Dr. Patrice Boyles was selected as the 2014 NCBEA Teacher of the Year Award for Outstanding
Contributions to Business Education by a Senior College or University Business Teacher!
This honor was recognized by the North Central Business Education Association (NCBEA)
for her dedication and service to her students, her school, and her profession!
The teacher of the year awards will be presented during the IBEA/NCBEA Fall Conference
being held this year at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel & Conference Center
in Normal, Illinois, from November 12-14, 2014.
Diversity can manifest itself in a variety of ways. The difference between urban and
rural environments, for example—historically an overlooked segment of the diversity
spectrum—can be particularly valuable for educa-tors to be familiar with. “Our pre-service
teachers, who traditionally work in urban placements” notes Dr. Timothy Harrington,
“need a more global look at the similarities and differences in other settings.”
After a series of long discussions with colleagues Dr. Miguel Fernandez and Dr. Cynthia
Valenciano, plans emerged for a week-long immersion experi- ence for pre-service teachers
in various rural envi- ronments. The three of them traveled around the Midwest to
ﬁnd appropriate sites, in the process recognizing the full signiﬁcance of the program
they were creating. As part of the immersion experience they were developing, it became
apparent that a research study should accompany the program, with the pre- service
teachers themselves guiding it.
The program proceeded with ten pre-service teachers from ﬁve different College of
Education programs spending one week in three different rural environments: a small
farming town school; a K-6 school with only three teachers; and a tribal school on
a reservation. From their experiences, they were then asked to share their personal
insight through a series of research questions.
“I participated in the program,” explains student teacher Mr. M
ark Wesolowski, “in order to understand how bias affects the developing educator in
a number of ways, from how learning materials are created to student-teacher interaction.”
That under- standing, however, was not intended to be passively observed, but actively
engaged with on a personal level. In a very real way, the focus of the immersion experience
was not necessarily the students or the rural communities, but the pre-service teachers
themselves. As fellow participant, Ms. Ange- la Biggins Logwood, says about her own
in- volvement, “I went into this experience with an open mind. I was a sponge, prepared
to absorb and learn anything and everything I could about teaching in a setting that
is un- familiar, and to see the inherent biases that can come with that.”
Of the ten pre-service teachers who partici- pated in the immersion experience, three
decided to join Drs. Fernandez, Harrington, and Valenciano, in the research process
that followed. The paper that resulted, titled, “Rural Field Experiences with Urban
Pre-Service Teachers,” was co-presented by the six of them at the Center for Scholastic
Inquiry’s International Academic Research Confer-ence in Scottsdale, Arizona. Their
paper so impressed fellow conference goers that, among the 50 institutions in attendance,
representing 23 states and 4 countries, they were awarded both “Best Session Presentation—Education
Track” and “Best Paper— Education Track.” Their paper has since been published in
the Journal of Scholastic Inquiry: Education.
With the remarkable success of the program thus far, its sponsors have no intention
of slowing down. In fact, they see potential for further development. “We hope to
look speciﬁcally at the tribal school site, to research cultural diversity and acceptance
within its community as it relates to what our students at CSU think about cultural
diversity and belonging,” explains Dr. Harrington. Whatever direction the program
takes in the future, one thing seems certain: many future educators will be treated
to an invaluable experience of discovery.
|Rural Field Experiences with Urban Pre-Service Teachers
International Academic Research Conference