Insights on INSTEP, with Melinda Sloan

| November 6, 2010

According to TC, the Intensive Summer Teacher Education Program at Teachers College (INSTEP) provides in-service teachers the opportunity to conveniently gain their professional certification. It seems the students agree. Melinda Sloan, who teaches AP U.S. Government and World History in Virginia, heard about the program at the NCSS annual conference in 2008. She started the program in the summer of 2009. Having recently finished her second year, for Melinda the “most rewarding part is having colleagues from all across the country. It gives me a great chance to see all the different perspectives of teaching social studies.”

Melinda realized this in her first summer, when she took a curriculum class with Professor Margaret Crocco. “All the different approaches were easily demonstrated amongst the colleagues in our class.” Some of her fellow INSTEP-pers practiced “blending of all the different disciplines in the social studies” while others “had a more discipline-based background.” Working with the different views of the social studies really came out then the students planned one of their final requirements, an action research project. Students choose and explore an issue from their own classrooms.

Melinda is “researching test anxiety and the ability to teach test taking skills and relaxation techniques, and the effect they have on reducing test anxiety or impacting performance.” She is focusing on 9th and 10th grade students. Her project began with a summer boot camp “to familiarize students with AP testing.” She has already collected most of the data, and in her early analysis Melinda has been happy with “how much they mentioned test anxiety issues. More than I expected!”

For more information, contact Ashley Taylor: amt2161@columbia.edu