New living-learning community gives future teachers early involvement

Future teachers work with a child as part of their preparation for their career.
Future teachers work with a child as part of their preparation for their career.

The Schoolhouse living-learning community is a new home in Moffett Hall for aspiring teachers at Radford University opening fall 2018.

In the same vein as the other living-learning communities on campus, the Schoolhouse is designed to integrate academic and social experiences for students.

In its first year, the Schoolhouse will welcome any incoming Radford University student who is seeking teacher licensure, which includes elementary, middle school, secondary, health and physical education, the arts and foreign language educators. Over time, students will have opportunities to serve as mentors to incoming students, as well as engage in leadership opportunities related to their future teaching careers.

Students in the Schoolhouse will engage in community service activities, in large and small groups. 

Being a part of a community like this allows me to be able to have friends who are in the same classes as you but also have the same interests. The Community of Artists is the best thing that happened to me at Radford University.

Hannah Smith

Member of the Community of Artists living-learning community

“Teachers need to develop a service mindset, as well as strong collaborative and communication skills,” said Matt Grimes, assistant professor in the School of Teacher Education and Leadership. “Serving together, inside or outside of schools, will help students develop these skills early in their teacher preparation experience.”

Grimes said that the Schoolhouse is designed to facilitate relationship building between students and faculty members. “Interactions with faculty will include advising, social activities and scholarly discussions in their residence hall,” he said.

Activities for the students will include classroom observations, tutoring, school event volunteer work, assisting with instruction and spending time talking with current educators about the benefits, challenges and experiences of teaching. Early field experiences will become the foundational activities in the Schoolhouse.

Moffett Hall, where the Schoolhouse living-learning community will be located.

Moffett Hall, where the Schoolhouse living-learning community will be located.

“Because the College of Education and Human Development has a number of well-established partnerships with local school systems, Schoolhouse students will engage in schools with students and school personnel to not only observe and help, but also engage in real-world education activities,” Grimes said.

A major objective of the Schoolhouse is to offer support and guidance for students as they make progress toward these requirements. Students will receive help completing their teacher preparation program application requirements, as well as support their efforts to obtain teacher licensure.

Future teachers lead a physical education lesson.
Future teachers lead a physical education lesson.

“It is creating a community among the future educators,” said Jamie Penven, director of Housing and Residential Life. “The long-term plan to involve upper-division students will create a multi-generational experience allowing new students to be mentored by successful upper classmen.”

The community of future educators is being built from a partnership between Academic Affairs and Student Affairs.

“The faculty are in the classroom with the students, engaging them outside of the classroom, working closely with residence directors and resident advisors to create a more seamless experience for the students,” said Jeanne Mekolichick, assistant provost of Academic Affairs.

Schoolhouse will join the existing cohort of living-learning communities at Radford University. In addition to positively impacting student retention rates, on average students in living-learning communities have a GPA of 0.6 higher than other first year students.

Also opening in fall 2018 is the Entrepreneur Learning Community, which will provide students a safe environment to explore and develop their entrepreneurship competencies.

Mar 28, 2018
Max Esterhuizen