Teamwork at the Heart of Research

By Deirdre Joyce C. Dalawampu

8 July 2022

Dr. Marian Patricia Bea Francisco, Ms. Rochelle Mendoza Martin, Mr. Leonides Sulse, and Ms. Agnes Canayon successfully presented the results of their research entitled, “Online Learning During the Pandemic: Perceptions and Experiences of Teachers and Deaf Students in College,” during the recently concluded 2022 (American Educational Research Association) AERA Annual Meeting in San Diego, CA, last April 21-26, 2022.

The research team members during the virtual presentation. Clockwise from the top left: Dr. Bea Francisco, Mr. Leo Sulse, Ms. Rochelle Martin, and Ms. Agnes Canayon. Screenshot photo from Ms. Martin.

Chosen from more than 10,000 submissions with the theme “Cultivating Equitable Education Systems for the 21st Century,” they were the only research team that presented virtually under the Special Interest Group (SIG)-Research on the Education of Deaf Persons.

Dr. Francisco, current SDEAS Research Coordinator and Director of the Center for Deaf Esteem and Formation, shares that this was a team effort all the way, “We all did everything together. Whether it was data analysis or discussing the answers, we did it together via Zoom. We set a regular weekly meeting time to get it done; hard to believe, but that’s what we did from January to June 2021.”

Mr. Sulse signed the presentation in Filipino Sign Language while Dr. Franscisco voiced it in English in the recorded video presentation prepared by the team. American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters were present for their Deaf American peers. Screenshot photo from Ms. Martin.

Ms. Martin was ecstatic upon hearing the news that their paper was accepted. It was her first-time presenting research at an international conference. The same goes for Mr. Sulse and Ms. Canayon. “The most memorable experience for me would be when we were conceptualizing and recording our virtual presentation,” Ms. Martin shares, “we had to think of creative ways to present. We opted for video recording, so when we were recording it, we had to do it over and over; it was tedious but a fun experience because everybody is game to do it.”

“I was overwhelmed with excitement, and I felt honored and proud to be part of the team as a co-Deaf researcher. It was a privilege to be part of and be engaged in an accepted international conference,” Mr. Sulse fondly remembers, “Though it was conducted virtually, being the Deaf presenter in our team at an international conference is already considered a memorable one since this was my first time presenting a paper internationally.”

“Of course, I’m proud that I was part of the group,” Ms. Canayon shares, ”we originally submitted this locally for a grant, but it wasn’t accepted; I told the team maybe our research is for an international audience.”

The American Educational Research Association (AERA) is a prestigious national research society in the United States that strives to advance knowledge about education, encourage scholarly inquiry related to education, and promote the use of research to improve education and serve the public good. Dr. Francisco then prepped the research for AERA and submitted it with the team’s approval.

To put everyone’s experiences in perspective, each team member during the time the research was in progress had day-to-day responsibilities under the School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies (SDEAS). Dr. Francisco as Research Coordinator, Ms. Mendoza as Faculty for both SDEAS and the Benilde Deaf School, Mr. Sulse as Academic Chairperson of the Applied Deaf Studies Program, and Ms. Canayon as Director of the Center for Deaf Esteem and Formation.

The team members agreed that a pre-recorded video was the best way to present as the only virtual team in their group for a seamless experience in case of technical problems. Screenshot from Ms. Martin.

This leap of faith paid off, and AERA accepted the paper. During the conference, Dr. Marlon Kuntze, known for his research on visual literacy for Deaf students and a faculty member of Gallaudet University, gave great feedback on the team’s research as a discussant.

Dr. Marlon Kuntze discusses the highlights of the team’s presentation. Screenshot from Ms. Martin.

To be able to present with international peers with a renowned discussant in the field of Deaf Education is a significant milestone not only for the team but for the School of Deaf Education and Applied Studies as a whole. This also is an additional feather on the cap for SDEAS, which won The Most Productive in Research Award for the academic year 2020-2021.

Dr. Francisco wants to emphasize that research will always be a team effort, “from conceptualizing to writing the final paper, even the video presentation, we all did that together.” Ms. Martin agrees, “Doing research as a team is the best way to do research for me because you can rely on each other’s strengths and cover each other’s back when it comes to weaknesses.” Ms. Canayon found every Zoom meeting and interview memorable and added, “Research as a team feels lighter and better than doing it alone. We supported and helped each other the whole way.”

Mr. Sulse feels the same, “There is value in teamwork because we believe that we can make a difference through research, no matter who is involved, as long as the goal is for the greater good or the benefit of others, especially in the area of Filipino Deaf education.”

Know more about their presentation through this link: https://bit.ly/2022AERA_SDEASResearchPoster