NJSEA Ambassadors Attend the Teaching & Learning Symposium

NJSEA ambassadors received a scholarship to attend the Teaching & Learning Symposium on October 23rd. Below are their reactions to the symposium and their selected professional development sessions.

At the Teaching & Learning Symposium, I attended the break out session for reaching English Language Learners in the classroom. This session caught my interest because I’m currently student teaching in a kindergarten classroom and have two students that are English Language Learners. One student’s native language is Arabic and the other’s is Hungarian. I’ve been working on adapting all my lessons to teach to their needs in hopes that they’re comprehending as much as possible. This session helped me by giving me examples of activities for all six levels of English comprehension and English proficiency that ELLs move through. The presenters were also very enthusiastic about having preservice educators in the room! – Danielle Curry, Montclair State University

During my session on mathematics instruction for fifth to eighth grade at the Teaching & Learning Symposium, we spent time going over rubrics. Some of what I learned dealt with the PARCC assessment and how PARCC assessments are scored and what rubrics they use. It helped to broaden my knowledge on methods for student involvement in math as well. – Courtney Earnest, Rider University

In the break out session I attended, I learned a great deal about using common core and praxis standards in a math classroom. It provided me with some possible lessons that I could incorporate into my own classroom when I teach middle school math – Jennifer Fagan, Rowan University

I attended the Engaging Instructional Strategies (PK-12) workshop at the NJEA Teaching & Learning Symposium. For me, a major takeaway was that on average students only remember about ten percent of the content they read and twenty percent that they hear; however, they can remember ninety-five percent when they teach content to someone else. This helps the students that are being taught as well because those students will retain at least half of the information if he or she discusses the content with others. These are very powerful statistics, and after learning this, I plan planning on incorporating more peer teaching and group work where applicable in my future field experiences. – Allison Plishka, Montclair State University

The Teaching & Learning Symposium exceeded my expectations! My session was very engaging and provided excellent strategies; in fact, I implemented some of the strategies, such as “hot seat,” into my practicum classroom this past week. My students have loved the new techniques I’m using from the session, and I was really happy to be able to use what I learned from the symposium into practice. – Samantha Selikoff, The College of New Jersey

The Teaching & Learning Symposium is a continuum of study of best practices. The concept of a continuum, which the morning panel spoke on, is a motto that I aim to follow throughout my career as an educator. As a preservice member that does not have a classroom to call my own, I do not know the challenges and struggles I will face with each incoming class; however, the information about teaching that I learn now will help me become stronger when the time comes. This is why I am so thankful that I was able to attend this symposium and learn from Michelle Thompson about engaging students in the workshop titled Activate, Cultivate, Motivate. She approached this workshop in a practical way by using experiences she had from her own classes. One saying that I constantly hear in the education profession is that teachers should not ask his or her students to do something he or she wouldn’t want to do, and this saying was validated during Thompson’s presentation. Do we want our students to sit through a boring lecture? I, personally, would answer no, and this is also how Thompson would answer. She shook up the room and engaged us through her varying individual and group activities. She split the time we spent in and out of our seats; for example, in our groupings we brainstormed and then acted out different scientific terms, such as neurons, synapses, and dendrites. Thompson always had my attention. I was definitely activated, cultivated, and motivated! – Jessica Quijano, The College of New Jersey

At the Teaching & Learning Symposium, I attended the session about English Language Learners because I felt that throughout my undergraduate career, I didn’t learn enough about how to help those students in my future classroom. The presenters were not only thrilled to have preservice members in the room but also, were excited we were bring proactive for our future students. They showed a short video called “Immersion” about the language barrier challenge English Language Learners face and how they are often overlooked and/or bullied. I really enjoyed the session because they gave us time to work with other people in the room and got us out of our seats and doing different activities that they would use with ELLs. Also, our session was unique because we had a woman in our room that was an ELL student herself and is teaching ELLs now. She brought a lot of great insight into the room and promoted thought provoking conversation throughout. Overall, I was beyond pleased with the session and was engaged from start to finish. Before this session, I knew very little about what to do for ELL students as the general teacher, and while I still wouldn’t consider myself an expert, I do feel more confident. They provided us a link to their presentation and a ton of resources, and I’m sure it will come in handy when I begin teaching!


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