The 2017 Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility Alliance Conference, held at Adelphi's Manhattan Center, brought in scholars, educators and high school students to discuss teaching methods and problem solving.

Scholars and educators gathered to discuss teaching methods and problem-solving from June 28 through July 1 at the 2017 Teaching Personal and Social Responsibility (TPSR) Alliance Conference, hosted by the Adelphi University Ruth S. Ammon School of Education. It was the first international conference held at Adelphi’s Manhattan Center and its biggest success came from the youngest attendees: high school students.

The TPSR Alliance is a group that seeks to “apply sport and physical activity to youth development in schools and after-school and summer programs through workshops, clinics, publications and other means.” The method was conceived of by Don Hellison, a professor in the School of Kinesiology at the University of Illinois in Chicago, who has been a visiting faculty member at Adelphi in the past. Hellison, who also authored such books as Teaching Responsibility Through Physical Activity, was in attendance for this summer’s conference.

“This year I made an effort to focus on secondary age students,” said Sarah Doolittle, Ed.D., ESHSPESM professor, who organized the 2017 event. “We focused on the approach for students between the ages of 11  and 18.”

This was reflected by the attendance of several groups of high school students who came to the event. Educators Angela Beale, Ph.D., and Jeanine De Marzo, both former School of Education faculty, included their students in the keynote addresses they delivered, and the reaction was better than expected.

Dozens of anonymous evaluation responses collected at the end of the conference called the inclusion of student voices “fantastic” and an “excellent” idea. One attendee wrote that “hearing the voices of current students and alumni of TPSR/Youth programs is to me the most important thing we can do.”

“I think sometimes we like to pat ourselves on the back about how great our programs are,” Dr. Doolittle said. “But when we hear from students about the things that make a difference to them, sometimes it’s different from what we expect.”

Professor Meredith Whitley, Ph.D., assistant professor and the Sports-Based Youth Development (SBYD) coordinator at the School of Education, called the Conference a “huge success,” and said that “each day was filled with stimulating discussions.” She also said that the inclusion of young participants was “the highlight of the conference.”

The Manhattan Center was the natural choice for the conference location, according to Dr. Doolittle. “Adelphi has a tradition of using this approach; we’ve been in the business of TPSR for longer than any other university, and that’s something to be proud of,” she said.

The attendees included speakers, scholars and practitioners from around the world, she noted. In total, 55 people traveled from across the United States as well as Spain, Finland, Brazil, Mexico, South Korea and Canada for the conference.

Sheldon Sucre ’12, M.A. ’15, was also a participant. “Attending this conference allowed me to focus on what I would like to center my doctoral dissertation around,” he said.

When asked if Adelphi intends to continue working with the TPSR Alliance, Dr. Doolittle confirmed that she is already planning for upcoming events. “Adelphi will be hosting an international conference on physical education and sports pedagogy in 2019, and TPSR will be a special theme of that conference,” she said. There will also be a special training course on TPSR and a symposium on TPSR research in June of 2019, she added.

That’s the International Association for Physical Education in Higher Education (AIESEP), scheduled for the Garden City campus in June 2019.

“It’s really been a pleasure to host this TPSR Alliance conference,” she said, “and I look forward to showcasing this approach again in 2019.”




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