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2015-16 NCSLMA Action Research Grant recipient Karen Maxon - part 1

Do you ever wonder how to really help students in the research process?  It seems that I am always wrestling with this professional goal.   My most recent grapple has been the 2015-16 NCSLMA Action Research Grant Rugby Raider Researcher, How Does Your Brain Grow.  The grant focuses on using the cognitive demands of the research process as an avenue to help students develop a growth mindset.  My objective is to investigate if applying a growth mindset will increase students’ emotional resilience during the research process.  My hope is that students will show increased persistence and adaptability in the pursuit of information when completing projects that require depth in their learning.

As I mentioned, it is a professional passion of mine that “research” be synonymous with the process of focusing topics, developing questions, seeking, evaluating, and citing credible sources, and synthesizing information into something that is uniquely a student’s own creation.  I fervently want research to mean more to teachers and students than Google searching, copying, and pasting, none of which requires any meaningful engaged “think time” or ownership of synthesizing information.

Engaging in the research process is “rigor in the classroom.”   Clear expectations of applying the research process require students to think critically.  Students must stay the course through a process, which is challenging. Through this grant I hope to show that students who demonstrate skills of resilience, grit, and perseverance along with a growth mindset will be more successful.  

Side Note:  I thought the implementation of this grant would be my first attempt at action research.  However, after studying the process, I realize my career has been one long action research project on how to best help students engage in research.   My goal has been and will continue to be (through collaboration with the awesome teachers at my school) to successfully integrate and maintain a 6-8 vertically aligned research curriculum! This career-long action research on “best practices for teaching students to research” was inspired by my experience in the early 2000s at a NCSLMA conference after hearing David Warlick as the keynote speaker and attending concurrent sessions on the Big6.  Never underestimate the power of attending a NCSLMA conference!  

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