It starts with a story:
It all started one fall night, around the dinner table, after a filling meal…the flow of conversation that follows with good company; some call us lifelong learners, some call us geeks and, others, renaissance men. With Halloween around the corner, our conversation centered on Salem and the ruckus that would surely ensue; was modern Salem any different from 1692 Salem? What motivated “girls to behave badly?” Could it happen again? Surely, our thinking is clearer now…the devil isn´t in Salem?! And, out came the cell phones-google on! And so the debate raged on until early morning, each member adding his/her perspective and making for an enjoyable evening. What I learned that night, besides many new Salem tidbits, was that in a company of people, learned outside of my frame of reference, I was inspired! I wanted to continue that debate that sleep had robbed from us. Wouldn´t it be awesome if this phenomenon occurred in my classroom?
And so, I tried it. I took our case, Salem´s Secrets, and sought out a psychology professor and a history professor. We pitted student against student with the authority of the teachings of their esteemed professor. And what happened? It was infectious. Salem spread like a plague throughout campus. Not only did we “hook” the students, we caught the attention of faculty and staff outside the initial group. Everybody was Salem…and everybody was learning. We had truly created a learning community. The best part, people can´t wait to see what we do next!
And leads to learning.
“I have used case method teaching in my curriculum for all my courses, but it was also useful to see it presented in a more interdisciplinary manner… Enjoyable, validating and enhancing.”
- Faculty Development Workshop Evaluation, “Renaissance Teaching in the 21st Century”
We design workshops to:
- identify the advantages of learning communities;
- identify obstacles to sustaining learning communities;
- develop plans to create customized learning communities to fit teaching and learning goals.