Amy Oliver


Research Reflection
“If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again” W.E. Hickman. This is the quote I

think about now when I think of research in education. Research is a means to take a

found problem and convert it to a successful solution. You cannot reach this success

point unless you are ready to dig deep into your resources and be ready to change


I started my research thinking I would find out what types of differentiation

classroom teachers are using the help their gifted and talented students to be successful.

What I found is that research would be skewed. Nichole Gurwell, Instructional Coach at

Tonganoxie Elementary, told me that every teacher will say that they are doing the best

they can to help their gifted and talented students when, in fact, they are often not doing

anything at all. Classroom teachers are often overworked and doing their best to prepare

lesson plans that are geared towards their adaptive and on-level students thinking that

their gifted and talented students are doing fine. Unfortunately, these students are

becoming bored with their studies and can fall behind on their studies.

Nichole pointed me in a more focused direction. My researched morphed from

the wide focus of what differentiations are teachers using to which gifted and talented

program do parents believe are working best. This direction will allow me an insight into

what the parents think is working for their child. The parents see their child’s yearly

progress making them the experts in what works. This information will allow me insight

into the learning styles of students. With this knowledge, I will be able to make lesson

Amy Oliver

plans directed for each of my students; adaptive to gifted and talented. (NBPTS 1,2 and


As I delved into the assignments of the course I found that I really enjoyed

research. I loved to read about it and discover the best way to do it. I thought that action

research would be the most fun because the investigator is in the classroom seeing the

data as it occurs.

I found that by researching a subject I gained awareness of the community of

knowledge that surrounds the educational community. Now I know that when I find a

problem in my classroom, I can go to the library and find articles that will give me

possible answers. Growth is possible in my teaching career by finding what others have

discovered through their studies. In addition, I will be able to use the research found to

create a study of my own. Whether it be qualitative, quantitative, action research or a

mixture, I know I can use what I know to improve my classroom. (NBPTS 3, 4, 5 and


Looking forward to the results of my research so that I can determine what can be

put into place in my classroom. Using the online library at the University of St. Mary,

the amount of articles and studies available there gave me so much to use for my

project. I thought of the “bunny trail” that we often speak of and had to stop myself from

following other ideas to focus on what I could learn for my topic. (GPO 1,8 and CLO 6)

I am concerned about those who read an article or two about a subject but not dig

deep into the subject. Without a more complete research study, the information might

be skewed by whichever side of the argument is found first. When it comes to doing a

Amy Oliver

research study, performing a complete search is preferable. What I find wonderful is

that in an action research study, the classroom teacher can research the topic in

question then put the study into action. Being able to watch the results in real time

allows the teacher to re-evaluate then re-research to find a different course of action.

These immediate evaluations make a study fluid which means knowledge of research is

important. (GPO 6 and CLO2)

I chose to do a quantitative study and wrote a survey that parents of gifted and

talented students can fill out online. I decided to give my study this way because it was

the least invasive method. My time to do the study is at the end of the school year as well

as at the beginning of the next school year. Both of these times are busy for parents and

I wanted them to have something less complicated. I might have to expand my study to

also be qualitative. That depends on the comments I receive on the survey. No matter

what, I am interested in finding out what these parents think. I should not have a theory

regarding what my findings will be, but as I look through all the articles and think about

what I’ve read, I have come to the conclusion that there is no one right method. The

correct method depends on the student’s learning ability and personality. (CLO 3, 4)

I look forward to seeing the results of my study. Gifted and talented students are

an at risk group. It is unfortunate that many inclusion teachers are unable to give the

time to create lesson plans that will engage these students. Some of these teachers are

unable to do this because of lack of time. Others have a lack of ability. The reason does

not matter. What matters is that the gifted and talented students need engagement to

allow the love of learning to grow rather than wither. I hope to make my class geared

towards all learning levels.

Amy Oliver


Gurwell, N. (2016, March 24). Field Experience [Personal interview].