Contents of this section:
Programs Represented*California HistorySocial Science Project
Los Angeles, California
Gateways Through Academic Partnership
The Student/Teacher Educational Partnership (STEP)
Santa Ana, California
University of Hartford Academy for Teachers
West Hartford, Connecticut
YaleNew Haven Teachers Institute
New Haven, Connecticut
University of ChicagoPrograms for Teachers and Students
Academic and Cultural Collaborative of Maine
CAST (The Center Alliance for Secondary School Teachers and
College Park, Maryland
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Andover Bread Loaf Writing Workshop (ABLWW)
Integrated Studies Program MIT/Cambridge Public Schools
Center for Educational Improvement through Collaboration
Ann Arbor, Michigan
Teacher Enhancement Program
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Biology Interaction Group/Partnership in Education (BIG/PIE)
Buffalo, New York
College Preparatory Initiative
New York, New York
Institute for Writing and Thinking at Bard College
AnnandaleonHudson, New York
LIU Cardozo Collaborative
Bayside, New York
Durham, North Carolina
Wake Forest University/Winston Salem Forsyth County Collaborative
Winston Salem, North Carolina
Commonwealth Partnership Biology Initiative for SecondarySchool
Lehigh Valley Faculty Partnership
Pittsburgh School DistrictUniversity Collaborative
Project C.A.U.S.A. (Comprehensive Activities to Upgrade Science
Rio Piedras, Puerto Rico
Institute for Secondary Education
Providence, Rhode Island
University of South Carolina Center for Science Education/South
Carolina Public Schools Partnerships
Columbia, South Carolina
History Institute: Creating a Collaborative Curriculum for the Study of
Sam Houston Teachers Academy
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The Teachers Academy of the Dallas Institute of Humanities Culture
* Programs are listed alphabetically by state.
|Questionnaires dealing with reactions to the conference were sent to all participants. There were 51 respondents, from 22 of the 27 programs in attendance. These respondents included 17 school teachers, 10 school administrators, 10 university faculty, 7 university administrators, and 7 other program representatives.|
|Of the 51 respondents, 37 were visitors to New Haven and 14 were from the YaleNew Haven Teachers Institute. On many questions, these two groups were quite similar in their range of opinion. In a few instances, which are noted below, the views of some from New Haven were significantly different from those of visitors.|
I. The Conference Itself
|A. Please describe your reactions to the conferenceboth the topics and the schedule for the discussionsand whatever general observations you may care to make about the meeting.|
|The great majority of the respondents said explicitly that the conference was valuable, excellent, invigorating, extremely beneficial, or of great interest. Many added that the topics were diverse, well chosen and pertinent. And a good many of those also felt that the schedule was fine. There were a number of comments in appreciation of the diversity of groups and persons in attendance. Several expressed their enjoyment especially of the plenary sessions. One thought the session on "Present and Potential Sources of Public and Private Support" especially helpful. A university faculty member said, "In short, I loved the first half day, especially how well you featured the teachers and their obvious enthusiasm for the program." A school administrator summed up the views of many: "The program was well organized and highly stimulating. The diversity was fantastic. I have become a part of a bigger network. The initial presentation by the New Haven teachers group was excellent! I also found it interesting that the DeWitt WallaceReader's Digest representative was there for the program. This signifies another level of commitment!"|
The great majority of the respondents said explicitly that the conference was valuable, excellent, invigorating, extremely beneficial, or of great interest.
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|Reservations about the conference and suggestions for improvement covered a wide gamut. Several people felt that some sessions were too large for meaningful interchange; others would welcome more time for informal brainstorming. There were suggestions for smallgroup meetings, more time spent introducing a variety of programs, a session addressing the specific organization of at least three collaboratives, demonstration sessions by various programs, more topics that addressed middle schools, and even more involvement in the conference by public school teachers. One respondent was disturbed by the relative lack of community college people at the conference. And several expressed the view that the simultaneous sessions posed difficult choices.|
Several expressed the view that the simultaneous sessions posed difficult choices.
|No doubt many of these opinions are somewhat at odds with each other. But the responses as a whole do seem to suggest that the planners of any future conference should make yet greater efforts to obtain preliminary proposals from teachers as well as administrators in the participating programs, that perhaps the planning might well be carried out by a group of programs in concert, and that the schedule and physical arrangements should be as conducive as possible to a variety of smallgroup conversations as well as affording the opportunity for plenary sessions.|
|B. What application, if any, do you foresee that the conference may have on the ongoing development of your own work?|
|A good many respondents spoke of the gaining of valuable contacts with people and projects, the learning of new perspectives, the discovery of important resources. A university administrator and a university faculty member said: "We have already used some suggestions on greater teacher involvement as we plan for next year. We will also try desktop publishing of coursedevelopment curricular materials." Another university faculty member said: "The only frustration that I am left with is the lack of time to pursue all of the sources for funding, gathering guest speakers, etc., in order to improve our current endeavors. The Institute provided me with materials, ideas, and inspiration that will keep me busy for years." A school teacher said: "The conference inspired me to try new classroom curriculum." And another teacher noted: "Interactions with teams that had similar needs and characteristics; contacts with individuals across the country; followup visitations between specific teams." Yet another said: "I will use (and have used) many of the ideas in the green book and from the conference." And yet another said: "As a result of listening to descriptions of several writing projects I hope to be part of creating one for our area." And a school administrator said: "The publication of units developed at the Institute has been shared with many participants in our project and has generated discussion about the value of such a document. The publication has also elicited a great deal of interest about particular units since those included were so extensive and welldocumented. A project with the American Association of Learned Societies, to be conducted at UCLA with LAUSD humanities teachers, will undoubtedly use the Institute's curriculum publication as a resource for its curricular project."|
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|Some other respondents felt that it was still too early to determine the possible application of what they had learned. A school administrator said: "I will consult with college members of my team for possibilities. The most obvious is preservice programs for prospective teachers. Also seeking community and business contacts for future programs. United Technologies speaker was particularly enlightening." Another school administrator said the applicability is "limited since we are involved in a systemwide collaboration of all New York City high schools and colleges." Yet another was mainly led to reflect upon the need to challenge the social status quo in order to bring about improvement in teaching. And a university administrator said: "Frankly, the conference provided little of practical value. I met some very pleasant people and enjoyed the presentations and conversations mostly as evidence of the state of the art." His perception was that too often traditional inservice professional development was being called "universityschool collaboration." The few others who could specify no "practical value" all happened to be New Haven teachersan indication, perhaps, that their own perceived needs are already being met by their participation in the Institute itself.|
II. Our Possible Collaboration in the Future
|A. Conferences: Would more conferences be useful? If so, at what point in the future should they be scheduled and in what ways should they be similar to, or different from, the 1991 conference?|
|Nearly all of the respondents said that more conferences would indeed be useful. Some thought that annual conferences would be most desirable; about the same number thought that every two years would be the optimum interval; and about the same number specified every three years.|
Nearly all of the respondents said that more conferences would indeed be useful.
|As the responses to the conference itself suggested, the views on
desirable continuity and change in topic and format were quite diverse.
There were pleas for regional conferences, for fuller presentation of a
variety of partnerships, for workshops on specific practical problems, for
separate tracks for newcomers and those wanting to deal with radical
restructuring of the schools, for fuller information on how to develop new
programs, for more extensive sharing of results. It seems clear that many
respondents would now prefer a more sharply focused conference on a few
issues. But others would not. And the diversity of issues mentioned will
make the planning of a further conference a matter of some complexity.
There were several suggestions that a sharper focus might emerge in
discussions if preliminary statements or "position papers" were provided
by those in charge, with ample leadtime to develop responses. There
were also suggestions that high school students should be brought in for
demonstrations of how certain approaches actually work.
One way of dealing with this diversity was offered by a school teacher who said: "I would like to see more conferences scheduled but dealing with very specific and real educational problems. I think they should be regional to pull in more people. Then have a national conference to pull ideas together." And another teacher, thinking along the same lines, said: "Followup of teams within a region, MidAtlantic States, summer or late spring. Keep up the continuity." And a representative from a professional association said: "Any possibilities for organizing regional meetings? Sessions as part of other conference programs on collaboration?" And one team suggested that "we might even establish complementary collaborative efforts," within some kind of consortium that could clarify shared purposes, provide for exchange of faculty, and cooperate in institutes.
|B. Publications: What additional types of literature would you
like to see the Institute prepare, and in what ways would this material be
useful to you?
One school teacher who found the green book "very valuable" asked that it now be divided into smaller "booklets" according to subject area, and that more units (especially interdisciplinary ones) be provided. That view was shared by a university administrator. A program representative asked for accounts of YaleNew Haven seminars by participants, which might explore the impact of the seminars on teachers' thinking. A university faculty member from New Haven urged that the next publication of such units should be discipline oriented. Teachers from New Haven suggested the publication of units not only from New Haven but also from other programs. And indeed there were a number of requests by a variety of respondents for sample lessons and units developed by other collaboratives, for samples of program descriptions, for a monograph from each program, for a handbook of grantsmanship, and for various other kinds of surveys and directories. The suggestions included material on disk, videos of collaborative activities, and a clearinghouse of activities for sharing.
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C. The Institute has considered planning a series of national seminars for teachers from other programs with which we have worked. Do you think that such seminars would be worthwhile? If so, what purposes might they serve, in what subjects should they be offered, and would you wish to have a teacher from your own area apply to participate?
A substantial number of respondents from outside New Haven (over twenty) thought such seminars would be worthwhile, and about half of those indicated an interest in participation. (A majority of the New Haven teachers responding also favored the idea.) A few others said that their interest would depend on the nature of the seminar, or that they could see only limited benefit.
The suggestions as to subject were variouscovering the full range of humanities, social studies, and mathematics and sciences. Several people emphasized the desirability of interdisciplinary subjectmatter or very broad topics, and others stressed the need for emphasis upon our multi cultural society. One university administrator suggested that such seminars be scheduled at different times for different groups (79; 912; community college; 4year college). Another university administrator said: "I assume you have in mind seminars like your existing series, with recruitment reaching beyond the New Haven area. That would be a fine project." One of the teams said: "I love the idea of a national seminar, but I'm still thinking collaboratively. Why not invite faculty from the institutes to help plan and teach in this event?" A school administrator suggested a session of regional programs. And a representative from ACLS noted that that organization is proposing a similar initiative in the humanities, with which any Yale effort might be coordinated.
D. What other forms of collaboration among the participants in the 1991 conference, and with other colleagues, would be worthwhile?
|Twelve respondents suggested some kind of continuing organization. One school administrator said: "A formal organization that is capable of getting some attention and generating some interest in such collaborations would be helpful. Since it appears that university people have very little incentive, aside from their own good intentions (which, by the way, were very well demonstrated by the Yale faculty), to participate in such ventures, anything that can be done to make collaborations with school districts more attractive would be most welcome. If a high profile university, like Yale, were to lead the way in finding some means for making collaboration a meaningful step in professors' evaluations, school districts might find it much easier to sustain partnerships."|
Twelve respondents suggested some kind of continuing organization.
|Ten respondents suggested a newsletter as a main activity of such an organization. Eleven suggested some kind of electronic billboard. There were also various requests for information about each collaborative, for a central library of materials, for computer networking, and for fuller discussion of the political implications on a national level of the collaborative movement.|
III. Conference MaterialPlease describe the usefulness to you of each of the following documents, before, during, and after the conference.
A. Teaching in New Haven: The Common Challenge
Some positive comments on this "green book" were included in answers reported above. In response to this question, some ten persons described the volume as good, informative, or very useful. Another seven described it in yet more laudatory terms as "great," "Impressive," "terrific." Several spoke of already passing on the volume to others who might make use of it. One university administrator said: "Interesting ideas and well put togetherwell written. My copy is now in the Langley High School library, where the teachers will have access to it."
|Six respondents found the book useful primarily in learning about the Yale New Haven program. "It was my introduction," said one university faculty member, "to the whole notion of how one community effectively worked together. I read it before arriving at the conference and knew I would reap numerous benefits from all of your peopleand I did." Three others spoke of it as "interesting but not helpful." Some suggested that it was especially useful in the area of language and literature; one called it uneven in quality; and several, despite the detailed outline of the seminar process in the introduction, received the erroneous impression that the chief goal of this program is producing curriculum units. A school administrator said, "In general, we as teachers in New York State don't need any additional curricula! New York is a curriculum adoption state and teachers don't have that choice. We need innovative activities, doable in our time constraints and budget constraints that teach the concepts required in an interesting way." Here again there seems to have been some misunderstanding of the purpose of this volume, which was not to provide curricula but to exemplify a process, and some misunderstanding of the process itself, which certainly accommodates innovative activities that teach required concepts.|
"It was my introduction to the whole notion of how one community effectively worked together. "
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B. "Progress Report on Surveys Administered to New Haven Teachers, 1982 1990"
|A dozen or so respondents found this report interesting and informative. One school administrator found it difficult to assess, because of too much "soft" data. Another school administrator wanted to hear more about the surveys. A university faculty member said: "Helpful to see concrete evidence of improvement. The sense of improvement seems to me the most convincing, but there are those who look for statistical evidence. Such reports therefore are helpful and welcome." And a team said: "Our own participants write letters of evaluation. When we present them to corporations, etc., we are often admonished to get figureseven though the participants' letters clearly demonstrate the effect of the program on their philosophy and mode of teaching. Your survey format allows for impressive figures."|
"Your survey format allows for impressive figures."
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|C. "Issues for Discussion" at the conference prepared from
advance response of those who would attend.
Between fifteen and twenty people described this document as informative and helpful. Another six complained that they could not always see connections between this document and the actual sessions. One team liked the fact that discussion leaders did not feel bound to adhere to the printed items. Several people found the document a useful tool for critical thinking. And one person complained that the people filling out the advance questionnaires on which the document was based were often not teachers but administrators.
D. "Directory of Programs" represented at the conference, compiled from material provided by the programs themselves.
There was an overwhelmingly positive response to this directory, but little detailed comment. One person suggested the addition of specific addresses and zip codes. Others wanted yet fuller accounts of the programs than were offered.
IV. Please add anything you want us to consider in preparing a report or planning for the future.
|Here again the answers were quite various, and those from the school teachers often overlapped issues already summarized under earlier categories. A program representative noted that the conference had never addressed "how teachers' understanding of knowledge (and of a particular discipline) changed by the experience of participating in one of the Yale seminars." A school administrator suggested "the infusion of some university people working on learning theory and research." A university faculty member was especially struck by the discussion on principals"excellent principals who trust teachers vs. the suggestion of schools with no principals"and suggested this as an issue to explore. "I'd also be interested to know more," he said, "about how the Sizer program could become involved in these discussions. And how (if at all) we might respond to the new book by Kozol." A university administrator suggested the need for lots of work on "global issues""Where are we in 2010? in 2020?" A university faculty member said, "I see these collaborative ventures as moving from a university centered (trickledown theory of knowing) to one which is more truly a matter of mutual exploration and cooperation." A university administrator testified to the importance of a "chain of life" linking programs that had evolved from James Vivian's instigation. And another faculty member said: "Please create some method for us to stay in touch. There are so many wonderful creative programslet's share."|
"There are so many wonderful creative programslet's share."