Enhancement Of Student Performance
In Enhancement of Student Performance, Ayling provides an invaluable resource to the field of education. As a field, there is often the assumption that one school experience is much the same as another, but within each school there are a few teachers who are naturally gifted teaching artists who can have a profound impact on the lives of students. Ayling successfully challenges this assumption and provides a deliberate and scientific explanation for how student performance can be enhanced beyond the norm by any teacher, with any students and in any school.
Ayling brings the expertise of an experienced research scientist, an instructor at multiple levels, and extensive global travel to his task. The evidence of his broad experience are clear in his ability to bring a fresh “outside of the box” perspective to student motivation and psychology. In the early chapters of this work, Ayling offers insight into why looking at students as “determined” by their environment, their station in life or their past performance has been so entrenched within schools and society. One could call Ayling an outsider to the educational establishment, and this book is a testament to what can be accomplished with a lack of reverence for the status quo.
What should become one of the ultimate revelations for readers of this book is the degree of impact that the success psychology producing practices had on the student study participants. Most program interventions welcome any minor positive change reflected in the data as a huge accomplishment. What the data from the Ayling studies show are huge effect sizes. On face, this implies that it is clear that something happened – that the use of success psychology producing practices had a dramatic effect. But the implications are even more significant. What these data imply is that students can be operating at a much higher level of function than we routinely assume. These data suggest that these practices are not merely capable of giving our classrooms a shot in the arm and a slightly improved climate, but that they are capable of producing night and day differences in student performance and motivation levels if used on a consistent basis.
Another significant contribution of this book is how it successfully bridges what takes place in schools with the health of our young people. In my experience, many very wise and well intentioned educators and public health care professionals are working to better understand how these two domains intersect with only limited success. Educators do school. Health care workers treat symptoms when young people become ill or obese. And we rarely understand how the two are connected. Upon closer examination, schools promote many intentional and systematic practices that are making our students less healthy in the long run, and they are rarely cognizant of it. In this book, Ayling offers an evidence-based case for thinking about what we do in schools as a causal factor in student health, and offers practical suggestions for promoting a more healthy cycle of life beginning with the students in our classes.
There will be those that look at these data and the prescription described here with skepticism. However, this skepticism will slowly dissipate as these data are replicated by future studies and more and more schools experience dramatic effects from taking the implications of this work and applying it. Fortunately, the U.S. Department of Education, and several states within the US and internationally have come to the realization, bolstered by volumes of recent data that to obtain higher student achievement, attention must be paid to the psychological conditions within the school. In this young movement, there is a tendency for solutions to be defined by direct actions aimed at addressing symptoms of the problem (i.e., bullying, off-task behavior, violence, obesity). Ayling provides insight into the cause of function and/or dysfunction. As a result, this book offers a starting point for, first understanding, and then applying those pedagogical actions that are fundamental to student achievement, health, and well-being.
John Shindler, Ph. D.
Professor of Education
California State University, Los Angeles
Director, Alliance for the Study of School Climate
Until 2007 it had not been known that middle-level and less able students could be assisted to undergo a change in their abilities, much less become academic high achievers.
This is the account of a four-year trial in which 348 year 12 Chinese students, who were still learning English, were taught physics in their new language in order to obtain the South Australian Certificate of Education and study for degrees at overseas universities. The students were a cross-section of the population. All those who initially appeared at the top of their class became high achievers. The majority of middle level students also became high achievers as did a small number at the bottom of their class. The last appeared to have been suffering from chronic lack of confidence.
Between 1972 and 1980, Geoff Ayling led a team under Professor Harry Bloom, at the Chemistry Department of the University of Tasmania. These researchers strived to understand how living organisms could be affected by atmospheric lead, the ingestion of cadmium and mercury, exposure to pesticides and many other insidious organic chemical compounds. The newest field of science, epigenetics, was then unknown.
In retirement, Geoff Ayling was still collecting research papers and had documented all of the published developments in epigenetics. He found reports of a wide range of environmental factors: chemical, dietary, social relationships, experiential, infectious agents, biological stimulants, pheromones and ischemia. These factors altered the expressions of genes, switching them on or off.
In 1998, Professor John Shindler of the Charter College of Education at California State University at Los Angeles, concluded that if a class of students were managed so as to enhance their self-esteem, then they would very likely experience enhancement of their academic abilities.
Geoff Ayling’s research and teaching experience led him to hypothesise that a teacher might provide social and experiential factors and thereby, activate genes concerned with learning, memory and the stress response. The hypothesis agreed with Professor Shindler’s conclusion, that a teacher might be able to enhance students’ academic performance.
Families have requested an opportunity to send through this website a message to politicians, calling on them to end the culling of students as they pass through education systems. The Forrest Project has inserted a Petition page which you can view HERE.
Table Of Contents
|About The Author||v|
|PART 1. THE 2007-2010 TRIAL||1|
|2||STATION IN LIFE||6|
|3||CULLING OF STUDENTS||11|
|4||TEACHERS' BELIEFS AND PRACTICES||15|
|6||SELF-ESTEEM AND INTERNAL LOCUS OF CONTROL||30|
|7||THE BEGINNINGS OF CHANGE||38|
|8||THE TEACHER AND CHANGE||44|
|9||STUDENTS OF DIFFERENT ABILITIES||48|
|10||MEASUREMENT OF PROGRESSIVE CHANGE||51|
|11||DYNAMIC CHANGE IN STUDENTS||62|
|12||CHANGE FOR INDIVIDUAL STUDENTS||66|
|13||STUDENT ABILITIES BECOME INDISTINGUISHABLE||73|
|14||THE CHANGE BROUGHT FORWARD OR RETARDED||81|
|15||HIGH ACHIEVERS AMONG STUDENTS||85|
|16||HIGH ACHIEVERS IN PUBLIC EXAMINATIONS||89|
|17||IMPLICATIONS OF BECOMING HIGH ACHIEVERS||93|
|18||IMPLICATIONS FOR A STUDENT||106|
|19||RESISTANCE TO THE FINDING||118|
|20||VERIFICATION OF THE HYPOTHESIS||121|
|22||OVERCOMING HANDICAPS TO STUDENT SUCCESS||128|
|23||REHABILITATION OF STUDENTS||131|
|PART 2. RESEARCH INTO EPIGENETIC ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS||136|
|25||MEDICAL IMPLICATIONS OF EPIGENETICS||138|
|26||EARLY LIFE, HUMAN GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT||152|
|27||DIETARY EPIGENETIC ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS||172|
|28||SOCIAL EPIGENETIC ENVIRONMENTAL FACTORS||189|
|Table 6.1||Criteria which suggest stages in the building of students' self-esteem and locus of control||36|
|Table 9.1||Percentages of students of apparently different abilities at the start of each year of the Qianhuang trial|
|Table 11.1||Changes in self-esteem and internal locus of control for 90 students||50|
|Table 11.2||Characteristics of the transition in internal locus of control||65|
|Table 13.1||Monthly comparison in 2007 of percentages of students of different ability sub-groups, exhibiting changing levels of self-esteem and internal locus of control||77|
|Table 13.2||Monthly comparison in 2008 of percentages of students of different ability sub-groups, exhibiting changing levels of self-esteem and internal locus of control||78|
|Table 13.3||Monthly comparison in 2009 of percentages of students of different ability sub-groups, exhibiting changing levels of self-esteem and internal locus of control||79|
|Table 13.4||Monthly comparison in 2010 of percentages of students of different ability sub-groups, exhibiting changing levels of self-esteem and internal locus of control||80|
|Table 14.1||Months in which percentages of students, from 2007 to 2010, attained their plateau (rating 7.5) of self-esteem and internal locus of control||84|
|Table 15.1||Percentages of students in each cohort to reach high achiever level of ability||87|
|Table 16.1||Percentages of high achievers, based on a mark of 90 percent or better in tests conducted in month one, at month seven, in the coursework assessment, in the combined coursework and final examination and as calculated in the ATAR score of an Australian university entrance study course.||92|
|Table 18.1||Erikson's eight stages (crises) of psychosocial development, with positive or negative outcome at each stage, together with the assistance required from teachers to progress the individual from Crisis III to IV to V||112|
|Table 18.2||Chickering's seven vectors of psychosocial development, with positive or negative outcome at each stage of development, together with the assistance required from teachers to progress the individual (occurring during Erikson's Crisis V, Identity vs Role diffusion for 12 to 18 year olds)||115|
|Table 22.1||Percentages of students in the trial whose lack of confidence put them into the bottom of the class, but were able to benefit through the transition of self-esteem and internal locus of control||132|
|Table 25.1||Scope and depth of the field of epigenetics, indicated from the list of headings under which epigenetics research publications have been filed in the laboratory of a researcher||148|
|Table 26.1||Piaget's progressive stages of cognitive development||170|
|Table 27.1||Predictive health effects in offspring of mammalian species following manipulation of maternal diet at different times in the period of gestation||187|
|Table 28.1||Research components described by Meaney et al in the study of stress relief in the rat, epigenetically activated through maternal care, with reversal induced in adult life||207|
|Table 28.2||Chronological sequence of steps in the investigation by Meaney et al of epigenetic maternal care, leading in offspring to calmer stress responses and fewer health problems in later life||207|
|Table 28.3||Chapters in books published as a result of the investigations by Meaney et al on epigenetic maternal care from 1995 to 2006|
|Figure 3.1||Graph of number of schools with students recording 90 percent or better for all exam papers marked for the 2004 Higher School Certificate, NSW, Australia||14|
|Figure 12.1||The study period for the student Mary, whose two-month transition was completed early in the year (month 4)||70|
|Figure 12.2||The study period for the student Tom, whose one-month transition was completed late in the year (month 8)||70|
|Figure 12.3||The study period for the student Rose, whose one-month transition began with false starts and was completed late in the year (month 7)||71|
|Figure 12.4||The study period for the student Dick, whose transition was experienced over more than 5 months and was not completed within the eight month study period||71|
|Figure 12.5||The study period for the student Cinderella, who experienced chronic lack of confidence early in the year; her transition occurred over three months and by month 7, she was among the high achievers||72|
|Figure 12.6||Study period for the student Harry, whose chronic lack of confidence early in the year was not able to be overcome; he exhibited no increase in locus of control||72|
|Figure 20.1||The graphical relationship between dependent and independent variables of the hippocampal epigenetic mechanism, from which a student's academic performance is enhanced||124|