The SoTL Advocate

Supporting efforts to make public the reflection and study of teaching and learning at Illinois State University and beyond…


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It all started with a SoTL small grant: National recognition for global engagement

Written by Susan A. Hildebrandt, Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics & Spanish, Illinois State University

hild awardThe teacher education program in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures (LAN) at Illinois State University was one of 11 language programs from across the nation recently recognized by the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages’ (ACTFL) inaugural Global Engagement Initiative. ACTFL is the flagship organization for K-16 language teachers in the United States, and the recognition is good for four years.

 

LAN teacher candidates, as part of their clinical experiences for LAN 320 World Language Teaching in K-12 Settings, spend 25 hours at Unity Community Center getting to know Unity youth the first half of the semester and teach them beginning language the second half. As the area has few local public elementary schools with language programs, teacher candidates in the class may have little experience teaching younger learners a language other than English. Unity Community Center is located two miles north of Illinois State and serves as multicultural “Out of School Time site” for 5- to 18-year olds from “families with limited resources” (Unity website).

hild1The goals for the language program at Unity are multifaceted. The first is to teach language and cultures to K-5th graders, allowing ISU teacher candidates to put into practice what they learn in their teacher education classes. The second goal is to give teacher candidates experiences interacting with younger learners and their families, which they wouldn’t otherwise get. The third is to provide high quality programming for Unity. And the fourth goal is to assist the monolingual Unity directors in communicating with parents whose first language is French or Spanish. Teacher candidates work at Unity throughout the semester and get to know the Unity youth before teaching seven weeks of language lessons the second half of the semester. At times, they also interpret meetings between native speaking parents of Spanish or French and the monolingual Unity personnel. Valuable experiences with Unity youth, parents, and classmates open teacher candidates’ eyes to a variety of perspectives that they wouldn’t otherwise get in their educational preparation. Unity youth, families, and personnel gain quality early language instruction that they would not have without the program.

hild 2Teaching language to K-5th grade Unity youth allows teacher candidates to learn how to co-teach with each other, construct standards-based and learner-centered lessons, create meaningful performance assessments, and learn how to use 90+ percent of the target language in their instruction in a real world setting. They learn how to integrate cultural perspectives into each lesson, to manage a classroom of wiggly, young learners, and to communicate with parents. Teacher candidates expand their linguistic and cultural competence when they interact with parents of Unity youth, while Unity youth’s linguistic and cultural competence grows with each lesson. Finally, teacher candidates immediately debrief with classmates after lessons at Unity and alone in writing for the next week, which helps teacher candidates learn how to offer colleagues constructive criticism and to help everyone do better the next week.

The program began in the spring of 2012 and has occurred nearly every semester since, for at least 7 weeks a semester. It was initially funded by a SoTL small grant in 2011 and further supported by an American Democracy Project course redesign in 2014. Unity has expressed its appreciation for the program by recognizing it with Distinguished Program Awards the last three years. This multiyear collaboration with Unity has transformed the LAN teacher education program.

A new group of teacher candidates will continue teaching languages to Unity youth each fall for the foreseeable future. An exciting development in the program is that it is now expanding to spring semesters, with the help of the ISU language clubs, including the Spanish Club, Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish Honor Society), and Pi Delta Phi (French Honor Society). We were recently awarded a grant from the ISU Senior Professionals and the American Democracy Project to complement the language teaching done in the fall by the LAN 320 class. “ISU Language Clubs and Unity Youth Read Spanish and French” will feature members of the language clubs reading Spanish- and French-language children’s books to Unity youth and their parents, as well as working one-on-one with Unity youth on bilingual puzzles and games.

The original SoTL grant investigated the benefits and challenges to language teacher candidates as they volunteered at a community center. Using data gathered from existing class assignments and recursive qualitative data analysis, a clearer picture of ISU students’ language teaching beliefs emerged, along with Unity youth and personnel’s characteristics, strengths, and needs. That feedback allowed me to create a better learning environment for both ISU students and Unity youth, as the content of the practicum course evolved to support ISU students in their new teaching role at the center. That work at Unity features as a prominent aspect of my own ongoing scholarship, with a 2014 article entitled “Mutually beneficial service learning: Language teacher candidates in a local community center” published in a regional language teaching journal. The initial project begun with the 2011 SoTL small grant enabled the program to develop into a nationally recognized program, and I anticipate continuing this research in the upcoming months and years, as my students continue working with Unity youth.

 

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Benefits to Faculty who Lead SoTL Research Teams with Students

Written by: Phyllis McCluskey-Titus, Professor of Educational Administration and Foundations at Illinois State University

Students can gain a number of important outcomes through participation in SoTL research teams with faculty. These outcomes include: enhanced research skills (Kardash, 2000); increased satisfaction with group learning (Panelli & Welch, 2005); helpful out-of-class contact between faculty and students (Cotten & Wilson, 2006); and increased connections between students and their discipline (Wayment & Dickson, 2008).

There are also significant benefits to faculty who facilitate SoTL research teams with students as co-researchers. As someone who has now led three different teams of students that studied teaching and learning, I can attest that there are some real benefits to faculty who invest time and energy into this process.

As a program coordinator as well as a faculty member, having willing student researchers allowed me to conduct a significant program evaluation that assessed student learning outcomes using national guidelines. The students developed and administered surveys, conducted interviews, and served as a review panel to rate and make recommendations from the information collected. Their assistance with writing the final report allowed the evaluation to be completed significantly faster than if I had been responsible for the entire process.

As a senior faculty member, conducting SoTL research with “learners” allowed me to keep the process fresh, and to examine different ways of conducting, publishing, and presenting research about teaching and learning with others who were not faculty. The students wanted to know why we used certain methods to collect or analyze data and forced me to reconsider and offer a rationale for what we were doing. One of the teams which was assessing learning outcomes contributed to the development of a survey instrument by asking not only what outcomes were achieved, but where and how students believed these outcomes were learned (class, graduate assistantship, volunteer experiences, professional associations) and this allowed our team to make stronger recommendations to faculty, supervisors, and other students about how to best direct their energies within the program to maximize their learning.

New faculty can certainly use a SoTL research team as “research support” when graduate research assistants are not available. For a small investment of time in teaching the team members, this group of student volunteers can be trained to help with any part of the SoTL research process. In exchange for authorship opportunities or presentation experience, even if funding is not available, SoTL research team members who are students can be more beneficial than finding a faculty mentor or partner to assist you. As the expert about SoTL and how to conduct research, you have to make sure you are very clear about the process and organization of your study in order to have students assist you. This forces you to be organized and prepared, and not put off research in favor of other responsibilities. Having the students involved will help you stay on task and on a specific timeline. By dividing the different tasks among the team members, everyone is able to contribute and learn in the process, and you may be able to be more productive and able to submit more research for publication or presentation.

Leading a SoTL research team is an important form of teaching, and a way to develop strong relationships with students outside the classroom. These relationships may allow a faculty member to better understand students in their program and classes and to adapt teaching methods accordingly. By conducting SoTL research with a team of students outside of class, faculty can learn about how students in their classes are making meaning of material covered and how they respond to teaching methods used. This information can assist in revising and updating syllabi, readings, assessments, and classroom activities to enhance the learning that students report or demonstrate.

Although the development of a SoTL research team takes time, the benefits to faculty in terms of possible enhanced productivity, nurturing relationships with students, developing new motivation and methods for teaching and conducting research, and being able to assess students’ learning are benefits that make this process worth it.

References

Cotton, S.R., & Wilson, B. (2006). Student-faculty interactions: Dynamics and determinants. Higher Education, 51(4), 487-519.

Kardash, C. M. (2000). Evaluation of an undergraduate research experience: Perceptions ofundergraduate interns and their faculty mentors. Journal of Educational Psychology,92(1), 191–201.

Panelli, R., & Welch, R.V. (2005). Teaching research through field studies: A cumulativeopportunity for teaching methodology to human geography undergraduates. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 29(2), 255– 277.

Wayment, H.A., & Dickson, K.L. (2008). Increasing student participation in undergraduateresearch benefits students, faculty, and department. Teaching of Psychology, 35(3), 194-197.


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Reflective Writing: Students’ Monitoring of Their Own Learning Goals

Written by: Sandra Osorio, Assistant Professor, Early Childhood Education at Illinois State University

Recently, I redesigned my science methods course to include instruction on working with students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, developing a unique out-of-class learning experience for students enrolled in this course. Upon completion of the redesign, I developed a SoTL research project to answer the following question: How do the experiences provided in my redesigned course affect pre-service teachers’ cultural awareness? This SoTL study took place in my science methods course with 26 students, all of whom were female. While the majority of participants were White, one student self-identified as Latina.  All were preservice teachers.

Participants were enrolled in this course during the final semester of classes before student teaching.  As part of the redesigned course and it’s out-of-class learning component, participants visited a local classroom which included Spanish-English bilingual students for a total of twelve times to teach science lessons. After each session in the classroom and at the end of the entire experience, participants completed weekly reflections. The focus of this blog will be on initial findings from the written reflections and final reflective papers with a focus on changes in cultural awareness as a result of this new learning experience.

At the beginning of the semester, participants set personal learning goals they were expected to use as a basis for their weekly reflections. Participants’ goals related to teaching science and working with students from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.  Reflection on these goals allowed participants to connect their learning to their prior knowledge and monitor their own learning each week.

All participants’ goals related to working with students from culturally and linguistically diverse background were similar, reflecting aspirations such as:

  1. becoming more comfortable working with ELL students
  2. incorporating their cultures and previous knowledge into lessons
  3. using appropriate accommodations for those ELL learners
  4. connecting with culturally and linguistically diverse students to make them feel important and included

At the conclusion of all twelve clinical experiences, data were analyzed and interpreted. Initial reflections indicated that participants had some misconceptions related to working with bilingual students. Many of the pre-service teachers made the assumption that bilingual, really meant Spanish only, as can be seen from these student reflections:

  • “students might not be proficient in English, so when I was speaking I made sure to speak clearly and slowly enough so they could understand”
  • “being able to use my Spanish background if needed to assist them at any time”

In reality, participants were able to see that Spanish-English students were on a continuum between the languages with varying degrees of proficiency and that their assumptions about bilingual language use were not accurate.

As participants gained more experience with their bilingual students, I was able to see areas of growth and change with regard to cultural awareness. An example of such growth is Madison, who demonstrated that she was able to apply course content to her teaching experience:

“While I was working with two of the students, one asked me if he could describe the objects in Spanish.  I knew that it was important for the students to practice their English, but this activity wasn’t about the language, it was about exploring the properties of objects.  I told the student to try his best to use English, but if he couldn’t think of the word Spanish was okay.”

Similarly, Kacey wrote in the following in one of her reflections, applying the need to use active learning to facilitate vocabulary growth:

“Specifically, hands-on learning is critical for ELL students.  By providing ELL children with the opportunity to experience the learning and construct his or her own knowledge, he or she is more likely to comprehend and retain the information.  As teachers, it is important to allow ELL students various ways to learn.  By using a hands-on activity with Hannah and I’s lesson, we will be catering to the students’ needs.”

Data reflected that participants were constantly reflecting deeply on their experiences. Anna noticed that students were only using basic words such as colors to describe the objects they were given in the lesson. She said,

“Since majority of the students are ELLs they would have benefitted from explicit vocabulary instruction about how to describe and what words to use.  When working with the children I noticed that students didn’t use a variety of adjectives to describe objects.  Being able to critically reflect and think about this lesson will help me strive to reach the goals that I have set for myself.”

Anna’s reflection actually led to some changes when the lesson was retaught.  Participants decided that the first lesson of each unit would concentrate on a wider range of descriptive words. For subsequent lessons, one of the participants developed a reference word list for students which (based on participant reflections) supported not only ELL students, but all students in the classroom, as well.

The most important aspect of this redesigned course was the real world experience.  This allowed participants to change some of the common misconceptions they held and also put into practice what they were reading and learning.  This was expressed in one of Kacey’s final reflections,

“Throughout college I always felt very unprepared for having ELL students in my future classroom. I felt as though I was having a hard time comprehending the strategies without getting the chance to practice them. Therefore, getting the opportunity to be in classroom with ELL students every week was very beneficial for me. I was able to take all of the ELL teaching strategies that I have learned in my past courses and see them in action.”

Reading the reflections, I found participants still made some negative assumptions about ELL students, but they also made important strides towards their own personal learning goals and those of the course, in terms of increasing cultural awareness. These initial findings demonstrate the effectiveness of this activity within my course redesign.  Exposing participants to real-life scenarios working with culturally diverse students was an effective technique to encourage changes in thinking and application of learning.  Growth was likely facilitated by having participants write their own learning goals, so learning was differentiated to meet their individual needs.

Overall, data collected for this project helped inform changes for the next time I work with students in a similar fashion. By having students write about how they are working towards their goals and reflecting on their awareness of culture, I was able to see the connections students make to prior learning and how to better support them in the future.


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Designing and Conducting a SoTL Project using a Worksheet: A Baker’s Dozen of Important Sets of Guiding Questions

Written by Kathleen McKinney, Professor and Cross Chair in SoTL, Illinois State University

Many of us have numerous SoTL research topics or questions floating around in our minds. We have multiple ideas for design and measurement. We have thoughts, perhaps concerns, about IRB issues. We may be unsure about multiple methods/measures or whether to obtain qualitative and/or quantitative data. We are hoping to make the results and implications of the SoTL project public somehow and somewhere… and so on.

In my own efforts to begin to transform these disparate and numerous thoughts in to a solid, organized, meaningful, and practical SoTL research project, I have found that filling in a SoTL design and conduct ‘worksheet’ has been very helpful. I have also used such worksheets with faculty, academic staff, and graduate students in numerous SoTL workshops over the last fifteen years.* You may choose to fill in the worksheet all at one time (imagine there is plenty of blank space between the sets of questions!) or in multiple settings over time as you  progress on the project. You may wish to answer these questions alone or to complete it with others (e.g., co-researchers, peers working on their own SoTL project worksheet).

  1. Think about a teaching and/or learning issue, problem, intervention, or question that you have about your students, a course, an assignment or pedagogical strategy, a program, a co-curricular experience, etc. Briefly state that as a question or questions.
  2. What do you already know (from theory or literature in your discipline, or SoTL or education more broadly) about this topic/question– whether it has been looked at in the past, about ways to gather data on student learning and other outcomes related to this topic or question, and what has been found in previous research on your or a similar question(s)?
  3. Given your question(s), what types of information or artifacts do you already have or already collect that will help you to answer this question(s)?
  4. Given your question(s), what other types of information or data or artifacts will you need (and from what sources) to best answer your question(s)?
  5. Given your question(s) and the information/data you need, what research strategies or methods (e.g., student reflections, assignments, interviews, focus groups, questionnaires/tests, observations, quasi-experiments, and so on might you use to obtain the information/data need to answer your SoTL question(s)?
  6. Would it be a good idea to use multiple research strategies (methods)? Which ones? Why? What about multiple measures of certain outcomes? Is your SoTL question(s) best answered with qualitative and/or quantitative data?
  7. What time frame is a good fit with your SoTL research question(s)? Cross-sectional? Longitudinal? Short or long-term? One semester or multiple semesters? How many data points do you need to best answer your question(s)?
  8. How might you involve an undergraduate and/or graduate student or students in this SoTL project, not only as participants, but as a research assistant or co-researcher? What nontrivial tasks could students do or assist with that would benefit both their learning and research experience as well as the SoTL study? How would this add ‘student voices’ to the project?
  9. What are ethical issues you should consider or might face in designing and conducting this project? Informed consent? Right to Privacy? Protection from harm? Other? How will you design the study to reduce ethical problems and to protect participants? What are any local IRB issues or procedures you should consider/plan to address? Where/how can you get help with your IRB protocol if needed?
  10. What are some potential practical problems you might face in conducting this SoTL study? Limited time? Limited funds? Lack of expertise for part of the project? Limitations to using the best design? No available co-researchers? How will you deal with these practical problems? What faculty support units and internal pots of funds could you apply for/use?
  11. With whom can you share your initial (above) ideas for a SoTL study (SoTL researchers and/or relevant disciplinary colleagues) for feedback? What changes in the design does their feedback imply?
  12. Who are the audience(s) you hope to reach and to impact with this SoTL project and results (students, disciplinary and SoTL colleagues, administrators, community members, tenure and promotion committee members, and so on)? How can you best represent this project to convey it and its’ value clearly to these audiences (e.g., presentation, publication, internal report, video, blog post, creative product, etc.)?
  13. What are possible peer-reviewed outlets (conferences, journals, juried shows, web sites…) you can use for this representation to make it public? Who can peer-review your draft representation before you submit?

*A simpler (and much older) version of a SoTL design worksheet was published in McKinney, K. 2007. Enhancing Learning through the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning: The Challenges and Joys of Juggling. Jossey-Bass.

 


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A Sample of Funded SoTL Research Projects: Inspiration for Ideas, Connections, and Applications

Written by: Kathleen McKinney, Outgoing Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL, Illinois State University

Sometimes it is useful to acquire and share a sense of SoTL projects in progress or planned on your (or other) campuses.  This may contribute to new ideas and questions, to potential new connections and networks, and to possible cross-disciplinary and/or cross-institutional applications.

In this blog post, I share the names and disciplines as well as the project titles of just a sample of the SoTL research being conducted at Illinois State University. If you want to connect, email addresses for these researchers are available via the search box on the university home page (http://www.illinoisstate.edu). As projects are completed, and as required when accepting funds, recipients submit a representation or summary of the project (paper, power point, poster, blog post…). Once submitted, these summaries can be viewed by clicking on the grant competition title and then the particular project at http://sotl.illinoisstate.edu/grants/.

These projects have received some type of funding from our Office of the Cross Endowed Chair in SoTL via highly competitive grant programs. Sometimes the area of SoTL research was ‘open’; other times, the area was specified in order to gain greater understanding of the impact on our students of a University priority or initiative. Thus, I also share a bit about the goal/purpose and process of each grant program.

I encourage blog readers to comment with related information or links about SoTL research and grant programs on their campuses or in their organizations!

2015–2016 Going Global with SoTL Mini-grants ($1,000 each)

This program provided mini-grants to study the developmental and learning outcomes of Illinois State University students as a result of global, international, or cross-cultural curricular or co-curricular experiences. These experiences could have been part of, for example, an ISU class or program on campus, a study abroad experience, a co-curricular travel and/or volunteer experience, etc. as long as a global/international/cross-cultural component was clearly a major aspect of the assignment, opportunity, or experience. We received and reviewed twelve applications and were able to support five.

  • Study Abroad Experience in Peru and Students’ Development, Aysen Bakir, Marketing
  • Interpreting the Frames: A Study of Six Art Education Students’ Integration of Their Study Abroad in Australia Experience Into Their Classroom Teaching Practices, Judith Briggs, Art
  • History Teacher Candidates and Discipline-Specific Pedagogy: Theory, Policy, andPractice in England and the United States, Richard L. Hughes and Sarah Drake Brown, History
  • Preparing Future Early Childhood Teachers: Furthering InterculturalDialogues among Early Childhood Pre-service Teachers across the Globe, Miranda Lin, School of Teaching and Learning
  • Exploring and Understanding Global Diets from a Sociocultural Perspective: ACase of Pre-service Teachers in Thailand, Taiwan, and the U.S., Do-Yong Park, School of Teaching and Learning

June 2016 SoTL Research Mini-Awards ($700 each)

The purpose of these awards is to provide a small amount of funding to support work on SoTL projects that are currently in progress (e.g., design stage, IRB stage, gathering or analyzing SoTL data, working on a creative or scholarly representation of the SoTL study/results, travel to present SoTL). Selected applicants had to make a convincing case that a SoTL project about ISU students is on-going and that the award will be used for work/activities in the month of June to further the project’s progress, completion, application, or visibility. They also agreed to submit a blog post to The SoTL Advocate about the project by October. Applications about all SoTL topics or research questions were welcome. We received and reviewed twenty-three applications and had the funds to support eight.

  • Investigating Methods for Improving Graduate Student Writing, Becky Achen, Kinesiology and Recreation 
  • Using Interrupted Case Studies to Teach Developmental Theory, Bill Anderson, Family and Consumer Sciences
  • When Privilege and Oppression Becomes ‘Real’ in the Life of Emerging Social Workers, Deneca Avant, Social Work
  • Exploring the Learning Process, Perceptions, and Confidence in Experiential Research Project Scaffolding in Two Allied Health Undergraduate Courses, Jackie Lanier, Health Sciences, Julie Schumacher, Family and Consumer Sciences, and Rachel Vollmer, Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Student Stories of Free Speech Acts on Campus: A Digital Documentary Film, Maria Moore, Communication 
  • Factors Associated with Students’ Integration of Course Content in Online Discussions, Nancy Novotny, Mennonite College of Nursing and Elahe Javadi, Information Technology
  • A Holistic Approach to Learning about Laryngeal Cancer through an Innovative Independent Study Experience, Lisa Vinney, Communication Sciences Disorders
  • Group Contingency Interventions in Special Education Courses, Virginia Walker, Special Education and Kristin Lyon, Special Education

2016–2017 SoTL University Research Grants (about $5,000 each)

The program provides scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) small grants to study the developmental and learning outcomes of ISU students. For 2016-2017, projects must focus on a teaching-learning issue(s) explicitly related to out-of-class learning opportunities experienced by ISU students. This would include, but is not limited to, study abroad, civic engagement experiences, service learning, involvement in co- or extra-curricular activities, and so on. Each proposal, must be from a team of at least one faculty/staff member and at least one student (graduate or undergraduate). Team members may be from the same discipline or include members from more than one discipline. We received and reviewed nineteen proposals and were able to fund or partially fund five.

  • Evaluating Graduate Student Out-of-Class Learning: The Professional Field Trip, Rebecca Achen and Clint Warren, Kinesiology and Recreation
  • Intentional and Integrated Field Experiences’ Contribution to Health Education Teacher Candidate Achievement of Learning Outcomes Relevant to Youth Disproportionately Affected by Health Disparities, Adrian Lyde, Health Sciences
  • Development of Leadership Competence through a Service Learning Project in a Dietetic Internship, Julie Raeder Schumacher, Family and Consumer Sciences
  • Learning through Teaching and Dialogue: A Student-Directed Vocal Health Education Program, Lisa Vinney, Communication Sciences and Disorders
  • Exploring the Potential of a Diverse Set of Service Learning Projects to Increase Dietetics Students’ Self-Efficacy in Nutrition Education, Rachel Vollmer, Family and Consumer Sciences


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Call for Contributors and Reviewers for Volume 5 of Gauisus

The call for contributors and reviewers for the 2016-17 volume of Gauisus, Illinois State University’s internal SoTL publication, has been posted. Redbird faculty, staff, and students — please consider contributing a representation of your SoTL work or submitting your name to review the work of your peers!

Interested in seeing current and past issues of Gauisus? Check them out here!

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Teaching History in a Place with a Different History: A SoTL Study in Progress

Written by: Richard Hughes, Associate Professor of History at Illinois State University and Sarah Drake Brown, Associate Professor of History at Ball State University

In the United States and the United Kingdom, researchers have focused on historical thinking and its implications for teaching and learning in the elementary and secondary schools. Fifteen teaching candidates in Illinois State’s History Department have student taught in Brighton, England over the past 3 years. While this number represents only a small percentage of the program’s student teachers, the teaching candidates’ experience student teaching abroad affords history educators with a valuable research opportunity. With support from Illinois State’s Going Global with SoTL initiative, we designed a study to examine the extent to which varied clinical experiences shape the evolving professional goals and performances of developing teacher candidates in history. We began this project because we believed that analyzing candidates’ student teaching experiences in both central Illinois and in England would enable us to reconsider current classroom and clinical experiences in the history education program at Illinois State as well as contribute to research about future directions in the preparation of history teachers nationwide.

The vast literature on study abroad programs narrows significantly when one’s focus centers on student teaching abroad. Given that our research interests pertain specifically to SoTL in History, we designed research questions that align with our discipline-based research emphasis expanded to the context of a study abroad experience. Three main questions guided our work:

  • How do varied clinical experiences shape the evolving professional goals and performances of developing teacher candidates in history?
  • How do emerging history teachers navigate the tensions between theory and practice in two differing clinical settings?
  • How do experiences working with professional teachers, secondary students, and the general public in two different countries shape the discipline-specific pedagogy of history teacher candidates in terms of ongoing debates over history as content or skills?

While developing our three main research questions, we simultaneously considered what types of evidence we would need to collect from teaching candidates, how to best analyze the evidence, and at what points during the student teaching experience we would collect evidence. Because we sought to have our study intrude as little as possible on the teaching candidates’ student teaching experience, the majority of data collected and analyzed was gathered in the context of assignments and observations that were part of every student teachers’ experience (whether they were participating in study abroad or if their teaching took place entirely in Illinois). Three key aspects of data collection existed: Sarah Drake Brown conducted an interview with the teaching candidates in February when they completed student teaching in central Illinois and just prior to their departure from England; Richard Hughes observed the teaching candidates at schools in Illinois and in England and conducted interviews with the student teachers during his overseas observations; and both researchers interviewed the teaching candidates once they had returned to the United States. At all three points of contact in the context of interviews, we asked the teaching candidates to respond to questions (reworded as appropriate) that reflected the research questions identified previously. In addition, teaching candidates were asked to: describe themselves as history teachers; articulate their goals and values as history teachers; explain how they developed these ideas; and describe a typical day in their classrooms. These questions were purposefully broad and open-ended so that the teaching candidates would have the opportunity to articulate ideas that mattered to them and to their development as teachers rather than responding only to ideas that the researchers had identified as important.

An initial analysis suggests that two of the three student teachers appeared to place greater emphasis on the importance of teaching students discipline-specific ways of thinking and ways of knowing after their experience in England. The third student teacher had stressed the importance of this practice after having taught in central Illinois and continued to address historical thinking after the clinical experience in England. More in-depth analysis of our data is necessary before we are able to offer substantive evidence that supports our initial impression. We plan to examine the interview transcripts, materials teaching candidates submitted (examples of lessons, etc.), and the observation notes Hughes made when observing the candidates both in Illinois and in England in order to identify and then study the themes that emerge from the experiences of these novice history teachers. We anticipate that a close analysis of this data will help us better understand how history education programs and the various contexts of field experiences impact teaching candidates’ learning. It is our intent to examine the work of Illinois State’s teaching candidates—both in the United States and abroad—in order to better inform the practices and approach taken in Illinois State’s history education program and to inform the practices in other history education programs nationally and internationally.