Notes from Memorable Guest Speakers
Dr. Brian Horn shared with us his doctoral study experience using action research in which he took on both the role of teacher and researcher. He taught a lesson and conducted interviews with volunteer student-participants from one class during a 9-week unit. His goal was to empower the students and to give them an arena for their voice to be heard. I wonder if this type of research could be of use to discover the voice of students sharing the learning environment with a student who uses an Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) device and may not actively engage in the classroom as is generally expected.
Dr. Erin Mikulec shared her wonderful experiences at many school in Finland through the Fulbright Scholarship Program. She also briefly mentioned her involvement with the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL) and her research question regarding what comes out of what we teach.
Dr. Ryan Brown shared about his work as an editor for Action Teachers in Education which is the journal for the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE) and his choice based on financial responsibility to complete his doctoral program as a full time student.
Dr. Laura Hansfield shared about her dissertation which was a transformative case study that covered how teachers adapt their teaching to meet the needs of multilingual students. This idea could be a way for me to look at teachers who adapt their teaching styles to meet the needs of learners who use an AAC device. She also shared a website called Colorin Colorado which is dedicated to families and educators of English language learners. When reviewing her resume, I noticed that she had a section called multimedia with the name and link of a blog under her long list of publications - other sections were more common like article, books, chapters in books, etc. I wonder if this is something that I can organize within the Angelman community. As a final note, she encouraged all of us to participate in a writing group to help us get through the dissertation process.
Dr. Amanda Quesenberry talked at length about her strong connection with Head Start - multiple roles including Home Visitor, helping teachers include children with disabilities, and a grant for her mixed methods dissertation looking at what makes for good/bad programs. She is still interested in the social and emotional development of young children to prevent and address challenging behaviors, early childhood education, integrating technology with young children in special education, and the value of the student teaching placement on implementing best-practices versus practices that have been handed down from seasoned teachers. She also talked about her service with Early CHOICES an LRE workgroup created by Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).
Dr. Sonia Kline talked to us about her passions for literacy, technology, and equity in access. I especially liked how she phrased her research interests as "conversations she wants to join." Those conversations that she is engaged in include: challenging a narrow definition of literacy; challenging the deficit perspective of learners (and teachers); expanding theories, methods, and practices; and examining online technologies in education.
Dr. Allison Meyer talked about her passion for science and technology, her former career as an engineer, the importance of reading an article every night, and her attention to detail when aligning research questions to data collection.
Dr. Christopher Hansen talked about his passion for elementary education and literacy, writing, double entry journals, and an Institute of Education Sciences (IES) grant proposal to look at value-added models (VAMs) of teacher assessment which could fund up to 3 GAs. He also talked at length about "shifting instruction" to make schools more welcoming to parents and families. He said that parents need to feel that they have valuable information to contribute to the education of their children because they know them best and the teacher will only have students for one year. He questioned the way conferences are held in which the teacher tells the parent all about the student rather than asking for what the parent knows. I liken this to the "team approach" that is used for students in special education and wonder if this could be an angle/lens for my dissertation.