WMU News

Alumni group launches Issues in Education series

Oct. 28, 1997

KALAMAZOO -- An increasing number of behavioral problems in the classroom will be the topic of an education forum at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, at the McKee Alumni Center in Walwood Hall on the Western Michigan University campus.

Titled "Behavioral Challenges in the Classroom," the forum is the first in an "Issues in Education" series sponsored by the WMU Alumni Association's Education Society. The forums are free and open to the public and are designed to provide discussion and information on pivotal topics in education.

Panelists for the Nov. 11 forum include: Peg Bird, a former elementary principal and current consultant whose expertise is in attention deficit disorder; Pauline Becker, director of the Michigan Association for Children with Emotional Disorders; Debra Johnson, a parent with a child who suffers from Tourette's syndrome and attention deficit disorder; and Jan Reinstein, a fifth grade teacher from St. Monica School in Kalamazoo.

The group will discuss the issues behind and the solutions to the rising number of students unable to cope with authority and the demands placed upon them at school. After a brief presentation by each of the panelists, a discussion will be led by moderator Steven Fryling, a member of the Education Society's board of directors and assistant principal at Mattawan Middle School.

"This forum provides an opportunity for educators and other interested people to share information and solutions," Fryling explains. "Educators need to look outside their day-to-day experiences in order to grow and improve and this is one way to accomplish that."

Unlike a conference or presentation, the format of the "Issues in Education" series will feature large blocks of time for dialogue between the audience and presenters. The event will be guided by a moderator who will present focus questions for reflection and discussion.

"This forum shouldn't be confused with a debate," says Mary Ellen Agar, an organizer of the event and a teacher at St. Monica School. "The point will not be to win an argument about ADD or other issues, but rather to have people throw out different ways of looking at the problems facing these kids to get a bigger and better picture of what's going on so that we can better help them and the rest of our students."

The WMU Education Society consists of alumni from WMU's College of Education and is a chapter of the alumni association. The society aims to promote the improvement of education through discussing important issues, promoting legislation supportive of education and working with the College of Education to strengthen teacher training. The society also provides a way for alumni to interact with the College of Education.

Two other forums are slated for the academic year:

Tuesday, Feb. 17, 1998, "The Future of the College of Education and Pre-service Teacher Training" delivered by Dr. Frank Rapley, dean of WMU's College of Education.

Tuesday, March 10, 1998, "Charter and For-Profit Schools: Risks and Challenges" presented by a variety of experts.

For more information, call Karin F. Carl in the College of Education dean's office at 616 387-2965.


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