Jane I. Miller (EdD)Core Faculty and Director of Elementary Early Childhood Education
Department of Education
Human Development: Focus on Childhood
Good teaching stems from a grasp of the principles and purposes of human development. A vision of development provides the biological and philosophical underpinnings of informed education. By examining the “plan” which directs human growth, we find a basis upon which curriculum can be built. Without this perspective, schooling can become arbitrary and heartless. In this course, we first aspire to discover the universal characteristics of being human while also searching out that which is unique in each of us. To accomplish this, we will pursue theoretical and narrative accounts of development and attempt to reflect on our lives. One of a teacher’s greatest resources is her ability to recall what it felt like as a child. Readings will be from Kegan, Crain, and a variety of other provocative developmental theorists.
Integrated Learning: Theory into Practice
This course will provide students with opportunities to acquire an historical perspective of the integrated day classroom. Students will learn to appreciate the value of an integrated approach to learning and gain experience in determining children’s characteristics, levels of development and needs through observation. Students will see the learning of creative, social and process skills as important components of the curriculum and learn how to plan and implement an interdisciplinary thematic study, which can satisfy the demands of the curriculum, as well as build on children’s experiences and meet the needs and interest of a variety of learners. They will explore issues and learn techniques of management, grouping, documentation, record keeping, display, evaluation, etc., and understand the implications of establishing a democratic classroom and a community for learning and sharing.
Professional Practice Seminar
All entering students and all students in an internship are required to participate in the Professional Seminar. This seminar covers issues arising from working in schools and professional settings, providing a support group for the trials and tribulations of the beginning teacher. Topics covered include discipline, classroom management, designing classroom space, parent-teacher relationships, the politics of public schooling, uses of educational media, and a variety of other issues.
Folk Arts of Early America and the British Isles, for the Classroom – A Field Study
Attend a weeklong folk camp for people of all ages. Observe and participate while Master Folklorists teach groups of children traditional dances, songs, crafts, stories and rituals. Participate in these folk traditions at an adult level, yourself. “Collect” by audio recording, interviewing, note-taking and experiencing traditional activities. Meet daily in a teacher seminar to reflect on your observations and experiences, to share newly collected activities, and to explore classroom implementation.
Drama in the Classroom
Curriculum comes alive when students have the opportunity
to experience it in their bodies. In this course we will
explore the use of drama to enrich social studies, science and language arts curriculum. Participants will learn an array of drama games and exercises and will experience using the traditional mummer’s play format as a way into writing and performing short plays. Absolutely no drama experience is necessary.
Action Research & Educational Change
This course will introduce students to the theory and strategies behind action research and will enable them to begin work on selecting an appropriate topic for their Master’s Projects and to develop a proposal for their project. Strategies for framing a question, collecting data and determining samples will be part of the discussion. Methods of quantitative and qualitative research will be discussed and the relationship of purpose to method examined. Emphasis will be on the living changing nature of qualitative research during the process of developing the Master’s Project Proposal.