School-wide Implementation of On Course Strategies

Milo Cutter, Melanie Groten, Mem Lloyd and Alice Rivard Collection of brief case studies describing our school

Spring 2013 Summary: In recent years there has been an increased focus on encouraging students to enter post secondary institutions. However, these institutions are questioning what accounts for the high attrition rate for college-bound students. From the research it appears that the soft skills are the necessary base in order to learn the hard skills, such as science, math and literacy. This research project explores the impact of school-wide On Course professional development on students’ acquisition of soft skills. Description: This research team incorporated a variety of research strategies to determine if using On Course strategies improves students’ acquisition of the eight On Course strategies: self management, self awareness, personal responsibility, self motivation, interdependence, lifelong learning, emotional intelligence, and believing in oneself. Our school’s staff had been introduced to these strategies in two previous “in house” workshops. The intent of this research was to determine how an in-depth exposure to the strategies would increase integration within all content areas. Staff Survey Results: A pre staff survey was conducted to determine implementation of On Course strategies before an in-depth training and a post survey was conducted two months following the training. The results indicated that staff implementation of strategies in the content area increased dramatically. Prior to the workshop none of the staff members used the strategies on a daily basis and only two different types of strategies were identified. Following the workshop two staff members used the strategies on a daily basis, five used them 2-3 times per week and a total of 14 strategies were being What Strategies did you use? used. Before
15

After
10 5 0 Before Workshop After Workshop

Victim/creator language Quiz Me Think/pair/share Fishbowl Value Line Wise Choice Thirty Five Jig Saw Quick list Case Study Journaling Quick List Popcorn Hand Reading up/Stand up Guided Brainstorming Conversation

School-wide Implementation of On Course Strategies

Milo Cutter, Melanie Groten, Mem Lloyd and Alice Rivard Collection of brief case studies describing our school

Student Assessments: Our second research strategy was to give pre and post On Course assessment tests to a sample of students in four designated classes. The results in the following graph show that of the eight On Course strategies, students improved in five areas, went down in two and remained the same in one.
9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 Increase Decrease Same

. Another important result of this study is that of the 8 students, 6 increased in their original weakest area as determined by the pre-assessment. Teacher Observations: Our research also included teachers’ observations of students’ challenges and successes in the four designated classes while incorporating On Course strategies into daily lessons. We observed a heightened level of student engagement and a shift in energy from teacher-centered activities to learner-centered action. Using this approach naturally supports a differentiated learning environment. Conclusion: From our research we determined that school-wide training and implementation of On Course strategies did increase overall student acquisition of soft skills. The data collected reinforces our belief in the importance of consistent and coherent professional development in support of integrating learner-centered activities across all content areas.

School-wide Implementation of On Course Strategies

Milo Cutter, Melanie Groten, Mem Lloyd and Alice Rivard Collection of brief case studies describing our school

Action Plan: As a result of this research, we recommend the following actions:    Continue professional development in acquiring additional skills in the area of On Course strategies Create a regular time during each staff meeting to demonstrate and model effective strategies for classroom use Include in each curriculum planning session designated time for staff members to collaborate in the creation of appropriate strategies for inclusion across content areas

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