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Spring 2016 Newsletter
Seth Sanderson ('15) is the 2016 recipient of the Von Eschen-Steele Education and Teaching Award, established in 1976 to honor professors Lysle Steele and Clarence Von Eschen.
Samantha Anderson ('15), Adrianna Baldwin ('15), and Alexandria Rehfeldt ('15) each received the Hattie May Chamberlin Award, established in 1999 in honor of Hattie M. Chamberlin, class of 1899.
Congratulations to these outstanding students of education and teaching! We wish you all the best!
This fall, Sonja Darlington will be offering another 276 course, "Reimagine Ways of Working with Youth: Facing Issues of Class in Education," in her series of recent electives focused on race and class. The emphasis in this new elective will be on why class matters in education. According to Darlington, she became focused on class issues while teaching her fall 2014 FYI on working class literature. On the basis on that seminar, she expanded her research into class issues about youth more generally. Much of her enthusiasm comes from her research in African literature on such works as Sefi Atta's Swallow and NoViolet Bulwayo's We Need New Names, texts on which she presented at the recent African Literature Association Conference. Atta's novel examines the effect of economic pressures of the Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) for women in Nigeria in the late 80s, and Bulawayo's novel describes the economic chaos experienced by youth during the currency instability that began in the 1990s.
Darlington notes that her new course draws upon the issues investigated in these novels and also on the important work by researchers, such as Andy Furlong, on unemployment, insecurity, and poor work for young adults in the new economy (Handbook of Children and Youth Studies, 2015). By incorporating significant studies by sociologists, cultural anthropologists, community developers, and independent activist researchers, Darlington is eager to engage students with the developments in Youth Studies and issues of class. She intends to link praxis to theory by focusing on the labor issues in Beloit and its environs. Similar to her FYI, students will be involved in an independent research project and will also be engaged in the local community through some form of activism and/or research. Darlington says she is looking forward to expanding the reach of EDYS beyond the schools and into the fabric of local labor by youth, and to understanding more deeply the complexity around the term "working class" youth.
Professor Darlington attended the 42nd annual African Literature Association (ALA) Conference entitled "Justice and Human Dignity in Africa and the African Diaspora" in Atlanta, Georgia, which was hosted by Kennesaw State and Emory University. In addition to chairing her session on labor, she presented her paper: "Reading Class: The Significance of Work and Play in Sefi Atta's Swallow and NoViolet Bulwayo's We Need New Names."
Professor Lou attended the Comparative and International Education Society (CIES) Annual Conference in Vancouver, Canada during Spring Break. Her writing on “Pragmatic Agency: Examining Chinese Migrant Children's Educational Engagement and Choices through a Case Study” is based on her fieldwork in a migrant children's school in East Coast China. She will return to the same school for more fieldwork this May with the support of the Manger Grant from the college.
On March 2nd, I landed in London to pay a visit to Anisa Martinez, Maddy Stein, and Nyasha Nyamhondoro at Goldsmiths University, where all three were studying this spring semester. I attended their classes, including one entitled Early Childhood in a Diverse Society, which was taught by Betty, a Professor from Rockford, Illinois—she was a favorite. Anisa and I also met with members of their Study Abroad Program and learned that education classes at Goldsmiths draw from students around the world, in addition to serving a large locally-based group of international students—among them many women from the Middle East. Aside from getting acquainted with the campus, together we visited the Tate Museum and the Borough Market and also had an Indian dinner near campus.
From there I traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark to meet up with Chen Bao who is studying with DIS (the Danish Institute for Study Abroad). With Chen, I attended a class, which was seeing a film called “NaturePlay” presented by the producer Aimie Stilling. The 90-minute documentary features forest kindergartens and nature based play areas, which have become a means to reclaim childhood.
The Nordic “Udeskole” describes the conceptual framework for outdoor learning and playing in nature. Ms. Stilling led a spirited discussion with the class, as she urged students to become entrepreneurs and create nature play areas in the US (See NaturePlay Film).
From Copenhagen, Chen and I visited Solomon Abebe, the Ethiopian scholar who guest-lectured in EDYS 102 and EDYS 276 in September 2015. He hosted us for three days by guiding us around the University of Lund, Sweden. We were particularly amazed by the entrepreneurship center, which houses multiple international projects. With him, we also visited the towns of Malmö (a newer city of immigrants, and the home of the famous “corkscrew” apartment building) and Helsingborg, a town with a beautiful wharf on the Baltic Sea and 600-year-old medieval fortress.
EDYS Track Three major Nyasha Nyamhondoro reports from London:
"First off, studying at Goldsmiths University of London has been a great experience so far. The workload is significantly less than what I am used to at Beloit (most classes only meet once a week for no more than two hours), though it did provide me with some culture shock at the beginning of the term as to the references/terminology they used in lectures. Since I am an Education and Youth Studies Track 3 major, I decided to focus primarily on this subject, as three out of the four classes I am taking are through the education department here at Goldsmiths. I would highly suggest to any education major at Beloit thinking of coming to Goldsmiths, take the Policy and Practice in Early Childhood Education module, as you discuss the ways in which nursery impacts young children in the UK. It was for this class that I had the chance to visit the Rachel McMillan School in Deptford to see how a real 'forest school' operated. As for my other two education classes, Studies in Inclusion and Exclusion, and Culture and the Construction of Identity, they were fairly similar to a few sociology and anthropology courses at Beloit so I was pretty tired of talking about those themes by the time I was enrolled in those courses.
Besides the courses, I have really been enjoying my time here in London. Yes, it is just as expensive as you would imagine but there are plenty of free/cheap things to do in and around the city. Goldsmiths definitely doesn't have the same close-knit campus vibe that Beloit does, but it is situated in a cool neighborhood in southeast London with plenty of shops and cafes along the high street. As for traveling, I plan on visiting Paris again next month before I head off to Spain with family."
Chen Bao, a Track Three EDYS major, reflects on experiences abroad:
"I am studying abroad in Copenhagen this semester. Overall, my experiences with DIS (the Danish Institute for Study Abroad) have been pretty good. As an education major, I would like to recommend the Child Development & Diversity program in particular.
Within the program, students can choose one of the three following core courses: Child Development in Scandinavia, Children and Youth in Europe, and Children in a Multicultural Context program. Each core course has an affiliated fieldwork that allows students to explore and experience Scandinavian education in practice. For instance, I am taking Child Development in Scandinavia and I go to a kindergarten every Thursday to learn more about early childhood education. Each core course also has two study tours. During the short study tour, my core course class went to Western Denmark to visit schools and education institutions. During the long study tour, my core course class went to Finland together to figure out why Finland has an outstanding PISA (Programme for International Student Assessment) performance.
Besides the core course and fieldwork, I am also taking Learning in Scandinavian Classrooms, Stolen Childhoods: Migrant and Refugee Children in Europe, and Children and the Natural World. I highly recommend Stolen Childhood given the current situation in Europe. I would also recommend Children and the Natural World since Danish early-childhood education is famous for the idea of free play, outdoor play and forest kindergarten."
EDYS major Sien Fu has received a Venture Grant to fully fund an independent research project examining the effects of Japanese etiquette in kindergarten-aged students in Utsunomiya, Tochigi, Japan.
"Starting from preschools, etiquette and ritual practices have already been shown among Japanese children. How are etiquette and rituals taught in Japanese schools, and what do they tell us about Japan? Are there any experiences American educators can use for reference?"
Fu will be exploring these questions while observing a kindergarten A class, Aoba Yoochien, focusing on how culture can influence education.
"Preschools in Japan, which include ‘kindergartens’ (yoochien) and ‘daycare centers’ (hoikuen), are a central context in the transition from home to school life. Research has revealed that etiquette and ritual teaching is an important part of the training curriculum in Japanese preschools. I very much look forward to observing etiquette and rituals in Japanese preschool education and interpreting them through the lens of my Education and Youth Studies Major.
Ultimately, my most important goal as a student of education, is to draw lessons from Japanese education and see how I can apply what I learn in Japan to my work with American preschool children."
The following EDYS students are ready to begin their student teaching semester this fall 2016!
We wish you all the best!
Elementary / Middle School Certification Program (Track 1)
Middle / High School Certification Program (Track 2)
Could you please take a moment to talk a bit about your experiences in education (either as an educator or as an administrator) in the Beloit area?
I worked 36 years in education. I taught history in Sioux City, Delavan, and Beloit before becoming the Dean of Students and Assistant Principal at Beloit Memorial High School.
How would you describe your role as the student teacher manager last semester, as well as your work with Sonja Darlington in EDYS 277 this semester?
My role at Beloit College has been to oversee the student teacher program and supervise students during their practicum teaching. I assist with the placement of students in schools, recruit and monitor supervisors, and make classroom visits to observe and guide students.
How does your background and experience influence your interactions with Beloit College students?
I have worked with many student teachers and new teachers over my career. These experiences have given me a unique insight into the challenges that student teachers will encounter. I encourage students to work hard to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to become effective reflective educators.
What advice would you offer to students on the journey to becoming a teacher?
Students must be motivated and passionate about teaching. It is not a career for everyone. Students should take introductory college courses and get into the schools to get a feeling for what it is really like to be a teacher. If they decide to make teaching a career, they should make a commitment to develop the necessary knowledge and skills to be effective at it.
Is there any school district news you feel would be helpful to our students as they work with teachers at the schools, or look for teachers and schools to get involved with?
There are many exciting things happening in education today. I would encourage students to visit our local schools. Get to know the kids and staff. There are many opportunities to volunteer and get involved. They will get a feeling for the grade level and subject area that appeals to them. They will build relationships with teachers and staff that will be valuable contacts if they decide to pursue a career in education.
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