Transforming Education-March 2016

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Who Will Be Teaching Our Children?

Teaching has been front and center both in the media and on many legislative agendas this year. Concern has been raised about teacher shortages, a lack of interest by high school students in pursing teaching, and the future of the profession in general.

Many of you have been reading this column long enough to know that, while I will never deny that there are issues, I would prefer to spend my time, your time, and our children’s time focusing on solutions.

Ultimately, it is upon all of us to cultivate the seeds of new educators so that our profession continues to grow.

So what are WE in the Butler College of Education doing?

  • Recruiting the strongest, brightest, and most passionate educators that we can find by hosting future educator days to bring high school students to campus and collaborating with our colleagues in local schools and our Butler admissions office.
  • Advocating for the profession by inviting our students and faculty to engage with policymakers at events like the Indiana Colleges of Teacher Education’s Day at the Statehouse. The confidence that our students gain from these experiences allows them to eloquently talk about issues, just like COE student Nicole Vetter recently did with The Indianapolis Star.
  • Elevating the COE and education in national-level conversations when our graduates are selected to participate in activities such as conversations at the White House

(Editor’s Note: While Dean Shelley would be too humble to include this in her own column, the COE was also elevated to the national level recently when she was awarded the Edward C. Pomeroy Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teacher Education from the American Association of Colleges of Teacher Education.)

What can YOU do?

  • Share what makes your work great. When we balance the discourse about the profession with stories of hope, encouragement, and joy, then we elevate those who are doing the work and those who might join us in the work.
  • Find that one young person each year that you will encourage to be a teacher. It might be a student, a neighbor, a family member, or even a strong student you read about in the newspaper. While we would love for every great teacher to apply to Butler, we recognize that the collective good of our profession is counting on you to flood outstanding teacher preparation programs with high quality candidates.
  • Offer to mentor a young teacher just beginning his or her career.This can be an especially helpful contribution if you are retired or perhaps staying at home to care for family but want to stay connected to the profession. Time and again, our young alums tell us that they wish they had a mentor/coach who wasn’t directly tied to their job or evaluation, but rather who was someone they could turn to and be completely honest with about their struggles.

When we provide this kind of support, we help to ensure that great teachers will stay in the profession.

Who will be teaching our children? You will be teaching our children, but, for most of you, an entire new generation of teachers will be joining you before the end of your career.

What can we all do to ensure that your newest colleagues will be the ones you want to hand the reins to, as they teach children for generations to come?

Until next month,

Dr. Ena Shelley
Dean, College of Education

Transforming Education—February 2016

TE Ena

“When you come to the edge of all that you know,
you must believe one of two things:

There will be ground to stand. Or you will grow wings to fly.”

                                                                                        —O.R. Melling

A very dear friend, Caterina Cregor-Blitzer, shared this beautiful quote, by the Irish author O.R. Melling, with me. Caterina is one of those very special people who has the gift of somehow knowing what words of inspiration and encouragement I need at just the right time. I imagine that each of you has someone like that in your life, too. Perhaps you are that person for someone else.

For many of us, the tragic loss of Susan Jordan, principal of Amy Beverland Elementary School in the Metropolitan School District of Lawrence Township, Indianapolis, has caused us to reflect upon what we know and believe. The tributes that have been paid to honor Susan carried themes of her caring for others, making everyone she knew feel special, creating a joy and love of learning and teaching, and sacrificing her safety to protect others.

As I read and watched the stories in the media, children and adults consistently shared how much Susan gave them solid ground to stand on. Children cited songs, poems, and stories that she had taught them and how it helped them believe in themselves. Her 22 years of being a building leader and creating a first-rate school demonstrated that she knew how to support her staff to find solid ground or grow wings to fly.

To me, the wonderful tributes to Susan reflect Stephen Covey’s admonition to “begin with the end in mind.” How does each of us want to be remembered, based upon how we have lived our lives?

In closing, I share with you a poem that is a great reminder to focus on the “now” of our lives. Sometimes it is less about the wishing for the future and more about remembering what you are doing here and now with the child, colleague, or friend who is standing beside you. It can be as simple as words of hope and encouragement, a smile, a hug, or a song that someone will carry in their heart forever.

We honor our colleague and College of Education alumna Susan Jordan MS ’92 (EPPSP). Thank you, Susan, for giving us solid ground to stand on and wings with which to fly. You are the essence of living “The Dash.”

The Dash
                                       by Linda Ellis 

​I read of a man who stood to speak
at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on the tombstone
from the beginning … to the end.

He noted that first came the date of birth
and spoke the following date with tears,
but he said what mattered most of all
was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
that they spent alive on earth.
And now only those who loved them
know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own,
the cars … the house … the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
and how we spend our dash.

So, think about this long and hard.
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
that can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
to consider what’s true and real
and always try to understand
​the way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
and show appreciation more
and love the people in our lives
like we’ve never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect
and more often wear a smile,
remembering that this special dash
might only last a little while.

​So, when your eulogy is being read,
with your life’s actions to rehash …
would you be proud of the things they say
about how you spent YOUR dash?

Until next month,

Dr. Ena Shelley
Dean, College of Education

Human Movement and Health Science Education collaborates with the Center for Academic Technology

Dr. Mindpe331 1y Welch and her PE 331 Physical and Health Education Methods for Early and Middle Childhood class were first to utilize the new Video Lounge in the Center for Academic Technology (CAT), recently relocated to the third floor of Irwin Library. CAT hosted their annual digital videography orientation. This is the eighth consecutive year that Dr. Mindy Welch has worked closely with Jeana Rogers, Academic Technology Specialist, to lead the digital video trainings for her class. Information Commons student assistant, Sammie Chalmers, also helped with the training session. Butler’s Academic Technology Specialists are equipped to help find solutions to the technology needs of the faculty and are able to discuss how technology can be effectively used in their classrooms.

pe331 2

All students in the Human Movement and Health Science Education (HMHSE) program experience a three-semester Methods course sequence. Digital video technology is paramount for all three courses. HMHSE students. The students use digital video technology to video and audio record a total of 28 teaching episodes in their practicum. PE 331 students will be at the Butler Lab School for the sixth straight year. They students code the videos and using various systematic observation tools aimed at specific variables, such as teacher movement, teacher feedback, and motor task practices. Video analysis helps students analyze, reflect on, and plan instruction for their own teaching assessments. This group will teach 14 times over 7 weeks at the Butler Lab School with Jill Allen (’13) in the Movement Studio starting Feb. 9. Dr. Welch has created an innovative way to use digital/video technology for assessment, in turn creating better teachers who possess self-awareness!

Transforming Education—January 2016

TE Ena

Are you ready for a change?

As we welcome 2016, many of us make resolutions wanting to improve and change our lives. Change can be positive, but, sometimes, too many changes happening too fast based on too little information lead to chaos, frustration, and fatigue.

State Representative Terry Austin shared at a state meeting of the Indiana Association of Colleges of Teacher Education (IACTE) that the Indiana General Assembly approved 111 education “reform” changes in 26 legislative bills in just the past four years. If you are an educator, you have experienced the consequences of these rapid changes, and you may be feeling frustrated, too.

Often policymakers make changes without hearing the voices of those who are closest to the issues. But if we want to be heard, we have to speak up! Even though the current Indiana legislative session is a short one, I challenge you to advocate for changes based upon solid research and the knowledge of experienced educators. You can call or email your representative, write a letter to the editor (as I did), have your students invite policymakers to their school, or share links to good articles for them to read. I did the latter today and heard back immediately from two state representatives. You won’t know until you try, and you cannot expect someone else to speak for you.

On February 16, aspiring teacher education students from colleges and universities from across the state will hold the first IACTE Day on the Hill event at the Indiana State House. We want legislators to see the faces and hear the voices of those coming into the profession. In spite of the negative discourse that has surrounded teacher education and the teaching profession, we intend to introduce legislators to wonderful people who still desire to become teachers. We want the teacher education students to see the importance of being advocates for their chosen profession and for policymakers to see the talent that is coming into the field of teaching.

Gandhi’s inspirational quote “Be the change you want to see in the world” is a call to action by each of us. We don’t need 111 changes in four years.

Rather, what changes do you need to make, and what changes do we need to make to continually create strong schools in an ever-changing world?

So, gather your thoughts, your wisdom, and your passion and make your voices heard to your representatives. It is up to us to be the voice of the profession and advocates for children who do not have a voice in the process themselves.

Until next month,

Dr. Ena Shelley
Dean, College of Education

Transforming Education—December 2015

TE EnaThe only way to abolish war is to make peace seem heroic.
—John Dewey

Recently, Butler University alumnus Rob Goodwin came to campus to speak to Dr. Arthur Hochman’s and Professor Cathy Hartman’s undergraduate first-year course in teacher education. Rob is a teacher in Ferguson, Missouri. He reached out to Dr. Hochman to see if he could share his experience with future teachers.

rgListening to Rob share his story will be something I will never forget. He exemplified Dewey’s quote by demonstrating courage and compassion for his students, colleagues, and community during an extremely difficult, volatile time in the Ferguson community.

Rob had the difficult assignment of standing outside of his school, while wearing a bulletproof vest under his jacket, to inform children that school was closed. His concern was for those who would now not have breakfast or lunch. He worried about their safety and wondered how or if the community could
heal. When the school re-opened, he quickly offered a secure and safe space as he welcomed his children back. School administrators offered a great deal of advice to the teachers as to how to approach the students, but Rob asked a profound question. He asked, “Who nurtures the nurturers?”

This question took my breath away. How do teachers who have been emotionally impacted by tragedy find their own peace so that they can continue to provide support and solace for others?

In the following days, Rob’s question continued to circulate in my thoughts. I was confronted with it again while communicating with my good friend Angelica Granqvist, who is Swedish and teaches in Vallentuna just outside of Stockholm. She teaches high school English and many of her students are refugees. They have fled war-torn countries, oftentimes leaving loved ones behind, and have found safety in Sweden. Angelica embraces the diverse heritage of her students and, through the study of literature (James Joyce is a favorite), she helps her students find themes of perseverance, hope, facing fear, and finding peace.

agLike Rob, she makes peace heroic through her teaching and actions. She has a strong set of core beliefs about who she is as a person and as an educator, but I am also keenly aware of the burdens she carries while caring for her students. Whether it is in Missouri or Sweden, how do strong educators make peace and find peace?

What I have learned, and continue to understand more deeply from educators like Rob and Angelica is that peace begins first and foremost within each of us. I believe this comes from having a strong set of personal and professional beliefs and trying to live them each day through our interactions with others.

We can also find peace by sharing our stories with others and find both reassurance and renewal. Daily reflections and observations of what is going well, taking time out to breathe, and not being afraid to ask for help—these are steps that can be taken for the nurturers to be nurtured.

I dedicate this month’s column to all of the peacemakers in our schools and communities. My hope is that each of you will find your own ways of being nurtured and that you focus on the heroic work you do to bring peace and healing to the world. Share your story with us at

Dr. Ena Shelley
Dean, College of Education