Approved by the Unversity Advisory Council of the Institute
21 April 1994
Endorsed by the Educational Policy Committee of the Yale Corporation
23 September 1994
1. Teaching is central to the educational process, and the ongoing preparation of teachers and their development of classroom materials are essential for student learning.
2. Teacher leadership is crucial to efforts to revitalize public education and therefore indispensable within the Institute.
3. Teachers of students at different levels can and must interact as colleagues to address the common problems of teaching their disciplines.
4. University-school collaboration must be long-term if it is to be effective.
1. Participating teachers from the University and the Schools enter the Institute as professional colleagues working within a collegial relationship, and their respective contributions in the Institute process are valued equally.
2. The Institute is a demanding and professionally significant experience that focuses on the academic preparation of school teachers and on the application of what they study in the Institute in their own school classrooms.
3. The simultaneous consideration of subject matter and classroom procedures is fundamental to the Institute's approach and essential to the collegiality on which the Institute is founded.
4. School teachers participate in the Institute as Fellows in special offerings designed to address their interests and needs for further preparation and curriculum development; they are not students in University courses.
5. School teachers must play a leading role in the planning, organization, conduct, and evaluation of Institute programs intended to benefit them and, through them, students in the New Haven Public Schools.
6. To strengthen teaching and learning throughout the schools, the Institute must involve a significant proportion of all teachers and must therefore actively recruit teachers who have not participated before, as well as minority teachers.
7. The relationship between Yale and the Schools must be both prominent and enduring within any viable larger relationship between Yale and New Haven.
8. As an educational institution, the main resource that Yale can provide to its home community is its faculty, particularly through academic programs such as those generated by the Institute.
9. Tangible expression of Yale's and the Schools' commitment to the Institute is indispensable; for the Institute to be taken seriously there must be an ongoing financial support from both.
The School Representatives have overall responsibility for organizing the Institute's annual program for the New Haven teachers who participate as Fellows. The fifteen or more Representatives, who represent all New Haven elementary, middle, and high school teachers in the humanities and the sciences and mathematics, promote the Institute to other teachers in their respective schools and enable them to have a direct role each year in designing the program. (Appendix G) They work with School Contacts, who are the designated individuals for other teachers to contact about the Institute in schools not large enough to warrant having a Representative.
The Seminar Coordinators, who serve during the admissions process and the period when the seminars meet between March and August, act as liaison with the Institute seminars, resolving any scheduling or administrative problems and facilitating the smooth operation of the seminars. (Appendix H)
A Steering Committee of teachers who have played leading roles in the Institute at various times since its inception has responsibility for long-range planning.
The Teachers Institute plays a leading role in the national movement for university-school collaboration. The National Advisory Committee assists in determining how to make the most effective contribution to institutions and schools in other communities. With respect to evaluation, the Committee provides a variety of perspectives that aid in examining what each constituency for such collaborative programs would regard as the best evidence of their effectiveness. The Committee also provides advice and assistance with fund raising directed toward foundations, corporations, and individuals located across the country.
The Representatives meet bi-weekly with the Director throughout the fall to compile and assess the results of these surveys, and to decide which seminar possibilities best address the interests and needs that prospective participants have stated. The Representatives then circulate descriptions of the seminars and work with school teachers in applying by the application deadline. (Appendix M.1)
Applications of teachers who apply to the Institute are first reviewed by subject-area supervisors from the Schools to verify that each proposal is consistent with and significant for school curricula and that each teacher will be assigned courses in the coming year in which he or she will teach the unit developed in the program. (Appendix M.2) They also consider whether the teachers' proposals are important for their own professional development and pertinent to their periodic recertification as professional educators in Connecticut. At the same time, Institute faculty members review the applications for their relationship to the seminar subject.
Seminar Coordinators, acting as an admissions committee, then consider the results of the administrative and faculty reviews and make recommendations about which teachers to accept. (Appendix M.3) The Director makes final decisions, taking into consideration program objectives and the relation of proposed unit topics to seminar subjects, as well as such practical matters as size of seminars and fair representation of schools, grade levels, and departments. (Appendix N)
Teachers are not selected as Institute Fellows on the basis of their previous academic accomplishment; rather, the Institute seeks to serve all teachers in the humanities and the sciences and mathematics who demonstrate a specific need for additional preparation and a desire to develop new curricular materials for their school courses. We especially want to include teachers who have little formal preparation in the subjects that they are assigned to teach. To select teachers on some other basis would exclude teachers who, with their students, might derive greatest benefit from the Institute.
The main criterion for selection, then, is that a teacher propose to develop and to teach in the coming year a unit consistent with school curricula and closely related to the general subject of an Institute seminar. No teacher is selected whose unit would be unrelated either to a seminar or to courses that will be offered in the coming year. In this way we ensure that the participants are teachers who will prepare materials that they themselves will teach and that, by extension, are potentially useful to their colleagues in the schools.
In practice, each year there is a winnowing from more than one hundred interested school teachers to those who finally are willing to commit themselves to participating fully in the program in one of the seminars that have been organized. Some teachers may be unable to find in that year's offerings a subject of compelling interest, but the topics on which most teachers wish to develop curricula each year result in seminars. In short, the process through which teachers annually play a leading role in determining the subject areas in which they wish to work is self-fulfilling; that is, it assures a high level of teacher participation and guarantees the introduction of Institute-developed materials into the school curriculum.
One or two years of Institute participation by no means compensates for many school teachers' lack of formal preparation in the subjects they teach; nor does it keep them current in their fields. These are among the reasons the Institute proceeds from a belief that school teachers should have, as a regular part of their professional lives, an ongoing engagement with the subjects they teach The Institute seeks over time to include as many teachers as possible and to ensure that participants are a cross-section of all New Haven teachers.
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The seminars are the main activity of the Institute. Not regular courses, they have two related and equally important purposes: the further preparation of teachers in the subjects of the seminars and the adaptation of this new learning, through the curriculum units, for use in the Fellows' own and other teachers classrooms. As a group, Fellows study the seminar subject generally by discussing common readings; individually, each Fellow selects a more limited aspect of the subject, and researches and develops it in depth for classroom use. In some seminars, the time is divided arbitrarily: the leader either lectures for the first hour or uses that time for a discussion of common reading; the second hour incorporates either a presentation of work-in-progress by Fellows or more general discussion of pedagogical applications of material learned in the seminar. Other seminar leaders seek more flexible or varied models. In all cases, seminars balance these complementary, but in some ways distinct, activities.
The Institute's unit-writing process entails two drafts, in addition to a preliminary statement of topic and prospectus. The first draft, a prose account of objectives and strategies of the unit, is due in late May. The second draft, including a rewrite of that section and the first draft of the rest of the unit, is due in early July. In both cases, faculty members return the drafts with written comments a week later. The final version, typed in a format appropriate for reproduction, is due at the end of July. (Appendix P) During August, the curriculum units are compiled into a volume for each seminar with an introduction by the seminar leader. A Guide to the Units is prepared from brief summaries written by their authors. Fellows also recommend the courses and grade levels for which their units seem most appropriate, and they propose the subject-matter categories under which their units should be listed in the Index of curriculum units written since 1978,which is updated annually. (Appendices Q, R, S) The Guide and Index are widely distributed in all the schools so that Fellows and other teachers can identify and request the units they will use in their classrooms. In September the volumes are deposited in all school libraries and distributed to teachers who have requested and wish to use them. (Appendix T)
Although the most intensive phase of the Institute--the five-month program of lectures, seminars, and writing in which all Fellows participate--concludes with the completion of the curriculum units, many Fellows are active throughout the year in the leadership of the program. School Representatives and Contacts have responsibility for promoting widespread use of Institute-developed materials by their colleagues.
Please note: Throughout this document, unless otherwise specified, the term "teacher" generally means both individuals who teach in elementary and secondary schools and those who teach in colleges and universities. For discussion of use of the terms teacher and "faculty member," see Vivian, "Issues in Establishing and Developing an Educational Collaboration" (1986), page 73.