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Teacher Ed Prof Development

February 26, 2014


Politics and Flipped Classrooms
Teacher Ed students take in Professional Development
By Jen Heid, Teacher Ed. Administrative Assistant
            Embrace politics and consider flipping your classroom.
            Those ideas were offered January 30 during professional development sessions hosted by the United Tribes Teacher Education Department. The gathering was open to the campus and attended largely by pre-service teaching students and faculty in the college’s Jack Barden Center and Education Building.
           The event featured a talk about challenges for the new generation of educators by the National Education Association’s Student Association president.
            David Tjaden pointed out that many leaders in American public life who have the most influence over education were not teachers.
           People who have never set foot in a classroom as a teacher have power over the policies that affect teachers,” said Tjaden, who earned an undergraduate degree in social studies teaching at the University of Iowa.
            Tjaden attends many meetings and does lots of public speaking in his role representing 60,000 future educators nationwide. He says he finds it curious that more classroom teachers aren’t involved in decision-making.

NEA Student President David Tjaden, University of Iowa

            “Look at medicine,” he said. “We would never imagine the policies that affect doctors to be set by people with no experience as doctors.”
            Tjaden said he hopes that more teachers will be on the “front-lines” in making public policy that affect classrooms.
            “Whether we like it or not, politics and policies and money affect everything that happens to us in the classroom,” he said. “In this day and age, being a great educator for our generation also means being a great leader and standing up for our profession.”
            Tjaden said the student leadership programs of the NEA are designed to address that need. In North Dakota about 650 college students belong to the association, he said.
            "I had never really thought of the politics in education,” said Alicia Cuny, a UTTC Elementary Education student from Pine Ridge, SD. “This is a career that the government has a say in but few of the politicians or important people have ever been teachers themselves."
            Cuny says she believes that policy-makers should be required to have some experience in the classroom before creating school policies.
            Julia Koble, head of the science department at Minot High School-Central Campus, described “flipped classrooms.” The teaching model allows students to watch lectures at home. Class time is used for activities and concept engagement.
            A former North Dakota Teacher of the Year, Koble uses the flipped classroom model in her science classes. She says one of the benefits is the potential to increase student engagement in higher level thinking in the classroom.
            Koble also uses other methods, such as recording herself explaining content at a SmartBoard and creating YouTube videos (vodcasts). Course materials are transferred to Edmodo, where they are accessible to students and families.
It's important that you, as the teacher, explain to your students. It serves to build relationships, Koble said.
            Benefits of the flipped method include a higher level of engagement with students. Students can learn at their own pace by watching the videos anytime and anywhere. An unexpected benefit is that parents also watch the videos. "A mom told me she loves my vodcasts because she gets to learn too." Koble said.
            Professional development has been a long standing tradition at United Tribes and is valued for students, faculty and staff to receive training and education that contribute to personal development and career advancement.
            “The need for high quality professional development is essential to an institutions' capacity to survive and thrive”, says Lisa Azure, UTTC Teacher Education director. "It's also a time for the institutional community to come together and make sure all of the students and employees are familiar with institutional functions, operations, assessment systems - to get us all on the same page."
            UTTC Elementary Education Coordinator Leah Hamann sees professional development as an opportunity for the students to take in training alongside their instructors and support staff.
“Students benefit greatly when there are sessions that contribute to their personal, spiritual and professional interests," Hamann says.
            Alicia Cuny thought the information at these sessions was very beneficial.
“I feel like I have a better foundation and understanding of how the education system works and what I need to do as a pre-service teacher,” Cuny said.
            The event also featured a welcome talk by ND United President Nick Archuleta, remarks by Patricia Lopez, ND United Student President from Mayville State University, and a panel discussion about the experiences of young professionals in their first-year as teachers.

At left, Nick Archuleta of ND United gave a welcome talk.

            United Tribes provides all campus professional development events at least twice annually. Different departments or programs may have their own more often, depending on need and budgets. The college’s Teacher Education department has conducted specific professional development sessions with pre-service teachers since the spring of 2007.

A panel of young professionals talked about their first year teaching experiences.

For more information contact Lisa Azure 701-255-3285 x 1407, lazure@uttc.edu.

Photos: DENNIS J. NEUMANN<>United Tribes News


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