HELLO TO THE T-SCORE (Teachers and Students for Community Oriented Research & Education) BLOG!
Inquisitive science minds – welcome to our blog and our space in the blogosphere! Each month/quarter during the next school year we’ll feature a teacher in our network and share how their experiences have shaped students’ worldviews about health science. Teachers also will share how they have integrated research and medical practice within their classroom. Our first blog kicks off this blog series with Dr. Maria Alonso Luaces, one of T-SCORE’s program administrators at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She shares her thoughts about T-SCORE and the benefits to STEM high school teachers in this region.
Q: What are some real-world opportunities that you think teachers should take advantage of to maximize the student’s experience in a health sciences course and/or throughout a health sciences unit?
A: “T- SCORE provides several opportunities for teachers to incorporate research in the classroom. One of those ways is through our summer institute where the teachers are immersed in an environment that they are encouraged and challenged to integrate research and their lived classroom experiences into a health sciences unit. Throughout their time at KU Medical in the summer, they are able to learn from research experts and what kind of community and clinical research is going on in urban and rural parts of Kansas. These ideas are incorporated into their units and are then implemented in the following school year.”
Q: As a program administrator, how have you seen that T-SCORE teachers have been able to integrate current research or medical practice into their curriculum and what are the benefits of doing this with your students?
A: “T-SCORE helps teachers to contextualize their units. This means that we’ve been able to help them to integrate real community health issues into the classroom and connect teachers and students directly to the problems impacting their communities. For example, one of the teachers focused on Asthma for one of her units. Her students came to KU Medical campus for a whole day and they learned about asthma and the different ways to test for it. The students also learned what can be done to reduce rates in the community and different ways researchers collect data about asthma. The students then decided that they wanted to do a quality assessment at their school.”
Q: As a program administrator, do you have any examples that you can share that exemplify the benefits for teachers and their involvement with T-SCORE?
A: “One of our high school teachers had a project that involved several partners and that was challenging. This teacher and his students were very engaged with the community to determine needs within the community before they came up with the solution. The result was to organize and hold a job fair. Though challenging, the outcome was extremely successful and the students felt that they were able to successfully address a real need right in their community.”