January 26, 2005

Charles Harmon Director of University Relations, Joseph C. Agbasi Student Assistant

VSU to host 2005 Teaching and Learning Conference

Valdosta State University's Department of Early Childhood and Reading Education is hosting its annual Teaching and Learning Conference on Saturday, Feb. 26, from 8:30 a.m. to noon in VSU's Education Center. This year, the topic is ?Looking at Student Work with Critical Friends.?

The presentation is aimed at classroom teachers, ranging from Pre-K to the 12th Grade. Participants will be introduced to Critical Friends Group (CFG) procedures designed to help teachers explore their own teaching practices, as well as those of their peers, in a supportive environment. Conference participants will be introduced to various methods of interpreting student work to determine if their instructional practices are yielding desired outcomes in mathematics and language arts.

The conference will explore key issues, including: the need for collegial review of student work, establishing student learning goals, identifying school culture issues that affect student achievement, and ways of informing instruction by analyzing student work samples.

CFG is currently in use by an estimated 35,000 teachers, principals, and college professors in over 1,500 schools. Continuous teacher training and development not only is critical in helping students achieve their best potential, but also allows instructors to be more effective in the classroom. CFG supports teachers and principals who are pursuing significant change, and it does so in exciting, productive ways.

Dr. Pamela Hertzog, Early Childhood & Reading Education Professor and Conference Coordinator said, ?The focus of the conference is to help teachers improve their own teaching practices by forming professional learning communities. Teachers will learn helpful, new strategies concerning the achievement of their students.?

Speakers at the conference include Dr. Frances Hensley, director of the Georgia Systematic Teacher Education Program (GSTEP) and national facilitator for the National School Reform Faculty (NSRF), Dr. Betty Shockley Bisplinghoff, faculty member in the Department of Elementary Education at the University of Georgia, and Thomas Van Soelen, assistant superintendent for Instruction and Accountability in Decatur City Schools and national facilitator for the NSRF.

?The speakers are all leaders in the program and the CFG protocol,? Hertzog said. ?They have great experience, both in and out of the classroom.?

The conference costs $20 for adults and $10 for students currently enrolled at VSU. Registration is encouraged before Friday, Feb. 18. For more information about registration, please contact Dr. Lynn Minor at (229) 333-5929 or by email at lcminor@valdosta.edu.

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