February 2, 2017

Students Become Teachers at Senior Capstone Exhibition

by Dan Rossi '16

In the Ruth S. Ammon School of Education, students are transformed into teachers. At the senior capstone exhibition, these prospective teachers present their research, thesis work and examples of the types of crucial lesson plans they will present in their classrooms. On December 5, 2016, The Angello Alumni House was filled with students, faculty and visitors eager to hear what the next generation of teachers will bring to schools.

School of Education students were grouped in rooms depending on their concentrations—childhood education, adolescent education and art education —where they took turns presenting their lessons and findings. Many students, especially those working in childhood education, took the opportunity to explore teaching children about important issues.

Emily Moran, Melissa Biscardi and Suzanne Tillwitz started their hypothetical lesson with a simple question: “What personal contributions and changes can we make to help prevent pollution?” The aim was to teach children early about the cause and effect of pollution on the environment, starting with the microcosm of litter making its way into street storm drains. Other childhood education lessons addressed issues pertaining to veterans, community engagement and homelessness.

Jenna Rinaldi’s exploration of how some children handle bullying

Leatrice Whitney gained the attention of attendees with her moving reading of her poetry series titled “Black Wadada: Exposing the Scars of Implicit Bias in the Classroom,” where she spoke of the biases that afflict black youths in and out of the classroom. The performance was part of Whitney’s Educational Theatre capstone.

Jenna Rinaldi, an art education major, used her paintings to explore and capture various emotions of children while bullying or being bullied, bringing close attention to a critical issue in our schools.

“These students are working on their teaching portfolios, but because they’re artists, we also develop their artist portfolios,” explained Courtney Weida, Ed.D., associate professor and director of graduate art education. “There’s an exciting shift back to disciplinary fields of art research.”


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