Wiltshire Research and Development Fund
Grant Application Form
E-mail address .....................
1. What is the Focus for your Research investigation? How is this focus
concerned with the raising of standards and the quality of teaching and
The focus is 'the dyslexic child as an autonomous learner'. I am interested
in enabling the individual skill development as a group of students with
learning difficulties move on through Year 8 and into Year 9. One of the
main aims of my research in the pilot scheme I ran last year with a small
group of dyslexic pupils has been to encourage the student to take responsibility
for their own learning and choice of learning method. The student as an
autonomous learner, responsible for his or her own learning is one of
our school improvement plan targets and we believe that this is the way
in which we can raise individual aspirations and subsequently educational
standards. I have been in post for a year now and my role is to work alongside
other teachers to help them and the student achieve more. Year 8 is an
important year leading to the end of Key Stage 3, subject options and
national tests. I am keen to begin preparing students for the SATs, which
are likely to present them with particular reading problems in a way that
will empower them. It is crucial to have dyslexic students taking more
responsibility for their progress.
2. What are the anticipated outcomes of this research investigation?
Please include outcomes in terms of raising the quality of teaching.
I expect to see progress from the students in the areas of managing potentially
difficult situations given their learning disabilities. I am looking for
ways of showing them that they have achieved as well as providing data
for the school, which shows that my work with the students is having a
beneficial effect on their learning. One of the ways I will be showing
their progress will be in asking them, using my professional judgment
and asking other teachers at stages through our project to report on how
if at all they see the students working better with people in terms of
communication and citizenship. My research will follow on from the pilot
I did last year. Students who took part have requested this programme
of eight workshops where they can focus on specific skills:including Developing
your memory, Working with mind maps to organize your thoughts and Learning
how to organize your paperwork. The crucial element in attendance in the
workshops is that students have chosen to be there they do not
have to attend these. Through maintaining an element of choice, I am hoping
to enable students to become more self confident in deciding how they
can best work in the run up to Year 8 SATs.
3. How will you investigate this issue or problem?
One to one interviews at the start of the project to find out what kind
of support each student feels they need so they can learn better. I will
ask their other teachers to help me to understand each students
preferred learning style as well asking students themselves
Monitoring what happens during the workshops by asking for feedback at
the end of each one about how useful it has been from the students
Interviewing other staff who teach the students to gauge if the workshops
appear having a positive influence on their behaviour, ability to organise
their work and self-confidence. I am hoping that student will improve
their levels in the SATs but I am equally keen to see them develop self-assurance.
One to one interviews with students at the end of the project to see
if they perceive any beneficial effect on their learning.
Focus group discussion after each workshop to gain an insight into how
the workshop has or has not been effective and if possible I will ask
the students to give one another feedback after the session about how
they are improving.
Individual interviews with key staff to validate students' perceptions.
4. How long do you intend to carry out this research? Please provide
a time line.
Initial assessment of students by one to one interview on entry into
Jan-Feb workshops and on-going evaluation of their value for students.
One-to-one interviews by Easter to follow up from the initial interviews
Summer term students/staff evaluation of progress across the workshops.
Interviews with staff who are involved in teaching this group of students.
June/July Look at readiness for transition into Year 9, focusing on academic
progress for individuals as well as (maybe more importantly) their motivation
July Consider how similar workshops might be provided on request in Year
July - September - complete analysis of data and create a short research
5. Who will provide support for your investigation? How will they
Colleagues in our schools Learning Group will provide support by
giving me advice, analysing my methodology, monitoring student progress
and negotiating appropriate targets and through me with the individual
students. I will be undertaking my research during my normal school lessons
with Year 8 and the School will provide the opportunity for me to conduct
interviews with other staff that teach these students at appropriate times.
The Head of Learning and Teaching and three other members of the action
research group (to other staff and a colleague from Bath University) will
act as critical mentors providing a context for internal validation. External
validation from other teachers will reference my research against other
initiatives nationally and internationally.
6. How will you effectively monitor and evaluate your research?
I intend to:
* keep a research diary noting down my perceptions of each workshop and
using this as a basis for seeking feedback and advice from colleagues.
* tape and where possible video workshop sessions and subsequent feedback.
* invite colleagues to watch sessions and to give me feedback afterwards
* suggest that students tape record their feedback on the effect of the
workshops on other aspects of their school life and their general attitude
7. How do you intend using and disseminating your research findings?
I intend to use my research findings to improve my own teaching of students
with dyslexia. The pilot project where I ran workshops last year was the
basis for this years study and I realise that there needs to be
sufficient flexibility in the programme to allow for taking on board students
and colleagues feedback on the format and content of workshops.
The evidence I how to share of how enabling pupils to choose how to work
and how to maximize their ownership will, I hope, enable other teachers
in my school to support students with behavioural problems arising from
frustrations of being dyslexic. If our school is successful in the forthcoming
NCSL bid to become a LE@RNING centre, I will be advising others about
the process as well as the outcomes of my own research.
Through Year 8 Assemblies later in the year I would hope some of the
students might talk about practical strategies that work for them in achieve
greater success in school. I will be compiling a list of such strategies
over the course of the project. These strategies will be based upon my
validated research and will introduce alternative approaches for teaching
than a top down model of imposed activities, which dyslexic students may
reject. This should help them to recognise the position of the student
at the centre of the research process, which in turn underpins the development
of students as autonomous learners.
Further dissemination could take place through Enquiry Groups where meetings
such as through conferences open to Wiltshire schools and others nationally.
I will be talking on a regular basis to colleagues in school and feeding
back any evidence of improvement to staff; both during faculty meetings
and our designated professional development time where individual staff
can talk about how they are working in improving their own and students
learning. We have a school web site and our Enquiry group plans to create
web page to disseminate our research through our intranet. I intend to
write up my research into a short report with my mentors help where
I will set out the context, the process and any outcomes of the enquiry.
My report will be published on www.teacherresearch.net
for sharing with other teachers nationally and internationally.
8. Are you intending to accredit your work through Higher Education?
If so, who will this be and what is the level of accreditation?
This research follows my successful completion of an MA unit called Methods
of Educational Enquiry at summer school 2002 at the University of Bath.
I have no immediate plans to seek accreditation for this piece of research
but I may write it as an Educational Enquiry, (I need to pass 6 units
plus a dissertation to acquire an MA at Bath).