children laughing
Future teachers from UCF and high school teaching academies watch as Chris Pomponyo ’12, Seminole County Public Schools 2017 Teacher of the Year, hops onto a chair and engages his students in a fast-paced, live-model lesson during a lunch-and-learn at the KnightED Talks Student Showcase. (Photo by Amy Floyd)

Teacher education students recently presented professional strategies and techniques to their peers and heard from veteran teachers about student engagement at the KnightED Talks Student Showcase hosted by the School of Teacher Education . The showcase provides an opportunity for students to present at a conference prior to graduation and learn from their UCF teacher-candidate peers. High school students participating in teaching academies in their districts also joined the showcase this year for the first time.

student group talking
Presenter Charlie Wright, pursuing her bachelor’s degree in exceptional student education, gives teacher candidates an opportunity to simulate how they might aid students in social-emotional learning in the classroom. (Photo by Amy Floyd)

Lee-Anne Spalding, associate lecturer of elementary education and a co-chair for the showcase, says it was a rich learning experience for all. “It was great to see college students learning alongside high school students. As teachers, they will need to engage in professional development for recertification and to hone their teaching skills. The showcase prepares them for this — for continuous learning in the teaching field."

students doing project
Caitlyn Bailey presents to aspiring teachers from both UCF and high school teaching academies at the KnightED Talks Student Showcase. She hopes she gave future teachers a new way they might approach comprehension deficits in their classrooms. (Photo by Amy Floyd)
Menu on tableCaitlyn Bailey shows teacher candidates how they might work with choose-your-own-adventure books to engage and strengthen learning in the classroom. (Photo by Amy Floyd)

Presenter Caitlyn Bailey, pursuing her bachelor's degree in elementary education, says she chose her presentation topic based on what worked well in her internship. While she thought her approach was something new to share with her fellow teacher candidates, she was thrilled to learn they hadn't heard of some of the books she shared until now.

In Bailey's presentation "Choose Your Own Adventure," she shared a series of choose-your-own-adventure books and stories connected to multiple content areas, which she says can motivate reluctant readers, improve comprehension and fluency, help students develop their critical thinking skills and make connections to their own lives.

Bailey is grateful for the opportunity to share lessons from her own studies and experience with other future teachers. “Attendees commented on the impact my presentation had. It is a great feeling to think about the future students that could benefit from my presentation because some of the future teachers who attended my presentation can then take what they learned back to their classrooms.”

faculty writing
Presentations often involved collaboration and hands-on learning. (Photo by Amy Floyd)

Bailey says she also found other presentations especially helpful for her own teaching practice. “The showcase gave me a chance to learn from the experiences of other interns at schools different than my own, as well as watching co-teachers Chris Pombonyo and Nikhail Slaughter during the lunch and learn, which was an amazing chance to learn from veteran teachers.”

children listening to teacher
Co-teachers Chris Pombonyo and Nikhail Slaughter, along with their third-grade students, show future teachers what their classroom lessons look like. (Photo by Amy Floyd)

The showcase brings back alumni each year. Pombonyo ’12, Seminole County Public Schools 2017 Teacher of the Year, and co-teacher Slaughter ‘12 both received their bachelor’s degrees in elementary education at UCF and gave a lunch-and-learn, which included a live model lesson with their third-grade Midway Elementary School students. Their varied yet similarly-engaging styles gave teacher candidates a range of tools to take back with them to their own classrooms.

students and faculty
UCF students with Lee-Anne Spalding, associate lecturer of elementary education, and Spalding's former student Chris Pombonyo at the KnightED Talks Student Showcase. (Photo by Amy Floyd)