Featured Student: Ned Heckman '13

February 9, 2011 at 12:38 pm
By Nick Welna

 Ned Heckman '13

Ned Heckman, Educational Psychology and Multicultural Education

“At first, I was skeptical of how tutoring would work,” says Ned Heckman ’13,
remembering when he started his Educational Psychology course last fall. “But
I realized that a lot of what we talk about our classes can be futile if we don’t try
to experience it.” As part of the course’s academic civic engagement component,
Heckman had to tutor local K-12 students, and signed up for four hours a week
in science classes at Northfield High School. The New Yorker who intends to
major in biology split his time between eleventh grade chemistry and tenth grade
biology, providing homework help, supporting students who had trouble reading,
and assisting with lab activities. He formed an especially strong connection with
the biology students, who were part of the high school’s “Academy” program for
struggling students. “I had a lot of fun with them and my help was actually making a
difference,” he explains.

This term, Heckman has decided to continue working with the biology students
through another ACE course, Multicultural Education. “I really appreciate the new
perspectives on the tutoring experience,” he says. Professor Deborah Appleman,
who taught the Educational Psychology course, had her students keep weekly
journals to reflect on their time in the schools. Heckman wrote in them about
how his work as a tutor connected with the ideas about lesson planning and
cognitive development that he explored in the course readings and discussions.
With professor Anita Chikkatur, who is teaching Multicultural Education, Heckman
is continuing his journals but now explores how issues of race and gender shape
students’ classroom experiences.

“I already had my ideas about what a teacher should be,” recalls Heckman, “but
doing academic civic engagement classes helped me think about those ideas more,
and helped me see what worked and what didn’t.” Heckman is even exploring ways
to continue this unique learning experience into spring term by taking another
Educational Studies ACE course. As he pursues his teaching certificate here at
Carleton, he is not sure if he wants to teach middle or high school students, but is
confident that he wants to teach life sciences. “I’m not sure how exactly I’ll teach
differently because of this experience,” Heckman says. “But I can already tell from
my experiences this year that it will impact my ability to be a better teacher.”