Implementation of Literacy Strategies based on Brain Research

5 Nov 2012 - T-BAR project grantees, Kip Glazer, Mark Olsen and Karen VanWagenen’s efforts to better prepare students for taking the high-stake California High School Exit Exam (CAHSEE) has proven to be a success with both students and colleagues at Independence High School in Bakersfield, CA.

10th graders in English college-preparatory classes, that had been randomly grouped during the first semester, were regrouped and moved into new classes based on their reading level and the California Standards Test results. The four-teacher group hoped that homogeneous grouping during the 2nd semester would improve the prior year’s CAHSEE pass rate, (2) reduce student anxiety regarding the test and their class grades, and (3) improve student classroom behaviors. After spending the second semester in their new homogeneous classes, students were asked to answer several survey questions to support the teachers’ hypothesis.

The team contributes part of their success to more creative lessons (video projects, group projects, and poetry projects) and the reduced disparity among the students’ reading levels. The teacher-team experience, according the team leader Kip Glazer: 

"...helped them to believe in the brain-based coaching model where the teachers become a coach rather than a lecturer in our students' learning process. We didn't simply talk about doing something drastic for our students. We were allowed to implement the best practice deliberately and for the benefit of all of our students. We also learned a lot of theory regarding homogeneous and heterogeneous grouping, brain-based instruction, and the role of emotion in high school classrooms."

For more information on what this team is doing in their classroom and student projects, watch some of their videos on youtube: