International COE project looks at education for teachers
Louisiana Tech’s College of Education Science and Technology Education Center (SciTEC) and UTeachTech faculty have been selected to engage in an international project to provide effective lesson planning templates and guidelines for pre- and in-service teachers.
Along with The University of the West Indies-Cave Hill Campus in Barbados and Shortwood Teachers’ College in Jamaica, Chris Campbell, Glenn Larson, and UTeachTech student Alexa Martinez will research a needs analysis to study student engagement and conceptual understanding versus traditional direct instructional methods.
“It’s very exciting to be selected to be a part of a project that has the potential to impact so many teachers and students in multiple countries,” said Larson, who is a UTeachTech Master Teacher. “If we can produce a comprehensive template that helps teachers implement inquiry instruction methods, the work will be well worth it.”
This project is funded by the Inter-American Teacher Education Network. The ITEN is an initiative of the Organization of American States that works with governmental teacher education institutions of OAS Member States and classroom teachers to promote the teaching profession in the Western hemisphere. According to its website, ITEN hopes to contribute to the improvement of quality and equitable education in the Americas by promoting knowledge exchange, capacity building, and technical assistance. Associate Dean for Research, Outreach and Innovation, Dr. Lindsey Vincent said, “we were pleased that the opportunity to collaborate on this international educational effort was made available to our institution and thankful that Mr. Larson, Mr. Campbell, and Ms. Martinez were interested in engaging in this impactful and exciting STEM-education focused work!
The current project is a needs analysis that is slated to last a year, but Larson said follow up research could easily last three years.
“Any project that advances teacher understanding and self-efficacy in this area is a needed effort,” he said. “Within the group, several members have already expressed a commitment to follow on research if the needs analysis indicates that the workshops and template have measurable impact.”
Campbell, also a UTeachTech Master Teacher, said he is excited to be part of this project.
“We’re sharing ideas with teachers from another culture and country, but still hearing some of the same challenges – and solutions,” Campbell said. “We believe that the inquiry-based methods we practice with our UTeachTech students will work anywhere, and we love collaborating with passionate teacher preparation professionals.”
UTeachTech is an interdisciplinary, multi-college program that includes students and faculty from the Colleges of Education, Engineering and Science, and Applied and Natural Sciences and allows students majoring in STEM areas to graduate with their subject matter degrees as well as a minor in secondary education.
ITEN Project Teams Coordinator Alison Owens said ITEN promotes collaborative work to solve problems of policy and practice in relation to teacher education in STEM at the early childhood and upper secondary levels.
“Special attention is afforded to promote policies and practices that encourage equity for the STEM education of girls and women,” Owens said. “ITEN offers a networked community of educational leaders in the Americas. ITEN provides an annual cycle of engagement opportunities and competitive funds to participating Ministries of Education and other teacher education institutions.”
This project, Owens added, will serve as a mechanism for developing solutions to pressing challenges in STEM teacher education in the Americas.
“Over the span of six months, Project Teams work with a small, cross-cultural group of individuals on a project that addresses a challenge underlying STEM teacher education,” she said. “This is a partner-led Project Team model that offers a unique opportunity to connect virtually and in-person with others who are facing similar problems in their countries. ITEN supports teams with logistical aid, data collection and analysis, travel stipends, professional development models, ideas for strengthening community, and more.”
ITEN is grant funded by the U.S. Department of State with reapplication every four years. The Project Teams cycles last for one year, with some teams choosing to reapply each year. For further information, visit https://www.oas.org/en/iten/PDFs/Guide2020.pdf. To learn more about UTeachTech, email Associate Director Dr. Laura Bostick at firstname.lastname@example.org, To learn more about SciTEC, email email@example.com.