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NSU Students Back In Elementary Class

November 5, 2012, 6:01 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

NSU Students Back In Elementary Class

A Northern State University program is getting future teachers out of the college classroom and into the field.

"It was fun and I learned a lot about, like about voice and word choice and ideas and like organization," 4th grader Ashlin Dinger said.

Dinger and her classmates learned a lot from teaching candidates in an NSU language arts class.

The university students have been learning teaching methods throughout the semester. They had to learn those methods well enough to pass them along to elementary students, not simply to pass a test.

"Everything we learned in class we were able to put into work here so it was just a great experience," Jeff Tobin said.

Those working on the program see benefit from both sides with students getting more one-on-one attention with their writing skills.  And future teachers are getting experience before they reach the student-teacher phase of their training.

"I hope to see more integration of a clinical experience, which is similar to a medical school model so we can get the students out in the field," professor Bonni Boschee said.

NSU students learned first hand what works and what doesn't.

"It's like, 'Oh wait.  I’ve got to rephrase that. They didn't understand that at all.' Or I have to do that differently.  So it was a lot of fun a good experience," NSU student Hayley Schacht said.

And the elementary students had to make sure they were learning their stuff too.

"We had to do first draft, second draft and final draft," Emma Keeley said.

But even through all that work, they called it a good experience too.

This is the third year Northern has tried the clinical approach in the language arts. It's pleased with success so far. Students next semester will work with a couple different elementary classes.

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