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New EHE center brings learning prospects to Columbus communities

Anthony Rodriguez
Tue, 2015-06-23 02:01

A quick look around The Ohio State University Columbus campus in June makes it crystal clear summer is here. Only a few people can be seen walking through the Oval and construction is in full swing.

But a walk just one block east of High Street toward the Graham Expeditionary Middle School and Primary School on 16th Avenue you’ll find class is still in session.

The brand new Columbus Community Teaching and Learning Center is the result of a partnership among the College of Education and Human Ecology, Columbus City Schools and Graham Family of Schools.

“We’re bringing the resources available at Ohio State out into the community,” said Caroline Clark, professor of teaching and learning. “We’ll be able to give teachers direct access to research-based literacy learning, which they can immediately apply with children in classrooms.”

Nearly 30 elementary-aged students and 30 teachers took part in the center’s first-ever weeklong course. They were there to learn active and dramatic approaches to read and understand complex texts.

Filling a mutual need: Creating a teaching and learning center

Find out how the Columbus Community Teaching and Learning Center came to be and its goals to make an impact in reading and literacy for Columbus students.

Teachers focused on the challenges children have reading complex texts and the possibilities active and dramatic approaches can have meeting those challenges. Faculty from Ohio State’s College of Education and Human Ecology created scenarios where core ideas could be tried out with children.

Embracing active learning to improve reading

For two hours each morning, children enrolled in the center’s summer reading camp joined in “on-your-feet” workshops based on the concepts teachers were learning. The camp was led by Brian Edmiston, professor of teaching and learning, and Lorraine Gaughenbaugh, lecturer of teaching and learning.

The children and teachers were soon deep into the world of Irish folk tale, Brave Margaret, by Robert D. San Souci. The story’s heroine, Margaret, sets out to sail the world by ship to discover what it might mean to be brave. Her first encounter is with a sea serpent that threatens to devour everyone on the ship.

Students and teachers eagerly work together dramatizing parts of Brave Margaret, an Irish folk tale.



“When we read, we have to see through the words to the world that lies behind them,” Edmiston said. “Dramatic approaches can bring fictional worlds alive for young people who’ve previously encountered them locked inside incomprehensible words.

Children who typically struggle to read were eagerly working together with adults to dramatize parts of the tale while deepening their knowledge of the story. Fabric costumes, drawn settings and imaginary artifacts helped dramatize key events as children and adults moved, made sounds and spoke about the text.

Edmiston and Gaughenbaugh led them in interpreting the story, visualizing the meaning of words and hypothesizing what Margaret and other characters might be experiencing. Students learned and read for nearly two hours and were excited to return the next day for more, Edmiston said.

This approach to reading fosters dialogue and engagement with students, said Sarah Barry, a high school English teacher at Columbus City Schools, who was a part of the course.

And it’s a great learning tool for teachers.

“We were physically immersed in a course that felt authentic to what I would experience in my classroom,” Barry said. “As a teacher, I appreciate the opportunity to continue to learn, to be pushed and to be given opportunities to be a better teacher. I feel Ohio State is very invested in the students I teach.”


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