Lisa Edstrom

Dec 2016

Edstrom is a good lecturer and discussion leader. In class, she will make an effort to foster discussion on topics instead of merely lecturing the entire time. It's also very nice to see her embody the same constructivist and progressive teaching principles she teaches about into her own teaching in this class. For example, she encourages discussions and urges students to create their own meaning from the readings, she integrates mathematics with social justice issues, and she presents ideas through multimedia, such as videos or classroom tools (having us work with tools elementary school students might use in their classes). Unfortunately, I thought the course was quite disorganized. Even though there was a syllabus, we didn't always cover the readings as specified on a certain day. Furthermore, there wasn't much guidance provided for planning the field trip (a major part of the grade), and the time frame was extremely narrow (it's tough to schedule field trips on such short notice, given the partner teachers' schedules). I would've appreciated more time devoted to planning a field trip (not a trivial task) and a clearer roadmap for the course. Also, some of the course tasks seemed quite trivial. For example, we all had to keep journals for our fieldwork observations and for class notes. What was strange is that a good portion of the notebook grade came from decorating your notebook and making it pretty which...was odd. At times I felt like I was actually in a 3rd grade classroom! The fieldwork component is also quite time-consuming (30 hours for the semester for education studies, 40 hours for urban teaching). I really enjoyed my placement, but be sure you have the time for the fieldwork, especially if you are placed in a school far from Columbia.