2020 National Seminar Leaders Discuss Participating in the Yale National Initiative

2020 National Seminar Leaders Discuss Participating in the Yale National Initiative

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Good evening and welcome to the 16th annual virtual open house We have all of the school districts and institutes participating in the national initiative connected to our conference this evening. I’m here with the national seminar leaders in the Initiative offices overlooking the New Haven Green and the Yale Campus. I will ask some of the many questions that you have submitted in advance. This teacher writes: “I don’t know that I have a question for a specific seminar leader, but more for them in general. If they are not faculty of a School of Education, what interests them in participating in this program with teachers?” Any of you care to speak to that? Paul Turner: I can go first. I am a huge fan of communicating science. I think it is essential and sorry scientists, but the the onus is on us to explain to the lay public the importance of science. So I feel like this process of being involved in the Teachers Institute and running a seminar helps me interact with an audience to communicate science and transmit knowledge is very different than the audience’s that I have in the classrooms at Yale. And, it is different than the school rooms where I might present my work and my ideas and science. It’s an elementary school or a high school, I’m talking to those students in a different way than I would be talking to the teachers who are leading those classrooms I guess in short, I love taking part in this because it keeps me on my toes in a very different way than the rest of my work. And a lot of it is in communicating knowledge to an audience, hearing back from that audience what excites them even more. And we can be very nimble, we can go down that path. I think we’ve heard this from my colleagues in the room, is that you are part of the process of picking the readings, and it’s the topic that you choose that really further drive my curiosity about the main topic and I just learned a lot through this. Daniel Martinez HoSang: Maybe to build off of that, you know, I think the record of education reform is often littered with these large-scale initiatives that are top-down, that imagine that that’s how teaching and learning and pedagogy gets transformed. My experience in the seminar last year in New Haven really upended that. It’s actually teacher driven efforts that are much more, sometimes improvisational, resourceful, rooted in peer-to-peer learning and exchange, that I think will be at the forefront of doing what I think is a growing- we have a growing recognition of the imperative to think about how the curriculum itself has to be updated and transformed for the 21st century. So I think teachers are going to be at the forefront of that. And there’s also just a wonderful opportunity to learn from that process. I guess I’ll also say that teaching about critical topics about race and racism in a college classroom- I’m always just grateful and delighted when students come in and say, “Look I took this up, I had a high school teacher that really went out of their way to actually revisit and think from a more critical perspective on that.” So that absolutely sets the kind of conditions for which our forms of knowledge production and teaching take place here. And I feel, you know. an obligation to help support that as well. Jordan Peccia: I would say I have three quick reasons; the first one, and the primary one, is to build a pipeline. So, engineering isn’t typically taught in high school. And so how do students know whether they want to do engineering or not? I see this as a great opportunity to help bring engineering into high schools and to be able to expose students to that The second reason is is I’m just interested in this stuff. I find it accessible and we can cover a broad variety of environmental topics. I learn a lot through interactions with you but I also learn a lot just by taking on topics that I normally don’t address in my research. And finally, I’m inspired by the efforts of teachers who go through all of this to bring a unit or something interesting, new, different, to their classes. And so I’m inspired by all of you, I’ll be a better teacher next year because of it. Ian Shapiro: So I would just like to add to that and emphasize it. I find that in my day job, as it were, we spend much too much time talking to ourselves. And there’s a little too much, sort of, navel-gazing that goes on. And after a certain point you really become more more concerned about the impact of what you can do on others, and I find the Teachers Institute, both New Haven and National, to be inspiring because you can work with teachers to develop curriculum units that are incorporating state-of-the-art work that’s going on in universities and translating it into a form that can actually improve their own classes. And the effort that people make to take two weeks out of their summer and come here and really dig in and work hard- I admire it, I know people have many other demands on their time and the fact that they were interested in and willing to do that energizes me. I was really quite awestruck by the results last year, so I’m happy to be able to give back in a way that I find rewarding and invigorating. David Engerman: Well, I sort of said already that, you know, trying to proselytize for historical sensibility, but I suppose it’s also one of the dirty little secrets of college teaching, about how little training we get and being teachers, and so it’s one of the ways I learn about how to teach; in some specific and concrete ways and some general ways of thinking about things. I come back every year, as Jordan says, from different teacher programs with new ideas and being a better teacher and I’m looking forward to learning from and with a group of teachers this summer.

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