Spring course to explore public education within community

Spring course to explore public education within community

Beginning directly after fall break, students will have the opportunity to enroll in a newly created class that aims to prepare them for education-based community service.

According to education professor Alan Brown, many students majoring or minoring within the department felt unprepared and failed to make connections with adolescents in communities around Wake Forest because of their different needs and diverse backgrounds.

Additionally, according to Shelley Sizemore, director of Academic Programs and Community Engaged Research as part of the Pro Humanitate Institute, she will be teaching EDU 103 because education-based service opportunities are among the most popular at Wake Forest.

This course is designed to provide students with an understanding of the inner-workings of public schools, best practices in community engagement, self-awareness and cultural competence.

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The class will include coursework that focuses on “understanding the landscape of public education, applying best practices for community engagement and developing increased cultural competence.” The class is meant to be a starting point for students who have limited experience working in the community in this way, as well as a planning and personal development opportunity for students who have prior experience.

However, Sizemore also said that just because students are motivated to participate in this type of community engagement or have prior experience in this area does not mean they are intrinsically prepared to do so.

“For many Wake Forest students, their educational experiences looked pretty different from the experiences of the students they are working with,” Sizemore said. “I believe that additional context about an environment always improves our ability to be effective in the community because it helps us to see things from perspectives that are not only our own.”

If a student decided to enroll in EDU 103, he or she could expect to receive an “overview of public education and how it functions locally as well as a review of some of the most salient challenges for students today.”

They could also expect to learn more about effective community engagement as well as how to develop skills for communicating and managing conflict in various situations.

At the culmination of the course, students will be asked to complete a final project centered on creating a community engagement plan that each student will write in response to a contemporary issue in education of their choosing, such as literacy. This way, students will leave the course with a specific plan for their continuing work in education-based service.

Whether students want to become part of tutoring programs, mentoring programs, or programs such as Teach for America, EDU 103 can be a valuable prerequisite for participating in these projects.  EDU 103 will meet Wednesdays and Fridays from 12:30-1:45 and is 1.5 credits.

To enroll in the class, interested students should contact Shelley Sizemore.

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