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Abstract

A large midwestern university has developed a program that places graduate students in middle school classrooms to enhance the graduate students’ communication skills with diverse audiences, develop pedagogical knowledge, and provide a foundation for effective future K-12 engagement. After observing and co-teaching, participants develop and implement a standards- and inquiry-based lesson that brings their graduate research theme into the classroom. To provide insights into impacts on graduate students, qualitative methods were used to identify emergent themes in narratives written by graduate student participants. Major themes included new awareness of challenges in effective teaching for diverse audiences, insight into effective strategies for communicating research to teachers and students, and experiences that support future professional responsibilities. These results suggest that this type of engagement program is an effective approach to meeting several outcomes for graduate education, in addition to its value for teachers, K-12 students and college-community relationships.

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