Document Type

Research Project


Middle Level Education

Social Studies

Language Arts

Completion Date



As a student teacher, I already have a fair idea of how classroom discussion works: some students participate but most sit quietly. If I use discussion to indicate student learning, what data do I have available to gauge the "quiet" students? My research will survey students about reasons they have for not participating and suggestions they have for involving everyone in discussion. Also, I will be surveying middle school teachers to compare their ideas of discussion. This research is knowledge I hope to take with me to my first teaching position to be implemented into my own classroom.

Biographical Sketch

Elise Appold is a Middle Level Education major at Valparaiso University, from Lansing, Illinois. She is completing her senior year student teaching in an 8th grade classroom. Last year, at the Celebration of Sponsored Undergraduate Research, she presented a research project on the use of mandatory Independent Reading programs. This year, her research focuses on classroom discussion. Both reading and discussion are an integral part of her instruction in Language Arts and Social Studies classrooms. At this time next year, she hopes almost to be through her first year of teaching.

Research Question(s)

Do teachers believe discussion is a pedagogical tool necessary for building comprehension? Do students feel like “talking an issue out” helps them comprehend an issue more thoroughly? Although I think most teachers believe that discussion builds comprehension, I do not believe that all students feel the same way.

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