The School of Teacher Education will send professors to teach at Harlaxton

Jackson French

The School of Teacher Education at WKU will now be able to send professors to England to teach, and students will also get the chance to observe professors abroad.

STE has made an agreement with the University of Evansville that will allow STE to send professors to Evansville’s British satellite campus at Harlaxton each semester.

Kay Gandy, associate professor in the School of Teacher Education, helped negotiate the deal while teaching at Harlaxton last semester.

“I was the first one from the WKU School of Teacher Ed., and I worked developing partnerships with the local schools so that our students could have field experiences,” Gandy said.

WKU has been sending one teacher per semester to Harlaxton for years. Gandy said the arrangement she helped formulate will allow STE to send professors of its own, independent of WKU’s previous arrangement with the University of Evansville.

“The University of Evansville didn’t seem to be interested in sending people over to teach education,” Gandy said. “We’ve formed a partnership with the college to provide one or two instructors each fall to teach education.”

During the fall 2013 semester, STE professors Cassie Zippay and Dusty Knotts will travel to Harlaxton, Gandy said. Both professors are teaching bi-term classes and will only be at Harlaxton for half a semester.

“I am sort of a special circumstance,” Zippay said. “I am only going to be teaching one course, but in the future, people who teach at Harlaxton teach other courses as well.”

Zippay said she will teach Introduction to Education during the first eight weeks of the fall 2013 semester and Knotts will teach Introduction to Special Education for the last eight weeks.

Each semester, WKU is allowed to send forty students to Harlaxton and Gandy said she hopes at least 10 of the students making the trip next semester will be education majors, because a high number of STE students will strengthen the new program.

“What we’re trying to do is develop our education courses so that they can be taught in international settings,” she said.

Zippay said education classes at Harlaxton will emphasize observation.

“The students won’t be doing much practicing,” she said. “They will mostly be observing because it will be the first education class they’ve had.”

Gandy said observing teachers abroad is a valuable experience for education majors.

“The diversity in schools is changing so much,” she said. “You need to be able to work with people from a different culture.”

Gandy said during her time at Harlaxton last semester, she laid the groundwork for a successful partnership and formed connections with local primary and secondary schools that would allow her students to observe the teachers there.

She said students and teachers at the British schools were apprehensive about American students observing their classes at first but by the end of her time at Harlaxton, they were eager for the next group due to arrive at the start of the fall 2013 semester.