Partners in Reading and Learning

English Education students collaborate with high school English class in reading and discussing a novel

| Author: Liberty Guilmette | Media Contact: Sarah Buckley

This fall, students from Central Michigan University’s English 211 course, Introduction to English Education, partnered with Mount Pleasant High School teacher Alexia Cain’s 9th grade English class to discuss the novel-in-verse Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds.

ENG 211 students collaborate with English classes at the high school in different ways each semester to give future teachers hands-on experience with secondary students.

English Professor Carlin Borsheim-Black says it gives CMU students the opportunity to practice important skills for teaching English, such as building positive relationships with students, asking authentic questions about literature, and guiding small group discussions.

The CMU students met virtually with Cain’s class seven times over five weeks to examine the meaning and stylistic choices of Long Way Down. The novel’s ending was a cliffhanger, so ENG 211 students practiced writing possible endings in Reynolds’ poetic style with their 9th grade groups.

Cain’s class hosted a breakfast celebration at the high school with the CMU students to share their alternative endings with each other.

“My students are sad to end our mentor unit, so I know they truly value this collaboration,” Cain said.

Mount Pleasant High School and Central Michigan University students stand around a table filled with breakfast foods.
Mount Pleasant high school and CMU students hosted a breakfast celebration to share their alternative endings to the novel Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds.
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