Faculty of Education summer session course offers experience beyond the classroom
Andrea Di Ubaldo
The Faculty of Education is offering a new course this summer session called “Beyond Classrooms: Considering Education, Teaching and Learning in Non-School Settings.” In it, Bachelor of Education students will gain community-based education field experience.
Director of the faculty’s school experiences office Melanie Janzen created the course, which focuses on understanding community-based organizations and the role of education and teaching within organizations, alongside issues of social justice and pedagogy and practice to help expand the students’ views on education.
“Many of our teacher candidates have traditional views of what education is about. They want to get in front of a class and deliver a lesson,” explains Janzen. “I want our students to have experiences and opportunities to broaden their understandings of education, curriculum and teaching and to experience education in places that are not schools.”
Students will attend a weekly seminar and spend 20 hours a week for six weeks at one of the host sites including the Boys and Girls Club of Winnipeg, Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization of Manitoba, Rossbrook House, ArtCity and Fort Whyte Alive.
Rossbrook House is an organization that provides more than 2,000 Aboriginal and inner-city youth with a safe place 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, including weekends and school holidays. Their co-executive director, Maria Vigna, says that Rossbrook House believes education is a pillar of positive change.
“Lived experience and reflection on that experience is an integral part of the learning process. We are happy to welcome [Faculty of Education] students to share in the life and energy that is here at Rossbrook House and to have an opportunity to build relationships,” says Vigna.
“The kids will have an opportunity to expand their world too. I have worked in a classroom and have deep respect for the learning that occurs there. At the same time, I know how enriching it is to encounter learning in daily life and allow that to be a classroom as well.”
To pass the course, the two Faculty of Education students who will be placed there must complete a project called The Reciprocity Project, in which they will be responsible for creating a resource for the host organization.
“The resource to be developed will be decided upon collaboratively between the student and each host organization, and will contribute to its educational programming. It might include anything from the development of particular educational materials or resources to innovative programs or curriculum programs,” explains Janzen.
“The purpose is to draw on B.Ed. student experiences — the students offer something back of value to the host organization to support the organization’s educational endeavours,” she says.
This article first appeared in the May 23, 2013 edition of The Bulletin.