Butler University’s College of Education (COE) is embarking on a student-driven initiative to inform policymakers about the importance of high quality teacher education programs.
Butler members of Kappa Delta Pi (KDP), the international education honor society, are inviting key state leaders to observe education students gaining field experience in the classroom. They want policy makers to have firsthand knowledge of what teacher preparation involves, and the service education students contribute to local schools in their practicum programs.
State representative Ed Delaney and Kathy Souchet-Moura, a representative from Congressman André Carson’s office, were the first to accept the invitation. They visited the Indianapolis Public Schools/Butler University Laboratory School on November 6 to observe preservice students working in classrooms.
Delaney and Souchet-Moura saw Butler practicum students engaging second graders in reading workshops. The Lab School students sat in pairs while reading various books. This setup allows for independent learning but also puts the Lab School students in an ideal situation to solve problems in teams, said Cathy Hargrove, COE’s master practitioner in education, who oversees Butler students at the Lab School.
“We teach our students to build curriculum to accommodate all learning styles that might be present in a particular classroom setting,” said Hargrove. “There is a large focus on collaboration, but there is also a focus on the fact that all students learn differently.”
After observing in various classrooms, the representatives talked with the Butler students about their learning experiences and their continued development as future teachers.
“It is not difficult to connect what is learned in the classroom to actually being in a classroom,” said Katy English, a junior elementary education student. “The hands-on classroom experiences we have are relevant to what is taught by our professors, and I feel prepared for the various challenges I am faced with on any teaching day.”
Mallory Rusikoff, also a junior elementary education student, stressed the importance of seeing Lab School and other veteran teachers model adapting to changes in the classroom situations.
“I feel so much more confident about being flexible and changing lesson plans, thanks to my classroom experiences,” she said.
Delaney and Souchet-Moura commended the students for the hard work they put into their education.
Delaney said he was very intrigued by the Reggio Emilia principles put into use at the Lab School, and acknowledged the value of Butler College of Education classes and training.
KDP’s initiative is being taken in advance of the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) conference to be held in Indianapolis in March. The theme of the conference is “TEACH: Take Charge of Change.”
“Our KDP chapter is thrilled to be a part of the AACTE Take Charge of Change initiative because it allows our members to be advocates for education by sharing their stories and having their voices heard by powerful policy makers and leaders in education,” said Courtney Foye, KDP president.
Additionally, Butler’s KDP chapter has received a grant from the Indiana Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, which the chapter will use to buy books for a lending library in support of its philanthropy, Literacy Alive!
This lending library will benefit Lab School faculty, staff, students, and students’ families.
Written by Clare Lintzenich, Butler public relations intern
Media contact: Mary Ellen Stephenson