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Arts + education + the BISC = unique learning experience

BISC Concurrent Education students speak with Head Teacher Barbara Gill and Special Educational Needs Teacher Liz Hubbell of Netherfield Primary School at a special Careers Evening. (Supplied Photo)

A brand new first-year program at the Bader International Study Centre (BISC) is celebrating as its first cohort heads back to Kingston to complete their studies, and a new class joins the castle community.

Candidates in the Concurrent Education program complete Education courses alongside their courses in the Faculty of Arts and Science, leading towards the award of a Bachelor of Education in addition to their chosen Bachelor’s degree. The program is designed for students who might be interested in teaching internationally following their studies. Twenty four students successfully completed the year at the BISC in its first offering, and a full complement of 26 are registered for this fall.

“Offering this type of experience so early in their teaching practice really sets the BISC students apart and is likely to benefit their careers greatly,” says Christian Lloyd, Academic Director of the BISC. “Gaining exposure to the UK education system and progressing towards both their Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Education simultaneously will better equip these students for their chosen career path. We are pleased at the success of the first year offering of Concurrent Education and look forward to welcoming our second cohort this fall.”

Similar to the Concurrent Education program available in Kingston, the first year undergraduates are expected to spend some quality time in a grade school setting while they are students at the BISC. Each student is placed in a local primary school and a local secondary school – and the list of participating schools is growing thanks to the success of the first year.

During their time at the schools, a series of classroom observations organized at these host schools give students invaluable practical experience of working alongside other education professionals. The students can make connections between theory and practice through contact with children in real classrooms. Under the guidance of their hosts, the students are expected to assist the classroom teacher in one-on-one, or small group situations, and then discuss their observations with the host teacher afterwards.

In addition to the hands-on experience, the BISC held a dedicated Concurrent Education Careers Evening at the end of the fall term to help the students visualize where they will go after completing their studies. The evening featured a presentation by highly successful head teacher Sir Paul Grant, and an informal mixer afterwards where students had the chance to meet Liz Hubbell, a Queen’s alumnus now teaching in the UK, along with the head teacher of a local primary school, a recruiter specializing in the placement of overseas teachers in the UK, and representatives from East Sussex Local Education Authority.

Once they complete the first year studies, the students have the option of taking the accompanying classroom-taught module, ‘Self as Teacher’, on their return to Kingston either that summer, or the following fall.

“It was a joy to work with the students at Netherfield (my placement school), and the host teachers were incredibly welcoming and instructive – I learned so much from them,” says Charis Foster (Artsci’20, Ed’21), a student who has completed the Concurrent Education program. “I would highly recommend the First Year Con-Ed program at the Castle for anyone, especially those who hope to teach overseas."

For more information about Concurrent Education at the BISC, click here. You can also learn about the Kingston-based Concurrent Education program here.