The UC Irvine Humanities Out There Practicum is a community-based education collaboration with the Bowers Kidseum in Santa Ana. UCI H.O.T. undergraduate interns work three hours a week in a museum-based setting where they provide afterschool learning assistance and instruction to local K-8 students from surrounding area schools. As a service-learning program, the H.O.T. internship exposes UCI students to learning and teaching “best practices” in a weekly seminar at UCI and encourages them to apply their new teaching skill sets in a provider setting committed to bringing a vibrant humanities and arts curriculum to the students of Santa Ana. In our weekly seminar we address diverse theories and methodologies relating to teaching and learning (pedagogical theory), as well as exploring strategies and techniques to best implement these concepts with our Kidseum students. Interns are required to read, discuss, and reflect on assigned seminar material and apply it in their student-centered teaching at the Kidseum.
In addition to daily homework assistance and tutoring responsibilities, past H.O.T. interns have collaboratively backward-designed and delivered project-based learning (PBL) lessons, led targeted literacy programs like weekly “literature circles,” and curated art-appreciation tours at the Bowers Museum. The Kidseum shares H.O.T’s commitment to results-oriented instructional experimentation, so interns often have a great deal of flexibility in terms of implementing new lessons and activities of their own design.
The children in the afterschool program at the Kidseum have benefited greatly from the volunteer hours H.O.T. interns devote to helping them achieve academic success. In their most recent yearly survey, the Kidseum afterschool program shared the following amazing results: “100% of students improved their math skills”; “91% improved their English/language arts skills”; “99% of parents report improved self-esteem and confidence in their children”; and “90% of parents believe their children have benefited from the program because they learn about a variety of cultures through art programs and museum exhibits.” The H.O.T./Kidseum collaboration is indeed positively impacting the greater Orange County community.