Friday, January 7, 2011

Pondering on a course I teach

Course: Fundamentals of inquiry. For stage one students occupational therapy students , first semester.
Reason for review: Feedback on survey form was less than 80% in some areas. In reviewing students assignments, lecturers felt that the students understanding was at a superficial level. Plus it was boring to teach!
Development ideas:Core reading with study questions of cloze question handouts to help structure students ability to filter out the information required.
Hands on mini research task that helped highlight the difference between qualitative and quantitative research and assist with understanding concepts around, rigor, ethics, validity, reliability etc
Move APA referencing tasks and library searching tasks to the end of the semester.
Re-structure the assessments from 100% to 75 % end assignment 20% moodle quizzes, 5% workbook tasks.
Re-do exe packages taking out any repeated information. Re structure the learning to mirror new order of content.
Record your developing ideas about the practicalities of your proposed design of your course:
Need to find readings that either fit within one book and make it a require text for students to buy. Unable to complete this task in time for this information to be forwarded onto the supplier for the schools text books. Alternative is to use a series of chapters out of differing books to make sure that copyright is not breeched. Reading level needs to be a straight forward as possible. This course is more about understanding the research process that really doing research so this needs to be kept in mind when looking for readings. This is only a 50 hour paper so the time it is going to take students to read these chapters needs to be considered. In the past limited research text book readings have been provided. Readings need to be sourced, and pdf and ready for students to download by start of semester.
One of the elements of this course is about being able to gain information from popular and research literature. It assumes that the students are mindful readers with sound reading strategies. Since it is the first semester in their first year I feel that it is an fair assumption that not all students will have these skills. Therefore the task will also provide secondary knowledge about how to be a skillful reader. These skills will be explicated stated and embedded into the tasks. This will include such statements as. “ Get an overview of this article, reading all the bolded headings first “. List these heading down on a page. These headings will provide the base for you study notes” etc.

A handout to accompany the readings will be provided. These handouts will have the secondary skills set out on them as well as cloze statements to help guide the reader into filtering what information is important to obtain for this course. These handouts will turn into a, portfolio of evidence of the work done, which will be checked off each week. 5 % of the total marks will be given towards the successful completion of the handout/ work book tasks. These would need to be marked in class to save marking time for the lecturer. This will need to be built into the design of the course. Completing a mini research task will be recorded on the handouts as well.
Handouts/ work book of evidence need to be written and available for students at the start of the semester. These could be posted each week for the students to access, however this would however affect the students printing costs. If lecturers provided the copies this would affect schools printing costs.
APA- this could be assessed both through online quizzes as well as workbook task.
Library tours and databases, this is usually done with support for library staff need to make sure that changing the time frame to later on in the semester is possible for library staff.
Moodle quizzes could help retest the information taken from the readings, workbook tasks and exe packages. Moodle quizzes take time to set up, also quite limited to true/ false, multichoice and matching type tasks. These will be quite a different format than the workbook cloze type tasks. Quizzes will need to be set up at a specific time to enable students across both campuses to access them at the same time.
Exe packages need to be redone. Using the references sourced as the core readings, and to follow content order . As there is a face to face class each week. Possible exe packages will be decreased, and replaced by the workbook and core reading tasks. If exe packages are going to be redone, time to redevelop them is required. Need to add to the students learning, not be repetitive, but assists those who need this more interactive type of learning task. Thinking that instead of exe packages may use moodle lessons instead.

New assignment guidleines will need to be written to reflect the three assessment methods.
How am I going to provide an appropriate balance of face to face learning / flexible learning / assessment.
The flexible learning aspect of this course will be the core readings and workbook/handout task. Face to face tasks will still be one class of 1.30 minutes each week. In these times small group work and connecting with others and the teacher will be an important aspect.
This course is going to have three assessments. Moodel quizzes will be marked directly , so will take no time from the lecturer once set up, work book tasks marked in class time, so no added time load. End of the semester assignment will need to be simplified, as many of the tasks would have already been assessed at a superficial level so the assignment will need to have an applied nature to it, but be smaller than in previous years due to the weighting of %75.
Existing learning activities reviewed.
Current exe packages require better referencing. And need to be stream lined and match the new layout of the content of the course and learning tasks provided. These will probably need to be totally redone. There is currently quite a lot of repetition but this clutters the learner. The voice overs are good, and will possibly keep some of these.
The library modules and the APA modules are still useful. Want to keep active modeling on referencing during class and include a referencing task each week on the quiz and workbook tasks so that the students get lots of repetition, on intext referencing and end text referencing.
Last year used a lot of the students reviewing paper journals, this was useful for them to actually thumb a real journal, and choose a article of interest to them. Want to keep this part. But formalize the task onto the work book handout. For example if they have learnt about rigour this week, then they would read and article and list the ways rigour was demonstrated in the article.
The overall end of semester assignment is still a valuable learning and assessment task. The assignment will need to be made smaller, re written but general intent the same.
The in class tutorials are all out of date, and will need to be totally re written to reflect the core readings and the new layout of the content. This will need to be done in plenty of time for the co-lecturer to have input. They need to be more interactive and less being talked at, small group work built in. There needs to a review of the core readings information, a hands on taks eg the jelly bean task, and then the students designing an element of their own research. Then there workbook reviewed. This will provided a clearer structure to the class.

Proposed learning objects, media and activities are describes and explained how they will be used.
In addition to the core readings, the work book tasks, the moodle lesson and the online quizzes, the students will be taken through a small research study around the experience of eating jelly beans. As a class they will be part of research about eating jelly beans in class. This will be modeled by the lecturer. Then the class will break into pairs and then create there own very simple research task as well. This will be recorded on their work book and will help move the learning from facts to experience.
Reflection on resourcing , including any new technologies, staffing and training.
Other learning media will be internet access during class, hence computer suite time will need to be booked, especially for learning data base searching and web page creditability tasks.
All these ideas will take time to put in place so work will need to occur over the school holidays. A plan of the content, assignment guidleines approved, quizzes created and moderate, reading sources, and pdf, and workbook produced. Five weeks of online resources created, and five weeks of tutorial plans in place at the start of the year. The rest will have to be created while teaching for example, week six is create during week ones teaching.
My skills at moodle lesson plans, voice over’s for exe packages will also need to be improved.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

A new direction

Welcome to my blog. For those visitors who have come to this blog via a CHYPOT link, good on you for taking the technology jump. Hope you enjoy the links. Rita

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

George 'Shore Assessment'

Hi - this blurb is taken from Georges Assignment. It is mostly the conclusion about the usefulness of using the SHORE Handwriting Screening for early development (Shore, 2003)

Referrals from the MOH (Paediatricians etc.) highlight delays in the developmental components of handwriting i.e. fine motor skills, motor planning difficulties, muscle tone, bilateral integration etc..

In order to manage a large number of referrals for handwriting difficulties or delayed pre-writing skills, a handwriting screen is used initially. One of the handwriting screening tools available to the OT in the CDT is the SHORE Handwriting Screening for Early Handwriting Development (SHS), published by Leanne Shore in 2003.

The purpose of this screen is to identify pre-writing and handwriting difficulties in children 3-9 years of age. It prompts identifications of difficulties in the underlying components of handwriting including postural control, hand control, letter/number formation, pre-writing skills and bilateral skills. It allows the examiner to identify whether or not further assessments are necessary and whether or not intervention or adaptations are required.

The purpose of this assignment was to investigate the validity/effectiveness of the SHS as a screening tool for early handwriting development, to identify the need for further assessment, and to identify intervention and/or adaptations required following the screen.

Roger et al., (2003) noted that, as in the case of the SHS, no one assessment addresses all areas of skills, the clinician must determine the missing task and environmental contexts in order to identify the battery of assessments and observations needed in a comprehensive evaluation of motor and functional skills.

As discussed in the assignment, the SHS demonstrates strengths as a screening tool for early handwriting development including the following:
• It uses tasks used by other standardised assessments like the MHT, ETCH, VMI, TOLH, DRHP and CHES.
• The developmental handwriting milestones used in the SHS is supported by over 30 research articles by researchers of handwriting development including Amundson, Weil, Reisman etc.
• Although the visual samples of typical handwriting development offered in the manual, were obtained from typically developing children in the USA, the sample group was diverse with males and females from several racial orientations. Therefore representing some aspect of the children seen by the OT’s in the CDT.
• The SHS score sheet is easy to follow, quick to administer and score. It provides useful information to guide further assessment and intervention required following the screen.
• The SHS displays elements of both the most commonly used methods of evaluation of handwriting, as described by Rosenblum, Weiss and Parush, 2003, namely, a global-holistic evaluation and an analytical evaluation.
• The SHS evaluates components of handwriting researched and found to have an influence on handwriting like postural control, copying, in-hand manipulation and pencil grip.
• As discussed, the SHS facilitates the use of the three most well recognised OT approaches noted by Ideishi, (2003) using a guided score sheet including contextual approach, bottom-up approach and is supported by the professions move towards being more top-down focused in using functional tasks used by children.
• The SHS demonstrates limitations as a handwriting assessment tool in light of the following:
• It is an American based assessment and therefore references are mostly related to USA studies and age norms based on typically developing children in the USA.
• It is not a standardised test therefore it does not provide objective measures and quantitative scores; makes monitoring a child’s progress more difficult, impair clear communication with other professionals and cannot be used successfully for research to advance the field.
• It does not incorporate the link between understanding print (awareness of letters) and ability to write strongly or clearly as it does not prompt reading of copied stimuli – it only prompts the examiner to mark if the child responds spontaneously.

• A tasks/component not used in SHS is writing from memory, alphabet writing and composition.
In light of the above it can be concluded that at the least, SHS is a valid screen for early handwriting assessment. It can be used effectively to identify possible handwriting difficulties and it indicates the need for further assessment if required. It guides the examiner to identify intervention and/or adaptations required following the screen.
It is recommended that in combination with SHS, further emphasis should be made on assessing the relationship of handwriting and understanding print.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Literacy and handwriting

This is from Nikki- She created her own framework to fit with the contextual needs of her work setting.

“The Bank Framework” consists of three stages and is based on the contextual approach and systems theory (Ideshi, 2003; Shumway-Cook & Woolacott 1995). It focuses firstly on establishing a child’s understanding of text, secondly considers the environmental influences affecting the child’s handwriting and then thirdly focuses on the intervention strategies of verbal guidance, based on aspects of the Cognitive Orientation to daily Occupational Performance model (Co-op), and multisensory approach .

1. Establishing Knowledge of Text.

Occupational Therapists in schools often work with children who have cognitive impairments in addition to their physical impairment. Cognitive impairments, as much as physical impairments can have considerable effect on handwriting performance. (Jongman et al., 2003). Handwriting is more than just a visual motor task and involves the understanding of a number of literacy concepts to enable meaningful learning (Clay, 1991). Studies by Graham, Harris, MacArthur & Fink (2002) and Hammerschmidt & Sudsawad (2004) found teacher’s theoretical perspectives were valuable for understanding effective writing instruction. Occupational Therapists should consider these as well as focusing on the sensorimotor aspects of handwriting.

Jongman (et al., 2003) and Clay (1991) suggest that in order for a child to write and form letters they need to have some basic concepts of text. That is; they understand messages can be written and that you ‘construct’ the message in speech, that the letters and words form a left to right sequence, there are spaces between letters/words and that the visual forms of their writing attempts have correlation with their oral message. As found by Clay (1970), 2% of 6½ year olds still confused print and pictures as the source of a story. The Ministry of Education Literacy document also suggests children need some basic phonemic knowledge to understand that spoken sounds have letters to represent them (MoE, 2003).

Establishing a child’s understanding of text can effectively be done through liaising with the teacher and observing the child in a writing task. “What the child writes is a rough indicator of how he views printed language” (Clay, 1991, p.97

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cursive or printing - what shall it be?

This following blurb is from Colleen's assignment

......Addy presents the use of cursive style of writing as being an important aspect of development of speed and fluency. This viewpoint is represented by the New Zealand Department of Education (1985) supplement on teaching handwriting in which they state that the use of ligatures to join letters will increase the speed of writing but that a full cursive style was not necessary to do so. Ziviani and Watson-Will also concluded that cursive writing produced faster output in students (Summers & Cattaro, 2003) In contrast, various authors have disputed this as fact. Graham, Weintraub and Berninger (1998) found that a mixed style of cursive and manuscript was found to be the fastest (Summers & Cattaro, 2003) In their own study of university students, Summers and Cattaro found that no difference was found between writing style and amount of output in an exam situation and supported findings of Graham et al that a mixed style proved to be the fastest.

In my own practice with older students I have suggested learning cursive, mostly I have used Handwriting without Tears (Olsen) programe. My reasoning behind this being that often the children coming to see me have been battling with poor handwriting and inefficient method of writing for years. A new way of writing offers an opportunity to start learning new habits (I especially like HWT for this as the letter style starts from the bottom, and therefore is quite different from how we form printing). However, they will be slower to start off with as they are learning a new habit, and it will take more effort. I do not imagine the students ending up with a handwriting that looks like HWT - however I aim for them to blend towards developing there own mixed style. Therefore I often trade out some of the letters to match more closely to the NZ system , the letters s and f being two examples.

I also feel that cursive writing encourages chunking segments of letters together and as mentioned in a earlier post this can help with increasing speed, and awareness of segments within words.


Monday, September 8, 2008

Occupational Performance Coaching

Hi - I have just come back from the NZAOT conference and was really inspired by Fi Graham's talk on Occupational Performance Coaching. Fi is in the middle of developing this intervention approach. In this approach the therapist works with the parent ( I feel it has potential to be applied with teachers) and assists them to enable their own child. This was interesting to me as often I have parents ring up and talk to me over the phone about their child's handwriting difficulties and together we develop a plan forward. Many parts of this plan share the same domains described in the OPC.
The OPC has three enabling domains, these include 1) Emotional support 2) Information Exchange 3) Structured Process.
Emotional Support includes, Listen, Empathise Reframe, Respect and Encourage
Information Exchange includes, performance analysis, typical development, health conditions and impairment, teaching and learning strategies, enabling tricks and community resources and entitlements.
Structures process includes, set goals, explore options, plan actions carry out plan, check performance.
I feel that many of these three domains are used in the telephone conversations I have with parents, and therefore are excited to see them described in the OPC intervention approach. Fi has one article published currently with more on the way. For those interested, Graham, F,. Rodger, S. & Ziviani, J. (2008). Coaching parents to enable childrens particpation: An approach for working with parents and their children. Austrailian Occuaptional Therapy Journal doi:10.1111/j.1440-1630.2008.00736.x

Take Care Rita

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Spelling and Handwriting

Hi - I have just recently come across an OT Joy Allcock who is now a consultant in teaching spelling. She has a a series called Scrutiny on Spelling and Switched on to Spelling.

Joy has some really interesting links connecting to articles about learning and literacy.

Hope you are all well. Rita