Integrated Social Studies Courses: Student Perspectives

Read the descriptions of these courses in the University Catalog

ADED 32142: Principles of Teaching Adolescents

Victoria Thompson, INSS student

My experience has been both exciting and challenging in ADED 32142. The course has allowed me to grow as a person and as a future teacher. I have learned that teaching is not as easy as some may see it. There is a lot of behind-the-scenes planning, and some ideas you have such as fun activities and classroom management may not work the way you plan. I have learned from working with students that the most important thing you can do as a teacher is to show you care and believe that your students can succeed. Many students only find safety and role models at school, therefore, your role is not only a teacher but a mentor. You will be the students' biggest supporters, help them with college applications, help find them rides home from school, but most of all you may be the only person to push them to their fullest potentials. To be a teacher you need to have passion not only for the subject but also for the students. I tutored throughout high school and college and there was no greater feeling than seeing the student you are helping finally accomplish their goals, and knowing that you are the one that helped them succeed. Teaching is truly an impactful occupation, and it is very fulfilling to see the impact firsthand.

The most engaging part of this course was going into the schools and working with the students. This was challenging too because you will work with students who may be very different from you and your life experiences.

For example, I worked with students with low motivation who came from single family homes with parents in and out of jail. Coming from St. Matthew's (k-8), and Tallmadge this was not a commonality I shared with these students. This challenged my view of students because I could not imagine coming from a life without the support and encouragement from my parents. It is hard to compare your struggles to others, or even try to imagine how someone dealing with so much in home life would be able to still get to school and have motivation. I grew through my weekly reflections by writing about these experiences and taking the time to understand students whose educational experiences and home support systems were more challenging than mine. The weekly reflections were the best ways to see my areas of growth and the transition from being a student to becoming a future teacher. These reflections allowed me to ask questions about students and teaching and show how I responded to tasks in the classroom; with my teacher's support in commenting on my reflections and offering advice, I felt more confident from her reassurance. Through this experience I have gained more compassion for students and really tried to understand what they were going through in and outside of the classroom. This course allowed me to gain valuable experience and showed me that this is the occupation for me!

As I move into the next methods course, ADED 32275, I am most looking forward to learning new skills that I will be able to apply next year in student teaching. I am excited to learn how to make more effective lesson plans and assignments that are engaging and leave students eager to come back and learn more. As well, I am enthusiastic to work with more professional teachers and learn from their experiences. I look forward to my next methods class as I step more into the teacher role and get closer to starting the career I have always wanted.

- Victoria Thompson (concentration: History)

ADED 22275: Issues and Trends in Social Studies Education

Hannah Campbell, INSS student

I have really enjoyed my experience in ADED 22275. The course gave me and my fellow students the opportunity to have important discussions about the content, theories, rationales, and concepts of teaching social studies.

I really enjoyed how much I got to talk with other students and learn about how much we all had in common when it came to how we think about social studies. The structure of the class allowed us to all learn from each other in a fun, engaging way.

I personally enjoy and am comfortable with class discussions, but something that is not necessarily in my comfort zone is art. Many of the assignments for the course were art or creative based. Doing this helped me push myself into a more creative side of my brain which is not something we usually get to do in college social studies courses. This helped me find a new way to see and think about ideas and material, as well as inspiring me to think about how I will assess my future students. I also ended the course with a new level of comfort and excitement for my future in the program. I feel as though I can always go to the other students in the program or the instructors for any questions or concerns.

As I move into advanced study, I am really looking forward to learning so much more about teaching from so many brilliant professors and students. I am incredibly excited to begin working with actual students and progressing into my career. I can't wait to continue learning with all of the wonderful students who are going along with me through the program. I truly feel as though this is a program that makes students excited to come to class.

- Hannah Campbell (concentration: History)

Josh Budd, ADED Social Studies student

ADED 32275: Curriculum and Pedagogy in Social Studies

In college, there are just some courses that justify both your major and the path you’ve chosen in life. For me, one of those courses was ADED 32275. ADED 32275 ultimately is one of the reasons I became an educator due to the exposure that the course grants you into the field of education. For example, every school district and building we visited as a part of the course offered us opportunities for teaching within the classroom, shadowing teachers, and building professional contacts with both students and faculty. Skills of getting comfortable in front of a classroom, managing the classroom and thinking on your feet are all abilities that can be honed through those opportunities. Furthermore, they’re critical to the success of the development of young, professional educators such as myself before undertaking the Student Teaching process.

Coming out of my Junior year and into my Senior year of college, I would say that the most exciting part of taking ADED 32275 with the rest of my cohort is to continue perfecting the craft of education with my colleagues. It is definitely daunting to realize just how quickly our cohort will be entering either the workforce or continue on into the teaching profession, but ultimately that is what makes the prospects for this course so exciting. Each of us has been preparing for several years to finally get into the classroom, and as a young educator I couldn’t agree more that in this final phase of our undergraduate education that Kent State and the ADED program have more then prepared us for the road ahead.

- Josh Budd (concentration: Political Science)

ADED 42275: Teaching Social Studies in Grades 7 - 12

INSS student

ADED 42275 has been a valuable experience in my preparation for student teaching. The course and assignments allowed me to practice and demonstrate what I had learned about planning and providing instruction in teaching. One of the most daunting and challenging parts of the course was the creation of a two-week unit plan. For this assignment, we were asked to work with our cooperating teacher in our Practicum placement to create 5-10 days of lesson plans for use in our placement. We created a unit plan using Ohio Standards as well as C3 standards, and included various activities, instruction, and forms of assessment. While this assignment was a challenge, it was an excellent way to apply the material I learned in the course and was beneficial in preparing me for the upcoming challenges of planning as a student teacher. This class made me feel much more comfortable in my own abilities as a future educator, and taught me how to apply the skills that I have learned throughout the INSS program. We were then assessed through the creation of a final portfolio, where we collected examples of students' work and accomplishments from our unit plan teaching. This portfolio demonstrated an overview of my own growth and accomplishments throughout the semester.

ADED 42275 provided me with an engaging experience where I could practice and refine my skills as a teacher. It also created a community environment where future teachers in INSS could collaborate and share ideas and experiences, and provoked thoughtful conversation and advice.

As I move into student teaching in the spring, I am the most excited to refine my abilities as a teacher as I continuously learn from my experiences. I look forward to continued collaboration with my cooperating teacher, as well as my INSS faculty and colleagues, which will undoubtedly make me a stronger teacher in all aspects of the profession. Additionally, I am eager to try new ideas gained from ADED 42275 in my student teaching placement, and reflect on any successes as well as difficulties endured during this semester. Student teaching will be full of new experiences and learning opportunities, and I am looking forward to everything that the spring has to bring!

- Jessica Beattie (concentration: Sociology)

ADED 42292: Field Work Practicum

Senior ADED student Justin Kenney

Throughout the course of my ADED 42292 experience, I went to my placement high school all day Mondays and Tuesdays. Personally, I think it is best to be able to go for a full day at least one of the days that you go during the fall. This will allow you to establish rapport with each of the periods throughout the day. As far as assignments go, the most difficult in terms of work-hours were the equity audit and community history and the two-week unit plan. The equity audit assignment just takes a good deal of research hours, as well as exploring the town to take pictures. I recommend getting started on that assignment within the first couple weeks of being in your placement school. Specifically, I had a meeting with the Principal and gave him the list of information I needed and got the rest online. For the unit plan, it's important to try to figure out the days you will teach and the lesson topic and content with some time to work. This will allow you to dedicate meaningful time to develop a solid unit for your students. The biggest challenge of the fall semester was the workload, time management, and anxiety of actually teaching adolescents. The important part is to take care of yourself, get sleep when you can, and glue yourself to a chair to do work when you need to.

I am looking forward to the feeling of graduating after a long five-year tenure at Kent State. I plan to take a year off to mellow out in Kent before probably moving to get an out-of-state teaching job. I have been in school for a good seventeen years and look forward to a brief respite.

When you are going through this you will feel unprepared, tired, and full of anxiety, but every week will get easier and you are going to be fine.

I told my friends I was quitting every other day. Form a support group with your peers if you can. Good luck and be kind.

- Justin Kenney (concentration: History)

ADED 42357: Secondary Student Teaching

INSS student Gunnar Hudges

The final semester of the INSS program may be challenging, but the results speak for themselves. My time spent student teaching at Akron Public Schools was such a rewarding experience and prepared me for my career as a social studies educator more than I could have imagined. I saw tremendous personal growth and self-development from the beginning of field observations to the end of student teaching/graduation. As a student teacher, you will be asked to complete a select number of assignments aimed at improving your instruction and confidence in the classroom. Any additional time spent on classwork, outside of the field experience placement, is designed to assist your transition into full time student teaching and improve what you may already know. You will develop classroom management plans, complete self-study observations, perfect lesson planning through EdTPA, and begin to finish resumes, portfolios, job applications and *licensure (upon graduation and completion of required testing). Student teaching provides graduating spring seniors with a first-hand look at running a classroom before applying for jobs in the education field. Throughout the semester, classroom responsibilities are gradually passed from cooperating teacher to student teacher. University Supervisors and Cooperating Teachers observe and analyze your instructional procedures throughout the semester, while providing you with support and feedback along the way. You will be able to network and learn from the mentor teachers at your school placement.

Take advantage of your time spent inside the classroom. Be sure to get creative when planning and get comfortable while teaching! You will be amazed by the rapport you form with your students in such a short period of time.

All of the checks along the way are there to help you perfect your craft. Stay positive and make sure you're doing Dr. Levicky's readings! They help… Very grateful for the assistance provided by INSS.

Upon graduation, I am most looking forward to finding a job and getting started in my own classroom. I am very eager to begin my career as a social studies educator.

- Gunnar Hodges (concentration: History)