Student Perceptions of Middle Grades Learning Environments

by Thomas DeVere Wolsey & Cynthia L. Uline

Article description: Researchers used student-generated photographs to mediate interviews with middle grades students about their school environment. Findings suggest that school leaders and facilities planners should be responsive to students’ needs for both personal and social spaces and be aware of ways the built environment may shape the perceptions students hold of the school as a place of learning and of themselves as learners.

Link to article

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Students’ and Teachers’ Perceptions: An Inquiry into Academic Writing

Abstract: Academic writing is a mainstay of expression in secondary schools. However, many students think of academic writing in terms of local operations that include spelling, punctuation, use of third person, and so on. Teachers may expect mastery of local operations, but often they want students to navigate the terrain of the content area or discipline by integrating sources, taking up academic vocabulary, synthesizing concepts, or creating new understanding. This article describes the expectations that students in one 10th-grade class hold about their academic writing tasks as compared with that of their teachers. Length of writing tasks, features of academic register in written work, and purpose in writing assignments are explored, and recommendations are provided based on the data.

Link to article.

Graphic Novels: What Elementary Teachers Think About Their Instructional Value

by Diane Lapp, Thomas DeVere Wolsey, Douglas Fisher, and Nancy Frey

Survey methods were employed to learn more about teachers’ attitudes toward graphic novels and how graphic novels are used in their classrooms. Questions explored participants’ attitudes and actual classroom use. The survey research sought to determine if teachers are open to using graphic novels and the extent of their willingness to do so. Though teachers report willingness to use graphic novels and other graphica, they are limited in their attempts to do so by lack of instructional models, lack of graphic novels in the classroom, and their own level of comfort with the genre.

http://www.bu.edu/journalofeducation/current-issues/  (Volume 192, No. 1)

or direct link to the PDF: http://www.bu.edu/journalofeducation/files/2012/09/BUJOE_192_1_Lapp.pdf

Read more about this study on IVN: http://ivn.us/2013/05/21/study-shows-graphic-novels-add-value-to-k-12-student-learning/62036/
Listen to Diane Lapp discuss this study with Lee Indrisano, editor of the Journal of Education: http://www.bu.edu/journalofeducation/talks-with-journal-authors/