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Wheaton College and School Dist. 200 Participate in Teach to Lead Summit in Washington, DC.

Dr. Jon Eckert, Associate Professor of Education, and McKenna Fitzharris, junior Elementary Education major, recently attended an education summit sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education in Washington DC, Nov. 3-4, 2016. Meg Bostrom, a 1991 Wheaton Education graduate and current Math Coach at Whittier Elementary in the Wheaton/Warrenville School District, along with Dr. Robert Rammer, Assistant Superintendent of District 200, completed the collaborative group. The team's project was entitled "WheTeach: Learning, Leading, and Improving," which focused on ways to increase the support for new teacher through a strong partnership between the Wheaton College Education Department and Community Unit District 200. The team participated in brain storming sessions, utilized a logic model, and heard lectures and panel discussions from speakers include the U.S. Secretary of Education, John King, the Senior Policy Advisor Ruthanne Buck, and the Undersecretary of Education, Ted Mitchell. Feedback on the project was provided by a representative of CAEP, the accreditation organization for teacher education programs, and by a representative of the American Institute for Research. Wheaton College and District 200 will continue to collaborate in the preparation of strong teacher candidates. 

International Student Teaching Impact

by Sonja Davy, '17

All of us who went abroad to student teach in the fall of 2016 would agree that it had a dramatic impact on our lives, in regard to our cultural views, our educational views, personal growth, and our Christian faith.

As many would expect, living in another country for an extended time is bound to alter many of our perspectives. After living and teaching in the Dominican Republic, for example, I can definitely say my cultural sensitivity has grown tremendously. I have a much greater appreciation for other cultures, a better understanding of my own culture, and a greater sensitivity toward other ways of life. Seeing different approaches caused me to realize that "our" way is not the ONLY way, and perhaps not even the best way! Being immersed in another culture for three to four months required us to become more open and accepting of differences, and it exposed us to many other ways of living than we had experienced. 

From left to right: Hannah Westergren (Portugal), Krista Schuh (Thailand), Dr. Egeland, Caitlyn Ro (Taiwan), Sonja Davy (Dominican Republic), and Lydia Phoenix (Austria)

 

In addition to increased cultural awareness, there is an obvious benefit from teaching abroad in terms of educational perspectives and practices. The international school community is quite unique. Even though our student teaching contexts were very different, as we were on three different continents and five different countries, we all agree that teaching at an international school had a positive impact on each of us. For example, each school had teachers from many different walks of life, different educational backgrounds, and different cultural values. Having this wide range of experiences among teachers opened our eyes to new and creative approaches. It is also enriching to realize that continuities exist across diverse contexts for world-class teachers. It is not unusual for teachers from Australia, the United States, Canada, and China to meet together and discuss essential educational concepts in order to best serve the students. 

Most importantly, living abroad deepened our faith in multiple ways. Caitlyn Ro, after student teaching in Taiwan, said it this way. "Talking through experiences with people from another culture helped me learn to love God in a new way. I had a new perspective and approach on how to love God. Even though it may have been challenging or lonely at times, I have learned to love God in a new way." Student teaching internationally allowed each of us to rely on God in ways that were new for us. 

 

Teach Like a Disciple, by Dr. Lederhouse, Now Available

Dr. Lederhouse, Professor of Education, recently completed her latest book for Christian educators. The subtitle captures the essence of this volume: Exploring Jesus' Instructive Relationships from an Educational Perspective. Each chapter focuses on a student type, specific students reflecting particular characteristics. While the intended audience is P-12 educators, Dr. Lederhouse's background in special education makes her uniquely attuned to how Christ related with diverse and often marginalized individuals.

This book took shape during a recent sabbatical, and follows the publication of her first book, Life Lessons through a Teacher's Eyes (2008). She notes what we can learn from Jesus' example, from our interactions with students, and from our colleagues, whether serving in public or private Christian schools The loving relationships she encourages counters much of the impersonal nature of test-driven schooling found in many schools today. 

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