ECCO students experience education in Chicago during fall break trip

ecco-chicago-trip

Over fall break, a group of 16 undergraduates, graduate students and faculty traveled to Chicago to visit different K-12 learning environments and connect with alumni and students. The group is affiliated with the Educators in Context and Community (ECCO) learning community.

ECCO is a comprehensive, career-based, professional development learning community for education majors and others who work with children. One main focus of the group is to acclimate educators to the diverse cultures and communities – urban, rural and suburban –which their students will bring into the classroom. Participants in the Chicago trip, led by Dr. Patrick Vrooman, director of ECCO and lecturer in the School of Teaching and Learning, spent time learning about the different types of educational ideologies and student populations that serve greater Chicago.

The group began their trip at Lindblom Math and Science Academy where they met with Alan Mather, former principal and current director of college and career success for Chicago Public Schools.  

Lindblom Math and Science Academy is one of nine selective enrollment high schools in the Chicago public school system and is located on Chicago’s South Side. The student body is approximately 97% minority and 80% low-income.

During the tour of the 100-year-old building, Mather talked about the new, competency-based pedagogy used at Lindblom, where homework and attendance do not impact a student’s academic grade. Under this model, only demonstration of competency in academic material counts. The students also received a historical overview of the Lindblom neighborhood and the changing demographics of the surrounding neighborhood.  

In addition, the group visited Collins Academy, a Chicago Public School located in the central-city of Chicago. Collins Academy serves mainly a minority population and is committed to cultivating the intellect and character of the entire community of lifelong learners.  

At Collins Academy, students met with College of Education and Human Development alumna Alexandra Ogonek ’14, and 16 of her students. The Collins students engaged in meaningful conversation with the BGSU teacher candidates about what it is like to live in a central-city environment and shared tips for success when teaching in a central-city classroom - connecting with students , focusing primarily on the importance of developing meaningful relationships with students.  The BGSU teacher candidates then shared tips for success in a college environment including time management, finding a support system and asking for help.  

The trip was organized as part of the annual ECCO Fall Break Trip; however, Vrooman is hopeful that this trip made the initial connections for a future relationship between BGSU and Chicago Public Schools. The ECCO director is planning to host students from Chicago over spring break, as well as other experiences for both the BGSU students and students from Chicago Public Schools.  

“The goal of this trip was first, to introduce BGSU students to a different learning environment and different pedagogic philosophies, and second, to build a solid foundation for future collaborations between our teacher candidates and Chicago Public Schools,” said Vrooman. “Having our students go out into the field and have teaching experiences in places like Chicago is integral to the mission of ECCO and will benefit our teachers as they go into their own classrooms.”  

ECCO students will have another opportunity to see first-hand the different types of educational settings as the group will visit New York City during spring break.