Gunning Daily News

Study Links Job Stress in Teachers to Student Achievement

May 27, 2011 11:19 am

After 17 years of researching traumatic stress with war-afflicted populations (veterans and civilians) and job stress in the medical profession, Teresa McIntyre, a research professor in the department of psychology and the Texas Institute for Evaluation, Measurement and Statistics (TIMES), at the University of Houston (UH), decided to study another high risk occupation, middle school teachers in seventh and eighth grade.

"Teaching is a highly stressful occupation," McIntyre says. "Teacher stress affects various aspects of teacher health and may influence how effective teachers are in the classroom, with potential consequences for their students' behavior and learning.

"I started to research the literature on stress and teachers in the U.S. and found very little information. There was no comprehensive study of teachers' stress or even an audit of the percentage of teachers who are stressed. I saw a void here and a need to study."

McIntyre serves as primary investigator for a $1.6 million grant funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES), U.S. Department of Education, titled, "Using Longitudinal and Momentary Analysis to Study the Impact of Middle School Teachers' Stress on Teacher Effectiveness, Student Behavior and Achievement."

The research study starts at the beginning of this coming school year and follows 200 seventh-and eighth-grade social studies, science or math teachers in 20 middle schools in H.I.S.D. and thousands of students over a three-year period.

The research team intends to identify predictors and outcomes of job stress in middle school teachers, linking teacher stress to student behavior and achievement via teacher effectiveness. The results of the data can be used to guide further development of interventions to mitigate teacher stress and, consequently, improve teacher effectiveness and student behavior and learning.

"Middle school is probably the most difficult level to teach because student-teacher interactions are more difficult during this time, and this kind of difficulty in teacher-student interactions is a major source of stress for teachers at this level," McIntyre notes. "For students it's a time of adolescence and many changes developmentally, and that is going to affect the dynamics of learning, as well as the social relationships and climate in the classroom. It's going to affect the teachers as well. Our premise is that if the teacher is stressed, their behavior will be different with students, and they will perform differently with students."

McIntyre conducted a pilot study in the Greater Houston area in 2010 that indicated that at least one third of middle school teachers may be significantly stressed.

The UH research team will combine an innovative multi-method approach to assessing stress and teacher effectiveness, which involves ecological momentary assessment or real-time assessment, concurrent physiological measurements that will monitor blood pressure and heart rate, and in-classroom observational ratings. The researchers will use the most current technology to assess stress, which includes self-report on a Teacher Stress Diary using an iPod Touch platform, and teacher effectiveness ratings on an iPad. Data will be collected on students in the teachers' classroom using teacher stress diaries, archival school records and observational ratings. The innovative software programs are being developed by Sean Woodward at TIMES and the novel statistical methodologies required to analyze the intensive longitudinal data generated by real time assessment will be provided by TIMES and the UH department of psychology faculty Paras Mehta. The methodological and technical support provided by the UH's TIMES, directed by David Francis, as well as its expertise in education research, are key to the implementation of this type of study.

"With this study we will be able to get a more dynamic picture of how teachers respond to stress in real time," McIntyre says. "And that's what this ecological momentary assessment does—it assesses stress through the person's diary report of stress when things are happening, very close to the event. Teachers will be able to report their emotions both positive and negative; how their cognitive functions are affected by stress; and what's happening at the moment in terms of social interactions, social conflict, demands on the job, the time pressure and whether they feel they are in control of their situation. They also report on effectiveness in instruction and classroom management, an on their student's behavior in the classroom"

McIntyre notes the larger contribution of the study is to take the pulse of the educational system and see what's happening in challenging economic times and to evaluate what impact this has on teachers and students, "The study addresses a key issue in contemporary education: how to improve teacher quality in the face of increasing demands in the education system; it is all about supporting teachers, students and school administrators at a time of depleted resources."

Word of the Day

May 27, 2011 11:19 am

Write-off. Depreciation or amortization an owner takes on a commercial property.

Question of the Day

May 27, 2011 11:19 am

Q: Do I need to be at the inspection?

A: No, but it is a very good idea to be there. Following the check-over, the home inspector can answer your questions and discuss problem areas with you. This is also an opportune time to get an objective opinion about the home from someone who does not have emotional or financial ties to the property.

Healthcare Reform: Technomic Examines Impact on Catering

May 26, 2011 5:19 pm

Everyone knows that doctors are busy people, which is why pharmaceutical representatives have long relied on "lunch and learns" to introduce physicians to new product developments. But as currently written, the Physician Payment Sunshine Provision (Section 6002) of the Affordable Care Act will require pharmaceutical companies to report anything of value they provide to physicians above $10 per item, or $100 per year.

The implications for the foodservice industry are an important area of examination in Technomic's new study, Large Orders Off-Premise 2011, an update of its 2007 landmark research which revealed an $18.5 billion opportunity for restaurant operators to cultivate an alternate revenue stream through B2B catering.

"Restaurants and other operators that already have a thriving catering business are very interested in understanding how healthcare reform will impact their business, and ways they can respond," says Melissa Wilson, Technomic Principal and study director. "We're expanding the scope of this study to learn how the medical community expects this to impact catering orders. The study will also examine how limited-service and casual-dining operators can expand their presence in several other key business/office catering segments."

UV Water Treatment Market Growing

May 26, 2011 5:19 pm

Verify Markets has just released a market research report on the Ultraviolet (UV) Municipal Drinking Water Treatment Equipment Market for the United States.

In the past, there has been skepticism for alternative and advanced technologies, like UV. The receptivity of UV was relatively low as municipalities gravitated towards conventional chlorine treatment technology. However, due to the regulatory environment, the market is expected to show modest growth. Aging infrastructure is also adding to this circumstance.

"The Long Term Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2 rule) and the Disinfection/Disinfectant By-Products (D/DBP) rule are the major drivers for the UV municipal drinking water treatment equipment market," states a Verify Markets representative. "Conventional drinking water treatment plants are unable to remove specific contaminants like cryptosporidium, which makes UV a very attractive alternative."

The major market participants include Aquionics, Calgon Corporation, ITT Corporation and Trojan Technologies. There were less than 15 significant players participating in the market.

Equipment supplier quotes on market drivers and challenges, as well as market trends, are included in the report. There is a market share analysis and forecasts to 2017 with associated growth rate.

A complete analysis of select markets within the ultraviolet drinking water treatment market can be obtained at www.verifymarkets.com.

9 Tips to Avoid Getting Scammed by Rogue Movers

May 26, 2011 5:19 pm

Each year, about 15 million American households move, and the majority do so during peak moving season from Memorial Day to Labor Day. By planning ahead and doing some simple research, consumers can reduce their risk of falling victim to disreputable movers who make a business out of baiting customers with very low estimates and then adding on unreasonable charges or even holding the customer's household goods hostage for exorbitant ransom.

"Anyone with a website can claim to be a mover," says Carl Walter, vice president of Mayflower, one of the oldest moving companies in the country. "It's important to do some homework to avoid falling victim to a scam. There are a number of red flags that make rogue movers stand out, but to recognize them you have to know what to look for ahead of time. The best way to know if a prospective mover is doing something wrong is to know the right way from the start."

Mayflower offers the following tips for people who are planning a move:

• Go with a name you know: Find three moving companies that have offices in your area and have been in business for at least 10 years.
• Get a referral: Word of mouth is the strong indicator of reliability—ask friends, family, neighbors and colleagues.
• Ask for an in-home estimate: Transportation charges are based not only on the distance of the move, but also on the weight of the items being moved. To ensure that your estimate is accurate, have the moving company come and look at the items you need to move.
• Don't be hooked by the lowest price: Disreputable movers often lure customers with lowball prices and then hit them with unreasonable charges or, in extreme cases, even hold their belongings for ransom. Get three estimates—if one is much lower than the others, that is a red flag.
• Be sure the company is who it says: Some disreputable movers try to lure customers in by using names that are very similar to reputable companies. Check the reputable company's website to make sure the local agent is affiliated with the brand name it is claiming.
• Don't pay up front: Typically you should not be required to pay a deposit to have your items moved. Most companies request payment at the time of delivery.
• Do your research: If you are moving interstate, go to protectyourmove.gov to find out if a mover is licensed for interstate moves by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association.
• Get it in writing: Ask for pickup and delivery dates in writing.
• Know your rights: Request a copy of "Your Rights and Responsibilities When You Move," a brochure created by the Federal Highway Administration that outlines consumers' rights. Federal law requires movers to give this to customers prior to an interstate move.

"Moving can be a stressful event no matter how well the mover does its job," says Walter. "Mayflower understands this and wants to help all consumers who are planning a move to have a better moving experience, regardless of which mover they choose."

For more information visit Mayflower.com.

Question of the Day

May 26, 2011 5:19 pm

Q: How do I select a home inspector?

A: Begin by only hiring one who is qualified and experienced, someone who belongs to an industry trade group, such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI). This organization has developed formal inspection guidelines and a professional code of ethics for its members. Also, membership in ASHI is not automatic; members must have demonstrated field experience and technical knowledge about structures and their various systems.

New Travel Care Code Encourages Travel Industry and Vacationers to Think Green

May 26, 2011 5:19 pm

Memorial Day serves as the official kick off of the busy summer travel season. As millions of American's take to the sky and road to visit their favorite destinations, attractions, and nature parks, the Center for Sustainable Tourism, at East Carolina University, officially introduces the U.S. Visitor Care Code (www.visitorcarecode.org). The code is designed to highlight small and practical efforts travelers can make to protect the natural environment and unique cultures of the places they visit.

Annually, more than 1.5 billion leisure "person trips" are made in the U.S., even small changes in behavior can make a big difference in tourism's impact on communities. The 10 point code encourages travelers to:

• Learn about Your Destination: Enjoy rewarding experiences learning about the environment, culture and history that make each destination unique. •
• Don't Leave Your Good Habits at Home: While traveling, continue to recycle, use water wisely, and turn off lights as you would at home.
• Support Locals: As a visitor, the money you spend on your trip can help support local artisans, farmers and business owners who depend on tourism.
• Protect Your Natural Surroundings: Be mindful of plants, animals, and ecosystems that you might impact. Avoid feeding wildlife, stay on designated trails and follow all fire restrictions.

For more information visit www.SustainableTourism.org.

Word of the Day

May 26, 2011 5:19 pm

VA loan. Veterans Administration-backed mortgage. The VA, a federal agency, operates a loan guarantee program for honorably discharged veterans and widows of veterans who died of a service-related injury. Mortgages call for low or no downpayment. Sometimes referred to as GI loan.

A Moving Guide for Pets

May 23, 2011 3:49 pm

Moving to a new home and a new town can be challenging, especially when the move involves a beloved family pet. In order to meet the needs of families facing this difficult transition, TripswithPets is excited to announce the launch of Pets on-the-Move: A Moving Guide for Pets. This free online moving guide is jam-packed with everything a family needs to know in order to successfully move with their pet.
Pets On-the-Move offers the following helpful information and resources:

• Pet Relocation Service: If the move is international or cross-country, or if flying or driving with your pet just isn’t an option, a pet relocation service may be a wise choice. This section provides information about securing a reputable company as well as helpful tips to narrow down which one to choose.

• Airline Pet Policies: There are a lot of regulations regarding flying with pets. This section displays a list of airlines and directly links to that specific airline’s policies.

• Search by Route: Due to a massive request for this service, users can simply enter the departure and destination cities and see a list of all the pet friendly hotels (and other pet friendly properties) within a 3 or 5 mile radius of the route. This is perfect for those families driving to their new homes that need to know where they can stop with their pets along the way.

• Tips, Tips, and More Tips: There are hundreds of things to remember when moving with a pet. The guide covers everything from what to prepare for before the move, to advice on making sure furry family members are comfortable in their new surroundings.

• Pet Moving Essentials: You name it—pet travel crates and kennels, pet seat belts, vehicle pet barriers, and pet car seats—the moving guide includes all the pet travel supplies you’ll need.

“Pets On-the-Move is our answer to all of the inquiries we receive on a regular basis from people moving with their pets. Over 69 million US households have pets but there wasn’t a well-defined resource out there that we could send people to, so we made our own,” says Kim Salerno, President of TripswithPets. “This guide is perfect not only for the families who are moving, but for real estate agents, moving companies, local chambers of commerce—any organization that’s involved in the moving process and wants to better serve their clients!”

For more information please visit www.tripswithpets.com/petmove