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Title:Investigating the nature of open-ended activities
Author(s):Hertzog, Nancy B.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Fowler, Susan A.
Department / Program:Education
Discipline:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree:Ph.D.
Genre:Dissertation
Subject(s):Education, Elementary
Education, Teacher Training
Education, Curriculum and Instruction
Abstract:In this era of curriculum reform and inclusion, there is a need to address methods and strategies which challenge learners of all abilities and special needs in general education settings. Open-ended activities have been advocated in the literature of gifted education as a means to allow students who are identified as gifted to work in their own interest areas, in their own learning styles, and at their own ability levels. There is very little research which documents this recommended strategy.
In this qualitative study, I investigated the nature of open-ended activities in one third and one fourth grade heterogeneously grouped classroom. The purpose of my inquiry was threefold: (a) to illuminate the larger issue of how open-ended activities provide curricular differentiation in a general education setting, (b) to explore ways in which open-ended activities were implemented and manifested in heterogeneously grouped classrooms, and (c) to provide descriptions of open-ended activities across curricular areas.
Data sources included observations, interviews with teachers and students, learning style and interest assessment instruments, and documents related to the open-ended activities. Research findings revealed that six characteristics of open-ended activities were common across settings, open-ended activities gave students opportunities to develop consistent patterns of learning, and these patterns of learning enhanced the comfort level of students in their tasks.
The findings raised the issue of the incompatibility between comfort and challenge, and questioned the implementation of open-ended activities as a means to provide egalitarian curricular differentiation. Findings imply that teachers can manipulate the number of choices within the content, process, or product domain to alter patterns of learning and to achieve different types of responses from identified gifted students.
Issue Date:1995
Type:Text
Language:English
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/2142/19965
Rights Information:Copyright 1995 Hertzog, Nancy B.
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9522119
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9522119


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