In March 1985, eighty teachers from six departments of the New Haven Public Schools became Fellows of the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute to prepare new curricular materials for school courses. One-third of these teachers were participating in the Institute for the first time. Established in 1978, the Institute is a partnership of Yale University and the New Haven Public Schools, designed to strengthen teaching and improve learning of the humanities and the sciences in our community’s middle and high schools. Through the Institute, Yale faculty members and school teachers join in a collegial relationship. The Institute is also an interschool and interdisciplinary forum for teachers to work together on new curricula. The Institute has repeatedly received national recognition as a pioneering and successful model of university-school collaboration that integrates curriculum development with intellectual renewal for teachers.
Teachers had primary responsibility for identifying the subjects the Institute would address. Between October and December, 1984, Institute Representatives canvassed teachers in each school to determine the subjects they would like the Institute to treat. The Institute then circulated descriptions of seminars that addressed teachers’ interests. In applying to the Institute, teachers described unit topics on which they proposed to work and the relationships of these topics to Institute seminars and to courses they would teach in the coming school year. Eight seminars were organized, corresponding to the principal themes of the Fellows’ proposals. The seminar entitled “Twentieth Century American Fiction, Biography, and Autobiography” was led by Robert Step to, Professor of English and Afro-American Studies. Between March and August, Fellows participated in seminars, researched their topics, and attended a series of lectures by Yale faculty members.
The curriculum units Fellows wrote are their own; they are presented in eight volumes, one for each seminar. A list of all the volumes of units published between 1978 and 1985 appears on the following pages. 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 be of interest also to teachers in other school systems.
The 1985 Institute was supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Harlan E. Anderson Foundation, the Bay Foundation, the Brown Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the New Haven Foundation, the New York Times Company Foundation, the Anne S. Richardson Fund, and the Xerox Foundation. The materials presented here do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding agencies.
James R. Vivian