June 26, 2011
June 26, 2011
June 29, 2011
22.232.1 - 22.232.5
Assessing Challenges and Affordances of a Traditional Instructor’s Pedagogical Change During Guided Implementation of Innovative PedagogyA well known challenge of education research is the utilization of research to improve practice.Often, knowledge of education research may not extend past the research community, and notreach practitioners who could implement research findings to impact classroom practice. Inorder to improve the understanding of issues that arise during implementation of innovativepractice, progressive pedagogical tools (developed using research based principles) wereintegrated into an introductory materials engineering course taught by an engineering instructorwho had been using traditional classroom practice. To do this, a graduate research associateworked with the faculty member to support implementation of student engagement modules forfour topics in the course which included: atomic bonding, crystal structures, dislocations anddefects, and phase diagrams. During each class period a Reformed Teaching ObservationProtocol (RTOP) observation was completed to assess the instructor’s classroom pedagogicalpractice in order to assess how it might have changed over the course of the semester. TheRTOP is a tool that assesses to what extent a given instructor's classroom behaviors align withresearch-based best practice principles of classroom practice that promote student engagementand effective teaching and learning. Additionally, entrance and exit interviews were conducted toaccess instructor issues, attitudes and insights. Students in the course completed daily reflectionsand an exit course survey to assess their perception of how supportive various components of thecourse were to their learning. Preliminary analysis of data suggests subtle changes in classroombehaviors toward more progressive pedagogical practice over the semester. Additionally,students perceived that many of the integrated innovative curriculum materials were supportiveof their learning. Barriers and challenges for implementing the progressive pedagogical toolswere also identified. These included time constraints, limitations due to textbook choice, andepistemological beliefs of instructor and students with respect to the nature of learning. Byfurther examining these challenges, it may be possible to better understand the gap betweenresults of education research to their utilization to change practice. And, if that gap can beaddressed, there may be the potential for the research community to have significant, real impacton student learning and success in the classroom.
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