University of South Florida

College of Education

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Student presenting research

Spring 2023 USF College of Education graduates present at Practitioner Research Conference

At the 2023 Practitioner Research Conference, 86 College of Education teacher candidates presented the practice-based research they engaged in throughout the spring semester. With their graduation on the near horizon, the USF College of Education’s goal is to encourage these future teachers to engage in research as a regular aspect of teaching practice throughout their career, beyond their degree completion.

Some of the topics presented at the conference included promoting student engagement, improving writing instruction and building learning communities.

Practitioner Research

Presentation at Practitioner Research Conference

Practitioner research or practitioner inquiry is the systematic, intentional study of one’s practice as a teacher. Teachers encounter many problems of practice while not only learning to teach but as their career progresses.
For teacher researchers, these problems of practice become opportunities for engaging in cycles of inquiry that consist of:

1. Naming a wondering or question of practice
2. Collecting data from a variety of stakeholders about that question
3. Analyzing their data
4. Taking action based on the claims they make about that data
5. Sharing their research with others

Collaboration with other Teachers on Research Findings

Student presenting research

Sharing is an important aspect of engaging in teacher research. Research findings can have an impact on  fellow teachers, the school administration and the community. “For example, during one of the sessions,  a teacher candidate shared how she was going to try to use whiteboards as a tool when teaching English language arts after hearing this idea presented by another teacher candidate, “ said Associate Professor, and Director of the Office of Clinical Education, Jennifer Jacobs.

An exciting aspect of the USF Practitioner Research Conference is that teacher candidates from a variety of programs presented their research to each other. This allows for collaboration among majors and sharing of different perspectives.
“I really enjoyed seeing other programs and their inquiry focuses. It was also really amazing to have other professional educators involved in my work,” said a student who participated in the Practitioner Research Conference.

The USF College of Education programs that participated in the 2023 Practitioner Research Conference included:

  • Early childhood
  • Elementary education
  • Exceptional student education
  • Middle grades
  • Secondary education

At the Practitioner Research Conference, we also recognized a variety of stakeholders through several awards: exemplary teacher candidate practitioner research, exemplary mentor teacher and partnership award.

“I found great value in viewing others' work. The celebration aspect and awards also was a positive aspect of the conference- this was fun and exciting to celebrate the hard work of teachers!” said a student who participated in the Practitioner Research Conference.

Teacher Candidates

  • Meghan Kierce, Early Childhood Education
  • Sydney Clark, ESE
  • Alexis Majorana, HELIOS
  • Anastasia (Vlashi) Nixon, Elementary Education - Cohort 6
  • Nichole Churchill, Elementary Education - Cohort 7
  • Sarah Drinkwater, Elementary Education - Cohort 8
  • April Frazier, Secondary Education, SSE

Mentor Teachers

  • Daphaney Brown, Elementary Education, Riverhills IB Magnet Elementary, Hillsborough
  • Cynthia Gross, ESE, Sexton Elementary, Pinellas
  • Karen Hartman, Elementary Education, Lewis Elementary, Hillsborough
  • Rachel Strong, Elementary Education, Sessums Elementary, Hillsborough
  • Debra Hodros, Elementary Education, Double Branch Elementary, Pasco
  • Anthony Daniel, Secondary Education, Madison Middle, Hillsborough
  • Tameka Bishop, HELIOS, Progress Village, Hillsborough

Partnership Award

  • Laura Edwards, Elementary Education, Assistant Principal, Hillsborough
  • Turner Bartels, K-8, Early Childhood School, Hillsborough
  • Tina Herbst, Special Education, District Office, Hillsborough
  • Melissa Bidgood, Elementary Education, Principal, Pasco

It was a great night celebrating our teacher candidates who are graduating as well as celebrating their dedication to the PK-12 students who are at the center of their research.

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About the USF College of Education:

As the home for more than 2,200 students and 130 faculty members across three campuses, the University of South Florida College of Education offers state-of-the-art teacher training and collegial graduate studies designed to empower educational leaders. Our college is nationally accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), and our educator preparation programs are fully approved by the Florida Department of Education.