Undergraduate and graduate student presentations from the School of Teaching and Learning, 2021 Online University Research Symposium, Illinois State University
In presenting my research, I will explain the method, results, and conclusion of my research on the effect of enrollment in Dual Language Programs on student social competence. Dual Language Programs exist to help native English-speaking students and those that speak another specified language, French, Spanish, Mandarin, work together to learn their non-native tongue in the same classroom. This is facilitated either by one teacher that is fluent in both languages or two different teachers, each fluent in one of the two languages. These programs invite students who speak another native language to develop their literacy skills in that language, making it easier to eventually transfer these skills to English. Alternatively, students who speak English natively are exposed to a second language that they will be able to speak fluently by the end of their career in the Dual Language Program. To ensure that all students can benefit from the development of a second language, these classes have a half-and-half configuration, with half the students being native English speakers and half speaking the other language. I interviewed five Dual Language teachers from schools across central Illinois to understand the structure of their unique programs and the changes they have seen in their student’s social interactions. All interviews took approximately forty-five minutes. The findings of this research indicate that no one component of a dual language program leads to higher social competence. Instead, there are many contributors that can help students improve upon themselves and their relationships. Among these factors are teachers that are aware and understanding of different cultures, single strands of classes so that students are continuously together, a variety of cultures and backgrounds represented in the classroom that extend into instruction, and supportive families that are open to the cultures of others. While all these factors exist in mainstream classrooms, they are not as apparent and therefore do not result in as much positive change in a students’ social competence. Moreover, students are better able to maintain their home cultures at school as assimilation is not the goal. The findings of my research support the existing literature about the academic benefits of Dual Language Program enrollment, in addition to supplementing it with information about the social benefits of such programs. Therefore, it fulfills its purpose to give parents and schools more well-rounded information when deciding whether to include such programs in schools.
One social inequality issue in education today is the digital divide. The digital divide is an unfortunate reality in schools today, and it describes the gap between those who have access to technology and the internet and those who do not. This gap has a particular effect on students since there are implications regarding student opportunity and achievement. With technology being a permanent part of society that will continue to grow, the digital divide is an area of concern that will also likely grow. Therefore, this issue must be a priority to teachers, the community, and the world. In my research, I review articles that present research and discourse on the topic of the digital divide. Korupp and Szydlik (2005) argue that human capital, social capital, and family context play a role in what causes the division between technology access. Further, the digital divide may have a particular effect on students from low socioeconomic status families. These effects include less exposure to learning opportunities and critical thinking, lower levels of social and academic achievement, and a lack of digital literacy skills (Rowsell et al., 2017). In this presentation, I will present research and the findings of discourses on the digital divide. More specifically, the focus will be on how the digital divide evolved and why it is an issue. Additionally, recommendations for teachers and school leaders to bridge the digital divide gap will also be discussed in my presentation.
When schools across the nation were shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, parents were faced with many challenges regarding their children’s education. After months of being shut down, school districts were tasked with navigating the restrictions and guidelines put in place by the CDC and state and local health agencies in order to make a decision about how the 2020-2021 school year would look for their students. After school districts made decisions regarding a return-to-learning plan, some parents had to decide whether or not to send their children to school during a pandemic. This study was designed to investigate socio-economic factors that contributed to parents’ decisions to send their children to school remotely or inperson for the 2020-2021 school year. Surveys were deployed to parents of children in grades Kindergarten through 8th asking for feedback about their experience with remote learning at the end of the 2019-2020 school year and about their decisions regarding their children’s academic setting for the 2020-2021 school year. Data is currently being collected; this presentation will convey initial findings from the emergent data of this research in progress.