Children and Trinity's Future Teachers Learn From Each Other

SPED groupOn a recent visit for grade school students from Steger, Illinois, the pre-K through fourth graders from Foundations for Advancement enjoyed a special tour and lunch and engaged in learning activities with Trinity students from the education program.

While the future teachers gain experience in putting the classroom methods into action, both Trinity students and elementary students benefit from the interaction. Another benefit for the Steger students was the chance to see college attendance as an accessible goal.


The emphasis on collaboration in education today cannot be emphasized enough.
– Rebecca Harkema

SPEDRebecca Harkema ’05, assistant professor of special education, was happy for the opportunity to have her students spend valuable time with the young visitors from Steger, the town where she taught previously.

“The emphasis on collaboration in education today cannot be emphasized enough,” said Harkema.  “Teacher candidates need to be able to go out into the field with experience for the benefit of students they are working with.”

Harkema believes her students sharpened in the following skills through their interactions:

  • differentiating instruction for a variety of age levels
  • making instructional decisions in the moment
  • co-teaching and collaborating with peers for the benefit of student learning

As a Trinity alumna, Harkema recalls her past to help her prepare students today.

“I am passionate about special education, and the fact that I get to prepare future teachers to work with students with disabilities is amazing,” Harkema said. “Trinity’s education program prepared me so well that I want to make sure the students that I am teaching leave our program just as prepared as I was.”