Fifty FGCU students in training to become teachers presented an educational international fair for more than 400 students at Pinecrest Elementary School in Immokalee.
Part of a class called “Social Studies Methods,” the June 1 exercise involved creating and presenting instructional units about 25 countries for students in second through fourth grade at the school. The College of Education students set up stations for each nation, wore costumes and used other methods to engage their young pupils in learning about cultures other than their own.
“This multicultural fair allowed them to get practice in planning a social studies unit in combination with field experience and service learning,” said Penny Finley, Teacher Education and Field Experience Coordinator for the college.
Eric Crum, a junior elementary education major who developed a unit about Ireland, said the project encouraged youngsters to learn more about the world around them and to question and analyze history – an objective included in Florida state standards for teaching history.
“I had students look at Irish history with various analytical processes,” he said. “I had several students compare and analyze the difference between American democracy and monarchy, for example. Many of the students were never exposed to Irish history before, so it was a wonderful subject to teach from a future teacher’s perspective. It was great being able to help these students learn new information about the world. Many were from impoverished backgrounds, and they were excited and eager to learn about the various nations that were presented.”
Some of the FGCU students will move on to student teaching this fall, so the experience was beneficial to them as well as to the children,” he said.
“This event helped prepare students for teaching roles, whether at the elementary school level or at child-centered agencies,” Crum said. “It was exciting to see FGCU students in traditional dress assisting the elementary students in their pursuit to learn about the world around them.”
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