The good news: More kids with learning and other disabilities are participating in inclusive science classrooms. The bad news: Many of them struggle to keep up with their peers. As a result, few students with disabilities take advanced scientific courses. They don’t imagine themselves as engineers or mathematicians.
Technology–ranging from smart phones to Internet games–offers promise for helping those students achieve academically, says Assistant Professor Matt Marino, and it could pique their interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). But what’s the best way to use the technological teaching tools? In an article that will be published in March by the Journal of Special Education Technology, he recommends a research agenda to answer that question. As a result of the article, Matt was asked to co-edit an upcoming issue devoted to STEM and special education.
Matt has explored the technology question with help from a 2009 College of Education faculty research award. Among the other winners last year was Professor Gisela Ernst-Slavit, whose award contributed to her fascinating study of teachers who have English language learners (ELLs) in their classrooms.
Gisela analyzed recordings of lessons given in five upper elementary classrooms. She discovered that even teachers who were well-schooled in ELL techniques used figurative language and expressions that confused or baffled their ELL students. For example, they used sports expression such as touchdown or talked about Uncle Sam. In one math lesson, a teacher used the word “that” five times without clarifying what the word referred to: “We’ll get to that later… That tells us to do what? … Is that top number bigger? … Could we reduce that? … Some of you have figured that out.”
Practicing teachers who are among Gisela’s graduate students are now recording and analyzing their own classroom language, so they can make adjustments. Michele Mason, a student in the teacher leadership Ed.D. program, will accompany Gisela to April’s American Educational Research Association meeting, where the professor will give a keynote address for the Constructivist Theory, Research, and Practice special interest group.
Other faculty news
Associate Professor Lali McCubbin is among 31 nationally and internationally recognized scholars who contributed to the new book Multiethnicity and Multiethnic Families: Development, Identity, and Resilience.
A new revision of Curriculum Leadership: Readings for Developing Quality Educational Programs has been released. Its authors are Professor Forrest Parkay, former WSU faculty member Eric Anctil, and Glen Hass.
Clinical Assistant Professor Kimberly Robertello and her students will present a workshop at the Northwest Athletic Trainers’ Association Annual Meeting in Spokane in late March. Their topic: the use of exergaming in rehabilitation.