In partnership with GiGi’s Playhouse Down Syndrome Achievement Center, a GSE professor and a PhD student developed a course to help teachers learn to teach children with disabilities. UB students enrolled in the pilot independent study class, studied teaching techniques and then worked with children and families before creating an at-home activity or strategy. The course addresses a critical gap: Approaches to working with students with Down syndrome vary from school to school. Once teachers learn the right techniques, some children can learn to read at grade level. “With the nationwide wave of retiring teachers, colleges must prepare new educators for classrooms of today, which increasingly include students with a wide range of learning needs,” said co-instructor Claire Cameron, GSE associate professor of learning and instruction.
Adetola Salau, a GSE PhD student in the Department of Learning and Instruction and a dual citizen of Nigeria and the U.S., studies as she works as the senior special assistant for education to the governor of Lagos State. Her efforts to transform Nigerian STEM education come from a core belief: A more hands-on and interactive curricula will help students solve problems more creatively and develop the skills to find satisfying careers. As she develops her dissertation work about teacher training, Salau aims to expand a new STEAM UP Lagos project that launched science clubs in more than 50 junior high and high schools. The goal: Expand the club to all 5,000 public and 20,000 private schools in the state.
GSE alumnus Rob Martin has been teaching social studies and providing English language support services at the American International School of Lusaka for the last four years. His career at multinational schools for the children of international and local workers included stops in Mexico, Kuwait, India and, now Zambia. He’s sharing his story to shed light on a path that others may want to take. “I continue to learn that it is important to look beyond our country and town and city borders,” said Martin. “It’s important to learn about the world around us and also I think it gives me an opportunity to see the U.S. through a different lens.
GSE PhD student Yukako Otsuki has been spending this year working from her native Japan as she finishes her doctorate in foreign and second language education. She designed her dissertation research to find ways to help teachers take a more collaborative, flexible approach to language instruction. Otsuki’s proposal about her research plan to explore the impact of personal reflection on teacher awareness about how to improve their pedagogy won an award. Last year, Otsuki became one of the first GSE students to win an Advanced PhD Fellowship from UB’s Humanities Institute.