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Fall 2014 Newsletter
On Saturday, October 18th, Professor Sonja Darlington presented a 20 minute introduction for Nigerian Playwright Tess Onwueme.
Known internationally as one of Africa’s foremost female playwrights, Tess Onwueme, Distinguished Professor of Cultural Diversity and English at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, was honored at an event in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The event celebrated the donation of Onwueme's letters, scholarly papers, and original manuscripts of plays to the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Foundation and to the Special Collections & Archives Department of the Wisconsin Library, where they will be accessible to scholars, students, and teaching faculty worldwide.
Darlington’s presentation contextualized Onwueme’s literary contributions, which include over 15 plays, more than four literary prizes, the position of first woman President of the Association of Nigerian Authors, and many teaching positions. A very important part of her legacy is that Onwueme was the first to unabashedly critique the conditions that contributed to limiting women’s creative abilities in her society. She entered the Nigerian literary scene, when men such as Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, and C.P. Clark-Bekederemo dominated the scene. Onwueme broke the glass ceiling for female African playwrights and between 1983 and 2004 her dramatic works addressed issues of inequality among social classes, injustice among rural and urban citizens, and inequality among political and economic regimes. Her theatrical style has been compared to that of Bertold Brecht, because she evokes audience participation for the purpose of social transformation.
On October 28, 2014, Dr. Edward Fergus visited campus to give a talk on his recently published book entitled, Schooling for Resilience: Improving the Life
Trajectory of Black and Latino Boys. Dr. Fergus, is a Beloit College alumnus who majored in Education and Political Science. The first Beloit College McNair Scholar to earn his Ph.D., Fergus is an Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership at New York University. In his talk, Dr. Fergus asserted that schools must implement certain educational strategies to improve the academic achievement of this cadre through changes in schools’ structure and cultural environment. Dr. Fergus also recommended additional consideration to the topic of engagement and how that is manifested within the classroom to support learning.
Dr. Fergus was invited back to campus by two current EDYS majors, Daniel Corral and Yasmin Rodriguez. Daniel and Yasmin, both seniors and Resident Assistants, felt as part of their required programming commitments to Residential Life, that bringing back Dr. Fergus would give some perspective into the possibilities after Beloit in either teaching or going attending graduate school. Moreover, collaborating with the School District of Beloit to make the event come to fruition, Daniel and Yasmin felt this would also spark a discussion around issues of Latina/os in education and how to engage this growing population in our own community and nationwide. Overall, this event gave the campus and community an opportunity to learn more about an evolving issue from one of our own.
Since coming to Beloit, international education policy has been my passion. So when I received the opportunity to study abroad in Uganda with an SIT program focused on development, I was ecstatic. During the program I went on multiple weeklong excursions to visit different parts of the country, and through these excursions I had the opportunity to visit different types of schools. On our first trip to the Eastern part of the country, I was able to conduct a small research project on girls’ education in rural Uganda. Then in another trip to the Western part of the country, I was able to visit a U.N. Millennium Development Village primary school. I also had the opportunity to visit a government primary school in Kampala (the capital).
Through these visits I was able to learn more about the Ugandan Education System and how it varies around the country. These experiences are what ultimately lead to my research project for my Senior Thesis. I conducted a case study on the connection between classroom pedagogy and the National Curriculum. During that time I worked with a private secondary school in Kampala. At the school I observed English and Biology classes, and conducted interviews with teachers. The faculty and staff were extremely welcoming. For example, I often came in early before observing, so that I could practice my Luganda (the regional language) with the security guard and have tea and porridge with the teachers in the staff room, as they also enjoyed teaching me new Luganda phrases and Ugandan culture.
However there were still many Ugandan holidays and cultural customs that I was unaware of, and sometimes this made scheduling observations or interviews amusing. The funniest time was in the beginning of my research, when I had accidentally scheduled a class observation during the English class study period. I arrived at the classroom to find the class full, but no teacher. Once the students told me that their English teacher had given them a study period, they asked me if I could stay and teach. I became nervous and flustered, because I had not come prepared to teach a lesson. Before I could respond, the students began bombarding me with questions about life in the United States. For the rest of the class time, students asked me questions about the U.S. while working on different grammatical structures. In the end, that class time allowed me to build relationships with some of the students that still carry on today.
Even though the research process was full of unexpected turns, I truly enjoyed it. My time in Uganda reassured me that international education is what I would like to go to graduate school to study and one day pursue as a career field.
In compliance with the Wisconsin Quality Educator Initiative (PI-34), Fall 2014 student teachers will be required to complete the edTPA for local evaluation, as well as additional assignments to be determined in consultation with the student teaching seminar instructor. Beginning on September 1, 2015, candidates will be required to pass an edTPA for initial licensure by the state of Wisconsin.
Formerly the Teacher Performance Assessment, the edTPA was designed by teachers and teacher educators to support candidate learning and provide data that support preparation program growth and renewal. Aligned with Common Core State Standards and InTASC Standards, edTPA assesses teaching behaviors that focus on student learning. The edTPA process includes a review of a teacher candidate’s authentic teaching materials and a 15-20 minute video of the candidate teaching, to document and demonstrate a candidate’s ability to effectively teach his/her subject matter to all students.
EDYS edTPA Coordinator Tom Owenby remarked, “Faculty are working to integrate activities and prompts into their methods classes that will help prepare students to succeed on the edTPA. With the emphasis we already place on reflective and deliberate practice, our students are in a position to do well on this assessment. While we want to ensure that students are equipped with the requisite knowledge and experiences to pass the edTPA, we are also cognizant of some of the more problematic elements of this assessment. While it does possess some formative potential, the edTPA will also significantly effect the way we mediate student teaching and methods classes and creates another standardized bar for pre-service teachers to clear. In keeping with our departmental mission, it is important that we engage with the edTPA from both practical and political perspectives.”
On Wednesday, September 10, Beloit-area cooperating teachers from a variety of disciplines and grade levels met to share best practices related to mentoring student teachers. This productive and engaging seminar also featured EDYS faculty Bill New, Kathy Greene, and Tom Owenby. Items discussed included supporting reflection by student teachers, assessment, navigating district policy, and the edTPA. Thanks to all of our cooperating teachers for their tireless efforts on behalf of their students and our student teachers!
Bill New at Salzburg Global Seminar – Students at the Margins and the Institutions that Serve Them: A Global Perspective
During the week I learned about minority education issues across the world and met many fascinating and inspiring people: students, professors, administrators, representatives from NGOs and inter-government agencies, human rights entrepreneurs, and the wonderful people who run the Salzburg Global Seminar. I joined with a conservation scientist from Indonesia, a teacher educator from the Yunnan province in China, and an undergraduate from a tribal college in Washington State to develop a proposal we’re calling ‘Against the odds.’ This would be comprised of a participatory action research project and public awareness campaign focused on the characteristics of marginalized students who ‘weren’t supposed to make it to college’ but have not only made it to college but have been very successful. The project would feature a blog/site featuring life-history narratives from around the world, the production of high quality research, and travel and exchange bringing the student authors and faculty mentors together. The Center for Minority Serving Institutions at Penn is offering seed grants for such projects, and we have been encouraged to submit a proposal. Hopefully our project will be funded and we can begin to actively implement this exciting partnership.
I’m hoping that I get invited to be a fellow at some future Salzburg meeting!
During the 2014 fall term, twelve EDYS students in Track I and II, started their student teaching semester. Most students will complete their student teaching in January, 2015. Congratulations!
Elementary / Middle School Certification
Zoe Gierman at McLenegan Elementary School
Lilka Jones at the Metropolitan Learning Center, Portland, Oregon
Praises Vega at Oakdale Elementary School, Waukegan, Illinois
Middle / High School Certification
Joseph Carmody at Clinton High School (Science)
Danny Corral at Beloit Memorial High School (History)
Steven Dowden at Random Lake School District, Random Lake, Wisconsin (English and Math)
Duncan Gillis at Beloit Memorial High School (Spanish)
Lily O'Brien at Milton High School, Milton, Massachusetts (French)
Molly Schulting at Beloit Memorial High School (Biology and Math)
Craig Vruwink at Beloit Turner High School (Social Studies)
Laramie Wieseman at Beloit Memorial High School (Biology)
Andrew Wood at Beloit Memorial High School (English)
The department of Education and Youth Studies is pleased to announce the addition of twenty-one new students as majors in Tracks 1, 2, and 3. Congratulations on a great choice!
Track 1 (Children and Schools)
Track 2 (Adolescents and Schools)
Track 3 (Youth and Society)
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