Planning for the Future

STEM – science, technology, engineering, and mathematics – gets a lot of love these days in educational circles, but Professor of Education George Meadows believes the “E” part of the acronym is due more attention. The Shirley Van Epps Waple Professor, who teaches future elementary through high school science teachers, knows that the Virginia Standards of Learning emphasize the traditional sciences of biology, chemistry, and physics. But change is inevitable, and he wants schools, teachers, and the students themselves to be ready. Traditional sciences have labs, Meadows said. “What does engineering have? It has a makerspace.” That is, a space where users collaborate to employ and improve 3D printers and their increasingly adept MakerBot offspring. As a Waple professor, Meadows has devoted time and money toward equipping Fredericksburg-area elementary schools with the fast-evolving technological tools. He’s built support among teachers, parents, and administrators, … [Read more...]

The Dangers and Powers of Speech

Today Gerald Ndikintum, M.Ed. ’06 is an important figure in the Northern Virginia education community. But not too long ago - before he became an adjunct instructor in the UMW College of Education, before he was chair of the Fairfax County Public Schools Department of English for Speakers of Other Languages, and before he settled in the U.S. - Ndikintum was fighting for the rights of teachers and English speakers in Africa. A native of Cameroon, Ndikintum developed a love of language early on. He spent 11 years teaching in secondary The Dangers and Powers of Speech schools throughout Cameroon while acting as a teacher representative for a budding trade union. An advocate for the weak, he battled injustices aimed at teachers, women, children, and English speakers. Over time, he found himself getting more politically engaged. “It was particularly in my fight for teachers and English-speaking Cameroonians that I got very involved with the nascent multiparty politics in … [Read more...]

Talking the Walk

By definition, teachers are leaders. They “take people to a place where they couldn’t have gone without them,” Martha G. Abbott ’72 told a crowd at UMW’s Stafford campus in April. The university’s fourth educator-in-residence, Abbott is executive director of the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. She gave graduates advice on impacting students’ lives and how to find success in a teaching career. “You need to have the fundamental attitude that all kids can learn,” Abbott said. “They have to feel that you think that they can learn.” Before entering the nonprofit sector, Abbott spent three decades with Fairfax County Public Schools. She majored in Spanish and minored in Latin at Mary Washington and earned a master’s degree in Spanish linguistics from Georgetown University. A 2004 UMW Distinguished Alumnus, Abbott also has been president of the Foreign Language Association of Virginia and chaired the Northeast Conference on the Teaching of Foreign Languages. … [Read more...]