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Students Present at State English Convention


MAY 13, 2005--Two undergraduate students and three alumnae from the English department at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls presented at the Wisconsin Council of Teachers of English Language Arts and Wisconsin Communication Association Convention in Madison, Wis. on April 22. The convention theme, "Wisconsin Speaks," emphasized the connections among reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

Undergraduate students Erin Lindgren, an English and Spanish education major from Austin, Minn., and Kari Johnson, an English and international studies major from Osceola, Wis., presented at the convention.

Lindgren presented with Sadie Fischer, St. Paul, Minn., and Amber Johnson, New Richmond, Wis., both alumnae of the UW-River Falls English education program. Fischer teaches at Community of Peace Academy in St. Paul, and Johnson teaches at New Richmond High School. They presented a panel session titled, "Peer Tutoring and

Preparation for Secondary Education." Bringing their different perspectives to the presentation, each shared her views on the benefits of a writing center to future English teachers and how to start a writing center in schools.

Lindgren said of the experience, "It was one of the most enlightening experiences so far in terms of gathering knowledge and ideas for teaching English." She continued, "The presentations by other teachers elevated my level of motivation and reaffirmed my choice to become a teacher."

Kari Johnson presented on a panel with alumna Eva Pitzel, assistant Professor of English David Beard, and assistant Professor of English Kathleen Hunzer. Discussing "Visual Literacy: New Alternatives," the panel examined different forms of media such as 'zines, graphic novels, and advertisements to inform teachers about the benefits of using different forms of literature and analysis in the classroom to enhance student learning.

Johnson said, "I benefited from the experience of working one-on-one with David Beard to create a presentation that taught me how different forms of literature can engage students, and how graphic novels can teach students about international cultures and historic events."

English Department faculty Professor David Beard, Professor David Furniss and Associate Professor Ruth Wood were instrumental in encouraging the students to take part in the opportunity to present at the state convention.

Furniss supported the importance of professional development, saying, "Preparing a presentation for a conference is a very valuable exercise since it reinforces planning and communication skills future teachers will need to use every day." Furniss added, "It's useful for anyone hoping to attend graduate school as well, where seminar and conference presentations are part of the experience."

Organizing a presentation is work, however, and collaborating professor is priceless. This is echoed by Furniss, "I also think students enjoy traveling and working with faculty in a different context. I know that I enjoy collaborating with students on these projects, and especially watching them represent the university so well."

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Last updated: Tuesday, 22-Jun-2010 16:21:24 Central Daylight Time

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