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USC’s Research Culture

2017-02-22 – Andrea S. Cato

The School of Education and Humanities hosted its research forum at the Vernon Andrews Amphitheatre, on February 15, 2017, with lecturers, Ms. Madeline D. Trotman and Mrs. Lancashire Joseph-John presenting.

Education lecturer, Joseph-John, shared findings on the topic, Autism: Characteristics and Strategies for the Classroom. Joseph-John supported the view that “Strategies for students with autism are effective strategies for all students.” She highlighted that teaching strategies for autistic learners tend to be visual in nature,” and also tend to “focus on social skills training.”

Trotman’s research contribution was entitled Promise, Pressures and Perseverance. An experienced Spanish lecturer, Trotman focused on cooperative learning and how adults learn. Her research was conducted with a sample group of five students and three lecturers at USC.

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Trotman highlighted Social Interdependence Theory, as a strategy that has cooperative learning as its base. She also explained that cooperative group learning can be positive or negative. “Positive interdependence” in a cooperative learning setting, says Trotman, is evident, when “the group believes that each person must accomplish his or her goal(s) for the group to accomplish its goal.” The negative aspect sees learners competing against to achieve individual goals.

“Students at USC involved in cooperative learning,” according to Trotman’s findings, “experience some of the same promise, in terms of the benefits of cooperative learning; pressures, in terms of the challenges and influencing factors. As Trotman asserts, is the case with their international colleagues, “They learn to persevere and overcome obstacles as they are involved in cooperative learning.” 

The purpose of the forum is to foster a culture of research

She says of her research, “I see it as a springboard for further research for Caribbean students involved in cooperative learning, because there are hundreds of studies on cooperative learning, but few on Caribbean students in tertiary level education, involved in cooperative learning.

According to History lecturer and facilitator of the forum, Dr. Fiona Rajkumar, it is the brainchild of the Dean of Education and Humanities, Dr. Laverne Jacobs-Browne.

The forum aims “to encourage academic development at the School level,” says Rajkumar. She adds that “The purpose of the Forum is to foster a culture of research, by having faculty members share research that they have conducted, from a completed project, or their ongoing projects. It is meant to be a space where both faculty members and students can come together in a spirit of collaboration with the view of assisting each other along what may sometimes appear to be the daunting journey of research. It is hoped that the fire lit within the School will spread to the wider campus and even community as we seek to make a difference where we have been placed.”

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