2015-16: Stephanie Goodman

Name, Location, and Date of the Event

14th Biennial Conference of the International Association of Special Education
June 19-28, 2015

Nature/Type of the Event

The 14th Biennial Conference of the International Association of Special Education focuses on educational innovation, advocacy, and collaboration in special education. It is a large-scale gathering of ability advocates and practitioners that consists of both plenary and breakout sessions. Additionally, I am participating in a school immersion to deepen my understanding of special education service delivery similarities and differences.

Relevance of the Event for Applicant's Teaching and LMU Community, the Applicant's Involvement in the Event, and Expected Learning or Outcome

A conference that has an overall focus on educational innovation, advocacy, and collaboration in special education is a right fit experience to push my practice as a part time faculty member. I teach, almost exclusively, our Teach for America interns who are majority inclusion educators in low-income schools. This conference's foci are paramount given both the challenging environments well as the greater social challenges affecting this particular population. I am choosing to attend sessions that specifically target teacher leadership, teacher training world-wide and collaborative practices. What I gain from these sessions will help me to better prepare Loyola students to unite pedagogy and practice in their future work. Additionally, a focus on praxis will help me to evolve as a professor by translating my learning into practice come Fall.

Attending this conference is highly relevant as the constituent of the courses I teach is the first year educator, both general and special education. Learning to advocate for students with special needs in the inclusion setting has been a challenge for our new educators. So often the advocacy to have specific accommodations granted or nuanced learning needs met to have is left to the parent, to the special education teacher, or to the student. I seek to learn how others around the globe are building advocacy skills in adults and adapt future classes to reflect my new learnings.

Moreover, at the conference I will be presenting a session entitled "The Impact of Teacher Leadership on Students with Disabilities." The student experience is heavily influenced by the teacher. As educators create deeper understandings of why they educate and how they educate, they are more likely to cultivate this understanding in students. In each class that I teach, I embed personal reflection upon mindsets and how mindsets translate into practice, as I firmly believe that we do not permanently change practices as educators without a shift in mindset as well. This conference will allow me to share this work with others while also hearing ideas from colleagues to integrate into coming years. Through the attendance at various sessions and feedback on my presentation, I will use my newfound knowledge regarding effective presentation practices to enhance my own teaching and in turn provide a more engaging a rigorous learning environment for our Loyola Marymount students.

Travel Report

I attended the 14th Biennial Conference of the International Association of Special Education focused on educational innovation, advocacy, and collaboration in special education. Attendance pushed my practice as a part time faculty member in multiple ways. One of the session that I attended on training for para-professional has direct application to our teachers classrooms and will open up additional opportunities to collaborate with the presenter, Dianne Chambers at the University of Notre Dame-Australia, given the necessity for new teacher training in this area. Additionally, a plenary session given by former magician Kevin Spencer opened my eyes to the ways in which magic can be used to increase fine motor capabilities for students as well as confidence and motivation. This outside of the box thinking pushed me to reflect about the manner and content of material that I will bring to my graduate students in the Fall Assessment course. Formal testing can be a monotonous routine therefore I will ensure that I emphasize alternative ways to both informally test and progress monitor that access other parts of a student's brain.

Those who may attend this conference in the future should plan to be sure to make personal connections. Given the smaller nature of the conference, there are multiple opportunities to connect one on one with those whose research of practical application interests you. I made multiple connections and have continued to be in touch post conference with key individuals.

The conference can be found here and a link to my presentation information can be found on the conference materials tab.