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Hyuksoon Song: Inclusion in the Classroom

Man reading a book in the library

Hyuksoon Song, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Education
Photo: Russ DeSantis

When students enter Hyuksoon Song’s classroom, they’re starting or continuing their path to be educators. And, if the assistant professor of education has his way, they’re going to be better versed in inclusion and how to teach their students well.

Dr. Hyuksoon Song teaches a class at GCU@Hazlet, a partnership between Georgian Court University and Brookdale Community College. Photo: Russ DeSantis

In February 2016, Dr. Song co-presented his research paper, “The Effect of Student Race and Socioeconomic Status (SES) on Pre-Service and In-Service Teachers’ Expectations” at the 39th Annual Meeting of the Eastern Educational Research Association on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. The subject study examined the effects of student race and SES on pre-service and in-service teachers’ expectations in a variety of areas. Responses from 86 teachers found 10 areas of significance with regard to student race and SES and teacher expectations. Low SES students received lower ratings than their high SES peers in categories ranging from their ability to be self-starters and need for supervision to their likelihood of having emotional problems and ability to improve math grades. Respondents also found them more likely to drop out of high school and work at low-paying jobs.

“It is significantly important because teacher expectations can have a profound effect on student motivation and achievement,” he says.

Dr. Song, who has taught at Georgian Court for six years and says he loves the Mercy core values and the close relationships between students and faculty, was the recipient of a Faculty/Student Summer Research Grant in 2016. The focus of his research is on better preparing pre-service teachers for inclusive education through interactive narratives, especially with regard to students with special needs.

In his project, which was based on an extensive review of current literature, Dr. Song created a hypothetical inclusive classroom. The students in the classroom ranged from advanced to English-language learners (ELL) to students with special needs. The lessons were constructed via the five co-teaching models, with a series of questions to get participants thinking more about which co-teaching model they should use, based on their hypothetical classroom. The study is designed to produce an interactive, computer-based narrative for pre-service teachers who need training in inclusive classroom and co-teaching models.

Dr. Song’s research and classroom approach is focused on encouraging inclusive teachers who are aware of potential biases and the impact they have. By making pre-service teachers aware of the importance of overcoming their perceptions and focusing on the needs of the student, teachers can set up their students—and themselves—for greater success.

Dr. Song is one of many faculty members who are also teaching courses at GCU@Hazlet, Georgian Court’s partnership program with Brookdale Community College that offers bachelor’s degrees in business administration, English, interdisciplinary studies, psychology, and a teacher certification program.

This article also appears in Faculty Focus 2016, Georgian Court’s report of faculty scholarship and creative activity. Story contributed by Gwen Moran.

Aerial view of GCU.

About Georgian Court University

Founded in 1908 and sponsored by the Sisters of Mercy, Georgian Court University is Central and South Jersey’s only Catholic university. GCU is a comprehensive, coeducational university with a strong liberal arts core and a historic special concern for women. As a forward-thinking university that supports diversity and academic excellence, GCU is known for expanding possibility for more than 2,100 students of all faiths and backgrounds in 35+ undergraduate majors and 10+ graduate programs. The GCU Lions compete in 15 NCAA Division II sports in the Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference (CACC). In 2020, GCU was named a Best Value College by and a Best Bang for the Buck (Northeast) by Washington Monthly. High student retention and graduation rates also make GCU a Top Performer on Social Mobility on U.S. News & World Reports rankings. The main campus is located in Lakewood, New Jersey, on the picturesque former George Jay Gould estate, a National Historic Landmark. Georgian Court, which is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, also serves students at other locations, such as GCU at BrookdaleGCU at Rowan College of South Jersey–Cumberland Campus, and through multiple online certificate and degree programs.

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