Various Angles of Learning
Each semester, Alzar School hosts a handful of young professionals who are seeking experience as both instructors in the outdoors and in the classroom as part of our Teaching Fellow Program. While these young adults work extremely hard to facilitate programming to our students, they too are students at Alzar School, participating in a multi-faceted course co-taught by Alzar School’s Dean of Students, Director of Expeditions and Risk Management and Director of Studies. Over the course of the semester, teaching fellows learn how to best serve as residential life faculty. They learn technical outdoor skills and the methods to teach those skills. Finally, our Director of Studies, Laura, works closely with teaching fellows to develop an understanding of educational philosophy, curriculum building and teaching techniques. Towards the latter half of the semester, teaching fellows are giving the chance to put into practice these methods when they take the lead in their designated subjects. Faculty teachers remain an integral part of the class.
The enthusiasm for teaching and willingness to try new things that teaching fellows bring to Alzar School classrooms fosters engagement and student learning. Carina excitingly explained what the Alzar School Geometry class has been up to. “Last week, we looked at rainbows, the angles of stars and how to prove that the angle of the North Star in the sky is the same as your latitude.” In speaking with students in her geometry class, they all were quick to list off the interesting and relevant things they’ve been studying. Apart from the interesting content Carnina has brought to geometry class, she’s also acutely aware of the ways in which she is facilitating learning. Laura notes Carina’s ability to scaffold her class so that students get the individual attention and coaching they need while promoting higher order thinking skills. Working through proof problems in class, Carina explained that she assigned various difficulties of problems. She let those students who are excelling work independently on proofs before presenting their solutions to the class. But, for students who are having more difficulty, she worked alongside them, going through each step of the proof together before they arrived at the correct answer. By differentiating her lesson plan, Carina is catering to various learning styles and readiness levels, and helping each student maximize their learning potential at Alzar School.