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Each year, senior social studies education methods students at the University of Delaware create a series of case study lessons based on topics that incorporate each of the social studies disciplines. A key component of their projects is to teach these lessons not only to their peers in the class but also to visiting middle and high school students who provide an authentic audience for lessons presented by our pre-service teachers.
"This unique program not only benefits our students immeasurably, but also provides a wonderful window into the university classroom and the campus community for these middle and high school students," said Hannah Kim, an instructor in the history and social studies secondary education program in the University of Delaware Department of History.
The program has grown to include opportunities for the middle and high school students to also interact with ASPIRE (Academic Support Program Inspiring Renaissance Educators) students during college planning sessions.
The middle and high school students are predominantly participants in local AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) programs that prepare students who are in the "academic middle" for college.
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Three Delaware school districts -- Christina, Brandywine and Cape Henlopen -- have adopted AVID as the framework for accelerating the performance of average students, so that more students -- particularly low income and minority students -- get access to Honors and AP courses that provide the best preparation for college.
This year, the Social Studies Education program will host approximately 110 middle and high school students in the methods course, Kim said.
The pre-college students will also tour the campus with Blue Hen Ambassadors and participate in an interactive session with ASPIRE undergraduates who are teacher education majors, many from underrepresented groups.
The ASPIRE undergrads have developed a curriculum for outreach that incorporates their experiences and provides guidance for students who may face challenges in preparing for competitive college enrollment, Kim said.
"One of our goals is to encourage more students from underrepresented backgrounds to prepare for college with opportunities for study at UD, particularly as teacher education majors, in mind," Kim said.