Tuesday, December 20, 2011

ACDS & Davidson- All About Teaching and Learning


Davidson College is known as a very academic liberal arts college that is dedicated to supporting the craft of teaching by its professors. Davidson's professors do research, write articles and books but their primary focus is on teaching. To support their efforts, as part of the strategic plan, Davidson in August opened its Center for Teacher and Learning (CTL) in the school library.

The connection to Alexandria Country Day School is that we also opened our Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) in August. What is striking in reading an article from the Fall 2011 Davidson Journal is how similar the two programs are. It demonstrates the forward thinking and student-centered nature of our administrators and TLC staff when we are mirroring the program of a college such as Davidson.

Central to the work of our TLC team members, Liz Hendrickson, Jill Millet, Kathy Heyder and Dianne Bartalot, is the focus on collaboration with the classroom teachers. This partnership looking at how best to reach learning goals as well as meeting the individual student needs drives how the TLC teachers help design instruction and provide one to one support for our students.

An additional part of this "collaboration team" approach to supporting teaching and learning is the involvement of our instructional technologist, teacher librarian and director of technology. As part of the iPad pilot program the fifth grade teachers worked with our technology and library team members over the summer to review and adapt the fifth grade curriculum to further support the students in attaining skills for the 21st century. The curriculum was further adapted to meet the information, media, and visual literacy standards supported by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) along with the technology literacies published as the National Educational Technology Standards (NETS) for students. The collaboration team in January will be joined by members of the TLC as they review the sixth grade curriculum in preparation for next year and the continued roll "forward" of the iPad Pilot program.

The Davidson Journal article describes the same team effort of their Center for Teaching and Learning.

"(the CTL)...brings together  these centers- along with the instructional technologists and information literacy librarians- to help students take a comprehensive approach to strengthening academic skills. The CTL also advises faculty who want to experiment with new teaching tools and to discuss different approaches to teaching."

One might say that Davidson College is in good company with its pioneering efforts. :)

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