Education Conference Focuses on Effective Teaching

October 07, 2010

The University of Mount Union’s education conference held on Saturday, “The Three C's of 21st Century Educational Partnerships: Creativity, Collaboration and Community,” provided educators with practical information and useful techniques for teaching.

Renowned teacher and internationally acclaimed expert in the field of education, Chelonnda Seroyer, gave the keynote address that focused on classroom management, complemented by many stories from her experience as an educator.

Seroyer is a high school English teacher in Alabama. She used Harry Wong’s book “The First Days of School” as an instructional manual to set up her own classroom. She attributes much of her effectiveness as a teacher to the book, and because of it, Seroyer has assisted other educators by promoting the book and the information and techniques she has learned over the years.

“It doesn't matter who does the study, the results are always the same,” Seroyer said when discussing the importance of classroom management. “Once your class gets out of control, it's literally like putting toothpaste back into the tube.”

Seroyer stressed to the audience that in a classroom, management and discipline are two different things. Discipline is made up of consequences and rewards, and classroom management is the way things are done to make sure the class runs smoothly. “Discipline is reactive and classroom management is proactive,” she said.

According to Seroyer, what a teacher does on the first day of school will determine his or her success for the rest of the school year. She discussed the seven questions that a teacher should answer on the first day of school for his or her students. These questions include:

  • Am I in the right room?
  • Where am I supposed to sit?
  • Who is this teacher as a person?
  • Will this teacher treat me fairly?
  • What will I be doing this year?
  • How will I be graded?
  • What are the rules in the classroom?

“My ideas have been adopted from drama, physical education and preschool teachers,” Seroyer said. “Remember to adapt ideas, not adopt. Every student and classroom is different.”

As a product of an effective teacher, Seroyer reminded the audience that they “have the opportunity to make a difference.”

Following Seroyer's keynote address, more than 20 breakout sessions were held throughout the day on a variety of topics including teaching, learning and best practices; technology, assessment, data and evaluation; fostering collaborative environments; fostering community within education; and creativity, innovation and 21st century learning.

The breakout sessions were led by University of Mount Union education candidates, Mount Union professors and educators in the Alliance and surrounding communities. One breakout session focused on a comprehensive reading program Success For All (SFA), which will be used in the Alliance City School District for the first time this year.

Through the reading lessons within SFA, students are learning problem-solving skills. One of the first things the students at Rockhill Elementary, Parkway Elementary and Northside Elementary learned this year is an interactive problem-solving model, the "Peace Path," which teaches students how to deal with interpersonal problems and conflict resolution.

“Everyone is familiar with the Peace Path, even the janitors,” said Laura Kelleher. “I'll hear teachers in the hallway say to students (who are upset with one another) ‘Hey, let's walk the peace path.’”

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