Personal tools
You are here: Home XChange 15 Years of Lessons Learned Student Commons
XChange - Publications and Resources for Public School Professionals

Student Commons

  1. Chicana/Latina High School Students’ Perspectives on Chicana/Latina Teachers
  2. Showing Up Is Not Enough
  3. Deconstructing and Reconstructing Parent Involvement
  4. A Fire in Their Bellies
  5. Learning to See
  6. Preparing to Stay
  7. The Role that Teachers' Beliefs about Mathematics Play

Access to the content included in the UCLA Center XChange varies with copyright restrictions, as outlined in the Editorial Policies, but Center X strives to provide open and free access whenever possible.

Chicana/Latina High School Students’ Perspectives on Chicana/Latina Teachers

Author(s): Lorena Santos


"Son como nuestro mapa hacia el futuro, nuestra guia"
Chicana/Latina High School Students’ Perspectives on Chicana/Latina Teachers

How do Chicana/Latina teachers impact Chicana/Latina high school students' development of ethnic and gender identities? This paper explores the relationships among Chicana/Latina high school students and teachers in an urban setting. It analyzes the social pressures that affect Chicana/Latina students as well as Chicana/Latina educators' role in students' development of personal identities. Data collection was based on three methods: short-answer questionnaires, a group discussion, and one-on-one interviews. The data showed that Chicana/Latina high school students believe that Chicana/Latina educators are important role models and demonstrate authentic care for students. However, students agreed that schools fail to validate their humanity. Instead, students want a culturally relevant curriculum that includes their lived realities. In addition, the data suggested that Chicana/Latina students critically analyze their relationships with African American teachers, while completely disregarding the role of white teachers in their educational experiences.

This item is accessed for free with permission from the author. To download the PDF, click the link below.

018LorenaSantosSonComoNuestroIP007.pdf — PDF document, 301Kb

Back to top

Showing Up Is Not Enough

Author(s): Jennifer Walker


Showing up is not Enough:
Motivating Unmotivated Students in the Secondary English Classroom

In this inquiry I identified 12 students in my 10th grade English classroom who came to school consistently, but did not turn in work and thus were failing. I researched factors contributing to their lack of motivation by tracking student turn-in rate through 12 major essay assignments and analyzing these assignments according to the content of the material, the context of the classroom, and the process used for writing. I also conducted informal student interviews and student surveys. These two methods of collecting allowed me to draw conclusions about motivation on both an individual level and on a larger group level. I found that using the writing process and knowing the individual needs of unmotivated students is important in increasing motivation to complete assignments.

This item is accessed for free with permission from the author. To download the PDF, click the link below.

011ShowingUpisNotEnoughIPSW002.pdf — PDF document, 296Kb

Back to top

Deconstructing and Reconstructing Parent Involvement

Author(s): Laila Hasan


Increasingly, educational researchers criticize traditional forms of parent involvement as debilitating to low-income parents of color. I contend those educators' and reformers' must create alternative spaces to cultivate critical dialogues with poor families that produce generative authentic language and knowledge about families, communities and relationships. This also means a necessity to redefine the relationship between schools and low-income communities.

Most parent involvement programs developed by education systems reflect one of three traditional conceptual models about the nature of "good" parent involvement in children's schooling. I call these models "social citizen", "representative governance" and "public choice". A far less popular model for parent involvement programs, one developed outside the schooling system, emphasizes parent initiation and parent power, rather than a client-like, dependency relationship between parents and schools. This model focuses attention on parent-initiated community-based groups and the importance of connecting communities and schools through community organizing other than traditional modes of involvement.

This dissertation examines parent-initiated parent involvement. It explores how parents themselves engage parents who haven't participated in traditional school parent programs; how these parents create environments to nurture and sustain parent leadership; and how parent leaders frame knowledge, relationships, practice and identities in the process of building and sustaining a community. I use Community of Practice Theory and Critical Theory to help me examine the social practice of learning in the everyday lived-experiences of urban parents in schools and to investigate how the parents' construction of meaning intersects with their external historized world.

I offer a conceptual framework that specifies the key elements of parent-initiated models, provides a structural model, and offers an analysis of the utility of parent-initiated models in low-income communities. I conclude this study by offering a new, synthetic framework that evolved out of my data analysis that not only describes the basic elements of parent-initiated parent involvement, but also helps explain its power.

NOTE: This item is available only via PROQUEST. If you have a university account you may access the direct link here.

Back to top

A Fire in Their Bellies

Author(s): Rebecca Janine Joseph


A Fire in Their Bellies: California Teachers Strategically
and Effectively Resist a Mandated Reading Curriculum

This study examines six teachers' responses to increasingly mixed messages about how they should develop the literacy of California's youngest and most at-risk students. These mixed messages tell them, on the one hand, that they need highly developed knowledge and skills to teach literacy in linguistically diverse classrooms. On the other hand, they are told not to use this knowledge, but rather to adhere rigidly to the substance and pace of scripted literacy curricula. Not surprisingly, recent studies suggest urban teachers who use mandated curricula experience loss, guilt, and depression and often leave their schools. However, other preliminary evidence shows that many effective teachers are staying within their schools and continuing to provide high quality literacy instruction to their students. These studies, however, do not highlight the factors that contribute to these teachers' efforts. My dissertation seeks to fill this gap by investigating how six first grade urban teachers, identified as "effective" by district personnel, university professors, and peers, implement scripted reading curricula. The findings indicate that these teachers identify a number of ineffective instructional approaches, among them decontextualized blending and vocabulary activities and inadequate comprehension and writing strategies. To counter these challenges, teachers enact what researchers have coined transformative resistance. In this study, this resistance ranges from subtle modifications that access students' background knowledge for blending words to the deletion of major program sections and the integration of writer's workshops. Prior educational and life experiences, teacher training, and ongoing desires to learn along with supportive peers and school leaders affect their responses. Despite a tightly monitored policy context, these teachers respond in deep and meaningful ways to a mandated literacy curriculum rather than blindly implementing it. They consider how each activity and approach will meet their students' needs and based on individual and collective factors modify and adapt the curricula. These findings suggest that other teachers can become effective resisters by honoring their creativity, thirst for knowledge, and practical experiences.

NOTE: This item is available only via PROQUEST. If you have a university account you may access the direct link here

Back to top

Learning to See

Author(s): Kerri Anne Ullucci


Learning to see: The development of race consciousness in White teachers

Changing US demographics present a challenge to Schools of Education. While the student population becomes more diverse, the opposite is true of our teacher candidates. White teachers—primarily women—make up the vast majority of the teaching force. Teacher education programs have responded with a variety of interventions aimed at preparing teachers to work with diverse children. However, much of the research assessing these programs provides little insight as to what works best. How do successful White teachers learn to be race-conscious? What experiences, both personal and professional, help to shape their understandings of race, racism and diversity?

This study explored how White teachers learned about racism and diversity in meaningful ways, with a close eye on the role teacher education programs played in their development. After identifying highly regarded White teachers of children of color, I investigated the experiences that helped shape their race consciousness and their ability to successfully work with diverse children. To do this, I compiled case studies based on interviews and observations of urban classrooms in New England and California. I wished to uncover what life experiences—both in and out of educational contexts—shaped the pedagogy and belief systems of effective White teachers. My goals were three-fold: 

  1. to better understand the lived experiences that shape White teachers' understandings of diversity and race; 
  2. to capture how these understandings translate into classroom practice; 
  3. to address the ways in which teacher education programs impact teachers' racial development. 

Through classroom observations and in-depth interviews, I chronicled both the life experiences which shaped their own racial identity. I argue that it is their familiarity with "others," as well as their sense of being marginalized in their own lives which shapes their race consciousness. I also provide a window into classroom practice, and show the methods and strategies that these effective teachers use to support children of color in their classes.

NOTE: This item is available only via PROQUEST. If you have a university account you may access the direct link here.

Back to top

Preparing to Stay

Author(s): Kimberly Barrazza Lyons


Preparing to Stay: A Quantitative Examination
of the Effects of Pre-Service Preparation on the Retention of Urban Educators

As attrition, not supply, increasingly becomes recognized as the reason behind the continuing teacher shortage, policymakers have begun to focus on the preparation and development of beginning teachers as a means of stemming the teacher exodus, especially from high-poverty schools. Yet, little is known about the impact that teachers' pre-service preparation has on their professional attrition and mobility. This dissertation sought to better understand the influence of teacher education on educator retention, and to examine the extent to which pre-service preparation, and a specialized teacher preparation program, predicts teacher retention and movement.

Using an expanded definition of retention, and controlling for demographic and school level variables, the study examined teacher preparation data collected as part of NCES's 1999-2000 Schools and Staffing Survey (SASS) and 2000-2001 Teacher Follow-up Surveys (TFS) to determine the associations between pre-service teacher preparation program components and program types and the retention of educators in the classroom and in the education profession. Typical of retention studies, this study used binomial logistic regression to examine predictors of staying in and leaving the classroom. Atypical of retention studies, this study then used multinomial logistic regression to explore predictors of teacher movement between schools and teacher role shifting within the field of education. After constructing analytic models based on the national teacher sample, the study then compared predicted versus observed rates in all three retention categories for a population of graduates of a specialized teacher preparation program. The study found that the type of pre-service preparation program that teachers attend and specific programmatic components significantly affect teachers retention in the classroom and the field of education. Further, it found that graduates of the specialized preparation program had higher than predicted classroom retention rates after their first two career years, but lower rates after years three through five. This classroom attrition translated into higher than predicted retention rates in the broader field of education, indicating a trend toward educational role shifting. Findings provide researchers and policymakers with concrete evidence of the role pre-service preparation may play in the retention of beginning teachers in high-poverty schools.

NOTE: This item is available only via PROQUEST. If you have a university account you may access the direct link here.

Back to top

The Role that Teachers' Beliefs about Mathematics Play

Author(s): Jody Ziccardi Priselac


The Role that Teachers' Beliefs About Mathematics Play in Bringing About Change
in the Elementary Mathematics Classroom: A Professional Development Model

In recent years mathematics educators have stressed the importance of students' developing deep and interconnected understandings of mathematical concepts and principles and not just an ability to memorize formulas and apply procedures. These educators found that mathematics is best learned in environments where students are encouraged to discover and create knowledge of mathematics through inquiry and problem solving. Despite countless efforts aimed at encouraging teachers to embrace this view of teaching mathematics, studies have shown that most teachers have not fully implemented these ideas. Most professional development programs neglect to take into account the beliefs that teachers hold about the nature of mathematics and have therefore had little impact on changing teaching. This study provides an understanding of the relationship between teachers' beliefs about mathematics and how they teach mathematics and the ways in which that relationship interacts with professional development to bring about change in teaching practices.

As part of this study, fifteen teachers from a public elementary school in Los Angeles participated in a professional development program designed to allow the teachers to reflect on their beliefs and practice and to consider new ways of teaching mathematics. Teachers met to analyze student work, do mathematical problem solving, and explore alternative strategies for teaching. Data was gathered from written reflections of the teachers and taped conversations during work group discussions. Teachers' beliefs of mathematics were identified and connected to their instructional practice. Over half the teachers showed evidence of changing their practice as a result of participating in the program.

The findings of this study offer strong support for the utility of designing professional development models that begin with understanding teachers' beliefs about mathematics. Analyzing student work and doing mathematics provide a structure within which teachers can reflect on their beliefs and practice. Exploring alternative strategies gives teachers the tools to change and improve the quality of mathematics instruction in their classrooms.

NOTE: This item is available only via PROQUEST. If you have a university account you may access the direct link here.

Back to top

Document Actions

UCLA Center X
1320 Moore Hall, Box 951521
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1521
(310) 825-4910