ASU Teacher Education professor presents at conference

(11-20-2014)

Colorado K12 teachers on the Adams State University campus learning effective methods of teaching STEM courses

Colorado K12 teachers spent July 13 through July 25, 2014, on the Adams State University campus learning effective methods of teaching STEM courses, especially to English learners, as part of the Title III SEEDS grant.

On November 14, Dr. Joel Judd, Adams State University teacher education professor, and three Colorado teachers presented "EL Perceptions of K-12 STEM Classrooms" at the 38th Annual Colorado Conference for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (CoTESOL).

The three teachers, participants in Adams State's Title III STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and Educational Excellence for Diverse Students (SEEDS) grant, included Kelly von Stroh, Animas Valley Elementary in Durango.; Machin Norris, Highland Middle in Ault; and Katrina Hanger, Bricker Elementary in Colorado Springs.

Each reported on a classroom climate survey given to their English language learners at the beginning and end of each year, which provides feedback on students' perceptions of how classroom time is spent, the extent to which different activities help them learn, and their attitudes about the usefulness of STEM subject matter.

Each teacher used the survey for different purposes. One compared how students thought they learned best with actual classroom activities. Another used student feedback to emphasize real-world connections to their science activities. All three reported on the benefits of using student feedback as part of their classroom and school improvement efforts. According to Judd, the use of classroom surveys is becoming more widespread in schools, and in some cases is part of the evidence used to evaluate teachers under the new accountability legislation.

Adams State SEEDS Project is a five-year National Professional Development grant which recruits licensed K12 teachers for the Colorado Culturally Linguistically Diverse (CLD) endorsement. Project SEEDS especially focuses on improving the participation and achievement of English learners.

The goals of the project are to 1) increase the number of English learners enrolling in STEM courses and 2) increase the achievement of English learners in those courses. "To achieve these goals we are providing teachers with content courses, sheltered instruction techniques, and school year follow up with classroom visits," Judd said.

Also at the conference, Leticia Ingram, graduate of a previous Adams State Title III grant and teacher at Basalt High School in Basalt, was recognized as English as a Second Language Teacher of the Year.