The trip was a joint educational experience made up of two courses offered at Montana Western: “EDU 311: Cultures, Diversity, and Ethics in Global Education,” and “EDU 352: Field Experience.” The students in these classes took part in a 14-day field experience, providing them with day-long co-teaching experiences with linguistically and ethnically diverse students, supervised by classroom teachers.
Late afternoons and evenings would often find the students and accompanying professors on field trips to different religious and cultural centers. Teacher candidates listened to presentations at each of those centers and engaged in valuable discussions with representatives from a wide range of religious and cultural groups. The candidates noted that the religious and cultural diversity explored in these field-based experiences was closely connected to the diversity found within their various classrooms.
Other late afternoons and evenings were spent in lecture, discussion, and activity sessions organized by their professors. Completion of the course required that students develop a teacher work sample and a research paper. Class members also presented at Montana Western’s Annual Research Symposium, held in April each year.
Several of the students who participated in the field experience trip to Seattle reunited after their return and shared their experiences with each other and with the members of the Education Department faculty who created the unique combined course.
“I loved every minute of the trip,” said teaching candidate Lacey Knadler.
This pilot project provided the 11 teacher candidates on the trip with an extremely rich field experience and the opportunity to improve their teaching practices. It also offered the accompanying faculty members with a strong foundation for further development of this teaching model. The second Seattle-based travel course will be offered in the spring of 2020.
A course like this is “really a testament to the block system and Experience One,” stated Xanthopoulos.