Meet the Researcher - Morgan Daubert

Breakout Room: 8

Researcher Name: Morgan Daubert
Title of Research: Rethinking teacher education preparation in a pandemic crisis: The evaluation of pre-service teacher competence, and confidence of social, emotional learning.
Division Representing: Education
Institution: University of Nebraska at Kearney
Institution Location: Nebraska
Home State: Nebraska
District Number: 1
Advisor/Mentor: Megan Adkins
Funding Source: University of Nebraska Undergraduate Research Fellows Program, Council of Undergraduate Research: CUR Education Division Student-Faculty Collaborative Research Award Grant

Research Experience:
Serving as a senator for student government, University committees as the student representative, president of our student education association, and leading Alpha Phi Sorority as the executive administrator are a few examples of volunteer experiences I have completed throughout my college career. Alongside volunteering I have worked as a Resident Assistant and in the University Athletic Department. For the past six summers, I have worked as the Pool Manager at the local pool, and painted houses, to help the family business, back home. During my time on the University campus, I have been involved in research activities since my sophomore year. My research advisor taught me the research process by first having me assist with projects by completing data collection, and assisting in project implementation related to equity in physical activity, and STEM. After the first year of learning about how to conduct quality research, and assisting in gaining my confidence in my ability, I began to develop my own research agenda related to social-emotional learning, and teacher preparation. For the past two years, I have continued to assist my advisor with her research activities by helping with IRB development, developing questionnaires, and being an active participant in research/grant meetings. I have also conducted two research projects of my own studying pre-service teacher perceptions and knowledge of Social and Emotional Learning, as well as research related to social-emotional learning and COVID.  

Presentation Experience:
Prior to attending college, I performed in countless theatre and show choir performances at my local high school and also competed on the school's forensics team in the informative speech category.  Since I began college I have presented to over one-hundred groups on campus. Presentation styles and group size varied depending on the attendees. Some I was given time to prepare for, others I was asked spur of the moment. Example groups I presented in a formal and/or informally included University prospective students, prospective faculty, University faculty, College Deans, the University Chancellor and other upper administration, and State Senators during events on campus and at the state capital. Outside of the classroom, I am involved in many organizations including student government, Alpha Phi, Intramurals, and Mortar Board to name a few in which numerous presentations were given on a multitude of topics. To date, I have assisted my University professors in two national conference presentations, presented my own research at two undergraduate research days held on campus, and was recently selected to present my research poster at a national convention in 2021.  Through my extended volunteer activities, work experience, scholarly endeavors, public speaking ability, and majoring in education, I believe I possess the skill set to engage attendees in quality presentations.  

Significance of Research:       
Schools recognize the importance of helping children manage their emotions by teaching social-emotional learning (SEL) competencies.  All SEL skills have become relevant, and important since the pandemic with the continued emotional stressors of daily life.  A survey study was completed to examine University pre-service teacher's (PT), and first-year teacher's (FT) perceptions, competence, and University preparation related to SEL. Additionally, the research evaluated change in SEL perceptions before and during the COVID-19 pandemic. PT and FTs from four states (N=168; 63=PS, 105=BT) responded to an online survey regarding how prepared they felt to educate youth about SEL skills, their own perceptions of the need for SEL, and gaps in teacher preparation course work related to SEL. Results indicate all teachers felt SEL was important, even more now since COVID. Professional development, and University coursework to support SEL implementation, especially in the promotion of student SEL, e.g. self-management, would be helpful. Currently, limited research exists in the area of pre-service teacher education preparation and SEL.  The results of this study offer insight into SEL understanding and could be utilized by Universities to determine areas to address in their curriculum related to SE learning and application for pre-service teachers.  Further research should evaluate current policies related to the initial certification of teachers and the ability to demonstrate successful teaching of SEL to youth.  

Uniqueness of Research: 
Schools recognize the importance of helping children manage emotions by teaching social-emotional learning (SEL) competencies. Little research has been completed in teacher preparation at the University related to SEL.  Due to ever-increasing stressors in and out of schools, preparing teachers to be proficient in teaching SEL is a significant attribute to assist in building positive student health practices.