COMMUNITY BASED EXPERIENTIAL LEARNING: PREPARING PRE-SERVICE TEACHERS FOR WORKING WITH AT-RISK READERS WHILE SUPPORTING CITY-WIDE LITERACY INITIATIVES
Texas A&M University-San Antonio (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2012 Proceedings
Publication year: 2012
Page: 2118 (abstract only)
Conference name: 5th International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 19-21 November, 2012
Location: Madrid, Spain
Abstract:Rationale: Experiential learning has traditionally been used for field experiences in the latter part of a teacher candidate’s program. However, novice teachers tell us they needed more “experience with students” as well as “time for reflection” within preparation programs (Cuddapah & Burdin, 2012; p. 68). Utilizing community based volunteer reading tutor programs provides an excellent avenue through which entry-level teacher candidates may gain one-on-one experience with students as well as develop personal skills for future teacher-student interactions (Marzano, 2011) . Presenters will share perceptions of faculty and entry-level graduate/undergraduate pre-service teacher candidates serving as reading tutors for struggling 2nd grade students in a community based initiative to improve grade level reading across city schools.
Usefulness to Practitioners: When comparing schools across the state, the Greater San Antonio area has some of the highest drop-out rates and lowest educational levels in adults over 25 than the five major cities in Texas. It is essential that both undergraduate and graduate pre-service teachers are well prepared to work with high levels of at-risk students with diverse characteristics (Marzano, 2012). Establishing rapport with a struggling reader is one of those key skills as well as 1:1 assessment and intervention (Bornfreund, 2012). The collaborative efforts of university faculty, community organizations, and schools provided additional skill development opportunities for entry-level pre-service teachers.
School and community practitioners as well as teacher preparation programs will learn about establishing effective multiagency collaboration with schools, universities, and community organizations to meet the varied needs of key stakeholders. Examples of positive interventions proven to be effective for struggling readers as well as experiential learning activities for critical skill development in undergraduate and graduate level pre-service teachers will be provided. Participants will be encouraged to gain a better understanding of the positive outcomes resulting from community based involvement and collaboration between community non-profit agencies serving struggling readers and teacher education programs.
Participant Outcomes: Participants will:
1. Acquire information about community based experiential learning for entry-level pre-service teachers
2. Identify applications, benefits and limitations of required community based experiential learning within multiagency collaborative efforts (i.e., more than the school and university)
3. Discuss implications of multiagency collaborative efforts in teacher education programs
Evidence of Effectiveness: Based on Kolb’s Experiential Learning Model (1984), the community based experiential learning activity provides teacher candidates opportunities for concrete experiences with time for reflection. Faculty guide students through experience conceptualization and theory testing as students apply learned concepts to real-world settings working with at-risk students (Jacob & Chapman, 2005). Research supports that experiential learning can significantly impact teacher-student-interaction and the importance of how the teacher interacts with the student including, but not limited to, showing interest in student lives (Hickcox, 2002; Marzano, 2011). Perceptions of key stakeholders, faculty, and students on program impact will be shared.
Keywords: Pre-service teachers, experiential learning, community-based, literacy initiatives.