30 teachers attended October Great Books Teachers Salon

Nearly thirty teachers from across the district met on Thursday, October 20th for the monthly Great Books Teacher Salon. Hosted by Foreign Vice Principal Dr. Elisabeth Montgomery with support from Foreign Vice Principal Joseph Strzempka and Great Books Foundation Vice President of Global Programs Susan Galbraith, teachers learned about using Readers Theater as a tool to target and improve oral English fluency and expression. After gaining a foundation of knowledge on the research and benefits of Readers Theater, teachers performed The Gift of the WaliDad, a folk story about generosity from India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. With scimitars and silk scarves, both shows were fun, educational, and gave learners an opportunity to showcase their English skills. Teachers reported increased confidence in their oral English skills and a more thorough understanding of the literature through acting out the story. Additionally, teachers explored the use of rubrics in evaluating and assessing Readers Theater to give valuable student and peer feedback. Following two moving renditions of The Gift of the WaliDad, participants engaged in a shared inquiry discussion examining the focus question, Why does WaliDad keep on being generous when it keeps bringing him problems? After exchanging ideas for thirty minutes, the group surveyed an arsenal of possible cluster questions and developed a few of their own. The Salon ended with teachers discussing possible cross-curricular integration and follow-up writing activities.

The Nanshan Education Bureau has partnered with the Great Books Foundation to deliver trainings to over 500 teachers in the district in order to improve English language literacy in district schools. The Great Books Foundation is an independent, non-profit education institution and book publisher that uses authentic literature to promote civil discourse about enduring ideas of value, building student critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and English language literacy skills.

The next Great Books Teachers Salon will take place on Thursday, November 17th at the Nanshan Education Bureau from 14:30-16:30. Susan Galbraith will perform and lead a shared inquiry discussion on a Shakespearean classic, Henry V.