Teachers Attend Professional Day
by Elana Golub on Friday, November 2nd, 2012
On Monday, October 22, Milton Academy teachers gathered for the annual Professional Development Day to discuss new teaching techniques and to gain greater educational perspective from Wellesley College Professor Tony Wagner.
A mystery to most students, Professional Development Day is an occasion for Milton’s faculty to reevaluate many of the techniques they use everyday in class. As technology has become more integrated into the educational experience, more efficient methods of teaching have developed and many teachers are striving to incorporate those methods into their classroom.
Professor Wagner, a speaker and educator lauded for his advocacy of innovation within the classroom, was invited to address these desires for educational efficiency. Many faculty members read his book, Creating Innovators: The Making of Young People Who Will Change the World, this summer as an introduction to his ideas about modern-day schooling.
On Monday, Professor Wagner promoted and discussed the idea of interdisciplinary collaboration, a process that helps students integrate their studies across a variety of subjects and analyze concepts from various perspectives. He highlighted the benefits of learning about a single topic and its implications from multiple angles and in different, overlapping academic fields.
“One of the things that Milton as an institution is concentrating on is how we are preparing our students for the world that they are entering,” said Mr. Cheney of the Visual Arts Department. “Mr. Wagner emphasized that the world we are all moving into is one that will require more flexible thinking.”
Stimulating a process of brainstorming, Proffesor Wagner allowed the teachers to break off into groups, “ask[ing] us to think about what skills we are teaching at Milton Academy, kindergarten through twelfth grade,” said Middle School Principal Marshall Carter. “In all the sessions, faculty members were given the chance to have small group discussions as well as full-group dialogue.”
Mr. Cheney found the discussion segment of the day to be particularly helpful. “One of the things that came out of my group was that, within any one class, we could take the students that have various strengths and differences and do a project in which the students are allowed to share and explore their specific areas of expertise,” he said. “This idea could assist us in creating a more interdisciplinary educational system.”
This idea, along with others from Professional Day, has yet to fully materialize within Milton classrooms. “I don’t think that students would necessarily see [immediate change]… but many teachers have a lot of ideas that are particularly exciting to them,” said Upper School Principal Mr. Ball.
Mr. Ball stressed that the purpose of the day was to look at “what we want to achieve… and how we want to grow in terms of our skills as teachers and want to develop as a school in terms of curriculum.”
He went on to say that while students may not be greatly affected in the short term, “in the long term, one of the opportunities we had as a school is to think about what traditional strengths are and how we adapt those strengths to a world that has changed substantially.”
Despite the lack of immediate change, Mr. Carter stated that he ultimately found the day “absolutely necessary” for the Milton Academy faculty. “
Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=4123