Expect the Unexpected

Dec 22, 2020

by Dr. Victoria Giordano
Dean of the School of Education

Expect the unexpected. And indeed we have! As we reflect on the Fall 2020 semester, we can certainly agree it has been one of changes and surprises for students, faculty, and staff! All of us had to look at what we do every day — what we have done every day for many years — through new lenses and had to adapt our practices, beliefs, and interactions in new ways in order to hold or attend class or meetings and engage in meaningful learning experiences.

While we were not able to welcome all of our students physically back to campus for fall classes in our brand new Lamar Louise Curry Education Center and Carol Jenkins Barnett Center for Early Learning and Health facility, School of Education faculty, staff, and students reimagined their roles and met the challenge to engage with one another, learn from one another, and explore and innovate to create engaging, meaningful, and memorable learning experiences in the tradition of Florida Southern College. Faculty learned more about using video cameras and microphones than they probably thought they would ever have to do! And students learned more about wireless connections and bandwidth than anyone ever thought necessary. One of the most frequently spoken phrases this semester may have been “You are on mute.”

Despite these “detours” to our regular practices, however, School of Education faculty, staff, and students persisted and forged a new path with many pleasant surprises and rewards. Faculty studied and explored new technologies to deliver and communicate course content and, in the process, often reflected on their pedagogical practices and adjusted these along the way. “How do we do small group work when part or all of the class is attending remotely?” Break-out rooms. “How do we turn sometimes dry or flat text-based content into engaging ideas shared among the students?” Maybe collaborative note-taking or a flipped classroom. “How do we engage students in asynchronous discussion of important course content to bring it to life?” Maybe student posts of brief videos of a presentation of their ideas to a group discussion or chat. And the list goes on! Faculty imagined and experimented and students adapted. The result was tried and true content and pedagogies updated, revised, reformed, adapted, retired, and replaced, often to the delight of both the students and the faculty.

In addition to all of the teaching and learning changes that occurred, faculty and staff continued their professional service and scholarly endeavors, modifying how these were conducted to accommodate the circumstances of this very unusual year. Our students, too, have demonstrated outcomes that we are so proud to share! Dozens of FSC field study students learned to teach K-12 learners using remote technologies and practices; twelve student teachers completed their internships this fall; and four doctoral students defended their dissertations.

Indeed, we expected the unexpected in the School of Education this fall semester and rose to the challenge. Now we look forward to the spring term. The Florida Southern College School of Education remains “On the Move!”

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