Welcome to my website. I have always had a passion for teaching and believe that learning allows us to grow individually and collectively! I have had the pleasure to watch hundreds of students acclimate into a variety of disciplines. I have worked with (k-12) students and adults who have decided to return to school after years in the work force. My most notable learning experiences stemmed from the teachers who were passionate and committed to the subjects they taught. Their dedication inspired me to want to guide others towards finding a way to adapt in a changing world with intellect and integrity. My initiation and appreciation for learning began in an urban performing arts school called Boston City Lights. My ten year involvement with this organization was fascinating as the dance team used this art form to build bridges between cultures in the community of Boston. At just seventeen the instructor allowed me to lead vocal warm-ups and choreography classes which taught me the discipline of offering sound encouragement and coaching to all of the members who attended.
My love for written and oral communications was crafted at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. My involvement in the journalism, radio and arts clubs set an precedent in my academic trajectory. My active involvement led me to write articles about the social and financial challenges that students experienced as they tried to complete programs successfully. After my time there I received several freelance opportunities at Black Entertainment Television in the Corporate Communications Division Although I loved the energy of the entertainment world, I sensed an urgency to help individuals channel communication skills that would aide them in being effective in their chosen disciplines. I returned to Boston and began to direct an after school program called Circle of Girls.
As the After School Director of the Circle of Girls programs, I created educational tools to help at-risk girls strengthen in decision-making and life skills. This was one of the most profound experiences for me. These young ladies were from one of Boston’s most dangerous areas of the city, but they came to that program with hopes of something more. Together we read narratives that spoke to their experiences as pubescent girls. We closed the doors from the outside world and allowed these girls to become kids again! In addition to this, they were tasked with creating self-written monologues about their lives as pre-teens. Overall this experience reminded me of the importance of building a sense of community and cohesion in the class setting. There were girls in this program who were bullies that changed to become leaders in the program. In addition to this, there were several young people reading below grade level, and the group process allowed this young girl to receive the support from her peers with building her literacy and comprehension skills. I knew that work to train educators around these non-cognitive concerns were vital. The premise of this work would lead me to teach Graduate students about ways to foster community building techniques in their k-12 classroom.
As a scholar practitioner I focused my doctoral research on the topic of persistence and academic self-concept of adult learners. A agree with the theory of Andragogy that suggests that all adult learners have a desire to find ways to solve complex challenges. I am presently a contributing faculty member of Walden University. Although there are differing views about online education, I am proud to be part of a community that values the role of academics and social change.
Lastly, I love to create self-help tools in the form of poetry, and inspirational books that serve as tools for individuals interested looking for additional resources to in build on their personal and professional development. My latest book: Tomorrow Can’t Wait, is set to be released in November of this year! Today my passion is to assist willing learners with the opportunity to reach their highest potential.
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Facebook Professional Page: Dr. Allana Da Graca