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SOE’s Dotger receives Spencer grant for program to improve teacher communication with parents from diverse backgrounds
SOE’s Dotger receives Spencer grant for program to improve teacher communication with parents from diverse backgroundsAugust 30, 2007Patrick Farrellpmfarrel@syr.edu
Benjamin Dotger, assistant professor in teaching and leadership, is the recipient of a prestigious Spencer Foundation grant of $31,100 to design and implement a “Standardized Parent” Conferencing Model (SPCM) to help teacher candidates communicate more effectively with parents from varied racial, ethnic and economic groups.
Dotger is developing the SPCM in response to a call from pre-service teachers enrolled in teacher education programs for more deliberate training in communication and parent conferencing skill sets, a need made acute by the fact that the population of K?12 students is becoming increasingly diverse, while teachers preparing to enter the profession continue to reflect the majority culture. The model is designed to include all individuals in the education process by preparing teacher candidates to effectively communicate with parents and caregivers from varied racial, ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds.
The SPCM approach to preparing pre-service teachers is inspired by the medical school practice of using “standardized patients” as clinical training tools. Dotger is collaborating with Carol Recker Hughes, the director for clinical education, and Steven Harris, the director for standardized patients and clinical assessments, at SUNY Upstate Medical University, in delineating connections between the medical “standardized patient” protocols and procedures and the introduction of a clinical “standardized parent” model within the School of Education. Through the SPCM, teacher candidates will develop communication and conferencing skills by working with trained parent volunteers who present a series of diverse scholastic cases through simulated conference formats.
Dotger joined the faculty of the School of Education in 2006 after completing his doctorate in the curriculum and instruction department at North Carolina State University. He taught for four years as an English teacher at Mt. Pleasant (North Carolina) High School before moving to Raleigh to continue his graduate education. His current research interests include teacher mentoring and novice teacher induction and retention. He holds a B.A. in English education from Elon University and an M.A. in English education from the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.
Since 1971, the Spencer Foundation has made grants totaling more than $250 million. The foundation is intended to investigate ways in which education, broadly conceived, can be improved around the world. The foundation is dedicated to the belief that research is necessary to the improvement of education and therefore is committed to supporting high-quality investigation of education through its research programs and to strengthening and renewing the educational research community through its fellowship and training programs and related activities.
For additional information, contact the School of Education Teaching and Leadership department at (315) 443-1468.