Wednesday, April 8, 2009

5th CESTL Event Summary

CESTL: An Unforgettable Learning Experience!
Summary of the 5Th Conference of Elementary-Secondary Teaching & Learning

On May 2nd, 2009, the 5th CESTL took place in the Long Island Room of the Chapel Lounge at the Long Island University C. W. Post Campus for the second time. The CESTL was organized by Professor Dengting Boyanton and her students who are taking her courses EDI 15A Psychological Perspective: Teaching & Learning, EDI 17 Psychology and Development of Adolescent Students, and EDI 600 Educational Foundation in Education in Spring 2009.

This conference was intent to be completely student-centered and family-oriented focusing student research on elementary secondary teaching and learning. For the first time, the CESTL Committee was established at C.W. Post and it consisted of 5 highly motivated and competent students including both graduate students and undergraduate students. These student committee members helped with coordinating the CESTL such as event planning, publicizing, and inviting guest speakers. “It has been a great experience to work with the CESTL committee. Although most of them felt like they didn’t help much and would like to be more involved. The truth is that they helped a lot and their help made my job so much easier.” Said Dr. Boyanton, founder of the CESTL.

It is estimated that a minimum of 96 people attended the 5th CESTL conference. Among them, 40 were education major student presenters (both graduate and undergraduate students); 42 were students’ family members (parents, spouses, boyfriends/girlfriends, children); 6 were professors/family members, 5 K-12 guest speakers, and 3 other Post student participants. It was the first time that CESTL had more family members than student presenters in the past three years. “I enjoyed meeting the family members and I was amazed by the tremendous amount of support that they provided for our students.” Dr. Boyanton said.

In addition to student presentations, Dr. Mark Birchette keynote address Passion to Teach and five professors’ (Dr. Arnold Dodge, Dr. Mark Birchette, Dr. Lynn Cohen, Dr. Dr. Efleda Tolentino, and Dr. Dengting Boyanton) invited symposium Teaching & Learning: Perspectives from LIU Professors were also highlights of the 5th CESTL. Also, the special K-12 Student Panel on Teaching and Learning, initiated by Dr. Boyanton for the first time at CESTL received very positive feedback. “I also really enjoyed listening to the guest panels, I thought it was such a SMART idea to have the high/junior high school students and professors there. I loved it so much!” Said graduate Priscilla Alvarez.

Also, our culture performance saw-playing with Piano by undergraduate Chelsea Winter and her friend Kathryn Feibusch was certainly an eye-opening experience for all. “I found the saw player to be very interesting as well since I have never heard saw-playing before.” Undergraduate Eric Morris shared his impression. The professional Irish dance provided by Colette Squillante and her mom Ms. Nancy Squillante was also a thrilling experience for the students. “I was so fascinated by how fast they were moving their legs. I was so distracted that I even forgot to take the pictures.” Said the CESTL photographer Stephen Boyanton, a Ph.D student in History from Columbia University.

As previous three CESTLs which were all held at the University of Texas at Brownsville, the 5th CESTL was also a huge success at LIU. It has received overwhelmingly positive feedback from the students, the professors, and family members. All student presenters (100%) reported that they enjoyed the CESTL tremendously and described this experience as “nerve-wrecking” “exciting” “inspiring” “educational” “informative” “interesting” “meaningful” “enriching” “respectful” “positive” “community” “well-organized” “amazing” “professional” “great” “awesome” “impressive” “phenomenal” and “powerful!”

Although many student presenters were very nervous about presenting at the CESTL, most of them felt calm after they arrived and their anxiety became excitement because of the accepting, warm, and respectful CESTL spirit. “Although I was a bit nervous about presenting my research and findings, I have to say that I was surprised by the acceptance that I felt during the conference. Everyone was very friendly and interested in what I had to say. That warm environment made all of my anxiety disappear and I just focused on enjoying myself.” Said Louiza Mark, a graduate presenter.

Almost everybody was impressed by how knowledgeable and professional each presenter looked. “All the presenters were so knowledgeable about their topics and passionate. They spoke with such fervor that allowed you to see what they saw during those observations and how they felt about their topics. I did not see fear, though I knew some were, but because of how they presented, they looked like ‘pros’ as one would with any topic and be well informed at the same time.” Graduate student Keisha Adamson-Kogle described her impression of the CESTL student presenters.

“The CESTL was a HUGE success in my book!!! I learned so much about other interesting topics, which are going to come in handy when I have my own classroom! I loved the conference so much! I had such a great time, and I cannot wait for the conference next year!” Graduate student Priscilla Alvarez expressed her excitement.

“The CESTL was a long day but well worth it. I had such an amazing time at the conference!!! I will definitely come again next year and maybe present again, too!!” Joseph Scauzillo, a graduate student from EDI 600 course shared his experience. “I had such a great time at CESTL. It was definitely worth the day. I walked away with so much more information than I would have ever gained through my personal experiences.” Yun Lee, another graduate student said.
Undergraduate Chris Leodise believed future education students should definitely attend the CESTL conference because “it is a great opportunity to learn many things about the field of education as well as becoming a teacher.” “I am really glad that Dr. Boyanton wanted us all to do the CESTL. I feel that it was a very rewarding experience and I am more confident in myself now than I ever was. I truly enjoyed this course with Dr. Boyanton and I would recommend it to everyone and anyone who is majoring in education.” Said undergraduate Nicole Larosa.
As previous CESTLs, most students felt a strong sense of achievement and increased self-confidence after presenting at the CESTL. “When looking back on yesterday, I am shocked. I never thought I would be able to do something like this. I now know that if I put my mind and heart in accomplishing something, it will be worth it.” Said graduate Michelle Evanngelista. Undergraduate Gillian Blitzer shared how CESTL experience increased her self-confidence, “The CESTL experience was completely rewarding. I’ve gained confidence in myself that I can accomplish assignments that I had once thought I could never be able to do. The CESTL conference only makes me want to excel my academics much further than I had preconceived entering college.”

More good news about that CESTL is that through presenting at the CESTL, opened new doors for our student presenters. Undergraduate student Vivett Hemans, after giving a presentation about the race and black students’ achievement in a dominant white environment, immediately received a job interview from a local school district in Long Island. “I am very thrilled about this job opportunity! I am so glad that I presented at the CESTL. I had doubts if I could do it at first and I was angry when you encouraged me to do it. Thank you for pushing and believing in me, Dr. Boyanton.” Vivett expressed her gratitude to Dr. Boyanton afterwards.

To summarize this experience, “I can’t really describe what I felt after presenting and watching others present at the CESTL. Words fall short. I am immensely proud of each and every one of us: the poster-makers and the PowerPointers.” Undergraduate student Chris Barone said, “The CESTL marked a turning point for me. My whole outlook on life has shifted. EDI 17 has made an optimist out of me. I leave this class a changed person with a reinvigorated passion for education, both in front of and behind the desk. I am eternally grateful to the CESTL, our class, and Dr. Boyanton.”

“I was in awe of the level of research and the deep scope with which my peers pursued their research assignments. All of the topics were very interesting and definitely research-worthy. Each person that presented, although nervous, got up to speak with authority about their subject matter. They were engaging, well-spoken, knowledgable, and most of all fun! The posters that I viewed were so neat, eye-catching and well put-together. Whether it was a powerpoint or a poster presentation, I left today's class with a sense of pride. The members of community of respect that we formed just a few short months ago really did a fabulous job. WAY TO GO! CESTL WAS AWESOME! AN UNFORGETTABLE EXPERIENCE!” Undergraduate Vivett Hemans summarized her CESTL experience.

To learn more about the CESTL:
To view CESTL pictures:

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