April 17, 2005 – When it comes to learning styles of 10th graders at Charlotte Amalie High School, there's not a lot that Erma Skelton doesn't know.
"When children do not learn the way we teach them, we must teach them the way they learn," said Skelton as she addressed the audience at a graduate student conference "Celebrating 21st Century Educational Research in the USVI" at the University of the Virgin Islands on Saturday.
Skelton has spent the past few years comparing the learning styles of 10th graders, both high and low achievers. She looked at everything from the temperature of the classroom to background noise and the types of chairs the students sit in. Now she wants to apply that research to other classes in other schools.
Skelton was one of several students from the Master of Arts in Education program at UVI invited to share her research thesis at the conference.
Education professor Dr. Suzy Green, who coordinated the conference, said that there are few published studies about education in the territory, but in-depth research is being conducted.
"I see so many students come through the Master of Arts in Education program. They all have an idea of what's happening in the community," said Green. "This conference will provide a forum in which the results of locally based research can be shared with the community to inform best practice within school administration, policy formation, professional development, counseling and classroom instruction."
Natasha Freeman is a social worker with the Department of Human Services, working on her master's in education. She was one of the attendees who filled Chase Auditorium to standing room only.
"My professor invited me to come and listen," Freeman said. "The topics are good, helpful. These will be helpful to think about when we get our jobs."
Taking the research topics and putting them into practical use is just what Green would like to see happen.
"The main thing to come out of this conference is what are you we — going to do to get this information used throughout the community," said Green as she addressed the audience. "I hope sincerely that this [conference] is the first of many," she said.
The topics presented were:
— "Common English Writing Errors Made by Freshman Level Students at the University of the Virgin Islands," by Shauna Cox of UVI;
— "An Investigation into the Success of At-Risk Students Who were Enrolled in an Alternative Education Program in the U.S. Virgin Islands" by Merlene Jones of Bertha C. Boschulte Junior High School;
— "Student Aspirations in the Elementary School" by Tydell John of the Eulalie Rivera Elementary School;
— "An Investigation into the Views of Parents and Teachers on the Concept of Retention" by Lisa Magras of the V.I. Department of Education;
— "An Identification and Comparison of the Learning Styles of High and Low Achieving Tenth Graders" by Erma Skelton of the Charlotte Amalie High School.
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