Assistant Professor Dr. Caitlin Riegel Presents at the Association of Teacher Educators & the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education Conferences

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Assistant Professor Dr. Caitlin Riegel Presents at the Association of Teacher Educators & the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education Conferences

Posted by Medaille College Office of Communications

Assistant Professor Dr. Caitlin Riegel

Department of Education Assistant Professor Caitlin Riegel, Ph.D., the program director for Medaille College’s M.S.Ed. adolescent/secondary education and M.S.Ed. elementary education programs, has recently presented at two national conferences, sharing her research and expertise as it relates to COVID-age topics of teaching educators and instructing in a virtual environment. 

On February 17, Dr. Riegel, presented at the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE) Conference, alongside Rosina Mete, Ph.D., a registered psychotherapist located in Canada. Their presentation, titled “Strategies for Stress Management and Emotional Wellbeing: Teacher Educators Adapting within the Age of Distance Education,” focused on facilitating comprehension of mental health concerns in the 21st century classroom, and provided an overview of strategies to address teacher educators’ stress and emotional wellbeing, with an emphasis on education and awareness to reduce stigma. Dr. Riegel and Dr. Mete’s presentation focused on stress during the time of a pandemic and what this looks like for educators in the classroom, addressing evidence-based self-care practices from concepts such as Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) while illustrating how technology can be used to support teachers’ emotional wellbeing during the age of distance learning. The presentation concluded by exploring several technology-based resources (podcasts, Facebook groups, mental health apps, stress management toolkits, etc.) that can be included in teacher educators’ stress management routines. The relevance of this presentation on teachers’ mental health is a vital consideration within educator preparation programs, as the need to address and advocate for the holistic, caring and ethical practices in the development of educators continues to rise. 

On February 25, Dr. Riegel presented at the Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education (AILACTE) Conference. Her presentation, titled “Fostering Community Online: Qualities of Effective Synchronous Virtual Classes,” focused on preparing teacher educators to teach in a virtual environment by identifying qualities associated with effective synchronous virtual classes that can be built into online instruction. Dr. Riegel addressed the National Institute for Excellence in Teaching (NIET) Instructional Strategies for Virtual Learning and linked them to traditional classroom community building strategies. Several important features were identified as helping faculty build a community in an online environment: comfort, collaboration, personalization and participation. These features were elaborated upon, and the presentation concluded with a critical discussion among participants regarding the specific obstacles to fostering community in an online environment and how those differ from fostering community in an on-ground environment. The relevance of this presentation, with the increase of online learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic, involves how both K-12 and higher education educators alike are struggling to mimic their classroom community in a virtual environment.

The Association of Teacher Educators was founded in 1920 and is the only national, individual membership organization devoted solely to the improvement of teacher education for both school and campus-based teacher educators. ATE members represent nearly 1,300 teacher educators in colleges, universities, school districts and state education agencies within 41 regional and state affiliated units and U.S. Territories.

The Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education provides an effective voice for member institutions at the national, state and campus level in matters related to teacher education. AILACTE also promotes quality teacher education and provides a communication and information system for sharing concerns, issues and viewpoints in teacher education.

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