The Price School of Education (PSOE) does more than just teach students to be educators. The faculty of the PSOE seeks to inspire their students with the experiences and training needed to be great educators. Nine PSOE seniors completing their clinical residencies (student teaching) visited the Ron Clark Academy in Atlanta for a day of training and inspiration last month.
“I’ve been wanting to do this for a while,” says Karen Hawley, assistant professor of education. Hawley also oversees clinical residencies.
The Ron Clark Academy is a middle school for fourth through eighth graders. Ron Clark and Kim Bearden opened the school in 2007. Since then, the school has received national and international recognition for its innovative and engaging ways of teaching. Clark is a well-known educator, speaker, and author.
Throughout the year, the Ron Clark Academy hosts professional development workshops for educators called RCA EXP. The Ron Clark Academy describes these workshops as “an interactive, immersive learning experience.” Participating teachers get to observe classes taught by Clark and Bearden and attend classes “to ignite a passion for learning, provide meaningful support, encourage academic excellence, foster authentic relationships, and ensure a climate and culture where all students and staff thrive.”
Hawley says the training her students received at the RCA EXP was “worth every penny. They received two years’ worth of training in one day.” The students who attended are writing papers to send to CITEL about their experience, and four of them will present about the experience at the Convocation of Artists and Scholars in the spring.
According to Hawley, some of the more notable things that her students came away with were how well-mannered the students of the Academy were, the polite way in which students presented opposing opinions on classroom topics, how students made eye contact when talking to others, and techniques for learning that involved the whole body.
“One of my students said, ‘Mrs. Hawley, this is surreal. This is like – it’s not real.’ And I said, ‘But it is real. This is what you can do.”