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COEHD professor, doctoral fellow conduct research in India

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Dr. Howard L. Smith, associate professor in the Department of Bicultural-Bilingual Studies (BBL), and Dr. Kalpana M. Iyengar, BBL post-doctoral fellow, participated in a scholar-in-residence program sponsored by the Devsanskrithi Vishwavidyalaya (DSVV) in Haridwar, India this past July. Their visit was a continuation of the Memorandum of Understanding previously established between the UTSA College of Education and Human Development and the DSVV.  

Smith and Iyengar, the UTSA scholars-in-residence had a two-fold mission on their trip to India: to confer with interested faculty around qualitative research and to model classroom pedagogies from a socio-constructivist perspective. 

As part of their research agenda, Smith and Iyengar collected personal stories from members of marginalized communities, such as street vendors, floor scrubbers, cab drivers, in order to develop an understanding of the life experiences of those not afforded conveniences and privileges of a more affluent society. The stories they collected will be integrated into their data set on community literacies, and will be featured in their forthcoming book volume tentatively entitled, “Voices from the Margins.” 

Using their experience as “teacher-coach,” Iyengar and Smith were invited to work with the English faculty of the Shantikunj Vedamata high school and offer model teaching. Basing their instruction on the official curriculum of the state, Iyengar and Smith, demonstrated to the English faculty the use of cooperative learning and translanguaging as tools to accelerate learning, especially when teaching second-language speakers. During the debriefings and data analysis sessions, the local educators were impressed with the success of the lessons and the interest that the students demonstrated in the instruction.

With this trip to India, Smith and Iyengar jump-started BBL post-doctoral work by harvesting data on the experience they completed and submitted a manuscript titled, “Asian Indian Students’ Perceptions and Attitudes toward American Pedagogies with the Shakespearean Sonnet.”  In collaboration with the head English teacher, Sumati Pandey, they are also currently completing an additional manuscript on traditional cultural practices, and students’ attitudes toward the social responsibilities implied. 

Photos courtesy of Dr. Kalpana Iyengar


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