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Introduction To The Fifth Volume
The current volume of Rhode Island College's on-line journal, Issues in Teaching and Learning includes two essays from faculty librarians and an essay from a professor of Educational Studies, all from Rhode Island College.
Associate Professor, Marlene Lopes, Special Collections librarian at Rhode Island College reminds us of Rhode Island College's impressive cultural heritage, particularly its contribution in shaping the teaching careers of thousands of women, including African American women from the 18th century onward. As Professor Lopes reports, "Strong-minded women developed the institution that was to become Rhode Island College." By recounting the history of public education and the emergence of the normal school in the 19th century, Professor Lopes helps the reader to appreciate the significant contributions of those who assumed leadership positions in what would become Rhode Island College. With the oft mentioned "short term memory" affliction of Americans, this historical essay provides us with a rare moment to appreciate those earliest educators at Rhode Island College whose efforts began to make the college, the "College of Opportunity" that it is today
Professor Rachel Carpenter, Reference librarian and Coordinator of Government Documents, provides faculty and students with a case for appreciating and using the vast collection of governmental documents and resources that are available in the library. The rationale for her essay is clear. As citizens in a democracy, the peoples' "right to know" the business of government, is essential. Today much of what we know is filtered through the ideological lens of various media outlets. Government documents provide the citizen with access to the "horse's mouth" so to speak. It is in these primary sources where the reader or researcher has an opportunity to analyze the meaning of a particular document and to compare it to the interpretations that may have confused and confounded it by the pundits and ideologues in the popular press.
The third essay in this volume, "Practice What You Preach: Confessions of a Reflective Practitioner", by Associate Professor Lesley Bogad, is a refreshing account of a teacher, reflecting on the teaching-learning process. Some compare education to the process of pouring information and facts into the empty receptacles of students' heads. "Covering the content" is often the goal of less reflective teachers, but it certainly is not that of Professor Bogad. By providing concrete examples from her encounters with students, individually as well as collectively in the classroom, Bogad learns lessons that a less reflective individual may miss. She shares her mistakes and how she learns from them, but perhaps, most powerfully she describes a teaching learning process that forces the teacher to reflect on what what we do, does to the students we share time, theory and reflection with in the classroom.
Carol R. Shelton, R.N., Ph.D
Professor of Nursing