Research & Conference Presentations are all Part of My Niagara Experience

by Jade Bloom on July 8, 2015

Jade Bloom, a graduate teacher education student, describes her experiences presenting at the 2015 Canada International Conference on Education, with Dr. Paul Vermette

Last week, I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to join Dr. Vermette, one of the professors in the Graduate Education department at Niagara University, at the Canadian International Conference on Education (CICE) in Mississauga, Canada. As a Master’s student in Dr. Vermette’s class, I became fascinated with the idea of incorporating Cooperative Learning into the classroom. Cooperative Learning is an educational approach in which students work together towards a common goal. This type of approach, which forces students to work as a team, has proven to increase students’ academic performance, motivation, and overall experience as a learner.

I was honored when Dr. Vermette asked if I would co-present with him on Cooperative Learning at CICE. We decided to apply as workshop presenters and submitted an abstract outlining the purpose of our workshop, as well as how we would fill the ninety minutes. We were thrilled to find out that, out of the many applicants, we had been chosen to present a workshop at CICE! We also just learned today that we won "best workshop" at CICE!

I have presented talks at conferences before, however, this was my first experience presenting a workshop. There were fifteen people in our workshop, which we separated into five groups of three. We started the workshop off by explaining what Cooperative Learning is and why it is so important. We spent the rest of the workshop practicing Cooperative Learning strategies that could be incorporated into high school and higher-level classes. We also had the participants reflect on their own applications of Cooperative Learning and helped them brainstorm ways to engage students using this approach.

The participants seemed to love the workshop! One of my favorite things about it was watching the groups develop a sense of unity. They worked together for the entire ninety-minute workshop. These were people who did not know each other prior to the workshop but seemed to be very comfortable with each other by the end. In my opinion, this was further proof that Cooperative Learning builds relationships among students that would not necessarily interact otherwise. In today’s world, diversity is more common than ever. Students must learn how to work with people from difficult cultures and backgrounds. I think that the participants realized, through their experience in our workshop, how beneficial it could be to their students to incorporate Cooperative Learning into their classroom – not only for improving the academic performance of their students but also for helping them develop life skills.

I really enjoyed my experience at CICE. I listened to wonderful and informative presentations about education and gained new knowledge that I will use to become a better teacher. I also had the opportunity to meet amazing people from all over the world! Networking is one of the most important things about attending a conference. You never know whom you will meet so it is always important to make a good impression and not be afraid of introducing yourself to others. I think it is extremely important that graduate students step out of their comfort zones and apply to present at a conference because it is an incredible opportunity to share your research with others, gain new knowledge, meet new people, and become more skilled in your field. I look forward to my next conference presentation!

For more information about Niagara's M.S.Ed. in secondary education, contact Dr. Alice Kozen via email or at 716.286.7386!