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Graduate students present action research projects

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Posted on Thursday, June 13, 2019

NEW WILMINGTON, Pa.—Nine students from the Special Education and Reading Specialist Graduate Program recently presented discoveries from action research projects, the capstone requirement for their graduate studies.

Presented during the Westminster College Graduate School’s third Graduate Symposium on April 25, the action research projects—a component of the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s Educator Effectiveness System—enable graduate students to explore their own questions stemming from their students’ needs in a systematic manner.

Literacy and special education topics explored included Using Home and Community Texts to Build Interest and Motivation for Learning to Read, Strategies for Primary Students with Emotional Disabilities and The Impact of Therapy Dogs on Elementary Readers’ Confidence. The nine graduate students are classroom teachers in Lawrence, Mercer, Allegheny and Butler counties.

Westminster early childhood and special education student teachers and literacy block undergraduates were able to consider their next steps toward obtaining a graduate degree after receiving their B.A. from the School of Education.

“It was wonderful to see so many undergraduate and graduate special education and reading specialist students networking and learning from one another. Every teacher impacts thousands of lives, so the broader impacts of exchanging research-based teaching practices are very significant,” said Dr. Jeffrey Coker, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College.

“Our graduate students demonstrated the power of teachers as life-long learners for our undergraduates,” said Dr. Charlene Klassen Endrizzi, coordinator of the Reading Specialist Graduate Program.

“These action research projects revealed a passion for investigating evidence-based strategies that not only elevate teaching performance but also improve student learning,” added Dr. Amy Camardese, coordinator of the Special Education Graduate Program.