Society & Culture

Local teachers study ways to engage students

Ten area school teachers to study ways to engage students this fall

Athens, Ga. – Ten area school teachers from Clarke, Barrow, Gwinnett, and Rockdale counties and four University of Georgia education researchers will collaborate in a teacher inquiry community this fall to develop ways to help students engage in school.

The group will conduct an in-depth study focusing on how members teach disenfranchised students and the impact of social justice teaching. Members of the group are teacher consultants from the Red Clay Writing Project, a collaboration of UGA faculty and local K-12 teachers who work to help schools improve the teaching of writing. The initiative is funded by a $4,500 grant from the National Writing Project.

College of Education faculty members JoBeth Allen and Bob Fecho, of the department of language and literacy education, and Stephanie Jones, of the department of elementary and social studies education, will lead the program. Christopher Hansen, a doctoral student in children’s literature, will assist.

Allen, a professor in the department of language and literacy education, said the study will help everyone learn about re-engaging learners “whether the learners are 5 or 15.”

The teachers have participated in a two-day Critical Action Research professional learning workshop in which they developed a research agenda for the year. The group will meet monthly beginning in August. Each member of the committee will choose one student and conduct a year-long case study. Participants will also contribute regularly to Tic-Wik, a collaborative website called a wiki whose content can be edited by anyone who has access to it.

“When teachers look closely and systematically at individual students, they come away with larger understandings of all students,” said Fecho, professor and reading education program coordinator.

TIC Participants for fall 2009 include:
— Jen McCreight and Daphne Hall, Harris Elementary School (Clarke County);
— Jenna Thiel, Gaines Elementary School (Clarke County);
— Lindy Cox, Ashley Goodrich and Jane Boyd, Clarke Central High School (Clarke County);
— Andrea Neher, Fowler Drive Elementary School (Clarke County);
— Paige Cole and Becky Hasty, Appalachee High School (Barrow County)
— Angela Battaglia, Collins Hill High School (Gwinnett County); and
— Lisa Hall, Conyers Middle School (Rockdale County).

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