Managing subject matter : does it really matter? Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/cz30pw98t

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  • The purpose of this study was to identify the management demands that may be unique to science classrooms. The sample consisted of three biology teachers and three language arts teachers from two high schools located within the same school district. To establish a basic framework, two quantitative questions were addressed: (1) What is the frequency of contexts utilized in the two content areas and (2) what is the average amount of time spent in each of the contexts based on the content being presented? For each quantitative question, there are 16 null hypotheses that correspond to specific, predefined classroom contexts. In addition to the two quantitative questions, a qualitative research question was addressed: Are there specific management patterns to be emphasized based on the context and subject matter being presented? Data from classroom observations were collected and coded utilizing methods described in previous research studies. The coded data were then statistically analyzed. To address the qualitative research question, a systematic qualitative analysis was conducted across the different contexts. The results show that seatwork, group seatwork, and student presentations occurred with significantly greater (p<.05) frequency in language arts classes. In contrast, hands-on activities, non-academic activity, and dead time occurred more frequently in biology classes. In addition, in language arts classes a significantly longer average time in individual seatwork activites was evident; while in biology classes, a significantly greater average time was spent in lecture, tests, and transitions. Qualitative analysis of the data indicated that within any given classroom context, the classroom management behaviors of the teachers were consistent. In general, subject matter differences are not revealed directly in terms of management within a particular context. More importantly the instructional approaches taken within the two subject matter areas were different. The instructional approach was determined by the goals and objectives of the class and how the teacher viewed the subject matter. The instructional approach, in turn, dictated the types of contexts and each context determined the management demands.
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