University of Delaware
Terry Whittaker, senior associate director of undergraduate admissions, speaks to Newark High School students as they eat lunch on the steps of Memorial Hall on Oct. 25.

Students teaching students

UD social studies secondary education seniors teach Newark High students


10:05 a.m., Nov. 1, 2012--Newark High School students came to the University of Delaware on Oct. 25 to participate in lessons taught by UD social studies secondary education students, take a tour of campus and partake in focus groups.

The Newark High School students who spent the day at UD are members of the Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) program. AVID is a college preparatory program designed to help under-represented and first generation high school and middle school students prepare for college. AVID students from Christiana High School and Kirk Middle School completed the same activities earlier in the month.

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The visit was also a chance for UD social studies secondary education seniors to prepare for their upcoming student teaching placements. 

“Before we started doing these case studies (in 2000), our students would never have the opportunity to practice teaching in front of their target audience before they started student teaching,” said Barry Joyce, associate professor of history and co-coordinator of social studies education at UD. 

Seven UD social studies secondary education students split into two groups and planned interactive lessons to teach to Newark High students. The lessons, about the Mayan calendar and the “history of the future,” were beneficial to students at every level. 

“These UD students benefit from practicing because the more they do it, the better they will be prepared for student teaching in the spring,” said Hannah Kim, an assistant professor of history and co-coordinator of the social studies education program. “The high school students are getting a great experience here. They tell us how welcome they feel on campus, and they get a chance to see all the facilities and resources that UD has to offer.” 

The student teachers are provided with feedback in the form of evaluations from the AVID students. In addition, each lesson is videotaped.

“It’s like being a football coach -- you can go back and watch the play to see what worked and what you need to improve on,” said Joyce. 

After attending morning classes, the AVID students were given a tour of UD and participated in focus group interviews, under the direction of Carol Wong, professor in the School of Education.

“We’re going to talk to them about their perceptions of college, what college will be like. It’s information gathering. We want to get some good data on what students think about college,” said Kim. 

The day ended with a picnic lunch on the steps of Memorial Hall with George Watson, dean of UD’s College of Arts and Sciences, and Terry Whittaker, senior associate director of undergraduate admissions. 

Whittaker told the group of AVID students, all high school freshmen, that the “roadmap to college” starts in ninth grade.

The event was the product of a grant from the College of Arts and Sciences, the Center for Secondary Education and the Department of History.

In addition to the benefits for UD and AVID students, both Joyce and Kim said they believe the grant will help encourage more diversity at the University.

“We’re looking to diversify the program and bring in a more diverse group of students who better represent the population of Delaware,” said Joyce. “To bring more diversity to UD overall.” 

About the AVID program

AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) programs prepare students in the academic middle for college. Several Delaware districts have adopted AVID as the framework for accelerating the performance of average students, so that more students (particularly first-generation, low income and minority students) get access to Honors and AP courses that provide the best preparation for college.

Article by Kelley Bregenzer

Photos by Doug Baker

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