“Middle school was when I learned how to become a person. I learned how to work hard, and I learned how to fight for what I want,” says Grazutis, a senior from Palos Park. “I want to assist and inspire students to become the most competent and engaged students they can be.”
“I want to teach middle school because that was a struggle for me,” adds Amaya, a junior from Carpentersville.
“Middle school is such a transition, and not just education-wise. It’s more of a personal and awkward time for students. It was for me,” he adds, “and I feel like knowing that, I can relate to the students. I can do different methods and really just connect with students in a different way.”
It confirms the college’s mission “to prepare students to be leaders in their chosen professions” as well as the value placed on a student-centered education built on providing resources and support.
Behind this achievement are excellent students, nurturing guidance from faculty, an on-campus office committed to helping students through the process and collaboration with school districts.
“We have a lot of institutional pride in our student success and in our faculty and coordinator contributions,” says Jenny Parker, associate vice provost for the Office of Educator Licensure and Preparation at NIU. “Our programs have committed to integrating – early and often – the skills needed for teaching with both internal and external support.” Read more...
“What we found is that there were very few people who thought that our name actually represented us and our expertise. We’ve also had questions from potential students saying, ‘I can’t find you,’ ” Gregory added. “With that said, we considered other alternatives.” Read more...
Written by Lewis and Andrew Aydin and illustrated by Nate Powell, “March: Book Three” also won the Coretta Scott King Book Award, the National Book Award for young people’s literature and the Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature (Young Adult category).
But for Koss, an associate professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction with expertise in children’s literature, young adult literature and multicultural children’s literature, it’s the Printz that means the most. She chairs the nine-member Printz committee this year.
“The book starts with the bombing in Birmingham and ends with the march on Selma, with intermittent jumps to Past-President Obama’s inauguration and Lewis’ interactions with Obama as a congressman in present day,” Koss says. Read more...
Three new emphases – Bilingual/ESL, Reading Teacher and Special Education – will provide automatic endorsements in areas that previously required additional coursework.
For example, the Reading Teacher endorsement, designed for teachers who teach reading in a setting other than a self-contained classroom, currently entails 24 semester hours of credit in stand-alone courses.
With the innovation, students can complete their degrees and endorsements within four years, saving time and money while becoming more marketable: They’ll graduate with a “broad view” of what teachers can provide to young learners.
“It will make them look very different than anyone else in the state,” Gregory says. “There aren’t any other programs in Illinois that look like this. There are five-year programs elsewhere, but none that include this many options for candidates. And, no one else has done a four-year program. We will be a leader.”
Students also can pursue multiple endorsements, although that would extend their time in school. Read more...
If Nicole Morales ever dreamed of a job other than teaching, she doesn’t remember it.
“The materials have always come really easily to me. I’ve always done well in school,” says Morales, a senior Early Childhood Education major from Rockford.
“Even when I was growing up, there were classmates of mine who came to me for help – and I always found that I was able to show them the material in a way that the teacher wasn’t able to do,” she adds. “I could shine a light in a way that wasn’t there before.”
“When I read about Educate U.S., I knew that I would get to see what it’s like being in a first-, second- or third-grade setting and the opportunity to get a feel of a primary classroom before I had to start my clinical observation,” she says. “Getting that experience before I had to do it for school was really good.” Read more...
College of Education Dean Laurie Elish-Piper chats with Lauren Leifheit, Rachel Bicksler, Anna Mangini and Jamie Hoban.
Lauren Leifheit never heard a peep from the students in her first classroom.
“I’ve been interested in teaching for as long as I can remember,” says Leifheit, a pre-elementary education major from Sycamore. “Even when I was a little kid, my parents would buy me little teaching kits, and I’d teach my stuffed animals.”
Jamie Hoban, a vision major from a tiny town near Manitowoc, Wis., developed a passion for special education during her six years as a volunteer at an Association for the Developmentally Disabled summer camp.
“My cousin is a teacher of students with vision impairments. She works for a school district, going from school to school working with the kids with visual impairments. I shadowed her and I just loved it,” Hoban says. “She gets really close with her students because she doesn’t work with all the students in a classroom. It’s great getting on that personal level with kids and really getting to see their progress.” Read more...
Once home to a frightening thicket of withering trees and patchy grass, the courtyard outside the ramp between Gabel and Graham halls now offers a picturesque place of serenity.
Funded entirely by the generosity of friends of the College of Education, the work wrapped up just in time for the autumnal equinox.
Visitors can study, eat picnic lunches, wander the stepping stones or simply enjoy the sunshine and tranquility, says Betsy Hull, assistant to the dean in the College of Education. Faculty with small classes also are welcome to teach there for a change of scenery.
“It’s open to everyone,” Hull says, “and we hope that everyone uses it.”
The “Confluence Courtyard” began as an idea in February of 2015, when the former chair of the Department of Special and Early Education proposed turning the space into a “sensory garden.”
Barbara Schwartz-Bechet and Hull needed an expert in horticulture to guide them, however, and realized that resource was available at nearby Kishwaukee College.
What happened next came as a pleasant surprise.
Matt Ewert, an instructor at Kish who took their call, asked to see the space for himself. During his visit to NIU, Ewert mentioned that he taught a course in landscape design: Why not turn the courtyard planning into a class project? Read more...
Laura Tuma felt uneasy when she first heard about the edTPA, the new assessment she would need to pass before receiving teacher licensure in Illinois.
“It was very intimidating at first. It was very scary not knowing what to expect,” says the recent graduate of the Department of Kinesiology and Physical Education. “It was new to our professors, too, so that almost made us more intimidated. If they didn’t know a whole lot about it, how were we going to be prepared?”
With nurturing guidance from her professors, Tuma passed her edTPA – as did 100 percent of undergraduates in the NIU College of Education who submitted their materials in the spring of 2016.
The College of Education’s most recent numbers are well ahead of the state and national results. The college’s teacher-candidates scored higher than the national average in all but one rubric, where they tied, and higher than or equal to the state average in all rubrics.
“My professors took the bull by the horns and were able to break it down, step by step,” Tuma says. “They integrated chunks of the edTPA into all of our classes.” Read more...
He also was invited to join the top-tier journal’s editorial review board.
“Wow … you have done the almost impossible,” Joy Egbert, editor of the journal, wrote in an Aug. 25 email to Strid. “Nicely done.”
Strid’s article examines the “critical period hypothesis,” which holds that the learning of language becomes considerably harder following the “ideal time” to acquire that knowledge.
It was good news to one reviewer, who reported that “the article turned around my thinking. All this time, I believed that there was little use in trying to correct pronunciation with older learners.”
“The manuscript presents a seminal case that will motivate the full spectrum of (journal) readers, from TESOL researchers, teacher-educators (and) TESOL teachers,” the reviewer wrote. “Readers will concur that older learners can, and do, develop a new language efficiently or more efficiently than those acquiring a new language starting at a very young age.” Read more...