Thursday, May 30, 2024

Project explores how teachers can improve student-awareness skills

Project explores how teachers can improve student-awareness skills

NOVEMBER 2, 2020 — Project Notice the Positives (abbreviated as Project Notice+), a new project within UTSA’s Department of Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching, is investigating how future educators can develop professional noticing skills in the classroom while further developing a child’s problem solving and literacy skills.

The exploratory project, which is being spearheaded by Crystal Kalinec-Craig, Samuel DeJulio and Alexa Proffitt, is taking place within two existing programs: Support & Enrichment Experiences in Mathematics (SEE Math) and Roadrunner Readers.

“Project Notice+ is essentially trying to help foster and nurture more elementary candidate teachers to notice children’s assets and to notice their strengths specifically in math and literacy,” Kalinec-Craig said. “SEE Math and Roadrunner Readers are a series of activities that our elementary teacher candidates do with children out in the communities. It’s grounding our teacher candidates in a funds of knowledge approach, in situating their practice and what kids already know and can do, to resist deficit thinking, to embrace their whole selves.”

“We want to reinforce the ways in which this work in particular is meant to be for the community and with the community and not done upon the community.”

The researchers will follow three cohorts of teacher candidates across the last three semesters in their EC-6 teacher education program. The teacher candidates will start in the SEE Math program before moving onto the Roadrunner Readers program, allowing them to practice asset-based teacher noticing of children’s thinking, Kalinec-Craig said.

“These programs will bridge the work that they’re going to be doing in their field placements in the future semesters and years in their profession,” DeJulio said.

The project will also build off the existing math and literacy knowledge the children have, particularly those who are of Mexican and Central American backgrounds, and support their positive self-concept in these two areas. 

“The reason why we’re focusing on children who are of Mexican American and Central American descent is just because we know that these are the classrooms that we want to be in,” Kalinec-Craig said. “We also know that it’s reflective of our UTSA teacher candidate population. When children see themselves reflected in their teacher, the research shows that there’s more opportunities for them to then see themselves in terms of a more asset-oriented way.”

The goal of Project Notice+ is to create a foundation for these teacher candidates, which will allow them to thrive as elementary school teachers and serve as a model for other institutions, Proffitt said.

“We want to embed this idea that you are an interdisciplinary educator as an elementary teacher, and how we want to do that is making sure you are meeting the foundational needs, understanding children’s assets and not deconstructing children’s deficits,” Proffitt said. “I think that’s something we hope to be able to solidify, so some of the other institutions who are preparing teachers can learn from this research.


With the findings from the project, other teacher candidate programs may be able to further impact the growth of future teachers and students in their classrooms, the researchers said. Furthermore, Project Notice+ will help grow the number of educators of Mexican descent returning to work in their communities. 

“We want to reinforce the ways in which this work in particular is meant to be for the community and with the community and not done upon the community,” Proffitt said. “That’s something that we need to reinforce in our research practices and practices as institutions of higher ed. Hopefully, this can serve as a model for that.”

Valerie Bustamante

UTSA Today is produced by University Strategic Communications,
the official news source
of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

Send your feedback to

UTSA Today is produced by University Communications and Marketing, the official news source of The University of Texas at San Antonio. Send your feedback to Keep up-to-date on UTSA news by visiting UTSA Today. Connect with UTSA online at Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram.




University of Texas at San Antonio receives ‘transformational’ $40M gift

UTSA’s Mission

The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

UTSA’s Vision

To be a premier public research university, providing access to educational excellence and preparing citizen leaders for the global environment.

UTSA’s Core Values

We encourage an environment of dialogue and discovery, where integrity, excellence, inclusiveness, respect, collaboration and innovation are fostered.

UTSA’S Destinations

UTSA is a proud Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) as designated by the U.S. Department of Education .

Our Commitment to Inclusivity

The University of Texas at San Antonio, a Hispanic Serving Institution situated in a global city that has been a crossroads of peoples and cultures for centuries, values diversity and inclusion in all aspects of university life. As an institution expressly founded to advance the education of Mexican Americans and other underserved communities, our university is committed to promoting access for all. UTSA, a premier public research university, fosters academic excellence through a community of dialogue, discovery and innovation that embraces the uniqueness of each voice.