Thesis Completion and Abstract Corner

We are proud to announce the Fall 2010 completion of the Master’s Degree in Education by the following students: 

Suzanne Torrengo 

Fostering Adolescent Reading Motivation in a Secondary English Classroom 

The purpose of this research was to determine if there are factors that can motivate students in grades 6-12 to read more in their free time. Action research was designed to improve my own teaching practice using ethnographic methods. I initially observed the general reading patterns of students in a 7th and 8th grade classroom and then implemented strategies suggested to foster motivation. I ultimately compared their reading patterns observed before the strategies were put into place with the reading habits that occurred throughout and after the study. Results suggest that strategies such as student choice, SSR time, parent involvement, goal setting, and peer sharing aided student motivation to read. 

Mallory Price 

Poetry in Elementary Schools 

The objective of my research was to discover best practices, challenges, and benefits associated with poetry instruction in the elementary classroom. Data was gathered through a qualitative approach, utilizing a triangulation of data collected through a literature review, observations, and one-on-one interviews. Analysis of the data revealed consistency with the literature. Results indicate that poetry instruction has the potential to be cognitively and affectively beneficial to students. My research has reinforced my belief that poetry should be an integral part of all language arts curricula, and has provided me with tools and knowledge to effectively integrate it into my own practice, and assist others in implementing it as well. 

Jenny Van Steyn 

Literature Circles 

The focus of my research was to identify the best practices, benefits, and challenges of implementing literature circles in the elementary classroom. Qualitative data was collected through interviews, questionnaires, and observations with educators who have utilized, or are utilizing, this model in their classrooms. Results conclude that literature circles are an effective and creative model for literacy instruction, and an integral component of a balanced reading program. Data analysis revealed that modeling and scaffolds are needed to achieve success. Student participants identify literature circles as an enjoyable shared learning experience. Finally, the structure of the literature circles, as compared to more traditional 

Helena Day-Breese 

Corporate Inspiration-a Study 

The focus of my research is the study of Corporate Inspiration – a hitherto unresearched quality of business. Corporations are powerful entities with the legal rights of real people and the financial power to influence politics and therefore the course of society. Inspiration is a profound medium of communication that has propelled our species’ survival and evolution. Two recent books written by the founders of inspirational corporations were used as data sources for the study. A constant comparative analysis method was used to generate themes that were later categorized and used as the basis for a discussion on corporate inspiration. The results indicate that a corporation manifests the philosophy of its founder and the inspiration generated taps into a profound paradigm shift in our society. Therefore corporate inspiration is a powerful mechanism for positive change. 

Katherine Farris 

Special Education in Charter Schools 

The focus of my research was Special Education in charter schools. I found that opinions vary regarding charter schools, but that some feel that charter schools are allowed certain liberties that potentially ignore federal laws about students with special needs. I investigated two different charter schools’ philosophies of education and the support and resources for their students with special needs by interviewing a total of four teachers (two general education and two special education) and surveying 50 families. Results showed that while they are not explicitly stated, the same principles written into federal laws for students with disabilities are embedded within the philosophies and mission statements of each unique charter and that they are required to follow the same laws as local traditional schools because they are within the same public school district. 

Angela Del Deo 

Unraveling Female Adolescence 
Meeting the Emotional, Social and Psychological Needs of Adolescent Girls 

(See article) 

My thesis was devised on the premise that adolescence is a time of emotional upheaval in a young girl’s life and many social and emotional needs arise. In John Hill’s, Understanding of Early Adolescence: A Framework, he addresses the biological, psychological and social changes that occur during this time period. When these changes are not addressed, studies show that it negatively affects their success in school as well as other areas of their lives. Therefore, I developed a six week curriculum, using the Search’s Institute’s 40 Developmental Assets that address many of these needs in order for adolescent girls to have more fulfilling lives. As I developed the curriculum I focused on the issues that I saw as most important. I then tested my theories as I taught my curriculum to a group of adolescent girls. 

Congratulations to All!