08/03/2007
Behind the Scenes
Elizabeth Soslau joins Need in Deed Board

"Kids don't learn unless their teacher is excited."

We met Elizabeth Soslau during her first year of full-time teaching at Grover Washington Jr. Middle School. As a member of Need in Deed’s My Voice Teacher Network, she guided her students through a service-learning project on wheelchair accessibility.

“Kids don’t want to learn unless the teacher is excited about the material and the delivery methods,” says Elizabeth, who is returning to school this fall as a Ph.D. candidate in education at the University of Delaware. “Service-learning is a great way to get kids engaged in learning. I think my kids fed off my excitement.”

It’s no surprise that Elizabeth plans to focus her research on motivation and the effects of experiential or “authentic” learning.

And she has a good head start. This fall a paper she co-authored with Deb Yost, a professor of education at LaSalle University, will be published in the Journal of Experiential Learning, as will a book chapter in a text focusing on K-12 service-learning partnerships. Elizabeth’s data came from an action research project she conducted comparing the students who completed the My Voice service-learning project with another cohort of students at Grover.

When asked what she thinks she brings to the Board, she said, “As a practitioner, I bring a practical perspective to the Board, and I will have time to do research that may help bring new ideas to the table.”