Week 3 - Classes begin

We were eased into the new academic year by visiting Boogersburg School in Pleasant Hill. This one-room school where students were taught from 1877 - 1952 is now a museum where local school children and visitors from afar can come and see what it was like to teach and learn in the times past. Teachers in period dress, a register book with names of children and their grades, a pot-bellied stove, slates, small desks and chairs, some now funny, yet strict rules for teachers ("Men teachers may take one evening each week for courting purposes, or two evenings a week if they go to church regularly. Women teachers who marry or engage in unseemly conduct will be dismissed.") brought us back to the times when education became public and free for all.


During the first week, which is also known as "add and drop week" we visited different classes and by the end of the week we had to choose those that we would take for credit, audit and sit in. (Almost) all the classes last three full hours with no break at all in some classes, or up to a ten-minute break in others. While visiting the classes I experienced my first culture shock - it was so unusual to see students eating during the lesson! Now I'm pondering if we are too strict regarding food and drink in my country; will students learn more if they are not allowed to eat in class; should eating be restricted to dining halls only; if eating doesn't interfere with active participation in the learning process, should we allow it?

The professors whose classes I attended amazed me! They are leading experts in their fields, prominent researchers,  prolific writers and  highly cited professors, yet they are so friendly, so supportive and so willing to help! I'm indeed very lucky to be able to study here at Penn State, one of the top 1% universities worldwide, and especially so because my mentor is Dr. Kyle L. Peck,  Professor and Research Fellow in the College of Education, Co-director of the Center for Online Innovation in Learning and Principal Investigator of NASA's Aerospace Education Services Project. I'm immensely looking forward to learning from him and sharing the gained knowledge with educators in my PLN upon my return.






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