High-Achieving 2019 Grad Madison Liggio Goes Back to Basics to Build the Foundations of Learning


May 1, 2020

BATON ROUGE--Last May, Madison Liggio walked across the PMAC stage at CHSE’s graduation adorned with stoles and cords representing academic honors from distinguished communicators and distinguished scholars to Pi Kappa Phi.

Liggio knew what she was leaving behind—student days filled Kappa Delta Epsilon, A+PEL and CHSE Ambassadors activities.

Madison Liggio graduation photo

Madison Liggio.

But, she was uncertain of the future. Like many well-qualified, new education graduates, the Mandeville native had applied to teach in several school systems. Throughout the spring and summer, she waited for offers, as the schools updated their data, budgets and calibrated their needs.

A year later, Liggio’s student days are not exactly over. She’s spent most of the last school year in the company of 14 wiggly, wide-eyed, energetic students at Bonne Ecole Elementary in Slidell, La.

Harnessing a Love for Learning

“In pre-k, you can be the children’s first teacher,” Liggio explains. “You have a chance to harness the love for learning and show your students that school can be fun.”

Along with teachers throughout Louisiana and the country, Liggio’s academic year was curtailed by COVID-19. Besides sending home materials, Liggio made an individual video for each student.

She also joined her coworkers for drive-by parades and created a website with age-appropriate activities to make sure the kids and their parents didn’t forget her and lose their enthusiasm for learning during the unexpected break.

Looking back on her first year of teaching, Liggio says she’s learned a lot and used her LSU education in ways she never could have imagined.

Coming Full Circle

“You take all of these courses and participate in extracurricular activities during college and sometimes wonder if the information and skills will be important in the future,” Liggio begins. “Then when you’re in the field, you see everything you learned come full circle.”

Madison Liggio in elementary school

Madison Liggio works with students during her internship.

For example—even though Liggio is not special education teacher—she is often required to track her students’ goals and write and conduct IEPs.

“There has definitely been learning curve during my first year of teaching,” she says. “LSU gave me the knowledge to build upon in my professional career.”

In addition, “The education courses related a lot more than I thought they would,” she says. In particular, Liggio recalls a class that explored how children learn mathematics.

“This knowledge proved essential,” she says. “It’s helped me to better build the foundations of mathematics because I had a better understanding of the steps children go through when learning to count, add, subtract, etc.”

Providing More Than Pedagogy

While basic pedagogy is definitely important, Liggio has found emotional intelligence and communication skills to be invaluable in connecting with colleagues, students and their parents.

Liggio credits the CHSE Ambassador Program and mentors Haley Shows and Renee Boutte Myer for helping her leave her comfort zone—and dorm room—to find her voice.

“Freshman year, I was studious but timid,” she says. “When I became an ambassador sophomore year, I began to learn how to interact with strangers and speak confidently and respectfully about any topic in front of a crowd.”

Madison Liggio presents research at a conference.

As an undergrad, Madison Liggio presented research at several conferences.

From class discussions to an internship at Ponchartrain Elementary third grade to student teaching experiences at Lasalle Elementary’s first grade and Magnolia Woods’ kindergarten elementary schools, professors and mentors emphasized the need to form relationships.

As an undergraduate, Liggio came to understand the ebb and flow of classroom relationships by student teaching for an entire year.

“I set up my classroom and then wondered: What’s next? How do I greet parents? How do I set up procedures?” she recalls. “As a student teacher, I learned through observation what to do.”

Building the Foundations of Learning

Having just completed her first year of teaching, “I have seen how relationships are the foundations to learning,” Liggio says.

“If the kids trust you and feel safe around you, they are more eager to learn and state their curiosities and interest with you.”

Looking back at her LSU experience, “Both my classes and extracurricular activities helped me develop essential skills: to open to all ideas and opinions, to keep going when I felt defeated and to be confident,” Liggio says.

“Although I have much to learn, the knowledge I gained from my education courses has given me the information I need to teach.”

About LSU School of Education (SOE)
A school of the College of Human Sciences & Education, SOE offers undergraduate programs for students who want to pursue a career as a pre-kindergarten through 12th grade teacher or acquire dual certification in both traditional elementary and special education classrooms. Besides providing graduate certification in early childhood education and instructional coaching, SOE offers a master’s degree in arts, arts in teaching, education (MEd), education in counseling (MEd), certificate of education specialist (EdS) and PhD. The School’s mission is to prepare educational professionals to be leaders, practitioners, and scholars knowledgeable in contemporary educational issues.

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About LSU College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE)
Located on the flagship campus in Baton Rouge, the College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. The college is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Leadership & Human Resource Development, the School of Library & Information Science, the School of Social Work, the University Laboratory School and the Early Childhood Education Laboratory Preschool. These combined schools offer eight undergraduate degree programs, 20 graduate programs, and seven online graduate degree and/or certificate programs. CHSE current enrollment includes approximately1,800 undergraduates and more than 1,900 graduate students. CHSE is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is committed to improving quality of life across the lifespan.

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 For more information, contact:
Adrian Hirsch
LSU College of Human Sciences & Education

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