Collaboration is essential for teachers to connect deeply with their students. When teachers put their minds together, the material they teach is cohesive and enables students to make connections across varied subjects. Professors Janine Fisk, Barbara Meier and Deborah Pattee wanted to further explore co-teaching and were able to through the faculty/student research collaboration grant. The goal of the grant was for teacher education program students, the professors and local Eau Claire teachers to work together to emphasize the importance of co-teaching and educational collaboration.
Students who aspire to be teachers at UW-Eau Claire are introduced to the concept of co-teaching early on. This grant specifically allowed students to teach lessons with local cooperating teachers before they even began their required student teaching. These students then went on to fulfill their student teaching and asked their cooperating teachers to participate in the grant. The local teachers who agreed attended a workshop at South Middle School and Chippewa Falls Middle School focused on the benefits of co-teaching and collaboration. A focus group of students observed the teachers in workshops. From their research the students and faculty put together a presentation that was shared at a conference in Milwaukee, at a research celebration event at UW-Eau Claire and a local school. An experience like this gave students a firm understanding of how and why teachers should work together.
Research is emphasized not only in the teacher education program, but all of UW-Eau Claire. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs (ORSP) is always exploring ways to give Blugolds pre-professional experience. Students have the opportunity to work closely with faculty and professionals in their field of interest on a consistent basis. Because of this, students often have advanced skills relevant to their profession when they graduate. Research is an essential part of being a Blugold, and always will be.