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Data Collection Methodology

Data Collection Methods

The qualitative data collection method we chose to do as a group was the interview method with a heavy focus on survey use. By using a combination of these two methods, it lays out the best platform for us as child researchers to get unbiased information straight from the children. When children are in their natural setting such as the classroom where they get to interact with their peers and be themselves, you get the raw idea of who that child is. I have friends who are teachers and they tell me some of the things their students say and all you can do is laugh. They are honest almost to a fault but you know for a fact that the child is saying what they truly feel. When they are in the classroom, they are at peace and completely in their element and their own world. Interviewing a child about how they feel they are learning and being taught within the environment in which they learn everyday seems to be the best way to get their minds flowing and the honesty train going.
W. E. B. Du Bois states that, “The proper education of any people includes sympathetic touch between teacher and pupil; knowledge on the part of the teacher, not simply of the individual taught but of his surroundings and background, and the history of his class and group” (DuBois, p328). Gloria Ladson-Billings does an awesome job illustrating the different methods her teachers use within her book Dreamkeepers: Successful Teachers of African American children. Within the book, she introduces us as readers to teachers who are current examples of good teaching. She shows that culturally relevant teaching is not a matter of race, gender, or teaching style. What matters most are the teacher’s efforts to work with the unique strengths a child brings to the classroom. The mischaracterization of African American children, in particular, has roused Ladson-Billings to write about ways to educate and inspire them. Dedicated to discovering what kind of instruction works in diverse classrooms, she is credited with coining the phrase “culturally relevant teaching,” an educational philosophy rooted in using students’ home cultures to engage them. . During her travels across the country, she encountered a number of incredible teachers that easily fell into the category, “Dreamkeeper.” These were teachers who focused on student learning, cultural competence, and sociopolitical consciousness in their work with African American and Latino students. These teachers exist and she felt the need to acknowledge and celebrate them in writing this book.
These teachers can be identified by the ways in which they structure their social interactions. Their relationships with students are fluid and unbiased and extend beyond the classroom. One teacher, Elizabeth Harris, illustrates the importance of such behavior perfectly by inviting her students to her Sunday school class. She states, “You’ve got to realize that being with the children for 5 or 6 hours a day is just not enough for the kind of impact you want to have on them. The stuff they’re exposed to on TV and in the movies, the music, the streets…all if this is vying for their hearts and minds. I just want to do whatever I can to get to know the children better” (Ladson-Billings, p69). Examples as such within the book shows the reader that having this philosophy as a culturally competent teacher demonstrates a connectedness with all of their students and encourages that same connectedness between the students. They are a family. When one fails, they all fail; when one succeeds, they all succeed. As members of an extended family, the students assist, support, and encourage one another to strive for success.
Population and Sample
Our population of interest is elementary schools in 5 different school districts within the 5 boroughs. We will use non-participatory approach to collecting our data by allowing the population to answer freely on the survey given. The population consists of the students, parents and educators of these schools. By choosing these participants, we plan to obtain a variety of insight from different perspectives. From each school we will pick one class to interview, 5 teachers from each school and 1 parent/guardian from each of the participating children. The sampling technique used here is cluster sample due to the fact that we are choosing randomly selected schools and from each cluster we target an audience to complete the survey. By using this sampling technique, it is easy to gather the required information by simply supplying the interviewee with the survey.
Study site
In order to conduct our research we decided to go to a school to interview the teachers, students and the parents. The school is the best site for us to gather our information because it is a communal space where the child feels safe and as the targeted audience their comfortability is of the utmost importance. It is also the most convenient space to talk to the teachers to get their input. When it comes to the parents we can get their ideas on the topic when they are either picking up or dropping off their child at school. We will be conducting our interviews at 5 different schools in each of the 5 boroughs. By doing so we can get a wide array of data that is representative of the various cultures and backgrounds that make up New York City. We want to be able to compare and contrast between the different school districts and take this into consideration when completing our study. It would also help to see if there’s a range of teaching styles. We will decide on which schools we would want to interview by random lottery picking. Then we will go to the schools and set up a meeting with the principles and ask them if we will be allowed to conduct out research at the school. We need to ask for permission to interview the teachers, students and parents. After that is said and done, we would need to send out consent letters to ask the parents if they will agree to allow us to interview their child.

Sample Survey: Thinking about your school, how much do you agree or disagree with the following? For each statement, please check the appropriate box.

Strongly Agree: A
Strongly Disagree: B
Somewhat Disagree: C
Somewhat Agree: D

1. Students in my school treat one another with respect.
2. Most of my teachers don’t understand what my life is like outside of school.
3. I feel emotionally safe in my classes.
4. I feel emotionally safe outside of the classroom (restrooms, lockers, hallways, cafeteria, etc.).
5. My school disciplines students fairly.
6. My principal models respectful behavior.
7. Faculty and staff value what students have to say.
8. My school respects all races and cultures.
9. Students in my school care about learning and getting a good education.
10. Classes in my school are challenging.
11. Students are involved in decisions about things that affect them in school.
12. Most of my teachers are enthusiastic about teaching and communicate this to students.
13. I feel that I belong (am accepted and liked) at school.
14. Most of my teachers like me.
15. I respect most of my teachers.
16. Most of my teachers know my name.
17. Students in my school help one another even if they are not friends.
18. Teachers at my school are respectful toward one another.
19. I feel physically safe outside of the classroom (restrooms, lockers, hallways, cafeteria, etc.).
20. Students at my school support most extra-curricular activities (not just sports).
21. Students are encouraged to say what they think.
22. I feel physically safe in my classes.

Interview & Survey
For the distribution of the survey, each participant will receive one survey in which will be distributed in person. The survey will consist of only 20 questions and we will give the students about 20 minutes to complete it and the other participants about 15 minutes. We will be attending the schools of our choice and speak to the people we need to that would help us gain information for our research. We will be interviewing parents, teachers and the children that attend the school. Each interview question would be similar for each category but worded differently. For the children, we will make it simple but make it an open-ended question so they are comfortable and also have an opportunity to talk. For the teachers we would get their opinion on what the curriculum and how they would want to change it. For parents we would ask them questions that more relate to what they think is being taught in their child’s school and what they would want them to learn. Our interviews would be semi-structured but also formal because with the children we don’t want them to feel coerced when speaking with us. When it comes to the teachers and parents we want them to be able to give us their honest opinions and their views on culturally relevant teaching. The sample will be divided into control and experiment groups by sectioning our population and supplying them with the given survey constructed specifically for the role they take in this experiment such as teacher, parent or student. The dependent variable in our research consists of asking questions to indicate students’ achievements and learning abilities in school. The independent variable is the overall picture of how children in low income neighborhoods are influenced on their achievements and learning abilities based on their socioeconomic status and environment. We will be observing 5 schools in each of the 5 boroughs consisting neighborhoods of different socioeconomic status in order to compare results on the targeted variable. We will be using paper and pencil to record the data.

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