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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Effective instructional practices in science for Latino students
by Hampton, Paul D., Ed.D., Lewis and Clark College, 2014, 274; 3623494
Abstract (Summary)

This research documented the progress of physical science learning by Latino students with a range of backgrounds, language, and academic skills. Participants were stratified through an ordination analysis designed to identify individuals with stronger and weaker science vocabulary skills. Students in five different physical science classrooms eventually participated in the research. The investigation was conducted as a case study involving 16 Latino high school students. A variety of different forms of instruction were used by the participating physical science and chemistry teachers. Forms of instruction perceived to be effective were identified through student interviews and formative assessments.

Results indicated all participants perceived lecture-style instruction with adequate time to write notes and reflect on learning to be most effective. Latino students with weaker science vocabulary skills also perceived as being effective, collaborative work in which they were provided time to process the language of science and explore higher level concepts through discussions with peers.

Implications of the findings impact two areas of physical science instruction. First, when teachers were able to transfer power to students through classroom activities designed to accommodate heritage language and prior life experience, Latino student learning was enhanced. Second, providing temporal flexibility for instructional schedules resulted in more time to process language and improved content understanding. Educators can be the directing force to eliminate the achievement gap if instructional time is allowed to vary based on student needs. When time was not a constraint on learning, all students, regardless of ethnicity, cultural background, or language learned the content.

While the students' perception of effective instruction was a lecture-style approach, this may reflect that students' perception of success was defined by assessments containing few requirements for creative thought or demonstration of problem solving skills. Students generally recognized the benefits accrued through high quality forms of instruction, including inquiry activities. Students and teachers recognized science education must be more than the recitation of facts and should develop skills for collaboration, problem solving, and creative interpretation of observations.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Favela, Alejandra
Commitee: Finkel, Liza, Shepperson, Barbara
School: Lewis and Clark College
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- Oregon
Source: DAI-A 75/10(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Secondary education, Latin American Studies, Science education
Keywords: Effective instruction, Formative assessment, Latino, Science, Student voice, Video-stimulated recall
Publication Number: 3623494
ISBN: 978-1-303-95958-5
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