Eugene Schaffer and Jonathan Singer, Education, in Capital News Service

An article published March 4 in Capital News Service examines the Common Core State Standards and how college students studying education and soon entering the world of teaching are preparing for it.

Education Professor and Chair Eugene Schaffer is quoted in the article describing UMBC’s curriculum and the department’s understanding of the need to prepare students for the Common Core:  “We know that the people that graduate this coming spring will be entering the classrooms and will be teaching Common Core,” Schaffer said. “This is a great concern of ours.”

Schaffer also commented on internships that are completed in the classroom by students who work closely with mentors: “When they’re [interning] for a full semester, they’re teaching the skills they have developed, and a lot of that is related to Common Core,” he added.

Associate Professor of Education Jonathan Singer is also quoted in the article when describing education courses at UMBC: “Methods courses have specific lessons geared toward explaining what Common Core is,” Singer said. “They have three or four lesson plans they have to develop in connection to Common Core.”

You can read the full article in Capital News Service by clicking here.

Joan Shin, Education, Receives Ben Warren International House Trust Prize

Education Professor of Practice Joan Shin has received the 2013 Ben Warren International House Trust Prize for her book Teaching Young Learners English (National Geographic Learning/Cengage Learning, 2013). Shin coauthored the book with JoAnn Crandall, Professor Emerita and former Director of the Language, Literacy and Culture Ph.D. program.

Teaching Young Learners English Joan Shin

The prestigious award is given annually to the author or authors of the most outstanding work in the field of language teacher education. The Ben Warren International House Trust was created as a memorial to the work and life of Ben Warren, who was a leader in developing the world’s leading language teaching organization.

Shin’s book was published last year. It teaches English as a foreign language to young children and presents practical suggestions and best practices for teachers to engage young learners.

The award was announced in Barcelona, Spain on Saturday, February 8. You can read more about the announcement here. You can also find more information on Shin’s book series with National Geographic Learning here.

Article by Christopher Rakes, Education, Receives Award

An article co-authored by Christopher Rakes, assistant professor of education, has been selected as an honorable mention for the Journal of School Psychology ‘s (JSP) 2012 Article of the Year.

The article was entitled “A Longitudinal Study of School Connectedness and Academic Outcomes across Sixth Grade,” and co-authored by Kate Niehaus, assistant professor of Educational Psychology and Research at the University of South Carolina, and Kathleen Rudasill, Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.  The study examines the extent to which school connectedness (i.e., students’ perceptions of school support and the number of adults with whom they have a positive relationship) is associated with academic outcomes across sixth grade for students from high poverty neighborhoods.

This selection was based on nominations from JSP editorial board members and members of the Society for the Study of School Psychology and voting by an independent selection committee composed of Society for the Study of School Psychology members.

An abstract of the article can be read here.

Department of Education and CADVC Partner on Exhibit Highlighting Outreach to Area Schools

UMBC’s Department of Education joins the Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture (CADVC) to celebrate their year long K-12 Educational Outreach Collaboration with an art exhibition by students from their partnership schools.

After experiencing the CADVC gallery and/or virtual exhibition, For All the World to See: Visual Culture and the Struggle for Civil Rights, the students were invited to create visual artwork, poetry, or prose for display at UMBC as well. Their work is a creative interpretation of the interaction between visual culture and social justice.

The exhibition is featured at the UMBC Commons Mezzanine Gallery beginning with an artist’s reception Thursday, April 11, 6 – 8 pm. It will be on display to the public through May 23, 2013.  The Commons is open Monday – Thursday 7:30am – 12pm, Friday 7:30am – 1am, Saturday 8am – 1am, and Sunday 10am – 11pm.

The installation features original artwork by three Baltimore City schools (Augusta Fells Savage Institute of Visual Arts High School, Baltimore City College High School, and Digital Harbor High School), Mt. Hebron High School in Howard County, and Hugh M. Cummings High School in North Carolina. Baltimore City College High School, Digital Harbor High School, and Mt. Hebron High School are Professional Development School partners with UMBC’s Department of Education.

The Galleries at the Commons, UMBC are free and open to the public. For parking directions or maps, visit

Project supporters include USM Redesign of Teacher Education Grant Program, UMBC’s commonvision, and Maryland State Arts Council.

More information is available on the For All the World to See exhibition at

Joan Shin and Jodi Crandall Publish Book Chapters

Joan Shin, clinical assistant professor of education, recently published a chapter in the 4th edition of “Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language.”   Jodi Crandall, professor emerita of Language Litercy and Culture, also has a chapter in the book.

“Teaching English as a Second or Foreign Language” is the most widely used TESOL Methods book in the world.

John Nelson and Tymofey Wowk, Education, in the Washington Post

“Since it arrived a year ago at Politics & Prose, ‘Opus,’ Washington’s first print-on-demand Espresso book machine, has helped hundreds of area scribblers realize their publishing dreams,” writes the Washington Post.

Two such authors are John Nelson, Co-Director of the ESOL M.A. program, and his student Tymofey Wowk. The two used Opus to create their dream textbook, “Making English Grammar Meaningful and Useful,” which they read from at an “open-mike” night at the bookstore on January 26.

The paper wrote about the reading in a January 29 story entitled “Open-mike night for self-published authors.”

Sarah Shin, Education, On WBAL

On July 24, WBAL-TV interviewed education professor Sarah Shin as part of a story on the Peyton family of Harford County, who are blending their American and Costa Rican heritage by raising their children bilingual.

Reporter Sarah Caldwell spoke with Shin, who is the author of the book Bilingualism in Schools and Society: Language, Identity, and Policy, about raising bilingual children. Shin told Caldwell that it’s best to start early. “The fact that children are not able to really put together coherent sentences does not mean that they aren’t processing language,” she said. Shin also said the creation of opportunities for children to interact with speakers of a second language could be beneficial, such as a bilingual babysitter, playgroup, or nursery or preschool.

Eugene Schaffer, Education, in the Catonsville Times

Eugene Schaffer, professor and chair of education, spoke with the Catonsville Times for a story on the performance of the county’s middle school students on the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) tests.

With test scores on math showing a slight improvement and reading scores a slight decline, the results show an overall mixed record regarding students’ progress.

Schaffer said that subjects that used to be taught in high school are now taught in middle school, which might account for some of the decline. He also spoke of the difficulties facing many students during the middle school years. “It’s tough being in middle school because it’s a time of enormous growth, intellectually, physically,” he said. “Just growing up is an enormous challenge. You’re going through a lot of changes.”

The story, “Arbutus middle school students’ progress mixed on MSA test,” appeared on July 17.

STEP T for ELLs Program Awarded Additional Year of Funding

UMBC’s Secondary Teacher Education and Professional Training for English Language Learners (or STEP T for ELLs) program has been awarded an additional year of funding by the U.S. Department of Education. The program is funded through the Office of English Language Acquisition.

The STEP T for ELLs Program helps secondary teachers of math, science, and social studies to provide effective instruction to ESOL students. This program provides professional development in areas such as teaching strategies and cross-cultural communications.

The program has surpassed its original goal of training 880 in-service teachers and 60 teacher leaders in the state of Maryland. The program has already trained 1,040 in-service teachers (math, science, social studies, and ESOL) and 273 teacher leaders.  These teacher leaders in Montgomery County Public Schools, Howard County Public School System, and Frederick County Public Schools will be training teachers in their school systems using STEP T for ELLs Program modules.  In addition, the program leaders are developing online professional development modules to be offered in the Maryland State Department of Education.

This program builds an understanding of who ELLs are and how to communicate across cultures effectively. More information about the program can be found here.

UMBC Hosts Teachers from Peru

UMBC ‘s TESOL Professional Training Programs recently hosted ten administrators from the Instituto Cultural Peruano Norteamericano (ICPNA) which is located in Lima, Peru for an intensive one-week teacher leadership institute. The program, which ran from June 10-16, was tailored to the needs of their Young Student Program (YSP), which has approximately 10,000-11,000 students at the primary school level with about 250-300 teachers working in at any one time.

Joan Kang Shin, a clinical assistant professor in the school of continuing and professional studies, has traveled to Peru the past 3 years to help ICPNA teachers improve their growing YSP program.  The Academic Director of ICPNA, Leonardo Mercado, originally came to Shin because of an internationally-known course entitled “Teaching English to Young Learners,” which she developed.

Workshops at the leadership institute were led by Shin, Jodi Crandall, professor emerita of education, and Heidi Faust, a LLC Ph.D. student.  These workshops helped the teachers develop standards for their YSP program and create a plan for teacher professional development. In addition to the workshops, the teachers participated in a cultural program that included a trip to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor and Washington, DC.

UMBC is becoming known worldwide for expertise in teaching English as a foreign language to young learners of English, a rapidly growing field.

After years of interacting with hundreds of English teachers in over 100 countries through an online professional development program called the E-Teacher Scholarship Program, Shin and Crandall started to do research in this area.  Now, they are co-authoring a book about teaching young learners English and are Series Editors for a 6-level English primary level series with National Geographic Learning called “Our World”.

At the end of the leadership institute, the National Geographic Society hosted the ICPNA group for a private tour of the Society and a special presentation by Johan Reinhard, the National Geographic explorer and anthropologist who discovered the Inca Ice Maiden in the Andes in Peru.  The Executive Director of National Geographic Learning also hosted a dinner with Reinhard.