2013 News

Dec. 5, 2013

TLES Faculty Member Does Research and Presents in Norway

welcome sign

Norway welcomes Smith

Recently, Andrea Smith, a Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies faculty member, took a trip to Norway in hopes of collaborating with Researchers, Practitioners and Policy Makers related to the topic of Kinship and Foster Care Practices.  She found that as a country, Norway is moving away from exclusively placing children in non-relative foster care settings and in some cases is now considering biological relatives (ie: grandparents, aunts, uncles) as a preferred out-of-home placement.  

norwegian playground

Norway playground

Smith was invited to share her expertise related to developing, implementing and evaluating services for kinship care family members.  Her time was spent in two locations:  Tromso, where she worked closely with Social Workers and Researchers and Oslo, where she made presentations to Administrators at the Ministry of Child Welfare and also at a conference for Child Welfare workers from various regions in Norway.

In addition to Smith’s presentations and meetings related to kinship care, the trip provided her with additional opportunities to expand her knowledge of practices within Norway's Universal Kindergarten (Childcare) system through a tour, observation and meetings with staff and administrators at Breivika Kindergarten.  

She also had the opportunity to visit, observe and meet with teachers in a primary school serving children ages 6-14 years.  Students at this school are currently being partnered with students at an urban school in Grand Rapids, MI with the purpose of fostering relationships and increasing cultural understand through the use of technology (email, skype, etc.)

Smith also had opportunities to meet with regional foster care trainers and with individuals using the Second Time Around materials to run groups for kinship care foster families in northern Norway and met with administrators and staff at an outpatient facility serving abused children.  

At the University of Tromso, Smith met with numerous faculty members and made a presentation about her research to the Research Group for Intervention and Treatment.  She also provided a well-attended presentation on the Importance of Play Opportunities to an interdisciplinary group of faculty (representing the College of Human Medicine, Psychiatry, Psychology, Social Work and Education

New Online Peer Review Journal launching online: GrandFamilies: The Contemporary Journal of Research, Practice and Policy

Nov. 14, 2013

Current faculty members Dr. Andrea Smith of TLES and retired Chair Dr. Linda Dannison of FCS have been the primary WMU faculty behind launching a new online peer review journal. GrandFamilies: The Contemporary Journal of Research, Practice and Policy will be housed in the WMU’s Scholar Works and is being produced by the National Research Center for Grandparents Raising Grandchildren and is a collaborative initiative between Georgia State and Western Michigan universities. 

The journal went live on November 7, 2013, and is accepting manuscript submissions for the first edition. The first publication is scheduled for late February or early March. Email completed manuscript submissions or questions to Deborah Langosch, co-editor of GrandFamilies.

Graduate Student Publishes Book

Nov. 4, 2013

headshot of el-Hakim

Khalid el-Hakim

Khalid el-Hakim, a graduating senior with a M.A. in Socio-cultural Studies, recently published a groundbreaking book on the growing field of collecting hip hop memorabilia. Titled The Center of the Movement: Collecting Hip Hop Memorabilia, it is receiving national attention and has positioned Khalid as one of the new voices in the field of hip hop pedagogy. This book is a journey through the personal archives of the Black History 101 Mobile Museum, which Khalid is the founder of.

poster design

Center of Movement

 For the past 22 years Khalid has collected over 5,000 original artifacts of the Black experience, from slavery to hip hop culture. As a 15-year veteran teacher in the city of Detroit, he used these artifacts as teaching tools to inspire and motivate students to dig deeper into history. Khalid has embarked on a national book tour that will take him across the country with stops including the Teaching with Purpose Conference in Portland, Indiana University, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem.

Program Director Leads Impressive 2013 Cohort

Oct. 21, 2013

headshot of Fetters

Dr. Marcia Fetters

Program Director, Dr. Marcia Fetters, will lead an impressive 2013 cohort for the prestigious Woodrow Wilson Teaching Fellows program. Members include peace corp veterans, a doctor of economics and an ornithologist.

Assistant Professors Awarded the National Endowment for the Humanities: Enduring Questions Grant

Oct. 17,2014

headshot of Metro-Roland

Dr. Dini Metro-Roland

headshot of Jones

Dr. Jeffrey Jones

Assistant professors Dr. Jeffrey Jones and Dr. Dini Metro-Roland, were awarded the National Endowment for the Humanities: Enduring Questions Grant. This grant allows them to develop and teach a course titled,“What is Human Flourishing?” This course will introduce students to the philosophical conceptions, literary visions and grounded conditions of human flourishing, its changing nature across many periods of Western history, and its manifold expressions in contemporary life.

Jill Hermann-Wilmarth has Article Published in Journal of Literacy Research

May 16, 2013

headshot of Hermann-Wilmarth

Jill Hermann-Wilmarth

Jill Hermann-Wilmarth, associate professor of Socio-Cultural  Studies of Education, along with Caitlin L. Ryan of East  Carolina University, have had an article published in the Journal of Literacy  Research. Already on the Shelf: Queer Readings of Award-Wining Children's Literature explores what it might mean to read children's literature in  elementary school classrooms through a queer lens.

The authors argue that  because queer theory has a history as a literary theory that destabilizes normative  associations among gender, sexuality, bodies and desire, it provides a set of  analytical tools classroom communities can draw on to create alternative readings of a wide range of familiar texts. Such readings of books already on the shelves of elementary school libraries and classrooms can highlight experiences and subjectivities of nonnormative sexualities and gender identities in the hopes of making classrooms more inclusive.

By first queering on-the-shelf texts and then asking students to think about how that queering connects to larger social issues, elementary classrooms can become places where  strict identity categories—categories that can marginalize queer students and families—are made visible, are questioned, are stretched and can even fall apart.

TLES Chair Gives Workshop in China

April 23, 2013

students with a welcome sign

MRA welcomes Regena

Dr. Regena Nelson, professor in early childhood education and interim chair of the department of Teaching, Learning and Educational Studies published an article in the US-China Education Review journal titled: A Model for Using Service-Learning in Teacher Education Programs. She conducted the study with preschool programs in Kalamazoo that serve low-income populations, while working as a Poverty Fellow in the Walker Institute for Race and Ethnic Relations at WMU. 

Nelson was able to apply the parent engagement component of the model during a recent visit to China when she gave a workshop for parents in Shanghai at the Morgan Rothschild Academy (MRA). Three former WMU early childhood education students - Ashley Carter, Caitlin Clark and Linsey Zarras are teaching preschool and kindergarten at MRA. Dr. Nelson's workshop focused on how play supports young children's creative and social skills. She gave examples of how play can be used throughout the early childhood curriculum to support children's development in all areas.

Professor Presents at Child Welfare League Conference

April 23, 2013

headshot of Smith

Dr. Andrea Smith

Dr. Andrea Smith, professor in teaching, learning and educational studies, presented at the Child Welfare League of America's National Conference in Washington DC on April 14-17, 2013. The title of her presentation was "Programming for Kinship Care Families: Current and Future Trends.”

TLES Professors Published

April 18, 2013

headshot of Farber

Paul Farber

headshot of Metro-Roland

Dini Metro-Roland

 Paul Farber and Dini Metro-Roland,  professors in teaching, learning and educational studies, had a paper accepted  for publication. They presented it this March at the Philosophy of Education  Society's Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon.

Farber, P. & Dini Metro-Roland (forthcoming) Being on One’s Way: Place,  Technology and the Moral Commodification of Education. In Mayo Cris, ed.,  Philosophy of Education 2013. Urbana: The Philosophy of Education Society.

Paper abstract: 
The pace and sweep of technologically mediated and market-based initiatives in education hold the promise for many of more direct, immediate, and personalized opportunities to learn what and when one wants. The prospect of the new seems to align with Dewey’s admonition to reject the view of education as preparation for life and instead seek its full meaning in life itself. At such a moment of ferment as this, perhaps it is time to downsize investments in the traditional places of preparation, and embrace the power and relevance of the new ways we learn. In this paper, we want to contest this apparent dichotomy. Returning to Dewey’s formulation, we will argue that neither “mere preparation” nor the “full meaning” of educational experience fall neatly on the respective sides of the issue where many would suppose them to be. Furthermore, against the grain of the dichotomous framing of the matter, the significance of preparation, we suggest, warrants further attention as a crucial category of concern precisely as it is bound up with what Dewey called the “spirit of education.”

Michigan Radio Show Hosted by Faculty Member Wins Award

March 19, 2013

headshot of Downey

Allison Downey

"The Living Room," a 1-hour Michigan Radio show, created and hosted by Allison Downey, recently won the Excellence in Broadcasting Award from the Michigan Association of Broadcasters for the Special Interest and Cultural Programming category. The pilot radio show aired twice on Michigan Radio (NPR affiliate) in the fall. The winners were selected by a team of judges that comprised of broadcasting peers who live outside of Michigan. Downey, a performer and associate professor of teaching, learning and educational studies served as host, storyteller, and songwriter for this episode, produced by Zak Rosen. 

"The Living Room" celebrates the cultural fabric of Michigan through stories, song, and writing. For this episode, Downey takes a look at how stories of migrations are interwoven into the lives of Michigan residents. The pilot features Allison's own stories and songs, a piece from writer Zilka Joseph, a look at the history of Covert, Michigan, and music from songwriter, Joshua Davis. The podcast of the show and more information can be found on the Michigan Radio website.

Based on the success of the pilot show, Downey and Zak Rosen have teamed up to bring monthly installments of shorter segments of "The Living Room" to be aired during Michigan Radio’s talk show, "Stateside with Cynthia Canty."

The St. Patrick's Day episode of "The Living Room" aired on Thursday, March 14th. It features Yvonne Healy, a Michigan-based Irish-American storyteller, and her story of becoming a "naturalized" American citizen in the 1950s and ultimately reclaiming her full Irish-American identity years later. Downey developed and produced this piece with Zak Rosen. 

Listen to the podcast and Downey’s song, "Ireland for You"

"The Living Room" segments began airing in February, 2013 and are slated to air through October, 2013.

Jill Hermann-Wilmarth has Article Published

Feb. 26, 2013

headshot of Hermann-Wilmarth

Jill Hermann-Wilmarth

Dr. Jill Hermann-Wilmarth, associate professor in teaching, learning and educational studies, has recently had an article published in Language Arts, Vol. 90, No. 3, January 2013. Likewise, there is a podcast of this conversation.

Conversation Currents: Interrupting the Single Story: LGBT Issues in the Language Arts Classroom, Jill Hermann-Wilmarth and Caitlin L. Ryan.

Abstract: Two literacy leaders acknowledge the challenges of teaching LGBT issues in the classroom. While children come from a variety of family structures, it is necessary to acknowledge that a gay individual was once a child sitting in a classroom. An argument against marginalization and an advocacy for inclusion of all learners is discussed.

Allison Downey Launches Monthly Storytelling Segment

Feb. 19, 2013

headshot of Downey

Allison Downey

Allison Downey, associate professor of teaching, learning and educational studies, has launched a monthly storytelling segment to be aired on Michigan Radio's daily talk show, "Stateside with Cynthia Canty." The March segment will focus on St. Patrick’s Day and feature an Irish storyteller's journey to becoming Irish-American in Michigan. 

 These segments are produced by independent media producer, Zak Rosen, and are an offshoot of their pilot one-hour radio show, "The Living Room." Downey spent 2010-2011 on sabbatical in NYC researching contemporary storytelling formats. 

Past segments that resulted from Allison's work:

Phi Delta Kappa Prospective Educator Scholarship now Open

Feb. 19, 2013

Applications are currently being accepted for the Phi Delta Kappa Prospective Educator Scholarship. This $1,000 scholarship is awarded to high school students intending to major in education or undergraduate students enrolled in a teacher preparation program. Please encourage your students or family members to apply for this great scholarship opportunity. 

Applications are available in the College of Education and Human Development Advising Office in Sangren Hall. Please note that the application deadline is March 30, 2013. Students will need to provide an essay, two letters of reference and a copy of their college transcript.