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New UHV class takes students back to middle school

By ERICA RODRIGUEZ
Sept. 30, 2010 at 4:30 a.m.

ABOVE: Making careful notes on how the teacher is interacting with her classroom, UHV student Justin Davidson jots down his observations, while monitoring a class at Howell Middle School.

DID YOU KNOW ... ?The School of Education and Human Development is one of the largest at the University of Houston-Victoria. The school has about 980 students, and created four new courses for 75 underclassmen who are interested in studying education.

Howell Middle School students giggled and twisted in their seats during a mid-morning social studies class.

In a back row, two University of Houston-Victoria education students quietly jotted notes and chattered.

"It's been a long time since I've been in sixth-grade," said Adrianne Ballard, a junior UHV education major, while watching the class. "I just wonder if this is how I was when I was this age."

The two are part of about 28 students in the Art of Teaching UHV freshmen class. The newly-created course is one of four added to the education curriculum for future UHV education underclassmen.

"We've got a healthy number of students that are here because they believe they might become the next generation of teachers, and we wanted to offer them something right away," said Lawrence Rossow, dean of the School of Education and Human Development.

About 75 of UHV's new underclassmen have said they are interested in studying education, and the class will help them decide if the field is right for them.

"Usually you have to wait all the way until you're fourth year until you're student teaching," Rossow said. "They can decide their first semester, their first week of school if whether they're going to like it or not."

Because of the new environment, the class has turned into a hands-on learning lab.

"We can talk about things in our university class, and then they can actually go out into real classrooms and see that," said Carol Klages, associate professor in UHV's School of Education and Human Development who teaches the class. "That is what is so useful is - not just what the teachers talking about, but to see it in action."

For Stacie Garcia, a UHV freshmen, going back to middle school was unexpected, but a useful experience.

"This is how it's really going to be," she said. "This is the classroom we're going to come into."

Klages, a former high school teacher, believes the benefit is two-fold.

"It allows us to have the best of both worlds," she said. "To teach in the university but to come back to really and truly our first love."

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