To anyone interested in becoming a teacher researcher,
My journey at UAB has been an amazing learning experience. Being in UAB Honors in Education allowed me to discover a passion, the passion of learning more from my students about my wonderings. While I researched about my wonderings, I had a wonderful cohort that supported me in my learning. The UAB Honors in Education program has influenced my life by helping learn how to be a better reflective practitioner, build a rapport with faculty, peers, and students, and life-long learner.
During my student teaching internship, I introduced journal writing to 21 Kindergarten students. The journals allowed the students to independently write without guidance. In the beginning, I responded and asked a question to the students daily about what they wrote. The students started out with simple drawings and labeling. After a few weeks, the students began adding detail and sentences to their journal entries. One student and I had an on-going conversation, which allowed me to get to know and build a relationship with the student. The journals were a great source to gain insight on the students’ background knowledge and interest, as well.
Analyzing the data provided insight into the students writing development. After 10 weeks of journaling, every student showed growth as a writer. Out of 21, 10 students showed growth in one stage or two based on the developmental stages of writing (Gentry, 2000) In this short period, I was thrilled to see the ten students able to grow as writers by practicing writing independently. The growth of confidence in the all the students was evident in the journals by their illustrations and complex stories.
I used the information from the research findings to guide instruction and help build relationships with the students. The research data provided evidence that students grow as writers by writing. I developed new wonderings from this research such as: Would journaling for a longer time, a whole school year, result in more students’ growth in the developmental stages of writing? Does having a purpose for writing in a journal influence the development of writing? and Would having a set time to journal influence the development of writing? I plan to continue doing research with writing development in my future classroom.
I am truly thankful for the practice of learning how to be a teacher researcher. The UAB Honors in Education Program has been an unforgettable experience. The support you gain from being a part of the Honors program while doing your research has been encouraging. Through this process, I will be able to apply what I have learned into my future classroom to help myself answer my wonderings. I challenge anyone interested in learning more from their students and wonderings to take that leap and go all in for it. It will be worth all the extra money you spend.
Gentry, J. (2000). A Retrospective on Invented Spelling and a Look Forward. The Reading Teacher, 54(3), 318-332. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/20204910