such as an overcrowded classroom. This connects to my idea that teachers must be qualified to create such an effective learning environment and tackle these challenges, and while it was not published within the last 5 years, it is still relevant because it focuses on methodology and theory rather than current events. I hope to use this source to define successful learning environments and highlight ways in which an unqualified teacher may have difficulty creating one.

2. Elvira, Quincy, et al. “Development and Validation of a Supportive Learning Environment for Expertise Development Questionnaire (SLEED-Q).” Learning Environments Research, vol. 19, no. 1, Apr. 2016, pp. 17–41., doi:10.1007/s10984-015-9197-y.

This source discusses a psychological measure that was implemented in some schools in the Netherlands to measure the importance of a supportive learning environment in developing students’ expertise in school subjects. While this was implemented outside of the U.S., the theories behind the research itself can be applied to the idea in my paper that unqualified teachers may have more difficulty creating a supportive learning environment to facilitate students’ development of expertise.

3. Strolin-Goltzman, Jessica, et al. “The Moderating Effect of School Type on the Relationship between School-Based Health Centers and the Learning Environment.” Social Work in Public Health, vol. 27, no. 7, 12 Nov. 2012, pp. 699–709., doi:10.1080/19371910903323815.

This article focused on the idea that school type may have some effect on the existence of health centers in schools, which in turn may affect the learning environment of these differing types of schools. While it is a bit of a circular connection with the health centers in the schools between types of schools and learning environment, I hope to use this to show that types of schools do have an effect on the learning environment, and that teachers play an important role in that, particularly since some of the questions that the researchers surveyed the parents on had to do with the teachers in their children’s schools.

4. Opdenakker, Marie-Christine, and Jan Van Damme. “Differences between Secondary Schools: A Study about School Context, Group Composition, School Practice, and School Effects with Special Attention to Public and Catholic Schools and Types of Schools.” School Effectiveness and School Improvement, vol. 17, no. 1, 16 Feb. 2007, pp. 87–117., doi:10.1080/09243450500264457.

This source focused intensively on the differences between types of schools, specifically public and Catholic, which was one of the primary focuses of my thesis, and the effects the schools had on their students. While it was conducted in the Netherlands, the basic idea behind the study is the same as in my paper – i.e. that the learning environment may vary by school type and thus by teacher preparation/certification requirements.

A lot of the sources I found were about the learning environment and its efficacy and types of schools. Originally, my argument was going to be that variations in teacher certification requirements affect this, but I haven’t found much (or any) research on this. It seems that my paper is heading more in the direction of the idea that the learning environment will vary by school type in terms of culture and efficacy.

Blog Post 1: 3 Possible Research Topics

1. Types of schools

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QUESTIONS
What types of schools are most beneficial and effective in promoting a healthy learning environment?
Is there a specific type of school that promotes this, or is it specific to the teachers more than to the school?
How do teacher certification requirements differ between types of schools, and how might this have an effect on their teaching styles and teaching ability?

MOTIVATIONS
The differences between the types of schools and even between schools within types have always fascinated me. I also had some personal experience with switching between two different schools from when I switched from a private religious elementary school to a public secular middle school. I am very interested in exploring the many aspects of the education field, since it is the field I plan to go into and be involved in as an English teacher. Teacher certification requirements are therefore very important to me, and I have noticed that there are many different requirements and expectations for teachers and their teaching styles and levels of preparation between differing schools.

INFORMATION
I hope to discover the answers to my questions at the local campus level, local Newark level, state Delaware level, and national level.

ARGUMENTS
I think that I might make the argument that the types of schools may influence the learning environment and the requirements for teacher certification in terms of the students’ backgrounds.

2. Mental health, treatment, and policies

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https://goo.gl/images/jzyBUj ; https://goo.gl/images/yocBF6

QUESTIONS
What is the most effective way to formulate policies regarding mental health treatment?
What is the relationship between the success of these policies and awareness of mental health issues?
What legislation has already been passed regarding mental health and the treatment of mental illnesses? What legislation is in the works, and what legislation is not even on the horizon but should be, if any?

MOTIVATIONS
I firmly believe that the resolution of mental illnesses is a case-by-case issue, but written policies regarding mental health and the treatment of mental illnesses are key to the institution and continuation of treatment centers. While we often hear about mental health awareness as college students and as the generation that is known for being attached to smartphones and social media, we rarely hear about the policies that are passed at the local, state, and national levels regarding the treatment of the mental illnesses that we are promoting awareness of. I think that it would be interesting to look at the legislation that has actually been passed, what legislation has not been passed yet but should be, and the effectiveness of the treatment centers and treatments that are enabled by these policies.

INFORMATION
I hope to learn more about the mental health field, how treatment of mental illnesses works at an institutional level, what the legislative policies passed at the local, state, and national level are as well as their effectiveness, and what the next step for the field is in terms of policies to pass.

ARGUMENTS
One argument that I could make is that while raising awareness of mental illnesses is a great thing to do, it does not actually solve the illnesses and it generally does not last for longer than a day or, at the most, a week. The legislative policies regarding mental illnesses and their treatment are important because they have the potential to affect a large percentage of the population – anyone with at least one undiagnosed or diagnosed mental illness would potentially be affected by these policies, but they are hardly ever discussed. Are there even policies? Has legislation even been passed before, and if so, at what level and in what form and to what end? These are all questions that I think could easily be more openly discussed in society.

3. Voting

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https://goo.gl/images/e3YA7u

QUESTIONS
What are the motivating factors that motivate people to vote and engage in their community as citizens?
What are the factors that hold people back from registering to vote and voting?
Are there any demographics that are more/less likely than others to show up and vote on Election Day?

MOTIVATIONS
I am very passionate about this issue after working to register voters and volunteering in the polls on Election Day for the past seven years. While I think most people learn in their American government class(es) that not many people show up to vote, I also think that oftentimes the phenomenon gets glossed over without analyzing why this is the case in America, a country that prides itself on its democratic government in which supposedly everyone has a voice and a vote.

INFORMATION
I hope to discover and analyze potential reasons why some college students did not vote or, in some cases, did not even register to vote. I think that if I could identify potential reasons for this, then perhaps I could also identify solutions or steps to take to resolve this and convince more people to go out to the polls.

ARGUMENTS
One argument that I may make is that as a society we need to work together to get more people to register to vote – that everyone who is eligible should be registered to vote – and convince them to go to the polls and vote on Election Day once they are registered.

Team Change: Education and Literacy

Education and literacy are at the heart of our society. If someone is not able to read or write, then how can they fully participate in their society? How can they vote in elections? How can they fully understand the implications of their actions and their leaders’ actions if they are not educated about world events, mathematics, science, and history? If people are not educated as much as they can be and as much as they wish to be, then it will be difficult for them to support themselves and their families through physical labor, minimum-wage, or black-market jobs, which are generally the main types of jobs available for those with at least a high school diploma. According to the Bureau for Labor Statistics, the states with the largest percentages of jobs in industries that require less than a high school diploma were either vacation/retirement destinations with opportunities in hospitality or states that had job opportunities in natural resources and mining, neither of which often require more than, or even as much as, a diploma. Unfortunately, neither of these fields offer many opportunities for advancement without at least a diploma, associate’s, or bachelor’s degree(s).

 

Literacy
Source: Flickr Creative Commons

 

I firmly believe that this is an excellent cause to study and work on actually advocating change in. In today’s job market and economy, a lack of education in essential fields such as science and mathematics and an inability to read are a death sentence for getting any job more advanced than minimum-wage- and only in certain industries are these jobs even available. If you look at the Bureau of Labor Statistics’s Occupation Finder, most jobs that require no formal education credentials were physical labor and/or minimum wage jobs. For example, no one is going to be allowed to work in a school without at least a high school diploma or associate’s degree – even a secretary position requires at least a high school diploma, and some secretary positions require a bachelor’s degree. I think improving the education field and spreading initiatives for literacy and keeping kids in school are extremely important goals for people advocating change in this field to have, and these would be great ideas for my group to focus on if we worked on this topic.

Visually Appealing + Informative = Success

In today’s digital age, an online platform is often at least as important, if not more than, print platforms such as newspapers; however, this will vary with the target audience and their Internet browsing habits. Since the student debt movement is mainly composed of recent graduates, current college students and millennials, an online platform is key to the success of any organization that plays a role in this movement. For example, both the Occupy Wall Street (which spawned the Occupy Student Debt and Occupy Colleges mini-movements) and the Million Student March have easily accessible websites that offer their readers information, news, and the opportunity to join their movements instantaneously by filling out an online form. This allows these movements to grow without waiting for snail mail to arrive and be sorted. It also offers the opportunity to use more photos, videos, GIFs, and audio, the majority of which could not be used in a print source and all of which can be updated in real time from virtually anywhere with WiFi. The layout of the Million Student homepage is visually appealing and stands out because it is a dark background, while the Occupy homepage is easy to navigate but not as colorful as the Million Student homepage, even with the Occupy fist graphic at the top of the page. I plan to make my website more visually appealing and eye-catching, but also informative, by using enough GIFs, audio and video clips, and photos to break up the text of my posts and pages. This would hopefully draw in more potential viewers because it is not a basic black-and-white color scheme with little color and few visuals.

Advocacy: Fighting to Resolve Problems in One’s Society

To me, advocacy means being educated on the seriousness of a particular issue in our society and fighting politically, legally, economically, or socially to resolve or improve it to help others. It means fighting for justice for someone who is unable to for any reason. Without lobbyists advocating for change, government officials and the general public might not be particularly aware of the issues in their societies that need to be resolved. I think of movements such as the civil rights movement, the women’s movement, and the Occupy Wall Street movement when I think about movements that work to create change generally. All three included direct, open protests that were impossible for their audiences to ignore, were about issues that were urgently essential to their participants’ lives, brought issues that were not even in the newspaper to the front page and cable news headlines, and are still alive today. While the Occupy Wall Street movement began much more recently (2011) than the civil rights movement and women’s movement, which can both be traced back to the mid-late 1800’s (civil rights in terms of African Americans’ rights as freedpeople and American citizens), all three movements are still going strong or are at least very well-known within our society today.

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The Women’s March on Washington, D.C. on Saturday, January 21. 
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At a Black Lives Matter protest.

I would like to explore:

As a student who will graduate with debt, I am very interested in any way that I can get out of paying off said debt with constantly growing interest and in what the workforce will look like when I graduate and have to pay off my loans, along with many other college students across the country.

paying-off-debt-versus-building-emergency-fund

I also care a great deal about mental health awareness because I have seen so many of my friends and family members suffer from mental health problems: everything from various eating disorders to insomnia and depression. Mental health is still a very stigmatized issue in our society, but the only way to de-stigmatize it is to inform the public about it so they do not fear or marginalize those with mental health problems.

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I am fascinated by the movements to improve our educational system, such as the Education Opportunity Network’s goal to reorganize America’s public schools to better support students personally and academically regardless of economic factors or zip codes. I firmly believe, both personally and as a future teacher, that every person has the right to the best education possible for them personally if they wish to take advantage of it.

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I would like to explore these movements to better understand their history, their future goals, and how their actions may impact the national or global economy in the future, since these factors may potentially have significant impact on my personal economic well-being as well as that of the U.S. itself. Given the current political climate, I would expect problems with the movements advocating for change getting through to lawmakers. Since their non-conservative agendas will likely contradict the plans of the conservative Congressmen, Senators, and President and could make their lives and re-elections difficult if they agreed to support these movements’ more liberal agendas.