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UMFK well-represented at Montreal conference

May 20, 2005

NR05084

University of Maine at Fort Kent assistant professor of mathematics and business, Roger A. Roy and UMFK director of student teaching, Dariel Jacobs, recently attended the 12th Annual International conference on teacher research at McGill University and the American Educational Research Association annual conference in Montreal, Canada.

Roy presented his paper, entitled "An Application of Complexity Theory to Student Academic Success" to a special interest group at the American Educational Research Association event.

According to Roy, "The paper was written on the application of complexity theory to new student academic success in a higher education setting. The application is called landscape design, which is a set of organizational principles that originated in business organization theory. The underlying research was an attempt to use principles of complexity theory in a proactive manner to improve performance in a group."

The American Educational Research Association (AERA), founded in 1916, is primarily concerned with improving the educational process by encouraging scholarly inquiry related to education and by promoting the expansion and practical application of research results.

Roy's paper, "Suggested Uses of Landscape Design in K-12 Settings", was based on showing how to influence localized decisions, by altering the setting in which localized decisions are made."

Jacobs, who was co-chair of the 12th Annual International conference on teacher research, also presented a paper entitled "The Possibilities of Teacher Hope in Theory and in Action: A Drama Exploration."

The purpose of her paper was based on a study to discover elements of hope schemata for teachers. Theories of hope and of education were the foundation of the study.

The case study involved investigating one teacher and one teaching practice. The research was based on how the teacher's hopefulness and hopelessness shaped his or her practice and how practice informed and adjusted both.

Jacob's results indicate that performance in partnership with students maintained or strengthened hope. For example, teachers gain hope by overcoming stressful or challenging situations or creating new but obtainable goals. As for hopelessness, teachers lose hope by excluding creative offers made by others or by misplaced extensive praise.

Jacob states in her paper, "that repetition and renewal of experimental knowledge, together with skill and wisdom in teaching practice, sustain and maintain hope in theory and in action."