I walk into the School of Education, Health, and Human Performance. Having absolutely no idea how to navigate the building, I ask the man at the front desk how to get to room 321. As I look at the name “Mary Blake Jones” written next to her office door, many questions run through my mind. Will I find her research as interesting as it looked online? Will she be willing to answer my questions or will she be busy with all of her other responsibilities? Luckily, when I knock, I hear Dr. Mary Blake Jones welcomingly say “Come on in!” She invites me to sit at the desk next to hers as I glance down at the questions I wrote down in my notebook.
Dr. Mary Blake Jones is a professor in the department of teacher education at the College of Charleston. She has taught Language and Literacy Development (EDEE 325), The Development of Language and Literacy (EDEE 640), and Clinical Internship on the Undergraduate Level (EDEE 457). One research interest she has that particularly interests me is her work with personal storytelling. Her research involves how a teacher sharing a personal narrative can help students learn. She became interested in this when she wondered if children’s storybooks were as conductive to learning as personal stories told by the teacher. Her research dives into the world of teaching and learning methods in the classroom. Her other research interests include studies about dialect as well as assessment of teacher expertise.
Dr. Blake Jones arrived where she is today after receiving a bachelor’s degree in child study at St. Joseph College, a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology at Southern Connecticut State University, and finally her P.h.D. at the University of Connecticut, where she was involved in the department of curriculum and instruction. She has worked here at the College of Charleston since 1982. Although Dr. Blake Jones’ research has not involved many undergraduates in the past, she did not say she is against this idea.
After seeing on her teacher webpage that she does research on story telling, I immediately thought of how when I was in high school, I noticed that when my teachers connected the class content to their personal lives, it was easier to remember. Dr. Blake Jones’ work relates to my possible research interests because I am intrigued by the idea that changing the way one teaches can dramatically change how well the students learn.
This meeting allowed me to see a glimpse of what the research of a professor in the teacher education department really involves. I previously did not know what this kind of research would involve and how it would relate to learning habits of children. This meeting allowed me to realize more of what I am interested in when it comes to this kind of research.