The 2013 Elementary Education Spring Showcase
More than usual, bustling exchanges of greetings and last-minute queries could be heard in the early morning within the college. It was finally May 3rd and people were eagerly gathering for the 2013 Elementary Education Spring Showcase! The Showcase is a public presentation of classroom-based research conducted by the college's graduating seniors. This year, over 65 seniors presented original research across one of four content areas: English Language Arts, Mathematics, Social Studies and Science.
This event began with Dean Watson mingling with students, parents, faculty and supportive friends at registration over coffee and doughnuts. Parents of one Showcase participant drove all the way from Baton Rouge, LA to hear their daughter's presentation! All the elementary education seniors were energized. Collectively, thoughts were already whirling as they anticipated their pending thirty-minute presentations, featuring data driven instructional practices across disciplines that were scheduled concurrently during three sessions over four hours in conference rooms throughout the college. The atmosphere was charged.
Dean Watson officially welcomed over 100 attendees and inspired each senior to "be the light as they cultivate and inspire greatness in their young students." The dean continued by extending his promise of ongoing support to these graduates as they become members of a professional community that keeps giving. The Showcase participants and guests were then entreated to keynote speakers Megan DeLeon Drayton, Dutch Fork Elementary Fifth Grade Teacher and Melanie Keel, Language and Literacy Doctoral Candidate. Their presentations were apropos given their respective professional journeys as college alumnae – Two Voices: Perspectives on Teaching, Perspectives on Learning.
"Teacher candidates must demonstrate the ability to analyze student data (responses, work products, etc.) and use those findings to inform their corresponding teaching practices" says Department of Instruction and Teacher Education (ITE) Associate Professor of Elementary Science Education Dr. Stephen Thompson. As the Showcase organizer, Thompson explained that "the goal of this work is to highlight how data analysis can help teachers become more effective through intentional and systematic instruction. This event also provides a snapshot of degree program strengths and weaknesses by allowing College of Education faculty members to capture key program concepts and ideas that the teacher candidates possess as they exit the degree program."
"I am extremely impressed with our students" says Dean Watson "and the faculty's work with them. These students are so bright and well prepared for their future positions." ITE Elementary Education Language Arts Professor Dr. Amy Donnelly readily seconded that opinion. "Our candidates," Donnelly affirms, "consistently report that as they interview for positions that school district personnel provide feedback telling them that they sound like 2nd&3rd-year teachers in knowledge base and theory. Since our students are placed in one school for year-long internships, most administrators have opportunities to get to know the caliber of each intern both as a teacher and as a professional."