The Joy Of Giving: Amity P. Buxton
Published in TC Today - Volume 37, No. 2
To fully appreciate the power of technology to enhance teaching and learning, you have to see it in action. That’s why Amity P. Buxton (M.A. ’52, Ph.D. ’62) has donated $350,000 to create a space that enables faculty members, students, visiting public school teachers and other stakeholders to watch the goings-on in TC’s new prototype “smart classroom” in 438 Horace Mann.
“I believe in the power of education,” says Amity, “and my trust in Teachers College is based on the fact that it continues to develop its training of excellent teachers to educate diverse populations. Technology will help boost those efforts.”
As a former teacher who spent 22 years working in diverse urban districts, Amity understands that technology isn’t a substitute for great instruction but rather a way to facilitate it. One goal of the newly named Amity P. Buxton Learning and Innovation Suite is to enable teachers to see and learn how to use 21st century tools to convey ideas and information in ways best tailored to each student.
“In my view,” Amity says, “joining 21st century technology with the expertise of TC faculty and students is the best way to ensure that all children learn to their fullest potential and for our society to benefit from informed, critically thinking and empathic citizens.”
At TC, classes taught by the education sociologist Lyman Bryson opened Amity’s eyes to the connection between innovation and equity. “The foundation courses just blew my mind – sociology, linguistics and communications. TC taught me how to think, communicate and do research, and the College also had a wonderful teacher placement center. I wound up teaching school in Detroit, where half the students were children of factory workers and the other half were children of factory owners.”
In the late 1960s, while training other teachers to help desegregate schools, Amity founded the Teacher’s Active Learning Center, which guided teachers at all grade levels in designing curricula and hands-on teaching materials.
“I got involved with schools right after they were desegregated, and it was quite a challenge,” she recalls. “To let each child reach his or her potential, you have to factor in cultural, ethnic and learning differences.”
Ultimately Amity believes that the connection between technology and learning will be, in a word, electric.