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.

UMBC Partnership with Arbutus Middle School Featured on BCPS TV

Baltimore County Public Schools TV recently profiled UMBC’s partnership with Arbutus Middle School (AMS), featuring student teaching interns from UMBC and tutors in the Arbutus Achievers program. AMS is a professional development school (PDS) in the UMBC PDS Network, which allows student teachers to complete yearlong Education Internships at the school.

Shriver Peaceworker Fellow Mark Zachar ’17 M.A., teaching, and Elizabeth Forney ’14, English, were highlighted in the video for their student teaching experiences at AMS. Forney is now a first-year teacher at AMS and credits her internship with preparing her for a career. “The transition from being an intern to a teacher here at the same school… definitely made it easier,” she said. Michael Guarraia ’07 M.A., teaching, was also included in the video in his position as the AMS science department chair.

Ciara Saunders ’17, social work and health administration and public policy, spoke about the Arbutus Achievers program and the impact one on one tutoring has on the students at AMS. The Arbutus Achievers Program is coordinated by Maryland-DC Campus Compact Americorps VISTA member Nick Ramundo through the Shriver Center.

Michelle Feeney, principal of AMS, applauded the relationship between UMBC and AMS, saying, “As we provide opportunities for collaboration, our teachers have a partnership with UMBC and they model that collaboration for our students.”

UMBC is featured 11:40-14:46.

BCPS News 2014-15 SHOW#4 10-24-14 from Baltimore County Public Schools on Vimeo

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.