Autobiographical Pedagogy: A Personalized Approach to Instruction in the English Classroom

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Title: Autobiographical Pedagogy: A Personalized Approach to Instruction in the English Classroom
Author: Kaulfuss, Alex Russell
Advisors: Sid Johnson, Committee Member
Candy Beal, Committee Member
Ron Honeycutt, Committee Member
Ruie Pritchard, Committee Chair
Abstract: An important point which educational researchers have discovered and validated time and time again is that our students are different. They learn differently from adults, and they learn differently from each other. Most teachers know that they cannot teach all students the same way, that some difference in instruction and assessment are necessary in order for students not only to achieve their potential but also to succeed in the first place, and that students must be able to make relevant connections between themselves and the material being presented. For this study, I designed, presented, implemented, and evaluated a holistic approach to teaching literature and writing, which combines elements of differentiated instruction, differentiated assessment, and narrative pedagogy, entitled The Autobiographical Approach to the English Classroom. The purpose of this study was to determine whether or not a degree of success could be found with The Autobiographical Approach to the English Classroom. My subjects for this study were ninety-six 12th grade students, composing four English classes, two at the AP level and two at the academic level. Minority students accounted for about thirty three percent of the research population. Several times during the course of this investigation, I measure the results i.e., grades, evaluations, opinions, etc., of The Autobiographical Approach to the English Classroom. The goal of the study was to determine if the Autobiographical Approach to the English Classroom was effective in the areas of student learning and attitudes. I determined that not only were the grades that the students earned demonstrative of success but also that the students were responding with interest and enthusiasm, mainly because of their ability to offer input into their own assignments and assessment and also because of the connections made through narrative instruction. Also, The Autobiographical Approach proved to help students retain their learning, in that students were able to aptly reply to questions asked of material that had been taught using this approach greater than six months earlier. Future research on this topic could include its expansion beyond the English classroom to other disciplines, as well as compare this approach to other pedagogical approaches in controlled studies; a study of its long term effectiveness beyond the six month period, even into the next school year would be valuable. Grade levels other than high school seniors could be included in additional studies of this pedagogical method.
Date: 2006-12-08
Degree: MS
Discipline: Curriculum and Instruction, English Education

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