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Research Activities

Intercultural variables are embedded in the research activities of the Center.  Comparative studies with other geographic areas strengthen the quality of the Center. The following are examples of these activities:

Master Teaching.  
Master Teaching goes beyond the traditional idea that places the focus on teacher to the learning community.  The latter involves the roles of the master teacher, learner, scholar, and citizen in order to be able to achieve excellence in teaching.

  • The master teacher is one that at all levels must learn how to combine pedagogy with emerging technologies such as e-learning, virtual and distance learning, learning management systems and is able to make decisions to choose the best technologies as they are created.  They operate at the vibrant and timely intersection of technology development and learning theory. 
  • The master learner at any level of education is active in the teaching-learning process and adopts lifelong learning through reflection, collaboration, investigation, scholarship, community involvement, and professional integrity.  Master learners are particularly helpful in mentoring their peers to participate in class discussions, ask questions, challenge the teacher respectfully, write journals and essays--in short, engage successfully in sustained intellectual inquiry as a member of an educational community.
  • The master scholar is one that participates in documenting, analyzing, disseminating findings, and making recommendations to the solutions of complex academic and social problems. The scholar understands that the process for improvement will be undertaken in a social-cultural context that is key to developing appropriate support systems and solutions for learners and stakeholders at many levels.
  • The master citizen is one that understands the educational endeavor and its connection to the community at large.  Master citizens are involved in committees, workgroups, boards, and organizations that influence the quality of education within the community at various levels.  They operate under the context of educational improvement that best serves the students, teachers, educational organizations, and the community.  Their influence is paramount to the operation of an educational enterprise whether it addresses the continuum from early childhood to higher education and beyond.

Language Acquisition.
The study of language acquisition builds upon research that focuses on the characteristics of language learning, such as acquisition orders and developmental sequences, variability, and pragmatic features relating to the way languages are learned and used in context for multiple purposes.  Another area considers learner-external factors, such as the cultural and social context of language acquisition, and input and interaction which the learner experiences.  A third area examines learner-internal mechanisms, such as how acquisition takes place and how learners use their resources in communication.  The fourth area identifies individual learner differences and what causes them, such as motivation, aptitude and strategies as inferring and self-monitoring. 

Bi-cultural/Bi-national Strengths of the Region 
Our region is rich in research opportunities for the study of the bi-cultural/bi-national influence that our learners face. This area will mutually work with the Texas Center for Border and Transnational Studies.

  • Cultural Learning in Education - Balancing the different, and often oppositional, cultural influences is key to the acculturation process and is an essential variable to student learning. It includes acculturation, assimilation, and accommodation.  The research topics will include:  bicultural development processes, the balance between cultural systems, resistance to acculturation and assimilation pressures by parents and students, learning styles, cultural and linguistic demands, ethnocentric learning and the study of convening customs, languages, and social behaviors.
  • Cross-National Education With the proximity of Mexico and its educational system, the Center enriches its research in shared visions of education and the political, economical and social factors impacting bi-national education and its varying structures.  The continuing migration of Mexican students and its implications for the preparation of educators for area schools is a focus for comparative studies in binational/multinacional education.

Early Childhood Education
The expansion of an additional early childhood facility with access to children, ages birth to five, provides us with the acquisition of data critical to the study of early childhood education. The Center for Early Childhood Studies of the College of Education will serve as a site for educational research in psychomotor, cognitive stimulation, readiness for school, master teaching preparation and provides cooperative research ventures with other colleges, schools, and organizations. 

In keeping with the national trend on the importance of early childhood education, the Center will serve as a national clearinghouse for data collected on studies devoted to early childhood education. The clearinghouse will be supported through external funding. 

Health Education Research. 
The Lower Rio Grande Valley of South Texas (LRGV), on the Mexican border, is one of the poorest regions of the United States with some of the highest incidences of major diseases. Furthermore, it has been demonstrated that education plays a major role in the well being of the population.  Therefore in collaboration with the Center for Biomedical Studies, CEDI research scholars will explore basic research in the areas of brain function and development, obesity, diabetes, and psychomotor development. This research focus would position the COE Department of Health and Human Performance in cooperation with other Departments of the University as a recognized leader wellness and human performance research.

Higher Education and Comparative Studies.

Whether viewed from the perspective of an emerging knowledge-based economy or from a postmodern perspective, the role of education, especially higher education, in the process of modernization requires critical reflection and appraisal. Several questions are germane: Should education promote modernization? To what extent should it be devoted to supporting the expansion of worldwide production and labor? What non-Western conceptualizations of education have we neglected? Does education teach human values? Should it? What role should Comparative Higher Education play? Is a specialty on Comparative Higher Education? What are the differences and similarities between public and private higher education institutions across de world? How innovation in higher education is becoming a challenge in system perpetuating traditions? The study of the methodology and innovations of comparative education and higher education national systems as compare to the United States and to the emerging concepts surrounding globalization, 0-12 or K1-12 education and scientific research. Research relates to a range of ideological, methodological, instrumental and cultural perspectives in the application of education worldwide with major emphasis in Higher Education subsystems.

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