By Megan Hansen/Around & About editor

Eastern is turning 100 in 2006, and as part of the centennial celebration the College of Education is collecting memories of great teachers. “We are doing this because Eastern began as a teacher-preparation institute,” said Mark Wasicsko, dean of the College of Education.

Great Teachers/Great Memories is hoping to collect between 5,000 and 10,000 accounts of great teachers and the qualities that make them great teachers over the next two years.

“Teachers need to be patient and understanding,” said Andrea Pinkston, a senior elementary education major from Springfield. “They need to have different methods of teaching to serve all children.”

The program is not limited to just Eastern. The project has already gone statewide, and at the end of the month the project is going nationwide. There will be an advertisement publicizing Eastern’s efforts in the March 29 education edition of Newsweek magazine.

Wasicsko said the ad will reach about 10 million people.

The College of Education is considering going international with the project to get a wider perspective on what makes teachers great.

Prior research shows teachers need to be knowledgeable and they need to teach in a meaningful, fun manner, explained Wasicsko.

“Teachers also have to have a certain disposition about them,” Wasicsko said.

Eastern was the first university in the country to integrate teacher disposition into their teacher education program.

Once the College of Education has collected all the accounts of great teachers, an empirical study will be done on what qualities make great teachers. There will be a factor analysis on what makes a teacher great and what quality people find most important in their teachers, Wasicsko said.

The information gathered from the study will be used to improve Eastern’s teacher education program, Wasicsko said.

The College of Education is planning to publish articles about its findings to help other schools improve their teacher education programs.

“To my knowledge no one has done a nationwide study of what makes teachers great,” Wasicsko said.

Wasicsko wants Eastern students to get involved with this project.

“We would love to hear from Eastern students, especially if they went to school in Kentucky. We want to hear about what they think makes a teacher great,” Wasicsko said.

The College of Education is considering giving awards such as teacher of the year for teachers they consider outstanding through the submissions they receive.

Wasicsko will be using both undergraduate and graduate students to help him read through all the submissions.

“We are going to try to use some classes,” Wasicsko said.

For more information go to the great teachers Web site

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