By Michael Corsiglia, Writing with Purpose Peer Assistant and former student
Can college students gain real world experience from a course? A question that is asked constantly throughout the academic world. For one class at the University of Iowa, the answer is yes. Each semester 15 students are able to enroll in Writing with Purpose, a class that uniquely works hand-in-hand with a non-profit organization based in Iowa City. The Iowa Youth Writing Project is an organization that provides free in-school and after-school writing workshops for students in hopes of empowering children with language, literature, and creative thinking.
Students who take this course have the opportunity to work at one of three different sites in the Iowa City area. The sites range from high school students at Tate High School, younger elementary students at Longfellow Elementary, and 5th and 6th graders at Mark Twain elementary school. As part of the course curriculum students create their own lesson plans to be used once weekly at their schools. During class time students brainstorm different ideas and strategies to best create an imaginative, creative, and fun environment for students.
The course is perfect for college students with aspirations in teaching or any career working with children. Unlike other education courses at the University this course involves hands on experience in an actual classroom, with real students, and a real lesson plan. The course even gives students the opportunity to publish their own anthology of works that are written by the students at their site.