1 Texas A&M University San Antonio (UNITED STATES)
2 Texas A&M University (UNITED STATES)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2013 Proceedings
Publication year: 2013
Pages: 1109-1112
ISBN: 978-84-616-2661-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
Conference name: 7th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 4-5 March, 2013
Location: Valencia, Spain
The objective of this virtual presentation is two-fold: (1) to discuss the instructional techniques used in developing a five-week summer camp for graduate students; and (2) to share how this experiential learning connected the graduate students from theory to practice.

This ongoing research connects university level graduate students to guide needs of the community, ultimately impacting their motivation and success in creating a global community of learners. As such, in a newly formed graduate alternative certification program, weekly class meetings were not enough to effectively prepare the future teachers for the classrooms of the 21st century. Therefore, in working diligently with the lowest socioeconomic status neighborhoods in south Texas, an academic enrichment “camp” was designed and developed by two tenure-track faculty in order to reach out to the community and assist students who are labeled as at-risk while allowing graduate students the opportunity to learn methods and strategies to connect the concepts learned in their program. The foundation for this camp derives from the Experiential Learning Theory (ELT). This theory “provides a holistic model of the learning process and a multilinear model of adult development, both of which are consistent with what we know about how people learn, grow, and develop.” (Kolb, Boyatzis & Mainemelis, 2000, p.2) In using its tenets as the basis for the camp, faculty was able to successfully connect theory from the classroom meetings to the practice of teaching the students at the summer camp.

Effective interpersonal collaboration takes into all the various factors of the individual’s value systems and a tolerance for differing viewpoints. (Glenn, 2006) The entire process of designing, developing and conducting a reading camp for underserved students was challenging and was not taken lightly. After much debate, hours of meetings, and countless emails, the decision was made to simply create an experiential learning opportunity for students to culminate their overall learning from their program as well as use those skills and techniques to facilitate in student learning and growth. This decision resulted in a meeting with key stakeholders to plan, organize and gather data. Every step of the way resulted in lessons learned with regards to curriculum, instruction, and collaboration with fellow faculty members, students, and administration.

As we approach our fourth summer camp, each camp member involved explored their own role in developing and participating in the camp, each discovered how their passion for pre-service teacher education became re-ignited and reinforced, and are working closely to continue a program that benefits all stakeholders involved with proven growth and success.