Third year students had the opportunity to participate in two community classrooms this semester at Medalta Potteries and in Elkwater. There the students toured kilns, worked with clay and learned about sky science, while brainstorming potential learning outcomes related to math, science and language arts curriculum.
“There’s a big difference between a field trip and a community classroom,” explains education instructor Lorelei Boschman. “It’s all about doing activities that are specific to that location. Students are going there to achieve learning objectives in a neat and interactive way.”
Using these experiences, students were challenged to build their own community classrooms by selecting a location, establishing objectives and creating engaging activities to support their idea. Projects will be presented at a Pecha Kucha event where each group will have 20 slides and 20 seconds per slide to explain their classroom concepts to local superintendents, education leaders and special guests. The project will conclude with students reflecting on the work they have done, how they have grown through the experience and how it can support their roles as future educators.
Education student presents a community classroom concept at the Pecha Kucha event on Oct. 17.
This assignment is a collaborative effort between Boschman and her colleagues, Jason McLester and Colleen Whidden. The result is a project that builds student awareness of available resources, like community classrooms, and the confidence to execute their own program once they become teachers. It also encourages collaboration and integration of different objectives and curriculum areas while developing soft teaching skills like presentation style and classroom management.
“Our program is embedded in real life. We wanted to model for students what we hope they will model someday,” says Boschman. “Knowing the provincial education system is headed in the direction of interdisciplinary curriculum, we wanted to show students what this looks like in reality.”
To ensure the project remains on the right track, the education team is continually seeking feedback from students. Boschman, McLester and Whidden also had the opportunity to share their project at the University of Calgary Learning and Teaching Conference last spring where their work was well received by their peers.
According to Boschman, the key to success for this project, and the education program at MHC, is the community. Whether it is local districts opening their classrooms to over 200 student practicums or teaching professionals sharing their expertise on campus, their ongoing commitment to education in the region is valued.
“We are very fortunate to have an excellent education community in Medicine Hat and surrounding areas. We could not do this program without their support.”
The Pecha Kucha event will be held in the Black Box Theatre (CC189) at the Cultural Centre on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 10 a.m. For more information on MHC’s Bachelor of Education program, offered in collaboration with Mount Royal University, please visit www.mhc.ab.ca.
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