Research proposal

I want to do some research.

I’m no sociologist, so I’m not sure how best to go about this. Oh, and I’m a teacher, so I work approximately 60 hours per week, give or take a few.

During student dismissal procedures after school the other day, we had not one, not two, but three fights. THREE. FIGHTS. With fists. On the ground. And though they were broken up and responded to quickly by appropriate personnel, too many students saw – in fact, they ran to watch.

I didn’t grow up fighting. I don’t recall ever having seen a fight in my youth. Granted, I grew up in a white-skinned, blue-collar, mostly homogenous town. I’m sure that some people fought after school, but my parents made sure I stayed away from such activities. Personally, I have never even felt the urge to resort to physical violence as a way to express my feelings toward someone.

But the preceding paragraph is a testament to my privilege. I have always been on a college-going path: since birth, all the adults in my life had to do to get me to a bachelor’s or higher degree was keep me from straying. But I digress, and that’s ANOTHER post for another time. The point is that I always had the tools to express myself: namely, words.

Most of the students that I know at my school are reading below grade level; some are severely behind. As I watched and heard about the fights today, I came to a realization: these kids don’t know how to use their words. They aren’t good at having conversations with people to convey their hurt, distrust, betrayal, anger, or frustration, because many of their vocabularies don’t include the words I just mentioned – at least, not with a full and rich comprehension of them.

Before I start receiving attacking or disparaging comments, know that I am well aware that there are many and various contributing factors to school violence, including but not limited to media violence, community culture, gang activity, bullying, substance abuse, etc. But I would really like to conduct a study that connects acts of violence in schools to the relative reading levels of the perpetrators.

(Further reading on community violence here and here.)

Does anyone know of any similar work that has been done before? Please point me to any relevant sources.



BT Bubble Sheet


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