Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Other Side of the Desk

My Schools and Society students have started their field placements at the two schools in the Williston School District, Williston Central and AllenBrook schools. Central is a 3 - 8th grade school and AllenBrook a preK - 2nd grade. They are both incredible schools with dedicated teachers and administrators; great role models for the SMC students who are getting their first experience of what it's like to be the "other side of the desk".

It was neat to hear the students in class after their first visit; I could barely stop them talking about their teachers and the students they are working with. This is so different from the first week of class when they would hardly say anything. It will be like this for the rest of the semester as we weave their school experiences into the educational theories they have been, and will continue to be, learning.

Since this is an introductory level course I try to give the students wide exposure to many different educational theories so that when they study them in more depth in more specialized courses later in their program they will already be familiar with the names and main ideas. This is a little bit like the "spiral curriculum" used in public schools where concepts are introduced at successively more complex levels as the students develop their cognitive skills. It's also a bit like developmentally appropriate practice which is a theory often applied to early childhood development. The students don't yet have enough practical experience to apply the theories in depth, but they soon will.

Then they will be ready to take their places as teachers in public school classrooms just like many of the teachers at the Williston schools who were also students at St. Mike's.

The picture is of the recently installed wind turbine that generates electricity for the Allen Brook school. The school is in one of the windiest locations I know of in Vermont and the turbine is the brainchild of John Terko, the school principal.

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