This summer, STEMteachersNYC high school interns Octavia Zhao, Angela Zheng, Wenny Xu, and Tim Li helped to engage our teacher network, and document some of the amazing learning that occured during our STEM workshop series in July and August.
This was the third year that we hosted high school interns. This year was an international cohort of students from China and different parts of the US. In addition to getting involved in our routine operations, under the supervision of our staff, they also actively solicited feedback from workshop leaders and teachers. Our interns played a key role in documenting important moments of learning and exchange through videos and reports that help the organization gain a better understanding what teachers think and to continuously improve the quality of our workshops.
The interns also assisted our Research and Operations Manager, Yi Li in conducting research on teachers involved in our Modeling Leadership program. The team uncovered some interesting findings in talking with teacher participants, for example:
“I believe that I already understood the importance of a teacher network from my past experiences learning how to using modeling in my own classroom. However, this workshop was a reminder to me of how energizing it can be to spend time with other teachers who are passionate about teaching well. After a year with minimal time spent networking with other teachers, this workshop brought new energy for me, personally. This reminds me of why it is a critical part of a workshop”
“This workshop helped me think like a workshop leader. It shows how to think like a teacher going to a workshop thinking like a student and then reflecting and thinking like a workshop leader while going through some of the activities.”
They also developed a set of recommendations to improve workshop experiences for next year, including:
● Setting higher expectations for those potential teacher leaders and defining more explicit (and measurable) goals for the five days, while focusing on implementing them with fidelity;
● Developing a framework or domains of knowledge that a workshop leader is required to know- Leadership Pedagogical Content Knowledge.
● Utilizing technology to allow participants to engage in activities online. Those activities include, but are not limited to reading and discussing Modeling theoretical and conceptual articles, ways of addressing recurring problems, logistics of running a workshop, and expressing and resolving participants’ individual opinions and concerns. This will also make it easier to manage the nature of the diverse discussions by grouping participants based on their experiences, grade level, and subjects.
● Taking good use of the five face-to-face days to give participants more opportunities to practice as workshop leaders, critique, and reflect of their practice as a group.
● Supplying the participants with tangible sources from which to gather resources, if this is expressed as a need from the participants. Establishing a forum as a shared repertoire of resources for workshop leaders, including stories, tools, logistics to run workshops, ways to apply for grants, cases of addressing recurring problems.
● Creating spaces for participants to continue interacting with each other and reflect their practices, especially after they have experience as workshop leaders.
Read their full reports using the links below:
- An Investigation of How Professional Development Programs and Other External Factors Affect Changes in Teachers’ Self-efficacy in Teaching Technology [PDF]
- Modeling Leadership Report [PDF]
Documenting a Summer of STEM Learning!
Octavia Zhao developed a wonderful video exploring the launch of our first Biology Workshop:
Angela Zheng developed a great video for our Introduction to Modeling Instruction workshop: