In April 1978 forty English, history and art history teachers from the New Haven Public Schools became Fellows of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute to prepare new curricula for the 1978-1979 school year. Organized in the winter of 1977-1978, the Institute seeks to improve the teaching and learning of the humanities in New Haven secondary schools and to serve as a model university-schools collaboration. Its principal aim is to open the resources of Yale University to city school teachers and to make these resources available in ways which they indicate will be most helpful.
In applying to the Institute, teachers stated their priorities for curriculum development, the topics on which they proposed to work, and the relation of these topics to courses which would be offered in the coming year. Teachers thereby had primary responsibility for identifying the subjects the Institute would treat. Four seminar groups were organized, corresponding to the principal themes of the Fellows’ proposals: language and writing, 20th Century Afro-American Culture, other American history and literature of the 20th Century, and colonial American history and material culture. Each seminar was led by an Institute faculty member from Yale. Between April and August Fellows participated in seminars, read books and articles related to their topics, and attended a series of fourteen lectures by Yale faculty. The units Fellows wrote are their own; they are presented in four volumes, of which this is Number One. The units contain a statement of content, a sequence for presenting the content, sample lessons and classroom activities, and bibliographies for teacher and student use.
The Institute program was supported by generous grants from the Edward W. Hazen Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the New Haven Foundation, the Connecticut Humanities Council, the New Haven Public Schools and Yale University, with matching funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The units presented here do not necessarily reflect the views of these supporting agencies.
James R. Vivian