Teaching Fellows for the National Education Equity Lab

During spring semester ’23, Education Studies students Maya O’ConnorAlicia PagliaJori Balsam, and Darin Iraj contributed their time, energy, and enthusiasm as Teaching Fellows for PSYC105: “Foundations of Contemporary Psychology”. Rather than working with their Wesleyan peers enrolled in the course though, they were part of a group of undergraduates and alumni supporting nearly 300 high school students throughout the country to receive college credit. This initiative is the result of a partnership between Wesleyan and the National Education Equity Lab, a nonprofit organization that coordinates with universities to offer credit-bearing classes to underprivileged high schoolers, specifically Title 1 or Title 1 eligible schools, a designation assigned to schools that serve historically marginalized communities and have a high percentage of free or reduced lunch expenses.

The class was taught at 18 different high schools (seven in New York City; two in Washington D.C., one in Topeka, Kansas; and seven in Florida) with the goal of contributing to an increase in college completion rates. High school students viewed video lectures and completed quizzes on their own as part of the flipped classroom model. Class sessions throughout the week were spent with their high school teachers exploring concepts and content in the field of psychology through video storytelling, data visualization, design, and more. Once a week, high school students Zoom with Teaching Fellows to plan their work, discuss the material and ask questions about the course. Students turn in a project each week which are graded by the Teaching Fellows and sent back to the students with detailed feedback and an opportunity to improve their work.

Not only did Teaching Fellows provide help with the course, but they also offered support and advice about the college experience. High school students and co-teachers were enthusiastic, describing the course as collaborative, empowering, and engaging. 

This course is part of Wesleyan’s Digital Intro initiative https://lnkd.in/dXrHhqE aimed at empowering students through active, project-based experiences. For information on how to get involved please contact Lisa Dierker, Walter Crowell University Professor of Social Sciences, ldierker@wesleyan.edu.

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