CONTACT: STEPHEN PRADARELLI
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0007; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: March 7, 2000
UI education students to spend spring break working at inner-city schools
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- More than a dozen University of Iowa education majors
will spend their spring break next week in inner-city Chicago helping out
in public schools and after-school programs.
Rahima Wade, an associate professor in the UI College of Education's Curriculum
and Instruction Division, arranged the first such trip last year as a way
of exposing students in her Elementary Social Studies Methods course -- many
of whom come from rural, homogenous settings in Iowa -- to urban education.
"Really, I was looking for experience for myself because most of my
teaching has involved suburban and white students," said Wade, who no
longer accompanies students to Chicago.
The trips grew in popularity with students, and Wade began offering them
as fulfillment of her course's community service-learning requirement and
a related one-credit teaching practicum. One group went to Chicago for a week
in January, and one more trip is planned for May.
The trips are organized by the Chicago-based Urban Life Center, which has
been designing urban education experiences and placing student interns in
city-wide internships since 1970. In addition to working in the Robert Taylor
Homes neighborhood -- considered among the poorest in the nation -- the UI
students will live in apartments in a mixed-income, ethnically diverse neighborhood
and will have to learn how to get around the city safely.
"Students talk about how transforming the experience is for them. It's
very intense," Wade says. "Some students come back from the experience
and want to teach in the inner city after graduation."