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

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