Classics Teacher Mary Kelly Earns Fellowship to Columbia University’s Klingenstein Summer Institute
Posted July 10, 2012
Mary Kelly recently completed an intensive, two-week fellowship at Columbia University’s Klingenstein Summer Institute. The cost-free program is designed to bring together 75 of the world’s best and brightest young teachers for two weeks of exploring teaching styles, educational philosophies, educational issues and personal development.
The program’s daily schedule often began with plenary sessions where the entire cohort gathered to learn about topics ranging from the role of behaviorist theory in pedagogy to the importance of healthy cuisine in a school dining hall. Small group sessions would follow based on a teacher’s discipline. As a language teacher Mary discussed different pedagogical approaches to teaching language, and also worked with two other Latin teachers focusing specifically challenges they face in the classroom.
Some highlights of the program included several plenary sessions with Pearl Rock Kane, the Klingenstein Family Chair Professor of Education at Columbia University, a trip to hear Carol Dweck, a Stanford professor of Psychology and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success and an opportunity to see Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award-winning play “Clybourne Park”, a sharp-witted, satirical play that takes a hard look at issues of race and gentrification.
The second year teacher relished the experience. “I tend to think of teaching as being fairly intuitive, which is certainly true to an extent. A good teacher can read students well and respond accordingly. However, Klingenstein helped me bridge the gap between pedagogical theory and practice. Applying theory, whether it's Grant Wiggins' call for "genuine assessment" or Carol Dweck's insistence on instilling a "growth mindset" in students to my teaching can be reaffirming of practices that work well, and can also be helpful in thinking through certain challenges I face in a more systematic way.”
Mary continued, “Klingestein was reaffirming of something I have known for two years now: St. Andrew's is not only an excellent school academically, but it is a school genuinely dedicated to strong ethics and community — one I am proud and very happy to be part of. So many of the lectures about innovative teaching methods, important pedagogical theory and community building were simply putting into words things I see every day as a faculty member. As I sat listening to Carol Dweck's lecture on "growth mindset" I thought of [Physics teacher] Kelly O'Shea requiring her students to read The Talent Code and teaching them that they are all truly capable of being Newtonian thinkers if they can establish a routine of thoughtful practice. While participating in diversity sessions I thought of St. Andrew's unwavering dedication to financial aid, so that we can continue fill our hallways with an intelligent, creative and diverse student body, regardless of anyone's ability to pay. Finally, during a one-on-one session with a lead teacher I was asked if I felt that my school was a place that would help me continue to grow as a professional. I responded by talking first about the summer I spent studying with Reginald Foster, former Latinist to the Pope, because of St. Andrew's generous dedication to faculty development. I also described a tutorial Tad held for young faculty throughout last spring, during which we would gather at his house on Thursday evenings to discuss articles, essays and stories concerning various issues in education.”
Mary will spend the remainder of the summer in New York City teaching in the TEAK Program, an academic enrichment program that places talented New York City public school students from low-income families in top high schools lead by former English teacher Sarah Demers.