By Steve Zemelman, Ph.D.
NLU adjunct professor and director of the Illinois Writing Project
National Louis University’s Illinois Writing Project (IWP) is one of the most active and widely praised affiliates of the National Writing Project, a network of university-based professional development programs for educators. The IWP works with teachers across Chicagoland, providing workshops on teaching writing, summer leadership institutes, conferences, kids’ summer writing camps and consulting to help schools achieve in-depth improvement in writing instruction.
Accomplished IWP teacher leaders help teachers make writing meaningful and engaging for students. They guide teachers to organize their classrooms to address students’ individual needs and actively teach and support writing, rather than just make arbitrary assignments and mark them up with comments kids don’t learn from. Students’ writing becomes an authentic use of their voices to communicate with real audiences, and a tool for learning in all subjects. Kids begin to plead for more writing time, rather than moan about dreaded assignments.
WBEZ reporter Odette Yousef interviewed Lauren Heidbrink, Ph.D. on her book, titled Migrant Youth, Transnational Families and the State: Care and Contested Interests, and her recent field study work in the Departments of San Marcos and Quezaltenango in western Guatemala. Dr. Heidbrink is an anthropologist, Co-Director of the NLU Public Policy program, and teaches in the Social and Behavioral Sciences department.
Full story and interview available here.
John Paulette, an adjunct professor at NLU, contributed to the Chicago Sun-times “Summer School,” series in which area teachers weigh in on the big challenges facing education. As a mentor to young teachers, Paulette shares his insight on the need for teachers to find “their true teaching selves.” Read more.
With an unprecedented increase of Central American migrant children to the U.S., there is an urgent need to examine the realities of children beyond their initial apprehension by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol. While the issue has recently garnered widespread attention, the following insights remain absent from the national conversation:
- Detailed accounts of conditions within Office of Refugee Resettlement facilities,
- Discussion of the long-term impacts of migration and detention on children, and
- Experiences of children and their families following deportation.
In her book, Migrant Youth, Transnational Families and the State: Care and Contested Interests, NLU Assistant Professor Lauren Heidbrink, Ph.D. takes a timely look at how young migrants navigate the legal and emotional terrain beyond apprehension while examining essential areas surrounding this issue. Over a three-year period, she observed operations in 12 facilities, interviewed over 100 migrant youth from 19 countries both in detention and following release, and interviewed over 350 stakeholders in the U.S., El Salvador, and Guatemala.
I am pleased to have the opportunity to tell readers of the NLU blog a little bit about my work. As a community psychologist, I am interested in strengthening partnerships between schools, families and communities. In particular, I am interested in strengthening the connections between K-12 education, post-secondary education and training, and employment in low-income communities. I am collaborating with the Chicago Public Schools Department of Family and Community Engagement to support the activities of the Community Action Council in Bronzeville.
Recently the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released the results of its Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), a leading survey of education systems conducted every three years and taken by 15-year-olds in 65 countries. The results revealed that U.S. student scores are stagnant while other countries’ are improving. With this in mind, for the U.S., and Chicago specifically, to become more capable of impact on a global scale, we need to fortify our foundations through education. From a local perspective, we need a “Chicago 3.0” plan.