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Students gain hands-on experience in an urban school setting

Twelve University of Wisconsin Oshkosh College of Education and Human Services students participated in the Urban Experience May 17-20 in Milwaukee, Wis.

Led by Professor Lenore Wineberg, the annual, hands-on program provides students an opportunity to explore an urban school environment.

During their four days in Milwaukee, the students shadowed classroom teachers at Westside Academy, led group classroom activities and worked one-on-one with children from diverse ethnic backgrounds, including bilingual students. With demographic shifts toward enrollment of more students of color in public schools, the program helped strengthen students’ knowledge about these populations.

“The program gives students a much broader perspective about the education field, as well as an opportunity to challenge their preconceptions about urban schools,” said Wineberg. The program also hopes to inspire UW Oshkosh students to teach in an urban setting.

"This experience has made me want to teach in an urban area even more,” said Tim Schneider, a senior education student. “Seeing the setting the school was in and the children was really eye opening.” Schneider said it seemed that the students he worked with were forced to be older than they were, due to their unique situations, but they still had the natural curiosity of children their age.

In addition to classroom activities, University students participated in several cultural activities to help them understand difficult social issues and gain a sense of urban life. “Our visit to the Black History Museum was a great place to learn more African-American history, which can only help me understand that culture more completely," said Melissa Teasdale, a senior education student. The students also visited the Milwaukee Art Museum and ate at several local ethnic restaurants.

Over the past nine years, approximately 100 students have participated in the program, which has received a Promising Practice award by the Wisconsin PK-16 Leadership Council. Students who participated in this year’s Urban Experience included:

Julia Evje,  junior,  elementary education
Marlene Figueroa, senior, elementary education and English as a second language
Kaelyn Gabrilska, junior, elementary education
Alyssa Holbrook, junior, elementary education
Kayla Kumbier, senior, elementary education
Erica Roberts, junior, elementary education
Timothy Schneider, senior, elementary education
Diana Sears, senior, elementary education
Laura Seubert, junior, elementary education
Melissa Teasdale, senior, elementary education
Nina Van Beek, senior, elementary education
Beatriz Vazquez, senior, elementary education and English as a second language

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