A Deeper Understanding Through First-hand Experience

Headshot of Abigail Higgins
New Jersey native Abigail Higgins '20 is the daughter of two RWU alumni.

Abigail Higgins, RWU Class of 2020

Major:  Elementary Education

Most teacher candidates at other university-based programs have to wait for until their senior year for faculty-supervised K-12 classroom time. As a sophomore elementary education major Abigail Higgins doesn't have to wait thanks to the new elementary teacher residency model at RWU, which places sophomore elementary majors at an elementary school for an entire year.

"I have a lot of friends that go to other schools and they see a school maybe once a semester," Higgins says. "Having the opportunity to go every week is really great at this point in our training."

Through the residency model, Higgins has been able to immediately apply the learning she's doing in her Teaching Methods coursework. For example, in her math course, she learned about different counting strategies students could use. The next week, she taught a lesson to a small group of students at Rockwell Elementary in Bristol, the school she is placed at, using what she learned in her math course.

“I feel like we have a deeper understanding of the topics we’re learning because we get to watch them be applied.”

Another benefit the residency allows for Higgins is the opportunity to observe how her host teacher at Rockwell manages her classroom.

"I'm learning so much from her," Higgins says. "From little things to bigger ones like how she transitions or how intricate her lesson plans are - to how she knows her students so well and groups them by who works well with who.”

As the year progresses, Higgins will take on more responsibility in the classroom at Rockwell. The lesson she taught on counting strategies was the first lesson plan she planned and taught to an entire class.