Throughout the time I have been part of this research project, Doctor Walker and I have made great progress. We have now shifted gears and have been coding data in a different area of education. Each project is related, both showing the progress of beginner teachers, just in different areas. We have now coded data relating to parent-teacher communication. There are seven elements to constructing parent-teacher conferences. These include an opening, sharing information, gathering information, establishing an action plan, maintaining a positive relationship, accepting emotions of the parents (s), and managing the flow of the conference. Several undergraduate and graduate students were to create a list of steps to follow before being guided through a parent-teacher conference. These students were later assigned to watch cases of certain conferences that were performed and were to read through certain case studies. After watching and reading each case, students were to reflect on what they saw or read, learning from the mistakes that were made by other teachers. One of the theories that we have come up with is that watching others fail and succeed; including opportunities for making decisions and observing model practices, can enhance one’s performance. Once the students were able to analyze these cases, they were able to go back to their original responses to add or eliminate anything that they learned. When analyzing this data, we coded each step that they included, based on the seven elements created by Dr. Walker. The post-case responses revealed that there was an increase in awareness of parent-teacher interaction that included many of the seven elements. This experience made both undergraduate and graduate students aware of potential strategies that could be used in the future.
Before I began coding all of the data, I read my work first to compare it with the others, out of my own curiosity. I learned that some of my methods were similar to many and I learned from those that were different. Analyzing the data has been very interesting and has had an impact on actions that I will take when interacting with parents in the classroom. This experience has made me more open minded and aware of many ideas that could benefit me in the future. I have learned several approaches to take when being faced with these situations. When analyzing the data, I did not have many challenges because I was fortunate enough to have learned this information before hand when I took the Teach 301 course and was familiar with the elements of a parent-teacher conference, which benefited me when coding the data. I was successful in analyzing the data, learning from a variety of approaches, and am now able to put it into context. Working with a faculty member one on one seemed to be more beneficial for myself because I felt like I was able to learn more focusing on one topic, rather than jumping from topic to topic in a classroom-based environment. A few questions that came to my attention when analyzing the data was the different experiences from each student and how each student was prepared. These factors may have changed the outcomes of some of the post responses because they had enough experience to have many of the elements needed in their pre-response. Overall, tactics that I have learned through this process will benefit me in the future and have made me more open minded towards other strategies.