“Creating a sense of community is perhaps the most essential component within any classroom.”
Amelia El-Hindi Trail is no longer surprised when she hears local school principals and administrators praise Transylvania graduates teaching in their schools. As a teacher educator for the Kentucky Teacher Internship Program, she frequently follows Transylvania graduates through their first year of teaching and she sees how well prepared and effective they are.
Her family has also directly benefited from the exemplary teachers the Transylvania program produces. The music teacher at her son’s elementary school—a Transylvania graduate—recently introduced him to the viola. Because of the teacher’s gentle encouragement and enthusiasm, El-Hindi Trail has watched her son’s appreciation and love for music grow. She has now witnessed first-hand what these school administrators have been telling her about for years.
And, as El-Hindi Trail explains, teaching does not just go one way. The teacher sometimes learns just as much from the students. “My teaching and my learning have been immeasurably enriched by my students. Teachers and students have much to offer each other in our common quests for lifelong growth.”
To nourish this shared quest, El-Hindi Trail emphasizes the importance of creating a community where students can be comfortable trying new things and searching for their own voice. A supportive, trusting environment is crucial for this sort of fruitful engagement.
She hopes this is what students find when they come to Transylvania. “I would like to think that our students experience a true learning community within their classes at Transylvania, which, in turn, allows them to establish such communities in their own future classrooms.”
Transylvania’s liberal arts focus also enriches the learning environment and makes Transylvania graduates better teachers. “With a liberal arts education, students are encouraged to see the interconnectedness of ideas.” This, in turn, prevents them from viewing the subject they teach too narrowly. A successful teacher understands how all subjects are intertwined and can help students see how knowledge of one area complements study of another.
If this magic happens—if students can indeed come together as a community of learners seeking new understandings of diverse subjects—then they can expect to be profoundly changed. “I think of teaching as a transformative act whereby learners come to see the world in new ways, forever altered by the learning experience."
- National Council of Teachers of Mathematics
- National Science Teachers Association
- Kentucky Science Teachers Association
- American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education
- Association of Independent Liberal Arts Colleges for Teacher Education