My enquiry plan – first draft

 

What’s the problem? Reading attitudes in children involved with inclusion service – i.e. attending an inclusion base.

How are practitioners supporting?

Are there strategies we are not using, which may support.

Negative reading attitudes –> decreased reading attainment –> impact on learning in school, life-long learning, attainment gap, life chances, job opportunities

Many children attending inclusion base have negative experiences of school. Literacy often a trigger for behaviour/refusal. Reading often not viewed positively. Attainment gap, especially following Covid lockdown. Children attending assessment placements – focus on reading, writing and numeracy.

 

NIF – improvement in attainment, particularly in literacy and numeracy, and closing the attainment gap. This is more important than ever following the predicted widening of the attainment gap due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic (Markowitz, 2020).

One of Dumfries and Galloway council’s priorities is to “Provide the best start in life for all our children” with a further statement to “Raise ambition and attainment, in particular to address inequalities”. The service improvement plan for the inclusion base aims to “provide excellence and equity for pupils through raising attainment in Numeracy and Literacy, by using individualised assessments and to provide smart planning based on assessment results”.

What’s already known? Google scholar, EBSCO – research literature review.

Qualitative approach as focusing upon opinions and beliefs through interviewing colleagues (inclusion practitioners)

How will you know what happened? The aim is to create a bank/toolkit of strategies that are and can be used within an inclusion base setting.

Toolkit will be created through staff interviews on their belief and strategies.

Change will be measured via scaled entry and exit surveys with the children undertaking an inclusion placement (six week placements in the first instance).

Pupil voice collected about which reading strategies are used with them/ what helps promote a love of reading

Implement the idea

What happened? What data did you collect?

Practitioner opinions – strategy bank

Pupil voice – comments, scaled surveys

PM benchmarking – at start and end of placement

What does that tell you?

The strategy bank will help collect and collate a range of strategies we can use to promote positive reading attitudes.

Pupil voice will record what strategies work, surveys will record how effective our strategies are and PM benchmarking will provide tangible quantifiable results on impact upon attainment.

What have you learnt? How are you going to change your practice?

Using a wider range of strategies to help promote reading attitudes.

How will you share? Who:

  • needs to know? – Inclusion practitioners, area team manager, education officer
  • would like to know? – Headteachers, mainstream teachers
  • can also learn from your enquiry? mainstream teacher

 

What’s already known?

Article one:

Jang, B. G. & Henretty, D. (2019) Understanding Multiple Profiles of Reading attitudes among adolescents. Middle School Journal, Vol. 50(3) pp. 26-35.

This journal article discussed four attitudinal profile of recreational readers which were digital leaning/print averse reluctant readers, avid digital readers, avid print readers and digital leaning reluctant readers. They then discussed the various teaching and learning strategies used by practitioners and suggest which strategies fit which profile. I feel this is relevant particularly now as many of the reading surveys/studies carried out previously focus on print books and the attitudes surrounding these whereas (particularly during the global pandemic) much of the work being undertaken in schools and as home learning is becoming increasingly digitalized. Particularly in my context, going digital and offering digitalized reading opportunities may be the way forward for us as a service.

 

Article two:

Erickson, J. D. (2019) Primary Readers’ Perceptions of a Camp Guided Reading Intervention: A Qualitative Case Study of Motivation and Engagement. Reading and Writing Quarterly, Vol. 35(4), pp. 354-373.

This article was based on exploring why reading attitudes decline throughout elementary school, which is broadly similar to my experience within Scottish schools. Much of the previous research tends to focus on older children whereas Erickson (2019) focusses on younger children, specifically in terms of the effects of decreased motivation upon achievement. The study particularly resonated with me as it discussed children’s attitudes to participation in a reading intervention scheme, which is an issue that I may expect to encounter i.e. refusal to participate.

Exploring my itch …

Possible things I might be interested at looking at further:

Participation and pupil voice – I had recently completed a short course about pupil participation. As a team within my inclusion base it has been agree that we will start teaching about rights and the UNCRC and I feel this fits nicely with trying to focus on pupil participation and pupil voice. One thing that I would start by doing is by introducing a pupil committee (very challenging with most of our pupils attending for six week part time placements) to be focussing on the development of our outdoor area which I hope to transform into a therapeutic garden.

 

I am also interested in parental engagement which again is challenging due to the short term nature of children’s placements. One possible idea would be to develop an active ‘home learning’ programme which parents /carers can work alongside the children in order to develop learning and skills. This could take the form of a fortnightly recipe bag where children are sent home with ingredients and have to ‘teach’ their parents how to do a certain dish e.g. scones.

I am also interested at looking at the age and gender differences in reading attitudes following my reading of the National Literacy trust’s annual survey.

Teacher leadership is…

Leadership can look very different in different settings, it does not necessarily mean that the leader is part of a management team. Within the role as a teacher it is possible to take on a role of leadership by leading the learning of others (colleagues, pupils, students etc), engaging in professional dialogue/ activity and collaborative activity.
Within my own role as an inclusion specialist I often have opportunities to develop the learning of other practitioners through the consultation process, through formal training or informal dialogue. I think with the establishment of the proposed new professional standards and their increasing focus towards additional support needs,  this will continue to be a large part of my role in the development of resources, strategies and training.

Response to reading

The inequity within education has never been more apparent to me as during the lockdown period. In my position as a peripatetic inclusion teacher, I have been able to see the disparity in what was offered by schools and what was accessed by pupils.

Armand Doucet advocates a Maslow before Blooms approach and I fully commend this. During lockdown one of my key roles was to connect with referred children – a huge proportion with ASL needs, LAC status, PEF funding etc.
Technology has come on rapidly in recent months, along with our reliance on technology in order to meet, teach, report and interact. With that, local authorities must be able to keep up with this progress and provide technology for staff to be able to use in order to interact and provide remote learning in the event of further lockdowns or blended learning approaches.
The impact on mental health throughout was significant, for all concerned (parents, children, practitioners etc). Personally I balanced the needs of my children (a newborn, a 3 year old and an 8 year old), alongside returning to work following maternity leave and working full time. It was not an easy time for anyone and if these days return I believe more support/ more realistic expectations should be available for practitioners and families.

Introduction

Hi I am Heather Smith based within Dumfries and Galloway, although I actually live in South Ayrshire. I work within primary inclusion, with two days as principal teacher of inclusion and three days as an inclusion teacher. I have been working in and around inclusion for about eight years and was previously in primary mainstream.

I have joined this course as it seemed to fit well with the work I have done last session for my Post Graduate diploma in educational research, which I completed last month, particularly around the themes of participation and pupil/teacher voice.

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