20 October 2015
A group of six USC Education students will get a taste of American small town life when they undertake their final practical teaching placements through the State University of New York later this month.
The final-year Bachelor of Primary Education students will travel to Fredonia, on the shores of Lake Erie in north-west New York State, on October 21 to begin an eight-week placement at Fredonia Elementary and Middle Schools.
The students will be based at SUNY’s Fredonia campus and will experience local Halloween and Thanksgiving celebrations before returning to the Sunshine Coast on December 19.
USC Lecturer in Education Kenneth Young said the placements, which are part of an ongoing student teaching exchange between USC’s School of Education and the SUNY Fredonia College of Education, would allow students to diversify their practical experience.
“The aim of the teaching exchange is for students to gain exposure to international curriculum offerings, in order to broaden graduate teacher experience,” Mr Young said.
“These students will experience teaching in a US school and will be able to bring those diverse experiences back to their own classrooms.
“They will also develop professional relationships with their mentor teachers, which will translate into international sharing between classes in following years.”
Fredonia’s close proximity to the Seneca Nation of Indians and Lancaster County’s strong Amish community is reflected in the local curriculum. Mr Young said experiencing new and unique cultures would be a rewarding experience for the students.
“The students have already been in contact with their mentor teachers via email, and have been told their classes are looking forward to sharing Halloween and Thanksgiving,” he said.
“Most of our preservice teachers have never seen snow, so travelling to school through the snow on a big yellow school bus is going to be a novel experience.”
Participating students were awarded the placements after a competitive selection process and will be assisted with travel costs by USC’s School of Education.
USC International, through its Study Overseas program, also provided each student with a $750 travel grant, pre-departure information and a USC sweatshirt to wear during promotional talks while abroad.
It also arranged for Erin Willis of the Office of International Education at SUNY Fredonia to visit USC earlier this year to provide an additional information session.
USC Bachelor of Arts/Bachelor of Science student Anne-Maree Nagy received a $3,000 Study Overseas grant for a full semester exchange at SUNY Fredonia. Anne-Maree’s blog can be found at: https://uscinternational.wordpress.com/2015/10/07/anne-maree-studying-at-state-university-of-new-york-at-fredonia/
In early 2016, a group of six SUNY Fredonia students will travel to USC to undertake their teaching placements at Siena Catholic College in Sippy Downs.
— Jarna Baudinette