Gates Elementary School in Lake Forest, California, is a strong training site for bilingual student teachers in UCI’s MAT+ Credential program, for bilingual tutors from EDUC 101, and for students in EDUC 132. This past year 52 bilingual tutors completed their 40 hours of fieldwork in various classrooms, most during the fall and winter quarters when EDUC 101 was offered. Seven bilingual student teachers completed their student teaching, and 52 undergraduates corresponded with two classrooms during spring quarter.
June 7, 2018 EDUC 132 Field Trip
Susan Guilfoyle, UCI Instructor
UCI undergraduates enjoyed their last class meeting visiting dual immersion students at Gates Elementary School. The undergraduates were enrolled in a literacy enrichment course offered from the School of Education. The meeting was the culmination of a quarter-long digital correspondence with fifth and sixth graders from two classrooms. Each undergraduate was in charge of corresponding with one or two students to ensure everyone had a partner. Students from Ms. Bunce and Mrs. Gomez classes at Gates were able to freely write, without prompts, to their college mentor on topics that interested them, via Google Docs. In return, the undergraduates were able to better understand school age student interests and backgrounds, how authentic writing develops over time for a specific purpose and audience, and evaluate writing development with what was learned in class.
Having biliterate students correspond in this assignment offered a particularly unique experience for the undergraduates; many are unaware of dual immersion programs and although writing was conducted primarily in English, undergraduates and students were not limited to writing in English if both were comfortable writing in Spanish. (A quarter of the students enrolled in the course were bilingual.)
The literacy enrichment course, EDUC 132, is part of the Certificate in Afterschool and Summer Education (CASE) Program at UCI’s School of Education. All students enrolled in the course complete 20 hours of fieldwork service at an after school site. Their specific writing assignment at Gates allowed students to think about how authentic writing can be established at after school sites.
In this specific writing assignment, Gates Elementary School offered a valuable experience for both elementary and university students; elementary students, nearing the end of their elementary school years, learned more about the college experience and college students gained a unique perspective on authentic writing from students learning in two languages.