Bishop’s faculty have many professional development opportunities, including sharing their own expertise with peers from other schools locally, regionally and nationally. Here’s a summary of 10 different conferences that featured our own faculty experts.
At the Association of Independent School Librarians, Alisa Brandt presented “Using Noodle Tools for Information Literacy Instruction and Collaboration with World Languages Teachers.” The goal is to enhance student understanding and performance via educational technology.
Julieta Torres-Worstell reports, “The World Languages department has a partnership with the Southern Area International Language Network (SAILN) program housed in the Language Acquisition Resource Center (LARC) at SDSU. Our LARC/SAILN team presented a workshop on Understanding by Design or “backwards planning” as a framework to build programs, units and lessons. At the end of the workshop, our homework was to design a UbD unit, work which we presented at SDSU.”
Elizabeth Wepsic has been featured at two different conferences. At the Carl Rogers Annual Conference, she led a hands-on drawing activity on “Person-Centered Art Education.” For the Society of Friends Quaker Retreat, she presented “Ways in Which Spirtual Practice is Used in Art-Making.”
“Mental Health for Parents of Adolescents” was the subject of Megan Broderick ’98’s session for local parents on issues facing teens today and “the preventive measures we can take as we support their journeys to adulthood.”
Bishop’s hosts the summer Exeter Humanities West Institute, focusing on training in and application of the Harkness Method. John Nagler says, “My job was to observe faculty Harkness workshops during the week then share my thoughts in our final session. It was an honor to share my observations with teachers from around the country.”
Director of Diversity and Community Life David Thompson co-presented “Using Compassionate Curiosity to Combat Implicit Bias” at Carney Sandoe’s Diversity Forum. He notes, “The presentation offered an opportunity to discuss myths of race-based and otherwise marginalized groups in our schools. It means a lot to me as an educator of color to learn from shared experiences as we collectively elevate our students and schools to their greatest potential. It matters that we remain intentional in our pursuit to create just and fair places; that vigilance and care requires practice to become an unrecognized habit, because there was once a time when our society practiced exclusion to the point where bias became the unrecognized habit we all have.”
“What are the recent trends regarding homework policies and practices in high achieving independent schools?” is one of the questions Brian Ogden and some of his colleagues from the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS) Fellowship for Aspiring Heads asked of more than 200 independent schools across the country. In their presentation at the NAIS annual conference, they presented “Taking the Pulse on Homework,” sharing some of the most recent research on the effectiveness of homework in the learning process, their survey data on attitudes toward homework in independent schools and case studies of how schools have made shifts in their homework policies and philosophies.
Middle school English teachers Kara Crawford and Elly Smith were featured at the California Association of Teachers of English (CATE) conference, discussing “The Role of Rhetoric: What are the Aims of Argument and How Do We Use our Voices to Create Community?” They presented their eighth-grade unit on “the usage of literary texts and the writing of reflective essays to examine how we seek truth, agreement, action and consensus. Our lessons prompted students not only to recognize their own opinions for the purpose of debate, but to assume attitudes of inquiry and negotiation.”
The San Diego County Independent and Private School Network (SDCIPSN) annual conference showcased the work of 12 different faculty members. Lani Keller, Jim Jordan ’83, Ben Heldt and Julie Zedalis presented “Faculty Led Initiatives to Enhance Collaborative and Creative Teaching.” Lani explains, “We sought to spread the word about the efforts that Bishop’s has taken to break down the silos between departments and share about creative practices in the classroom. Our goal was to get faculty thinking and working together to figure out the best ways to increase faculty-to-faculty conversations, communication and collaboration. “
Brian Gervase discussed “Formative Assessment in a Modern Classroom.” He says, “The session focused on current dashboard-based technology platforms that capture student thinking ‘in the moment’ and help the teacher get a better window into what a student knows and the immediate direction or intervention that can occur.”
Joel Allen and Andy Koczon shared the logistics behind the annual College Athletics Recruiting Night event, while John Nagler followed up on the EHI, discussing “challenges and shared strategies for integrating Harkness teaching into our respective schools' curriculums.”
In Christine Micu’s “Student-Centered Learning in Performance Ensembles: The Performance Pedagogy Paradox” session, she says, “Most performing artists have been taught in a very top-down method, with the director being the face of the ensemble or group, and responsible for all the ‘artistic’ decisions. When we shift the focus from the director to the students or performers, and make them responsible for artistry in performance, the end product is students' ownership of their learning, artistry and expression—a much more authentic performance.”
“Supporting Student Health and Well-Being” was the focus for Michael Beamer, Susie Fournier and Megan Broderick ’98. Michael explains, "The health and well-being of our students is something we all care about deeply, but sometimes it becomes hard to navigate the various challenges our students face. We co-led a discussion with other counselors, health providers, administrators and teachers. The idea was to have a conversation with other academic support personnel about the various types of issues that we see in our different schools and workshop different approaches to dealing with them.”
Bishop’s students benefit directly from both the individual and collective wisdom of their teachers. Thank you, faculty!