A cooperative opportunity: R-MC and HCES
The Randolph-Macon College Education Department
offers a one-credit service-learning course, REAL Experiences, in partnership with
Henry Clay Elementary School (HCES), located in Hanover County.
Last semester, Randolph-Macon students participated in a course designed to examine
and teach the writing process through a cooperative opportunity designed by Lisa
Talley (Reading Specialist at HCES) and R-MC Education Professor Leslie Roberson.
Utilizing correspondence journals that traveled back and forth between R-MC’s Mabry
House (home of the Education Department) and HCES, R-MC students corresponded weekly
with Talley’s second-grade students in an effort to increase the HCES students’
writing abilities and hone R-MC students’ teaching skills.
R-MC students responded to their buddies, modeling the writing behaviors Talley
had taught. Online forums were used to discuss concepts and questions with Talley
The course culminated with a trip to R-MC, where the HCES students met their Yellow
Jacket buddies, toured the campus, ate
lunch at Estes and visited the Campus Store.
“The HCES students were thrilled to meet up with our students and see our beautiful
campus,” says Roberson. “This was an excellent way to show elementary-age students
some of the wonderful opportunities that Randolph-Macon College offers.” The HCES
students could not wait to get back to school to use their R-MC notepad paper and
pencils—donated by the Campus Store—for
their writing assignments.
Roberson and Talley agree that the journals were a powerful way to promote discussion
and writing and shared that the concept, Correspondence Journals: Talk that Matters,
is a great learning tool for all students. In a pre-survey, more than half of the
HCES students said they did not like writing, while one-hundred percent responded
at the end of the semester that they liked writing.
“The R-MC Journaling Jackets learned how the writing process develops with real
students, had an opportunity to model and teach what good writers do and—very important—developed
meaningful relationships with their second graders,” says Roberson, who also serves
as the director of Teacher Preparation and Educational Outreach.
The R-MC Education Department
With a strong tradition of preparing outstanding teachers, R-MC’s education minor
is a Virginia Department of Education approved educator preparation program and
is accredited by the Teacher Education Accreditation Council. The teacher preparation
program at R-MC creates reflective, passionate educators who are highly qualified
in their content area and in 21st-century teaching skills. Inspired by R-MC’s own
dedicated teaching faculty, our graduates bring to their own classrooms a commitment
to children, youth, families and diversity.
With the first course in R-MC’s teacher preparation program, students are in the
community, working with real students and teachers in local school classrooms. R-MC
education courses fully integrate classroom and experiential learning, opportunities
for collaborative research, civic and global engagement, personalized guidance,
and leadership development.