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Department of Curriculum & Instruction, College of Education
Each semester, all students taking the Educational Psychology courses offered by Dr. Dengting Boyanton will investigate a research topic of their own choice throughout the semester. They will then present their research findings at CESTL. Student presentations at previous CESTLs have covered a wide range of topics related to educational psychology including motivation, peer relationship, learning environment, parenting, learning disabilities, race and learning, and others topics. As a showcase of student research and a means of using research to enhance student learning, CESTL encourages students to nurture and pursue their own research interests with the goal of becoming active lifelong learners.
Additionally, CESTL provides other enriching programs including 1) a keynote address, 2) a professors’ panel on teaching & learning, 3) a K-12 teachers/ students panel on teaching & learning, and 4) cultural events. Distinguished scholars, experienced educators, and outstanding students will be invited to share their perspectives at CESTL. Also, CESTL serves as a forum for cultural events, such as music or dance, performed by the students. These cultural events not only expose students to different cultures, but also provide a stage for students to express their talents or share their culture.
CESTL was developed on the basis of established principles of powerful learning. First, learning is more powerful when the process is active rather than passive (Piaget, 1952). Learning is more effective when students actively explore, observe, and discover in the real world rather than passively listening to lectures by teachers in the classroom (Bruner, 1983). By having students select a research topic of their own interest and search for answers, CESTL shifts the students’ role from a passive information-taker to an active information-seeker. As Dewey (1916) observed, the purpose of education is not about memorizing, passing tests, or obtaining degrees, but about understanding, inquiring, and critical thinking.
Secondly, learning is more powerful when one is able to teach what he has learned to others (Goodlad & Hirst, 1989; Stader & Gagnepain, 2000). Teaching others increases one’s analytical skills, enhances one’s interest in the subject, and deepens one’s understanding of the topic (Foot, Shute, & Morgan, 1990). Through this dynamic “learn to teach, teach to learn” interplay at CESTL, students are not just teaching others about their own work, but also are learning themselves through teaching. Thus, CESTL offers a new perspective on teaching and learning.
Thirdly, learning is more powerful when the expectations are high (Vygotsky, 1978; Good & Brophy, 1995). Requiring students to produce high-quality work raises the standards. Instead of doing it as a class project which will be read only by the instructor, students are informed that their work must be sufficiently professional to be presented to the public at large. This high standard enhances students’ motivation to learn, to work harder, and to strive for excellence.
Fourthly, learning is more powerful when students are empowered as learners (Bandura, 1986). CESTL shifts the traditional “learner” role by placing students in the role of “expert” on a given subject. This student-centered pedagogy of CESTL highly values students’ perspectives and discoveries. Furthermore, the CESTL committee, a predominantly student committee which oversees the event, empowers students by giving them leadership of this event. Taking the role of an “expert” or a “leader” creates a strong sense of achievement in students. This sense of achievement will greatly influence their motivation and confidence to learn and teach when facing new challenges in the future (Covington, 1985; Glasser, 1990).
Lastly, learning is more powerful when the learning task is meaningful (Caine & Caine, 1997). CESTL creates a meaningful learning task by providing authentic problems which students are able to investigate in the real context (Duffy & Cunnningham, 1996). Also, CESTL intends to create a knowledge-sharing community among the LIU education students. CESTL is an opportunity for the students to make a difference in the society by sharing their knowledge with the public. When students are able to contribute their knowledge to the society, learning becomes more meaningful.
At the beginning of each new semester, Dr. Dengting Boyanton will give her students a brief CESTL orientation and provide them a variety of research topics/questions. All research questions are related to the course content but students are encouraged to construct their own research questions based on their interests. High expectations are stated clearly at the very beginning of the class. Throughout the semester, Dr. Dengting Boyanton will provide eight mini-workshops guiding the students step by step in conducting their research, including: 1) how to choose a research topic, 2) how to form a good research question, 3) how to write a research proposal, 4) how to contact the research site and participants, 5) how to observe in a classroom, 6) how to conduct interviews, 7) how to write up the final paper, and above all, 8) how to deliver a powerful presentation at the CESTL.
In addition to providing guidance on how to conduct research, Dr. Dengting Boyanton will also provide emotional support and encouragement along the way. This is because many students are first- or second-year undergraduates or graduates who “have never done this before” or “have no idea where to start.” Dr. Dengting Boyanton will help students overcome difficult issues such as motivation, confidence, anxiety, stress, and fear of public speaking. She will provide constructive feedback about their work (e.g., “Be more specific in describing students’ behavior”) as well as encouragement (e.g., “Keep up with the great work!”) on weekly basis. Students will constantly work and rework on their research project, make gradual progresses, and gain confidence little by little.
A third task is the coordination of the CESTL itself, which will primarily be the responsibility of the CESTL Committee in coordination with LIU Conference Services. All committee members will report to Dr. Dengting Boyanton directly.
Lastly, the students will present their research at CESTL. Each student can take any of the three presentation formats: 1) PowerPoint presentation, 2) poster presentation, or 2) panel discussion. Their presentations will be evaluated by other student presenters and the instructor using CESTL Presentation Peer Evaluation Form (See Appendix A). Parents and professors are also encouraged to provide feedback for the students’ presentations.
As part of a research project conducted by Dr. Dengting Boyantonon classroom learning, the CESTL outcomes will be presented in professional conferences and meetings such as annual American Educational Research Association conferences and American Psychological Association conventions. A summary of the students’ evaluation will also be disseminated electronically within the School of Education as well as the broader LIU community by Ms. Rita Langdon, Associate Provost/Director of Public Relations.
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The 7th CESTL will be held on December 18th, 2010 (Saturday) in Tills Performance Center
The 8th CESTL will be held on April 30th, 2010 (Saturday) in Tills Performance Center