Friends School of Baltimore was recently named the first Baltimore area partner school of the Center for Transformative Teaching and Learning (CTTL), winner of the 2016 International Mind Brain Education Society Mission Award.
As a partner, Friends School will commit to making research-informed education the central focus of faculty professional development, curriculum, and program design. “This exciting development positions Friends as a thought-leader in mind, brain education,” says Head of School Matt Micciche. “Our teachers are already doing amazing work in the classroom. By introducing the science of brain-based learning into their practice, they will be even better equipped to individualize learning, making it more relevant and meaningful for every student, every day.”
This summer the entire Friends School faculty read “Neuroteach – Brain Science and the Future of Education,” by Glenn Whitman and Ian Kelleher (2016, Rowan & Littlefield). As part of CTTL and the Neuroteach Network, Friends educators will now be connected to leading research universities and like-minded institutions, to better inform the body of knowledge in this evolving field in Baltimore and beyond.
Additionally, a group of faculty from Friends attended the Science of Teaching and School Leadership Academy in Potomac, Maryland where they collaborated with numerous experts from the emerging field and committed to developing action research projects, to be conducted during the 2017-18 school year.
“Doing your own research project lets you highlight that teaching is both an art and a science,” says Greta Rutstein, Director of Academics. “We have a continuing commitment to send teachers each summer, and based on our summer experience, our initial group of teachers & administrators each have specific action research projects to implement this year.” Examples of those projects include research questions such as “What role to emotions play in academic success,” or “How can more effectively worded feedback from a teacher lead to increased student success?”
The latter is the topic of study for Friends Upper School Spanish teacher Lucy Hand, who attended the Leadership Academy this summer. “After sharing with fellow educators my frustration over the limited impact my lengthy, detailed feedback seems to have on student mastery and proficiency in Spanish, I’m looking forward to examining the impact of targeted feedback.”
Friends School will be sharing its teachers’ findings and experiences with brain based teaching and learning throughout the year, and the community is encouraged to join the conversation by reading “Neuroteach.” Copies of the book are available in the middle school office at Friends School.
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