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
Hello fellow edu majors! As the days begin to get darker a little bit earlier, and the warm Florence air has been replaced with a crisp, autumn breeze, it seems that we are in the home stretch of returning home back to the states, which is definitely a bitter sweet feeling. I think this point in the semester is such a nostalgic time, as you look back at all the places you’ve been and the things you’ve seen, and realize you only have a limited time to cross any final things off your bucket list before going home. Just yesterday my friends and I had the once in a lifetime experience of seeing the Pope! He literally drove right by my apartment, in his Pope-mobile, nonetheless. Another crazy experience which happened to my friend and fellow edu major, Meaghan Creamer, was finding her picture on the cover of an Italian newspaper, as she completed a local half marathon!
As I reflect back on so many of the things I have done throughout my study abroad experience, such as drinking a beer at Oktoberfest, having a croissant in France, riding a gondola in Venice, sailing the Mediterranean with my family for Fall Break, amongst so many other clichés, you come to realize how very few people can say they’ve also seen and done these things.
As someone who was a bit apprehensive about leaving home, and my small, quaint Connecticut hometown, I can firmly say that going abroad was the right decision. With the great friendships you make, and the indescribable memories you will take away from this experience, missing home (and Dunkin Donuts ice coffee) seems like such a small price to pay.
Corny Study Abroad Tip: Take every chance, drop every fear!
Here are some of the highlights from my experience thus far:
Savona, Italy (View from the cruise ship)
My friend and I, on a gondola in Venice.
The Pope driving by my apartment!
Hello fellow edu majors! As the days begin to get darker a little bit earlier, and the warm Florence air... MORE
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.
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.
The PC-Fairfield Diversity in Education program begins its fourth year this fall. All professors and staff involved in the... MORE
- 40 hour practicum (4 hours for 10 weeks)
This week the students studying education in Florence had the opportunity to visit the original Don Milani school in Barbiana, Italy. Don Milani, a young priest, established a school for the peasant boys in the small agricultural town of Barbiana in 1956. During the first years there were six boys who attended the school. We met one of these six boys, Michele Gesualdi, who shared with us his recollections of Don Milani and his education experiences.
After an hour bus ride through the countryside northwest of Florence, we arrived at the base of the hill on which the Don Milani school was situated.
Two and a half kilometers later we arrived at the Bariana school and chapel. We were greeted warmly by Michele and showed into the school building. For the next hour or so, he shared his passion for Don Milani and his schooling experience at the the Barbiana school.
- Three tenets of the school:
1) Be aware of the students’ lives and motivate the students
If I stay at school I can smell clean, not like the cows. To quote Michele (translated by Dr. Tarchi) “School is better than cow shit should be written on every school.”
2) Mothers love their children and know that school will benefit them.
3) Need to be progressive and prepare students for the future.
Michele also made reference to the constructivism and cooperative learning as two features of educational philosophy that are similar to what Don Miliani and his students developed and explained in their 1967 paper Letter to a Teacher. Working with his pupils, Milani produced Letter to a Teacher (Lettera a una professoressa), denouncing the inequalities of a class-based educational system that advantaged the children of the rich over those of the poor.
After a special two hours at the Barbiana school, we traveled a short distance to Trattoria Giorgione. This small family trattoria is known to the best raviolis ever made.
Barbiana School This week the students studying education in Florence had the opportunity to visit the original Don Milani school... MORE