The open access ASCD – PAL Educational Research Journal Online is national and interdisciplinary resource for sharing research on education and leadership.  ASCD-PAL-ERJ publishes original, peer-reviewed articles and commentary.

The PAL Online Journal also includes some valuable tips and resources professors and students alike will find useful for working and teaching in an online environment.

PAL Co-Editors:

Dr. Karla Eidson
Phone: 936.294.4066

Dr. Barbara Polnick
Phone: 936.294.3859


ASCD PAL Board of Reviewers:

Jalene Potter, Ph.D.
Victoria Hollas, Ph.D.
Elizabeth "Betsy" Lasley, Ph.D.
Jaime Coyne, Ph.D.
Lautrice Nickson, Ph.D.

Reviewer Guidelines 

If you would like to become a reviewer, please contact us!

Publications - Winter 2015

Using iPads in the Twenty-First Century Classroom Abstract

By Tori Hollas, Ph.D.
Jaime Coyne, Ph.D.
Sam Houston State University


Researchers have expressed concern over the academic performance of students in the United States and have stressed the importance of technology as the key for improvement. In this article, we share a variety of iPad applications that can be used in classroom for instructional purposes, assessment, and content-specific learning.

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Publications - Summer 2015

What Teachers Kept with them after they traveled abroad as a Pre-Service Teacher: Rethinking Teaching through a Short Term Study Abroad Experience

By Karla Eidson, PhD - Sam Houston State University


This article focuses on the impact of an education course with a short immersion trip to Costa Rica on a group of pre-service teachers and the way in which it changed students’ understanding of education and of their role as educators. Based on the responses of seven of these former students to a short survey, this article argues that the main impact of this course was helping these prospective teachers to enhance their understanding of education as a community-based enterprise and to develop new pedagogical tools that provided them with a greater sense of agency as teachers. Teacher education programs have assumed, with different degrees of success, the socially crucial task of educating pre-service teachers to address diversity and equity in schools. This already challenging chore has become increasingly difficult in a globalized world. In the face of increasing political and economic interconnectedness among people and nations, the charge of educating for a more diverse and just world can no longer be confined to the geographical borders of any country nor can it focus on the social groups within these limits. Rather, this task requires educators to transcend physical geographies and to understand the way in which nations, people, and communities around the globe are interrelated and shaped by relations of power at the local, national, and international level (Coulby, 2006; Roman, 2003). The inclusion of this global dimension in education has been advocated by theorists such as Merryfield (2000) who has explicitly asked the question of why teachers are not being prepared for global interconnectedness. Other theorists such as Ochoa (2010) have added a sense of urgency to this goal by reminding us that “Preparing teachers for the twenty-first century is one of the most critical tasks facing teacher education programs in the United States and in the world” (p. 103). Responding to this call, teacher education programs have increased the number of immersion experiences abroad (Pickert, 2001; Schneider, 2003). Education students enroll in these experiences in lower numbers than students in other disciplines (Cushner, 2009), and the field has been criticized for the lack of a coherent international perspective in its curriculum (Quezada, 2010). Nevertheless, teacher education has developed its own germane international programs, such as student teaching abroad, and has become more creative in fulfilling academic credits in other host countries (Hutchins, 1996; Lewin, 2009). The literature on international immersion experiences is conclusive regarding their benefits. Students who embark on these journeys undergo a personal process that makes them more aware of other people’s cultural realities (Pence & Macgillivray, 2008; Willard-Holt, 2001). In many cases, such travel even questions the very cultural identity of those who experience it (Dolby, 2004). Willard-Holt (2001) echoes the positive outcomes of educational immersion experiences abroad by stating, International student teaching experiences may potentially change beginning teachers’ thinking about themselves, curriculum design, and teaching strategies (McKay & Mongomery, 1995); enhance skills and abilities of effective teachers; force examination of personal beliefs, habits and values; and encourage commitment to open-mindedness (Mahan & Stachowski, 1992). (p. 506) Referring to previous works in this area, Willard-Holt further suggests that “the greatest benefits included growth of tolerance, acceptance of self and others, and independence” (p. 506). This article intends to provide new insights on education immersion programs abroad by focusing on the impact of these experiences upon pre-service teachers’ conceptions of education and of their role as educators. To this end, it presents an analysis of the testimonies of a group of undergraduate students who took an education course with a study tour component to Spain in summer of 2013. At the core of this study is Ochoa’s (2010) concern that, while international experiences, are helpful and necessary to begin the process of exposure to another language and culture and to gain empathy and understanding of the complexities of cultures, the question remains of how helpful such short-term experiences are to transform teacher disposition to cross-cultural challenges, value orientations, language learning, and sensitivity to another culture or society. (p. 109) Taking Ochoa’s concern seriously, the purpose of this study was to go beyond the gains in cultural sensitivity and to know more about how short international educational immersion experiences shape pre-service teachers’ professional perception of the role of education in society and of their own responsibilities as educators. Based on the responses of the participants of this study, this article argues that the main impact of this course was helping these prospective teachers enhance their understanding of education as a community-based enterprise and develop new pedagogical tools that provided them with a greater sense of agency as teachers. The article concludes with a reflection on the implications of these findings for the internationalization of curriculum in teacher education.

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Publications - Fall 2013

Service-Learning and Social Action: Feeding the Souls of Pre-Service Education Students

By Karla Eidson, PhD - Sam Houston State University


Pre-service teacher education candidates reveal personal and professional benefits of participating in a service-learning project helping a local food pantry and participating in a fasting activity. Student reflections revealed that the service-learning component had an impact on participants’ sense of their own preconceptions about hunger. Data uncovered 1) participants perceived a greater empathy in themselves toward the students in their field experience classrooms with low socio-economic standards (SES)and 2) participants perceived personal growth as a result of participating in the service-learning project.

The purpose of this study is to report the experiences of the personal and professional benefits of inclusion of a service-learning component within an early field experience of a teacher education course.

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Teaching through Choice

By Elizabeth A. Lasley, Ph.D.


An emphasis on a student-directed approach is emerging at the post-secondary level. A student directed education requires motivation, self-determination, and the affective and cognitive components of critical thinking on the part of students. This article presents both a rationale and strategy for a student-directed instructional approach to course construction and delivery through choice. The Think-Tac-Toe student-directed instructional approach embraces critical thinking, choice, motivation, self-empowerment, and self-direction by providing students with choices that promotes purposeful relevant reading, learning and retention of course content.

Keywords: critical thinking, choice, motivation, student-centered, self-determination/self-regulation, choice.

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Publications - Spring 2013

Tips and Resources

Publications  - Spring 2012

Perceptions of the Impact of Exclusionary Disciplinary Consequences on Ninth Grade, Black Students’ Mathematics Achievement: A Phenomenological Study

By Megan Jones, Sam Houston State University


The researcher interviewed two Algebra I teachers in an east Texas, urbanesque high school regarding their perceptions of the impact of exclusionary disciplinary consequences on ninth grade, Black students mathematics achievement. Historically, minority students have been overrepresented in the receipt of exclusionary disciplinary actions, such as in-school suspensions, suspensions, placement in disciplinary alternative education programs, and expulsions. Interviewees revealed that few students exhibited negative behaviors and that exclusionary consequences impacted mathematics achievement, more so than other subjects, because math is reliant upon scaffolding. Possible reasons for teacher perceptions, and greater interview details, are discussed in this study.

Keywords: exclusionary disciplinary consequences, mathematics achievement

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A Phenomenological Study of Perceived Achievement Outcomes for Students who Received Primary Instruction in a Bilingual Program

By Rosa Martinez Valles, Gibbs Pre-K Center, Huntsville ISD, Texas


Bilingual Education Programs have a great opportunity to impact academic achievement of all English language learners. Appropriate pedagogical activities in acquiring a second language are of primary importance in promoting children's academic success. To understand benefits English language learners have acquired through participating in a bilingual education program, a phenomenological study was conducted on the perceived benefits of lived experiences of primary instruction in a bilingual program. Interviews were conducted of three young adults using phenomenological methods of inquiry to conduct an analysis. Six themes emerged from 69 significant statements. The lived experiences of participants in benefits, success, academic reinforcement, foundation for academics, culture awareness, and teachers were revealed as key themes. The essence of the experience is discussed in light of theories of Second Language Acquisition and Affective Filter Domain.

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