Eight junior and senior teacher education students majoring In elementary or special education, accompanied by Drs. Laura Lowder and Chris Murray, attended the 50th annual NC Science Teachers’ Association Conference held in Winston-Salem, NC from November 14-15, 2019. Along with learning from experts in the field of science education, the future teachers participated with other educators in building content knowledge, acquiring pedagogical skills to use in their classrooms, and developing professional dispositions necessary to remain life-long learners.
Working in pairs, the students also presented poster sessions, showcasing their own ideas related to science education for elementary-aged learners. Linda Moua and Jenna Reylea presented a poster session titled, “Interactive Family Tree” and Holly Christy and Kari Westerbeek presented a session titled, “Observe and Predict Weather”. “These sessions provided the future teachers with an opportunity to engage with colleagues in a professional manner, something that is a challenge to replicate in the classroom setting”, noted Dr. Laura Lowder, associate professor of elementary education. “They started out a little nervous, but after the first question you could not tell them from the veteran presenters.”
“Providing professional learning experiences is integral to inducting teacher education students into the profession”, said Dr. Christopher Boe, Dean of the Division of Education at Pfeiffer University. “We are able to do provide these opportunities for our students due to the generosity of our loyal donors and supportive alumni and the support of our REPERTOIRE Grant, a Teacher Quality Partnership initiative funded by the US Department of Education.”
Reflecting on the experience, Kristin Owens-White stated, “Every session I went to offered such valuable information. This experience was priceless. I have so many wonderful resources to use in my future classroom.” A similar sentiment was offered by Linda Moua who stated, “What an experience! The information I obtained from these sessions was invaluable. I wish I could have cloned myself to participate in every session that was provided. It was so exciting and uplifting to be in a room full of professional educators who truly love what they do!”
These conference participants will bring their experiences back to the University and share their learnings with their teacher education colleagues in classes and professional learning communities. Dr. Chris Murray, assistant professor of education, noted upon the group’s return that “this experience for these aspiring teachers is something that will impact students in classrooms for years to come.”
Established in 1885, Pfeiffer University is a globally engaged, regional university distinctive for its transformational undergraduate experiences and leadership in professional and graduate programs that fill demonstrated needs at its campuses in Misenheimer, Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, and online.
Vested in its history as a United Methodist-related university and propelled by an innovative faculty and staff, Pfeiffer prepares its students for a lifetime of achievement, scholarship, spirituality, and service.