Summer Learning Experiences Enrich Faculty
Faculty return to campus renewed and reinvigorated after the summer, but for many, summer was not all fun in the sun. Many faculty use the valuable time for professional development.
For instance, academic dean and math faculty member Jackie Bonenfant attended a four-day conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Education called the "Future of Learning." It featured Howard Gardner, David Perkins, and a host of other researchers and practitioners. The focus of the conference was how three major societal changes—mind/brain research, the digital revolution, and globalization—will shape the future of teaching and learning.
“Howard Gardner outlined ‘Five Minds for the Future’ that we should foster: the disciplined mind, the synthesizing mind, the creating mind, the respectful mind, and the ethical mind,” says Jackie. “As he said, ‘The world will not be saved by high test scores… . More than ever, a laser-like focus is needed on the kinds of human beings we are raising and the kinds of societies—indeed, in a global era, the kind of world society—that we are fashioning.’”
English faculty member Tarim Chung immersed himself in postmodern literature based on a syllabus from a graduate course at Harvard. This included among others, Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, Beckett’s Waiting for Godot, Nabokov’s Speak, Memory and Woolf’s To the Lighthouse.
“Family realities kept me from taking the actual course, but I have been reading and taking notes on what I've read as I try to brush up on a genre of literature that I know less about but feel a real affinity for,” says Tarim. “Somewhere between reading for sheer pleasure and reading--pen firmly in hand--toward converting a book into immediate classroom material is a really blissful region of imaginative thought, and I tried to surf along that region as long as I could during this stimulating little foray. Next summer I am contemplating taking onThe Russians!”
Pam McArdle of the performing arts faculty attended the Broadway Teachers' Workshop. This workshop is sponsored by Musical Theatre International for theatre and drama teachers, and is held in New York City. Pam said these workshops are great opportunities to work with theatre industry professionals. She has participated during two previous summers.
“One of the highlights was a workshop on puppetry led by Tony Award nominee,
John Tartaglia of Avenue Q. Definitely something I will introduce in my classes!” says Pam. “The element I most value from these workshops is the sharing of ideas, tactics, problem-solving, suggestions, and play resources with others who do what I do everyday in the classroom or on a stage.”
The group attends four Broadway productions that include a special ‘talk-back’ with the casts and crews after the shows, which give insight as to their separate paths to Broadway. “I always come back armed with new ideas for my own teaching,” Pam says, “and with things to share with my performing arts colleagues.”