E-Net News

Education and psychology faculty, alumni present research on service-learning

Three Elon University faculty members and two recent graduates presented research papers June 11 to the 5th Annual Symposium on Service Learning and Civic Engagement at Western Carolina University. Their focus was the use of academic service-learning to challenge the stereotypical views often held by teacher candidates about students and families living in poverty.

Recent Elon graduates Whitney Schafer and Maggie Spingler worked with Alexa Darby and Mary Knight-McKenna, assistant professors of psychology and education, respectively, to analyze teacher candidates’ responses to an academic service-learning project in a local school affected by poverty. Instructional strategies relevant to the academic service-learning project were used to prompt candidates in Darby’s Educational Psychology class to consider the effect of their own cultural backgrounds on their interpretation of experiences in the school.

Knight-McKenna and Carolyn Stuart, an associate professor in the School of Education, documented the effects of special education field experiences on teacher candidates’ skills and perceived competency in establishing effective family-teacher partnerships. The experiences included an academic service-learning project involving families, and employed an innovative strength-based model of family interaction.

Knight-McKenna and Stuart will expand the study next year to include all special education candidates progressing through the two-year special education program. Contact Stuart for more information.

Eric Townsend,
6/15/2009 9:13 AM