• Business leadership in the classroom

      MacRae, John Donald.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2003-07-09)
      This action research assesses a framework that assists business educators in promoting leadership within a classroom. It is designed to better prepare students to assume leadership and fill the "leadership gap" in business. Two classes of 2nd-year community college business students participated in running and managing their own business community as teams of sales professionals by developing and practicing their own individual leadership for 28 weeks during their sales courses. The intent was to assess the development of leadership resulting from the implementation of the "Business Leadership in the Classroom" framework. This framework balances leadership principles to simulate a business environment with the practical elements of a learning community under the facilitation of an experienced business educator. The action research approach was used to assess and adjust approaches to business leadership on a continuous basis throughout the research. Data were collected from 61 students based on journals, surveys, peer group reviews, and my (facilitator) reflective journal.The findings reveal that both individual and collective business leadership views and practical skills developed over time. A business leadership mind-set evolved that ranged from a general awareness of the importance of leadership, to a conscious and deliberate use of individual leadership. Areas important in building a progression of leadership included: leadership teams, membership roles, weekly leadership teams, peer feedback, and activity-based learning. Emerging themes included leadership, leadership style, teamwork, as well as influence and motivation. The research framework was effective in supporting the development of business leadership but required some adjustments. These included increased structure and feedback mechanisms. Interpretation of the findings demonstrates the importance of real-world practical education in the classroom. Results show how focusing on a single mind-set such as business leadership, can result in enormous individual growth and development. When business students are encouraged to act as real businesspeople, managing their own learning, the results are effective in preparing them for the business world. All participants expressed their leadership in different ways based on personality and individual strengths. There was an overwhelming and, in some cases, passionate interest in leadership. The use of action research with a range of data collection methods provides a way to measure and track individual student learning and to generate adjustments to the research framework design and learning approaches. The findings generate implications and recommendations to continue this research further. Key recommendations center around how to ensure leadership development is sustained, including improved approaches to heighten the real-world feel of the classroom. Specifically, the use of leadership goals and action plans for each individual participant and an active use of outside business resource people as contacts for participants is recommended.
    • Collaborative reflection : supporting one practitioner's development of online learning communities /

      Simmons, Nicola.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2004-05-21)
      This is a study of one participant's reflective practice as she worked to develop online communities in a face-to-face science course. Her process of reflective practice was examined in order to address factors that influenced her learning path, and the benefits and challenges of collaborative action research. These research goals were pursued using a collaborative action research methodology, initially chosen for its close match with Schon's (1983) model of reflective practice. The participant's learning fit vnth Mezirow's (1991) model of transformative learning. She began with beliefs that matched her goals, and she demonstrated significant learning in three areas. First, she demonstrated instrumental learning around the constraints of workload and time, and achieving online learning community indicators. Second, she demonstrated communicative learning that helped her to see her own needs for feedback and communication more clearly, and how other process partners had been a support to her. Third, her emancipatory learning saw her revisiting and questioning her goals. It was through the reflective conversation during the planned meetings and the researcher's reframing and interrogation of that reflection that the participant was able to clarify and extend her thinking, and in so doing, critically reflect on her practice as she worked to develop online learning communities. In this way, the collaborative action research methodology was an embodiment of co-constructivism through collaborative reflective practice. Schon's (1983) model of reflective practice positions a lone practitioners moving through cycles ofplan-act-observe-reflect. The results fi"om this study suggest that collaboration is an important piece of the reflective practice model.
    • Enhancing teaching and learning speech acts: action research of Japanese as a foreign language /

      Akai, Sawako.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2007-07-14)
      This action research observes a second year Japanese class at a university where foreign language courses are elective for undergraduate students. In this study, using the six strategies to teach Japanese speech acts that Ishihara and Cohen (2006) suggested, I conducted three classes and analyzed my teaching practice with a critical friend. These strategies assist learners toward the development of their understanding of the following Japanese speech acts and also keep the learners to use them in a manner appropriate to the context: (I) invitation and refusal; (2) compliments; and (3) asking for a permission. The aim of this research is not only to improve my instruction in relation to second language (L2) pragmatic development, but also to raise further questions and to develop future research. The findings are analyzed and the data derived from my journals, artifacts, students' work, observation sheets, interviews with my critical friend, and pretests and posttests are coded and presented. The analysis shows that (I) after my critical friend encouraged my study and my students gave me some positive comments after each lesson, I gained confidence in teaching the suggested speech acts; (2) teaching involved explaining concepts and strategies, creating the visual material (a video) showing the strategies, and explaining the relationship between the strategy and grammatical forms and samples of misusing the forms; (3) students' background and learning styles influenced lessons; and (4) pretest and posttests showed that the students' Icvel of their L2 appropriate pragmatics dramatically improved after each instruction. However, after careful observation, it was noted that some factors prevented students from producing the correct output even though they understood the speech act differences.
    • Letting go : a self-study utilizing critical literacy as method in improving my practice /

      McClenaghan, Michael.; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2003-07-14)
      This is a Self-study about my role as a teacher, driven by the question: "How do I improve my practice?" (Whitehead, 1989)? In this study, I explored the discomfort that I had with the way that I had been teaching. Specifically, I worked to uncover the reasons behind my obsessive (mis)management of my students. I wrote of how I came to give my Self permission for this critique: how I came to know that all knowledge is a construction, and that my practice, too, is a construction. I grounded this journey within my experiences. I constructed these experiences in narrative fomi in order to reach a greater understanding of how I came to be the teacher I initially was. I explored metaphors that impacted my practice, re-constructed them, and saw more clearly the assumptions and influences that have guided my teaching. I centred my inquiry into my teaching within an Action Reflection methodology, bon-owing Jack Whitehead's (1989) term to describe my version of Action Research. I relied upon the embedded cyclical pattern of Action Reflection to understand my teaching Self: beginning from a critical moment, reflecting upon it, and then taking appropriate action, and continuing in this way, working to improve my practice. To understand these critical moments, I developed a personal definition of critical literacy. I then tumed this definition inward. In treating my practice as a textual production, I applied critical literacy as a framework in coming to know and understand the construction that is my teaching. I grounded my thesis journey within my Self, positioning my study within my experiences of being a grade 1 teacher struggling to teach critical literacy. I then repositioned my journey to that of a grade 1 teacher struggling to use critical literacy to improve my practice. This journey, then, is about the transition from critical literacyit as-subject to critical literacy-as-instmctional-method in improving my practice. I joumeyed inwards, using a critical moment to build new understandings, leading me to the next critical moment, and continued in this cyclical way. I worked in this meandering yet deliberate way to reach a new place in my teaching: one that is more inclusive of all the voices in my room. I concluded my journey with a beginning: a beginning of re-visioning my practice. In telling the stories of my journey, of my teaching, of my experiences, I changed into the teacher that I am more comfortable with. I've come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom. It's my personal approach that creates the climate. It's my daily mood that makes the weather As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a person's life miserable or joyous. I can be a tool of torture or an instrument of inspiration. I can humiliate or humour, hurt or heal. In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a person humanized or de-humanized. (Ginott, as cited in Buscaglia, 2002, p. 22)
    • Transformation in teaching : listening to every voice

      Pauchulo, Ana Lia; Department of Graduate and Undergraduate Studies in Education (Brock University, 2002-07-09)
      Action research is a methodology that supports practitioner research. This study is an exploration of one researcher's practice using the living-theory approach to action research. Initially, my focus was to improve my practice by asking how I can facilitate transformative learning experiences with the teachers with whom I work. As part of this search, I examined the contradictions between my espoused and implicit values. In keeping with the evolving nature of my inquiry, I unveiled the telos that constituted the impetus for my search, which began as a tension about the quality of my interactions and ended as a quest to find my voice among the others'. I used personal narratives, journal entries, a videotaping session, interactions with critical friends and interviews with colleagues and administrators to engage in a process of continuing self- and interactive reflection. Throughout my study, I explored how theoretical concepts intertwine with personal experiences. In the final chapter, I share the possible connections between my living educational theory and a more general theory of transformative learning. I conclude my study with a look at the transformation process I underwent as a result of the study and the new questions I formulated as I began the action research spiral again.