Tag Archives: College of Education

One of a Kind Education

New Birth to Kindergarten Teacher Education Program Coming to Campus

Rebecca Munday, Staff Writer

“In terms of early childhood education, holding a teaching certificate allows the individual to market themselves to higher paying jobs,” said Dr. Dina Walker-DeVose, an Associate Professor in the School of Human Ecology, regarding the financial advantage of enrolling in the new Birth to Kindergarten Teacher Education program. 

“Let me be clear, early child educators and K-12 teachers are not paid what they are worth,” said Walker-DeVose. “Those certification holders who are employed in public pre-kindergarten programs are paid on a similar scale as those holding certifications in K-12 education,” she said. In addition to working in public pre-kindergarten programs, graduates can apply for jobs in private childcare programs and programs serving children with special needs. 

The program will be housed on the Armstrong campus because “this program is fully designed for the Armstrong campus,” Walker-DeVose said. The superintendent of Savannah-Chatham public schools, Dr. Ann Levett, influenced the design of this program greatly. “She is well versed in what young children need,” said Dr. Tameka Ardrey, an assistant professor in Child and Family Development. 

Walker-DeVose went on to talk about what makes this program “the only one of its kind in South Georgia” and what sets it apart from other Early Childhood Education and Child Development degree programs. 

“The language is sometimes blurry,” Walker-DeVose said, regarding what Early Childhood Education means. “The language is often confusing as some K-5 certification programs are referred to as Early Childhood Education, rather than Elementary Education. This was common before the B-K certification became well-known. Now, Early Childhood Education generally refer to those programs preparing individuals to work with children 0-8 years of age,” Walker-Devose said. 

“The primary difference, in short, is a teaching certificate,” Walker-DeVose said about the difference between the Birth to Kindergarten program and a Child Development program. 

Another thing that sets this program apart from others similar to it is its focus on cultural identity. “It frames how we learn, what we think, what we believe,” said Ardrey. 

Through this program, “We’re equipping teachers with the necessary skills and tools to provide equitable education to all children, regardless of their background,” Ardrey said. “Representation matters,” Walker-DeVose said. “If little Johnny has two dads, that has to be represented in the classroom. It is important for little Johnny to have a sense of belonging in that classroom space,” Walker-DeVose said. 

Classes for the new Birth to Kindergarten program will start in Fall 2020. They will be offered online and, in the evenings, to accommodate teachers who already have a two or four-year degree and want to get trained in the birth to kindergarten population. 

“The program is being marketed in a couple of different ways,” said Walker-DeVose. “Our program is open to anyone who desires a B-K teaching certificate in the state of Georgia. The program is located on the Armstrong campus, so naturally, much of our efforts will focus on Savannah and the surrounding communities. We will be reaching out to local high schools, particularly those with Early Childhood pathways. We are also working with the Early Care and Education program at Savannah Tech.”

According to Walker-DeVose, the entire community stands to benefit from this program. “Research shows a positive return on investment for every dollar that is invested in quality early childhood education. This body of research is another reason that society should be looking for ways to support its youngest learners and fairly compensate those trusted with their care and education.” 


Screening: Experiment Brings School to Children

Hannah Hanlon, Staff Writer

West Bengal, India. Clothes are hanging on a clothesline. A 12-year old girl named Priya walks up to her home and asks her mother where her pants are. She prefers watching TV over studying, but she is still ranked second in her class. She wants to be first. She wants to be a policewoman when she grows up. If she does not finish school, her parents will marry her off.

This is an early scene depicted in “The School in the Cloud”, a documentary which follows a three year experiment directed by Sugata Mitra who headed up the installation of internet kiosks in remote villages in West Bengal to a school in northeast England to enable children to self-organize their learning.

On March 27, Georgia Southern University College of Education (COE) hosted a screening of the documentary, in the Student Union on campus.

The point of the documentary, which depicted the challenges and success of the experiment, was to show the potential of self-organized learning.

As explained by Dr. Kathie Fabrikant, a professor on the Armstrong campus, research has continued to show that children anywhere from the slums of India to impoverished areas of Chile are able to self-learn in an “unorganized” learning environment.

School in the Cloud_Priya
A quote by Priya from the documentary. Photo by “The School in the Cloud” Twitter.

Before beginning the documentary screening, Dr. Fabrikant asked the audience to consider the following questions while they watched the film: What could possibly go wrong? Can information that is accessed by children be manipulated? What are the safeguards? What do kids do when they don’t have a laptop or a tablet to complete their assignments?

“The internet technology is an integral part of the way we learn in our classrooms,” said Dr. Fabrikant.

In between scenes of the documentary, Mitra was shown giving a Ted Talk lecture and narrating throughout.

Mitra was determined to prove that children in disconnected and impoverished areas can educate themselves under the guidance of a teacher with the assistance of internet technology.

Mitra made the analogy of how a concept known as “the edge of chaos” was at play in this experiment. At the edge of chaos, things happen at random, and then there is structure.

Chaos theory, as Mitra explained it, is that after there is random chaos, there will emerge a pattern.

“Learning is something that happens to people when they are cross the edge of chaos,” said Mitra.

One area in which Mitra had to set the record straight was the accusation that he was trying to eliminate teachers from the classroom.

He said that was not true. The teacher has to convert the learning into an environment where the answer has to be devised by the students.

A challenge for students in India versus the students in England is the access of internet technology.

One man that donated his land in the Sundarbans was thrilled to have the experience of speaking with a woman in Germany via the wifi that got connected.

“We Sundarbans did not know this was possible,” he said.

Members of the audience made various comments in response to the screening.

One issue that was noted was that children in England had the advantage because they already knew the questions to ask and had someone in the classroom to facilitate.

Another concern that was noted from the audience is that students are not digging hard enough to answer their own questions, or even to ask the big questions in the first place. They wait to receive the questions and answers from their teachers…to get a good score on exams.

“What are we going to do in education to change that,” asked Angela Keel, an educator in STEM.

Near the end of the documentary, there was a scene of 12-year old Priya who had been featured throughout. She was searching images on the internet, not for weddings or bridal dresses but for police women. She looked hopeful.


College of Education presents film screening of ‘Race to Nowhere’

By Arielle Powell, Staff Writer

On Nov. 15, the College of Education hosted the screening of Race to Nowhere in University Hall. The screening was sponsored by Dr. Regina Rahimi who is an Associate Professor of Adolescence and Adult Education. Continue reading College of Education presents film screening of ‘Race to Nowhere’