After our leadership meeting this week I asked our principal what she thought of my various options for my case-study and which would be most beneficial and meaningful for the school. By happy coincidence the senior leadership is looking at a number of things that tie in nicely with my ideas of what would be a viable case-study
- Using the cumulated data we have on reading scores from the last few years in an interpretive and meaningful way
- Examining a small section of students to see if anything can be extrapolated to the wider student body and inform teaching and learning
- Raising the “bottom” – i.e. looking at our struggling students in a holistic way and seeing how we can help them on their learning journeys
In our conversations we also discussed how struggling students can influence the whole ambiance in a classroom, both in the student body and in the teachers response to the individual student and the class as a whole.
The question of course is what is ‘success’ and how do you measure it? Must it be an improvement in reading or other academic measureables? Something ‘concrete’? Or can we think about the more ‘fuzzy’ aspects of learning that are harder to pin down. Like affinity and belonging – nicely spoken about in this (non academic) article. Certainly we know that students who have (excessive) stress have difficulty learning. But is it skill, is it motivation that starts the negative spiral? And who can help? Is it a bootstraps issue, is it parents, peers, teachers, mentors, siblings? What formats and genres?
I’ve just downloaded hundreds of articles around these themes, so it’s time to start digging in and try to get a research question out of it all.