We’re putting the final touches on our report on the STEM sessions at the 2017 Connect for Success conference. Here’s one of our favorite snippets from the report. To receive your copy in a few weeks, sign up here.
Session title: Innovation: The Bridge Between ELA and STEM
Presenters: Allison Volz, Jessica Sharp, & Sandra Guinto, Columbus, Buckeye Valley, & Reynoldsburg City Schools
How do you teach language arts in a STEM school? A group of Shakespeareans shared a few of their approaches, following performance-informed pedagogy.
“We were trained with the Royal Shakespeare Company in dramatic inquiry,” explained Guinto. “Three of us went to Stratford and trained with them, and then came back and did a bunch of workshops with them. So, this is actually from the actual actors and the techniques that they use.”
Participants read from a selected text, then broke into groups to act out scenes. “You’re looking at the text,” said Guinto, “but you’re actually making it inquiry-based, because STEM is all about being inquiry-based.”
“There are two ways we can go about getting a little bit deeper into the people,” said Sharp, “One is to ask them to speak from inside the character’s way of thinking. That’s called thought-tracking. So, as the teacher, what you would do is just place your hand on the shoulder of someone, and they would just speak as if they’re that person.”
“The other way that can work is to say to the students – if you know what you think these people are thinking or what they could say, could you go up, stand by them, and speak for them?”
Before long, all of the session participants had done an extensive close reading of a text, interpreting it and rereading it along the way.
“We’re getting kids to work without realizing that they’re working,” said Guinto. “They can now walk into a science class, after just having been in a language arts class, and they’re going to take a whole new meaning to what the discussion is going to be in that science class. And we haven’t even read more than two pages of the book!”
From the Royal Shakespeare Company to the STEM classroom, inquiry-based education transcends disciplines and engages minds.
RSC Education Online Resources at https://www.rsc.org.uk/education/teacher-resources
Sandra Guinto – firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessica Sharp – email@example.com
Allison Volz – firstname.lastname@example.org