KOKOMO, Ind. — Student teaching in a high school history class is less intimidating after presenting research at a national conference, and answering questions from doctoral students.
Brianne Poor, a double major in history and political science and education at Indiana University Kokomo, was among the presenters at the Pi Sigma Alpha political science conference in Washington D.C., contributing her scholarship on how to accommodate more nations seeking membership in the United Nations Security Council.
She shared the experience with students at Peru High School, where she is completing her student teaching before she graduates in May.
“They got to go along with me, vicariously, as I talked about my research and my experience presenting it at the conference,” the Peru resident said. “My students seemed to connect with that, and were interested in the idea that this was something they could also do in a few years.”
Participating in the conference also made her more confident being at the front of her classroom.
“It definitely made me more comfortable answering when students raise their hands to ask a question during a lesson,” she said. “I used to worry if I would be able to answer their questions. With this experience taking questions from people at my own level of education and above, it’s less intimidating to answer questions from my students. I also learned it’s OK not to know the answers, but to say that I can look it up and get back to it later.”
After the conference, she received a critique of her article, rewrote it, and submitted it for publication in a Pi Sigma Alpha journal. Having a national presentation and scholarly journal publication credits to her name will help her when she seeks her first teaching job, she said. Her plan is to teach high school history, and later earn a Ph.D. so she can teach at the college level.
“Having this kind of experience makes you stand out among applicants for teaching jobs,” she said.
The research skills she honed studying history and political science have complemented the teaching proficiency gained from her education classes, Poor said.
“History and political science developed my research and writing skills,” she said. “That aspect of it comes into play when I’m creating the lesson plans I’ve learned to write in education. I’m able to prepare content-rich lessons, based on what I’ve learned and seen modeled in the classrooms at IU Kokomo.”
She earned the opportunity after sending in a research proposal, with encouragement from Todd Bradley, associate professor of political science, and sponsor of the campus’s newly formed chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha honorary. Poor based her proposal on her participation in a Model U.N. competition with IU Kokomo, at University of Louisville.
Model U.N. delegates work in pairs to research a member country, learning its views on issues currently being discussed. Poor and her partner represented Egypt. In addition to studying their country, they also learn parliamentary procedure, the proper language and terms to use, and conflict resolution skills.
“The United Nations is an interesting organization,” she said. “I really like military history, and it started after World War II, to try to prevent another world war. As I took other classes focused on different conflicts around the world, it tied into that.”
Participating in Model U.N. sparked a new interest for her in political science.
“History is what I’ve always loved; that’s my background,” said Poor, “When I started taking political science classes, I learned it goes beyond the politics you see on TV. It’s international politics, and so much more.”
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.