Students Teaching Students

by Melissa Nicholas '05

Azusa Pacific University celebrated the 11th annual Common Day of Learning on March 5, 2003. This year's theme was "BE" and the APU tradition honored students teaching students through various events held in place of regular class scheduling. Jody Godoy ’05, a student presenter for the day, put it well when she stated, "It’s a really great opportunity for discussion between students, it’s at the heart of what liberal education is all about."

The day began with a chapel put together by students utilizing their talents in multi-media, creative arts, and acting. Participants reenacted different Biblical events as ballerinas gracefully danced behind a silhouetted screen, and a performance by Bel Canto Women’s Choir closed the chapel. After chapel, there were four seminar seminars running throughout the day, each containing ten classes to choose from. The sessions included a holistic assortment of topics such as missionary nursing, interracial dating, and the current war on Iraq.

Common Day of Learning was also a great way for students to talk about current issues on campus. At "The Diversity Dilemma," hosted by Erin Gaw '04 and Amber Johns '03, students and faculty were able to interact with the audience about culturally diverse relations at APU. On the panel was also APU President Jon R. Wallace, DBA, who stated, "We believe it is our duty to understand diversity, the challenge is to go beyond our own comfort zones." The panel encouraged open questions from audience members, and the conversation got to the core of uncomfortable situations that stand as barriers for students to embrace one another.

Through faculty and student collaboration, Common Day of Learning provided an alternative means of education that encouraged students to share their areas of interests and talents. As Kathy Jones '05 said "I really like the idea of students leading the learning, it makes the atmosphere personal and comfortable."