Student-Faculty Pair Tackles Multicultural Teaching and Learning

Musgrove and Dr. Earp expand cultural experiences of children from Salem and Munich

Shelly Musgrove '08 and Dr. Lisa Earp of Roanoke's education department are prime examples of the perpetual teaching and learning process. Musgrove and Earp worked together on an independent study project, which connected second grade students in Munich, Germany and Salem. The project was inspired by Dr. Tim Reynolds' sabbatical in Munich, Germany, where he taught at an international school.

"I thought it would be interesting to connect the children here and in Munich and use multicultural literature to see how students can learn from each other," says Earp. She asked herself, "How can I connect this with one my courses and help broaden my students' instructional skills?"

From there, she asked Musgrove to be her student associate. Then Earp used the education course she taught at Roanoke and had her students form a multicultural book club at the Fort Lewis, using the second grade class to which Musgrove taught Spanish.

"We wanted to design a book club that allowed children to see similarities and differences in cultures," says Earp. "The focus was on different areas in the world, so we used cultures from Appalachia, Egypt, Kenya, Mexico and China."

"I think this is really great because I'm able to combine my interests in Spanish and education," says Musgrove, who is a Spanish major with a minor in education. "I wanted extra time in the school around real kids, real lessons and real planning. I wanted that experience, and it was a great opportunity, especially to be the first one to do it."

The Roanoke students attended Musgrove's class, teaching the children about culture using five different books. The same books also were used by Reynolds in Germany. The children exchanged culture boxes filled with items like photos, recipes and music that demonstrated aspects of their culture.

"This project has allowed me, as a professor, to bring a new element to the course, giving my students more opportunities to be in the classroom because we want them in there as much as we can," Earp says.

"Dr. Earp has taken me under her wing, and I've learned more from this project than I have in a classroom environment," says Musgrove. "Having this opportunity to plan and implement lessons for a year has been a real benefit. I know that the kids have also benefited - how could you not from learning about another culture?"

Musgrove, from Roanoke, is a member of the following honors societies: Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish), Alpha Chi (national) and Xi Theta Chi (foreign language). She also was the former president of the education honors society, Kappa Delta Pi.

Earp earned her bachelor's of science in upper elementary education from Radford University and her master's and doctorate in curriculum and instruction from Virginia Tech. She began her career with Roanoke's education department in 1993.

Shena Sanchez

About the Author

Shena Sanchez is a 2008 graduate in English from Virginia. She was a student writer in the College's PR office and was very active on campus in several organizations, including Alpha Sigma Alpha and InterVaristy Christian Fellowship.

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