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OCU Develops Future Teacher's Skills in Educating 'Whole Child' image

By Steven Collins, Senior Reporter, Circleville Herald

Photo by Nancy Radcliff, Chief Photographer, Circleville Herald

Circleville Herald, November 15, 2018

The Ohio Christian University’s Teacher Education program is guiding the next generation of teachers into modern day teaching.

Valarie Jones, chair of the education department, said they’re teaching their education students about trauma-informed educating, a way to teach students who have been affected by trauma to their maximum potential.

“Everything we do has the idea to love the kids first and then everything else comes after,” Jones said explaining their process. “It’s about the education of the whole child, mind, body, and soul. It’s something we’ve been teaching here all along.”

Jones cited the teachings of John Dewey, a philosopher during the late 19th and early 20th centuries who had the idea that education and learning are social and interactive processes and that students thrive in an environment where they are allowed to experience and interact with the material they’re learning.

“We stay true to what we believe is the best way to teach education, to both children and adults, which is through hands-on methods through teaching the whole child or young adult,” she said. “It’s not just about the content, or just about testing. We don’t focus on testing. We focus on what the child, or in our classrooms, the young adult needs.”

Jones noted that education has changed over the years.

“We’re committed here to educate the next generation of teachers and that looks a lot different than it did 20 years ago and that’s okay,” she said. “We’re of course a Christian university and everything we do. We have Christ at our center. We show Christ’s love to our students. We know the world is changing and we need to prepare our students to be excellent educators and that’s what we’re prepared to do.”

This year, the freshman class of students in the department doubled in size as the department has added several new programs and diversified the grade levels they offer.

As part of preparing their students to be educators, Jones said they’re working with the local school districts to give their students the opportunity to learn. In exchange, they’re offering professional development to those districts.

“We appreciate so much our relationships with all the schools in the area,” she said. “All of our students are in those classrooms and we make sure our students get a diverse idea of all the schools. We want them to know if they like a city school better than a county school so they’re prepared for where they may want to teach.”

Email: scollins@circlevilleherald.com and follow on twitter @Collins_Herald

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