When I began my research project roughly two and half years ago, I had one main goal in mind: to find out the reasoning behind Massachusetts mandating Elementary Education majors, like myself, to have a second major in the sciences or the humanities. My mind was consumed with the fact that I wanted to become an elementary school teacher, so why in the world would the state require me to have two complete undergraduate degrees when I would really only use my degree in education? This question is what sparked the whole idea of performing an interdisciplinary undergraduate research project. The purpose of my study was to become an expert on the initial interaction between Native Americans and English explorers in the New World during the 1600s and then to apply my knowledgeable background of first encounters to selecting high quality children’s literature written from multiple perspectives to create a text set to be used in a fifth grade classroom.
Throughout my research, the lines of separation between my two majors became blurred as I constantly crossed over critical and close reading techniques I had learned from both my Elementary Education and English majors, found opportunities to incorporate college level English texts into the elementary classroom, and discovered the importance of building a solid background on historical events prior to developing a text set to be used in the classroom. All of a sudden, my double major became a unified blend of equal parts Elementary Education and English. I could clearly see how an English degree fit into my future career as a classroom teacher. By the conclusion of my project, it had become less about the state requirement for education majors to have a second major in a content area and more about preparing myself to become the best possible educator.
Discovering How the Pieces Fit Together: An Interdisciplinary Research Project Integrating the Disciplines of Elementary Education and English.
Undergraduate Review, 12, 126-139.
Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/undergrad_rev/vol12/iss1/20
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