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Teaching to learn

Student teaching gives the lessons that can’t be taught in a classroom, or at least, not a classroom where you’re the student.

  • Author: Tiffany Kajiwara
  • Published: October 2, 2019
  • Author: Tiffany Kajiwara
  • Published: October 2, 2019

There’s nothing like doing it yourself. Calvin education majors get the chance to see firsthand what it's like to be in front of the classroom. These Calvin students taught at Ottawa Hills High School. Doing more than just observing, they got to know their students and gained useful job experience.

Teaching in new places

Their class was mostly about how reading and writing affect learning. Education professor John Walcott had a goal for this course. So, he taught his students about culture.

“Our goal is to prepare our students to teach all students,” he shared. “This guarantees they’re going to have more experiences with that.”

Professor Walcott explained that cities usually have greater diversity in race, culture, and language. Since Calvin is in an urban area, his students got the chance to learn in a diverse environment.

Discovery through experience

One of the secondary education majors at Ottawa Hills was Christina Garrison. Seeing urban education for herself, she felt that she gained a new outlook during her semester.

Christina remarked that reading about teaching in different cultures can only do so much, especially if you haven't had that experience yourself. Her semester gave her a peek behind the curtains.

“It’s easy to make assumptions,” she observed. “There is a significant difference between reading about it and tangibly experiencing it.”

English secondary education major Alex Johnson felt his interests grow as he worked with the high school.

“This hands-on experience really got me invested in Grand Rapids and in exploring urban education as a career.”

Building relationships

These Calvin students dove in and had impactful experiences.

“Our students are really embedded,” education professor James Rooks reflected. “They're developing deeper relationships as they get to know the school and teachers better.”

  • Author: Tiffany Kajiwara
  • Published: October 2, 2019


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