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College of Education awards internal research and scholarship support for 2020-21

Each year, the College of Education (COE) provides internal support for faculty research and scholarship projects in efforts to support the institutional research agenda of the College, have a significant impact on the college’s outreach to P-12 and community constituents, and enhance the college’s capacity to conduct significant education scholarship. The COE hosts opportunities for internal research/scholarship support by competitively reviewing annual proposals for seed grant funding as well as requests for a research assistant position filled by a current graduate student.

The College’s Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Committee awarded funding for four projects in Spring 2020, and one one research assistantship for 2020-2021 was granted to a College faculty member. Applications were reviewed by the Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Committee who served as the advisory body to the senior leadership team, including the dean.

Faculty members Anne Katz, Ph.D., Amanda Glaze-Crampes, Ph.D., Selçuk Dogan, Ph.D., and Aslihan Unal, Ph.D. (collaboratively), and Juliann Sergi McBrayer, Ed.D., were recipients of internal seed grant funding. Sally Brown, Ph.D. was awarded the research assistantship.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Katz_Anne.jpgAnne Katz, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Curriculum, Foundations and Reading, is completing a literacy study in which middle school students from a local urban school will simultaneously complete a project alongside pre-service teachers at Georgia Southern. All students will read short stories from “Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks” by Jason Reynolds, as well as complete reflective journal entries, participate in literature circle discussions, and draft place-based writing short stories inspired by the text. Middle school students will create arts-based collages that connect to their writing. At the completion of the book, students will visit the University classroom to participate in writing and visual literacy conferences with the COE’s pre-service teachers, allowing them to provide literacy instruction and coaching.

Katz plans to follow up with the pre-service teachers by conducting a post-study survey and semi-structured interviews to have them describe their identity as a literacy teacher.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Glaze-Amanda.jpgAmanda Glaze-Crampes, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Department of Middle Grades and Secondary Education, will be purchasing 3-D classroom materials for teacher education research conducted in-field while teaching human evolution in Georgia. Glaze-Crampes is actively engaged in the Human Evolution Summer Teaching Workshop in partnership with the University of Florida, where conversations about evolution are viewed through an anthropological lens. This approach provides students with hands-on learning opportunities with 3-D replicas printed, to scale, of actual fossils vital to the study of human evolution. 

Her research will then seek to quantify the impact of a human evolution teaching unit on student achievement and student/teacher perceptions of evolution as guided by the question: Does the implementation of a human evolution teaching unit with embedded strategies for conflict mitigation and 3-D printed materials positively impact student performance relative to evolution content? Following the study, the 3-D replicas will be permanently housed within the College for teachers to check out for use in their classrooms. 
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Selçuk Dogan, Ph.D., and Aslihan Unal, Ph.D., faculty members in the Department of Elementary and Special Education, are focusing on the importance of ongoing improvement and evaluation of graduate online education courses.

“The purpose of our non-experimental, mixed-method design study is to examine the perceived effect of an innovative, new generation course on teachers’ knowledge and skills essential to instructional planning and teaching methods,” said Unal.

Dogan and Unal will conduct before and after interviews with eight teachers varying in years of experience. Data as well as performance and artifacts from the teachers’ performance will demonstrate current and improved pedagogical competencies and evidence a bigger picture of the intersection of teachers’ perception and actual practice. The results of this research will suggest how innovative elements such as facilitation, peer review, teacher-teacher interaction, and group work, are effective in improving teachers’ knowledge and practice and open a door for the benefits of using sophisticated ways for teachers’ professional learning in online environments.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is McBrayer_Juliann-1.jpgJuliann Sergi McBrayer, Ed.D., assistant professor in the Department of Leadership, Technology and Human Development, is partnering with a colleague from Stephen F. Austin State University, Summer Pannell, Ph.D., to explore the impact of restorative discipline practices on rural schools. Restorative discipline offers a more holistic approach to behavior management by placing value on personal change rather than compliance. McBrayer and Pannell will provide virtual education and development on restorative discipline practices to the leadership of elementary and secondary schools in rural Southeast Georgia to assist with a top-down approach for change in the schools’ practices. While research on the effectiveness of restorative practices has been conducted in urban schools, there is a gap in literature supporting the impact on rural schools.

“Perhaps the most important, and most highly debated, responsibility of today’s principal is to provide a safe learning environment for students and staff,” said McBrayer. “To combat rise in violence and unwanted behavior, many schools have adopted zero tolerance policies that place an emphasis on rule-following and consequences that are predetermined regardless of the mitigating circumstances or situational content. Restorative discipline can offer an approach that acknowledges the importance of relationship building and builds a cohesive, positive school climate. These practices promote healthy decision-making skills.”
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Brown-Sally-WEB.pngIn efforts to support research in a variety of ways, the College also awarded a research assistant position to a faculty member for the 2020-2021 academic year for research/scholarship support. Sally Brown, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Curriculum, Foundations and Reading was awarded this position after a competitive review of proposals.

Brown is currently working on a project titled “Valuing Emergent Bilinguals as Literate Beings.” The project draws from two previous years of data collection at an elementary school which will be combined with additional work in the field. In-depth analyses will examine the ways emergent bilinguals interact with their English-only peers using multiple modes for communication purposes. Specifically, semiotic sources will be investigated that illustrate the ways emergent bilinguals make meaning from read alouds. In other words, how can teachers tap into the strengths students bring to reading comprehension experiences? This research counters deficit practices found in many classrooms across the U.S. and offers educators specific strategies to act against print-centric school curricula. 

The COE Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity Committee became a standing committee in 2007 and awarded its first grant in November 2008. Current members of the COE Research Committee include: Antonio Gutierrez de Blume, Ph.D.; Alma Stevenson, Ph.D., chair; Carl “Kip” Sorgen, Ph.D.; Ellen Whitford, Ed.D.; Beverly Miller, Ph.D.; Barbara Serianni, Ph.D.; Amanda Glaze, Ph.D.; and Alex Reyes, Ph.D.


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