Monday, November 15, 2010

Cross-Pollination of Academic Outreach

Jennifer Brink, coordinator of academically based programs for Gordon in Lynn, worked across a series of academic disciplines to arrange a day of poetry, music and activities for 80 elementary school children from an inner-city school in Lynn. She shares their story...
According to professor of psychology Kaye Cook, learning is deepened as it is applied. In her Developmental Psychology class, Cook looks for ways to promote that application of knowledge by helping students experience the complexities of child development in diverse populations. Working in a completely different field but pursuing a similar goal, Mark Stevick, professor of English, enables his creative writing students to take poetry out of the classroom and place it into the hands of children. Meanwhile, the joy of teaching music is something Sandy Doneski wants her music education students to not only learn about but also to engage with as they work with children to perform a piece of music together.
En Camino (on the path), a morning campus visit coordinated by Gordon in Lynn, allows Gordon students to engage their learning in a new context--with 80 fifth-graders from Harrington Public School. By partnering with Harrington, a large diverse school located in the heart of Lynn, many students also engage with children with backgrounds strikingly different from their own. This event provides urban children exposure to college and to the path they might take one day.
Gordon students welcomed these children this past Friday for a morning of games, skits, music and poetry. As fourth-graders, these children had already visited Gordon College last spring for a morning of college exposure. For this second visit the kids were challenged to think deeply about their own character and what kind of people they want to be. They all role-played the various dimensions of trustworthiness, after which half the group performed a folksong from Ghana that expresses the importance of sacrifice and care. The other half of the group created their own poetry based on the six pillars of character. Children and students alike declared the morning a success as learning came to life and both groups found creative expression for their ideas. Clearly students from both schools are on the path to learning in meaningful and creative ways.
Photo: Gordon students from Dr. Cook’s Developmental Psychology class.

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