In the summer of 1981, the Yale Teachers Institute conducted an intensive Program on Connecticut history for school teachers, grades 7-12, from across the State. The Institute accepted ten outstanding teachers from a variety of schools which demonstrated a commitment to use materials developed through the Institute. In applying to the Institute, teachers stated the importance of the topics on which they proposed to work and the relation of these topics to courses they would teach in the coming school year. Each participating teacher became an Institute Fellow and prepared a new curriculum unit for use in school courses.
The Institute seminar on Connecticut history was led by Christopher Collier, a leading scholar and teacher of State history, who is Professor of History at the University of Bridgeport and Visiting Lecturer at Yale. Professor Collier spoke on important topics on Connecticut history, guided group discussion about work in progress on the units, and advised each Fellow individually on the development of a curriculum unit.
Established in 1978 as a joint program with the New Haven Public Schools, the Teachers Institute seeks to improve teaching and learning in secondary schools and to serve as a model of university-schools collaboration. It aims to open the resources of Yale University to school teachers and to make these resources available in the ways they indicate will be most helpful. The Institute brings teachers from different schools and different grade levels to work together and with university faculty. It affords personal and professional growth, as well as an opportunity for curriculum development, through which teachers, who know best their students’ needs, work directly with leading scholars of the academic subjects they are studying.
The curriculum units Fellows wrote are their own. The units contain four elements: objectives, teaching strategies, sample lessons and classroom activities, and lists of resources for teachers and students. They begin to meet the need for new curricular materials on Connecticut history. They were written by teachers for teachers; we hope they will be of interest to educators across the State.
The 1981 Teachers Institute on Connecticut History was our second statewide program; it contained the same requirements as the Yale-New Haven program, but adapted these expectations to a rigorous summer schedule. Where the New Haven program seeks an intensive influence on teaching and learning of various subjects in a particular school system, the Connecticut program seeks an extensive impact on the teaching of a particular subject in many schools. The statewide program was supported by
a grant from the Connecticut Humanities Council. Supplementary funding from the George Dudley Seymour Trust, the Connecticut Historical Commission, and the Mellon Fund of the University of Bridgeport is enabling the completion of an allied project, a Teachers Bibliography on Connecticut History by Professor Collier with Bonnie B. Collier. The materials presented here do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding agencies. The lnstitute on Connecticut History was cosponsored by the Connecticut Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History and endorsed by the Association for the Study of Connecticut History and the Connecticut Council for the Social Studies.
James R. Vivian