On December 10th, TATIP reconvened at The Drama League for the last Saturday training day of 2016, a day focused on reflection and looking ahead to spring's opportunities.
Led by facilitators Patti Chilsen and T. Scott Lilly, the trainees set about the day by warming up with a little movement and rhythm opening ritual. As usual, Scott used his Tibetan singing bowl to draw us into the movement.
Then, it was time for our final team to present their lesson plan presentation, a visual arts and writing inspired piece.
Afterwards, we turned our attention to the main topic for the day: student assessment. Our activities focused around two central questions:
How do students know if they are meeting the expectations of the assignment?
How do we assess the quality of work our students create?
Students should be able to assess their work and know if they are meeting the expectations. The trainees learned several techniques for checking in with students along the way in order to know exactly where they are in a moment.
Next, it was time for teaching paths. A teaching path is another name for curriculum. It is a timeline that puts the lesson plans in context and gives the big picture of the residency. It’s a map that should serve as a guide for all the adults involved and keeps everyone accountable and on the same page.
The trainees spent time discussing aspects of the teaching path, learning what to put in it and how to balance a timeline. They then took some lab time to work with their partners and start drafting a rough timeline.
It was classroom management time after lunch, and the trainees worked in groups to brainstorm various teaching types and classroom management techniques. They discussed preventive measures and our facilitators shared their go to proven techniques. The trainees also participated in an activity focused on dealing with challenging teaching personalities in the classroom. The activity allowed them to come up with strategies for working with this personality so that both teachers and the students have a successful residency.
Finally, we spent some time reflecting on the fall semester and the work we've done together thus far. It was an active reflection though, in which the trainees participated in an exercise called a "room cruise." Trainees reflected on various posters and past activities hung about the room by writing their thoughts on sticky notes and pinning them to the wall hangings.
It has been an extremely full few weeks together and today's training was no exception. However, today's structure allowed time for reflection of the work we've done together, where we've been successful and where we need to grow. Being able to genuinely assess and reflect is as equally valuable as any teaching technique we might learn. We're lucky that the facilitators understand this and weave it so expertly into the curriculum.
TATIP is on a break for the holidays, but we'll return with more exciting updates about our trainees in 2017! See you then!