The TEACHERS as SCHOLARS program brings together K-12 teachers and university faculty for 1 to 3 day long seminars conducted at Harvard Hillel in Harvard Square. Seminars are also held at Tufts Univesity, MIT, Harvard University, Wellesley College, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Museum of Fine Arts and other education related organizations. The seminars provide teachers with the opportunity to discuss and reflect on scholarly issues with their colleagues and reconnect to ideas--the reason many became teachers.
A FOCUS ON IDEAS
Two and three- day content-based seminars led by university faculty are the centerpiece of TAS. TAS provides teachers with the time to become students again and to immerse themselves in scholarly issues, regardless of the grade level they teach or their area of expertise. Thus Kindergarten teachers eagerly study the work of Flannery O'Connor or an English teacher enrolls in a calculus seminar and, although Flannery O'Connor and calculus will never appear in their classrooms, what remains is their belief in the power of ideas to be transforming and inspiring...a belief that crosses all grade levels.
RELEASE TIME/UNIVERSITY SETTING
Teachers receive release time during the school day to participate in the program held on a university campus or similar setting. The teachers come to the seminars fresh, alert, and eager to participate. The university setting not only sends a powerful message to the teacher about the academic nature of the program but also frees the teachers from the distractions and concerns of their teaching life.
TAS also represents a new effort to link universities and schools.
Over the last century there has been a distancing between the faculties
of liberal arts disciplines and K-12 teachers. If the national efforts
to raise standards in various disciplines are to succeed, teachers
must be reinvigorated as academic thinkers and leaders. A professor
who taught a TAS seminar marveled at "the intelligence and professionalism
of the teachers he met." At the same time, he was struck by how
dated many of the teacher's approaches to history were: "I could
tell when the teachers had attended college by their comments. They
knew surprisingly little of the new scholarship in history."
TAS also conducts seminars at other partnering institutions including the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum, the Huntington Theatre, and Harvard museums.
Beyond the program's goals and activities, the program offers something intangible but empowering to its participants. One teacher's comments capture the feelings shared by many in the program:
This program is a gift - a gift of time to reflect, discuss and struggle with issues that are exciting and challenging. It is also a gift with no strings - no curriculum to write, no lessons to create, no exams to take or papers to write. And it is finally a gift of faith in me - that I am interested in these issues and that I will not waste the opportunity. It is like a huge injection of oxygen into my teaching life. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
Teachers as Scholars actively promotes and values diversity in all its activities.