Offered with CalWest
Offered: Summer 2018
This course is designed as an orientation for newly hired educators who are new to the independent school community. Participants will have the opportunity to explore the missions, cultures and learning environments of their school before arriving on campus. They will learn how they impact the classroom environment and explore ways to create a collaborative student-centered learning space.
Participants will explore current research and theories to answer questions including:
During this program, participants will spend 4-6 hours on coursework for each unit and can set their own pace each week. At the end of the four-week course, teachers will have a clearer sense of what it means to work in an independent school and how to create a classroom atmosphere and curriculum to maximize the way a student learns. Classes are conducted asynchronously, so there is no single time each week when participants are required to be online. Coursework and assignments for each unit open on Monday morning, and should be completed by the following Sunday evening. Participants will connect and collaborate with each other through several forms of interactive media, including short videos, and discussion boards.
What Participants Have Said
“I loved the insights from independent school teachers and the opportunity to identify and do personal self-reflection on each section.” – Teacher from California
“Even if you think you know independent schools, it's still worth taking this course.” – Teacher from California
100% of participants said that they would recommend this course to a colleague
100% of participants said that instructors were available and easy to contact if they needed assistance & were knowledgeable about the course content and topic areas
All participants start with an online learning orientation. The primary purpose of this unit is to introduce participants to their course facilitator(s) and classmates. The orientation includes information about how to navigate the learning platform, features of the course, and guidelines for discussions and interactions. Participants also learn about CalWest and One Schoolhouse.
Every week of the course is divided into two sections: content and engagement. Participants are expected to spend approximately two hours reading, watching, and understanding the delivered primary and supplemental content. They then spend approximately two additional hours engaging with their fellow participants and the course facilitator(s) to apply the knowledge learned. Participants and facilitators report the primary power of this course is the engagement happening between participants and with facilitators. The objective of the first week is to give grounding for course participants in independent school education. The unit begins with the biggest of pictures: becoming familiar with the definition, structure, governance, and culture of independent schools. Participants then hear from a panel of experienced heads of schools. At the end of this unit (and every following unit), participants are asked to apply what they have learned to case studies and to engage in a discussion with their fellow participants. In Unit 1, participants are asked to articulate what they find most attractive and engaging about the mission, purpose, and goals of their new school, and to describe how they plan to introduce themselves to students on the first day of class.
In Unit 2, participants are introduced to good and common practice within independent schools, both in and out of the classroom. Participants learn how independent school educators work to engage students (reading the HSSEE report) and they learn about common active learning strategies employed in classrooms. At the end of the unit, participants are asked to create a pro-active plan for engaging parents, and they are asked to reflect on their own teaching practice.
Unit 3 focuses on practices and understandings that have become common over the last few years: growth mindset and assessment strategies. For both topics, participants are exposed to research (Dweck and related researchers on growth mindset, and Wormeli, Gursky, and others on assessments) and then are asked to reflect on their own practice. In the engagement section of this unit, participants are asked to consider a case study relating to growth mindset and re-write assessments for a unit that they will be teaching in the fall.
The final unit of the course is designed to help participants synthesize the experience they had in the course and use that experience to set goals for the school year. Participants self-reflect and write a letter to themselves setting goals and receive feedback on those goals from the facilitator(s).
What Participants Have Said
"Even if you think you *know* independent schools, it's still worth taking this course." -Adrianne Francisco, Oakland, California
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