Caryn Asherson SED 600 Dr. Rivas March 12, 2007 Review #2 Data Coding There are so many aspects of my teaching that I aim to improve. As a result, deciding on an area of focus for my action research project has been a challenge, to say the least. I have wrestled back and forth with a few ideas – literacy, metacognition, inquiry. Last week, I went to a website on which students rate their teachers. One of my students wrote, “This class is so easy, it’s impossible not to get an A.” This led me to decide on the direction I want to go with my action research. How can I meet the needs of the high-ability students within my regular education classroom? I often find myself teaching toward the students with mid-level ability. These students make up the majority of learners. Therefore, this way of teaching seems like the most logical way to meet the needs of as many students as possible. Consequently, certain students are not being challenged enough and for that reason are not fulfilling their potential. By planning curriculum to challenge the more able learners I hope to raise the expectations and achievements of the whole class. First, I need to devise some strategies for identifying gifted and talented students. Given that identifying gifted learners is highly complex, I plan to look into several models that I have come by in my research. For instance, the Leuven Scale has been used to distinguish underachieving gifted students. This example looks at how involved the students are in their work and identifies how teachers can help these children reach their full capabilities. Furthermore, I intend to investigate several models for recognizing gifted individuals generated by Joseph Renzulli, a researcher of learners with exceptional intelligence. With regards to methods of collecting data, I plan to maintain a reflective journal throughout my action research in order to record observations. In addition to taking note of standardized test data, I will observe students in learning situations. I expect to take notes on student conversations with each other, as well as exchanges that I have with students during interviews. Additionally, I will use questionnaires with both students and parents to explore children’s preferred learning styles. This will enable me to encourage students’ personal interests and individual approaches to learning. I also intend to use videotape recordings of pairs or small groups and sometimes of the whole class. I find that videotaping enables me to witness subtle details that I may not notice upon initial observation. The data coding activity that we performed in class was very helpful in clarifying how to look for common ideas that come up during data collection. I will use a similar approach of looking for patterns and themes when organizing information that I have gathered during my research. This strategy of categorizing information will be particularly useful for grouping data collected during interviews and when analyzing questionnaires. Classifying data will allow me to feature my most significant discoveries succinctly while still providing enough evidence to be fair and impartial.