In March 1979 sixty 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 1979-1980 school year. Established in 1978, the Institute seeks to improve teaching and learning of the humanities in New Haven secondary schools and to serve as a model of 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 had primary responsibility for identifying the subjects the Institute would treat. Five seminars were organized, corresponding to the principal themes of the Fellows’ proposals: language and writing, the stranger and modern fiction, strategies for teaching literature, Twentieth-Century American culture and New Haven history. Each seminar was led by a Yale faculty member. Between March and August Fellows participated in seminars, researched their topics, and attended a series of lectures by Yale faculty.
The curriculum units Fellows wrote are their own; they are presented in five volumes, of which this is Number Five. The units contain four elements: objectives, teaching strategies, sample lessons and classroom activities, and lists of resources for teachers and students. They are intended for use primarily by Institute Fellows and their colleagues who teach in New Haven. We hope they will also be of interest to teachers in other school systems.
The Institute is supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The units presented here do not necessarily reflect the view of the Endowment.
James R. Vivian