By: Michelle Klampe | Oregon State University News & Research

In Oregon State University’s College of Education, nearly 100 students in teacher preparation programs this year have faced an extraordinary challenge: learning how to be K-12 teachers in the midst of a global pandemic that closed schools, left many children learning from home and tested even the most seasoned educators.

Oregon State’s future teachers have embraced the moment with grace, flexibility, creativity and perseverance.

“What we have asked of them is just incredible,” said Sara Wright, senior instructor and program lead for the Undergraduate Double Degree and Master’s of Science programs. “I have been really impressed with how they’ve faced this challenge.”

The pandemic has offered important lessons for current and future teachers about educational equity, such as disparities in student access to the Internet; use of technology as a tool for student engagement; collaboration with other teachers; and adapting instruction to meet learners where they are.

Kiley Pugh is student-teaching science to middle- and high-schoolers in Corvallis this year. The shift to virtual instruction helped her learn how to present material and engage with pupils in many different ways, and Pugh is excited to put those skills to use as students return to in-person instruction, she said.

“It really forces you to think about how students learn,” said Pugh, who is pursuing a master’s in science education. “I think this experience will make me a more flexible teacher. Things just aren’t always going to go according to plan. And I’ll have a really good understanding of how to use technology in an in-person classroom after this.”

College instructors have mastered new methods for pupil engagement in an online world alongside the teacher candidates they are supervising. College faculty have also shared their skills and knowledge with the broader education community, developing a web page with resources and support for K-12 teachers and rapidly rolling out a new seminar on teaching with technology for OSU students and faculty as well as teachers in the community last spring and summer.

Sara Wiger, a doctoral student who supervises teaching candidates and also works as an intervention specialist at Husky Elementary School in Corvallis, said her teaching candidates have demonstrated a tremendous ability to engage with their students, even though they didn’t get much if any actual classroom time with them in the fall and winter.

“You could tell they missed being with their students, but they still found ways to connect with them and learn who they are,” Wiger said. “They gained a lot of important teaching skills they wouldn’t normally get, such as learning how to adapt the curriculum to make it work for learners in a variety of settings and situations.”

“One of my teaching candidates used Google Slides to adapt a reading lesson for use online, building all of the steps of the lesson, such as vocabulary prompts, into the slides,” Wiger said. “It made it very accessible to all learners and everyone could participate.”

College of Education administrators and faculty have worked tirelessly to ensure that teaching candidates had appropriate field placements and met the requirements needed to earn their degrees and teaching licenses.

The flexibility of the program allowed Marjorie Baker, an undergraduate pursuing a double degree, to complete her final year of college at home in Kotzebue, Alaska, rather than return to Corvallis. She is student teaching kindergarten in her hometown this year. She hoped staying home would give her a better chance for in-person teaching, which she has been doing since January.

Marjorie and Kelsy
Marjorie and Kelsy in Alaska

“We have been in-person since mid-January,” Baker said. “I am so glad to have this in-person experience during my student teaching year. I feel like it has been a much better representation of what teaching in the future will be like.”

Kelsy Weber, who is pursuing a master’s in mathematics education, also ended up in Kotzebue at the last minute after her original student teaching placement fell through. Weber, a native of Vale, Oregon, is teaching high school math. In Kotzebue, COVID case counts determined whether classes could be in person or not. Weber quickly learned to plan her lessons in multiple formats, in case conditions changed.

 “We really didn’t know from day to day how things were going to go, so we learned to adapt,” she said. “And I’m learning a lot about what my students need from me as a teacher.”

In a virtual world, teachers cannot rely on traditional instructional approaches. They also can’t rely on body language and facial expressions for cues about pupil engagement, said Associate Dean Randy Bell.

As a result, student teachers this year have learned to innovate with technology, getting creative in their use of Zoom breakout rooms and relying extensively on chat messaging to engage with their students. In some cases, they were also able to assist their cooperating teachers with the technological aspects of virtual school.

“Our students have skills that really help in this online environment,” Bell said. “It has been amazing to see our students teaching lessons while simultaneously monitoring and responding to students in a chat. It’s a very complicated and challenging way to teach and our student teachers have risen to the occasion.”

Cass Dykeman in a mask volunteering to help vaccine efforts

Cass Dykeman, Counseling Professor at the College of Education, is getting out there to help the community.


He says: “I was a volunteer at the Covid Vaccine Clinic this morning at Reser Stadium. I thought it might be great to show CoEd personnel at work to aid the vaccination effort. A lot of my family is involved with health care and I wanted to do something too. So when the call went out for volunteers to help with the vaccine clinic this morning at Reser Stadium I signed up to ferry people that needed assistance getting from the parking lot to Gate C via one of OSU’s golf carts since I am approved for driving with the motor pool. It was cold but it felt great to help out in any way I could. The clinic was extremely well run and I would encourage any of my CoEd colleagues to volunteer too!”

More info about the OSU TRACE program

OSU’s COVID resource site

Recently, Oregon State University held the 39th Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration.

At this event, President Alexander announced the creation of the President’s Commission on the Status of Black Faculty and Staff Affairs to be co-chaired by Terrance Harris, the director of the Lonnie B. Harris Black Cultural Center, and our very own, Dr. Tenisha Tevis, an Assistant Professor in Adult and Higher Education at the College of Education.

Dr. Tevis is also the 2021 recipient of the Frances Dancy Hooks Award which recognizes Oregon State students, staff or faculty who exemplify Frances Dancy Hooks’ work: building bridges across cultures, showing courage in promoting diversity, and proudly “Walking the Talk.”

Zoom meeting

Can middle schoolers learn computer science concepts using tabletop games? How about during a pandemic, when classroom interaction takes place remotely?

Oregon State University researchers are working closely with teachers to develop an innovative curriculum designed to broaden participation in computer science classes.

Associate Professor and Education Ph.D. Program Chair, Soria Colomer, speaks in the podcast below.

“Soria Colomer was the one giving advice there. She is an associate professor of education and the English-language learner consultant on the grant. “

-Robertson

🎧 Listen now to Engineering Out Loud » beav.es/JGm

Kristen Nielsen
(Above) Dr. Kristen Nielsen

Dr. Kristen Nielsen brings nearly twenty years of teaching, research, and leadership experience in education to her new position with the College of Education at Oregon State University. Dr. Nielsen has extensive experience in program development, assessment, and leadership in higher education and has held several leadership roles in teacher education at the University of Calgary, Boston University, and the University of Massachusetts Lowell. She has directed the planning and redesign of undergraduate curriculum, developed school and community partnership programs, and served as an advocate for social justice, diversity, and inclusion in education.
 
Dr. Nielsen is a specialist in literacies, languages, and language arts, and she has researched and instructed courses in language and literacies for a number of years. She has recently developed courses on migration and schooling practice, with a focus on inclusive and differentiated literacy practices in the U.S., Canada, and Europe, and has served as invited faculty member and presenter at the University of Regensburg, Germany and Tufts University. Her current research explores international and comparative approaches to curriculum development and teaching practice in support of linguistically and culturally diverse learners. She has also studied writing pedagogy for adolescents through higher education and led writing program development and assessment in higher education. Her research in writing focuses on learner-differentiated practice in writing instruction and self-assessment pedagogies. Her work can be viewed in the Journal of Research in ReadingEducational Review, and Adult Learning, among other publications.

April LaGue and Arien Muzacz
April LaGue (left) and Arien Muzacz (right)

By: Lucielle Wones

April LaGue and Arien Muzacz both have long histories in education. April grew up seeing her sister in education and wanted to do something similar. She decided, though, that she preferred the non-teacher aspects of working with students, prompting her to go into counseling. She has been a counselor for 13 schools under grant and student assisting programs. April’s research background focuses on math anxiety and social well-being. Arien’s career in counseling started back in middle school, where she was a peer counselor for her classmates. This sparked a lifelong interest in the field, though her path was less linear. She was the first in her immediate family to complete college and worked in legal and non-profit settings before she returned to her first love of counseling by pursuing a Master’s degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Arien’s research agenda emphasizes diversity and social justice, including health disparities in the areas of substance use and sexual health along with topics in aging, sexuality, addiction, and counselor education and supervision. In addition, Arien and April are both outspoken supporters and members of the LGBTQ community and commit to creating an environment that is safe, healthy, and allows underrepresented voices to have a say. They want the clinical and school sides of counseling to work together and embrace professional unity while increasing equity of opportunity for all their students.

April and Arien are currently focusing on the teaching and learning aspects of pedagogy in online and hybrid counselor education programs. They are co-investigators on a study funded by the Ecampus Research Fellows program to examine the impacts of providing a hybrid orientation to Master’s students in Counseling on students’ self-efficacy and perceptions of wellness. Ecampus’ M.Coun program is part-time and offered in a hybrid (in-person and online) format, which appeals to non-traditional students who may have significant responsibilities within their own communities. Last year, faculty built and piloted orientation models to give students the opportunity to learn about program requirements and Ecampus and OSU resources and to form a bridge between educational backgrounds and classroom expectations. This “virtual mentorship” gives a way to connect with the students more directly before they meet in person in a space that is safe, secure, accessible, and equitable. Their research collects data from students before and after the orientation to evaluate changes in students’ self-efficacy and wellness in response to their active engagement with the online learning modules. 

Once April and Arien publish their findings, they hope that they can use them to help improve the quality of online teaching and advising in counselor education and to consult with other institutions in developing their programs. They believe all grad programs should have an orientation with advisors to connect with. The hybrid model that the Ecampus uses has a lot of potential, and their work aims to prove and popularize the many ways that online orientations can provide students with the tools they need to succeed. Currently, they don’t have access to the big grants that the hard sciences do, though they’re very grateful for the awards they have received for their work. They’re very appreciative of the opportunities given to them by the Ecampus to further their work.

By Raisa Canete Blazquez

Raisa Canete Blazquez

Hi everyone! My name is Raisa, and I am a LEEP PhD candidate and ED 219 instructor. I am originally from Barcelona, Spain, where I got my Bachelor’s degree in Translation. A study abroad brought me to Oregon in 2011, and I decided to come back for Graduate School three years later. As an outdoor enthusiast, I feel fortunate to live in a place with such amazing nature and a variety of sceneries to enjoy. From going out on a quick run in my neighborhood, to hiking, camping, snowboarding, surfing, etc., I take very opportunity to go out and enjoy the many beauties of this state.

I came to OSU for my MAIS, but those two years were not nearly enough to study the intersection of Education, Social Justice, and Language. Fortunately, the College of Education launched their LEEP (Language, Equity, and Education Policy) PhD program, and it was the perfect opportunity to continue to explore those areas. My own background and my experience teaching lower-division Spanish courses at OSU inspired me to research the diversity that different linguistic and cultural backgrounds bring into first-year Spanish classes. As an instructor, I strive for equity in the classroom, and as a future scholar I believe in the power of research to help bring equitable approaches to education.

This last year, I taught Multicultural Education (ED 219) for the College, and got involved in research projects to understand how undergraduate students learn about multiculturalism in education and appropriately redesign ED 219. The new curriculum, which will be launched in the fall, recognizes and addresses the emotional components of studying Multiculturalism and Social Justice in Education. We have been incorporating bits and pieces of the new design in the last two terms, and got very positive feedback from our students so far! In addition, acknowledging the importance of understanding the concepts covered in ED 219 beyond Education, we prepared a proposal for a DPD (Difference, Power, and Discrimination) course. Courses under this category address intersections of gender, race, class, sexual identity, age, ability, and other institutionalized systems of inequity and privilege in the United States. During these times, the importance of educating our college students about these matters are as relevant as ever, and we hope that with ED 219 as a new addition to the DPD Baccalaureate Core Category we will attract students from different areas. Preparing our students with an understanding of the historical and current events related to multiculturalism in education is beneficial not only to our students, but to our society. Many of our students will become educators in different areas and institutions, and we rely on them to continue to educate future generations.

In ED 219, we want to give our students the tools to recognize equitable approaches to fight systematic oppression, power and injustice, and to empower them to actively make change. For me, this is both a personal and a professional goal, and I am thankful for the amazing people I have the opportunity to work with. As I said before, we recognize the emotional work we require from our students in this class, something we can absolutely relate to, as we engage in hard, emotional work ourselves both in teaching and researching topics of multiculturalism and social justice. Having the support from my team helped me carry out the work needed to successfully move ED 219 to become a DPD course. For that, I want to acknowledge the people I refer to when I say “we.” I wouldn’t have been able to do this without their inspiration and support. Thank you Kathryn, Marcos, Faran, Freddy, and Jane.

By Lucielle Wones

One of the core beliefs here of the Oregon State College of Education is to prepare the next generation of teachers. But within the college is a group of students taking this preparation to the next level. Evan Walker is the current president of the Aspiring Educator’s Club at Oregon State University, and he leads the club along with fellow executive officers Stephanie Hasan, Sarah Connolly, Sidney Shaw, Ryan Hannah, Brenna Beyer, and Annuka Brown. The club is also advised by Karla Rockhold, the Career Advisor for the College of Education. 

As a founding member, Evan was there just last year shortly after the club was created, with the goal in mind to have an extracurricular resource for the students in the College of Education. According to Evan, in the beginning the club “didn’t have one specific purpose in mind. It was more of a multitude of things.” Their biggest goal at first was just to give students a network to help them succeed in college. The club had resources to help clarify paths to graduation and input from older members to help the younger members forward in their collegiate careers and beyond. Evan inherited his position from the former president, and he is now the club’s senior member, as “the founding members are all in their student teaching phase right now, so they’re very busy.” 

However, Evan has done a fantastic job of running the club this far. Over the last year, the club has grown tremendously. They sent 5 students to a retreat for early educators put on by the Oregon Educators Association in February 2019, and have been funded and supported not just by the OEA, but by the National Educators Association as well. Members of the club have even traveled to national conferences as representatives for the club as well.

In the future, Evan hopes to see an expanded interest in his club and to draw in more and more students from the college of education to share in the multitude of experiences he’s already had. Part of their plans for this year was to connect themselves with AEC chapters at the nearby Linn-Benton Community College and University of Oregon, so that their already strong network of connections grows even stronger as these aspiring educators prepare to enter the workforce for the first time. Thanks to the great work by Evan and the other founding members of the club, they’ll all be prepared and ready for whatever the future has in store for them.

By Colin Cole

Hello everyone! My name is colin cole. I’m a shelter volunteer at Heartland Humane, a KBVR DJ, runner, vegan, poet(?), recent cat dad, and LEEP PhD candidate. I first came to Corvallis in 2012 (wow time flies) to pursue an M.A. in Latino Studies which, unfortunately, has since been discontinued (more support for world languages, anyone?). Prior to that, I taught high school Spanish and creative writing in California, and completed my undergraduate studies in Education at the Universidad San Francisco de Quito in Ecuador. Currently, my research focuses on Hip Hop, language use, and identities in the lives of Latinx youth in Oregon. 

Throughout my time as a PhD student, Heartland Humane, Benton County’s open-door animal shelter, has also been a refuge for me and many other volunteers. Nothing is better for a theory induced headache than a half hour of fetch or a walk through Avery Park with a shelter dog whose tail wags at the sight of you. And wag they do! The majority of my time at Heartland is spent with the dogs, working on socializing, leash skills, or my favorite… runs. When time management is difficult, it helps to combine volunteering and working out, and if I feel like taking a few days off, the dogs keep me accountable. 

At the end of my shifts, I’ll often spend time with the cats, giving head scratches and belly rubs. There’s a different type of calm that comes from spending time with the cats and listening to that purr (cat people  where you at?). On days where life is stressful, socializing cats provides another level of catharsis and tranquility.

Due to Covid-19, the shelter is currently closed to the public, though they continue to do fosters and adoptions by appointment. Unfortunately, the Heartland Thriftshop on 3rd St., which provides approximately 30% of Heartland Humane’s annual Budget, has closed (though they are selling items online!). In addition, donations are down as many folks in the community now face challenges due to the pandemic. 

While I am adjusting to shelter-in-place measures and a barrage of Zoom meetings, I’m fortunate to still have contact with the animals and incredible staff. As many of us are spending the majority of our time at home, physically distanced from others, it is an opportune moment to foster or adopt responsibly. I just happened to be seduced by Mamba, now Sombrita, in January and she has made life at home more comforting, entertaining, and enjoyable.     

For those of us in academia, there are many benefits to getting outside of our heads and grounding ourselves in the present, and there are no better teachers than animals. There are many ways to become involved and support Heartland. Donations to Heartland are tax-deductible and can be made at heartlandhumane.org. Any amount helps. If you would rather help another way, adopting during this time of social-distancing can be, as human-animal bonds always are, mutually beneficial. Fostering could also be something to consider later in the Summer once kitten season arrives. Or at the very least, we can value our essential workers and rethink our relationship to animals.

 

Life is always full of obstacles, but overcoming these obstacles in order to achieve your dreams is what really defines a person. Teaching isn’t always the most profitable of careers, but it is often the most pivotal – not only for the students but for the teacher as well.

 

For Carmen Lawson, teaching is a momentous charge. “I’m not going to be a doctor, I wasn’t born to catalog rock samples from Mars, and I definitely will never be in the Oval Office. Something I can do is teach future politicians to be tolerant and loving to all cultures. I can teach future engineers data collecting skills that they need to persevere for travel to new corners of space and the ocean floor. And I can teach future doctors and scientists to problem solve tirelessly until diseases have cures.”

 

Yet, as Lawson works toward her MAT degree from OSU-Cascades, she encounters difficulties above and beyond the education and the training itself. Lawson faced over a $1000 in licensure fees before recently receiving the first disbursements of the Teacher Licensure Support Fund scholarship. As she says, “With all of the expenses that make up the nickels and dimes of our family budget, a great weight settles on my shoulders as I look at the difficult reality of accomplishing my goals.”

 

With the scholarship award, Lawson can take a deep breath and more easily look ahead. “Being awarded these funds helps reduce my stress level and optimize my chances of success as an OSU-Cascades student.” She can now better focus her efforts on her schooling, family and the future.

 

Within the College of Education, we are acutely aware of the financial burdens our students confront. We wish to do all that we can to help unburden them. With the day of giving and other fundraisers, we work toward helping to relieve this stress for our graduates, the future leaders and educators of our communities.

 

Every donation received goes into a general fund to help cover the demanding licensure fees, and to give our amazing students, like Dawson, the ability to concentrate on what’s most important.

 

Donate Today!