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Harlaxton program offers international experience in teacher education

As part of her semester at Harlaxton College, Dr. S. Kay Gandy organized a geography workshop (left) and a teaching fair (right).

As part of her semester at Harlaxton College, Dr. S. Kay Gandy organized a geography workshop (left) and a teaching fair (right).

WKU’s School of Teacher Education (STE) has partnered with Harlaxton College in Grantham, England, to create an international experience for teacher candidates.

Each semester, a cohort of WKU students joins students from multiple American universities to study and live in this residential college. They are taught by permanent British faculty and numerous visiting American faculty.

Having STE faculty members teach at Harlaxton College is an important component of WKU’s efforts to create significant professional international opportunities for its faculty. By teaching and living in an English residential college for a full semester, STE faculty members can learn new pedagogical practices, create or extend an international professional network, deepen their international experience, and possibly pursue research opportunities. Teacher candidates have the opportunity to observe in British schools and to practice teaching to British students.

Representatives from WKU’s College of Education and Behavioral Sciences, Honors College, Harlaxton College and University of Evansville collaborated on the initiative for one to two STE faculty to teach each fall semester at Harlaxton.

Dr. S. Kay Gandy was selected as the first faculty member from WKU's School of Teacher Education to teach at Harlaxton College.

Dr. S. Kay Gandy was selected as the first faculty member from WKU’s School of Teacher Education to teach at Harlaxton College.

Dr. S. Kay Gandy was selected to be the first faculty member from the STE to teach at Harlaxton College and develop relationships with local schools. She taught  History and Foundations of American Education and Teaching Strategies in K-12 Schools during the Fall 2012 semester. In addition, Dr. Gandy arranged observation visits for teacher candidates, hosted a teaching fair for local school children, led a teacher workshop, and provided musicians for a school assembly. Teacher candidates observed at Harlaxton Primary School, Walton Girls’ High School and Sixth Form, Priory Ruskin Academy, and Isaac Newton Primary School.

Due to strict British policies with work visas, the teacher candidates were not allowed to teach in the schools. Therefore, Dr. Gandy arranged a Teaching Fair to take place at Harlaxton College. Head Masters from the partner schools were invited to send groups of students to Harlaxton College where they rotated through lessons taught by teacher candidates.

To further strengthen community relationships, Dr. Gandy led a geography workshop and provided free materials from the National Geographic Society to teachers at Harlaxton Primary School. Since the Walton Girls’ High School and Sixth Form focused their curriculum on the performing arts, Dr. Gandy arranged for four flautists (Music Therapy majors) to perform and speak to students at the school.

In Fall 2013 at Harlaxton College, Dr. Cassie Zippay will teach the History and Foundations of Education course the first eight weeks, and Dr. Dusty Knotts will teach Introduction to Special Education the second eight weeks. STE faculty members can choose whether to teach eight weeks or the entire semester in Grantham. These faculty members are busy recruiting WKU teacher candidates to spend a semester at Harlaxton College, as the STE moves forward to become a department with international reach.

Contact: S. Kay Gandy, (270) 745-2991.

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