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A MiddLab Project

CCSRE Life Stories: Jonathan Miller-Lane

Learn more about the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity  at Middlebury College .

“Life Stories of Middlebury College” is a multi-phase initiative intended to gather people’s experiences while at the college, particularly reflections that highlight issues of diversity. In his interview, Jonathan Miller-Lane, an education studies professor and Aikido instructor, compares liberal arts and martial arts and the depth of study that both of these require; he would like people to substitute the word ‘busy’ for ‘mindless’; he thinks Middlebury is at an interesting crossroads with regard to the diversity of its community, not because it is not diverse enough, but that it is time to stop saying that we are not talking about it (race or sexuality) and create more opportunities  and invitations do things with others who are not like ourselves; he wants his students to ask themselves a different question than what do I want to do or achieve, but what am I doing here and what do I want to care for?

 

People

Jonathan Miller-Lane

Associate Professor of Education Studies

Gabby Arca, interviewer

 

 

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A MiddLab Project

CCSRE Life Stories Project: Claudia Cooper

Learn more about the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity at Middlebury College.

“Life Stories of Middlebury College” is a multi-phase initiative intended to gather people’s experiences while at the college, particularly reflections that highlight issues of diversity. In her interview, Claudia Cooper talk about teaching literature with Middlebury College students in Africa, her work in advocacy for community building to overcome AIDS, adopting a foreign-born child, and the feeling of difference at home and abroad.

People

Claudia Cooper
Visiting Assistant Professor of English & American Literature & Education Studies

Susan Burch
Associate Professor of American Studies; Director, CCSRE; Head of Life Stories project

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This research examines how adolescents think about knowledge and knowing, evaluate competing sources of knowledge, trust certain sources of knowledge, justify knowledge, and approach certainty of knowledge, processes collectively referred to as “personal epistemology.” This project is a four-year, multi-method and multi-measure study in which students from grades 6, 8, 10, and 12 were interviewed about their views on knowledge and knowing. In this set of analyses, we examined the question of domain specificity in adolescent epistemic development and found that personal epistemology is not consistent across all domains, but rather, adolescents’ views about knowledge vary depending on the domain of knowledge that they evaluate. By comparing adolescents’ views on historical knowledge vs. scientific knowledge, we found that adolescents were more likely to trust sources of knowledge in science, to justify sources of scientific knowledge as more trustworthy and valid, and to view knowledge in science as more certain.

People

Lauren Goldstein
Researcher

Barbara Hofer
Sponsor & Professor of Psychology

“What if you had two accounts of the causes of a war, one by a person who lived at that time, and another by a historian, a history expert, who didn’t live through the war, but who has researched it a lot. Which one would you find more believable?”

77% of 6th graders, 73% of 8th graders, and 36% of 12th graders chose contemporary.

Most Common Rationale for Choosing Contemporary

Grade Because Witness Personally Experienced it Because Historian’s Information Could Be Wrong
6th (n=20) 100% (n=20) 40% (n=8)
8th (n=24) 100% (n=24) 21% (n=5)
12th (n=9) 78% (n=7) 11% (n=1)

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Primary sources, diaries, ancient coins, a mere scrap of paper, are the materials from which the stories of the past are discovered. The project I undertook while interning at the National Archives and Records Administration addressed how we, as teachers of history, keep primary sources available, captivating, and the focus of historical education. I investigated this directly by assisting in the testing and presenting of DocsTeach, one of the most innovative historical tools for educators, which provides interactive activities built from a database of digitized primary sources. I helped increase access to records further with use of social media. The growing social phenomenon of digitization is not just connecting us with our future; it is connecting us to our past like never before, lowering the barrier of access for students young and old. The educational tools being created around these now easily accessible records, such as DocsTeach, are just the beginning.

People

Brittany Gendron
Researcher

Amy Morsman
Sponsor & Associate Professor of History

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A MiddLab Project

Trends and Perceptions in Zoo and Aquarium Field Trips

Learn more about Biology and Education Studies at Middlebury College.

This paper reports the results of a survey designed to examine trends in zoo and aquarium field trip attendance, as well as the perceptions and practices of zoo and aquarium educators. The results suggest that field trip attendance is down at most zoos and aquariums over the last five years, but increased during 2009 over 2008 at about half of the institutions reporting data. The results obtained here, combined with those reported in the published literature, suggest that zoo and aquarium educators must continue to provide classroom teachers with professional development opportunities if field trips are to remain an educationally-relevant part of the K-12 experience.

People

Nicholas J. Meiers
Researcher

Number and percent of zoo and aquarium educators mentioning a particular theme for their visit (n=37).

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