This Tuesday John Hader, George Bickford, Trish Perez and I spent the day with Mr. Sato, Mr. Yamamoto, and Mr. Iwasaki from Shohoku College: A Sony Institute of Higher Education located in Kanagawa, Japan. They have a department of Early Childhood Education and Care and, among many other programs, they were interested in the Child Development programs that we offer at City Colleges.
The cool thing was that I got to take a tour of HWC from the 11th floor to the first floor. Hader was the guide and like a proud uncle he brought us to a variety of classes in session that morning. We visited Jaime Millan’s Physics class, Uthman Erogbogbo’s Biology class, Richard Repasky’s Printmaking class, Jess Bader’s Ceramics class, Allan Wilson’s Chemistry class, and Anita Kelley’s Fundamentals of Investments class. We also stopped by for a brief tour of the Disability Access Center where Nicolette Radford showed us the equipment used to translate textbooks into Braille. Finally, we rounded off the morning by admiring the student architectural proposals for the HWC green roof and then sitting in on Trish Perez’s Language Development class.
Let me just say, I was impressed!
We hear about active learning, engaged learning, student-centered classrooms and all that other jargon. The cool thing is, this is what we saw on Tuesday. Students were very involved with whatever was happening in class whether they were paying attention to a demonstration by the instructor, in small group discussions, or engaged in a project like working on a sculpture or reading a children’s book to a group. I am not exaggerating when I say that I did not see a single student who looked bored or uninvolved. May I stress that this was not a planned visit. We simply walked down the halls and poked our heads into any room in which we heard voices.
It was such a pleasure to visit the college and try to see it from a visitor’s perspective. I will admit that I went to floors that I haven’t set foot on in years. I rarely go to other departments. I have never been to most of the classrooms I visited on Tuesday. To be honest, I rarely take the time to visit classrooms of my departmental colleagues much less colleagues outside of my department. This was a real treat!
Maybe I am still under the charm of the beginning of the semester when everything feels so hopeful; so possible. I don’t know, but it was difficult not to feel proud of this place when the evidence was right in front of me. Kudos to the faculty – three cheers, and keep up the good work! I’m proud to be among you.