In 2016, Elon University Professor Maureen Vandermaas-Peeler spent a semester with DIS in Copenhagen as a Visiting Faculty. While teaching, she also worked with DIS Faculty Maja Sbahi Biehl and Assistant Program Director Jen Duncan-Bendix in the Child Development & Diversity Program to conduct a pre and post survey of 60 Child Development and Diversity Practicum students regarding their expectations and experiences of experiential learning. The resulting paper, ‘I have a better sense of how interconnected the world is: students perceptions of learning and global engagement during study abroad’ was published in the prestigious Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad in April of this year. Maja, Jen, and Maureen will be presenting their findings from the paper at the upcoming FORUM conference in Prague this October.
The Child Development and Diversity Practicum offers a unique opportunity to students who spend 55 hours per semester gaining one-to-one experiences with children in Danish schools, kindergartens, etc. The surveys in the study illuminated just how important these experiences are for student learning and the benefits they received from their time in an international education setting.
During that same semester in 2016, Maureen, who taught a course at DIS called Children in the Natural World, was able to interview a group of Danish parents and some of Maja’s students to discuss children, nature, and play – especially within the context of the unique Danish forest kindergartens. This research resulted in another article by Maureen and Maja, ‘Parents’ Beliefs about Young Children’s Play and Nature Experiences in Danish and U.S. Contexts,’ which can be found in the upcoming edition of Journal of Adventure Education and Outdoor Learning.Back to all news