Welcome to a New "School" Year! I consider myself as an eternally optimistic individual. A new school year always has been for me a new start for as long as I can remember. If our work is educating students, no matter the setting, then optimism has to a part of our DNA, if we call ourselves educators. The opportunity to join with and engage others in the learning process has a special place in our society. I make the same resolutions that everyone else makes at the beginning of a new calendar year, and I, hopefully, will keep mine throughout this school year, especially associated with the education of our students in service to Louisiana. Therefore, I wish you and your students well in your new school year.
Freedom of speech and expression are among the most cherished and preferred freedoms of the U.S. Constitution and American society. With little exception, those who study at, work for, or visit public educational institutions are afforded those rights. In March 2019, President Trump issued an executive order that would take away funding from colleges and universities that do no protect free speech. The U.S. Constitution already requires that of public institutions, but this executive order would expand the requirement to private institutions. (The requirements as well as the enforcement mechanisms of that order remain amorphous.)
Experiential learning is a well-established pedagogical framework that provides students opportunities to experience, observe, conceptualize, reflect, and act in real world settings and contexts. It has been implemented widely in education and training as an effective strategy to engage and challenge learners to acquire and practice higher levels of learning (e.g., problem solving, creativity, teamwork), and apply what they learned in a real-world project. Many higher education institutions use experiential learning or variations of it, such as service learning and community-based learning, at the undergraduate level. However, its implementation in online graduate education is still in its infancy. Some people may wonder what "real life" or "real world" looks like in a virtual learning environment and how experiential learning cycles and strategies work in an online graduate program.
The Louisiana administrative code stipulates an arts education licensure requirement for all elementary preservice teachers. The compulsory 'arts' class totaling three semester hours takes on different forms at different colleges and universities across the state. All preservice arts classes for elementary candidates in Louisiana focused around visual arts and/or music, until recently.
You might be wondering why do we need a National Poetry Month? Perhaps it's because most people leave high school hating poetry, having experienced it through English classes and textbooks as a set of riddles to be solved, often with hidden, seemingly inaccessible meanings. Jackie has done research with teachers who struggle with poetry themselves, and Sue has long worked with students and communities in which some are alienated from poetry while others are deeply engaged with the genre. We both believe that engaging with poetry in ways other than just searching for a hidden meaning brings about a life-long love with poetry.
One of the biggest challenges facing educators (not just teachers) is responding to children and families in a culturally relevant and responsive manner given the continuously shifting demographics with rises of multi-lingual and multi-cultural students, particularly in a political environment nationally where the official policy and the accompanying rhetoric of the day is less and less engaging of the difference that has been fundamental to makes the United States what it is.
In December of 2018 colleagues Dr. Petra Hendry, Dr. Paul Eaton, and I completed a book titled Troubling Method: Narrative Research as Being. The countless hours of dialogue that went into the text caused me to think critically about the stories that shape our day-to-day encounters and ultimately the way we see ourselves and are perceived by others. For example, as we start Black History month, narratives about African Americans are often understood through the prism of the nation's ongoing struggles with race and racism. In Louisiana, the state that has the second largest number of African Americans in the U.S. (42%), these narratives often devolve into two competing notions.
transforming education, BESE, best practices, critical issues in education
education law, First Amendment, free speech, censorship, speech codes, higher education, postsecondary education
online learning, experiential learning, mixed reality, technology leadership in education
arts integration, research-driven, standards-based, student teachers, adapting arts requirement for college courses, cognitive and noncognitive skills, educator preparation
poetry, spoken word poetry, ELA educators, making poetry accessible, verse novel, poetry podcasts, poetry resources
globally engaged, empathy, study abroad, communication, 360-degree processing,
service-learning, internationalization, pre-service teachers, Chile, culturally adept
Black men and boys, African American educational success, relationships with students, building community
counseling, depression, anxiety, teenage girls, resilience, body image, social media
curiosity, love of learning, early childhood, choice, creativity, Reggio Emilia philosophy, long-term projects, documentation