A year ago, as the COVID-19 pandemic was shutting down schools across the nation, the Teachers College Continuing Professional Studies (CPS) program responded with a series of webinars to help K-12 educators navigate the unfamiliar terrain of teaching remotely. It was the first step in a pilot project to offer insights from TC faculty whose expertise touched directly on the many challenges posed by the crisis.
“There wasn’t a central theme, but the presentations still got a good response,” says Amy Deiner, Director of Academic Program Planning. “It confirmed for us that educators were looking for solutions they could apply immediately, but that also really spoke to fundamental issues of teaching and learning.”
With summer came an opportunity for CPS to take a step back and recalibrate. Now, with a new and valuable partner — TC’s recently launched Digital Futures Institute — CPS has launched a five-part “Spring Series: Practical Tools for Educators in Uncertain Times” which distills lessons learned during the past year.
“We are trying to model the kind of pedagogy we hope people can use in online spaces — modeling that can provide educators with ideas of what Teachers College has identified as effective online practices,” Deiner says.
The free interactive sessions feature a cross-section of TC departments and faculty.
“So much has happened over the last year that we wanted to provide the departments and faculty with an opportunity to identify and lead discussions on topics of relevance and importance,” says Deiner.
We are trying to model the kind of pedagogy we hope people can use in online spaces — modeling that can provide educators with ideas of what Teachers College has identified as effective online practices.
—Amy Deiner, Director of Academic Program Planning
On Thursday, April 1st, at 6 p.m., the second installment in the new series will feature author and Associate Professor of English Education Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz and her former TC doctoral student, education consultant Angel Acosta (Ed.D. ’20) of the 400 Years of Inequality Project, in leading a discussion on “Healing-Centered & Trauma-Informed Practices for K-12 Educators.”
Sealey-Ruiz and Acosta will focus on strategies to support children both emotionally and academically, particularly in light of recent racist violence, as remote learning in many locales stretches into its second year. [Read a profile of Acosta from Teachers College’s 2020 Graduates Gallery.]
The session with Sealey-Ruiz and Acosta follows the series’ inaugural segment, Tools for Collaborative Making in Every Classroom: Lessons from Studio Art Teachers, in which a panel discussion moderated by with Professor of Art & Art Education Richard Jochum spotlighted the strategies of studio instructors teaching art online during the pandemic.
The subsequent sessions in the series, all at 4 p.m, are:
April 9 – The First Step: Strategies for Lowering Anxiety in English Language Learners, with Linguistics & TESOL Lecturer Sarah Creider. Noting that “many teachers are faced with a catch-22, where the goal of promoting student confidence directly conflicts with institutional goals such as test preparation,” Creider starts with the premise that “we need to acknowledge this conflict, and to openly discuss the societal, institutional, and classroom-based sources of student anxiety.”
I love the idea of digital as an access point to Teachers College. It doesn’t require educators to travel here. And a district doesn’t have to worry about cost because the webinars are free. It’s just a great way to experience the Teachers College community.
—Amy Deiner, Director of Academic Program Planning
April 12 – Collaborative Curriculum Development facilitated by Jacqueline Simmons, Vice Chair, Department of Curriculum & Teaching and Director, Master of Education Program in Curriculum & Teaching. The discussion will center on TC's Black Paint Curriculum Lab, which she established to “help students expand upon the ways they view curricula — whether that's in education, pop culture or public spaces,” says Simmons, who has advised international and New York City-based NGOs, schools, universities, arts-based organizations and museums, and even co-designed a social innovation toolkit for use by the Rockefeller Foundation with NGOs and social-sector practitioners. [Read a story about Simmons’ online teaching.]
April 14 – Teaming for Change During and Beyond COVID-19: The Promise of a Developmental Approach with Professor of Education Ellie Drago-Severson. “We are living, teaching, learning, and leading in the context of ultimate adaptive challenges,” says Drago-Severson, who coaches many education leaders. “Perhaps more than ever before, we need to support each other and collaborate even more effectively as we navigate the urgent global challenges of the COVID-19, Racial, and Economic Pandemics and create, together, futures grounded in racial and educational justice.” [Read a story in which Drago-Severson and other faculty members at Teachers College discuss the challenges facing school leaders during the pandemic.]
“I love the idea of digital as an access point to Teachers College,” said Deiner. “It doesn’t require educators to travel here. And a district doesn’t have to worry about cost because the webinars are free. It’s just a great way to experience the Teachers College community.”