Erin Bean’s Unique Opportunity: Teachers Teaching Teachers

Erin Bean’s Unique Opportunity: Teachers Teaching Teachers

Posted by: on November 19, 2015   |Comment (1)|Florence


On Monday, November 16th, Dr. Hauerwas extended an invitation to me and my friend Brooke, also studying in Florence through the PC ESE program, to attend an English teaching class at the University of Florence. Initially, I thought we would be sitting off to the side of the class observing the English teacher teach the Italian elementary education students. However, that was not what the  Italian professor had in mind.

Dr. Guerin asked us to discuss the different elements of our lesson plan structure to the class. Normally, that would not be a problem. However, this was a class of 300 Italian students whom I did not know if they would be able to understand us at all. Brooke and I stood in front of the class and went section by section through our lesson plan format, describing the main components as well as examples of information you would find in each section of the lessons we both brought along. The class seemed very interested in what we had to say.


The English teacher explained to Brooke and I that the structure of the Italian University has them learning the theories discussed in education for the first two years. It is not until the third year they begin their internship and start observing students in a school setting. That struck me as very interesting because from the start the program PC offers requires some amount of interaction with school-aged kids, whether in the classroom or in an after school program, starting freshman year. Because the group of students we were presenting to was a group of third year students, they had a lot of questions about lesson plans in general. It was really nice to be able to share and compare teacher education programs internationally.

Following our presentation, groups of Italian students came up to present their final project topics to the professor and class. The final project required the students to incorporate theories they had learned in class to a lesson. The lesson utilized a piece of literature and five concepts they were going to cover when teaching English to the first year group of students in an Italian primary school. The project asked for an overview of the curriculum for the year, month to month, week to week, and day to day if the group chose to split up the responsibilities required of the project in that manner. Since the Italian students have not been asked to write lesson plans at this time, it is more informal. They explained daily procedures as well as specific activities that they were planning to implement when teaching the youngest group English.


I’d be interested to read some of the final projects and see if the structure of the Italian teacher education program prepares them to complete this project with realistic assumptions and expectations of their students. Although the theory is necessary to learn, as you are becoming a teacher, the experience you gain from working with students directly is not something you can learn from a textbook. That’s my personal opinion. Overall being involved in this experience is truly a representation of the unique experience I have had studying abroad compared to being in the US.

On Monday, November 16th, Dr. Hauerwas extended an invitation to me and my friend Brooke, also studying in Florence through... MORE

PC-Fairfield Diversity in Education Program Overview

Posted by: on October 2, 2015   |Comments (0)|Uncategorized


The PC-Fairfield Diversity in Education program begins its fourth year this fall.   All professors and staff involved in the program are excited to have another cohort of students coming to learn about different education practices and build their skills as culturally and linguistically responsive educators.

Additionally, this week information sessions for the Fall of ’16 cohort were held.  If you were unable to attend on Wednesday, see Dr. Skawinski, Elementary Special Education chair or Allie Agahti, Assistant Dean of International Studies as soon as possible.  Sophomores must submit intent to study abroad forms to the education office before fall registration.

The objective of this post is to outline the details of the education component of the study abroad experience.  Each of the components of the program continues to evolve as we build on the experience of previous cohorts.

Diversity in Education Course (2 credits)

The Diversity in Education seminar provides a framework for guided intercultural reflection. Through readings, course discussions, video logs and written journals, students investigate issues of culture, language and education with an Italian educator.

Language and Literacy Course (3 credits)

This course is designed to provide knowledge and skills needed to teach literacy (reading and writing) and social studies in grades 3-6.  Since the practicum experience will be taking place in English as a foreign language classes in Italian elementary schools this course has an emphasis on second language acquisition and its role in literacy development. This course builds on the knowledge gained in teaching literacy in K-2 classrooms (EDU 231) and knowledge of language development (EDU 125).  This course replaces EDU 331 in the ESE course sequence at PC.

EFL and Literacy Teaching Practicum (1 credit)

Field Experience aligned with both the Language and Literacy and the Diversity in Education courses.

  • 40 hour practicum (4 hours for 10 weeks)
    • 1 hour teaching EFL class
    • 1 hour assisting partner teach EFL class
    • 2 hours observing & assisting cooperating teacher

You will be formally observed two times.  The Providence College faculty member will hold regular office hours to support your lesson development and provide feedback on your lessons. Fairfield Florence staff will provide guidance on travel and reimburse bus/train transportation to the school.

Education Field Trips

In partnership with University of Florence Education department, students and faculty involved with the PC Fairfield education program will have several opportunities to collaborate on lesson studies and visit unique Tuscan schools.

Final Thoughts

It is important to note that the experiences in Florence, while aligned with the PC Elementary Special Education program in Providence, are not the same.  Building global competence and culturally and linguistically responsive teaching takes time, multiple intercultural opportunities and guided reflection.  The schools and educational practices in Tuscany reflect Italian culture and perspective; some is the same, but others are unique.  The course work and hours in the field provide students with the time to experience these differences and reflect on what best practices means globally.   Through each of these different learning opportunities we strive to build global competence.   Global competence includes not only building knowledge of other cultures, but also the skills involved in understanding multiple perspectives, intercultural communication and taking action to support both the local and global communities.

An outside of the classroom glimpse of Professor Hayes’ weekend in Florence. 

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  The PC-Fairfield Diversity in Education program begins its fourth year this fall.   All professors and staff involved in the... MORE

A Student’s Perspective: Courtney LeBlanc

Posted by: on October 2, 2014   |Comments (0)|Florence

So far my experience in Florence has been amazing! While at first there were certainly many things I had to adjust to about daily life in Italy, I definitely think that I have embraced the Italian culture and adjusted to a different lifestyle. The hardest things for me were the time difference (6 hours ahead can sometimes make it difficult to communicate with friends and family at home), not having a dryer, and the language barrier. All of these were easy to overcome naturally since everyone was going through similar struggles and it was something we could all bond over!

My classes here are a little different than classes at PC because for most of them we only meet one time a week for 2 1/2 hours. I am taking two education courses along with the other 16 PC EDU girls (Diversity in Education and Language and Literacy 2) as well as 3 electives (Beginner Italian, History of the Holocaust, and Food, Culture, and Society in Italy). My favorite class is my Food, Culture, and Society in Italy class since food is such a valued part of Italian society! This class is very hands on because our teacher lectures for a portion of the class about how food is utilized in the society and where in Italy certain foods come from and then the second half is more hands on with us either cooking a meal, going to a market, or having a taste test either in the classroom or around the city of Florence. We also have a field trip to Parma and Modena to visit different farms where Parmesan cheese, balsamic vinegar, and prosciutto ham are produced! We are starting our practicum experience next week and I will be teaching in a 4th and 5th grade classroom! I am so excited (but also nervous) to have the opportunity to experience teaching in a foreign school!

Food, Culture and Italian Society Class!

Food, Culture and Society in Italy Class!

Even though we have only been here for 5 weeks I have managed to fit in a ton of exploration and traveling! Last weekend, we went on a school trip to different towns in the Tuscany region including: Perugia, Assisi, Sienna, and San Gimignano. I really enjoyed this field trip because each of the towns was so different and unique. It was also interesting since in my Western Civ classes we talked a lot about St. Francis of Assisi and St. Catherine of Sienna so it was incredible to visit the towns where they lived and the churches in which their memorials are! Highlights of that trip also included the famous world award-winning gelateria in San Gimignano, a wonderful stay at a comfy hotel with a delicious dinner, and beautiful sceneries in all of the towns! Besides the school trip I have also traveled with friends to Croatia, the Amalfi Coast (Sorrento, Capri, Positano, Pompeii), Cinque Terre, and this past weekend to Munich, Germany to attend Oktoberfest with tons of other PC students who are also studying abroad in various places. We also have a fall break in late October when I’ll be traveling to Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Paris! Around Florence my favorite places are the Duomo, the Ponte Vecchio, the Central Market, the Piazza Michelangelo, Santa Crocce, and the Boboli Gardens! This Wednesday about 20 PC girls also gathered to go to the Fiorentina soccer game. It was an amazing experience because Florentines take great pride in their soccer team!



PC Students in Munich

PC Students in Munich

It’s hard to believe that already five weeks of my time abroad have already passed! There is so much more to experience and do here and so little time! Being

abroad is certainly a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m thrilled to be here. Hopefully the next 11 weeks will only further my love for Firenze!

-Courtney LeBlanc

So far my experience in Florence has been amazing! While at first there were certainly many things I had to... MORE

Learning about Teaching English

Posted by: on September 25, 2013   |Comments (0)|Uncategorized

Goings on in Tuscany at the End of September:

Students are learning English in classrooms throughout the United States, as well as in English as Foreign language classrooms throughout the world.  The PC students studying in Florence will be teaching English to nine, ten and eleven year olds under the supervision of an Italian English as a Foreign Language teacher.  PC education students in Florence have spent the first few weeks of the semester learning pedagogical practices for English Language Development as well strategies to support simultaneous teaching of content and language in a sheltered English model.  [Note: For those interested in learning about the current status of English Language Instruction this past summer’s American Educator had several articles]. Additionally in their Diversity in Education class, the students have been learning some Italian specifically for the elementary classroom.

                             “Go to page…” =Vai alla pagina #….”
                              “Did you understand?” – Hai capito?

These classes have prepared the students for the start of  their 10 week practicum teaching English as a Foreign Language.

This past weekend the students traveled to Assisi, Perugia and Siena with the Fairfield in Florence program.


Some of PC EDU students in Assisi overlooking the towns below!




“We enjoyed the beautiful views and going on tours provided by the school field trip! Not to mention trying a wonderful gelato treat!  Kathryn Andrea, Class of ’15

The World Bicycle Championship is taking place in Florence this week.   The route traverses the Tuscany country-side, but ends crossing central Florence pass the Duomo to the stadium.  What fun to see the competitors race through the streets as we walk to the class or the grocery store.


Goings on in Tuscany at the End of September: Students are learning English in classrooms throughout the United States, as... MORE

Classes: Education and Others with Florence University of the Arts

Posted by: on September 12, 2013   |Comments (0)|Courses

PC students in the Elementary Special Education program in Florence take Education classes (2), Italian Language(1), and other liberal arts classes(2).

Education Classes:
1) Language and Literacy. This class covers the content of the PC course EDU 331: reading and writing in the upper elementary grades, interdisiplinary learning with a focus on social studies and teaching English Language learners. Students teach English as a Foreign language lessons weekly in their Florence practicum school.

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2) Diversity in Education. This class focusses on multi-cultural education with a focus on the Italian education system, Italian culture , Italian language for teaching and English language education. The class includes field trips to different schools in Italy as well as weekly teaching practicum in a Florence elementary school. This class meets ESE majors their Education diversity course requirement.

Florence University of the Arts classes

Italian Language class. Students are required to take an Italian language class, at their level. For most students this is Intro to Italian.

Other classes

Students are required to take two additional classes, for a total of five classes, or fifteen credits. Classes can be equivalent to PC core classes, part of a students minor or elective courses.

For example:

Students this semester are taking theology classes, science, art history and studio art classes.

20130912-180142.jpg“In our History of Christianity class which meets our Theology 300 level core we get to be involved in the city. We spent a class going to the Archbishop’s archives and seeing documents from the 11th century, and that was just the second class. We then went out in the city and learned about the Duomo and the Baptistry. From there we went exploring to a smaller church down the street. We were able to learn about the building and its influence. It helps give meaning to what you are learning by being able to physically see and be in the buildings.” —Marissa and Ariana


“The Intro to Art History course is great since we get to spend half the class in a classroom learning and then go out and actually see the works we discuss! It is so interesting and makes the subject come alive! The exciting part is it meets our Fine Arts requirement and is better than just using a textbook to learn.” –Lauren, Kathryn and Hayley

Two students this semester are taking art courses which contribute to their minor in Art. But the students have this advice “Take art history/appreciation classes here, but be careful about taking studio classes – they are  demanding.” — Justine and Kiley

Nicole, Kathryn and Michaela are taking science classes (approved for the old core), but these classes have not yet been approved for the new science core requirement. We will be bringing course information back to see if we can get approval!

Needless to say the students are taking classes that take advantage of the riches of Florence. We all look forward to starting practicum at the end of Septemeber in the Florence schools. At that time we will be sharing information on the blog about our schools and the classes we are teaching.


PC students in the Elementary Special Education program in Florence take Education classes (2), Italian Language(1), and other liberal arts... MORE