Teacher candidates reach out to the world
By Anne Craig, Communications Officer
Amid the buzz of drills, the pop of the welding torch and the smell of sawdust, there is an undercurrent of excitement inside the Technological Education workshop at the Faculty of Education.
After months of work, the teacher candidates in the Technological Education Program are putting the finishing touches on projects that will impact people in the local community and around the world. The projects include a human-powered lathe for underprivileged youth in the Dominican Republic, a culinary partnership that raises money for a health clinic in South Africa, and a new mail cart that will help a Queen’s staff member living with a disability deliver mail more easily and efficiently.
“As part of the teacher education program, students research a need for a project or a service – the sky is the limit,” says instructor Ena Holtermann (Education). “I ask them, what kind of world do you want to create for your students and how can you improve the human condition? We want these experiences to be real-world and authentic – we want to bring the world into the classroom.”
Students had to find a business, person or group that fit with the curriculum they will teach and identify a project that would provide a direct benefit to their target audience. They then had to find support for their project from a community partner including supplies, promotional materials or consumables.
Scott Lewis (Ed’14) took this challenge to heart. A student in one of his practicum classes told him about taking baseball gloves with him on a trip to the Dominican Republic, which gave Mr. Lewis an idea for the project. His group designed a human-powered lathe capable of making baseball bats, a popular sport in the Dominican Republic.
He and partners Eric Foster (Ed’14) and Chris Darnell (Ed’14) then headed to Veron, Dominican Republic, where they rebuilt a workshop at a school, installed the lathe (which is powered by bicycle pedals), and taught the students how to use it. “This wasn’t just a handout,” says Mr. Scott. “The kids really did all the work. They were really excited.”
“They can also use the technology to make other projects because power is very expensive and this was a very poor area we were in,” says Mr. Foster.
Another project addressed a need much closer to home. A staff member with a disability in the Faculty of Education is finding it harder and harder to do his job delivering mail due to his disability. The group of James Poortinga (Ed’14), Allison Posthumus (Ed’14) and Thomas Bruce (Ed’14) took up the challenge of building a new mail cart that was designed specifically for his needs.
The biggest thrill for the teacher candidates working on the project? The new mail cart is a surprise that will be revealed to the staff member at the Expo.
“The mail cart before was noisy and hard to push and he had to bend down to push it which put strain on his back,” says Mr. Poortinga. “We created a cart that was much higher with a kids bicycle tire as the back wheel and two wheelchair wheels for the front wheels. The cart is lighter and much easier to push and will make his job easier.”
The community is invited to see these projects and much more during the Technological Education Expo Tuesday, April 29 from 11 am to 3 pm. Visitors will have an opportunity to use some basic shop equipment, sample food projects and experience hands-on learning. All of the projects will also be on display.