HLKN Pedagogy NYC Field Trip

Written by: CEHD Communications Staff
Post date: July 10, 2012

Fifteen students from the Health & Kinesiology Teacher Certification program traveled to New York City for a weeklong field trip this summer to experience education in an urban setting. The NYC field trip provided an opportunity for students to develop habits and skills for integrative and lifelong learning.

The course objectives included differentiating between healthy and unhealthy behaviors regarding physical activity, nutrition, sexuality, drugs and safety among students in an urban setting, applying behavior change models and theories to develop a program useful in an urban education setting, and designing strategies for teaching health and physical education that are tailored to meet the needs of a student in an urban environment.

Students observed nutrition services, PE and Health classes at high schools, a middle school, and an elementary school. They spoke with teachers, administrators, and school nurses who provided them with insight on education in an urban setting. The students had opportunities to both observe and teach, which enabled them to identify and convey the social, cultural, and political issues concerning physical activity, nutrition, sexuality, drugs, and safety for urban students.

Extra highlights of the trip included a NY Yankees game, a ride on the Staten Island Ferry, trips to Times Square, and going to the Broadway performance of “Once”.

What the students had to say about their time in New York City:

“The specific type of adjustment I would like to make in my classroom for students – not only those who are urban learners but for all, is keeping high expectations for all the students. I was blown away by the number of students who WANTED to be called on and participate, rather than getting the sit-get lecture style. I think this type of classroom environment can be beneficial for everyone and the learning and interest in the topic is much greater.”

“The largest aspect of being an urban learner, at least based upon by observation, is the melting pot of ethnicities. Similarly, these urban learners were mostly students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, which is something to expect in the city. Many of the students, about 40%, were on free or reduced lunch. However, I cannot say that is something different in other areas.”

Overall, the New York experience has opened my eyes to the urban learner and allowed me to critique my teaching philosophy. New York changed my philosophy to more of an open-minded concept than that of a normal rural educator’s philosophy.”

As a future teacher, I have realized how important it is to understand where your students are coming from, their goals and the school’s goals as a whole program. Being aware of the community and the students will allow me as a future coach, mentor, and teacher to help the students, from any environment, excel and reach the potentials they find important in the education career.”
One PhD student also attended the field trip as a graduate assistant. This is what she had to say about her educational experience:

“My experience as the graduate assistant for this study domestic course is why I came to Texas A&M University. A&M provides both undergrad and graduate students amazing opportunities and experiences that put us above our competitors. The trip’s key asset for me was learning the skills needed to create a study domestic (field-trip) course. From recruiting undergrads, developing contacts in New York, contacting the New York teachers, and developing content and course assessments, there were aspects in the development of the study domestic course I would have never been exposed to if I had not had the opportunity to be the graduate assistant. Developing my course creation skills provided me with the ability to create my own study domestic course when I become an Assistant Professor next year.”

The experimental learning of this trip is beyond what could be provided in the classroom. This writing intensive course allowed the students to be reflective and to identify application of their learning in practice.