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In one of my Master’s classes, the professor gave us some advice that she received when she was in college.  She believed it was one of the most important pieces of advice that she received in her academic career.  Her advice is to organize your studies, whenever possible, around a central theme.

What did the professor mean by building on a central theme?  In your preservice training there are numerous scholarly opportunities to do research on topics that are of high interest to you.  The professor explained that when you are given an opportunity to research something of your choosing then stick to one educational topic of interest.  Some possible topics of interests may include: interdisciplinary teaming, cooperating learning, multiple intelligences, or special education.  The benefits of building on a central theme throughout your academic career are:

1) You become an expert on the topic.  With each class you can build on your knowledge of the topic

2) You can reduce your workload.  You can take research you have already completed and use it for another research project.

3) You build great references and research that may be used for a higher degree, whether it is a Masters or a Doctorate.

I thought about my professor’s advice and decided my central theme would be interdisciplinary teaming.  I was passionate about this concept because the school I was intending to student teach practiced interdisciplinary teaming. Therefore, I used interdisciplinary teaming as the driver for my research and studies.  By simply completing a few courses I began to build a wealth of resources on the topic as well as incorporating different prospective into the topic.  Here is a breakdown of the classes that I took that built on my central theme of interdisciplinary teaming:

Adolescent Development – Researched how interdisciplinary teaming contributed to a sense of community and helped meet the adolescent’s need for belonging.

Exceptional Children – Researched the benefits of interdisciplinary teaming in the perspective of special education

Quantitative Research – Added quantitative research and a literature review of the benefits of interdisciplinary teaming

Qualitative Research – Added qualitative research and a literature review of the benefits of interdisciplinary teaming

When you find a topic that interests you and you begin to do research, remember to organize it in a manner that makes the most sense to you.  It might be best to just create a single folder to keep all your work and research together.

Resource Links

Road to Teaching: A Guide to Teacher Training, Student Teaching, and Finding a Job

Student Teacher Topics