ACE Conducts Summer Teachers Colleges
Eighteen high school and middle school teachers from 11 schools across the city of Chicago took part in the Summer 2015 Argument-Centered Education Teachers College for two weeks in July. The Teachers College was held for four-hours daily and hosted by Bogan High School. Teachers received professional development credit, and some were paid by their schools for attending.
One highlight for the STEM teachers was a guest presentation from Bogan H.S. Math Department chair Laura Frcka, who reviewed her successful debate project last spring in AP Calculus, when students investigated and made arguments about whether mathematics is inherent to nature (more like gravity) or whether it is a creation of civilization (more like a poem).
The overall ratings at the end were at or near a 5.0 on a 5-point scale on questions as to whether teachers’ understanding of argument-based pedagogy significantly increased and whether as a result of the course they plan to increase their use of argument in the classroom.
When asked to describe up to two positives in taking these professional development workshops, English language arts teacher Willamena Qatanani, of Richard Edwards IB Fine and Performing Arts Middle School of Chicago had this to say:
It’s difficult to narrow the valuable aspects down to only two. I found the entire workshop to be awesome. The Clash of Interpretations is a very valuable way to teach students how to pick a position, defend it with textual evidence, and cite sources while keeping them engaged. I found the Analytic Comparisons of student argumentative writing to be a very effective tool in teaching students how to develop better paragraphs and improve their overall writing techniques. I really enjoyed the lesson dealing with income inequality. It was very challenging and made me think and want to read more on this topic. I will incorporate this into a unit I am planning around the book Nickel and Dimed, by Barbara Ehrenreich.
Another teacher said, ‘This was one of the best PDs I have ever participated in. It reminded me of being back in college.’ A STEM teacher said that the resources covered in the course were ‘terrific’ and ‘doable.’
And, finally, a fourth, a teacher from one of our partner-schools, said, ‘I strongly believe in using argumentation in the classroom and having Argument-Centered Education as a central teaching resource will be of great value in lesson planning and increasing students’ writing skills.’