Charter Partners Institute is beginning to reach out to educators and related stakeholders, particularly in the greater Lehigh Valley community of Pennsylvania, to develop programs and resources that will help them introduce 21st Century innovation skills within their schools. We know that there are too few models and resources to help with that challenging task, and that the focus and incentives within K12 education are targeted mostly to teaching to the tests. Nevertheless, we know there are many educators who recognize the need to prepare their students differently today, and who are willing to step out and try new approaches. We are seeking to identify such pioneers, provide resources for them, and begin to link them into a community of practice that can collaboratively overcome the barriers and make this a leading region for innovative learning.
As a first step to help prepare educators to teach 21st Century innovation skills in their classrooms, Charter Partners Institute partnered with the Carbon Lehigh IU #21 and DeSales University to offer “Teach21” in summer 2009. This program brought together pioneering educators for four days in August (10-13) and two follow-up Saturdays (Sept 26 and Oct 17) to work on learning to teach the kinds of 21st Century innovation skills described on this site. To download the brochure for this program, click the link below.
The program proved to be interesting and enlightening for all involved. The educators said it was very different than any “teacher training” program they had been to before. They were engaged not just as teachers but as people, and they left with an entirely new perspective on what students can accomplish and how to challenge them. Some of their comments were:
“The setting, the program, the people — everything existed in such a uniquely inspiring way. Very thought provoking, as well.”
“I tend to struggle with coming out of myself and trusting others — and I really saw the value in teamwork.”
“It’s hands-on and unlike any other teacher training program you’ve ever experienced.”
“You can learn from successes and failures, and each can be of value.”
“The most valuable thing was the excitement of inspiring creativity. I can’t wait to try new teaching techniques in the classroom.”
“[I learned] a new way to think and teach.”
We hope this program will be one step toward a community of practice that continues to work on both strategy and practical techniques to incorporate 21st Century innovation skills within education for every student.
Plans for future Teach21 programs were set aside when CPI started working on the partnership with Lincoln Leadership Academy to incorporate innovative leadership within the core curriculum of the school. We expect to offer even richer professional development programs for teachers based on the partnership.
The following are photos taken during the Teach21 event in 2009.