Future teachers get hands-on lesson through Urban Practicum

Future teachers get hands-on lesson through Urban Practicum


2013 Urban Practicum

Nearly 80 education majors got a hands-on lesson on teaching in a diverse classroom through BU’s annual Urban Practicum in Bethlehm and Easton, from May 19 to 31.

Joining the students were Frank D'Angelo, Todd Hoover, Molly Marnella and Cherie Roberts, professors in the Department of Early Childhood and Adolescent Education.

The practicum students were placed in kindergarten through eighth-grade classrooms across the Bethlehem and Easton area school districts in seven different area schools: March Elementary, Marvine Elementary, Paxinosa Elementary, Fountain Hill Elementary, Lincoln Elementary, Easton Area Middle School and Broughal Middle School.

All of the students were placed with a cooperating teacher to gain a better understanding of the unique and often difficult situations urban schools and students face on a daily basis.

After each day in the classroom, the practicum BU students heard presentations from superintendents and assistant superintendents of Easton and Bethlehem School Districts, elementary principals, and various minority affairs leaders within the Lehigh Valley.

Presentations covered a wide range of topics:

  • special education
  • the importance of creating positive relationships with students
  • math assessment
  • a beginning teacher panel
  • PBIS (positive behavior incentive system) — Kate Nichols, director of the McDowell Institute, had students implement the Husky Game as a method of creating classroom management skills, a part of PBIS.

Students also had many opportunities outside of the school setting to learn about the community. Their weekend events included: attending a Catholic Mass that was spoken entirely in Spanish at Holy Infancy Church in downtown Bethlehem, touring Historic Bethlehem, interacting at the da Vinci Science Center, attending a Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs baseball game, and eating a Latino dinner provided by the Hispanic Center in Bethlehem.

All of these events were unique but still gave every student the chance to see the communities in a new light and how to use elements of the community in enhancing curricular opportunities. One of the main focuses of the practicum was being a part of the community.

Many of the students brought clothes and other items from their homes to sell at yard sales at all of the different schools and the Hispanic Center in Bethlehem. All of the proceeds were donated back to the schools and the Hispanic Center. Additionally, a group painted and cleaned up the South Side Little League Complex and the Hispanic Center. #CollaborativeLearning | #SenseOfCommunity