During the Fall 2016 semester, Middle Childhood students in 3 courses gained valuable classroom experience via a partnership with Fairborn Intermediate School. Deemed the Fairborn Collaborative, the students in Mrs. Lee Welz’s Reading and Writing Across the Curriculum course, Dr. Hannah Chai’s Phonics and Word Study Instruction, and Dr. Lisa Kenyon’s Middle Childhood Education Science Curriculum & Methods all held a part of their courses at Fairborn Intermediate School. Working with Fairborn teachers and students, the MCE candidates visited classrooms throughout the fall semester and put into practice various assessments, activities, and lessons with fourth and fifth grade students.
For instance, after collaborating with peers, Mrs. Welz had the MCE candidates first administer a brief reading and writing interest inventory to their respective groups of fifth grade students. After discovering, reflecting upon, and integrating their findings, the candidates returned with a reading and writing lesson based upon their data. In a final visit, MCE candidates prepared a literature discussion pertaining to a chapter book of the fifth grade teachers’ choosing, using the structure of Bloom’s Taxonomy.
For most MCE candidates, this was their first exposure to teaching in a real classroom setting without the assistance of a Cooperating Teacher. While many were apprehensive, Mrs. Welz considers the first iteration of this partnership activity to be a resounding success. Both the teaching candidates and the fifth graders were left wishing they had more opportunities to see one another, and plans are already being made to expand the project for the Fall 2017 school year.
Mrs. Welz believes that an experience in the real world of education is paramount for pre-service teacher candidates, and the Fairborn Collaborative provided the perfect opportunity for MCE candidates to gain valuable coaching and mentoring experience in the field. She states that everything from a candidate’s posture, to the way he/she enunciates words while reading a story is an opportunity for insight and improvement. The goal for all pre-service candidates is to strive towards becoming a more effective educator in the future, and these types of experiences cannot be replicated on a college campus. The Middle Childhood Program continues to build and strengthen TED’s relationships with partnership schools through collaborative opportunities like the Fairborn Collaborative.