Lauren Brannan

Lauren Brannan

Assistant Professor, Department of Leadership and Teacher Education K-12 Education, Reading


Education

B.S., Elementary Education, University of South Alabama, 2006
M.Ed., Reading Specialist, University of South Alabama, 2010
Ph.D., Instructional Design and Development, University of South Alabama, 2016


Teaching Philosophy

My goal as a teacher educator is to create teachers who are well informed of the science of reading and who are able to apply this knowledge when making instructional decisions. I try to practice what I preach by utilizing exemplary instructional practices, including explicit instruction with hands-on problem-solving opportunities that mimic those that are faced in the classroom. I believe that my students need to be actively engaged in class, so I implement a team-based learning approach in my blended classes. My fully online graduate courses contain a mixture of explicit instruction and application exercises that engage them in assessment, planning, and implementation of instruction with students. 


Research

My research explores best practices for teaching reading in the areas of K-12 education, pre-service teacher education, and in-service teacher professional development. My early research explored the impact of independent reading with student-teacher conferences on students’ reading volume and reading achievement. My findings showed that while second-grade teachers strongly supported this practice and students were engaged, there was no significant impact on reading comprehension scores. This finding suggests that time spent reading (even with teacher support) may not be enough to strengthen reading comprehension for all students. My research has also explored the impact of team-based learning on preservice teachers’ efficacy for literacy instruction and learning outcomes. The qualitative findings showed that participants enjoyed the social and application aspects of team-based learning. My findings so far (using limited sample sizes and short time-periods) have shown that team-based learning is about as effective as traditional lecture in these two areas. My research in-service teacher knowledge and professional development has explored the impact of one-on-one mentoring, which showed changes in the teacher’s instructional practices. My current research is exploring the impact of state-wide literacy legislation and training in the science of reading on Pre-K through fifth grade teachers’ knowledge, beliefs, and confidence in teaching literacy and language. 


Outreach

Currently, I serve as the Leadership and Teacher Education Senator for the USA Faculty Senate, where I communicate on behalf of the department to the university as a whole.  I serve the local teaching community by leading literacy workshops through the South Alabama Research and Inservice Center. I also serve as a reviewer for several education and literacy journals to contribute toward the research community.  Currently, I am working with a team of literacy educators to establish the Alabama chapter of the Reading League, a national organization that focuses on research and best practices in literacy. 

I previously served as the K-12 Member at Large for the Team-Based Learning Collaborative (TBLC), an international organization that strives to promote the understanding and evolution of team-based learning (TBL) across the educational community. As a Steering Committee member, I provided input to support the TBLC and also promoted and supported the implementation of TBL in K-12 education.

I previously served the College of Education and Professional Studies as a faculty advisor for Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), an honor society for education. I supported our officers in planning and implementation of KDP initiations and service projects.

I previously served as the program coordinator and advisor for the following programs: K-6 Teacher Education B.S., Elementary Education M.Ed,  Alt.M.Ed, and Ed.S., and Elementary Education with Reading Specialist certification M.Ed., and Reading Specialist Ed.S.  In this capacity, I worked with program faculty to make program-level decisions and also support students throughout their time in our programs.


Biography

I am a product of the Mobile County Public School System and the University of South Alabama. I earned my undergraduate degree in Elementary Education, my Master's in Reading, and my Ph.D. in Instructional Design and Development – all from USA. I taught first grade for 5 years, then served as a Technology Support Teacher for 2.5 years in Mobile County. I was the Alabama District 1 Teacher of the Year in 2013. I have two beautiful children, Wylder and Scout. In my spare time, I am volunteering at my children's school, attending baseball practice and games, reading, visiting the beach, kayaking, and doing CrossFit.



Courses

  • EDU 331 - Teaching Reading
  • EEC 532 - Language Development in Elementary School
  • RED 545 - Literature for Children And Adolescents
  • RED 531 - Trends & Practices in Teaching Reading
  • EEC 601 - Advanced Seminar
  • RED 615 - Diagnosis and Remediation of Severe Reading Disabilities