CEHD News Curriculum and Instruction

CEHD News Curriculum and Instruction

Elementary education major finds a deeper understanding of marginalized communities through RJUS minor

Michael Kroymann is a senior Elementary Education Foundations major who is earning the Racial Justice in Urban Schooling (RJUS) minor to better support marginalized students and families, and gain a deeper understanding of the conditions that affect their lives. As a queer, non-binary individual Michael has a unique understanding of the important roles that empathy, trust, and understanding play in building community with groups often ignored by mainstream education.

What drove you to enroll in the RJUS minor program?

Understanding and empathy are central to the way I walk through the world, especially in my teaching practice. I felt it was essential for me to engage in coursework that expanded my knowledge of the students and families I interact with in metro-area schools. I felt that my major program did not offer enough content in that area, and I decided to pursue the RJUS minor to further engage with diversity and justice.

Which part of the program have you found the most valuable?

I think a fundamental part of the program is inward reflection. I truly believe that I am able to learn and better myself through reflection, and my coursework definitely supported this. I also found there to be a constant free exchange of ideas and experiences through conversation, which has been invaluable in furthering my education.

How was your experience with the faculty been?

The faculty involved in the RJUS have been such an important part of my experience. Never before have I felt so understood and supported in my classes. My interactions with faculty were all built upon a foundation of trust, empathy, and genuine care, qualities which are frequently hard to find in a university setting.

What do you hope to do after graduation?

Things are a little bit up in the air right now. I realized this year that I don’t feel able to support an entire classroom of my own at this stage of my life, so my plans have been totally revamped. I would still love to work with youth, and I am also really interested in nonprofit work and community organizations.

What do you hope to get out of the minor? How will it help you in your career path?

In completing the RJUS minor, I hope to gain a deeper understanding of the world and develop skills that help me to engage critically with the institutions and conditions that affect the lives of marginalized communities. This will enable me work with diverse groups of people in a manner that is sensitive and responsive to their lived experiences.

Any other thoughts you want to share about your experience?

As a queer, non-binary individual, learning and working in academia is frequently a draining experience. I have felt invisible in so many of my classes, especially in the education courses. My time in the RJUS minor has never felt this way; I have always been welcomed and made to feel safe and valued as my whole self. This has been such a positive part of my undergraduate experience, and I am forever grateful.

Learn more about the Racial Justice in Urban Schooling minor, including how to apply.

Award-winning Zenon Dance Company artist finds new career through C&I’s dance education program

Mary Ann BradleyMary Ann Bradley is ready to start a new chapter of her life. As a member of the prestigious Zenon Dance Company for 12 years, a two-time recipient of the McKnight Fellowship for dancers, and one of Dance magazines “25 to watch” in 2014, Bradley has been a luminary of the Twin Cities’ dance scene for over a decade. She is now focusing on bringing her considerable talents to the classroom. Bradley began the M.Ed. and Initial Teaching license program in Arts in Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction this past summer and is finishing up her final season with the Zenon Dance Company.

Zenon’s artistic director, Linda Andrews, said that Bradley “excelled in teaching troubled and disadvantaged youth” as part of the company’s outreach program. “She gave them her full attention and care.”

The award-winning dancer chose to earn her teaching license in dance education to offer more students the opportunity to experience dance as an art form. “The public schools are the most effective way to reach students who might not otherwise have access. Obtaining my teaching license was a practical necessity towards this goal,” said Bradley, adding that “the fact that the program was able to be completed in one year was also appealing.”

 

Bradley found out about the program after attending a talk by program faculty, Betsy Maloney. She was impressed by Maloney’s “candid personal storytelling and thoughtful approach to dance education.” Additionally, Bradley felt the program aligned with her belief in “the capacity of dance to offer direct experience with collaboration, critical thinking, and communication.”

While she still hopes to continue her work with the Zenon Dance Company on a project basis, Bradley’s career goals have shifted. She now is focused on sharing her love of the art form by “teaching students the joy of moving freely and expressing themselves through dance.”

Learn more about the teacher licensure programs offered in dance, theatre, and the arts.

Gov. Dayton names Dec. 8 “Vanessa Goodthunder Day” after C&I student for her work on Dakota language advocacy

Vanessa Goodthunder and Mark Dayton
Vanessa Goodthunder (left) and her mother present Gov. Dayton with a star quilt.

Vanessa Goodthunder, an M.Ed. candidate in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, and has gone on to make major strides in tribal issues advocacy and language revitalization in Minnesota and beyond. Governor Mark Dayton heard Goodthunder speak about her work to revitalize the Dakota language and asked her to serve as assistant to the chief of staff focusing on tribal issues, reports the Redwood Falls Gazette.

“During the seven months I was in the governor’s office I learned a lot about government and what it means to be a leader,” said Goodthunder. “I never imagined I would work in government, and even though the role was a short one I think I was able to make a difference for the tribes.”

Dayton recognized her work by declaring December 8 as Vanessa Goodthunder Day in Minnesota. Gooddthunder tweeted in response to the honor, “Happy Vanessa Goodthunder Day in the State of Minnesota. Pidamayaye Governors Office for helping me grow my confidence in my voice and perspective. I’m so honored to have been on this team and now to help open up a 0-3 Dakota Immersion School at the Lower Sioux Community. Wopida.”

Goodthunder will continue her work in the Lower Sioux Indian Community as director of the Head Start program where she received a $1.9 million grant to launch an early childhood Dakota language immersion aimed at revitalizing the Dakota language.

In addition, Goodthunder, helped to launch a Dakota language app with a grant from the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council, which is expected to be launched publicly this year, according the Star Tribune.

“My language is part of me,” she said. “Without it I am not whole.”

Read the more about Goodthunder in the Redwood Falls Gazette.

Learn more about the M.Ed. and teacher licensure programs in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

LT Media Lab collaborates with Weisman Art Museum on interactive videos for Prince exhibit

Prince Minneapolis exhibitThe Learning Technologies (LT) Media Lab has teamed up with the Weisman Art Museum to give visitors the chance to record and share their favorite Prince moments as part of the exhibit, “Prince from Minneapolis” running through June 17, 2018.

“You don’t have to be at the exhibit to contribute,” says LT creative director Jeni Henrickson about the interactive software that lets the visitors record and share their memories of the performer. “Visitors can view the recordings and make their own from their homes. People around the world can go to this site and add a Prince moment,” she adds.

Visitors can pin themselves on an interactive map and view stories on the video wall, either at the touch screen monitor in the museum or from their home computers equipped with video cameras. The entire interactive wall was custom-developed by the LT team.

The LT Media Lab has a track record of leveraging their technological skills to allow the public to share their stories around educational topics. In the past, they used video documentation and online learning environments to allow students to follow their expeditions into the arctic to evaluate climate change as part of the Changing Earth project and, most recently, into South America to capture stories about the science and future of agriculture as part of the AgCultures project led by Professor Aaron Doering.

The Weisman and the LT Media lab will continue their collaboration on the upcoming exhibit, “Vanishing Ice” which opens January 27, 2018 and offers a glimpse into the rich cultural legacy of the planet’s frozen frontiers.

Learn more about the LT Media Lab and the academic programs offered in Learning Technologies in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

 

C&I’s Pearson Family fellows discuss their research with P. David Pearson

Pearson family fellowship recipients meet P. David Pearson. [left to right] Lori Baker, David Pearson, Kay Rosheim.
Two recipients of the Pearson Family Fellowship in Reading and Ph.d. candidates in literacy education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction recently had the opportunity to meet with the fellowship’s namesake, P. David Pearson, at the Literacy Research Association conference in Tampa, Florida.

The Pearson Family fellowship is awarded to doctoral students who conduct reading research in collaboration with the Minnesota Center for Reading Research. Pearson is one of the leading researchers in the field of reading education and has served on the National Council of Teachers of English, the National Reading Conference, and as an advisor to the National Academy of Science and he Children’s Television Network, among others.

Pearson shared his projects related to the history of literacy and translating literacy policy to practice with Rosheim and Baker, who in turn discussed their research projects with Pearson. Rosheim is studying literacy strategies for quiet learners and Baker’s research involves teaching writing to elementary school students and teacher identity. Baker and Rosheim gained valuable feedback and networked with other fellowship recipients from UC Berkeley.

Find out more about the Ph.D. in Literacy Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

TESL minor Aaron Nakamura is driven to support English-language learners with psychological trauma

Psychology major/TESL minor Aaron Nakamura wants to use his language teaching skills and psychology degree to help children learning English as a second language who need extra support.

What drove you to enroll in the Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) minor program?

My goal is to help children in third world countries who are in need of both psychological and educational support. I enrolled in the TESL minor program to equip myself with the necessary skill set to support those children through language education.

I came here from Japan five years ago and it was every hard to learn the language and get acclimated to a new country. My friends helped me a lot, and I would like to pass on that help to children struggling with both language skills and psychological trauma.

How has your experience with the faculty been?

The faculty members in this program are very knowledgeable and supportive. While learning how to teach English, I had to improve my language skills because English is my second language. The faculty were always there to help guide me through my struggles as a non-native English speaker.

Which part of the program did you find the most valuable?

All of the requirement courses for this program are very well-structured. I gained fundamental ideas and knowledge about linguistics and had the opportunity to train as an educator through a service-learning practicum. I also learned actual techniques and knowledge about teaching ESL that allowed me to strengthen my teaching abilities. Plus, I expanded my intercultural understanding which allowed me to gain insights about the amount of resources that are available in different parts of the world. Our discussions made me want to be an individual that is able to make a difference in our world.

Any other thoughts you want to share about your experience?

I have enjoyed meeting and sharing experiences with people in the TESL minor program who have multicultural backgrounds. People in this program understand and appreciate cultural differences, which allowed me to fit into the environment and feel respected as an individual. I made valuable friendships with my classmates that I will cherish throughout my lifetime.

Find out more about the TESL minor and other programs in second language education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

New math teacher and M.Ed. candidate, Manju Connolly, shares her first-year teaching experience

New math teacher and M.Ed. candidate Manju Connolly shares her experiences in the initial teaching license program and what she’s learned the first year on the job.

What drove you to enroll in the program?

I participated in the DirecTrack to Teaching program as an undergraduate, which allows students interested in teaching to take course and  engage in service-learning teaching to fulfill prerequisites for the M.Ed and Initial Teaching License (ILP) program. I had two positive experiences with student-teaching placements in Minneapolis Public Schools. That, along with the reflective discussions we shared in the class solidified my interest in teaching. I also gained relationships with Minneapolis Public School teachers and mentorship from our DirecTrack teacher. Knowing that the M.Ed/ILP program would allow me to stay connected to these resources and maintain relationships I valued with other professors and peers, I decided to enroll.

Were there any surprises and challenges along the way?

Student teaching is challenging! It is one thing to practice making lesson plans and analyze the effectiveness of lesson plans through methodology classes, but it’s another thing to implement plans live with a group of students whose learning (and grade!) is directly affected by your performance. The experience has been terrifying, difficult, and thrilling. I was lucky to have two very supportive cooperating teachers, who provide me with clear expectations and ample feedback to help me improve my work.

What has been your experience with the faculty?

There are many faculty and staff that contribute to our cohort’s success, and I am especially grateful for our math education professors. Erin Baldinger always encourages us to think critically about how to maximize student learning. She also helped us be intentional about analyzing tasks and lesson plans for effectiveness. In terms of our claim to fame, it’s hard to find a math teacher in the Twin Cities (or maybe statewide…nationwide???) who doesn’t know about Terry Wyberg. His connections and positive reputation reach each aspect of our training, from getting us school observation opportunities to landing student teaching placements to networking with districts as we navigate the job search process.

How have you felt about the cohort model and experience?

I feel like we each had an important place in our class discussions, and would like to recreate the collaborative environment of sharing ideas, asking questions, and even arguing, that we experienced in the cohort model. As I have transitioned to being a teacher, having the cohort peers is invaluable for getting new ideas, sharing practices, and having an ear for when you just want to vent to someone else who cares as much about teaching as you do.

Has the student teaching helped you feel prepared to enter your own classroom?

I could not have been luckier with my placement. I had two cooperating teachers who were constantly seeking ways to connect the learning targets to the knowledge and experiences students bring. Our topics and projects were often motivated by videos, images, or students’ personal reflections. Most importantly, I got a chance to see how a collaborative group of teachers function within the math department; My teachers established early on that they would be direct with their feedback, and as a result I felt comfortable suggesting tasks or tweaks for our lesson plans because my ideas are valued, whether they are implemented by the team or rejected with justification.

What were your goals post-graduation? How did your first year live up to your expectations?

After graduating the licensure program in May, I finished up the semester at my student teaching placement and interviewed for high school math teacher positions. My goal had been to teach in the Twin Cities in an urban high school where I could support Spanish-speaking students and collaborate with an enthusiastic math department. I am very happy with the school I chose because it has a diverse student body, reminded me of my own high school in Chicago area, and has an immensely supportive math department team. We share resources, troubleshoot, and communicate weekly. This support has been the most valuable part of my new school, and I would be having a much tougher first year without it.

After this first year, I will recuperate, reflect on what worked and what did not, tweak or overhaul lesson plans for the upcoming year, and complete the final three classes of the M.Ed degree as I teach my second year.

Any other thoughts you want to share about your experience?

Teaching should not be an individual or isolated profession, and I know I need a lot of moral and professional support in my first few years. My teachers helped me apply for a fellowship, the Knowles Teacher Initiative, and I am thankful to count on that for continued support for my first five years and beyond. I am also thankful to reflect on my experience and have no regrets on choosing this program. I hope to maintain lifelong relationships with several faculty and cohort members because I believe it is an essential part of well-being. I plan on participating in local, state, and national math conferences to stay connected with them and motivated in the classroom.

Teaching will always be challenging, but I am ready to embrace the challenge and enjoy it because I now have a great group of people on my team.

Find out more about the M.Ed. and Initial Teaching License program in Mathematics Education.

C&I staffer joins relief brigade in Puerto Rico, organizes to reopen schools

Sigal joined aid brigades to clear debris caused by hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.

Brad Sigal, a staff member in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, recently returned from an aid trip to Puerto Rico where he assisted the Puerto Rican Teacher’s Federation (FMPR) with their disaster relief work and educational advocacy to reopen public schools. He saw the devastation of hurricane Maria firsthand and witnessed the resilience of the communities one month after the hurricane hit while they were still dealing with power outages, food shortages, and a breakdown of infrastructure.

Sigal decided to go down to help after seeing the FMPR’s calls for help on Facebook. “They were organizing work brigades to clear roads and fix houses. I wanted to support the efforts,” he says.

The capital of San Juan, Sigal reported, was mostly without electricity and using generators to keep some homes and businesses electrified, including the international airport. The outlying cities were completely in the dark and still had roads covered in debris and homes with holes in the roofs or walls.

Sigal and FMPR president Mercedes Martinez.

Sigal met teachers and families who were concerned that schools still weren’t open a month after the hurricane. He helped the FMPR organize to reopen schools, a defense against growing fears that schools would be privatized in the wake of hurricane Maria in a similar turn of events that saw 7,000 teachers fired and public schools shut down and converted to charter schools after hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

Many schools have opened since he returned from his visit, Sigal says, largely because of the political activism by teacher’s union and a legal injunction where they forced the Department of Education to give a tally of which schools not open and why. He explains that schools were remaining closed because officials said there was infrastructure damage, but people had been using the cafeterias and schools as relief centers and were holding up well in that capacity. “Saying that the schools are not in condition to reopen didn’t make sense,” Sigal said of the situation.

Around 100 schools are still not open 70 days after the hurricane and so the work continues to save those schools and get them reopened to the students.

Sigal noted that most teachers still decided to go to their closed schools and help families in the buildings in order to maintain a connection with the community and continue to work.

“ I was amazed by the teachers and others I met. In the face of having to deal with their own personal crises of not having housing or food or electricity, they were also battling political issues with the school,” Sigal recounted. “The ability to do all that incredible.”

 

 

Paula Goldberg Receives OAA

Paula Goldberg, with President Eric Kaler and President Emeritus Bob Bruininks

On November 19, elementary education (1964) alumna Paula Goldberg was presented with the University of Minnesota’s Outstanding Achievement Award.

Paula is the Executive Director and co-founder of PACER Center, a nonprofit supporting families of youth with disabilities using a “parents helping parents” model. PACER Center is unique in that it serves children of all ages, with all disabilities: learning, physical, emotional, mental, and health. No other organization in Minnesota offers this broad range of services to families.

Prior to founding PACER, Paula was an elementary school teacher in Minneapolis and Chicago. In 1978, she was faced with a decision, either to attend law school or help launch a new organization to assist parents of children with disabilities. She chose to spend her time – just for a few years, she thought – building PACER Center.

It was a grassroots effort, with one grant, five staff and a 700 square foot office filled with used furniture. Her young sons helped with filing and put on puppet shows to teach schoolchildren about disability awareness.

Today, thanks to Paula’s leadership, PACER has more than 70 staff in its own 38,000 square foot building. The Center runs more than 35 programs, including bullying prevention, social events and self-advocacy resources for youth, independent housing information, an assistive technology center, and, almost 40 years later, the puppet shows.

Paula has dedicated her professional career to ensuring families of children with disabilities have access to information, resources and support. Her vision for PACER has made a difference for thousands of children and parents across the country.

The Outstanding Achievement Award is reserved for University of Minnesota alumni who have attained marked distinction in their profession or in public service; and who have demonstrated outstanding achievement and leadership on a community, state, national, or international level.

TESL minor and elementary education major, Whitley Lubeck, is driven to work with rural students

Senior Elementary Education Foundations major and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) minor, Whitley Lubeck, wants to bring her experience with diverse learners and communities to students abroad, and eventually, back to rural Minnesota.

What drove you to enroll in the TESL minor program?

The TESL minor program goes hand-in-hand with my Spanish studies major and gives me the option to teach abroad, which is one of my goals after graduation.  After deciding to also pursue a degree in Elementary Education Foundations, the TESL minor has been very helpful with my teaching practicum in elementary school sites around the Twin Cities because there is a large group of English-language learners in the urban area.

How was your experience with the faculty been?

The faculty of this program are great to work with and very knowledgeable.  They bring a lot of experience to inform their instruction and often arrange their class in an interactive way, encouraging students to not only learn from them but also from other students.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years, I see myself working in a rural elementary school similar to the school the one I attended in my hometown.  I want to bring awareness to difficult topics in education, an appreciation of diversity, and a drive to seek justice to students in less diverse populations.

Which part of the program did you find the most valuable?

The requirement to do a service-learning project as part of the course “Basics to Teaching English as a Second Language” was very valuable.  I learned about the different programs that exist for ESL learners in the community and I was able to use my knowledge from class discussions and activities at my service-learning location.  The hands-on experience gave me an authentic glimpse of teaching ESL and helped to prepare me for working in the field.

Any other thoughts you want to share about your experience?

The students in the TESL minor program have a variety of backgrounds and experience in different languages.  It is extremely helpful to learn about different languages and how characteristics of the language can affects learning the English language.

Learn more about the TESL minor and certificate program, and the B.S. in elementary education foundations in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Ph.D. candidate Yi-Ju Lai examines the unique challenges of international teaching assistants

Yi-Ju Lai is a Ph.D. candidate in Second Language Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. She is driven to understand the complicated role of international teaching assistants, and the communication challenges they face in the university community.

What drove you to enroll in the Second Language Education Ph.D. program? (a little background on how you came to us).

I have a background in applied linguistics and its application to language education.  During one of my projects researching how academic language is learned and used among multilingual international students in U.S. higher education, I became more and more interested in the theories of linguistic anthropology and their applications to language acquisition and language use in different contexts.  I decided to pursue a Ph.D. degree to sharpen my research skills and develop my knowledge of linguistic anthropology.  One of the Second Language Education Ph.D. program focuses is language acquisition and language use in a range of contexts and settings, which drove me to join this research community.

What is your current research focus?

A major issue on U.S. campuses is miscommunication between university students and their international teaching assistants (ITAs) who lack knowledge of U.S. classroom interactions.  My current research project uses language socialization theory–– the study of the interrelated processes of language and cultural development–– to examine: (1) ITAs’ language socialization experiences in U.S. graduate schools and (2) language use between ITAs and their U.S. university students, and the classroom interactional challenges facing them.  It also looks at how institutional cultures shape those language use and classroom interactions.  In addition, my current project explores how ITAs are positioned simultaneously as content experts and language novices in everyday instructional interactions with their university students.

When did you become interested in applied linguistics, or linguistic anthropology, particularly language socialization?

As a life-long language learner, I am always interested in how language is learned, how language is used verbally and nonverbally in diverse contexts, and how language shapes the way people understand the world.  My first class in the field of linguistic anthropology inspired my research interest in language socialization and brought an interdisciplinary approach to my study considering language as a form of social action.

What do you hope to do after graduation?

I will seek a position that allows me to continue my language socialization research and support meaningful cross-cultural communication in higher education contexts between multilingual international students and their U.S. professors and students.

Which resources have you found through the department to help with your research?

My research has been benefited from C&I travel grants, pro-seminars, emerging scholars conference/ research day, graduate student organizations, and conversations with colleagues and faculty members. In addition, the collaborative work between the department and UMN institutions (e.g., Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition, Center for Educational Innovation) has also helped deepen my research.

When did you come to the United States? Has your experience affected your research?
I have been studying and teaching/working in the United States for more than ten years. My experiences have encouraged me to re-think how multilingual practices cross-cultural communication can be achieved among speakers with diverse backgrounds.

What has been your favorite part of living in Minnesota?
It is interesting and meaningful to observe and learn how languages are used in communication among diverse populations in Minnesota, and how those language varieties may represent individual’s lived experiences and reflection of the society.

Learn more about second language education research and the Ph.D. program in Second Language Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

 

TESL minor student, Iftu Adem, share her inspiration for teaching English language learners

Sophomore Iftu Adem is majoring in Elementary Education Foundations with a minor in Teaching English as a Second Languages (TESL). She explains how her experience as an English-language learner inspired her to become a teacher.

What drove you to enroll in the TESOL minor program?

When I came to America I saw teachers who were very passionate about their jobs, especially teaching English to students who were learning English for the first time. They had a dedication and enthusiasm that attracted me to that profession and ever since I’ve wanted to be like them and be able to inspire someone in return.

What do you hope to do after graduation?

I hope to be able to go to my home country, Kenya, and teach the next generation and pass on the legacy of my former teachers and show them the advantages that learning a language opens up for them.

What has been your experience with the faculty?

My experience so far has been amazing. The professors that I have had the pleasure of meeting this semester have been amazing; They’re understanding and very passionate about what they do and that kind of energy reinforces in me the whole reason i decided to do this minor.

What’s been your favorite course so far?

Basics in Teaching English As a Second Language because of the community service aspect. That helped me implement what I learned in a real-world setting. That was very helpful in envisioning how I could carry out a lesson and plan lessons based on what I’m learning.

Learn more about the TESL minor and other second language education degree programs.

Ph.D. candidate in STEM education, El Nagdi, receives ASTE graduate research award

 

Mohamed El Nagdi, a Ph.D. candidate in STEM Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, has received the Davis-Foster Graduate Student Reseach Award  from the North Central Association for Science Teaching Education (ASTE).

ASTE recognized El Nagdi for his research on the evolving roles of STEM educators in new STEM teaching environments. “This [research] was conducted in four Minneapolis emerging STEM schools,” explains El Nagdi. “The research findings show that STEM teachers’ identities are a developing construct with much emphasis on the need for great alignment between teacher’s personal philosophy of teaching and what is required in order to be a successful STEM teacher.”

El Nagdi developed his research with colleague Felicia Leammukda, and his advisor Gillian Roehrig, a professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction and the current acting president of ASTE.

ASTE grants the Davis-Foster Graduate Student Research Award to several students each year. The recipients receive a a monetary prize in addition to ASTE covering the costs of travel to their annual international conference. El Nagdi will attend the 2018 conference in Baltimore, Maryland this January.

Learn more about  STEM education research in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

C&I students present at curriculum theory and classroom practice conference

 

Five graduate students from the College of Education and Human Development, four of whom are Ph.D. candidates in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction , presented papers at JCT Online‘s 38th  Annual Bergamo Conference on Curriculum Theory and Classroom Practice in Dayton, Ohio last weekend. Hillary Barron, Meghan Phadke, Rachel Schmitt, Ramya Sivaraj, and Weijian Wang were joined by Professor Nina Asher of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

The students sat on the panel “Seeking Sites of Resistance: Engaging Identity, Culture, and Belonging in the Classroom.” They discussed the possibilities for equitable educational practices through an interrogation of their own identities and lived experiences based on research conducted with Professor Asher in a graduate seminar focusing on postcolonialism, globalization, and education.

The students presentation abstracts and panel received high praise from attendees and they were invited to return to present at future conferences.

Learn more about the doctoral programs in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

C&I’s Linda Buturian receives Institute on the Environment fellowship

Senior Teaching Specialist Linda Buturian of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction has been awarded a fellowship to become an IonE educator with the University of Minnesota’s Institute on the Environment (IonE).

IonE’s Faculty Leadership Council selects between three and five educators for a fellowship each year. As an IonE educator, Buturian will work with other educators on a year-long project surrounding sustainability efforts. The project team will “develop curricula related to education, storytelling, art, and creativity which focuses on the Mississippi River, and local and global sustainability issues,” says Buturian.

Her team will also “forge connections with CEHD faculty, staff, and students who are addressing, researching, or interested in environmental issues in order to move toward a dialogue about sustainability issues and mission as they relate to respective departments represented in the college,” adds Buturian. During her 14-month fellowship, Buturian will have the opportunity to present on her research at the statewide Sustainability Education Summit.

For more information or to become involved with the sustainability project, contact Linda Buturian.

Consider donating to this project or continued projects in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Angel Pazurek presents on eLearning in Mauritius, Africa

Angelica Pazurek, a lecturer in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction presented a workshop on “Global Perspectives on Design Thinking for Technology Supported Learning” at the annual eLearning Africa conference in Mauritius, Africa. The conference is the largest gathering of eLearning and ICT-supported education and training professionals in Africa, enabling participants to enhance their knowledge and expertise while also developing multinational and cross-industry contacts and partnerships.

Pazurek also led a panel discussion on effective practices and the importance of context in online teaching and learning.

Learn more about the Learning Technologies programs in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

 

Annie Mason writes op-ed challenging critics of racial justice education in Star Tribune

Annie Mason, Program Director of Elementary Teacher Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, published an op-ed in the Star Tribune as a counterpoint to Katherine Kersten’s article, “Racial identity policies are ruining Edina’s fabled schools,” on the Edina school district’s new “All for All” plan, which Kersten blames for lowered test results in Edina schools.

Kersten alleges the new plan shifts the  district leaders’ educational philosophy from “academic excellence for all” to ensuring “that students think correctly on social and political issues.” She argues that the new racial justice-geared agenda creates a hostile environment for students with “nonconforming views,” and does nothing to improve test scores or foster high academic performance in the district.

Mason challenged these ideas in her op-ed, ” Counterpoint: Edina schools: why it’s crucial to unlearn racism.” She discusses the way white privilege has shaped our country’s education system since its conception, the learning limitations placed on students of all races, and the importance of maintaining a dialogue about race in our schools. “[Students] know that to change the future, we have to reckon with the past,” Mason writes. “To unlearn racism, we have to be willing to face what it is, what it has created and how we are all implicated in it.”

Learn more about The Department of Curriculum and Instruction’s teacher education programs  and our commitment to equity in education.

 

Aspiring English teacher and first-generation American Quynh Van wants to reshape the discussion on race in the classroom

Quynh-Huong Nguyen Van is a senior majoring in English enrolled in the DirecTrack to Teaching program. She shares her hopes of shaping the conversation about race in America with students, becoming an English teacher, and how being a first-generation American will help her as a teacher.

What do you hope to accomplish as a teacher?

I want to be a teacher because it’s more than teaching a subject you are passionate about, but also about creating a safe space for students to be themselves and to grow intellectually. I also believe racism is a serious issue in America today and want to play my small part in helping to reshape the way we view race by incorporating discussions about racism and society into my classroom. I cannot think of a better setting to facilitate this than English classrooms; especially since many literary works can be used as a vehicle to help students see truth through fiction and to help students build empathy for other people by getting to know characters and authors.

What strengths do you think you will bring to the classroom? 

I believe one of my greatest assets as a future educator is my Vietnamese-American background. I feel my first-generation immigrant experiences have given me unique perspectives that will allow me to be a more empathetic and inclusive teacher

What has been your experience with the DirecTrack faculty?

My experience with my DirecTrack advisors over the last three years has been absolutely phenomenal. They have always been understanding and supportive of not only my academic work, but also my personal endeavors. My DirecTrack advisors have proven to be some of the strongest faculty relationships I have cultivated at the University.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

In five years, I imagine myself in a classroom, more adept at my job than my first year of teaching, and hopefully being an advisor for a school club like speech or directing the school play.

What’s been your favorite course so far?

My favorite course has been ENGL3601: Analysis of the English Language, an intro-level linguistics course focusing on the English language. It is a course that is required for my major as well as a prerequisite for the Master’s in Education and Initial Teaching license in English program. I initially only took the class because it was required, but it quickly became my one of my favorites. The class felt like I was applying chemistry or math to the study of the English language; I found the class to be a breath of fresh air!

Any other thoughts you want to share about your experience?

Through DirecTrack, I have been able to have many meaningful service-learning experiences, make great friends who are as dedicated about teaching as I am, and have found a community I feel I belong in.

Learn more about the DirecTrack to Teaching program and the M.Ed. and Initial Teaching License programs in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

 

Elementary education majors work hands-on with students in Montpellier, France

Students interested in teaching have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take part in a teaching practicum in Montpellier, France through the  Learning Abroad Center. Participants can meet their major requirements for  the Elementary Education Foundations  program while learning and teaching in the vibrant city of Montepellier, which is known for its beautiful architecture and atmosphere of political tolerance.

Engaging in a teaching practicum in France presents a wonderful opportunity for elementary education majors to flex their teaching muscles in a classroom with students of different cultural backgrounds. During this one-semester study abroad program, participants plan lessons alongside local teachers in Montpellier that explore effective ways of teaching English to students who do not speak the language.

Cynthia Zwicky, a lecturer in the   Elementary Education program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, recently returned from Montpellier, where she observed students working in their classrooms. “They teach in classrooms that are representative of a large immigrant population in Montpellier and learn many skills that are transferable and applicable to multicultural elementary classrooms in the United States,” she explains.

This program offers not only the opportunity to interact with students of many cultures and backgrounds, but for university students to learn for themselves what it’s like to be a new language learner.

“There is no substitute for living an experience that many of these aspiring teachers’ future students will be experiencing here in the United States,” Zwicky says. That cross-cultural understanding students can be carried with them back into their teaching practice in their classrooms.

Find out more about the  Teaching Practicum in France at the Learning Abroad Center.

Learn more about the B.S. in Elementary Education Foundations program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Aaron Doering gives keynote speech at #EdCrunch 2017 in Moscow

Professor Aaron Doering of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction recently gave the keynote to over 3,500 participants for #EdCrunch 2017 in Moscow, Russia.  Doering’s keynote, “Higher Education: Tomorrow Is Already Here,” addressed his principles aimed at transforming learning communities and improving student interaction with online learning materials.

#EdCrunch is one of the largest European conferences in the area of new educational technologies in secondary, higher and professional education. This year’s conference highlighted personalization in education technology, technological capabilities in classrooms, and teacher competency and ability to embrace change.

Doering is the Co-director of the University of Minnesota’s Learning Technologies Media Lab, and a professor in the Learning Technologies program in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Find out more about the Learning Technologies degree programs  and educational technology research in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.