This Fall Semester, four SUNY Old Westbury graduate students in the Masters of Arts in Teaching, Adolescence Education - English Language Arts program traveled to Minneapolis, Minn. to attend the 105th National Council of Teachers of English annual convention, "Responsibility, Creativity, and the Arts of Language." Under the guidance of Dr. Nicole Sieben, English education professor and program coordinator, the students prepared presentations and were eager to share their work, and network with more than 5,000 K-16 English teachers, graduate students, and scholars in the field.
Kristin Cacchioli, Michael Filoramo, Lindsey Palumbo, and Dexter White were joined by graduate students from 20 other universities across the country as they presented their research projects at the conference session “The Future is Now: Exploring 21st Century Teaching Ideas with the Next Generation of English Teachers.” The English teacher candidates represented the stories of Old Westbury education students and English majors, as well as the stories of the students in the classrooms in which they are observing and working. Student presentations included:
- “Representations of Characters with Disabilities in Literature” by Kristin Cacchioli
- “The Inclusion of YAL with English Canonical Texts” by Lindsey G. Palumbo and Michael Filoramo
- “Using Story to Create Thesis Statements in Middle School Essay Writing” by Dexter White
As graduate student presenter, Kristin Cacchioli shared, “attending the conference was an amazing experience because I got the opportunity to make professional connections, meet various scholars whose work I've read, and discover countless lesson ideas to use in my future classroom. It definitely helped me become a better and more effective teacher!” Michael Filoramo concurred and said, "being around so many educators passionate about their work made me feel part of a wonderful community of people dedicated to changing the world through the teaching of reading and writing."
Throughout the conference, the students attended sessions that explored ways of integrating creativity, responsibility, and arts into English curricula. Additionally, the students assisted Sieben during one of her sessions titled, “LGBTQ Voices in Education: ‘Speaking Truth to Power.’” Dr. Sieben’s other presentations at the conference included: “Using Digital Literacies to Build Writing Hope: Frameworks and Strategies for Writing Education;” “Teaching Writing Hope: Building Pathways to Writing Competencies in Secondary Schools;” “Rewriting for Justice: Breaking Down Bullying in Konigsberg’s Openly Straight;” and “Becoming an Ally: Including LGBTQ Texts in the Secondary ELA Classroom.” Old Westbury’s graduate students engaged in important conversations connected to these and many other social justice and English language arts topics at the NCTE Convention.
As future secondary English language arts teachers, the attendees felt that it was an eye-opening and important conference for all future and current English teachers to attend; it is an influential step in their acculturation process as teachers of English and as life-long learners. The NCTE community was extremely impressed with the work that the Old Westbury students are doing and have expressed a hope that students from the College will participate in future NCTE conventions.
Pictured from left to right: Dexter White, Kristin Cacchioli, Michael Filoramo, Lindsey Palumbo, Dr. Nicole Sieben