Union University
Union University School of Education's Education Research Forum
Memphis Skyline
Fifth Annual Education Research Forum


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Thursday, September 22, 2011

10:00 - 11:15 Registration & snacks
11:15 - 11:30 Greetings - Rm 100


  • Jennifer Grove, Ed.D., Professor of Education, Assistant Dean of Education
  • Jimmy H. Davis, Ph.D., University Professor of Chemistry, Vice President for the Regional Campuses


  • Kendall Easley, Ph.D., Professor of Biblical Studies, Academic Programs Director, Olford Center & Germantown Campuses
11:30 - 1:10 Opening Session: Lunch & Opening Keynote - Rm 100


Dr. Thomas R. RosebroughOpening Keynote:
Beyond the Tyranny of the Present: What We Know and What Matters in Instructional Practice
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Tom Rosebrough, Ph.D.
Executive Dean, College of Education and Human Studies, Union University

1:10 - 1:25 Break
1:25 - 2:15 Breakout Session: Post hole digging
  • Language's Glass Ceiling - Rm 216
    Robin Scott, Ph.D.
    Memphis Teacher Residency
  • "Broken" and "Stained Glass" Windows: Creating School Cultures that Help our Students Succeed - Rm 100
    David Hill, Ed.D.
    Jubilee Schools
2:30 - 3:20 Discussion session - Rm 100
Principals panel about improving outcomes
3:30 - 3:40 Wrap up, Closing Remarks & Door Prize Drawing
4:00 - 8:00 Memphis Tour & Dinner (optional)

Friday, September 23, 2011

8:00 - 8:30 Continental Breakfast Rm 100
8:30 - 8:40 Greetings & Door Prize Drawing Rm 100
8:50 - 9:40 Session 1
  • From Pride through Prejudice: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Dialogue of At-Risk and Privileged Learners - Rm 110
    Carren M. Gallaher, Ed.D.
    Language and the physical articulation of the spoken word can reveal not only one's level of academic competence but also his or her degree of assimilation into the expectations of the dominant culture. From a study examining student dialogue in both standard-level and honors-level high school English courses, two illustrative cases will be presented that offer both inspiring and haunting insights into the dynamics of race and social class as they are asserted and subverted in the learning environment. Critical Discourse Analysis applied to these two cases can inform and caution educators as to the potential language has to be the currency of power assertion in the classroom.
  • Coming to Understand the Influences on and Artifacts of Learning - Rm 114
    Michael M. Grant, Ph.D.
    Learning artifacts are tangible representations of an individual's learning. However, they are limited in their ability to completely reflect all the learning by an individual. It is important to understand learning artifacts because learning and the products of learning are individualized for the learner and by the learner. By understanding the products of learning, as well as the developmental process of these products, there may be a more complete understanding of what has been learned by the individual. This manuscript attempts to understand the creation of learning artifacts, as well as the influences on learning artifacts. A model is proposed to understand how learning products are generated and an example case from our research is illustrated.
  • Intercultural Competence among First-Year College Students - Rm 121
    Jason Castles, M.Ed.
    The purpose of this study was to examine the differences in intercultural competence among a cohort of college freshmen at a faith-based institution. Results offer implications for secondary and higher education institutions.
9:50 - 10:40 Session 2
  • Preparing Preservice Teachers to Succeed in the Diverse Classroom - Rm 104
    Reba Barkley, Ed.D., Jo Ann Higginbotham, D.A., & William Kamm, Ed.D.
    Presenters in this session will address the framework of a teacher education course that builds awareness of diverse learners, as well as provides active participation and interaction with diverse groups. The course also includes a personal reflection and analysis of one's own socialization. Presenters will also share examples of how this learning is extended to university cross-cultural trips. Class discussions and activities are planned utilizing well known researchers such as Ruby Payne and Kenneth Cushner. Dr. Payne is known for her extensive research on poverty and its effects in the classroom. Dr. Cushner's research focuses on how culture is learned, including the socializing agents. Teacher candidates are actively engaged in building global awareness through various avenues. First, candidates participate in 20 hours of field experience: 10 hours in school settings with student populations comprised of racial or ethnic groups (African-American and Hispanic) that are predominately different from our student population. Additionally, candidates complete 10 hours tutoring an English Language Learner (ELL). After their tutoring experience, students write a personal reflection of specific knowledge, attitudes, and values about diverse groups and how information on these interpretations and perceptions was acquired and transmitted. Candidates examine Cushner's socializing agents in their lives (family, church, print media, school, sports, peer groups, community, etc.), analyze the impact of those agents on their view of a specific diverse group, and assess the experiences gained from the course on their beliefs about this group. In addition to the socialization paper, students present a brief summary of how their experiences influence their lives as citizens in a global society and as prospective teachers of diverse students. An outgrowth of this process has been the development of a textbook addressing diversity from a Christian perspective. The process as well as the product will be briefly reviewed.
  • Meeting the Challenges of Response to Intervention: How Classroom Teachers are Implementing Reading Interventions in Primary Classrooms - Rm 110
    Valerie Zelenka, Ph.D.
    A portion of the 2004 reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, 2004), Response to Intervention (RTI), aims to prevent unnecessary student placement in special education. The intent of RTI is to provide all students with effective classroom instruction first and afford low-performing students with increasingly intensive, individualized interventions (Fuchs, Fuchs, & Vaughn, 2008). Although there is considerable information available in regard to the effectiveness of the multi-tiered model of the Response to Intervention approach to deliver intervention services to struggling readers (Speece & Walker, 2007), very little is known about implementing RTI in the schools (Allington, 2009). This study investigated how three kindergarten classroom teachers, located in two elementary schools, delivered Tier 2 literacy instruction to kindergarten struggling readers within the Response to Intervention model in the classroom setting. Multiple data sources were gathered from interviews with administrators and teachers, guided conversations with students, classroom observations and field notes, and documents/artifacts. Data were collected and analyzed during three phases of the study. This study's findings established that in the new era of Response to Intervention, teachers were able to apply literacy instructional approaches and pedagogy based on their teaching philosophy to address the needs of at-risk struggling readers within the kindergarten classroom environment. However, data analysis revealed dissimilar perceptions of the three case study teachers regarding their roles and responsibilities teaching literacy within the Response to Intervention approach which influenced how they delivered Tier 2 intervention instruction. Data analysis also revealed the student participant benefits included positive attitudes towards reading, students' perception of themselves as self-confident and motivated readers, development of an emerging love of reading, and enjoyment of practicing their reading skills in small groups.
  • The Effect of Mentoring on Mentors' and Mentored Non-Tenured Teachers' Perceived Self-Efficacy - Rm 114
    Michele Atkins, Ph.D. & Connie Vincent, Ed.S.
    Session presenters will discuss the results of mixed method design research recently conducted that examined the impact of a mentoring program on the perceived teacher self-efficacy of mentors and mentored non-tenured teachers in a small public school district in West Tennessee.
  • The Promise of Mobile Learning in Higher Education: Affordances, Implementations, & Challenges - Rm 121
    Michael M. Grant, Ph.D. & Joanne Gikas, Ed.D.
    Mobile teaching and learning in higher education is approaching a tipping point. One of the most significant promises of mobile learning is the ability for faculty members, teachers, and students to use their own mobile computing devices. In the US, 75% of American teens have cell phones and almost 30% have smartphones with Internet capabilities. In universities, the numbers appear to be much higher. It seems instructionally sound and fiscally prudent for institutions and faculty members to leverage the existing devices in which students are most comfortable. The purpose of this paper is to (1) critically examine the definitions and affordances of mobile learning in higher education, (2) identify the ways mobile teaching and learning have been and could be accomplished in higher education, (3) identify the challenges to implementing mobile teaching and learning in higher education.
10:50 - 11:40 Session 3
  • Partnership and C.A.R.E. (Culture, Abilities, Resilience, Effort): Methods and Materials for Preparing Culturally Competent Pre-Service Teachers - Rm 104
    Kathy Pillow-Price, Ed.D., Kim Crosby, M.Ed., & Lloyd Hervey, Ed.D.
    Preliminary 2010 Census results confirm that minorities are expected to become the U.S. majority over the next 40 years, yet that changing social order is not always reflected in small liberal arts teacher preparation programs. In these settings, providing historically less diverse candidates with instruction on how to meet the needs of diverse learners can be challenging. Two key components of meeting this challenge at Lyon College involve partnering with other colleges of teacher education in our state and utilizing materials developed by the National Education Association (NEA). The C.A.R.E. (Culture, Abilities, Resilience, Effort) materials from the NEA focus on the themes of cultural, economic, and language differences; unrecognized and undeveloped abilities; the power of resilience; and the importance of effort and motivation. The materials were originally designed to provide professional development to current teachers, but have now been adapted to offer pre-service teachers research-based suggestions on creating learning environments in which low-income and/or culturally and linguistically diverse students can learn. During C.A.R.E. training, participants learn strategies for culturally relevant instruction. The C.A.R.E. Guide is available free online through the National Education Association and the active learning training workshop that accompanies the C.A.R.E. guide can be made available through any NEA state affiliate by a C.A.R.E. training provider. By partnering with the National Education Association and other colleges of education in our state to provide C.A.R.E. training, Arkansas teacher education candidates are now cooperatively delving into resources to learn how to be successful with ALL students.
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching Using the Understanding by Design Framework - Rm 110
    Blanche Glimps, Ph.D., Judy Alhamisi, Ed.D. & Chukwunyere E. Okezie, Ph.D.
    All too often, the academic skills of culturally diverse students are misunderstood and diminished resulting in a level of disconnectedness in the teaching and learning process. Culturally responsive instruction and curriculum can help improve academic skills. One such method is "Understanding by Design." This is a best practice technique for facilitating student understanding more by design than by good fortune. This presentation will describe the use of this framework, developed by Grant Wiggins and Jay McTighe, to better prepare pre-service teachers to promote culturally and linguistically diverse students' academic success.

    According to Wiggins and McTighe (2004), - key three understandings about understanding:

    • Understanding is about wise use of knowledge and skill - effective "transfer"
    • Understandings are counterintuitive inferences, not just more "knowledge"
    • Without understanding: amnesia and inert knowledge

    Wiggins and McTighe identifies 4 key understandings - about design:

    • A sound plan refers to the few key desired learnings, the desired output; not the many 'teachings' and activities, the inputs
    • The design must be transparent to the learner; the student must understand the priorities
    • We have to design backward from desired performance, not desired content mastery - content mastery is a means to ability
    • The best plans are both purposeful and flexible: the, greater the clarity of our goals, the easier it is to adjust in a timely and effective way.

    The presentation will introduce participants to the Understanding by Design framework and how it can be used in the preparation of teachers for culturally diverse classrooms. Presenters will discuss the characteristics of understanding by design, including the types of questions that stimulate design thinking.


  • Survivor Diversity Island - Building a Strong Alliance - Rm 114
    Delia D. Price, Ed.D. & Jorge A. Sandoval, M.Ed.

    Theodore Roosevelt said, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care."

    Teaching in any environment is enhanced by strong relationship. With students from high needs environments, it is essential for student success. In this session we will look at parent perspective, student perspective, and practitioner perspective in utilizing effective classroom practices to develop strong relationships as well as enhance student academic achievement. Creating an environment that encourages respect among all members of the class must be developed with intentionality. This requires that members of the classroom community engage in practices that facilitate knowing one another as individuals despite differences in strengths, backgrounds, learning preferences, or physical appearance.

    How do we let students know that we care about them and about their learning? Building bonds from day one sets the tone for the relationship that will continue throughout the year. Through simple strategies a teacher can make a difference in the student that declares, "We are in this together." High impact strategies that are content rich can enhance student achievement and continue to develop strong relationships teacher to student, student to teacher, and student to student. Student self-confidence can be fostered and higher expectations achieved if the student has opportunity for successes that are acknowledged by a teacher who truly believes in the student and communicates that belief.

    Leave this session with strategies that can make a difference in your classroom next week.

  • A Nation's Moral Failing: Disposable Youth in a Democratic Society - Rm 121
    Theron N. Ford, Ph.D.
    Educational theorists from Confucius to Mann, extol the value of an educated citizenry to repay the society and help maintain democratic principles. This essay examines the manner in which the United States society is repaid by undereducating, African American males. Special education programs disproportionately label these youth as having an emotional disorder, a determination with multiple negative ramifications for the youth and the society. Education alone is not the remedy. There must be a reduction of poverty and racism, with comprehensive mental health programs. Failure to do so calls into question the nature of our democracy and suggests there are fundamental flaws and the nation will continue to experience a fraying of its social fabric. Worse still, the nation will continue to destroy and dispose of it most valuable resource, its youth. Shared with the audience are community efforts that make a difference in the lives of America's poor minority youth.
11:50 - 12:50 Lunch - Rm 100
1:00 - 1:50 Session 4
  • Preparing Culturally Proficient Preservice Teachers for the New Millennium: Experiential Learning and Mentorship in Urban Schools - Rm 104
    Moses B. Rumano, Ph.D.
    Twenty-first century predictions of a highly diverse urban student population have transitioned into a reality that administrators, policy makers, community leaders, and teachers have to contend with. Many urban schools are predominantly served by European American teachers whose intercultural exposure and experience in diversity might be limited. The deep underlying structural challenges that are faced by urban schools manifest themselves in a plethora of multiple dimensions. An unprecedented high rate of student drop out, perpetual low test scores, and high teacher turnover among other problems obliterate the prospects of a quick lasting panacea to urban education programs. While this paper does not claim to have a silver bullet to all the problems plaguing urban schools, it advocates for a new paradigm shift in teacher preparation through experiential learning and mentorship of preservice teachers. This paper is grounded in a pragmatic theoretical construct and seeks to transform the current urban school challenges into learning moments that will give new impetus and vibrancy to the urban schools in our globalized society. It is my position that an experiential educator's role is to organize and facilitate direct experiences of phenomenon under the assumption that this will lead to genuine (meaningful and long-lasting) competent teaching and learning through mentorship in urban schools. This often also requires thorough preparatory and reflective exercises that will enhance the efficacy and cultural proficiency of preservice teachers serving in urban schools in the new millennium.
  • Teaching with Web Tools: Characteristics, Implications, and Limitations - Rm 114
    Michael M. Grant, Ph.D. & Suha Tamim
    Like the variety of Web 2.0 applications, theories of learning and instructional models are also primarily content independent. So it is left up to the teacher educator to match learner characteristics, content, pedagogy and technologies. This presentation will concentrate on the use of Web 2.0 technologies in contemporary constructivist and cognitivist learning environments. We will present the characteristics of Web 2.0 tools to support teaching and learning, including low threshold applications, a variety of tools and models, as well as access to tools and knowledge. Finally, we will identify the limitations and challenges that exist with using these tools, such as immature applications, longevity of applications, number of applications, unconsolidated services and security and ethics.
2:00 - 2:50 Session 5
  • Understanding the Urgent Need of Urban Students - Rm 104
    Arthur L. Scott, Ed.S.
    As the battle continues in the academic arena against a multitude of obstacles hindering society's progress, the need to improve urban teaching oftentimes goes unnoticed (Haberman, 2005). This neglect is precisely why research in this area is so important in discussions about educational reform. Furthermore, if the needs of urban student are ignored by their teachers, the existing gap in knowledge in terms of addressing these issues continues to expand for the sake of maintaining the status quo (Banks & Banks, 2009; Smith & Smith, 2009). The question is, "how do we prepare teachers who are capable to serve urban students effectively?" Haberman (2005) coined the term "Star teacher" to describe individuals who persevere beyond the period of teacher attrition in urban schools to complete a full tenure of exceptional service (Haberman, 2005). Multiple teacher preparation programs have been researched to determine how this question is addressed. Some programs emphasize a collaborative effort between institutions of higher learning, the school districts, and all respective stakeholders (Newton, Jang, Nunes, & Stone, 2010; Burstein, Czech, Kretschmer, Lombardi, & Smith, 2009). Other programs strive to expose preservice teachers to urban environments under the guidance of skilled mentors and using stories that reflect urban cultures to break down barriers (Ullucci, 2010). The need to determine effective mentors is also a crucial factor in successfully preparing preservice teachers of urban students (Yendol-Hoppey, Jacobs, & Dana, 2009). Other programs focus on equipping preservice teachers with the understanding of the many inequalities that confine progress towards a pluralistic society (Smith & Smith, 2009). Haberman (2005) even developed a prescreener that attempts to measure the likelihood of individuals to be Star Teachers. However, many of the aforementioned components are not mutually exclusive, and research in this area is of the utmost importance (Burns, Grande, & Marable, 2008).
  • The Relationship Between Student Performance on Missouri Assessment Program and Teachers' Classroom Grading Practices - Rm 110
    Anne-Marie Pratt, Ed.S.
    After No Child Left Behind Act was passed, public school districts to comply with the new requirements. Classroom assessment practices must align with state assessments in order for school districts to meet Annual Yearly Progress (AYP) as mandated by NCLB. In comparison, grading practices utilized in public school districts have also not aligned with state assessments. Despite the intentions of the changed state assessment systems, current grade practices do not connect to them. For this study, student samples will be pulled from sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade populations of three school districts located in Missouri. This study will use a proactive ex post facto research design with the subjects (i.e., students) grouped on the based on the basis of an independent variable (e.g., sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade grade levels or ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and gender for sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade students). Using this research design, the researcher will then compare the preexisting groups on measures of dependent variables (e.g., communication arts and mathematics MAP standard scores for sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade students and communication arts and mathematics final numerical grades for sixth-, seventh-, and eighth-grade students).
  • Bilingualism in Urban Education - Rm 121
    Renita Forbes Perry, Ed.S.
    The United States is often referred to as a country of immigrants who have brought various ethnicities, language, and customs. From the start of public education, our schools have often reflected the diversity of the US. Since the inception of the Bilingual Act in 1968, the United States has struggled to provide an adequate education the majority of immigrant and non-English language background students. In recent years with the accountability movement sparking educational reform in the United States, not only is there an enormous educational gap between English Language Learners and Whites but also an even bigger gap between Whites and African-Americans and the gap continues to widen for these subgroups. However, Dual Language programs have closed the gap for English Language Learners and their monolinguistic peers while promoting bilingualism and biliteracy for all students who have participated in these programs. But, the representations of African-American students who are enrolled in these programs are minimal. In this paper, there will be explorations of the academic achievement, linguistic and literacy proficiencies in English and Spanish of both African- Americans and Hispanics, who are enrolled in an urban Dual Language (DL) program and they are the majority, as compared to their monolinguistic peers in a low-poverty, urban school.
3:00 - 4:00 Anissa ListakClosing Keynote - Rm 100
Teacher Residencies: A New Movement in Teacher Preparation
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Anissa Listak
Founder & Executive Director, Urban Teacher Residency United (UTRU)

4:00 - 4:15 Closing Remarks & Final Door Prize Drawing