Outfield Interview

As an aspiring researcher, one should learn about fields and areas of study that are out of one’s interests. When analyzing and observing methods and types of research in a university it is important to look into departments and fields of research that may sometimes get overlooked because they will offer new insights into methods of research as well as in the different areas and subjects of research. This is evident with this interview with Dr. Yamauchi, a professor in the College of Education at the University of Hawaii at Manoa and faculty member in the Department of Educational Psychology. This interview allows for one to become more aware of what educational research might entail and how one conducts it.

I met with Prof. Yamauchi in her office at Wist Hall and as she talked, she began to explain what kind of research she does as a professor in the department of educational psychology. Prof. Yamauchi researches how children who have culturally diverse backgrounds, as well as indigenous language speaking children, learn and preform in school. Prof. Yamauchi also researches into methods of teaching children with culturally diverse backgrounds.  Prof. Yamauchi applies the CREDE, Center for Research on Education, Diversity and Excellence, standards for teaching in her research. CREDE is a national organization that is run and organized by UHM College of Education. CREDE’s research is promoted through, “encouraging collaboration across disciplines and institutions.” The five CREDE standards are: Teachers and Students Producing Together, Developing Language and Literacy Across the Curriculum, Making Lessons Meaningful, Teaching Complex Thinking, and Teaching through Conversation.” Prof. Yamauchi added that the CREDE standards has been adopted in Greenland by the Ministry of Education and she’ll sometimes receive calls from friends in Greenland asking how they should create or reform their education laws.

When asked how Dr. Yamauchi carries out her research she explained that, her and, or, her team will go to a classroom or school that has requested help in teaching techniques for their students who are struggling in school because of their language or cultural barriers and videotape the teacher teaching. The teacher and fellow colleagues will be shown the video, this gives a chance for the teachers to see how other people teach which gives them new insights on strategies that are effective and ineffective. Prof. Yamauchi also said much of her research has been reading articles and publications related to her study. She said that when she started researching this topic she read to see what information was out there on this subject. Prof. Yamauchi said she tries to keep up with any new publications that might come out as they may offer new information.

Perhaps the most important question one can ask a researcher of any field is, how did you become interested in this field? Prof. Yamauchi shared her academic research journey and how it has evolved over time. Dr. Yamauchi shared that her upbringing in Hawaii had influenced her in her research. She said she feels that immigrants have some kind of obligation to take care of the native peoples. She explained that often it is native Hawaiian students who struggle in schools because of language and cultural barriers while the “immigrants” perform better because they are familiar with the style of teaching in the classroom. Another influence came from her dissertation work with the Zunni tribe where she observed Zunni teachers trying to teach in “western” way.

Prof. Yamauchi’s research is evident that research is not bound to a particular field but crosses a variety of disciplines and studies. As she explained what her research entails, one can see her research involves language, anthropology, political science. This interview with Prof. Yamauchi will give one a better sense of educational research as well as their methods and sources used. Going out of your field of research gives you a broader look into academia and might expose you to new interests.

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