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Communication, collaboration and inspiration key to good teaching

By: Aniyah Chandler 

Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist, Nobel Laureate, professor and student, knew what is most important when it comes to teaching.

“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn,” he once said.

So what are those special conditions that promote learning?

Students are introduced to several during their time at Bard High School Early College DC in Washington.

The ability to communicate effectively is stressed. Strong communication skills are developed through collaborative activities, group discussions and presentations. The goal is to create an environment that encourages students to express feelings and thoughts with clarity and confidence.

Independent thinking is encouraged. Using real life examples, teachers encourage students to analyze information, evaluate different perspectives, and develop creative solutions. By presenting thought-provoking scenarios and guiding students through the process of logical reasoning, teachers empower their students to think for themselves.

Collaboration and compromise are prized. Through group projects such as debate, Bard students discover working with diverse perspectives to achieve common goals. Individual Bard teachers “may have different teacher skills,” noted Andrew McCartney, math teacher at Bard.

But all strive to “create opportunities for students to work together, cooperate together, (and) show empathy and respect towards each other.”

Because life can throw curveballs, Bard teachers also strive to create a supportive space where students can tackle challenges, learn from mistakes and come back stronger and more confident in their own abilities.

At Bard, this occurs in an atmosphere in which not only students but teachers are pushed by leadership to continuously re-visit and upgrade their own teaching skills.

Bard High School students, who all wrote about their school, are shown with Journalism teacher, Donna Desormeaux (second from right) and former YMG instructor Kyndall Hubbard (right). Photo: Youthcast Media Group

“There are some skills that our teachers have that are strong but also some that they need

to work on, but it also varies by person,” said Arya Espahbodi, dean of students at Bard.

“A lot of teachers have skills but I push them to find more skills and continue to develop those skills that they already have because things can also change over time.” British author Michael Morpurgo’s succinct view of education is one that the Bard community, student and faculty alike, can surely endorse.

“It’s the teacher that makes the difference,” Morpurgo once wrote, “not the classroom.”

Aniyah Chandler will graduate from Bard High School Early College in May with an associate’s degree. She worked on this article during a partnership between YMG and Bard’s journalism class.


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