Studying Abroad – Learning From Experience

By Maria Poccia, SED 2016

For three and a half months, I lived, studied, and worked in London, England. During my time in the United Kingdom, I traveled to ten countries taking fourteen planes, four ferries, two trains and busses, and countless Tube rides. I made new friends and reconnected with old ones. I ate macaroons in Paris, pasta in Rome, chocolate and fries in Belgium, Schnitzel in Vienna, and haggis in Edinburgh. I took thousands of pictures and broke two pairs of shoes while observing some of the worlds most breathtaking landmarks and natural wonders.

So, when people ask me “What was the most amazing part of your study aboard?” I have a hard time formulating an answer. Though I may not be able to choose what the best part of studying abroad was for me, I know what the most important aspect of my travels was- that I learned more about the world than ever before by observing it through first hand experiences.

As an education student, I believe that one way to create a strong, valuable learning experience is by observing something first hand. Whether it is looking at bacteria under a microscope in a lab, analyzing a painting at a museum, or working on communications and team work skills on a group project, learning by doing, according to Hayne W. Reese’s article Learning-by-Doing Principal, allows students to gain understanding and knowledge of something “from experiences resulting directly from one’s own actions”. This allows students to take ownership of their learning and develop a personal connection to material and content.

Wanting to be a social studies teacher, I believe that learning by doing has extreme value for students to learn about a period in history, region of the world, political and economic systems, or culture. If students are provided the opportunity to go on field trips, examine primary sources, and be immersed in an environment they are studying, they can truly analyze the world around them. In my future classroom, I want to expose students to the idea of exploration. In every unit, I hope to create an environment where my students actually feel like they are a part of world they are studying, and for them to become world travelers by being active scholars in the classroom.

Maria Poccia is a rising senior in the School of Education, majoring in History Education

Educators Rising

By Emma Preston, SED 2016

In the School of Education course “The Civic Context of Education,” last year, one of my classmates brought up an important, yet disturbing point: we, as teachers, don’t often encourage our children to become teachers. When we give children examples of what they can do with what they are learning, becoming a teacher rarely makes the cut. For example, when we offer a list of professions that require knowledge of math, we might offer professions ranging from engineer to accountant, but not math teacher.

As a class full of future educators we were miffed by this realization. Teachers are important, influential individuals, so why then is this profession not encouraged? A few brave SED juniors, Griffin Monahan ‘16 and Will English ’16, decided to bring this issue, along with many others, to light by establishing a new club at BU. Aimed at discussing current issues in the educational system that often go unaddressed, Educators Rising is a welcome addition to the clubs recognized by BU in the spring of 2015.

I had the opportunity to ask Griffin a few questions about Educators Rising  and it’s goals, and I would like to share his answers with the SED community.

W What are the main goals of the club?

Educators Rising’s  goal is to serve as a group that can meet and discuss issues in education that often go unaddressed. Our main 3 issues being gender and diversity in the career of education, alternative careers in education, and professional benefits of educators. We will be working with students in the greater Boston area to build their interest in careers in education.”

What are the implications of such a club, in not only SED, or the BU community, but in the world?

“We hope for SED we provide a venue for students to gather and tackle difficult issues. For Boston we hope to inspire future educators. For the world we hope that our little impact can grow and strengthen the field of education by improving diversity in the field.”

How did you come up with the idea for Educators Rising

“Will and I came up with the idea because we felt that we were underrepresented in SED as males and felt that we needed, as a school, to be taking action in addressing the fact that the vast majority of students were women from suburban homes. We took it a step further when we realized the issue isn’t only gender but also diversity. We then pushed it idea even further when we thought of how SED only encourages one career in education that of a school teacher when there are many more.”

What are some specific issues that you will focus on in the coming year?

“We want to take issues that the club members feel should be addressed. So I do not have a concrete list yet, but I would not be surprised if topics like standardized testing, teacher evaluation, teacher salaries, alternative school models were covered.”

Is there any other important information about the club itself that you think people should know?

“We want everyone to know that we want to make a tangible impact on our community and to do so we encourage all to participate whether it be come to the occasional meeting or be fully committed to working with area high school students. We want to make this club not simply ‘my group’ or ‘her/his group’ but rather ‘our group’.”

Personally, I am incredibly excited for the arrival of Educators Rising . I have realized that it is my responsibility as a future teacher to stress the importance of teachers and administrators, and I can’t wait to be a part of the change. It all starts with us, and thanks to Will and Griffin, the School of Education is providing me with a venue to do just that. I hope my peers in SED consider being a part of the change as well.

Emma Preston is a rising senior in the School of Education with a degree in Deaf Studies 

Is Teaching the Holistic Picture of a Historical Figure the Right Thing to Do?

By Alex Bruno, SED 2015

As the voices of John Legend and Common rang out from the speakers inside a movie theater in Randolph, Massachusetts and the credits began to roll, I reflected on Ava Duvernay’s unique portrayal of such a pivotal point in the Civil Rights movement. I’ve always had a passion for movies and was thrilled when the Braintree history teachers and I would be taking members of the junior class to go see Selma. David Oyelowo, who championed the role of Dr. King, seemed to truly embody the spirit of the late reverend, gracing the pulpit in many scenes, even inspiring myself and movie goers alike with his fervor and wit. But one particular scene in the film caught me off guard. After J. Edgar Hoover approaches President Johnson with the intent of breaking the King family stability, audio recordings of Dr. King’s infidelities end up on the home answering machine, bringing Coretta to tears and the audience to some dismay.

Was this is a necessary component of the film? Should Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. have his legacy tarnished in a film that will be seen by millions? In my opinion, although it is unpleasant facet of King’s life, it is one that cannot be glanced over. It would almost seem wrong to glance over this blemish but have millions of Americans remember a president solely for his affair with a former White House intern. And there is no standard operating procedure to when it is right to teach the holistic picture of a historical figure and when it is not. James Loewen does a fantastic job of confronting this struggle head on in his book Lies My Teacher Told Me. Loewen’s examinations of Woodrow Wilson and Helen Keller embody the honest and critical approach I hope to take when examining history with my students. He urges readers, historians, teachers and students alike to not boil down historical figures to a singular notion. We can never fully understand who Helen Keller and Woodrow Wilson were without acknowledging Keller’s career as a radical socialist, advocating change for the blind, and Wilson’s domestic racial bias and interventions to Mexico and Haiti. Without these components, largely absent from American history textbooks, high school students will never see the holistic picture of these key figures.

This post will end as it started and that is at the movies. With the Oscars just past, millions of individuals have become acquainted with the story of Chris Kyle. Through Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper, the audience begins to know a man who is credited as the most lethal sniper in American history after his four tours in Iraq from 2003 to 2009. Kyle is shown throughout the film to be struggling between an immense duty to country and the dedication to his wife and family. Although this film will certainly serve as another shining star in Eastwood’s repertoire of cinema, I unfortunately believe that he did not tell the entire story of Chris Kyle, largely fabricating a plot line dealing with a Syrian Olympic sniper in which Bradley Cooper falsely kills in the climax of the film. I am aware that every single director has inherent bias and vision for his or her films but I wish he or she would be conscious of how much influence they have over the American public and students in general. Film is an incredible accessible source of media for high school students, in and out of the classroom, and directors must be aware that this may be the single exposure students get to the material.

Alex Bruno is a 2015 graduate of the School of Education with a degree in Social Studies Education

A Year of Transition

By Sara Toledo, SED 2018

Just having completed my first year of college, I have been reflecting heavily on everything that has happened this year. I have moved by myself to a new and incredible city and have become more independent than I ever thought possible. I have met so many incredible people and done some incredible things. I became a Dean’s Host for the School of Education this year for which I assist with open houses and talk to prospective students. I also got a job at admissions as a Scarlet Speaker where I also talk to prospective and admitted students about the many opportunities that Boston University has offered me. Being able to share personal anecdotes hopefully helps students see that I’m a real live college student who is as normal and human as they are. Finally, I was elected to the e-board for our School of Education Student Government. I am so excited to be the student government representative for the School of Education and I am really looking forward to working with my co-representative who will be a new incoming freshman next year.

Although I did get pretty involved this year, I hope to get even more involved next year. I am looking into volunteering at the Children’s Hospital in Boston. I think it’s really important to add some community service to my list of activities. Boston has done so much for me and I feel like it is my turn to give back. I also am overloading which I’m a little nervous about but hopefully will be able to manage. If I find I have time after that, I would love to acquire another job within admissions. I love the atmosphere in the admissions building as everyone is very excited and passionate about Boston University.

In terms of social aspects, I have made so many new friends who are doing some amazing things around campus. I always find it comical that as young adults we are expected to discuss matters of pop culture such as music or television, however it is quite the opposite. I often find myself discussing other matters with my peers such as what we are currently learning in the classroom. The other night, I got in a heated discussion with friends about certain educational policies and standards. This provided for a very interesting conversation as these particular friends are not associated with the School of Education in any way. I really enjoyed hearing and learning about new perspectives. One of my other friends also was telling me about an interesting talk he attended that linked music and memory building in the brain. It’s incredible what interesting topics and conversations can be sparked amongst such young individuals.

Overall, I am very pleased with my first year here at Boston University and in the School of Education. I have built and become a part of such a strong, tightknit community. I am so excited to come back next semester and continue my next three years here. I look forward to seeing what sophomore has to offer for me.

Sara Toledo is a freshman in the School of Education, majoring in Elementary Education


By Rebekah Forsey, SED 2016

IMG_2630“We’re moving.”
Crushed. Confused. Upset. Angry.
They’re kidding. They must be. There’s no way this is real.
“We’re serious. We’re moving to New Hampshire.”
Ugh, New Hampshire stinks. I hate it there, well, I haven’t been there. But I’m sure it stinks. There’s no way I’m going. I’ll buy the house from them. I can’t afford that. Maybe it won’t work. I can talk them out of this.

The day my parents told me that they were selling my childhood house all I could think was that my home was being taken away from me. All of my memories were there, all of my dreams began there, and all of my realities were created there. This cannot be happening. My parents were as nice and supportive as they could be about the situation, but they were offered jobs in New Hampshire and they were going to take them. There were great opportunities waiting for them, and they couldn’t possibly turn it down.

But I’m losing my home. What about what this does to me?

This wasn’t the first time that I had felt like I was losing my home. When I first came to Boston University, I was convinced that no place would ever feel as much like home as my childhood house. Growing up I was very lucky; I never had to try to find a place where I felt at home. My neighbors and I were a family. The only effort I had to put in was showing up outside every day after school to play; the rest just worked itself out. Thus, in another way, growing up I was very unlucky. I never had to make a place feel like home. While I did not have any experience making a place feel like home, within a few weeks of being at BU, I realized that I already felt at home and that these “strangers” had somehow become my family. I guess I could do that again. Maybe it’ll all work out. It’s worked before.

Through my transition to college, it became very clear that “home” is less about the physical place and more about the people with whom you share it.

When I graduate, BU will still be my home because of the memories I have created here and the people that I met here who changed my life forever. The same is true of my childhood home. Just because I can no longer physically live there, it will always be home.

I’m one of the lucky ones, I get to have two homes. And maybe, if I’m lucky, New Hampshire will become my third home. Because now I know that I can create a home wherever I go.

Rebekah Forsey is a junior in the School of Education, majoring in Elementary and Bilingual Education

The Best Place to Be in SED: Pickering Educational Resources Library

By Amanda Dolce, SED 2016

pickering libraryThinking of becoming a Terrier in the School of Education? Let me give you an insider tip: the Pickering Educational Resources Library is the place to be! Now before you go rolling your eyes or clicking the “back” button, give me chance to explain. The Pickering Educational Resources Library (PERL), or just “Pickering “as students affectionately call it, is the School of Education’s official library. With the entrance tucked into the corner next to the Silber Way doors of SED, PERL is a hidden gem for the rest of Boston University but is an indispensible resource for the students enrolled in SED.

First things first, PERL is not your average library. Yes, there are books…. a lot of books. However, it’s the types of books that are shelved there that make it unique. The different sections of the libraries act like a walk-through timeline of your life. Lining the walls are pictures books, including all the classics (Green Eggs and Ham anyone?) as well as important modern works such as And Tango Makes Three, a story of a nontraditional family of penguins that has received a lot of attention. For early childhood and elementary education majors, these books are used for a variety of purposes such as lesson planning or writing a paper on the cultural biases young children are exposed to. But no matter your major, feel free to just grab some to read and unwind! We won’t judge, we have all done it.

Other shelves house chapter books for middle school and high school students. Want to read the Divergent series before the next movie comes out? We got it! In addition to indulging your own reading interests, the collection of juvenile and young adult books cover an expansive range of topics, levels, and genres. Moreover, PERL has many teacher’s manuals, instructional guides, and textbooks typically found in schools. As a student in the School of Education, you will have frequent opportunities to make use of this goldmine of books as you plan lessons and complete assignments with the authentic and relevant guiding question of “how would I use this in my classroom?” The collection serves the multiple identities that education students have: a blend of both student and teacher.

I could go on and on about the books you can find in PERL but the discovery is half the fun so I won’t rob you of that. What I will do, however, is share some useful tips and tricks:

1) FREE COFFEE! Yup, you read that right. PERL has free Keurig coffee for its students. Just bring a mug or travel cup and you are all set for free caffeine!

2) Textbooks on reserve. Many professors will send copies of their textbooks to PERL to be used in the library. Some students use these copies instead of buying their own.

3) Computers, scanners, printers. PERL has the technology you need to complete assignments.

4) Comfy chairs and quite spaces. PERL is a great place to get work done. When that deadline is approaching, the atmosphere of PERL is ideal for focusing.

Come check it out for yourself!

To find out more about the School of Education’s Pickering Educational Resources Library visit:

Amanda Dolce is a junior in the School of Education, majoring in Elementary and Special Education