ECAE's students showcase their learning using story sacks

Press release
Published May 29th, 2011 - 08:07 GMT
ECAE students displayed more than 90 original story sacks during the exhibition
ECAE students displayed more than 90 original story sacks during the exhibition

Students in year 3 of their Bachelor of Education Program (B Ed) are focusing on the teaching of reading to young learners. To apply what they have learned, they were asked to create a story sack around a children’s book, including activities to develop a child’s love of reading while maintaining an educational focus. In an exhibition held last week on campus, ECAE students displayed more than 90 original story sacks, and invited the student body, faculty, and staff to tour and explore their work.

“Story sacks are typically commercially available products that encourage literacy development. The sacks include a children’s book, an activity guide and all corresponding materials. Story sacks encourage a love of reading, so when we asked our students to work in pairs to create their story sacks, we wanted them to focus on creating activities and materials that facilitated this love”, said Susan Toth, an English Faculty member at the college.

Ms. Toth added, “What’s really important about this project is that students have been working towards this over three years of the B Ed program. They have studied phonology (the study of sounds), morphology (how words are formed), grammar, and genre. These courses expanded on their subject knowledge, and prepared them for the four English curriculum studies courses: How to Teach Speaking and Listening, How to Teach Writing, How to Teach Reading, and Integrated Skills. The story sack project was perhaps a culmination of all the courses leading up to this moment. We saw students creating activities that developed oracy (speaking and listening) and a child’s writing skills, as well as innovative activities to teach a child to read. Students’ knowledge of genre, phonology, morphology and grammar all came through in this project. Seeing it all come together as they take one giant step closer to becoming qualified teachers is the most rewarding assessment to date.”

Dr. Robert Thompson, Dean, Academic further added, “Being a specialist teacher-training college, ECAE aims to enrich student teachers’ practical and theoretical experiences through such projects. We strive to develop a well-rounded teacher who is confident, knowledgeable about early childhood education, and more importantly, understands children and their learning behavior. The Bachelor of Education courses we offer, along with the 20-week practicum at local schools, form a strong foundation enabling students to acquire the teaching competencies of a good teacher. We are exceptionally pleased with the results and our students’ creativity.”

Sara Al Anazi and Mona Khalfa Al Rumaithi were among the female students who developed a short film to illustrate the storybook, ‘A Very Hungry Caterpillar’. They designed several activities around the lifecycle of a butterfly, while engaging a 4-year-old girl dressed as a caterpillar to act up the role. “We wanted to innovatively make connections to math, art and music along with the play. We of course needed to consider our audience when creating the activity materials. That is to say, a teacher or librarian could use the story sack as well as a mother or father” Sara said.

“It was a great application of what we learned, and I am now able to choose stories that relate better to students and that have a significance that can be passed on,” added Sara.

Background Information

Emirates College for Advanced Education

Emirates College for Advanced Education (ECAE) is an Abu Dhabi Government higher education institute affiliated with Department of Education and Knowledge (ADEK). The college was established to offer Undergraduate and Postgraduate Degree Programs as well as Professional Development for in-service educators with a commitment to playing a key role in the modernization of school education in the UAE, and providing educational research solutions to the nation. The College currently offers a Bachelor Degree Program which is distinguished for extensive practicum and mentoring opportunities for its students. The medium of instruction at the ECAE is English. ECAE also offers a Master of Education and a Post Graduate Diploma in Education.

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