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William & Mary Educational Review

Volume 4, Issue 1


William & Mary Educational Review Volume 4, Issue 1

The William & Mary Educational Review Volume Four, Issue One December 2015 ISSN 2330-748X Š2015 Information for Contributors The William & Mary Educational Review is an independent, refereed journal published by graduate students of the School of Education at The College of William & Mary. Our mission is to make a substantive contribution to educational and counseling literature through the publication of highquality literature reviews, scholarly papers and studies, reports from the field, interviews, and other short pieces, in order to build interest and understanding through multiple perspectives on education and counseling. In so doing, we provide graduate students first-hand experience with the publishing process. The William & Mary Educational Review welcomes manuscripts that employ qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods; literature reviews that disclose relevant gaps in existing research on a relevant topic; theoretical analyses of important issues in education and counseling; policy analysis papers and briefs; and historical papers. Submitted papers should have clearly specified research questions and a theoretical or conceptual framework, employ appropriate methods, and contribute new knowledge to the body of educational and counseling literature. Submissions are accepted yearround for bi-annual publication. Please visit for complete submission guidelines.

The William & Mary Educational Review Volume 4, Issue 1, December 2015 Contents


Letter from the Editor

Robert Tench Old Dominion University


Wren’s Nest Emotional Intelligence: An Essential Leadership Trait for Educators

Megan Johnson The College of William & Mary


Marquita Hockaday The College of William & Mary


Cassandra R. Spencer April L. Perry Western Carolina University


Helping Students Maximize Their Degrees as Competitive Tools: The Value of Experiential Learning

Miranda Sigmon Virginia Tech


The Necessary Shift in Writing Instruction: Implementing Authentic Tasks While Meeting Learning Standards

Davis Clement

Sexuality and Intimacy Between Couples Facing Terminal Illness Manuscripts Administering an Educational Program: Implementing Culturally Responsive Curriculum and Instruction in Elementary Schools to Increase Student Achievement


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From the Editor Dear Readers, No one will read this journal—not even you. Despite the months it took our authors to review or conduct their research, and to communicate their findings in the following pages, it will go largely unnoticed by scholars. The hours of review, critique, revision, design, and production that our editors have put into this issue will have at best an insignificant effect on the collective knowledge of our field. So what is the point of a student-run educational review? I once heard a professor say she knew the College had prioritized her program when they wrote its goals into her job description. Who bears responsibility for putting research in the hands of practitioners? We casually accept a researcher-practitioner dichotomy that provides no conduit for research to actually inform practice. If we acknowledge that teachers do not read academic journals—and surely we acknowledge this—then we must admit that the researcherpractitioner dyad leaves dissemination out of both job descriptions. The role of the student-run educational review is dissemination. If schools of education are to remain relevant in the age of instant, non-traditional teacher preparation, then dissemination of knowledge, not merely the amassing of it, must be our bailiwick. That is, it must be written into our curriculum. We should be in the business of learning how to make knowledge widely available to a field in search of answers. Few are better positioned to prepare research for broad consumption than graduate students who are immersed in learning how to interpret and synthesize it. So our work is evolving as student educational reviewers. We should not be content to perpetuate the rites and rituals of a system of peer review and publication that treats conclusions as ends in themselves. We are proud to be in print. Print media is essential to democratic learning communities, but the following words should not be shelved just yet. They belong in infographics, pins, tweets, and podcasts. While some may scoff at these media, practitioners and policymakers mine them for solutions to problems big and small. We can either provide research-validated answers there or let someone else provide something else. The language of paragraphs, paper, and ink is not dead; it is simply no longer sufficient. The words on the following pages are the result of our work, but they should not be the end of it. Sincerely, Davis Clement Editor-in-Chief

The Wren’s Nest


Editor-in-Chief Davis Clement

Managing Copy Editor Leah Shy

Financial Manager Madeline Smith

Managing Editor Diana Theisinger

Copy Editors Amanda Armstrong Elizabeth Auguste Linda Feldstein Meredith Smiley Madeline Smith Ryan C. Thompson

Programming Director Samantha Silberstein

Production Editor Joseph Thomas Editor Emerita Julie Marsh

The History of the Wren’s Nest The story behind the name... A Scottish fable tells the story of the Eagle and the Wren.

Marketing Director Claire Brantley Media Liason Jamison Miller

Editorial Board Counseling Isaiah Day Laura Pullin Sterling Travis Katie Reichner

The Eagle and the Wren once tried to see who could fly highest, and the victor was to be king Curriculum & Ed Tech of the birds. So the Wren flew straight up, and Debbie Grosser the Eagle flew in great circles, and when the Kim Rodriguez Wren was tired he settled on the Eagle’s back. When the Eagle was tired he stopped -

“Where art thou, Wren?” said the Eagle.

“I am here above thee,” said the Wren.

And so the Wren won the match. The history behind the name... The Wren Building on the campus of William & Mary is the oldest college building in the United States. Gutted by fire three times - in 1705, 1859, and 1862 - the interior of the structure was rebuilt, but the building itself remains the heart and soul of William & Mary. It is for both of these qualities - resiliency and perspective - that the name The Wren’s Nest was chosen for the front section of The William & Mary Educational Review.

Curriculum Leadership Marquita Hockaday Higher Education Toni Gay Mike Postma Tiffany Pugh Faculty Advisors Jim Barber, Ph.D. Jamel K. Donnor, Ph.D.


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largely ignored until 1983 when Howard Gardner began writing about multiple intelligence” (p. 32). In 1990, “Salovey and Mayer coined the term emotional intelligence as a label for skills that included awareness of self and others and the ability to handle emotions and relationships” (Bolman & Deal, 2008, p. 176). Daniel Goleman (1995) popularized the concept with his best-selling work Emotional Intelligence, defining it as “the capacity for recognizing our own feelings Robert Tench and those of others, for motivating ourselves, and for managing emotions in Leadership literature indicates ourselves and others” (p. 33). According a distinctive link between emotional to Batool (2013), researchers currently intelligence and effective leadership. work from three basic emotional Multiple researchers have reported that intelligence research models: educational organizations benefit greatly • The Salovey-Mayer model from the strengths of emotionally defines emotional intelligence as intelligent leaders. Those strengths the ability to perceive, understand, include being adept at establishing manage, and use emotions to facilitate effective relationships, developing thinking. productive teams, motivating employees, • The Goleman model views and transforming work environments. emotional intelligence as a wide array The impact of emotional intelligence of competencies and skills that drive in educational practice has far-ranging managerial performance. implications because individuals with • The Bar-On model describes a high levels of emotional intelligence cross-section of interrelated emotional generally emerge as leaders in their and social competencies, skills, and organizations. Evolving research facilitators that impact intelligent indicates that educational leaders with behavior (p. 87). high levels of emotional intelligence Although the models have different are better suited at leading followers testing apparatuses and assessments, through difficult challenges, improving their core emphasis is similar–identifying academic achievement, and transforming one’s ability to develop emotional selfcontemporary education. understanding and social awareness of Overview others. Scholarly research on emotional Strengths intelligence has gained traction in the The strengths related to last three decades. Webb (2009) found emotional intelligence are many and that “research on emotional intelligence varied but well suited for academic began as early as the 1930s with work by environments. Emotionally intelligent Thorndike, Stein, and Wechsler but was leaders have strong self-awareness,

Emotional Intelligence: An Essential Leadership Trait for Educators

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manage their emotions adroitly, and handle relationships with others extremely well (Anand, 2010). They are outstanding at team work, collaboration, and motivation. They welcome diversity and have a knack for bringing different personalities together. According to Walter, Cole, and Humphrey (2011), “existing evidence has provided a rather consistent picture that supports the notion that emotionally intelligent individuals are more likely to emerge as leaders” (p. 48). This is not surprising given the strengths of an emotionally intelligent leader. Implications


the transformative traits of high emotional intelligence (Hackett & Hortman, 2008). Second, educational leaders with emotional intelligence have been linked to academic success. Leithwood and Jantzi (2000) and Parker, Duffy, Wood, Bond, and Hogan (2005) confirmed that the leadership style of emotionally intelligent leaders leads to improved student engagement, teacher support, and school improvement. Labby, Lunenburg, and Slate (2012) studied the impact of emotional intelligence on academic success and concluded a correlation exits between emotional intelligence and academic achievement. The impact of emotional They learned that leaders with high levels intelligence in educational leadership of emotional intelligence create learning practice is exceptional. First, having environments that inspire teachers and high emotional intelligence is a predictor students to higher performance (Labby of leadership potential and growth. In et al., 2012). In short, emotional leaders a study of school leaders across three in education create cultures that allow southeastern states, Maulding, Peters, followers to maximize their potential. Roberts, Leonard, and Sparkman (2012) They care deeply about and take an active found that “emotional intelligence and interest in their students and teachers. As resilience are significant predicators a result, followers trust them as leaders of leadership from the perspective of and aspire to perform their best. self-analysis of administrators whether Third, leaders with subjected to quantitative or qualitative high emotional intelligence are analysis; as a leader’s emotional and transformational. Brinia, Zimianit, resilience increase, leadership capacity and Panagiotopoulos (2014) studied increases” (p. 26). The researchers 3,011 educators and 36 principals in found “that the relationship between Greek primary schools and found leadership characteristics and emotional that an emotionally intelligent leader intelligence and resilience is substantial” is able to inspire and facilitate a self(Maulding et al., 2012, p. 26). These conscious organizational culture by kinds of findings may have a profound adopting the values of understanding, effect on future educational identification trust, achievement, and effectiveness; and development programs. To this moreover, these leaders combine end, many researchers strongly suggest emotions, beliefs, visions, and values in that professional development models a flexible manner that is well received by for school leaders include emotional their followers. Likewise, Hackett and competency measurements with greater Hortman (2008) discovered that emphasis on identifying and cultivating


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transformational leadership models were linked with positive student outcomes in their study of 46 principals in an urban school system in southern Georgia. Berkovich and Eyal (2015) reviewed empirical evidence from 49 studies on educational leaders and the impact their emotions had on others and found that the transformational nature of those with high emotional intelligence had a much higher positive impact in their schools than leaders with low emotional intelligence. Stated simply, emotionally intelligent leaders are crucial to transforming and maintaining long-term, organizational sustainability in a variety of academic settings. Conclusion Scholars and applied researchers are recognizing that emotional intelligence empowers educational leaders. They acknowledge that emotional intelligence is as essential as vision, commitment, passion, and integrity for modern leaders. They agree that educational leaders with emotional intelligence are superb collaborators, enablers, mentors, and motivators. Because leaders with emotional intelligence have a high degree of social and self-awareness, they are talented at handling relationships and transforming organizations and people. They have the ability to inspire, guide, and articulate a vision. Unquestionably, educational leaders with high levels of emotional intelligence are extremely well equipped to address the challenges and nuancesof modern day administration and management.

References Anand, R. (2010). Emotional intelligence and its relationship with leadership practices. International Journal of Business and Management, 5(2), 65-76. Batool, B. (2013). Emotional intelligence and effective leadership. Journal of Business Studies Quarterly, 4(3), 84-94. Berkovich, I., & Eyal, O. (2015). Educational leaders and emotions: An international review of empirical evidence 1992-2012. Review of Educational Research, 85(1), 129-167. Bolman, L. G., & Deal, T. (2008). Reframing organizations: Artistry, choice, and leadership (4th ed.) San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Brinia, V., Zimianiti, L., & Panagiotopoulos, K. (2014). The role of the principal’s emotional intelligence in primary education leadership. Educational Management Administration & Leadership, 42(4), 28-44. Goleman, D. (1995). Emotional intelligence. New York: Bantam. Hackett, P., & Hortman, J. (2008). The relationship of emotional competencies to transformational leadership: Using a corporate model to assess the dispositions of educational leaders. Journal of Educational Research & Policy Studies, 8(1), 92-111. Laddy, S. P., Lunenburg, F., & Slate, J. (2012). Emotional intelligence and academic success: A conceptual analysis for educatinoal leaders. International Journal of Educational Leadership Preparation, 7(1), 1-11. Leithwood, K., & Jantzi, D. (2000). The effects of transformational leadership on student engagement with school. Journal of Educational Administration, 38(2), 112-129. Maulding, W., Peters, G., Roberts, J., Leonard, E., & Sparkman, L. (2012). Emotional intelligence and resilience as predictors of leadership in school administrators. Journal of Leadership Studies, 5(4), 20-29. Parker, J., Duffy, J., Wood, L., Bond, B., & Hogan, M. (2005). Academic achievement and emotional intelligence: Predicting the successful transition from high school to university. Journal of the First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 17(1), 67-78. Walter, F., Cole, M., & Humphrey, R. (2011). Emotional intelligence: Sine qua non of leadership or folderol? Acawdemy of Management Perspectives, 25(1), 45-59. Webb, K. (2009). Why emotional intelligence should matter to management: A survey of the literature. SAM Advanced Management Journal, 74(2), 32-41.

About the Author Rob Tench is a third year student and 2016 Cohort member of the Virginia Commonwealth University’s Ed.D. in Leadership program. He is currently the Acquisitions & Preservation Services Librarian at Old Dominion University.

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Sexuality and Intimacy Between Couples Facing Terminal Illness Megan Johnson

According to Tie and Poulsen (2013), couples therapy is a growing field with much attention given to diverse populations. Additionally, sexuality and intimacy between couples are highly researched areas. However, according to Tie and Poulsen (2013), little research has been dedicated to those couples affected by end-of-life issues, as sex and death are two of the most avoided topics in modern society. Given the importance of sexuality and intimacy within the context of a romantic partnership and the severe interpersonal and intrapersonal disturbances caused by a terminal illness, it is imperative that issues surrounding sexuality and intimacy at end-of-life stages are openly addressed with patients. Threats to Emotional Partnerships For the purpose of this paper, “a couple” refers to any intimate relationship in which both parties are committed to each other. This definition includes legally married couples, nonmarried couples, or couples unable to wed because of legal or financial barriers. A terminal illness diagnosis within any intimate relationship puts an enormous amount of emotional stress on a couple. According to Tie and Poulsen (2013), couples coping with a


life-limiting diagnosis feel a range of emotions including anger, depression, guilt, and anxiety. Negative emotions can circulate through the romantic partnership and result in increased relational distress. Distress presents within a romantic relationship as criticism, resentment, partner burnout, and a loss of intimacy coupled with sexual disturbances (Tie & Poulsen, 2013). Taylor (2014) explained that some terminally ill patients expressed feeling as if their romantic relationship was dying a death similar to their own. Terminal illness is regarded as a threat to the attachment bond as it challenges romantic intimacy (Tie & Poulsen, 2013). Tie and Poulsen (2013) found securely attached individuals developed insecurity within their attachment bond as their relational foundation was traumatized by the terminal prognosis. At this stage, there is often an attachment injury leading one or both partners to seek refuge through emotional withdrawal (Tie & Poulsen, 2013). An attachment injury is seen when a partner is perceived as “inaccessible and unresponsive” by their mate, specifically when the terminally ill individual feels in extreme need of their partner (Tie & Poulsen, 2013). Relational disconnecting presents in a clinical setting as emotional or physical disconnection (Taylor, 2014). Physical disconnection can be initiated by either partner, often resulting in feelings of rejection, jealousy, or guilt (Taylor, 2014). Emotional and physical disconnection among couples often intensifies, and continuous patterns of rejection then develop (Tie & Poulsen, 2013). This is known as circular causality, as each partner’s action serves as both


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a cause and effect of the other partner’s reciprocal behavior. These continuous interpersonal patterns ultimately perpetuate a negative interaction cycle that will continue to escalate. Therapeutic Interventions Reset Intimate Interaction Cycles Many couples become caught in a negative feedback loop following the trauma of one partner receiving a terminal diagnosis (Tie & Poulsen, 2013). Eventually a barrier forms, and the intimate connection shared prior to the diagnosis is obstructed (Tie & Poulsen, 2013). According to Taylor (2014), patients within oncology and palliative care units favor the chance to express concerns regarding their sexual difficulties to persons within the helping profession, as these patients are often unsure of how to broach the topic of sexuality with their partner or a therapist. Emotionally focused couples therapy (EFT) works to reconstruct negative interaction patterns by facilitating open communication between partners. EFT therapists operate on a theoretical belief that relationship problems stem from difficulties in processing emotional experiences (Tie & Poulsen, 2013). Communication of feelings, followed by partner acceptance of those feelings, rebuilds a sense of security within the intimate relationship (Tie & Poulsen, 2013). According to Taylor (2014), couples express a need for a professional to facilitate conversations concerning sexuality and intimacy. By using EFT to enable honest sharing by couples, a therapist is able to help those couples establish deeper intimacy (Tie & Poulsen, 2013). Thus, a therapist starts a framework for a mutually supportive relationship and identifies new ways

for couples to connect (Tie & Poulsen, 2013). This emotional intimacy permits couples to craft a life around the illness while maintaining an intimate connection. Research indicates that after openly discussing the changes in their relationship, couples feel a reconnection with their partner and a diminished sense of rejection (Taylor, 2014). Reconnection permits couples to redefine sexuality and intimacy within their romantic partnership. At this stage coupled individuals no longer focus on sexual behavior and sexual intimacy to form closeness (Taylor, 2014). The emotional intimacy established within a relationship during EFT allows pairs to achieve sexual satisfaction and intimacy in new ways. Although sexual intercourse and sexual satisfaction may be present, a sense of connection is met through non-sexual touch, a sense of belonging, and a renewing of loving ties (Taylor, 2014). The freedom to touch without the expectation of intercourse lets couples find momentary solace from the reality of the illness and the looming outcome (Taylor, 2014). The reciprocal relationship within the redefined emotional and physical connectedness of the couple fosters a deeper intimacy in the coupled relationship and allows the partners to more fully embrace each other in their new reality. Conclusion Sexuality during end of life is an area of discomfort for patients, spouses, and helping professionals, and it is an area within the field of counseling and medicine that is frequently avoided. Yet research has shown that although patients are unsure of how to raise the topic, they would like to discuss sexuality

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and intimacy with a helping professional. As such, the responsibility lies on the therapist to seek information from his or her patients about the impact of their life-limiting condition on romantic intimacy. Emotionally focused couples therapy focuses on repairing the attachment bond of couples who have suffered injury from the trauma and lingering effects of a terminal diagnosis. A therapist specializing in EFT is able to concentrate on developing open, relational communication patterns


that reinstate emotional security between partners. The established emotional intimacy permits couples to attain sexual fulfillment and experience intimacy anew. References Tie, S., & Poulsen, S. (2013). Emotionally focused couples therapy with couples facing terminal illness. Contemporary Family Therapy, 35(3), 557567. doi: 10.1007/s10591-013-9238-6 Taylor, B. (2014). Experiences of sexuality and intimacy in terminal illness: A phenomenological study. Palliative Medicine, 28, 438-447. doi: 10.1177/0269216313519489

About the Author Megan Johnson is an M.Ed. student in the School Psychology and Counselor Education program with a concentration in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Her research interests include patients and family members coping with chronic and terminal illness. She is currently an intern in Emergency Services at the Colonial Behavioral Health Community Services Board in Williamsburg, VA.


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Administering an Educational Program: Implementing Culturally Responsive Curriculum and Instruction in Elementary Schools to Increase Student Achievement Marquita Hockaday

Abstract The demographics in America’s K-12 classrooms will continue to shift throughout the 21st century as students become more diverse. However, educators remain predominantly White, presenting issues of cultural disequilibrium. Cultural disequilibrium may result in frustration and a breakdown in the classroom, leading to a lack of achievement amongst culturally diverse students. Further, educators and educational leaders often lack the skills to work with diverse populations due to inadequate pre-service programs. Thus, it is critical that educational leaders become aware of and understand various culturally responsive curricula and instructional practices. Elementary school educational leaders can develop and administer effective culturally responsive programs to reach the youngest generation and improve achievement in an effort to correct the underperformance of culturally diverse students. Keywords: culturally responsive, curriculum and instruction, diverse, achievement, educational leader, Funds of Knowledge, motivation As America’s population becomes more multicultural, school demographics continue to reflect this diversity. In 2000, one in three students enrolled in elementary and secondary schools was from a racial or ethnic minority group, and this trend will continue to increase throughout the 21st century (Villegas & Lucas, 2002). Consequently, teachers often experience cultural disequilibrium or the “cultural mismatch that may occur between teachers and their students” (Bergeron, 2008, p. 5). Cultural disequilibrium

arises when teachers are confused and frustrated due to a lack of preparation (Bergeron, 2008). Therefore, it is crucial that pre-service and practicing teachers are made aware and are encouraged to implement culturally responsive educational practices. Also, K-12 schools must integrate culturally responsive curriculum and instruction into written, taught, and tested curriculum to improve student achievement. To best understand how culturally responsive curriculum and instruction can impact student achievement amongst diverse groups,

Implementing Culturally Responsive Curriculum

various terms and phrases must be operationalized. For the purposes of this paper, culture is defined as a “set of beliefs, values, and language patterns of a social unit, often recognized through one’s ethnic identity” (Bergeron, 2008, p. 6); culturally responsive curriculum and instruction involve including family customs and traditions, as well as community culture and expectations, in core content areas that will lead to student engagement and motivation (Saifer, Edwards, Ellis, Ko, & Stuczynski, 2011). Diversity is defined as the “vast set of experiences and attributes of an individual, including socioeconomic status, gender, sexual orientation, and religion, that contribute to each person’s uniqueness” (Bergeron, 2008, p. 6). Diversity in this paper places emphasis on three groups of students: those from minority groups, those with low socioeconomic status backgrounds, and those who speak English as a second language. These are the groups of students who often underachieve due to traditional elementary curriculum guidelines, measurements of achievement, and deficit thinking among many school officials (Garcia & Guerra, 2004). Finally, student achievement, in the context of culturally responsive curriculum, refers to meeting and/ or exceeding state and local standards, understanding and accepting various cultures, and enriching one’s own cultural experience (Saifer et al., 2011). I will first describe the current issues of underachievement among diverse students. Further, I will present a review of literature on various models of culturally responsive curriculum and instruction to determine how these


models can inspire the aforementioned students to achieve in schools. Finally, practicing and aspiring instructional leaders will receive specific tools and guidelines using Hallinger’s Conceptual Framework of Instructional Leadership and the 2014 ISLLC Standards. These leadership tools may be implemented to assist faculty and staff in elementary schools in effectively applying culturally responsive curriculum and instruction that will improve diverse student populations’ achievement. The Issue: Underachievement of Diverse Elementary School Students Student achievement varies depending on the definition and goals of measurement. Based on the emphasis of student achievement for this paper, diverse students tend to underachieve when compared to their counterparts in elementary schools. For instance, Ladson-Billings (1995) stated that all students needed to demonstrate mastery of “literacy, numeracy, technological, social, and political skills in order to be active participants in democracy” (p. 160). If mastery of literacy and numeracy skills was based on data, such as the mean scores of all diverse students who took the fourth grade math Virginia Standard of Learning (SOL) end-ofcourse test compared to the scores of those students who are middle-class and White, diverse students perform at a lower rate (Virginia Department of Education [VDOE], 2015). According to the VDOE (2015), of the students tested in 2013-2014, 82% of White students passed English SOL tests while only 59% of those identified as Gap Group 1 members (students with disabilities, English language learners, and economically disadvantaged students)


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passed English SOL tests. Also, 80% of White students passed math SOL tests, while 61% of Gap Group 1 members passed the same tests. These data represent a need for stronger curriculum and instruction methods in the classroom to prepare all students for assessments. Also, in terms of literacy skills, research has shown that students who live in poverty experience delays in their academic achievement and are often delayed in their language and literacy development (González, 2002). The National Center for Education Statistics (U.S. Department of Education, 2009) has reported that, in families living in poverty, only 28% of children can read at the minimal level of proficiency. Perhaps this explains why diverse groups continue to underachieve when achievement is defined as meeting or exceeding local or state standards. However, when achievement is defined as understanding and accepting various cultures, or enriching one’s own cultural experience (Saifer et al., 2011), then underachievement can be explained by the longtime description of America as a melting pot instead of salad bowl (Green-Gibson & Collett, 2014). For years, America has been viewed as a melting pot, or diverse societies that must be assimilated into the European, middle-class way of life (González, 2002). This ideology trickled into America’s schools and impacted the performance of diverse students (GreenGibson & Collett, 2014). Describing America as a melting pot suggests that society must be in line with European, middle-class ideals. On the other hand, a salad bowl approach, a philosophy that allows individuals to coincide, mingle, and influence American society with their

their cultural idiosyncrasies, is more ideal for a culturally responsive society (GreenGibson & Collet, 2014). Thus, the salad bowl ideology can be implemented into schools to allow diverse students to increase their achievement. There is a rapid increase of minorities across America, and elementary schools, for example, are experiencing a huge influx of Hispanic students (Coffey, Cox, Hillman, & Chan, 2015). Due to this shift in the population, school officials are tasked with modifying curricula to include culturally responsive material (Coffey et al., 2015). According to Wlodkowski and Ginsberg (1995), “teaching that ignores student norms of behavior and communication provokes student resistance, while teaching that is responsive prompts student involvement” (p. 17). According to Coffey et al. (2015), “It is important that elementary education programs are solid so that children learn in ways that benefit them for the rest of their lives” (p. 12). So, if administrators include culturally responsive curriculum and instruction programs in elementary schools, it is possible to impact students throughout their academic careers and also in their social lives (Coffey et al., 2015). What is Being Done: Current Practices for Culturally Diverse Students Elementary school instructors have realized that classroom demographics are shifting and have responded to these changes with various strategies and techniques of instruction. However, the strategies included are often not implemented with fidelity and can create more problems than solutions. For instance, project based learning (PBL) is one instructional strategy that

Implementing Culturally Responsive Curriculum

elementary school teachers include in unit plans in an effort to put students in cooperative learning groups and have them engage in critical and creative thinking. However, if PBL is integrated without providing supporting strategies, such as student choice and connecting the material to students’ prior knowledge, the project and its components will lose significance (King, Sims, & Osher, n.d.). Further, elementary instructors often include discussions and open dialogue in daily classroom practices. This is an instructional strategy that is effective for culturally diverse students as it allows these learners to question the status quo and engage in conversations about the power structure within their communities and schools. However, if instructors do not take advantage of the discourse community that they have within their classrooms, they may limit discussions to simple question and answer sessions that are teacher driven. An elementary instructor may misconstrue his or her students’ mental capabilities and not allow the class to question or critically analyze the implicit biases that exists within school community (Brown & Lee, 2012). The Solution: Implementing Culturally Responsive Curriculum and Instruction Culturally responsive curriculum allows students to relate their home life to content they are learning in the classroom. The most effective culturally responsive curriculum permits students to gather knowledge from a recognizable cultural base and associate any new knowledge to their life experiences (Menchaca, 2001). Infusing culturally responsive curriculum and instruction in elementary schools encourages students


to question traditional views (Bergeron, 2008). Connecting school, family, and the community leads to students feeling as if they belong and as if learning is purposeful (Saifer et al., 2011). There are at least four different approaches to culturally responsive curriculum and instruction that can be integrated into elementary school classrooms to improve students’ academic achievement. These four approaches - culturally responsive teaching, cultural responsiveness and service learning, culturally responsive standards-based teaching, and funds of knowledge - will be outlined and reviewed through literature in the following sections. Also, an explanation of how students can gain academic achievement will be described in each section. Culturally Responsive Teaching Teachers must engage diverse learners in a divergent manner. Wlodkowski and Ginsberg (1995) created culturally responsive teaching based on the idea that students’ emotions influence their motivations, and their emotions are socialized by their cultural backgrounds. According to Wlodkowski and Ginsberg (1995), “to be effective in a diverse class, teachers must relate content to the cultural background of their students” (p. 18). In order to reach students who are different, teachers must make learning meaningful. An instructor must answer the essential questions, or the “how, what, and why of teaching” (Wlodkowski & Ginsberg, 1995, p.18), to ensure that all elements of instruction are cohesive. Therefore, culturally responsive teaching is an approach that teachers can incorporate to make learning meaningful. For instance, if all students in a third grade class are working on the same


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math problem but one student is frustrated and stops working, while another student from a different cultural group feels excited by the challenge and continues working, and yet another student from yet another cultural group is exasperated but pushes through the anger to conquer the task, the teacher might conclude that two of the students are intrinsically motivated to complete the work (Wlodkowski & Ginsberg, 1995). Even though the teacher might not understand each child’s behavior, it is the teacher’s job “to understand all students’ perspectives” (p. 19). Consequently, it is important for teachers to work with all students in an effort to extend their current knowledge and inspire a desire to achieve. The basis of Wlodkowski and Ginsberg’s (1995) framework is that motivationally effective teaching is equal to culturally responsive teaching. In an effort to help diverse students achieve, less emphasis should be placed on punishment and reward, and more emphasis has to be given to communication and understanding. The goal of culturally responsive teaching in Wlodkowski and Ginsberg’s (1995) approach is for teachers to demonstrate that what students are learning makes sense and is of importance. Further, the authors posited that implementing culturally responsive teaching leads to intrinsic motivation, as teachers demonstrate an understanding of the students’ perspectives and each child is viewed as a unique and active participant in his or her education. The framework includes four motivational factors for teachers and students to integrate into the elementary school environment in order to increase

academic achievement for diverse students. First, an environment where teachers and students feel connected and respected is important (Wlodkowski & Ginsberg, 1995). Collaboration, cooperative groups, equality, and discussions about equal treatment amongst all groups are key components of this first factor. For instance, researchers have found that diverse students demonstrate improvements in their academic performance, attitude toward peers, and self-esteem when they participate in cooperative grouping procedures such as the Jigsaw method (Walker & Crogan, 1998). Next, teachers should create an environment where instruction is relevant to a student’s daily life. Students should be given clear goals and choices in assignments, and student, parent, and teacher conferences must be a normal occurrence (Wlodkowski & Ginsberg, 1995). Culturally responsive curriculum often includes student choice, experiential, and inquiry assignments (Bergeron, 2008). The instruction should be challenging, thoughtful, and inclusive of information that students will value. Lessons should include real-world issues, and discussions must incorporate students’ dialogue (Wlodkowski & Ginsberg, 1995). Projects, problem-based assignments, critical questioning, and experimental inquiry methods should also be incorporated into teaching and learning strategies (Wlodkowski & Ginsberg, 1995). Finally, when students are learning about what they value, they will demonstrate more knowledge (Gonzalez, 2002; Saifer et al., 2011). Therefore, allowing students to demonstrate knowledge in more ways than one is critical. Students in an elementary school can demonstrate

Implementing Culturally Responsive Curriculum

knowledge through authentic assessments, such as portfolios or speeches, contracts, and self- assessments (Wlodkowski & Ginsberg, 1995). The purpose of implementing the four motivational factors created by Wlodkowski and Ginsberg (1995) is to ensure that teachers create an environment in which diverse students are able to achieve. The premise of culturally responsive teaching is that students’ emotions are culturally socialized, and motivation is influenced by students’ emotions. To properly educate diverse students, teachers must work to motivate all students by understanding and implementing culturally responsive teaching. While culturally responsive teaching is ideal, the expectations and principles of this approach, such as understanding and accepting every student’s culture, are not only daunting, but can possibly be viewed as unrealistic when one considers the biases that individuals bring to the classroom. For instance, some teachers view their students through a deficit lens and believe that children from certain cultural backgrounds are unteachable (Shields, Bishop, & Mazawi, 2005). Without being exposed to the ideals of culturally responsive teaching in undergraduate programs, pre-service teachers may not possess the tools necessary to integrate culturally responsive teaching in their classrooms. According to Wlodkowski and Ginsberg (1995), “for culturally different students, engagement in learning is most likely to occur when they are intrinsically motivated to learn” (p. 21). If a student is aware that his or her teacher is not inspired to understand or accept the cultural make-up of the class, then there


is a chance that the student will not perform to the best of his or her ability. Therefore, it is crucial that administrators and educators plan, create, and implement, to the best of their ability, culturally responsive teaching that leads to diverse students achieving. Cultural Responsiveness and Service Learning Even though teacher demographics are currently not representative of student populations, proactive teachers work to break down barriers in their classrooms, allowing students to discuss issues of equality and ending segregation and stereotyping (Steven & Charles, 2005). These teachers are in the beginning stages of becoming culturally responsive educators. According to Villegas and Lucas (2002), culturally responsive teachers (a) are socioculturally conscious, meaning that there is more than one way to perceive a problem—usually based on one’s socioeconomic status; (b) have positive opinions of students from diverse backgrounds; (c) view themselves as both capable of and responsible for responsive educational change for all students; (d) comprehend learner knowledge construction; (e) are invested in getting to know students personally; and (f) use personal knowledge of students to create teaching and learning strategies. In summary, culturally responsive educators are often learner or student oriented (Bergeron, 2008). While culturally responsive teachers have the best intentions, they sometimes have deep-seated, though unintended biases (Meaney, Bohler, Kopf, Hernandez, & Scott, 2008) and are often working from curricula, pedagogy, and evaluative measures “that privilege


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the affluent, White, and male segments of society” (Villegas & Lucas, 2002, p. 22). Also, when multicultural education efforts are implemented, the curriculum often emphasizes information and knowledge instead of building an awareness and understanding among diverse students in an effort to eliminate “racist and sexist attitudes” (Steven & Charles, 2005, p. 17). Therefore, integrating culturally responsive curriculum and instruction that encourages concepts such as service learning in elementary schools could deepen superficial knowledge of cultural differences and further student achievement. The “current racial and class make-up of K-12 teachers and preservice educators contrasts sharply with that of their students” (Meaney et al., 2008, p. 190). It is crucial for educators to acknowledge this difference and find ways to connect with students. According to Solorzano and Solorzano (1999), a culturally responsive classroom is one where all children’s backgrounds are accepted, every student is integrated into the class experience, classroom processes are fair and equal, and the teacher maintains a rapport with every student. Also, culturally responsive classes emphasize both being a part of and contributing to the community—in other words, citizenship (Ladson-Billings, 1994). The concept of service learning interacts with culturally responsive curriculum and instruction and can be infused in the elementary classroom. According to Anderson, Swick, and Yff (2001), there are six essential components to service learning: (a) high quality service to the community; (b) a connection between the service activity

and the classroom; (c) reflection from the student about the service activity; (d) allowing the student to choose their service activity and be active in planning and implementing said activity; (e) collaboration to make sure everyone (parents, students, community, and teacher) benefits; and (f) evaluation of the program to ensure that the goals were met. The purpose of service learning programs in elementary school classrooms is two-fold. First, student engagement increases; also, students begin to make decisions that are of value and based on their cultural backgrounds (Anderson et al., 2001). Students are able to be involved in projects that will improve their environment, such as planting trees or gardens in the school’s backyard, or projects that are problembased and require critical thinking skills and real-world applications (Anderson et al., 2001). Service learning programs can lead to student achievement due to the amount of interaction that occurs between students and community members on a somewhat regular basis (Meaney et al., 2008). With that being said, there are issues that can occur with the cultural responsive instructor and service learning projects, such as fidelity of the program and assumptions. For instance, an instructor may make false suppositions about a student based on his or her cultural background and force the student to participate in a project that the student may or may not have an interest in pursuing. Also, a servicelearning program must have buy-in from the instructor as well as the students to persist over time. Without student engagement, service-learning programs cannot succeed. According to Meaney et

Implementing Culturally Responsive Curriculum

al. (2008), one of the requirements of effective service-learning programs is that students reflect on their own cultural competencies while working with disadvantaged groups. So, instructors must encourage students to become invested in the project and put in the time and effort to complete the given task. Service-learning and culturally responsive instruction can be effective and meaningful when integrated into curriculum and instruction. This interaction may lead to students enriching their own cultural experiences and therefore improving academic achievement. Culturally Responsive StandardsBased Teaching Currently, the American education system reflects the dominant culture in curriculum, instruction, interaction with families, and through emphases placed on individual achievement, competition, and having a teacher-led classroom (Saifer et al., 2011). Many cultural groups do not respond to this traditional view of education and thus, culturally responsive standards-based Teaching (CRSB) has been created as a response for these diverse students. According to Saifer et al. (2011), culturally responsive teaching acknowledges the needs of students by including their families and communities and in turn improving their motivation and engagement; standardsbased teaching gives all students an opportunity to be exposed to demanding and advanced learning. CRSB teaching combines the two and is successful because it allows for a deeper connection between family, schools, and community (Saifer et al., 2011). According to Saifer et al. (2011),


culturally responsive teachers who are also focused on standards-based learning will (a) demonstrate an understanding of their own culture; (b) recognize and understand their students’ cultures; (c) appreciate the ways different cultures impact teaching and learning; and (d) actively acquire several strategies for including cultures in demanding and rigorous curriculum and instruction that will lead to student achievement. After taking stock of their own life story and completing exercises that will lead to an understanding of their own cultural experiences, culturally responsive teachers can begin to do the work to comprehend their students’ cultural backgrounds. Teachers must consider who their students are and what is important for them to learn (Saifer et al., 2011). Also, the classroom should be a safe place for students to explore and share what they feel is essential knowledge (Saifer et al., 2011). In order to reach the listed expectations, it is essential that an instructor implement the core components of CRSB teaching in order to see student achievement. According to Saifer et al. (2011), CRSB teaching includes six essential elements: (a) it is student centered, (b) it has the ability to transform individuals, (c) curriculum and instruction is connected and integrated, (d) classroom materials nurture critical thinking skills, (e) assessment and reflection elements are always included, and (f) it leads to relationship and community building. Once the six elements of CRSB teaching are integrated into elementary classrooms, student achievement may improve. For instance, when content is individualized so that students’ lives, interests, families, and communities are


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pulled into the classroom, they begin to feel invested in the material and become more engaged (Saifer et al., 2011). There are several approaches that can be implemented in the classroom to integrate CRSB teaching. For instance, involving students in the planning of activities and/or building instruction around students’ specific and cultural assets may increase academic achievement. Also, allowing students to choose a topic for an essay and select from books with characters that are representative of their culture, may increase the likelihood that students will become invested in the content and have a desire to achieve (Saifer et al., 2011). Further, when teachers transform their role from leader to facilitator, and allow students’ perspectives to shape curriculum and instruction, students are more likely to achieve. Permitting students to study subjects from the point of view of their own culture while questioning traditional curriculum and instruction may transform learning and enrich students’ cultural experiences. Promoting interdisciplinary activities encourages students to view various cultures and subjects in a new light and may lead to improved achievement on numerous standards. Likewise, reflection and asking students to formulate questions and share their thoughts as they work may foster critical thinking skills, which could increase students’ performance on state and local standards. Finally, including families and communities in the classroom demonstrates to students that school is crucial and motivates students to succeed. Depicting the relationship between family, school, and community as essential by bringing in outside

resources or inviting family and community into the classroom may motivate students. They may realize how important their culture is to the school experience and become more invested in the learning process (Saifer et al., 2011). In a case study completed by Bergeron (2008), it was clear that CRSB teaching could have a positive impact on an elementary school classroom. In this research, the instructor implemented CRSB teaching and realized that, overall, including the six essential elements of CRSB teaching increased student achievement. For instance, the instructor incorporated student-centered learning when she permitted student choice on projects, integrated hands-on and experiential inquiry assignments, and allowed students to write in either Spanish or English in daily journal assignments (Bergeron, 2008). Also, the instructor involved the community and families in her classroom by inviting parents in for either student-led or parent-led conferences. The instructor’s conferences were so effective that one of the parents came back to give a holiday feast for all of her child’s teachers. Although there is no official report about the instructor’s students’ final scores on the state standardized tests at the end of the school year, Bergeron (2008) does state that despite the teacher being a novice, “this particular case outlines a success story, in which several factors contributed” (p. 25). Without professional development or a commitment to proper implementation, instructors may make incorrect assumptions about students’ cultural backgrounds and therefore inappropriately integrate CRSB into curriculum and instruction (Gist, 2014).

Implementing Culturally Responsive Curriculum

Administrators might hastily include CRSB teaching into curriculum and instruction initiatives without proper education, leading to uncommitted instructors who may still have predisposed biases that have not been addressed. Without professional development, these instructors may believe that acts such as including a text by a multicultural author or celebrating certain cultural heritage months have fulfilled their obligation of integrating CRSB teaching (Ladson-Billings, 1995). Also, instructors may make the wrong conclusions about students through the lens of CRSB teaching. These assumptions can be dangerous if teachers create lessons based around false traditions. For instance, O’Connor, Anthony-Stevens, and González (2014) discussed an example of a teacher ordering dreamcatcher kits for her students, who were predominantly Native American, as a “cultural” activity, even though the members of this particular tribe did not participate in making dreamcatchers. Therefore, it is critical that teachers are properly educated on how to implement CRSB teaching before the program is integrated into curriculum and instruction. Funds of Knowledge According to Rodriguez (2013), Moll, González, Greenburg, and VelezIbanez created the funds of knowledge (FoK) framework and approach to counteract cultural deficit thinking and explanatory methods. In this approach to teaching, educators are expected to become learners with their students and also ethnographers. Teachers should do their best to understand students’ knowledge acquired from their home life. Educators can try to understand


students’ FoK by completing in-home visits or participating in interviews with the student and the student’s family (Rodriguez, 2013). Originally, the goal of FoK research was to have the teacher act as if he or she was an anthropologist, studying the student’s cultural space to better understand how they develop their knowledge and skills (O’Connor et al., 2014). Currently, the FoK framework is viewed as a tool for teachers to “develop an awareness of the potential resources that could be used within the classroom to better connect with students’ existing forms of knowledge” (Rodriguez, 2013, p. 93). Implementing FoK into an elementary classroom becomes important because this framework emphasizes refining students’ prior knowledge and using what students already know in the classroom to increase their achievement. The goal of FoK is to cultivate students’ previous knowledge, not to replace or trivialize what they bring from their cultural backgrounds (McLaughlin & Barton, 2012). The instructor recognizes students’ culture while also accentuating the content that must be learned. For instance, in a third grade science class where students are not meeting state or local standards and are also not achieving on the teacher’s assignments, the teacher will recognize that this failure may be due to a “mismatch between students and [the] classroom” (Carlone & Johnson, 2012, p. 153). Instead of placing blame with the diverse students, the teacher will implement the FoK approach to help his or her students achieve (Carlone & Johnson, 2012). To integrate the FoK framework, the instructor should use the diversity and cultural backgrounds of his


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or her students as a teaching tool and resource in all lessons. In order to implement students’ cultural backgrounds into daily lessons, teachers must observe students and get to know them beyond the surface level; also, the teacher must be willing to allow students to know the teacher on a personal level that does not cross boundaries (McLaughlin & Barton, 2012). Several researchers have demonstrated instances where implementing FoK into elementary classes has increased student achievement. For instance, Upadhyay (2006) discussed a fourth grade teacher’s integration of FoK into her urban classroom. The teacher shared her own life experiences with students, observed their behaviors, encouraged them to open up to her about their home life, and implemented those ideas into science lessons. According to the teacher, the students were then able to make sense of and feel connected to the science curriculum and felt welcomed to a new environment (Upadhyay, 2006). One of the most important elements of FoK is ensuring that students learn from each other’s prior knowledge. This allows students to achieve in terms of understanding and accepting various cultures. As stated by O’Connor et al. (2014), “we certainly do not mean to suggest that students from a certain cultural group should only learn about people and practices from that group” (p. 19). A teacher must ensure that students in his or her class are “encountering varied perspectives” (O’Connor et al., 2014, p. 19). On the other hand, including FoK in the classroom can lead to issues if an instructor is not careful with his or her implementation. Boundaries and barriers

must be established at the start of the school year to ensure that teachers do not infringe upon a student’s privacy and to guarantee that both parties, the teacher and student, do not blur the line between school and home. A novice educator may easily misconstrue the principles of FoK to mean that the teacher is supposed to know every detail of a student’s life; however, the main goal of FoK is to use a student’s prior knowledge for educational achievement (Rodriguez, 2013). Instructors must remember the purpose of implementing FoK is to allow every student to demonstrate what they have gained from their culture and family and use that knowledge to become an expert on a certain topic. Consequently, motivation and engagement will occur as instructors become facilitators and students educate their classmates. The classroom will become parallel to a community, influencing students to achieve (Rodriguez, 2013). An Elementary School Instructional Leader’s Toolkit Low academic achievement among diverse students has been partially linked to a lack of culturally responsive curricula integrated into the written, taught, and tested curriculum (Saifer et al., 2011). Therefore, instructional leaders are tasked with integrating culturally responsive curriculum and instruction as early as possible to ensure academic success for diverse populations. Any of the aforementioned frameworks and approaches, or a combination of them, can be implemented in an elementary school and/or classroom to aid academic and social achievement; however, without the proper instructional leader and program, the execution of said programs may falter. An instructional leader must

Implementing Culturally Responsive Curriculum

follow a sound framework, as well as guidelines, in order to ensure that elements of culturally responsive curriculum and instruction are properly integrated in the classroom. The following section will explain how an instructional leader can apply the ideas of Hallinger’s Conceptual Framework of Instructional Leadership, and the ISLLC Standards 2014, to ensure elementary school teachers, as well as other faculty and staff, are effectively integrating culturally responsive curriculum and instruction. Hallinger’s Conceptual Framework of Instructional Leadership There are three major components of Hallinger’s Conceptual Framework (Hallinger, 2005). First, an instructional leader, who for the purposes of this paper is defined as the administrator or principal, must outline and refine the school’s mission. Whether the instructional leader completes this charge alone or with a team is determined by what kind of leadership style the leader possesses. For instance, if the leader is more democratic, he or she will most likely create a team to work on the school mission and allow several revisions of the document until the mission statement is reflective of the school’s values and climate (Hoy & Miskel, 2012). On the other hand, an autocratic leader might work on the mission statement alone and send it to faculty and staff through e-mail, requiring everyone to memorize the statement. A school’s mission statement is important for the leader to communicate and frame because this is how the instructional leader will link and explain the school’s “central purposes” (Hallinger, 2005, p. 225).


Culturally responsive curriculum and instruction can be added into a school’s mission by explicitly stating that celebrating diversity and various cultural backgrounds is central to the school and that if students are able to demonstrate their ability to do so, they have achieved an intended learning outcome (Hallinger, 2005). The school’s mission must include goals that are “clear, measurable, [and] time-based” (Hallinger, 2005, p. 225). In an elementary school, the principal might require that students are able to recognize various cultures exist beyond their own by the time they graduate 5th grade. Further, principals might encourage teachers to include projects in social studies courses that require students to bring in an artifact representative of their cultural background, thus enhancing students’ cultural experiences and celebrating the school’s diversity. Also, the school might hold assemblies and parades that acknowledge various cultural groups that make up the school’s population as well as the community surrounding the school. The ISSLC Standards Instructional leaders must also manage the instructional program by supervising and evaluating curriculum and instruction, coordinating what type of curriculum is implemented, and monitoring how students are progressing (Hallinger, 2005). In order for a principal to be effective at the job of managing the instructional program, he or she must have proficiency in the areas of teaching and learning, “as well as a commitment to the school’s improvement” (Hallinger, 2005, p. 226). Therefore, incorporating the Council of Chief State School


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Officers’ (CCSSO) ISLLC Standards will encourage an instructional leader to perform their duties to the best of their abilities. For instance, principals are required to follow Standard 3: Instruction, which states: “An educational leader promotes the success and well-being of every student by promoting instruction that maximizes student learning” (CCSSO, 2014, p. 17). Standard 3 has specific strands that discuss actions that instructional leaders can take to ensure that they are maximizing their efforts to become “hip-deep” (Hallinger, 2005, p. 226) in the school’s instructional program. For instance, in an elementary school, the principal might make an effort to know students’ reading levels or what topic they are going to choose for their science project and how that might relate to their cultural background. Also related to culturally responsive curriculum, ISLLC Standard 3, B states that an effective instructional leader “ensures a focus on authenticity and relevance in instruction” (CCSSO, 2014, p. 17). An instructional leader might monitor and evaluate curriculum and instruction to confirm that teachers are utilizing materials and assignments that students can apply to real world settings. The frameworks and approaches detailed in this paper can be considered authentic and relevant to all students. However, the instructional leader must evaluate student progress and the quality of the curriculum and instruction to ensure that the approaches have been integrated into the classroom effectively. Similarly, the instructional leader can incorporate ISLLC Standard 3, H that states that he or she will verify “the presence of culturally congruent

pedagogy and assessment” (CCSSO, 2014, p. 17). The instructional leader must make sure that teachers are incorporating the appropriate framework or approach into their classroom based on the teacher’s pedagogy and the students who are being served. In order to ensure proper measures of culturally responsive curriculum and instruction are integrated, instructional leaders will need to engage in ongoing observation, appraisal, feedback, and practice with faculty and staff (CCSSO, 2014; Hallinger, 2005). Further, ISLLC Standard 3, C states that an effective instructional leader “ensures that instruction is anchored on best understandings of child development” (CCSSO, 2014, p.17). Again, the approaches and frameworks mentioned in this paper are developmentally appropriate for elementary school aged students; however, the instructional leader must evaluate and monitor the quality of the classroom instruction to guarantee the implementation of the approach. For instance, if a teacher is employing service learning in a math lesson where students are raising money for a single cause, this is not proper integration of service learning—the instructor is assuming that all students care about the same cause instead of allowing for student choice. Finally, Hallinger (2005) says that the instructional leader must promote a positive school climate by protecting instructional time, providing opportunities for professional development, being visible, and giving incentives for teachers and learning. In other words, “effective schools create… ‘academic press’” (Hallinger, 2005, p. 226), and an instructional leader has high

Implementing Culturally Responsive Curriculum

expectations and standards for his or her faculty, staff, and students. Instructional leaders must also implement ISLLC Standard 3, F in which he or she “provides ongoing salient, informative, and actionable feedback to teachers and other professional staff ” (CCSSO, 2014, p. 17). The principal needs to engage in as many classroom observations as possible to guarantee that culturally responsive curriculum and instruction is integrated into the classroom in an effective manner. Also, in situations where culturally responsive curriculum is not effective, principals need to provide feedback that is actionable and timely so that faculty and staff may respond efficiently. Instructional leaders must create an environment where professional development is a norm, always available, and a shared responsibility. According to Hallinger (2005), the principal is responsible for providing teachers with regular professional development, whether that is in the form of giving teachers research articles to read about best practices or having the teachers participate in hands-on activities based on best practices. The instructional leader must identify the professional development needs of his or her staff before designing professional development, aligning activities to the staff ’s needs throughout the school year (Stein & Nelson, 2003). Also, it is important for the instructional leader to understand how students learn in his or her school in an effort to facilitate strategies to the staff in an effort to educate students (Stein & Nelson, 2003). An instructional leader who understands how to best facilitate culturally responsive curriculum and instruction to


students will also be able to implement professional development effectively for the staff. Conclusion: What Does This All Mean? An elementary school instructional leader, or administrator, can incorporate Hallinger’s Conceptual Framework of Instructional Leadership and specific strands from Standard 3 of the ISLLC Standards to ensure that faculty and staff integrate culturally responsive curriculum and instruction to increase student achievement. Student achievement, in the context of culturally responsive curriculum, has been defined as meeting or exceeding state or local standards, acquiring a deep understanding and acceptance of various cultures, and enriching one’s own cultural experience (Saifer et al., 2011). Elementary school is the ideal time to begin implementing culturally responsive curriculum and instruction programs because the information students learn during these primary years will impact them for the rest of their lives, both academically and socially (Coffey et al., 2015). The approaches and frameworks detailed in this paper are not inclusive of all possibilities for culturally responsive curriculum and instruction. Also, if these approaches are not implemented with fidelity, ongoing professional development, monitoring and evaluation, and a commitment to redesigning based on continuous feedback, it is possible they might hinder the success of culturally diverse students. As America’s population steadily embraces multiculturalism, classrooms will continue to reflect this diversity and educators must appropriately integrate curriculum and instruction that will


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foster optimal student achievement. References Anderson, J. B., Swick, K. J., & Yff, J. (Eds.). (2001). Service-learning in teacher education: Enhancing the growth of new teachers, their students, and communities. Washington, DC: American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education. Bergeron, B. S. (2008). Enacting a culturally responsive curriculum in a novice teacher’s classroom: Encountering disequilibrium. Urban Education, 43(1), 4-28. Brown, C. P., & Lee, J. (2012). How to teach to the child when the stakes are high: Examples of implementing developmentally appropriate and culturally relevant practices in prekindergarten. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 33(4), 322-348. doi: 10.1080/10901027.2012.732665 Carlone, H., & Johnson, A. (2012). Unpacking ‘culture’ in cultural studies of science education: Cultural difference versus cultural production. Ethnography and Education, 7(2), 151-173. Coffey, D., Cox, S., Hillman, S., & Chan, T. C. (2015). Innovative planning to meet the future challenges of elementary education. Educational Planning, 22(1), 5-14. Council for Chief State School Officers. (2014). 2014 ISLLC standards: Draft for public comment. Washington, DC: National Policy Board for Educational Administration. Garcia, S. B., & Guerra, P. L. (2004). Deconstructing deficit thinking: Working with educators to create more equitable learning environments. Education and Urban Society, 36(2), 150-168. Gist, C. D. (2014). A culturally responsive counternarrative of effective teaching. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 9(4), 1009-1014. doi: 10.1007/s11422-013-9537-0 González, V. (2002). Advanced cognitive development and bilingualism. In J. A. Castellano & E. I. Diaz (Eds.), Researching new horizons: Gifted and talented education for culturally and linguistically diverse students (pp. 47-75). Boston, MA: Allyn & Bacon. Green-Gibson, A., & Collett, A. (2014). A comparison of African & mainstream culture on African-American students in public elementary schools. Multicultural Education, 21(2), 33-37. Hallinger, P. (2005). Instructional leadership and the school principal: A passing fancy that refuses to fade away. Leadership and Policy in Schools, 4, 221-239. Hoy, W. K., & Miskel, C. G. (2012). Educational administration: Theory, research, and practice (9th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.

King, M. A., Sims, A., & Osher, D. (n.d.). How is cultural competence integrated in education? Retrieved from cultural/Q_integrated.htm Ladson-Billings, G. (1994). The dreamkeepers: Successful teachers of African-American children. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass. Ladson-Billings, G. (1995). But that’s just good teaching! The case for culturally relevant pedagogy. Theory Into Practice, 34(3), 159-165. McLaughlin, D. S., & Barton, A. C. (2012). Preservice teachers’ uptake and understanding of funds of knowledge in elementary science. Journal of Science Teacher Education, 24, 13-36. doi: 10.1007/s10972-012-9284-1 Meaney, K. S., Bohler, H. R., Kopf, K., Hernandez, L., & Scott, L. S. (2008). Servicelearning and pre-service educators’ cultural competence for teaching: An exploratory study. Journal of Experiential Education, 31(2), 189-208. Menchaca, V. D. (2001). Providing a culturally relevant curriculum for Hispanic children. Multicultural Education, 8(3), 18-20. O’Connor, B. H., Anthony-Stevens, V., & Gonzalez, N. (2014). Nurture and sustain a culture of collaboration, trust, learning, and high expectations. In R. M. Ylimaki (Ed.), The new instructional leadership: ISLLC standard two (pp. 10-25). New York, NY: Routledge. Rodriguez, G. M. (2013). Power and agency in education: Exploring the pedagogical dimensions of funds of knowledge. Review of Research in Education, 37, 87-120. doi: 10.3102/0091732X12462686 Saifer, S., Edwards, K., Ellis, D., Ko, L., & Stuczynski, A. (2011). Culturally responsive standards-based teaching (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Corwin. Shields, C., Bishop, R., & Mazawi, A. (2005). Pathologizing practices: The impact of deficit thinking on education. New York, NY: Peter Lang. Solorzano, R. W., & Solorzano, D. G. (1999). Beginning teacher standards: Impact on second-language learners and implications for teacher preparation. Teacher Education Quarterly, 26(3), 37-70. Stein, M. K., & Nelson, B. S. (2003). Leadership content knowledge. Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, 25(4), 423-448. Steven, R., & Charles, J. (2005). Preparing teachers to teach tolerance. Multicultural Perspectives, 7(1), 17-25. Upadhyay, B. R. (2006). Using students’ lived experiences in an urban science classroom: An elementary school teacher’s thinking. Science Education, 90, 94-110. U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, Institute of Education Sciences. (2009). The nation’s report card: Reading 2009 (NCES 2010—458). Retrieved from asp?pubid=2010458

Implementing Culturally Responsive Curriculum Villegas, A. M. & Lucas, T. (2002). Preparing culturally responsive teachers: Rethinking the curriculum. Journal of Teacher Education, 53(1), 20-32. Virginia Department of Education. (2015). State report card. Retrieved from https:// do?division=All&schoolName=All


Walker, I., & Crogan, M. (1998). Academic performance, prejudice, and the jigsaw classroom: New pieces to the puzzle. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 8, 381-393. Wlodkowski, R. J., & Ginsberg, M. B. (1995). A framework for culturally responsive teaching. Strengthening Student Engagement, 53(1), 17-21.

About the Author Marquita Hockaday is a Ph.D. student in the Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership program with a concentration in Curriculum Leadership at The College of William & Mary. Her research interests include the impact of cultural responsiveness training on pre- service and practicing educators when instructing and creating curriculum for culturally and linguistically diverse students.


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Helping Students Maximize Their Degrees as Competitive Tools: The Value of Experiential Learning Cassandra R. Spencer, April L. Perry

Abstract It is a common misconception among students that following graduation there will be an abundance of job opportunities, and by simply earning a degree, they will be competitive in the job market. Through a review of relevant literature, this article examines college graduate employment statistics and the skills employers desire most in new hires. Using this literature as a contextual lens, the benefits of experiential learning as a way for college students to maximize their degree is discussed. The research shows that these types of learning opportunities are essential in helping students grow, learn, realize their potential, explore different career paths, gain professional experiences, network, and become more prepared for their careers. Limitations and concerns are also addressed, and the article is concluded with a discussion outlining implications for educators that include helping students understand the value of experiential learning, providing students a range of experiential learning opportunities, and teaching students how to gain transferable skills that employers desire in new hires. Keywords: higher education, experiential learning, internships, graduation, new hires, value of a degree Graduation is both the light at the end of the tunnel and a terrifying black hole for many students. Students of all types dread graduation day for fear of the unknown, uncertainty, and having to enter the “real world” (Perry, 2012). Along with this dread, students also rejoice and celebrate having accomplished years of lectures, final exams, and all-nighters to celebrate the idea of not having to do it again. It is a common misconception among students that following graduation there will be an abundance of job opportunities, and by

simply earning a degree, they will be competitive in the job market. In today’s world, having a Bachelor’s degree often does not make a student competitive; it simply means that their resume will pass the first round of eligibility. A degree alone is no longer enough for recent graduates who are trying to enter the working world following graduation. Internships, externships, co-ops, campus jobs, service learning, summer jobs, and various other forms of work-related experiential learning opportunities seem to be crucial

Helping Students Maximize Their Degree

components in attaining a job after graduation. Experiential learning is operationally defined as work-related experiences (internships, externships, etc.) that provide students with the opportunity to gain transferable work experience before graduation. Given how competitive the current job market is, facilitating opportunities for students to engage in experiential learning has become a focus for institutions, faculty, and practitioners. Moreover, due to the fact that experiential learning has been identified as a High Impact Practice (Kuh, 2008), more educators are recognizing the value of such experiences for their students. Since the move toward mass higher education in the 1960s, receiving a college degree has often been seen as an investment for students - a way to become an educated and successful member of society. Earning a college degree was, at one time, a ticket to gainful employment (Thelin, 2011). Does a degree hold these same promises or have the same value that it once did? To explore this idea further in this article, we first look at the employment statistics of recent graduates. Next, we evaluate what employers are looking for in new hires. Then, building on this contextual framework, we explore the literature on experiential learning, the value it brings in preparing students for future employment, and what role we, as educators, play in this process. College Graduate Employment Statistics Abel, Deitz, and Su (2014) found that between 2009 and 2011, 10% of recent college graduates were unemployed, while 56% of recent graduates were underemployed, meaning


their jobs did not require a bachelor’s degree. More recently, Jones and Schmitt (2014) reported that one in three recent college graduates was employed in a position that did not require a college degree. Further, Jones and Schmitt (2014) found that 23.5% of recent graduates who are employed, are not only underemployed, but also are working in low-wage positions, meaning they will make less than $25,000 per year. The unemployment rate, in addition to the underemployment rate, of recent graduates increases the competitiveness of the job market for college graduates. With fewer positions available, more graduates are competing for the same jobs, even if those jobs do not require a degree. Inevitably, the economy has an effect on employment statistics; the U.S. unemployment rate started to increase in early 2009 and reached an all-time high of 10.1% in October of 2009 (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2011). Although the U.S. is slowly recovering from the 2009 economic recession, we are still in a time where businesses are trying to stay afloat, people are fighting to keep their current jobs, and fewer companies are hiring new graduates entering the workforce. Therefore, as educators, we must examine what employers want in new hires, and then provide opportunities for our students to gain those skills. What Employers Want in New Hires As young adults graduate from university and enter their first professional jobs, there is often a disconnect in terms of new hire readiness for the workplace (Gedye, Fender & Chalkley, 2004; Hanneman & Gardner, 2010; Hart, 2008). Hicks (2014) demonstrated that a college


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degree makes a candidate eligible, but it does not make them competitive for a job. She found on average 150 resumes are submitted for an entry level job that requires a Bachelor’s degree (Hicks, 2014). Of those 150 resumes, 135 will meet the minimum qualifications for the job. Of the 135 eligible resumes, half of the interested applicants will have had some type of related internship or work experience. Hicks (2014) asks, “with about 68 resumes left, all with hands-on experience, are [recruiters] really going to consider any of the resumes in the ‘degree-only’ group?” (para. 7). Wood (2004) emphasized the role and importance of higher education counselors and practitioners in assisting students to stay up to date with current job trends and employer expectations. Through a survey involving 900 employers, Hanneman and Gardner (2010) identified the most desired skills for new university hires: • building and sustaining professional relationships (social capital) • demonstrating initiative • analyzing, evaluating, and interpreting data and information • communicating effectively through justification and persuasion • creating new knowledge or services • engaging in continuous learning • articulating global understanding Crebert, Bates, Bell, Patrick, and Cragnolini (2004) suggested that it is unrealistic for universities to guarantee that their graduates will possess all the skills needed in future occupations. However, they emphasized that “universities should guarantee that their students will all have the opportunity to learn and develop generic skills and abilities during their undergraduate

study” (p. 148). Farner and Brown (2008) suggested that higher education and business sectors have opportunities for collaboration in supporting students as they shift from study to work. They suggested internships, job shadowing, informational interviews, and apprenticeships as ways for this. Additionally, “the characteristics of today’s starting job resemble the job many young adults attained after seven to ten years of work experience” (Gardner & Perry, 2011, p. 315), meaning students must somehow make up this deficit before they ever enter the workplace. So, how do students gain these skills and experiences while still in college? The research points to experiential learning. Experiential Learning and Related Benefits Experiential learning has been a growing topic of discussion on college and university campuses. Cook, Parker, and Pettijohn (2004) reported that as of the year 2000, three out of four college students had an internship experience prior to graduation. The number of students participating in experiential learning activities has only increased since that time; a 2006 internship survey revealed that 53% of students will have completed two or more internships upon graduating (London, 2006). With over half of students completing one or more experiential learning opportunities prior to graduation, the job market tips even further out of favor for students who have not had such experiences. The demand for college graduates to have related experience prior to graduation has driven numerous colleges and/ or academic departments to make experiential learning opportunities a

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graduation requirement. This means that in the near future, it is likely that an even higher percentage of students will have completed not one but multiple internships, externships, co-ops, or other experiential learning opportunities prior to graduation. Experiential learning activities are not only growing in popularity on college and university campuses, but also are becoming a necessity among employers. The 2012 Annual Job Outlook Survey, conducted by The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE, 2011), found that 73.7% of employers preferred to hire recent graduates who had relevant work experience. Hicks (2014) noted that hiring employees is an expensive and time-consuming process. “Companies do not want to hire people who are ‘trying out’ a job for the first time” (Trust, 2011, para. 2). This further demonstrates that students with relevant and transferable learning experiences are more appealing to an employer than those without. Furthermore, The Atlantic recently published an article reflecting that employers focus more on a student’s related experience, including internships, externships, co-ops, and part-time employment, than they do on the relevance of their coursework, a student’s grade point average (GPA), or the reputation of the institution they attended (Thompson, 2014). This research was exemplified in Perry’s (2012) findings on recent graduates’ transition after college, as a research participant said, “The one thing I wish the university would have stressed is the importance of work experience. I still believe that’s the one thing that killed me when I was interviewing for positions” (p. 199).


The benefit of experiential learning goes beyond the end result of job placement or employer desires. These types of experiences throughout a student’s undergraduate years also give them the opportunity to explore various career options and hone in on a specific area or career of interest. A recent graduate in Perry’s (2012) study said, “Your professors are supposed prepare you for a career, if you’ve found it. But make sure you find it… do an internship about something you care about, or at least find out it is something you don’t care about” (p. 200). Hurst, Thye, and Wise (2014) found that 60% of students who participated in a summer internship reported that the experience confirmed their career choice. Furthermore, their findings demonstrated that internship experiences “(a) extend learning beyond the classroom; (b) provide opportunity to interact with industry professionals; and (c) provide opportunity to refine communication and networking skills” (p. 61). A recent graduate who did not participate in an internship said: What I am learning is that it really does not matter what you know or how great you can make yourself look on paper, you need to network. And that’s something that you wonder why they don’t talk more about in college. Every degree should have an internship program… no matter what your degree field is going to be, because at the very least you’re going to be making contacts through that. I never did an internship. (Perry, 2012, p. 201) In addition to confirming career paths and providing students with workrelated experience, experiential learning opportunities also lead to students being


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more engaged in the classroom. Green, Graybeal, and Madison (2011) reported that students with internship experiences are able to make connections between their experiential learning opportunities and their coursework. In doing so, students are more engaged in the classroom having seen the value of the material in a work-related setting. Green, Graybel and Madison (2011) also found that following an experiential learning opportunity, students were better able to understand the values and traits that potential employers look for when interviewing and hiring employees. Furthermore, Ray and Kafka (2014) found that students who participated in experiential learning activities were not only more engaged in the classroom, but also were twice as likely to be engaged employees. A business student stated, “I was able to use knowledge I gained in school in real-world settings. I became familiar with the industries and businesses I worked in and acquired insights regarding the responsibilities I would have as a full-time employee… the knowledge I obtained enhanced my understanding of concepts I studied in subsequent courses” (Reding and O’Bryan, 2013, pp. 47-48). This further demonstrates that experiential learning not only benefits students while they are enrolled in classes and while searching for employment, but also continues to benefit them once employed. Limitations and Concerns While the research shows numerous benefits associated with experiential learning, such opportunities also involve areas of concern. Some of these experiences are paid, some are paid at very low wages, and some are unpaid all together. There are many different

opinions on the ethics associated with unpaid experiences, how it is determined if a student can earn credit toward their degree, and what exactly constitutes a legitimate experiential learning activity. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE, 2011) defines an internship experience as having to meet seven criteria points. These points include • applying knowledge from the classroom, • gaining transferable skills, • having a set start and end date along with a job description and the desired qualifications, • defining learning objectives, • supervision by a professional, • continuous feedback given to the student, and • providing resources, equipment, etc. (by the internship host). It is important to note that, within this set of criteria, there is no mention of internship wages or criteria for earning college credit for the experience. Based on the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act, employers are not required by law to pay interns minimum wage if the student is learning/being trained in a similar manner to what they would learn or be trained to do in an education setting (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010). Additionally, the Labor Act includes criteria that the experience should benefit the intern, the intern should work under close supervision, the intern is not entitled to pay or a job offer at the conclusion of the experience, and finally, the employer of the intern should not receive any immediate advantages from the intern. This act helps employers determine whether they are required by law to pay an intern minimum wage or

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not (U.S. Department of Labor, 2010). In most cases, higher education institutions and/or academic departments make their own set of guidelines and criteria for the types of internships that students can be awarded for college credit. In some cases, institutions and/or academic departments also determine if and how much a student can be paid for the duration of their experience. While the research shows that students benefit from having completed an experiential learning opportunity, unpaid internships are often impractical for many students. Glaeser (2013) discusses in his opinion article for the Boston Globe that unpaid internships are highly valuable, but also are only open to students whose families can support them while they work for free. Glaeser (2013) suggests the implementation of an internship stipend program through federal aid and supports higher education institutions that provide stipend pay for student interns. While there are differing opinions on the logistics associated with experiential learning opportunities, there is no denying that students benefit from these types of experiences prior to graduation. Benefits are often the greatest when teaching is the focus of an experiential learning opportunity. As Westerberg and Wickersham (2011) state, “Academic internships are three-way partnerships among an institution of higher education, the internship site, and the student. They have an irreplaceable role in the liberal arts by providing hands-on learning opportunities, allowing students to collaborate closely with faculty, and strengthening ties between the college and the community”


(para. 3). Furthermore, there is a balance to managing this three-way partnership; it is often not sufficient enough to simply facilitate internship opportunities. Rather, these opportunities need to be managed by individuals who can appropriately support the student intern. For example, a recent graduate reflected on her internship experience and said: I think there should be more requirements for interns. Believe it or not I didn’t have to do much with mine, not to mention my supervisor and professor never communicated. Supervisors couldn’t care less….you’re working for free! And the professors don’t seem to really care as much either. Seriously, an internship to me is the most important class of your entire college career. It’s preparing you for your future! (Perry, 2012, pp. 200-201) This further demonstrates the importance of experiential learning opportunities for students, but also it reinforces that having effective, collaborative partnerships is vital to the success of any student’s experience. Discussion Research has shown that not only is the job market tough for recent graduates, but also a significant number of students are un- or underemployed following graduation. The research also shows that a college degree is no longer enough to make a student employable. There is a growing trend in the number of students who graduate having completed at least one, if not several, work-related experiences. Students who have not had such experiences struggle even more to find a job related to their degree, especially as more and more employers seek students with related


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experience. Research has also shown that experiential learning is not only beneficial for helping students find gainful employment following graduation, but also is beneficial in helping students explore career paths and encouraging students to be more engaged in the classroom. Many college campuses offer experiential learning opportunities for their students through service learning offices, career services offices, and major/departmental requirements. It is the responsibility of both the institution to provide and encourage such opportunities, and also of students to take advantage of and seek out additional opportunities as they progress through their degree. Additional research could help clarify what types of experiences are most beneficial for students. Are these experiences beneficial regardless of type (e.g. internship, externship, co-op, etc.), compensation, or duration? Also, are these experiences equally or more beneficial to a specific group of students, employers, or institutions? Experiential learning opportunities are essential in helping students grow, learn, and realize their potential. These opportunities provide safe spaces for students to explore different career paths, gain professional experiences, network, and become more prepared for their careers. Based on this synthesis of research, implications for educators include: helping students understand the importance and value of experiential learning, providing a range of experiential opportunities, and then teaching students how to leverage experiential opportunities to gain skills desired by future employers and market themselves when job searching.

Internships, externships, co-ops, parttime jobs, and all other work-related activities are what experiential learning opportunities encompass, and as educators, it is important to not only encourage students to participate in these learning opportunities, but also to engage them in reflecting on their experiences. It is our role to be collaborators and facilitators in fostering meaningful experiences for students that will better prepare them for their futures. References Abel, J., Deitz, R., & Su, Y. (2014). Are recent college graduates finding good jobs? Federal Reserve Bank of New York: Current Issues, 20(1), 1-8. Cook, S. J., Parker, R. S., & Pettijohn, C. E. (2004). The perception of interns: A longitudinal case study. Journal of Education for Business. 79(3), 179-185. Crebert, G., Bates, M., Bell, B., Patrick, C., & Cragnolini, V. (2004). Developing generic skills at university, during work placement and in employment: Graduates’ perceptions. Higher Education Research and Development, 23(2), 147165. Farner, S. M., and Brown, E. E. (2008). College students and the work world. Journal of Employment Counseling, 45(3), 108-114. Gardner, P. D., & Perry, A. L. (2011). The role of cooperative and work-integrated education in graduate transition into the workplace. In R. K. Coll & K. E. Zegwaard (Eds.), International handbook for cooperative and work-integrated education: International perspectives of theory, research and practice (pp. 313-320). Lowell, MA: World Association for Cooperative Education. Gedye, S., Fender, E., & Chalkley, B. (2004). Students’ undergraduate expectations and post-graduation experiences of the value of a degree. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 28(3), 381-396. Glaeser, E. (2013, October 31). Unpaid internships: Unpopular solution to a real problem. The Boston Globe. Retrieved from opinion/2013/10/30/unpaid-internshipsunpopular-solution-real-problem/ KqHbPLxfgdjuhcVN0xL6XJ/story.html Green, B. P., Graybeal, P., & Madison, R. L. (2011). An exploratory study of the effect of professional internships on students’ perception of the importance of employment traits. Journal of Education for Business, 86(2), 100-110.

Helping Students Maximize Their Degree Hanneman, L., & Gardner, P. (2010). Under the economic turmoil a skill gap simmers. CERI Research Brief 1-2010. East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan State University, Collegiate Employment Research Institute. Hart, P. (2008). How should colleges assess and improve student learning? Washington, D.C.: Association of American Colleges and Universities. Hicks, K. (2014, November 17). Your degree is only one piece of the employability puzzle. Making Your Degree Work. Retrieved from your-degree-is-only-one-piece-of-theemployability-puzzle Hurst, J. H., Thye, A., & Wise, C. L. (2014). Internships: The key to career preparation, professional development, and career advancement. Journal of Family & Consumer Sciences, 106(2), 58-62. Jones, J., & Schmitt, J. (2014, May). A college degree is no guarantee. Washington D.C: Center for Economic and Policy Research. Retrieved from Kuh, G. (2008). High-impact educational practices: What they are, who has access to them, and why they matter. Washington, D.C.: Association of American Colleges and Universities. London, M. (2006, April 25). More students interning this summer, says new Vault survey. Business Wire. Retrieved from home/20060425005925/en/StudentsInterning-Summer-Vault-Survey-62-Students#. VHtyyigfkfF National Association of College and Employers [NACE]. (2011). NACE Research: Job Outlook 2012. Bethlehem, PA: Author. Retrieved from upload/Job-Outlook-2012-Member-Version-1. pdf


Perry, A. (2012). Treading through swampy water: Graduates’ experiences of the post-university transition. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand. Ray, J., & Kafka, S. (2014). Life in college matters for life after college. Gallup Poll Briefing, 3. Reding, K. F., & O’Bryan, D. (2013). 10 Best Practices for Business Student Internships. Strategic Finance, 95(10), 43-48. Thelin, J. R. (2011). A history of American higher education (2nd ed.). Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press. Thompson, D. (2014, August 19). The thing employers look for when hiring recent graduates. The Atlantic. Retrieved from archive/2014/08/the-thing-employers-lookfor-when-hiring-recent-graduates/378693/ Trust, T. (n.d.). Internships: The key to finding your ideal career. Graduating with confidence: A guide to making the most of your college experience. Retrieved from http:// graduatingwithconfidence.blogspot. com/2011/01/internships-key-to-findingyour-ideal.html U.S. Department of Labor. (2010). Fact sheet #71: Internship programs under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Wage and Hour Division. Retrieved from regs/compliance/whdfs71.pdf U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (n.d.). Unemployment Rate. Retrieved from timeseries/LNS14000000 Westerberg, C., & Wickersham, C. (2011). Internships have value, whether or not students are paid. Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from Internships-Have-Value/127231/ Wood, F. (2004). Preventing post-parchment depression: A model of career counseling for seniors. Journal of Employment Counseling, 41(2), 71-79.

About the Authors Cassandra Spencer is a second-year M.Ed. student in the Higher Education Student Affairs program at Western Carolina University. She is the Graduate Assistant in the Center for Career and Professional Development at WCU. She has also completed internships at the University of North Carolina Asheville and Susquehanna University. Cassie has a research interest in student transitions, and specifically the transition out of college. Dr. April Perry is an Assistant Professor in the Higher Education Student Affairs graduate program at Western Carolina University. She completed her Ph.D. at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch, New Zealand, and her research interests are in higher education student development, career development, student transitions, and faculty transitions. To learn more about her research, teaching, and passion for students, visit


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The Necessary Shift in Writing Instruction: Implementing Authentic Tasks While Meeting Learning Standards Miranda Sigmon

Abstract This article focuses on writing instruction and the necessity for this instruction to be modified regarding the use of literacy in everyday life. Reviewing literature about standards, motivation, and writing instruction makes the implementation of authentic writing tasks evident as a necessity for increasing student motivation and allowing for students’ individuality. Each lesson taught in the classroom, regardless of expected outcomes, should foster student engagement, curiosity, and eagerness to learn. With respect to writing instruction, teachers must approach learning with student individuality in mind and create writing experiences that are engaging, allow for creativity, and have meaning for students so that practicality to real life is present in writing tasks. Within the article, implementation ideas are provided for incorporating authentic writing instruction while also teaching learning standards. Keywords: authentic, literacy, motivation, standards, writing instruction

While teaching fourth grade in North Carolina, my grade level team planned many activities, including writing tasks for students to express what they had learned about in science and social studies. Focusing on North Carolina history, students created brochures to highlight various high interest places for tourists, presented slide shows using images, text, and voice to share information learned about lighthouses, compared regions using posters, and wrote expository essays explaining possibilities for the disappearance of the

Lost Colony. All of these activities included literacy practices, which gave students a way to express in writing what they had read about and learned in social studies. Because we all lived in North Carolina and the state has such a rich and interesting history, students were able to connect and get excited about their learning. Moving on from this writing lesson, our team prepared for the next state-required expository paper with the topic of explaining three important nutrients for the human body. Materials for this science unit were difficult as far

Authentic Tasks in Writing Instruction

as reading and comprehension, and students did not seem as interested. The concepts were difficult to grasp, and hands-on learning was difficult to incorporate. As students began writing these expository essays, they were not nearly as well developed as the essays on the Lost Colony, and I felt that most students had listed facts but could not provide a verbal explanation for anything in their papers. Not only were the nutrient papers not as well developed as the earlier social studies papers, the students did not seem engaged or interested in what they were learning or writing. I remember thinking that this way of assessing writing was not authentic nor did it allow for individuality and expression using highly engaging materials and incorporating the interests of students. Literature Review Although student motivation increases with student interest, the interests of students are not always what drives classroom instruction. A stronger push for national standards in the field of public education is evident in the increasing amount of states adopting Common Core. As of the 2013-2014 school year, 45 out of 50 states had adopted Common Core (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2015). The push for teaching strictly to the standards and intensely focusing on student achievement measurable through standardized testing has placed an increased amount of stress on teachers (Turner, Applegate, & Applegate, 2011) and may not be conducive to teaching writing skills applicable and most necessary in today’s society. When standards are used by teachers as a “howto-teach” instead of a “what-to-teach”


document, student individuality can be limited. Often, teaching in this manner results in all students being given the same prompt and going through the writing process as a whole class, with little attention given to the needs of individuals becoming better writers. In this article, I will focus on writing instruction and the necessity for this instruction to be modified regarding the use of literacy in everyday life. I appreciate the need for learning standards; however, the implementation of these standards when using a universal teaching approach deprives students of individuality and often threatens students’ motivation. Motivation for academic tasks can be gained in many ways, one of which is the use of realworld or authentic activities (Anderman & Anderman, 2010). Each lesson taught in the classroom, regardless of expected outcomes, should foster student engagement, curiosity, and eagerness to learn. In order for learning to be perceived as meaningful to students, teachers should take into consideration the students’ backgrounds including aspects such as culture, socioeconomic status, and academic ability (Anderman & Anderman, 2010). Background knowledge of topics, genres, and strategies influences a student’s ability to make sense of a new text or assignment (Harvey & Goudvis, 2007). As part of these meaningful lessons, the goal of writing instruction for teachers should be for students to be overwhelmingly excited about the possibilities of expression made possible by written work. Writing should be seen by students as a way to express what they learned and incorporate their evaluation and opinions


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of that knowledge to make it personal. When I was a teacher, my students were most engaged in writing when it was not in the form of a structured essay or long process in which students were expected to work on the same piece of writing for multiple days or weeks and write draft after draft. A shift toward more authentic writing tasks with appropriate format and audience for the content and standards being addressed could increase students’ engagement in writing. Standardized Learning: Teaching Toward Standards As teachers work to create the learning environment within their classroom, student interest, relevance to daily life, and other aspects of motivation — as discussed in the article — should be taken into account when determining lesson objectives. On the other hand, state legislation also determines what and when certain learning objectives are taught. All states have learning standards to be used as a guide for teachers. Common Core standards for writing are broken down into domains: (a) text type and purposes; (b) production and distribution of writing; (c) research to build on present knowledge; and (d) range of writing (Common Core State Standards Initiative, 2015). The downfalls of teaching to the standards when looking particularly at writing instruction are similar to those expressed by Kamler and Thomson’s (2008) discussion of systematic approaches to doctoral writing, stating that this “how-to” approach for writing diminishes the work and oversimplifies the process. Although our elementary students are not writing dissertations, the extreme structure of the writing process could place

constraints on students and force them to conform to a writing norm that may not best express their ideas. Assessments such as the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) place constraints on student writing by assigning prompt choices (Driscoll, 2010). An example prompt given in Driscoll’s article for fourth grade narrative writing asked students to write about discovering a castle with strange sounds coming from it and a creaking door as they stepped inside. This writing prompt will assess the NAEP excellent writing descriptors; however, it does not have real life implications for students. Students are able to be creative with the above prompt and write a narrative that will assess achievement of mastering learning standards for writing, but narratives can be personal and directly related to a student’s own life experiences. When having students write, such restrictions as a prompt are unnecessary and demote individuality and engagement created by allowing students to choose their own writing topics. Prompts such as this also lack the acknowledgment of differences in students’ vocabularies, previous experiences, and backgrounds that may limit a student who is not familiar with the words castle, strange, discovers, or creaks. These limitations in writing prompts and state-regulated learning standards may not always allow teachers the flexibility of developing writing lessons unique to the individuals within their classrooms. Standardized Learning: Before Standards In reading studies and peer-reviewed articles about writing instruction, the most intriguing article I

Authentic Tasks in Writing Instruction

found was quite outdated. Dawson (1946) wrote an article outlining many ways to incorporate writing activities in the elementary classroom in meaningful ways that allowed for individuality. Dawson also touched on ways of integrating writing into the subject areas to make writing more meaningful and provide a way for students to share knowledge through written expression. With so many great examples of authentic writing instruction coming from an article dated 1946, I began to wonder how writing instruction had been affected with the implementation of learning standards. An example from Dawson’s writing instruction ideas is explained later in the discussion for using authentic approaches within narrative writing. Standardized Learning: Motivation Increased motivation and engagement of students could also be an outcome of planning more authentic tasks for writing instruction. Authentic tasks strive to include real-life situations within the educational environment. Hopefully, this will increase student engagement due to motivation. Many researchers have studied the expectancy theory in relation to motivation, which includes student perception of success and the value of a lesson according to the student (Applegate & Applegate, 2010). The latter of these two components within the expectancy theory would be increased by using authentic tasks because the teacher is directly helping students to increase the usefulness of a lesson due to inclusion of real-life application possibilities. The MUSIC Model of Academic Motivation developed by Jones (2009) also explains the multiple constructs of educational


motivation including usefulness, success, interest, and caring. The implementation of authentic tasks would increase motivation by addressing many of the components within this theory calling for tasks “that are perceived as being important, interesting, useful, and worthy of a time commitment” (Anderman & Anderman, 2010, p.15). In the next section, examples are given for authentic writing instruction with the hopes of achieving these motivational goals. Authentic Writing Instruction The differences between authentic writing instruction and teaching toward standards make obvious the need for change in how writing instruction is approached in the classroom. Students in the 21st century are quite different from students of past generations. One of the main differences is their exposure and use of computers from a much younger age. Computers, tablets, etc., have also been imcorporated into many classrooms and paved the way for technology standards (Swain & Pearson, 2002). Our students are immersed in a computer savvy world and rely on these types of technological devices for social, cultural, entertainment, and hopefully academic purposes — many of which require literacy skills. Since the mid1990s, growth of technological devices such as computers within education has expanded, including the technologies discussed previously, and are referred to as “digital literacies,” “twenty-first century literacies,” or “new literacies” (Lankshear & Knobel, 2011). Within this article, I use the term virtual literacy and have included research articles using the virtual literacy label for their activities. Literacy also surrounds us every day in the form of supermarket signs, road


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signs, daily newspapers, etc. With this high presence of literacy in our environment, it is surprising that 14%, approximately 32,000,000 people, in the United States are labeled illiterate (Statistic Brain Research Institute, 2015). Another difference necessary in writing tasks is the need for encouraging and developing critical thinking skills students can apply to everyday life (Noddings, 2013). It is not surprising that application or exposure to everyday writing tasks are not often included in literacy instruction because of the stress placed on tested standards. As noted by Mo, Kopke, Hawkins, Troia, and Olinghouse (2014), learning standards such as Common Core do not include writing tasks that are “highly relevant to civic life (e.g., letters, e-mails) and personal growth (e.g., diaries, reflections, poetry)” (p.449). Skills addressed in standards could be taught with a more authentic approach if teachers would utilize everyday writing practices to achieve students’ proficiency of learning objectives. Virtual Literacy

and let students know that I was monitoring the online discussion. Student engagement and excitement for being a part of the online discussion was incredible. This type of literacy activity allowed time for students to process their thoughts before sharing along with not having to speak in front of others in order to express their opinions or thoughts. Also, this type of literacy activity is similar to what students are doing in everyday life with social media outlets, such as Facebook and Twitter. Looking ahead at students’ futures in higher education, this could also help prepare them for discussion boards often utilized in distance or online learning courses. The extensive amount of literacy exposure and writing composition students can interact with and become a part of is visible in the virtual world of Schome Park used in Gillen’s study (2009). Within this virtual world, students were consistently involved in dialogue shown through their engagement in wikis and chat logs. Participants also created literacy within I remember setting up a the community and navigated through discussion board online to use for literacy the use of reading and writing within talks during centers. While working this online environment. By participating with students in small groups, students in the virtual space of Schome Park, in one center were able to log onto the students were highly motivated as they computer and contribute to the weekly encountered literacy experiences in an discussion. These discussions were authentic way similar to that of the started by a guiding question posted by literacy experiences one would encounter me and then elaborated on by students in a real-life environment. The high level in the class. Classmates could pose of student motivation, opportunity for further questions and respond to one collaboration, and use of a dictionary log another throughout the week. By reading to increase knowledge and understanding comments on the discussion board, I was illustrated the effectiveness in using able to incorporate some of their ideas virtual literacy within the classroom and questions into literacy talks within (Gillen, 2009). reading groups to enrich discussions, There are also many studies show interest in student comments,

Authentic Tasks in Writing Instruction

concerned with the use of technological devices such as computers within the classroom. For example, a fifth grade teacher in Buffalo, New York achieved an increase in student engagement and motivation in literacy discussions through the implementation of online discussion threads (Ikpeze, 2009). These online discussion boards allowed students to respond to questions posed by the teacher and respond to one another along with posing questions of their own. The teacher then used items from the thread to guide classroom discussion and give purpose to the prior online participation. Using this type of exercise also allows for many students to participate in the conversation at once and for reflection and building of ideas over time. This type of activity relates to students’ real lives by connecting to the use of literacy through dialogue, often a large part of social media interactions. For example, the use of Facebook and Twitter along with other social media networks, include this same idea of constant dialogue and a building of conversation. These types of activities and this approach to increased literacy engagement do not necessarily require computer use. Teachers can make literacy assignments relevant to social media by relating the structure created through these online resources similar to the structure of pencil and paper assignments in class. Creating a written dialogue between a vein and an artery to determine contributions within a bodily system instead of the general essay was one example of this type of assignment given in Rosen’s (1990) article. With this activity, students are engaging in a conversation just as the conversations


they would encounter with social media but with an interesting academic twist. This approach to teaching literacy is relevant to students’ daily lives and will in turn increase student motivation by producing engaging writing lessons with student interest and personal lives in mind. Implementation of this type of writing instruction could occur in classrooms through teachers planning tasks such as the online literacy discussion boards described earlier. Teachers could also create a Twitter feed in the classroom in an easily accessible place such as the back of the door. The Twitter feed could allow students to make personal comments about literature encounters, including the now popular hashtags, and create an ongoing written dialogue among students about the aesthetic literacy experiences. Integrating virtual literacy into classrooms is crucial in creating authentic literacy experiences for students as our environment becomes increasingly reliant on technological devices. Narrative Writing The need for both creative and practical writing (Dawson, 1946) is still prevalent in school and real life, but again may need to be modified in terms of classroom instruction. Narrative writing should allow students to be creative and expressive. I participated in a journal writing activity as part of my staff development one year in which all teachers were to create a list of the top five events in their life up to that point. Between each monthly session, we were to turn one of those events into a narrative story. Looking back at one of my writing pieces, I saw how I went through the steps expected of my


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students. I had chosen my wedding day to journal about from my list of top five events; however, I could not possibly journal about the entirety of that day in one entry. I decided to write only about the moment downstairs in the church just before my wedding started instead of trying to give an account for the entire day. This was exactly what I was expecting my students to do as they attempted to develop small moment stories by focusing on one seed within a large watermelon as explained through Lucy Calkin’s metaphor (Calkins & Oxenhorn, 2003). Taking part in the activities expected of students is a way for teachers to truly model and serve as a guide during the process. It is important for teachers to write along with their students, allowing both teacher and students to experience the process and struggles of writing (Atwell, 1998). This expectation of teachers modeling lifelong learning and literacy engagement is already present in the idea of teachers reading along with students during independent reading time (Turner, Applegate, & Applegate, 2011) and should carry over into writing instruction as well. Again with narrative writing just like virtual literacies, teachers should allow students’ individuality and life experiences to be incorporated in lesson planning. Implementation ideas for revising and editing. The following paragraph explains implementation ideas for a more authentic approach to revising and editing. Another change to the writing process must occur in the area of editing and revising. Writing instruction includes editing and revising multiple times, often requiring students to create multiple copies or drafts of their writing

pieces. Because we generally use computers to type papers now, this type of revision seems outdated. To take this previous writing process idea of recreating a draft would mean to print the original for editing purposes. After self-editing, peer editing, and any other types of editing completed, a person would open a blank word processing document and begin typing the next draft from scratch, making revisions along the way. Obviously, this form of editing and revising is outdated and needs modification. The revision techniques explained in The Craft of Revision authored by Lucy Calkins and Pat Bleichman (2003) offers suggestions for this part of the writing process, including ideas such as inserting a flap in children’s writing when they decide to insert additional information. This type of revising goes along with real life editing and revising, although it may not look neat and follow the previous ideas of the writing process. Cutting and pasting to edit and revise a paper is the general procedure with word processing documents; therefore, allowing students to cut and paste their written papers with the same approach using scissors and glue can later be applied to real life. To implement this, the teacher might model wanting to elaborate on a section of her draft and writing the new sentences on a clean sheet of paper. The draft would then be cut at the place in which the elaboration was to be inserted and the teacher would tape the new sentences into the existing draft. This may not lead to the most presentable paper in terms of appearance; however, it better replicates the authentic writing process and reinforces the idea of the working draft. Of course, if computers were

Authentic Tasks in Writing Instruction

available for all students, written composition could take place on the computer, making even this technique outdated. With funding being an issue for technological devices such as computers and tablets in the classroom, presenting students with these types of editing techniques at least attempts to use the same strategies that would be used on a computer but with pencil and paper. Again with the activities related to revising and editing in this paragraph, the goal is to make these skills relevant and transferable to students’ daily lives. Implementation ideas for teaching conventions. The way in which teachers plan and teach conventions can also be modified to include a more authentic approach. Teaching technical aspects of writing such as grammar and punctuation is still a must for developing proficient writers. Real life application of this type of instruction is also possible and hopefully presents the information in a more engaging and meaningful way for students. Dawson (1946) suggests developing short technical lessons focusing on the needs of the class or a small group of students in which an exemplar is presented along with two other examples in need of correction. Students make the necessary corrections as a class or group effort and then further their understanding of “good” writing by creating standards that outline these expectations and which can then be used to make corrections within their own work. By learning technical writing skills in this manner, students will hopefully attach meaning to the instruction and view the conventional writing techniques as ways to strengthen their own writing. It is interesting that


this activity had students create standards instead of our current approach of having standards set for students to follow. This approach is often used by elementary teachers at the start of a school year to establish classroom rules, allowing students to take ownership. The same practice can be used in writing instruction, allowing students to again take ownership as they develop the standards for ‘good’ writing in terms of conventions. To assess instruction related to conventions, the teacher could allow students to self-assess along with being assessed by the teacher based on the student-created standards from the group or class activity explained earlier. These ideas about narrative writing and implementation examples provide avenues for authentic writing experiences in the classroom. Nonfiction Writing Practicality of literacy instruction must also take the form of nonfiction writing within the classroom and is an expectation in the upper elementary grades. Calkins and Pessah (2003) give examples of student work in this area within their Introducing All-About Book chapter. Within this chapter, they gear choosing a topic toward student interest, including examples such as skateboarding or teaching dog tricks. These tasks incorporating students’ interests require students to read about a topic, get acquainted with experts in the topic, and possibly even watch these events on television. Students are immersing themselves in information and literacy about a topic of their choosing and using writing as a means of information collection. With this form of writing as with others discussed in this article, it is important that teachers relate


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this form of literacy to daily life and imbed purpose and motivational components in each assignment. Another way of implementing authentic practices in writing is focusing the writing tasks assigned around informal learning environments. Puttman and Walker (2010) found an increase in student motivation when incorporating nontraditional or informal learning environments as part of literacy instruction. Learning in these informal settings, such as museums, allowed students to link real-world experiences and literacy skills (Putman & Walker, 2010). Again, this suggests the necessary shift in writing instruction to more authentic tasks in which educators plan literacy experiences students may view as meaningful in real life. By viewing and recreating similar document formats to those found in informal learning environments, students are exposed to concrete examples of literacy in the real world. Relating back to the usefulness construct of motivation (Anderman & Anderman, 2010; Jones, 2009), if students perceive a task as worthy of their time and helpful in becoming proficient at a skill that will be useful at a later time, motivation is increased. Viewing literacy in informal learning environments would hopefully help students to perceive writing tasks as useful and having purpose. Implementation ideas for nonfiction writing. Relating to student interests is the first step in making this type of writing authentic. One example of a constant interest, especially among my male students, was the interest in sharks during Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. Students would come in talking about facts or incidents

from shows they had seen on television the night before. Students also wanted to check out books from the library in the weeks to come related to sharks. Having students use writing to record and share this information can allow students to view writing as a communication tool for sharing information. This would also allow for teaching students about citing where they found their information and the importance of using reliable sources. While planning this activity, the teacher could create a rubric outlining expectations for students such as how many facts are to be included and the amount of references necessary. Another implementation suggestion is having students write up a business proposal for an invention they create either individually or with a partner. Students could work to create a product or service they feel is related to a personal interest or solves a current problem they are facing. In creating the business plan, students can practice persuasive writing and be required to do background research necessary in setting up an argument for why their product or service is needed. Thinking through the creation and reasoning for the product or service could also encourage students to use critical thinking skills. The teacher could again create a rubric during the planning stages of this activity outlining how students will be assessed. The rubric would provide a document for the teacher, students, and parents, explaining the expectations for students such as product name, expected consumers, and purpose. Creating the rubric would allow the teacher to think critically about expected student outcomes while also providing students with a guide for the assignment and transparency in how they

Authentic Tasks in Writing Instruction

will be assessed. These implementation ideas presented for non-fiction are examples for shifting to an authentic focus for writing instruction. Relating to student interest could increase motivation and engagement (Jones, 2009). Using students’ interests within the assignments described above offer an example for incorporating authentic writing tasks while covering the writing standards for teaching informational and persuasive writing. Conclusions As we move forward in the 21st century, teachers are faced with complex expectations from policymakers, parents, and politicians (Turner, Applegate, & Applegate, 2011). Activities that promote authentic instruction have occurred in the past as noted in the references to Dawson’s 1946 publication of Guiding Writing Activities in the Elementary School. Since that time in education, standards have become forefront but must be balanced with our teaching philosophies and educational epistemologies that define and possibly give reason to why teachers enter the field of education. With respect to writing instruction, teachers must approach learning with student individuality in mind and create writing experiences that are engaging, allow for creativity, and have meaning for students so that practicality to real life is present in writing tasks. Authentic writing instruction in which teachers provide meaningful practice while also teaching learning standards must take place. Teachers must remember that standards are to be used as a guide. Completing authentic writing assignments should be the goal of the class, and standards are


the tools to make sure those assignments are of superior quality. References Anderman, E. M., & Anderman, L. H. (2010). Classroom motivation. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson. Applegate, A. J., & Applegate, M. (2010). A study of thoughtful literacy and the motivation to read. The Reading Teacher, 64(4), 226-234. Atwell, N. (1998). In the middle: Writing, reading, and learning (2nd ed.). Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/ Cook. Calkins, L., & Bleichman, P. (2003). The craft of revision. Portsmouth, NH: FirstHand. Calkins, L., & Oxenhorn, A. (2003). Small moments: Personal narrative writing. Portsmouth, NH: FirstHand. Calkins, L., & Pessah, L. (2003). Nonfiction writing: procedures and reports. Portsmouth, NH: FirstHand. Common Core State Standards Initiative (2015). Common core state standards (literacy). Retrieved from Dawson, M. (1946). Guiding writing activities in the elementary school. The Elementary English Review, 23(2), 80-83, 97. Driscoll, D. (2010). Writing framework for the 2011 National Assessment of Educational Progress. Retrieved from nagb/assets/documents/publications/ frameworks/writing-2011.pdf Jones, B. (2009). Motivating students to engage in learning: The MUSIC Model of Academic Motivation. International Journal of Teaching and Learning in Higher Education, 21(2), 272-285. Gillen, J. (2009). Literacy practices in Schome Park: A virtual literacy ethnography. Journal of Research in Reading, 32(1), 57-74. Harvey, S., & Goudvis, A. (2007). Strategies that work: Teaching comprehension for understanding and engagement (2nd ed.). Portland, ME: Stenhouse. Ikpeze, C. H. (2009). Writing for real purpose. Learning & Leading with Technology 36(7), 36-37. Kamler, B., & Thomson, P. (2008). The failure of dissertation advice books: Toward alternative pedagogies for doctoral writing. Educational Researcher, 37(8), 507-514. Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2011). New literacies: Everyday practices and social learning. (3rd ed.). New York, NY: Open University Press. Mo, Y., Kopke, R., Hawkins, L., Troia, G., & Olinghouse, N. (2014). The neglected “R” in a time of Common Core. The Reading Teacher, 67(6), 445-453. Noddings, N. (2013). Education and democracy in the 21st century. New York, NY: Teachers College Press.


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Swain, C., & Pearson, T. (2002). Educators and Putman, M., & Walker, C. (2010). Motivating technology standards: Influencing the digital children to read and write: Using informal divide. Journal of Research on Technology in learning environments as contexts for literacy Education, 34(3), 326-335. instruction. Journal of Research in Childhood Turner, J., Applegate, A., & Applegate, M. (2011). Education, 24, 140-151. New teachers as literacy leaders. The Reading Rosen, C. (1990). Improving writing opportunities Teacher, 64(7), 550-552. in elementary classrooms. The Elementary School Journal, 90(4), 418-434. Statistic Brain Research Institute (2015). Illiteracy statistics. Retrieved from http://www.

About the Author Miranda L. Sigmon is currently a doctoral candidate in the department of Curriculum and Instruction at Virginia Tech. She is a former elementary school teacher. Her research interests focus on students’ meaning-making processes, classroom motivation, and writing instruction.

The William & Mary Educational Review, Volume 4, Issue 1  
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