Teacher Education students display and collaborate on exemplary work

Friday, April 13, 2012

Students from across teacher education programs in the Indiana University School of Education gathered on Friday, April 13th for the annual “Exemplary Work and More” conference. The Indiana Student Education Association (ISEA) coordinates the showcase of top work by undergraduate teacher education students which is also an opportunity for pre-service teachers to learn from experienced teachers and those who are just into the field. Clinical Associate Professor of Elementary Education Carol-Anne Hossler is the faculty advisor for ISEA and the conference.

The theme of this year’s conference was “Lighting the Teaching Torch!” and several presentations brought new ideas for the teachers or helped them shape existing teacher plans. The day began with a panel discussion about lessons from experienced teachers, as a group of Armstrong Teacher Educators discussed what they had learned in the profession during a panel discussion.

Breakout sessions allowed students to present their own work, selected for its quality. Students talked about lesson plans and other projects they had developed, taking questions and Darcy Stricker presents her mutigenre inquiry project which, in part, involved a video to help teach reading.  
suggestions from fellow students as well as Armstrong Teachers and School of Education faculty.

Senior elementary education major Josh Betustak said he found the sessions particularly valuable for learning new resources, noting he picked up information about an internet resource he hadn’t heard of from a fellow presenter. His own work was presenting a social studies lesson plan, focused on teaching about the era of the 1920s to first grade students he worked with in Martinsville, IN schools. “The key thing that made our lessons exemplary was the use of primary resources, which was getting pictures of things like cars or baseball players from that time to compare to today so they actually see it and visualize it,” Betustak said. “And our teacher loved that and I think that’s one of the main reasons I’m here right now.”

A senior in the “Teaching All Learners” (TAL) program, Paige Coapstick said she presented a research paper prepared more than a year ago in a School of Education class. Coapstick examined an Indianapolis school to discern disproportionality issues that exist in the education the students receive. “It helped us understand the makeup of an urban school compared to other schools and how it has its own different kind of struggles having to deal with homelessness and poverty and low socioeconomic status, and how those challenges are different,” she said.

Fellow TAL senior Lydia Leopold, like Coapstick, is preparing for student teaching in the fall. She also focused on urban schools, presenting a project she created about the issues teaching in an urban elementary school. Coapstick said she gained a lot from hearing the Armstrong Teachers panel. “I noticed that it is all about the kids and I think that’s important,” she said, “but also they’ll tell you you’re going to have to work really hard but it’s worth it in the end.”

For sophomore visual arts education major Erin Gill, the conference provided an opportunity to learn about experiences to come and also gain feedback from her own work. “I presented an art history lesson and it was all about looking and talking about photographs, Josh Betustak presents his social studies unit plan on teaching about the era of the 1920s.  
how to stimulate kids thinking and what to pull out of different artworks,” she said. Gill said she learned considerably about future teaching challenges from the experienced teachers she heard from.

All of the participants heard words of wisdom from Stacy McCormick, the 2011 Indiana Teacher of the Year, a 2010 Armstrong Teacher Educator, who holds a B.S.(’99) in science education from the IU School of Education and is a physics teacher at Penn High School in Mishawaka. McCormick also hosted the morning Armstrong Teacher panel.

Planning is already underway for next year’s event. This year’s conference was organized by the ISEA leadership team members:  Diana Hughes, Zahra Lalahi, Courtney Kohler, Ashley Morton, Beth Batton, Jen Posson, Katherine Roberts, and Sarah Taylor.