Teacher education students from Pfeiffer University participated last week in two events that took them out of the classroom to learn more about their chosen profession and, for some, showcase what they are learning through presentations to their peers and teaching professionals.
First, students and faculty from the Division of Education attended the 13th annual Elementary School Conference sponsored by the North Carolina Association of Elementary Educators at the Concord Convention Center. Over the course of the three-day event, Pfeiffer students had opportunities to explore workshop sessions related to reading instruction, STEM education, fundraising for the classroom, problem-based learning, technology applications and classroom management.
Seven students, with the support of Dr. Laura Lowder, assistant professor of education, presented work related to developing empathy through the use of children’s literature and shared with participants a lesson plan they developed that incorporates interactive read-alouds and activities related to selected books. In addition, five students working with Dr. Angela Kern, associate professor of education, presented strategies and ideas for “adding heat to your social studies.” These students provided stations where attendees learned about an instructional strategy and saw examples in action.
“The experience of attending a state-wide conference in my field showed me that teachers are eager to continue learning new things,” said student presenter Jackario Smith. “Teachers who came to this session took photos of our examples so they could take new ideas back to their own classrooms to help students learn.”
Also last week, students majoring in special education attended the inaugural Making Connections Transition Fair sponsored by Stanly County Schools. The fair was developed to showcase services and opportunities that help students identified with special needs and their families make plans for successful transition from school to adult living.
Approximately one-fifth of Stanly County high school students—who total nearly 500—are identified as having some level of exceptionality. For these students, transition planning is part of the goal setting process in the Individualized Educational Program (IEP); this event brought awareness of the services provided across the county, region and state.
“This experience allowed Pfeiffer students to engage with individuals and their families in a non-school environment and interact with important community support service providers,” said DeAnna Hurley-Chamberlain, assistant professor of special education. “This is essential for making connections between coursework concepts and their practical application in terms of transition planning in the IEP process.”