Archive for the 'Higher Education' Category

More Than Dates & Names: Because Social Studies Doesn’t Have to Be Boring

As part of Dr. Melissa Gibson’s class Teaching Middle Secondary Social Science, students are asked to think about social studies in a new light — and throughout the course, their perceptions do shift. Through blogging during the semester, we can see these changes in the students’ own words. Read on to learn along with our students!

Originally posted on January 8, 2019 on the “This Is Social Studies” Blog

There is social studies all around us, if we we’d just look up from our lecture notes. Black Cat Alley, Milwaukee. © Gibson 2019

By Melissa Gibson

When we begin a semester learning about how to teach social studies, I ask my students about their own K12 experiences. Of course, the students who aspire to be high school social studies teachers are in love with what they are going to teach, and they usually tell me about a history teacher who told great stories, got them to write a million DBQs, or knew everything there was to know about an obscure general in the Civil War. They glow, but I think: Geez, that was EXACTLY what I avoided in high school (when I took AP everything BUT social studies).

The collection of writing from undergraduate teacher education students in my methods classes at Marquette shows the ways that they are coming to understand and enact a different kind of social studies teaching and learning.

The elementary education students in class are usually nervous to tell me what they think—I am their social studies professor, after all, and their experiences were not nearly as memorable. With some prodding, I often get: Boring. Memorizing dates and names. Re-enacting Thanksgiving. Textbooks. One or two students will light up with the memory of a teacher who dressed up like historical figures, or orchestrated role play experiences; every once in a while, someone will gush with the memory of a pet research project on Helen Keller or the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

I then tell them that my goal for our semester together is to transform the way they think about what social studies is and how they can bring it to life when they teach it. We start with the why: Why not just go about business as usual? On the elementary level, it takes very little convincing; after all, they already told me that social studies was boring. When we layer in the causes and repercussions of that boredom—in light of racial inequalities in schools, in light of making schools welcoming for all students, in light of children as citizens, in light of education as empowerment—we start to shift from talking about fun to talking about “reading the word and reading the world,” as Paulo Freire has urged us to do. Secondary education students take a little more convincing; after all, they sit before me preparing to be social studies teachers precisely because they loved their K12 social studies experiences. So we also delve deeply into the socialpolitical, and cultural ramifications of how, historically, we’ve chosen to teach social studies. What does it mean that we have often perpetuated mythology in history class, as James Loewen has shown? What does it mean that the many traditional approaches to social studies lie about race, power, and inequality, as Gloria Ladson-Billings has argued? What does it mean that many civics lessons emphasize compliance and rote memorization rather than social action and public decision-making, that they tell students to let adults do the work instead of helping students become competent civic actors now, as Nicole Mirra and Antero Garcia have posited?

• • •

This first issue of This Is Social Studies is a testament to powerful transformations. The collection of writing from undergraduate teacher education students in my methods classes at Marquette shows the ways that they are coming to understand and enact a different kind of social studies teaching and learning. In the first set of pieces, “Exploring Social Studies,” you’ll read about students applying what we’ve been learning in class to their own lives and experiences out in the world. In the second set of pieces, “Teaching Social Studies,” students share resources that they’ve either curated or created to enact a critical, inquiry-based social studies in the classroom.

I also want to recommend reading about the journeys of three secondary teachers, who spent a semester deepening their knowledge on a specific topic and then designing a critical, inquiry-based unit around it. Head to these pages to access their fantastic resources for middle and high school teachers:

  • “Why is Milwaukee the most segregated city in America?” Civil Rights & Segregation in Milwaukee by Angela Scavone

 

  • “How do we define Milwaukee?” Geography & Gentrification in Milwaukee by Brigid N

 

  • “How does a society decide what to remember about historical events?” The Civil War by Carrie Sikich

 

  • “Is the Vietnam War over?” The Vietnam War & the Hmong-American community by Madison Laning

• • •

We hope these posts inspire you to transform social studies in your classrooms, too.

Getting to Know Our Students: Meet Sam Knudson

This fall, we are spending time getting to know our students! You can get to know more of our students and our faculty/ staff on previous posts. Read on to meet Samantha Knudson, one of our Noyce Scholars in the Masters in STEM Teaching Program.

rebecca-sam-2018I grew up in the country on a dead-end road in the very small town of Mindoro, WI, and I graduated from high school with 54 people in my class. I started at Luther College in Decorah, IA, before transferring to UW-Madison where I studied wildlife ecology. I had never been to Marquette’s campus prior to accepting and starting this program! My family is your average small-town family, I’m super close with my parents and brother. I have one younger brother (three years younger) who is my best friend. The road we live on is actually named after our family!

My favorite educational experience is studying abroad in Ecuador. I took a tropical ecology and conservation summer course, and I was able to do things I never thought I would. We studied howler monkeys in the dry forest, hiked in the cloud forest, swam in the Tiputini River, and climbed to a platform at the top of a Ceiba tree in the rainforest early in the morning to go birding. There we got to see the rainforest come to life. We saw the sunrise, birds, monkeys and toucans, it was breathtaking.

The NSF Noyce Program is helping to shape me as an educator by opening my eyes to many things I was unaware of coming from a small town. The program does a great job at getting you in the field and on your feet right away! I can’t believe how much I have already learned just in the summer and fall portion of the program.

I love being outdoors and being active and creative! I enjoy snowboarding, turkey and deer hunting, fishing, scrapbooking, and spending time with my friends and family. Working out or running is my go to. Whenever I get stressed it is so nice to be able to just free myself from the world for a bit. I also love to quilt but have a hard time finding the time to do so. My cat, Pizza, thinks all the material I lay out is for him to play with so when I find time, it isn’t always the most productive. I also love to cook but hate cleaning up afterwards. If you are interested in a hobby or activity, go for it! And stick with it! Someone is always there to teach you and help you. My dad introduced me to all the outdoorsy things, my aunt taught me how to quilt, and my mom always has the answers to my cooking questions. Take the initiative to reach out and do what interests you!

I like to think back to the teachers I had in school and the reasons why I liked them so much. When looking back, I always pick up on the kind and caring traits of my school band director. He really took the time to get to know his students. I want to create the same safe, exciting and caring atmosphere, and I aim to similarly connect and inspire my students in my future science classroom. I was also fortunate to have a very passionate ecology teacher who implemented many hands-on activities that got students outside of the typical classroom, which was a factor in my decision to pursue a degree in wildlife ecology in college. My goal is to create a similarly engaging classroom where students are inspired to pursue science careers.

Interested in learning more about how you can pursue your Masters Degree and Wisconsin Teaching Licensure in just fourteen months? Our Noyce Scholars graduate program is accepting applications through February of 2019!

Getting to Know Our Students! Meet Denice Brunner

We’re continuing our blog series Getting to Know Our Students this week by featuring Denice Brunner, one of the Noyce Scholars. Want to learn more? Check out the entire series and previous posts!

OCHS 2017-2018My name is Denice Brunner. I am a current Noyce Scholar pursuing licensure as a secondary math teacher. I was born and raised in Rochester, MN, with five older siblings.  I moved to Milwaukee after high school to attend Marquette University and obtained an Electrical Engineering Degree. After graduating from Marquette, I stayed in the Milwaukee area working as an engineer at various companies.  After seven years working as an engineer, I began to ponder pursuing an education degree. I started taking education classes on a part-time basis. That was put on hold, though, after I married and began a family with my husband, Jeff. We have six children; one with special needs. I kept finding myself in different education roles over the years, as learning coach to my children when they attended public virtual school, as an instructional aide for ELL high school students, and a media aide in a high school library. I thoroughly enjoyed all of those educational experiences, so it is no surprise to me that I found my way back to Marquette to become a high school math teacher!

Interested in learning more about how you can pursue your Masters Degree and Wisconsin Teaching Licensure in just fourteen months? Our Noyce Scholars graduate program is accepting applications through February of 2019!

Getting to Know Our Students! Meet Anna Wilks

This fall, we’re running a series getting to know students from all our programs in the College of Education. This week, meet Anna Wilks, a graduate student in our Student Affairs in Higher Education program. And, catch up with all our other students on the blog!

anna wilksMy name is Anna Wilks, and I am going into my second and final year in my master’s program studying Student Affairs in Higher Education. I was born and raised in Indianapolis, IN. I moved to Peoria, IL to attend Bradley University where I received a degree in Public Relations. I just celebrated my 3 year anniversary of living in Milwaukee. I love this city! I had moved to Milwaukee after graduating from Bradley for my first job out of college.  After a few years, I decided that the job was not for me, but Milwaukee definitely was. I fell in love with the city and although I knew I wanted to leave my job, I was not ready to leave Milwaukee. I always had an interest in higher education, so I looked into higher education programs in the area and decided on Marquette as my next adventure.

My family is absolutely wonderful and the most important thing to me. I come from a family of learners, adventurers, and hard workers. My parents still live in Indianapolis, along with my sister who is beginning her senior year at the University of Indianapolis studying Public Health. I also have two brothers: one recently graduated with his Master’s in Sports Business and Law from Arizona State University and now works in Athletic Development at University of Texas – San Antonio, and the other is at the start of his sophomore year at St. Louis University studying electrical engineering and gearing up to study abroad in Madrid, Spain next semester. My family is my inspiration, specifically my parents. My dad works in higher education and has shown me that you can love going to work every day. He also inspires me to embrace being a servant leader and continue to seek ways to help others. My mom is an incredibly hard worker and inspires me to be confident and stay true to myself both at work and in life.

My favorite educational experience was my semester abroad!  I studied in Barcelona, Spain my junior year of undergrad, and it was incredible. I traveled often while I was there, and it was an unforgettable experience.  I strongly encourage students to study abroad if they have the opportunity! This year, I am greatly enjoying my practicum experience. I am working as a Graduate Intern in the Admissions Office at Marquette, and I am hoping to grow in my knowledge of admissions and my skills as a student affairs professional in that functional area. I am also excited for my fall classes, especially Higher Education Law.  And of course, I am looking forward to graduation day!

While I don’t have much time outside of the classroom and my assistantship, I do greatly enjoy running, playing music, and traveling. I recently ran my first marathon and it was an incredible experience! Running gives me time to clear my head and it really helps me maintain my physical and mental health.  I also play the piano and violin. Playing music is a wonderful stress reliever to me; I am always happier after playing a bit of music! If I’m not doing any of the above, you will often find me traveling. I have family and friends spread all over the US to visit and I am always seeking new experiences and adventures. As with any hobbies, I would just say that you don’t have to be the best or even good at what you do.  Take the time to enjoy the experience and what it means to you!

Life goes by pretty fast, especially in college and beyond. Every once in a while, take a step back and enjoy where you are in that moment! Take pride in how far you’ve come to be where you are.

Interested in learning more about SAHE at Marquette? Check out our website for all the details; we’re now accepting applications for next year’s cohort!

Getting to Know Our Students: Meet Elli Pointner

This semester, we’ve been introducing you to our students. Meet Elli Pointner, one of our undergraduate students in the College of Education. And, make sure you check out our entire series on the blog!

IMG_1393My name is Elli Pointner, and I am a junior studying Secondary Education and Mathematics with a minor in Spanish here at Marquette University. I grew up in Winfield, IL, which is a small western suburb of Chicago. I have one sister who is a junior in high school back, and I have two loving parents, Dolly and Scott Pointner, who give me unconditional love and support as I study to become a teacher. I came to Milwaukee my freshman year and instantly fell in love with the city! I am convinced that I am going to be a resident of MKE for as long as I can. The people, the connections, the schools, the lake, the activities, the small businesses, the farmers’ markets, the festivals, the music, the culture—I am in love with Milwaukee!

This semester, I am in a field placement at Riverside University High School in a freshman algebra class. I am so excited to learn more about 1) the Milwaukee Public School System, 2) how to teach Freshman Algebra, 3) different teaching styles that might not be as familiar to me, and 4) the amazing, intelligent students I am working with this semester! Marquette has done a great job of placing me with experts in the Math Education world here in Milwaukee. I have already learned so much from my cooperating teachers, my professors, and non-profits that support aspiring urban teachers, like the Center for Urban Teaching. By connecting me with experts in and outside the field, I am able to observe stellar teaching, debrief with the experts, and then practice new skills in an actual classroom.

This past summer, I taught 8th grade at Milwaukee College Preparatory. The summer was filled with fun, joy, and a lot of laughter! The Center for Urban Teaching summer school program gave me the opportunity to grow as an urban teacher and learn more about my future vocation, and if it weren’t for the College of Education, I would have never heard about this wonderful internship. I had bright and talented students who taught me so much in just five short weeks. My coach presented me with countless new and engaging teaching techniques, and my staff faithfully supported me throughout my journey this summer.

Countless aspects of the College of Education drew me to Marquette. I love that Marquette requires its education majors to double major in Education and a content area. Since my second major is Mathematics, I have had the opportunity to dive into the world of Math and appreciate all it has to offer. Marquette’s College of Education has driven me to enjoy and thirst for learning, not only through its classes and academics, but through professors, mentors, fellow teachers-in-training, and most of all, life-long friends! I love Marquette’s College of Education!

Want to learn more about our Teacher Education program? Head on over to our website for more information– or, even better, come visit us on campus!

Final Reflections-Peru: Grace Chambers

This summer, seven of our undergraduate teacher education students and one intrepid faculty member are spending a month in Peru studying the educational system and discussing their own philosophies of education. They are writing and reflecting on their journey, and we are following along! Read on for excerpts and blurbs from Dr. Gibson and the students’ blogs. You can read more on Marquette Meets Peru and check back for updates here.  

Grace Chambers

The topic I am most interested from our learning is the complex notion of equity in schools. After three years of studying education, this is the first time I have discussed how to deliver an equitable education to privileged students. This is a question that is so challenging to answer because, so few schools are able to do it.

Schooling is a political, cultural, and social process — in addition to an intellectual one. We have observed five different schools in our time in Peru, each of which has demonstrated examples of the schooling process as we have come to understand it. Some schools made a more obvious effort to include cultural and community aspects into schooling, as well as cotemporary politics and social relationships.

I first observed this at La Immaculada school in the English class I observed. The students have a language lab that is used to practice English skills, and in this lab student all wear headsets and are randomly partnered with one other classmate. When I was in the lab, students had to make a recording of their conversations about using technology in the event of an environmental disaster. Students watched videos (in English) about how technology can be used to aid people who are affected by national disasters. Students had to discuss the information they learned in the video, as well as brainstorm their own ideas about how technology can be used in a crisis. Students then had to write their English paper about ways to use technology to help people. The assignment asked students to think about global issues, as well as use their knowledge of technology, to generate ideas of how the technology they are familiar with can be used to provide aid or information. Because students are in a privileged school, they will not be as affected by global crisis as people in lower income areas would be. Therefore, the school has decided to educate students about all of the events that happen as a result of a disaster, not just the challenges they will face.

Schools in Lima all incorporated political, cultural, and social aspects into education, but the schools in Cuzco has more obvious examples. At Fé y Alegria 44, students are receiving a bilingual education in Quechua and Spanish. This is important because many students come from high up in the mountains where Quechua is spoken much more. Even though all students attend the same school, the lives of children who live in the mountains vary greatly from the students’ who live in the town. Learning in both Spanish and Quechua gives all students both an advantage, and the ability to connect more with Peruvian culture. Students who are learning Spanish will gain more flexibility to travel outside their communities and interact with a larger amount of the Peruvian population, but they can also keep ties to their homes and culture. Students who are learning Quechua can connect with a larger amount of community members, as they would be able to communicate with people who do not speak Spanish in the greater community. All students will be able to build bridges between native Quechua speakers and native Spanish speakers.

In the Cuzco public schools, I immediately noticed that all of the children were wearing bright, colorful ponchos with their uniforms. This stood out to me because ponchos have ties to traditional Peruvian cultures, so encouraging students to wear ponchos in school both keeps them warm in the chilly winter and connects them to aspects of Peruvian culture. In addition to the ponchos, the director told us about an initiative started by the parents to give extra services to children in the schools. Each parent pays 20 soles per month, and this money goes toward funding programs that the school would not otherwise be able to offer students, like English classes, computer classes, etc. The school did not ask for this from the parents, the parents in the community have all agreed to pay it because they want to give their children as many opportunities as possible. Community and cultural involvement in the Cuzco public school was strong and important to students’ development.

The topic I am most interested from our learning is the complex notion of equity in schools. After three years of studying education, this is the first time I have discussed how to deliver an equitable education to privileged students. This is a question that is so challenging to answer because, so few schools are able to do it. Even at Jesuit institutions we observed we weren’t able to witness true equity in schooling. Even when schools are able to educate students about global issues, it cannot always make them care. One of the readings we had this semester talked about how to make privileged students care. Educators have a responsibility to learn about global issues, teach students about them, and show students how each issue will directly affect their lives. As for schools in working-class or impoverished areas, the most successful schools we have observe have had a strong commitment to involvement from parents and community members. We observed this in the Cuzco region, in both the public school and Fé y Alegria school, where parents were involved in both the construction of schools, and the efforts to provide extra opportunities for their students. These facets of equitable education are important but seem like just the beginning. The schools we observed have been exercising their practice for years. While there has been noticeable change in the school communities, there has been minimal change in Peru as a whole. The unanswered question that I will continue to grapple with is: In terms of striving for an equitable education, are most schools not doing enough, or does each individual school still need to be doing more?

Getting to Know Courtney McNeal

McNeal_CourtneyThe College of Education is excited to continue allowing students to better know its faculty and staff. Mrs. Courtney McNeal is the Program Coordinator for the Hartman Literacy and Learning Center. Read on to learn more about Courtney!

 

Tell us about yourself!

I live in Kenosha, Wisconsin and work in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I am married to a high-school history teacher who also coaches cross country and track (all in Zion, IL). We have a lovely little house and the BEST cat you could ever ask for. His name is Sputnik, or Spud. Follow him on Instagram with #spudthestud. He is so fast, so tall, and so awesome. I do not have a green thumb. I enjoy baking cookies, pies, cakes, and other dessert items. I love to ride my bicycle on adventures. I am the best aunt ever and enjoy visiting my nieces and nephews in California and Washington. I love to play soccer and swim.

Where did you grow up and how long have you lived in Milwaukee?

I grew up in Willits, California, which is three hours north of San Francisco. It’s a small town in beautiful northern California. I attended Ripon College, in Ripon, Wisconsin for undergrad and after graduating with my teaching certificate, I moved to Marquette, Michigan, to work at Northern Michigan University as a Residence Hall Director. While at Northern I completed my Master’s in Psychology, Training and Development. I then moved to Kenosha, Wisconsin, where I worked as the Johnson Hall Director and Director of Community Service and Leadership Development at Carthage College. I started working for Marquette University in 2015 and still live in Kenosha. I have “lived” in the Midwest for 16 years (including when I was at Ripon College).

Whoa, you’ve been to so many places! What is your favorite educational experience?

One of the reasons that I started working in higher education instead of teaching high school social studies was because I really enjoyed the extracurricular learning opportunities that I had as an undergrad. I loved my classroom experience as well, BUT I really appreciated the way that my extracurricular experiences enhanced and enriched my classroom learning. I wanted to share this enthusiasm for learning both in and outside the classroom with students and that is why I enjoy working in Higher Education.

What drew you to Marquette and the COED?

I was looking for a position in higher education and came across the job in the Hartman Literacy and Learning Center. I knew that this was a job that I could excel in with my teacher training as an undergrad and my work at both Northern Michigan University and Carthage College. I was excited to be a part of Marquette University and to have a hand in such a great program (the Hartman Center) for Milwaukee and our COED students.

You’ve definitely made a difference here at Marquette! What do you see as an exciting opportunity for this upcoming academic year?

I have applied to the Master’s in Public Service program here at Marquette. I am looking forward to learning a new subject matter and how to apply this knowledge to my role at Marquette and in my volunteer work for the Kenosha Public Library.

So what do you do when you are outside of the office?

I am lover of libraries. I am the Vice President of the Kenosha Public Library Foundation and work to create community partnerships to increase funding for the Kenosha Public Library. I am also a member of the Friends of the Kenosha Public Library where I volunteer at their book sales and events to promote the library. And I love to volunteer for Outreach Services and the Bookmobile sharing the amazing resources that the library has with the community. Sharing all the amazing services that the library provides and does to support the community is what drives me to volunteer in these many ways for the Kenosha Public Library.

I am also a knitter, cross stitcher, and sewist. I have made many different knitted gifts for family, friends, and coworkers over the years. I started knitting in high school when my mom first taught be and have been knitting ever since. I occasionally take a class to learn a new technique but mostly, I rely on YouTube to show me the way. I really started cross stitching when I was between jobs and got into subversive cross stitching. I have been able to sew since I was in middle school and have recently started to sew my own dresses (with pockets). It’s tough work but I am learning and will one day be able to show off my skillz a work by wearing one of my outfits.

Tell us more about what your hobbies mean to you!

I enjoy knitting in while watching shows on NetFlix or AmazonPrime (we don’t have cable and can’t seem to get any reception for an antenna in our house). I have knit many a hat, kitchen towel, scarf, shawl, and blanket while binge watching detective shows. Cross stitching is what I do when I want to listen to a book on tape, because I have to be visually focused on the work, I can’t watch television. Sewing is coming along to either books on tape or watching shows on my laptop.

Any advice for readers who are interested in your hobbies?

Do not ask me to teach you how to learn a new skill. I find it hard to teach someone how to knit, cross stitch, or sew. I generally direct interested parties to YouTube videos or their local knitting, sewing, cross stitching shop for one-on-one instruction. Once you have learned the basics, then I am a much better teacher of certain skills or a project consultant.

You can learn more about the College of Education along with our undergraduate and graduate programs by visiting us online!


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