By GALEN HAWES
ADA – With Covid-19 safety precautions in place across the East Central University campus, Education students are taking extra steps to obtain the learning experiences they need.
As in all campus classrooms, ECU’s Education students are wearing face coverings, socially distancing, and cleaning work areas before and after instruction. With science-based subjects, however, there is a significant amount of hands-on learning involved and that is no easy process with so many additional safety guidelines to follow.
This challenge was recently met when Dr. David Thornton’s Elementary Science Methods classes kicked off the fall semester by hosting Kathy Jackson of KidWind, an organization which specializes in sustainable energy education. Thornton and Jackson took extra precautions during the hands-on lessons, which did nothing to dampen the high spirits of his students.
“The masks and shields could not hide their enthusiasm,” Thornton said. “They are as eager as they have ever been to join the teaching profession.”
For Jackson’s visit, the classes were split into smaller groups and lessons were recorded and posted for students viewing from home – yet another way to help minimize Covid-19 exposure.
Learning in these challenging circumstances may have another, less-obvious benefit – many Education students will be entering classrooms as professional teachers in the near future and will have experience in safely engaging students if the Covid-19 threat persists. In fact, ECU’s current student teachers are now working in pandemic-ready classrooms in area communities.
“ECU has the best Education students – not only in the state, but anywhere,” Thornton said. “They chose this profession because they enjoy teaching young people and no virus is going to change that. By practicing safe protocols here on campus now, they will be ready for whatever challenges await them upon graduation.”
Cutline: ECU student Ginger Wall of Perkins, left, puts together her solar water fountain while receiving guidance from Kathy Jackson, a guest instructor with KidWind, a forerunner in sustainable energy education. Jackson was invited to present in Dr. David Thornton’s Elementary Science Methods class this past week on the ECU campus. (Photo by David Thornton)