It’s the start of a new school year. As a parent, you want to give your child every chance to succeed. But what’s the best way for you to help? How can you work with teachers and other school staff—who, let’s face it, see more of your child than you do—to make sure your favorite student is getting what they need?
FORDHAM magazine checked in with some alumni of the University’s Graduate School of Education—professionals who work with students ranging in age from preschool to high school—to ask them for some guidance. Here’s what they had to say.
When teachers greet new classes this fall, the odds are good that the students they encounter will vary not only by cultural background but also in academic proficiency.
Akane Zusho, PhD, associate professor of school psychology in the Graduate School of Education (GSE), said that such diversity is something to be appreciated, not overcome.
“How do you get teachers to not teach to the middle? To differentiate their instruction so that they’re not boring the kids at the top and leaving all the kids at the bottom behind? It’s not easy,” she said.
To help teachers work with students of varying academic abilities, Zusho has partnered with Rhonda Bondie, PhD, assistant professor of curriculum and teaching at the GSE to create All-Ed (All Learners Learning Every Day), a network of instructional routines pulled from research on learning and motivation.
Motivation has long been a focus of Zusho’s research. In order to determine what motivates a student, said Zusho, a teacher needs to get to know their students’ strengths and interests and to help students understand how they think about a particular topic. But many teachers never delve deep enough.
Teachers, she said, “just assume students know something when they come in because they taught it yesterday … they don’t reconfirm their students’ knowledge.”
“When they start a lesson, for example, do they actually get a sense of what students already know? Because from the psychological perspective, we know that makes a huge impact on how kids learn.”
This week, Fordham GSE hosts a group of students from the College of Education at Zhejiang University, located in Hangzhou, China, as part of their American Innovation and Entrepreneurship Summer Camp. The students spent a week touring Los Angeles prior to coming to New York and then will spend a week in Hawaii.
While at Fordham, they will meet with various faculty members and administrators from across the university, as well as visit the JCC Manhattan and the Brooklyn Waldorf School, to learn about the systems and models of American education. Fordham lectures will cover topics such as innovation in teaching and learning, entrepreneurship, innovative educational models, and historical and comparative education systems.
On Tuesday morning, the group spoke with Drs. Marilyn Bisberg and Tiedan Huang about Fordham and early childhood education in America before touring the Rose Hill campus and speaking with Kate Kennon of the Gabelli School of Business.
The group prepared a presentation to introduce Fordham to Zhejiang University (ZJU), a leading research university in China with seven campuses and over 48,000 students. The university boasts strong international partnerships and over 700 undergraduate and graduate programs.
Wednesday, July 13th
9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
How do digital tools affect our lives as individuals? As educators? How might we use digital tools to engage students in critical and creative thinking? How can we help students to understand technology as an aid to learning, rather than a distraction from it? Participants will explore these questions and more as they consider the impact of technology on literacy.
Featured speakers include Amanda Lenhart, Researcher with the Data & Society Research Institute, and practicing elementary, middle, and high school teachers, who will give classroom demonstrations.
9:00 Welcome and Keynote
Amanda Lenhart, “The Shifting Landscape of American Teens’ Social & Digital Media Use”
10:45 Classroom Demonstrations by Teachers
12:00 Lunch on your own in NYC (not included in cost of attendance)
1:00 Classroom Demonstrations by Teachers
3:00 Apps & Tools Share and Closing Remarks
- The event will be held at Fordham’s Lincoln Center Campus (113 West 60th Street at Columbus Avenue)
- Payment of $100 may be paid by credit card, purchase order, check, or money order by July 13
- Early bird registration: $85 if payment is received by June 15
- Fordham discount: $75 for Fordham staff, students, or alumni if payment is received by June 15
- Professional Development Certificates Provided. NYC vendor # available
Contact Kristen Turner (firstname.lastname@example.org) with questions.
On June 9th, GSE welcome back over 40 alumni to the inaugural GSE Reunion. The event was part of the larger Fordham Lincoln Center Reunion that welcomed alumni from Fordham College Lincoln Center, the Gabelli School of Business, the School of Professional and Continuing Studies, and the Graduate School of Social Services.
Dean Virginia Roach welcomed the group back home to Fordham, remarking on GSE’s accomplishments over the past year, including rising 14 spots in the U.S. News and World Report rankings. Watch the GSE video that outlines many of our year’s accomplishments. Later, she reflected on the range of careers and interests of the alumni group, many of whom are using their Fordham degrees to impact their fields in ways they had not anticipated.
Father Joseph McShane, S.J., President of Fordham, spoke to the group about the Graduate School of Education as one of the key mission-driven and mission-focused schools within the university. GSE’s student body reflects Fordham’s founding principle of Service to the Community: they are a group that comes from the city and works to make their home better. He spoke of GSE students as those called into not just a career, but a vocation.
Siqi Tao ’17 is a student in the Bilingual Childhood Education program. She recently discussed her experiences as an international student in New York City and at Fordham GSE.
Why do you want to be a teacher?
I really like to share what I know with others, not only my peers but also children. I appreciate the opportunity to grow up together with children: when I am teaching them, I am also learning from them, about how they think of the world, especially how they think of the different cultures and customs between different countries.
Why did you choose to study in America?
I majored in Teaching Chinese as a Foreign Language when I was an undergraduate student, and I would like to be a bilingual teacher to teach both Mandarin and English to children. I believe it doesn’t mean just teaching two languages; it also includes the culture and behavior behind them. I decided to study in America to take a closer look at the cultures and customs and to benefit my future teaching career, whether in the U.S. or China.
Why did you choose Fordham and the Bilingual Childhood Education program?
The Bilingual Childhood Education program at Fordham University is well structured, and the curriculum is detailed, with all the courses titles and schedule posted online. So we don’t have to worry about failing to graduate on time.
The GSE provides us a lot of opportunities to do observation and student teaching in different schools, so that we can experience diverse teaching styles and work with and learn from experienced teachers, as well as prepare ourselves to become qualified teachers. Besides, there is more and more 2nd or 3rd generation Chinese immigrants living in New York, and it’s extremely important for them to know more about Chinese language and culture.
So I came here, to learn, to teach, and to promote bilingual education.
What has been your most exciting New York City experience?
I was volunteer in the Fantastic Art of China exhibition at Jacob K. Javits Convention Center. It was held to celebrate the new year of China, and I have never thought that I could have a chance to celebrate Chinese Festivals in the United States. It was a fantastic event with about 580 pieces of artwork exhibited and a series of follow-up activities, like light show at the Empire State Building and firework show near the Hudson River. I really appreciate the opportunity to participate in preparation of a big event. And there are a lot of other events in NY to celebrate New Year of different countries: you’ll never feel lonely.
Watch Siqi and her fellow students discuss their experiences at Fordham GSE. Watch on Youku.
What are the biggest differences you’ve found between Chinese and American classrooms?
I would like to talk more about the elementary school classroom because I found it is totally different from classrooms in China. The biggest difference is that in China, we have different teachers to teach different subjects, like Chinese language and arts, Math, History, Chemistry, etc. One teacher just has to get familiar with one or two subjects. However, in the American, one teacher teaches most of the subjects such as ELA, Math, Social Study, Science, and Art. At first it really shocked me that teachers have so many responsibilities in American classrooms! But after my observation of some elementary schools, I realized that this model could be much more efficient to bridge the gaps among different disciplines at early years.
What advice do you have for students thinking of studying in New York and/or at Fordham?
- Get yourself well prepared: search for as much information about the program as you can before you come to the U.S., and read more English materials; try to strengthen resistance of pressure and always be strong.
- Be a time manager: learn to organize your time to study and to have fun, and never burden yourself by too much study or work.
- Be social: know more people, and keep contact with your close friends.
- Get more experience: go traveling with friends, or do some volunteer job during summer vacation.
Thursday, April 7th, 5:00pm
Law School Building, Room Law 3-03
K. Anders Ericsson
Department of Psychology
Florida State University
Researchers have generally assumed that general abilities of memory, intelligence, and creativity matured during development until the beginning of adulthood, but could not be changed and thus limited the acquisition of expert performance. Recent research in many domains of expertise, such as chess, music, medicine, and sports, shows that some types of experience, such as focused appropriate training activities – deliberate practice – can dramatically change the human body (enlargement of hearts and arteries and growth of capillaries) and brain (myelinization and blood supply of nerve fibers), and over extended time modify virtually all characteristics relevant to superior performance, with the exception of body size and height.
The acquisition of expert and elite performance involves a successive development of increasingly refined mental mechanisms that afford experts increased control over their performance. A theoretical analysis of the full range of elite performers’ learning, skill acquisition, and physiological adaptations is now providing the foundation for a scientifically-based account of the human potential that is attainable through optimal development and deliberate practice.
The research has shown that the acquisition of reproducibly superior (expert) performance corresponds to a successive development of increasingly refined mental mechanisms that afford experts increased control over their performance in representative situations. This successive improvements can typically be linked to a sequence of appropriate deliberate practice activities, which a coach or teachers has selected for a particular learner based on their current level of performance. The learners can engage in the practice task which provides immediate accurate feedback, and opportunities for repetition and gradual modifications after reflection.
About the Speaker
K. Anders Ericsson, PhD, is presently Conradi Eminent Scholar and Professor of Psychology at Florida State University. After his PhD in Sweden, he collaborated with the Nobel Prize winner in Economics, Herbert A. Simon on verbal reports of thinking leading to their classic book “Protocol Analysis: Verbal Reports as Data” (1984). Currently he studies the measurement of expert performance in domains, such as music, chess, nursing, law enforcement, and sports, and how expert performers attain their superior performance by acquiring complex cognitive mechanisms and physiological adaptations through extended deliberate practice.
He has edited several books on expertise, the influential Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance consisted of over 40 chapters and 900 pages and the recent Development of Professional Expertise, which appeared in 2009. In 2016 his co-authored book Peak: Secrets from the new science of expertise will be released. He has published articles in prestigious journals, such as Science, Academic Medicine, Psychological Review, Psychological Bulletin, Academic Emergency Medicine, Current Biology, and Trends of Cognitive Science.
He is a Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, of the American Psychological Association and the Association for Psychological Science and a member of Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences. His research has been featured in cover stories in Scientific American, Time, Fortune, Wall Street Journal and The New York Times. He has been invited to give keynote presentations at conferences of surgeons, musicians, teachers, clinical psychologists, athletes, and coaches as well as professional sports organizations, such as the Philadelphia Eagles and Manchester City.
In its America’s Best Graduate Schools, 2017 edition, U.S. News and World Report ranked Fordham GSE #45 among 180 U.S. Schools of Education. This rank marks a fourteen spot jump over last year’s #59 ranking.
View the full list.
Westchester Campus Information Session
The Fordham University Graduate School of Education is launching several exciting programs at the Westchester campus in West Harrison, NY to serve those looking to become educational leaders, earn initial teacher certification, or considering a multilingual extension at a prestigious, local university.
Join us on February 11th to discuss academics, admissions, and financial aid opportunities for the following programs:
Doctoral Programs (EdD)
K-12 Educational Leadership
Initial Teacher Certification Programs (MST)
Early Childhood Education
Early Childhood Special Education (dual certification)
Childhood Special Education (dual certification)
Early Childhood and Childhood Education (dual certification)
The Fordham Westchester campus is located at 400 Westchester Avenue, West Harrison, NY 10604. Please contact the Admissions Office with any questions at email@example.com or 212-636-6400.