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Posted: 10/01/20

TAMIU College of Education Students, Alumni Contribute to Research on Educators’ Perspectives During Pandemic

 

Dr. Tonya Huber
Dr. Tonya Huber  

Texas A&M International University (TAMIU) College of Education students and alumni members of the group, Professional Opportunities Supporting Scholarly Engagement (POSSE), recently contributed to an international research project that explored educators’ perspectives from around the globe during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The research project, titled, “Teacher Experiences and Practices in the Time of COVID-19,”  was spearheaded by the International Council in Education for Teaching (ICET) and the MESHGuides Initiative.

In a virtual focus group interview, POSSE members working in the field of education shared their experiences with teaching during the pandemic, challenges they encountered, and chances they saw arising.

“Interviewees of this project actively participated in every step of the research process, formulating research by taking part in data curation, investigation, validation, and methodology,” said Dr. Tonya Huber, TAMIU professor of Education, “They shared their practices, analyzed responses, and identified similarities and differences in their experiences.”

Research findings will be presented and discussed by POSSE members Alexandra Christiane Daub, Kristen Erdem, Jazmin Azeneth Gibeaut, Alejandra Martínez, Stephanie Solis Schnyder, Maria Cristina Ferraz Soares, Maricruz Flores Vásquez, Sara Abi Villanueva, Diana Monsiváis Wico and facilitated by Huber in two virtual symposia, hosted by ICET/MESH in London on October 8 and Tokyo on October 15 with educators from around the globe who have been teaching during the pandemic.

Founded by Dr. Huber, POSSE is a TAMIU College of Education Program committed to empowering change-making through research and community engagement, focusing on the United Nations’ Education 2030 and Sustainable Development Goals to achieve this unifying mission.

ICET collaborates with organizations and individuals working to close the teacher gap by taking an active role in addressing local and global teacher shortages. MESH is a prototype for a teacher/researcher led, international, knowledge management system for teachers using digital tools to keep costs low.

POSSE members joined researchers, initiating a Participatory Action Research Focus Group Inquiry study to inform the ICET mission of improving the educational experiences and outcomes of learners in all parts of the world, Huber explained.

One of the participants, a bilingual reading specialist, described the impact of Paulo Freire's theory of liberatory education in Brazil while tracing a parallel with the COVID-19 outbreak. The participant explained that Freire's transforming ideas opposed historical systems of oppression against racial minorities established in Brazil since colonial times, Huber said.

A second research participant, having taught five years in Texas Title 1 schools as a Special Education teacher, stressed the importance of parent-teacher relationships, Huber said. The Texas Education Agency defines Title 1 schools as being campuses serving high concentrations of students from low-income homes.

According to Huber, the participant said that the pandemic has forced consideration of the foundation of effective teaching and communication with the families they serve.

Before the pandemic, “Teaching was working hand over hand, nonverbal, and humbling; now it is confused faces over screens because words mean nothing without movement,” Huber quoted the participant, continuing, “It became emotionally devastating to see how much they required to be in the classroom setting, but yet were unable to.”

If you have taught during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can participate in the ICET/MESH Online Symposium 2020 on two separate dates. Please note that although the event will be transmitted via online from abroad, dates and times are indicated in U.S. Central Standard Time.

The online symposium, transmitted from London, will be on Thursday, Oct. 8, from 8:45 a.m. – 12 p.m. (CST). Register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/115562164545

To participate in the online symposium, transmitted from Tokyo Thursday, Oct. 15, from 11:45 p.m. – 3 a.m. (CST), register at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/115847181037

For additional information, please contact Dr. Huber at tonya.huber@tamiu.edu at the College of Education, 956.326.2420.