On Tuesday, April 1, senior interns in the Baylor School of Education’s (SOE) Teacher Education Program will showcase their research to more than 250 mentor teachers, principals and district superintendents and administrators. Students’ qualitative and quantitative findings will answer “the wondering” they experience while working in pre-K through 12 classrooms.
The symposium showcases the work of senior interns, who are teaching full-time on school campuses while also conducting action research with their students. This form of research answers questions about specific classroom practices or sets of students Baylor seniors encounter during their internships.
“It’s an opportunity for interns to showcase what they’ve been working on all semester,” said master’s candidate Hannah Gist. “Ideas range from ways to incorporate manipulatives to behavior therapy with kids.”
Teacher candidates pursuing all levels of certification conduct research and are supported in the data-collection process by onsite teacher mentors. All SOE senior interns are required to participate individually, but Baylor juniors, who are working in classrooms as Teaching Associates, may also opt to present research in teams, and one team will be presenting this year.
“Research doesn’t have to be excruciating,” said Dr. Krystal Goree, SOE faculty member and Director of the Office of Professional Practice. “It can be a lot of fun even if you’re someone who doesn’t come by loving research naturally.”
Gist presented her project at the 2013 Action Research Symposium, when she was a Baylor senior, after collecting data in her Pre-AP World History class at Midway High School. She studied the differences between students leading themselves in note taking versus teachers providing it for them, and how it ultimately impacted their grades. After a year of research, Gist found a 10 percent increase in quiz scores for students who were taught note taking and reading strategies.
“It was an easy way to see if what we were showing them actually worked,” Gist said. “It wasn’t impossible for them to use higher-order strategies — they just had to be shown the process before we could expect it of them.”
Now working toward her MSEd in Curriculum Instruction at Baylor, Gist said the research experience is beneficial for students. “There are going to be lots of questions and concerns raised about how to better students,” Gist said. “This prepares seniors to look for things they can do on a daily basis to improve the lives of their students.” —Briana Rojas
Photo (left): Lindsey Hedrick conducted research for the 2013 symposium during her intern year at Hillcrest PDS in Waco ISD.
Photo credits: Mary Senter/Waco ISD