Part B: Students


Who are my students? To answer this question, interns focus on five specific students.


Struggling students (TPA, Task 2)

At least three of the five students should be students for whom school has been least successful.


Special needs students (TPA, Task 2)

At least one of the five students needs to be in a special education program.


Non-native speakers of English (TPA, Task 2)

Three of the five should have a primary language other than English.

At least one should be in the early stages of English language acquisition.


Student Selection

Q: What if I can’t find students that meet the suggested criteria?

A: Get as close to the guidelines as possible. Discuss specifics with your Faculty Advisor.

Q: What if some of the five students drop out or are moved from my class?

A: Mobility is an issue, so this may happen. To minimize the chances of not having five students, choose eight students to begin with. If they all stay, you can pick five. If your numbers ultimately drop below five, don’t worry too much. Talk to your advisor about how to make their exodus part of the “story” (and the ethnography).

Q: What about legalities? And privacy? Do we get permission?

A: This is important. Interns need to get written parental permission for each of their ethnography students. Also, to protect identities, interns must use pseudonyms for the students, all school personnel, the school, the district, and the city.


Guiding Questions


1. Who is my student?

What are my student’s strengths and weaknesses (in and out of the classroom)?

What are my student’s aspirations and dreams?

What are major events that have shaped/influenced my student?

What are my student’s goals for the upcoming year? For the future?


2. What is my student’s academic “story”?

How does my student feel about school? (And what has brought about this attitude?)

To what degree does my student meet CA’s standards? Where is he/she strong? Weak? (It is best to use multiple indicators to assess this)

What has been my student’s past experience with school?

How has my student’s background (cultural, linguistic, and economic) influenced his/her attitude toward school and his/her future? What about the student’s ability/disability?

How is my student influenced by the attitudes of his/her family’s feelings towards school?


3. Given my sense of the student, what is my plan for bringing about academic success?

Create an action plan. Continually evaluate and reflect upon its effectiveness.


Data Collection and Sense Making

1. Interviews and Field Visits

One-on-one student interviews

Parent interviews

Peer interviews


Student shadowing

Home visits

Neighborhood / community events



2. Scholarly Artifacts and “Footprints”

Student work samples

Cumulative file information

Observations of former teachers (collected via interview)

Attendance / transfer records

Standardized tests and assessments


3. Observation and Reflection


Anecdote logs

Dialogue with CGU peers and advisors

Connecting classroom experiences to academic texts


4. Action Plans

Custom-made plans that identify specific academic goals for each student and the specific steps the intern will take to help make these goals a reality. (*verb-laden plans)


* Action Verbs (ideal for action plans)


acknowledges         defines                    identifies                 measures              qualifies

adds                        denotes                  illustrates                mentions               questions

advises                    describes                improves                 models                   rationalizes

answers                  demonstrates          influences               moves                    reacts

asks                        depicts                     inspires                   names                   recommends

asserts                    discourages             interprets                narrates                recognizes

assesses                 encourages             interviews               negotiates             reinforces

assists                     endorses                 introduces               notifies                  rewards

assures                    enumerates            justifies                   objects                   schedules

clarifies                     explains                  labels                      offers                     seeks

classifies                   evaluates               leads                       organizes               shares

collaborates              explores                 learns                      outlines                  shows

compares                  expresses              lectures                   persuades              teaches

confirms                    features                 listens                      plans                      tells

confronts                  focuses                   lists                          predicts                  terminates

confuses                   formulates              maintains                 promotes                translates

considers                  frustrates               mandates                 presents                understands

contrasts                  furnishes                manipulates              probes                   visualizes

critiques                   guides                     maps                        promotes                warns


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