by Richard Guidone, Adjunct Professor School of Education
Harvard Graduate School of Education Student Research Conference, April 12, 2013
On a cold, rainy, and windy day in Cambridge MA, Rebecca Schiller warmed the hearts of her audience of fellow researchers at the Harvard Graduate School with several Kimochis characters she brought to demonstrate her research project entitled “Taming the Explosive Volcano: Coping Strategies for Defiant Students”. Using information from Second Step and Kimochis, Rebecca provided background knowledge and real life classroom experience to convince her peers of the validity of the program.
At a concurrent session, Amanda Lubin, who is doing her interning at a K-8 school in New Haven which has the most diverse population of student immigrants to this country, was presenting her findings entitled, “What are the Most Effective Instructional Strategies for Teaching ELL and Bilingual Students”.
Using a PowerPoint presentation, Amanda listed and discussed her major findings: Background knowledge is important, utilize first language, frontload the student with vocabulary using high interest visuals and text and increase parent involvement.
Amanda was peppered by her peers with questions though they were all appreciative of her extensive knowledge working with students having such diverse backgrounds; she handled all the questions with a high level of skill.
Later in the day, a poster session was held to accommodate those topics that seemed to fall out of the purview of the other roundtable discussions and Kyle Runfalo found herself setting up her poster board in this area with about ten to twelve others. The atmosphere here was less formal than at the other presentations but no less scholarly or intense. Kyle’s research “Framing the Future: The effects of Integrating Character Development and Moral Education in the Classroom Curriculum” drew a steady stream of inquisitors. Kyle pointed to evidence presented in the 2008 Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth, and to the tragic events in the news recently, as testimony for the need for schools to provide students with character development and moral education along with academics.
At the end of a long day, Carly Kaplan, who had to endure an uncooperative computer projection device, managed nevertheless, to present her research topic, “Teaching Hot Topics in the Elementary School”. These hot topics include such things as the events of 9/11 and the more recent events in Newtown. Speaking in a voice full of emotion, Carly relayed how using Responsive Classroom techniques to discuss these topics made the students feel safe and secure while addressing their intense feelings and emotions.
All four students return to Quinnipiac with many good ideas on how we might want to re-think how our research presentations are celebrated. Along with making new friends, the four young scholar/researchers came back more convinced than ever that QU has prepared them well to compete on the world stage in more than just sports.