CSU Voices and Views

Finding the Links through Linked Learning

By Felicia Anderson
Assistant Principal at David Starr Jordan High School
Doctoral Candidate at CSU Long Beach

Felicia Anderson with student in cap and gownEducation is about creating links – between facts, concepts, real world situations and people. I am so privileged for the links that I’ve been able to forge in my time as a doctoral candidate at Cal State Long Beach. The Doctor of Education program immediately combines the efforts of seasoned educators and researchers with new teachers who are earning a first-time credential. The result is a powerful blend of experience and energy. Foremost, results-based best practices and techniques are seamlessly introduced into teacher and administrator preparation.

The approach Cal State Long Beach is taking with its own programs parallels the Linked Learning concepts at the center of my doctoral dissertation. With the support of the James Irvine Foundation, I’ve been able to explore how small-group project-based team learning influences student learning at Millikan High School.

I jumped at the opportunity when Professor Anna Ortiz, director of the Cal State Long Beach Ed.D. program, asked for volunteers to study educational practices at Millikan. It was a calling. The school was my professional home as GEAR UP program facilitator, and my daughter is a Millikan graduate. I knew of the great work going on at that campus and was eager to study and share the results.

A major theme that keeps recurring in my qualitative research of Millikan is ownership. Students and teachers own their small-group Linked Learning projects – whether that project is a black box theater performance or a fundraising drive for hurricane relief. They go out of their way, dig in deep and work late hours after school. These small groups add to the classroom experience.

Part of how I know that this program is having a great impact on students is that so many have been eager to share with me as part of my study. As word of mouth spread, students would come to my office or stop me in the hallway to talk about their projects and experiences.

As demonstrated at Millikan, Linked Learning is about bringing knowledge to life. It is about teachers going from good to great and beautiful works of student expression. As I finalize my dissertation and grow in my new role as an assistant principal at David Starr Jordan High School, I will share this lesson with future teachers and students.

Thank you to Cal State Long Beach and the James Irvine Foundation for this opportunity.

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9 Comments to “Finding the Links through Linked Learning”

  1. Dr James Scott, Faculty from Long Beach, Says:

    Congratulations Felicia on your work to date as we move forward with your dissertation. I am honored as chair to be part of your “Life-work”.

  2. Carolyn Williams, Other  Says:

    First and foremost I want to congratulate you on the superb work you are doing as an educator. Having been an educator myself I can definitely agree with the concept of Linked Learning bringing knowledge to life. This is what learning is and should be about; bringing life and meaning to that which is learned in and out of the classroom. I believe Linked Learning helps teachers to go from good to great.
    I look forward to reading your dissertation because I feel even as a retired educator it will inspire me to do some work in the area of Linked Learning.
    God bless you and I know he has heights for you beyond your dreams.

  3. Carolyn Williams, Other  Says:

    First and foremost I want to congratulate you on the superb work you are doing as an educator. Having been an educator myself I can definitely agree with the concept of Linked Learning bringing knowledge to life. This is what learning is and should be about; bringing life and meaning to that which is learned in and out of the classroom. I believe Linked Learning helps teachers to go from good to great.
    I look forward to reading your dissertation.
    God bless you and I know he has heights for you beyond your dreams.

  4. taja nelson, Other  Says:

    I think your research is awesome!!

  5. Pamela Penn Says:

    Felicia, you are so valuable to our students and a dynamic, inspirational mentor to our peers…I’m so excited to read your dissertation!

  6. Kimberly Dorton, Other  Says:

    This is truly translational research that can have a direct and immediate impact on students. Your work is inspiring!

  7. Franceia McCord, Other  Says:

    Felicia I am very proud of the personal commitment and drive that you have displayed in the last 25-30 years in educatiing children.

    You are an educator that will touch the hearts and minds of many students and colleagues alike.

    Congratulations!

  8. Nancy Manriquez-Dowell, Alumnus  Says:

    Felicia,
    I am so proud of you. You are an inspirational leader in our community. Congratulations on all your hard work.

  9. Yvette Streeter, Other  Says:

    Great work Felicia! I am proud of you. Continue to grow in this work and inspire those around you.

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