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March 21, 2013 : OUL Associate Professor and Education Students to Participate in Rural Urban Collaborative Symposium
- Cheri Russo and Jack Jeffery

Lancaster – Ohio University Lancaster Middle Childhood Education Associate Professor Kaye Martin and students from her teacher education class (EDTE 2020) will participate in the Rural Urban Collaborative Symposium at the Ohio University Chillicothe Campus Friday. Approximately 225 students from all of Ohio University's campuses are expected to attend the event in Bennett Hall.

All Ohio University education students participate in the RUC during their sophomore year as part of their professional standing requirement for licensure. The goal of the RUC, which began in 2007, is to provide both rural and urban field experience to education students, thereby offering future teachers a broad-based background that prepares them to teach in a diverse range of settings. Its mission statement notes that the RUC seeks to help teacher candidates develop a deeper awareness of cultural experiences and issues and to develop critical thinking skills based on a solid foundation of cultural knowledge.

"In increasingly diverse communities, it is important that future teachers develop a deeper awareness of cultural differences and develop cultural competence so they are prepared to interact with individuals of various backgrounds," said Barbara Trube, associate professor of education on the Chillicothe Campus, who is a member of the planning team for the upcoming symposium. "This conference is part of the university's ongoing commitment to offering education students the type of educational experience that prepares them for success in their careers."

Among its objectives, the RUC partnership seeks to develop a better understanding of various cultures and the factors that define them, identify stereotypes and challenges associated with various cultures and offer strategies on how to best work within diverse cultures.

 

"This semester we are focusing on the diversity of language," Trube said. "Because there is a high percentage of students whose home language is something other than English in Ohio and in our nation, our pre-service teachers need to have preparation in working with English Language Learners (ELL)."

Trube and guest speaker Lara Wallace are coordinating sessions to introduce students to ELL strategies they can use in their future classrooms. Kaye Martin, faculty member on the Lancaster Campus, is coordinating a session about diversities in Ohio schools.

Additionally, there will be an educators' panel, which will allow current teachers and administrators to share practical insights they have gained with the future teachers attending the symposium.