From College of Education Year in Review
By Professor of Education Roger W. Boop
In late October 2010, the College of education’s middle/secondary program was asked to assist with an afterschool program called DREAM Alive. This program had been founded by Tarik Glenn, a former Indianapolis Colts star, who wanted to improve the lives of young people and their community.
It became apparent to Dr. Roger Boop, who was teaching an advanced curriculum course in undergraduate middle school curriculum development and instructional strategies, that his students might be able to take on this as a curriculum development project in order to experience real-life problem solving and provide a collaborative service to our IPS partner. Time was short, but the three students in the fall semester ED 328 class — Julie Glenn, Megan Chadwick and Allison Ledbetter — accepted the task of crafting the foundation for the DREAM Alive curriculum; those results would then be built upon by the spring 2011 ED 328 class that followed.
As cited by the program, “DREAM Alive is a program that serves youth in three districts in the greater Indianapolis area that not only gives real-world experiences and opportunities for personal growth, but also community-building events. These areas are promoted through an interactive afterschool experience, and the Dream Achievement Academy, a six-week summer ISTEP preparation and enrichment program. This program is founded on teaching students the five values of Discipline, Responsibility, Education, Achievement and Motivation.”
Further, the program has as its mission “to enrich the character and leadership development of each person who has the DREAM Alive Shortridge experience by challenging him or her to grow in wisdom, and reason by collaborating with others.”
As the first group of ED 328 students stated, their work “… was thoroughly crafted after much help and support from the program director, Eric Muller, and discussions on how he would like to see the program develop and transform. The students also incorporated their knowledge from their formal education and middle grades pedagogy, instructional methods and curriculum development.” The students formally presented their curricular ideas project to Muller and Dean of the College Of Education Ena Shelley at the close of the fall semester; the proposed curriculum ideas and activities were enthusiastically received.
As the spring semester, unfolded, a new group of ED 328 students continued the work begun by their predecessors. Chris Beaman, Gretchen Buhrke, Joel Bussell, Abby McClure and Lauren Wilderson set out to build upon the foundation that had been previously created. Under the direction of Assistant Professor of Middle Secondary Education Shelly Furuness, who co-taught the course, the students spent considerable amounts of time devising a specific curriculum divided into four quarters that encompass an entire school year.
Quarter one involves a team and character building; quarter two involves the development of problem-solving skills; quarter three involves service to the community; and quarter four encompasses real-world experiences, building upon the previous three quarters.
At the conclusion of the spring 2011 semester, the class presented its curricular project proposal to Eric Muller, Tarik Glenn, Dr. Furuness and Dr. Boop. Once again, the work done by the ED 328 students was enthusiastically received by all present. And now it remains to see the results come to fruition from this project-based learning carried out by undergraduates learning 21st century teaching skills.