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From Classroom Project To Conference Presentation, Education Students Share Research In Kentucky

Members of the Creating Inclusive Learning Environment course recently presented research at the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) conference in Louisville, Kentucky.

The attending students included Lindsey Smith ’24, Isabella DeAmelia ’24, Jordan Peiser ’24, Allison Stermer ’24, and Madison Pelchar ’24. They were joined by Dr. Stephanie Johnson, Elmira College Director of Teacher Education and Assistant Professor of Inclusive Special Education.

The research, titled “Punitive or Restorative? Reflections on Current Teachers' Classroom Management Practices,” began as a class project. Initially, the students were asked to interview two teachers about their classroom management techniques, focusing on how teachers’ classroom management practices have changed due to remote learning during the COVID-19 school closures.

According to Johnson, after hearing about the project, Jordan Peiser asked, “Just two? I bet we could get many more teachers to participate and a much better sample if we make a survey and send it out to every administrator.”

Everyone agreed. The class put together a cross-sectional survey, which collected data about the teachers' demographics, their philosophies of classroom management, and their current classroom-management challenges.

In the end, the class received 126 responses. Participants included teachers in all grades and content areas from pre-kindergarten to grade 12 from 23 schools across rural, suburban, and urban New York and Pennsylvania. The class then put an analysis together from the data they collected and developed a research poster for the CEC conference.

“The students did most of the presenting,” said Johnson. “It was a really powerful moment for me as a professor to observe my students joining in professional conversations. At the conference, there were many large higher education institutions represented as well as teachers from school districts across the country.”

“It was truly a great and memorable experience for me,” said DeAmelia. “Doing research was a lot of fun and getting to analyze the data and really dig deep into the information was a valuable experience. Then, getting to be the one in charge and presenting to higher institutions and professors was a really great opportunity.”

While at the conference, the students also connected with teachers from the greater Elmira region, including an elementary teacher from Campbell-Savona who is leading similar research for her district.

“I’m excited about the connections we made and the possibility to coordinate and do more research with teachers from our region. This also opened the door to additional student teaching opportunities,” said Johnson.

“This conference was an experience for me that I will never forget as a professor,” she added. “I got to know the students beyond the classroom and I encourage other professors to find experiences like this whenever possible.”

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