International research continues online during COVID-19
By Dr. Fuhui Tong
Like schools in the United States, schools in China have also been moved to online delivery because of COVID-19. However, that has not stopped international research happening between our faculty and teachers and students in China.
In January 2019, the Center for Research and Development in Dual Language Literacy Acquisition and the Education Leadership Research Center formed a professional partnership with the Beihai Haicheng No. 1 Experimental Primary School, China.
Since the establishment of the partnership, researchers from CRDLLA and ELRC have been implementing and testing an English/Chinese dual-language curriculum in two first grade classrooms the school. When the COVID-19 pandemic started in China, Dr. Fuhui Tong, professor and associate director of CRDLLA, did not want that research to stop.
“Despite the unprecedented time that everyone across the world is facing, we feel the privilege of having the flexibility to continue our research online of virtual teacher professional development with our Beihai team in China through social media apps, such as WeChat, so that we can provide timely coaching and mentoring with feedback on teachers’ instruction,” said Tong.
Tong has two school-aged children learning virtually at home. She took this opportunity to engage her bilingual children in a unique learning experience. They recorded themselves reading stories in English to model the language. They also modeled student-teacher interaction and asked questions with Chinese clarification to assist comprehension. The recordings motivated the students in China to start making their own storybooks in English.
“These students did not have prior exposure to English at the time they entered first grade. However, after being immersed in our curriculum with teacher virtual professional development, virtual mentoring and coaching, video materials and take-home activities for a little over a semester, they were able to speak and write in complete sentences,” said Tong. “This is a substantial growth in an English as a foreign language context.”
The virtual classroom observations show that the English teachers have already started applying effective strategies into their virtual instruction not only in the two experimental classrooms, but in others as well. They shared with the research team that they have benefited tremendously from the professional development trainings and feel more confident in their own teaching.
“Through this international research project, we anticipate a sustainable development on teachers’ instructional capacity,” said Tong.
“This dual language curriculum not only empowers our kids’ English language learning, but also promotes their higher-order think skills, self-regulation, character building, school-parent communication, and parent-child interaction, all of which would in turn enhance their whole education,” said Ms. Luo, the principal of Beihai Haicheng No. 1 Experimental Primary School.
Graduate students from the college’s Bilingual/ESL program are also benefitting from being involved in research online during COVID-19.
“While staying at home during the pandemic, I am still able to participate in such a meaningful project and apply my research skills and background in the virtual world,” said Henan Zhang, a doctoral student and research assistant at CRDLLA.
The 2021 U.S. News & World Report Best Online Programs rankings, released today, list the college’s online graduate programs as 10th in the country.
Through a small institutional grant, Kwok worked with an urban elementary school by purchasing stability ball chairs for each student in one classroom. His goal was to find out if the alternative seating would have an effect on student behavior.
The grant, amounting to $150,000 each year, will enhance teacher quality and update approaches to continuous improvement.
Dr. Guy M. Sconzo will be posthumously awarded the most coveted award in Texas public education. He will be announced as the 2020 recipient of the Golden Deeds for Education Award at the Texas Association of School Administrators Midwinter Conference, Jan. 25-27.
At just 12-years-old, Linda’s family faced the unthinkable. Linda’s family, in financial desperation, planned to sell her to a 40-year-old man. Her older sister helped her escape to live with her in the informal settlement of Kibera, often referred to as Africa’s largest slum, in Nairobi, Kenya.
Researchers with Project VICTORY – Virtually-Infused Collaborations for Teaching and Learning Opportunities for Rural Youth – will explore the impact of virtual and face-to-face teaching and learning with a literacy-infused science curriculum.
The findings come from a report developed, in part, by researchers in the Education Research Center in the College of Education and Human Development.
This series of virtual events, available for viewing here, are designed to disseminate the work of faculty and staff in meeting the challenges of our time.
As COVID-19 spread, businesses moved to remote operations or closed doors completely. Some were forced to revoke internship offers made to college students who were counting on the opportunity to fulfill degree requirements.
Byrns, Clinical Professor Emerita of Special Education, is retiring this month after 13 years with CEHD. She joined the faculty in 2003 while working on a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.