The above photo is courtesy of the South Fork Sea Farmers.
Despite so many functions of their education being virtual these days, St. Joseph’s College child study students are still getting the experience they need to be successful educators in their future classrooms.
Through an ongoing project that is part of South Fork Sea Farmers (SF2) Steering Committee Education and Outreach Program, five SJC Long Island child study majors are helping design units of study — about oyster farming and its effects on the environment — for elementary school teachers across the East End.
“Planning this program of study in shellfish hatchery and seeding is providing a learning opportunity for the teacher candidates,” said alumnus Robert Tymann, Ed.D., chair of SF2’s Education Committee. “At the same time, they are contributing their knowledge and pedagogical skills to its design and implementation.”
Dr. Tymann explained that SF2 helps inform the public about aquaculture, or the farming of fish and other aquatic organisms, and the health of Long Island’s bays.
“I thought partnering with St. Joe’s was a natural fit,” said Dr. Tymann, who graduated from St. Joseph’s in 1985 with a degree in history and a concentration in adolescence education. “I believe learning experiences are more powerful if they are real. I am working with the students from St. Joe’s to create those types of experiences for K-12 students, while hopefully giving that type of experience to the students from St. Joe’s, as well.”
Preparing Through Practice
The SJC Long Island students meet weekly via Zoom to develop units of study for third graders from Hampton Bays to Montauk, while Dr. Tymann does the same for seventh graders. They’re designing curriculum units to be used next fall around field trip experiences at the East Hampton Shellfish Hatchery and other aquaculture sites.
“This has helped me a lot because it has broadened my horizon to different activities that I can utilize in my own future classroom,” said Staker, who expects to graduate in December. “Working together with others in creating this unit of study definitely prepares me for working with other teachers and administrators in the future, as well.”
“This is helping me prepare for my future as an educator because it is showing me how to develop a curriculum from scratch, and from a place of interest,” Heely said. “I am also seeing first-hand how one can develop a project that meets the Next Generation Learning Standards.”
A sophomore with a concentration in psychology, Asma Hosein feels she’s growing from working with peers of different ages and concentrations.
“I definitely feel more confident and prepared when it comes to designing projects and how to help bring out the best in students,” she said.
Working with Experience
Dr. Tymann, who’s taught at the high school and college level in addition to working as an assistant principal, principal and assistant superintendent, brings a wealth of experience and knowledge to this project that’s directly benefitting the St. Joseph’s College students.
“We are using ‘backward design’ to work from the standards, creating authentic tasks while building in student voice and choice to tap into their intrinsic motivation. This increases the chances of deep learning,” Dr. Tymann said. “I have been working on this process for several years, and it is challenging for veteran educators, but the resulting learning experience for our students is worth the effort.
“Experiencing this type of planning process will provide future educators with a strong foundation in designing meaningful instruction,” added Dr. Tymann, who raises his own oysters in the Town of East Hampton’s oyster gardening program. “Hopefully, the experience will give them a unique topic to discuss and a deep understanding of unit design that will set them apart from outer candidates when interviewing for teaching positions.”
And the SJC Long Island students are definitely feeling the benefit of working with Dr. Tymann on this project.
“My favorite part of being involved in this project is feeling like I am on a team with Dr. Tymann,” Heely said. “He makes us all feel included and welcome to ask any questions and put our insight into the project. He really wants our help and encourages us to reach out with any questions and give him ideas for what we are working on. It is an incredible experience to be working on a project like this during my undergraduate years in college.”