Transforming the Classroom

Last month, there was an article in the New York Times about a place called the Waldorf School of the Peninsula. This school is unique in that the “teaching philosophy [is] focused on physical activity and learning through creative, hands-on tasks.” No computers allowed. Although the school caters specifically to groups from nursery to high school, the article did make me think about how teaching and learning continues to change in classrooms everywhere–including colleges.






One of the ways that our faculty bring real-world applicability to the theory that students are learning in class, is by incorporating visits by guest speakers into the syllabus. These individuals are experts in their fields and have a lot to share. So far this semester, we’ve had some really great speakers stop by:

Dr. Barbara Ferrer, the Executive Director of The Boston Department of Public Health  delivered a compelling presentation in Dr. Angela Cooke-Jackson’s Health Diversity and  Culture – HC250 class.  She spoke of the need to understand health communication and it’s  usefulness to create strong public  health infrastructures that address health disparities,  public policies and race in Boston  communities. Students had a wonderful open  conversation with Dr. Ferrer about their role and ways to participate in moving health  initiatives forward. The students’ kept a twitter feed active during the presentation.

Author Barry Estabrook also spoke in Dr. Cooke-Jackson’s Culture, Diversity & Health Communication course. Among other topics, his presentation highlighted the harsh implication of modern industrial agricultural (i.e., the farming of tomatoes) on the Immokalee population in Florida. HC250 continually encourages students to ask “is inequality making us sick?” Moreover, it challenges them to consider the theoretical and practical ways that health communication can change the paradigm for underrepresented, low income, marginalized groups.

Dr. Greg Payne had Idan Nishlis, Chair of the Young Leadership Committee of Israel and  volunteer public diplomacy advocate for the Haifa-Boston Connection, speak to his Public  Diplomacy and Communication Theory classes. Idan studied at Emerson College (as an  undergraduate and graduate) and is currently the business development manager for  Israel’s largest leading law firm, Herzog Fox & Neeman. While at Emerson, Idan was the  coordinator of the Israeli Scouts and hosted a weekly Jewish-Israeli radio show on WERS,  Chagigah.

Adjunct faculty member Kathi-Anne Reinstein treated her CC263 Argument and Advocacy students to face-time with MA State Treasurer and former National Chair of the Democratic Party, Steve Grossman.
Professors have often been challenged with getting students to understand the value/relevance/usefulness of what they are studying. Having guest speakers in the classroom allows students to see how the information they are learning can be used in the workplace.

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