UMBC education department, CADVC partner with Arbutus Middle School for environmental art outreach project

CADVC-ED event1

Photo courtesy Parastoo Aslanbeik, IMDA graduate student

As part of an ongoing partnership with professional development schools, UMBC’s education department and Center for Art, Design and Visual Culture (CADVC) hosted Arbutus Middle School students and teachers on campus October 26 and Nov 2 to learn about environmental art and artists.

During the program, students participated in an instructional session about artists Andy Goldsworthy and Scott Wade, learned about the elements of art, and defined terms such as ephemeral art and reverse graffiti, among other topic areas in environmental art.

Students then learned about the process of creating nature journals, walked over to the Joseph Beuys Sculpture Park, and after completing outdoor observation work, they worked on sketching and journaling activities. The students’ completed art projects will be featured in an exhibition on campus.

“This experience is about more than art,” explains Barbara Bourne, clinical instructor and director of elementary education and arts coordinator in the education department. “In addition to the hands-on activities and the follow-up gallery show, students take their first steps onto a college campus. It’s especially rewarding to watch as they proudly share this campus experience with their parents and siblings, many of whom are visiting a university for the first time themselves.”

“It is important for CADVC’s Educational Outreach Program to partner with professional development schools such as AMS because it allows us to make our gallery exhibitions accessible to K-12 groups and the families of those students. This is our mandate as we are a community art institution as well a gallery for the campus, and we receive Maryland State Arts Council grant funding for this purpose,” shares Sandra Abbott, curator of collections and outreach for the CADVC.

Beginning November 12, the student artwork will be displayed as part of an exhibit titled “Natural Connections: Linking Art and Nature,” UMBC’s K-12 Educational Outreach Exhibition, Fall 2015. The exhibit runs until December 17 and is open to the public in the hall gallery on the first floor of the Fine Arts Building.

UMBC TESOL Associate Director Wins 2015 TESOL International Association Research Grant

The TESOL International Association has announced the recipients of its 2015 research mini-grants, and UMBC’s Heidi Faust is the winner of a grant to research English teacher professional development through professional learning communities (PLCs).

Heidi FaustThe project, titled “Sustaining Professional Development through Professional Learning Communities: A Case Study of the Impact on Teacher Identity and Practice at a Peruvian Binational Center,” will investigate the impact of professional learning communities on English language teachers as the global demand for access to English increases and more teachers are transitioning from teaching English to adults to younger learners.

“Without knowledge to manage the developmental, behavioral, and cognitive demands of young learners, such teachers may experience high levels of frustration and likewise work very hard with limited results. They may not identify as English teachers of young learners and may lack the stamina to stay in the classroom with young learners,” a press release announcing the award stated.

As part of the project, Faust, an instructor in the education department, LLC doctoral student, and associate director of TESOL professional training programs at UMBC, will use archival course data, surveys, and analysis of teacher reflective journals to examine the sustainability of PLCs in enhancing the professional development and identity of teachers.

In addition to her work at UMBC, Faust currently coordinates online professional development for English teachers and learners from more than 100 countries. She is an English language specialist for the U.S. Department of State and the 2015–2016 Chair of the Intercultural Communication Interest Section. Read more on the TESOL International Association website.

Joan Shin, Education, Writes about the International Children’s Song Approach in The Conversation

Joan ShinJoan Shin, education professor of practice, recently published an article in The Conversation that examined the power of using children’s songs to introduce children to different cultures and the world around them. “Without realizing it, children learn language and content simultaneously. Songs build skills that help children distinguish the sounds of a language, and connect sound to script and assist with vocabulary building,” Shin wrote.

Shin discussed the teaching approach she developed that combines her song research and search for cultural materials to teach English as a global language. Shin’s “international children’s song approach” uses songs from around the world as a method of teaching English to young children.

“Whether children are learning English as a second language, or even a third or fourth language, they are being exposed to it at earlier and earlier ages worldwide. Using international children’s songs from around the world is an effective approach for teaching English as a global language to kids. Language is a carrier of culture, and English is uniquely positioned to communicate across cultures around the world. Materials to teach it should embrace all cultures,” Shin described.

To read the full article “How should kids learn English: through Old MacDonald’s farm or Ali Baba’s farm?” click here.

Education Department Announces First Summer Enrichment Experience Scholars Program

UMBCIn keeping with our commitment to developing programs that promote the well-being and success of our Professional Development Schools’ (PDS) P-12 students, the UMBC Education Department is pleased to announce its first Summer Enrichment Experience (SEE) Scholars program.

With their principal and mentor teacher’s endorsement, UMBC teacher candidates have nominated students from their internship classrooms to attend the summer learning camps at UMBC – free of charge. 

A total of seven students from UMBC PDS schools have been selected as SEE Scholars. Four students from Violetville Elementary/Middle School in Baltimore City will attend Measuring Up! What’s in a Number, an innovative math camp designed and taught by Dr. Christopher Rakes, assistant professor and secondary math educator in the education department. Two student scholars from Laurel Woods Elementary School, a Title I school in Howard County, will attend Science and Engineering: Experimenting with Basic Concepts. One student from Patapsco Middle School in Howard County will attend Sounding Off: The Art of Foley Sound in Media.

For more information on the SEE programs, click here.

9th Annual Arts Integration Conference (2/28)

artsintegrationThe UMBC Department of Education, in cooperation with the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture and the UMBC Department of American Studies, will host its 9th Annual Arts Integration Conference on February 28, 2015.

The day will begin with Of Ebony Embers: Vignettes of the Harlem Renaissance, a musical narrative by the Core Ensemble, and wrap up with a performance by slam poet, Gayle Danley. Most workshops will focus on using the visual and performing arts of the Harlem Renaissance as a theme for arts integration in K-12 classrooms. Others will provide historical overviews of the Harlem Renaissance. The conference is free to the UMBC community but registration is required. Visit or contact for further information.

Joan Shin, Education, Wins Prestigious English-Speaking Union Book Award

Joan Shin, Education Professor of Practice, has received additional recognition for her book series Our World with National Geographic Learning. The series is designed to give learners the skills and knowledge they need to learn English and understand the world around them.

Joan Shin

Our World: Level 4, has been chosen as the Best Entry for Learners in the HRH Duke of Edinburgh English Language Book Awards, part of the English-Speaking Union (ESU). The award series was founded in the 1970s to acknowledge innovation and achievement in the field of English language teaching. Winners are selected for originality and substance by a panel of widely respected judges.

Our World uses images, text, and video and provides National Geographic content to young learners of English. The series also provides support and professional development resources for English language teachers. For more information, click here.

Last year, Shin’s book Teaching Young Learners English (National Geographic Learning/Cengage Learning, 2013) received the 2013 Ben Warren International House Trust Prize, which is a prestigious award given annually to the author or authors of the most outstanding work in the field of language teacher education. Shin coauthored the book with JoAnn Crandall, Professor Emerita and former Director of the Language, Literacy and Culture Ph.D. program.

For the official ESU award announcement, click here. To read more about Shin’s work in UMBC Magazine, click here.

Zane Berge, Education, Wins Prestigious Association for Educational Communications and Technology Awards

Zane BergeZane Berge, professor of education, has won two prestigious Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) awards. Berge was named the winner of the Distance Education Book Award, which is given for the outstanding book published within the last three years that describes important aspects of distance education, theory, or examples that can help others involved in distance education or research on an important aspect of distance education. The award-winning book Handbook of Mobile Learning (Routledge 2013) was co-edited by Berge and his colleague at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, Lin Muilenburg. For more information, click here.

Berge also received the Distance Learning Division Journal Article Award for his publication “Barriers to Communication in Distance Education,” published in the Turkish Online Journal of Distance Education (January 2013). The article describes how improvements in distance education technology have lead to opportunities to overcome barriers to ineffective communication and the complexity of those barriers faced by participants.

The awards were announced earlier this month during the Distance Learning Division luncheon at the AECT annual conference.