The Wheaton College Education Department took a big step last year: its longstanding minor was finally approved as one of the college’s academic majors, and the inaugural class of Wheaton Education majors walked across the graduation stage on May 17.
There has been no change in class requirements or the curriculum, according to Mary Lee Griffin, Professor of Education. All Education majors must also have a double major, however, which Griffin believes is a positive thing: students that intend on teaching should have a depth of knowledge that is not exclusively focused on the logistics of education, but rather wider ranging, deeper pool of knowledge that can assist potential teachers in bringing their students a deeper understanding.
I interviewed various students in Griffin’s Education 390 class, Teaching of Reading and the Language Arts. These students intend to teach at the elementary school level. Consequently, their students will be young children, whose psychological and emotional development is still in the works. In this regard, the students of EDUC 390 have incredibly innovative and positive ideas, developed through their supplementary majors, which will assist them and their potential students in and outside of the classroom.
Women’s and Gender Studies Majors intend to use what they learn to focus on ideas of feminism, gender equality and awareness, and what impact teachers can have on young students’ development of these perceptions.
Psychology Majors have been educated in developmental and early childhood psychology. Therefore these aspiring teachers can have more of an understanding as to why their young students do and act the way they do, and why they make certain decisions over others. The psych major can also provide a deeper insight as to how young children learn most effectively so that the material they teach their students may have a greater impact to their just beginning pool of knowledge.
Studio Art Majors in the class can focus on effective types of hands-on learning, a key aspect to every elementary school student’s education, and what types of lessons will be fun as well as educational. This type of learning would be seen as fun, creative, and innovative, not only to the students themselves but as well as the teachers creating and implementing the curriculum.
Throughout the class of EDUC 390 these education majors and future teachers are utilizing their extra major to play a significant positive role in their future students’ education and development of self. These ideas of feminism and gender equality, promoting consciousness of self and one’s actions, and creativity and innovation are not only very significant to us as college students but also primary school students. The beginning pieces of these powerful ideas can play a substantial positive role at young ages. Needless to say the implementation of the education majors’ supplementary major fields in primary school classrooms can lead their future students to a well-defined understanding of these big ideas at play, and consequently have a progressive mark on them as future thinkers.