Hellenic College Education Professor Leads Interactive Research Project

Brookline, MA — February 7, 2005 — Dr. Alice McIntyre, Director of the Elementary Education Program at Hellenic College, is currently completing an innovative research project which has brought her and three Hellenic College students from their Brookline campus to the Agassiz Elementary School in Jamaica Plain on a regular basis. As a part of McIntyre’s course, “Participatory Action Research (PAR): Exploring Education, Culture, and Society” the Hellenic College students, Anastasia Politi, Julietta Muresan-Crisan, and Nickolaos Chatzopoulos, have been working with a dynamic group of fourth- and fifth-graders, putting what they learn in the classroom to use in the field.

Dr. McIntyre and the research team have been meeting with the girls since October 2003, exploring what it means for the participants to be girls. One of the most exciting things the girls engaged in was using photography to represent what it means for them to be girls. The girls took over 500 photographs of people, places, and things that represented girlhood. Of the 500 photographs, they chose 26 that they then matched with the 26 letters of the alphabet. Then they wrote texts for each photograph describing what the photographs meant to them. Finally, they designed an A to Z Girl Photo-Alphabet Exhibit which they will present to the members of the Hellenic College community on February 10th.

Hellenic College team member Julietta Muresan-Crisan stated, “The kids really love to be in charge of the projects they do. It was wonderful for me to learn how the ability to empower students provides a great way for them to learn.” Fellow team member Anastasia Politi added, “The students are very engaged with the hands-on learning approach.”

The innovative work of Dr. McIntyre, her students, and the Latina girls has not gone unnoticed. In October, her Hellenic College students were invited to present their research at Boston College’s Diversity Challenge Conference, where their talk garnered much interest and enthusiasm. Dr. McIntyre stated, “Many people were impressed with their professionalism, their ability to articulate a research approach — which can be unpredictable and challenging — and with their enthusiasm for teaching, research, and learning. One audience member asked me if they were doctoral students. I was very proud of them and applaud their efforts as students, participant-researchers, and hardworking advocates for public school education.”