Fifth Annual Institute, 2004
Theme: "Cooperative Learning in the Classroom"
Keynote Speakers: Dr. David Johnson, University of Minnesota
Dr. Roger Johnson, University of Minnesota
Dates: June 21-23, 2004
The fifth annual Margaret Sue Copenhaver Institute for Teaching and Learning was held June 21-23, 2004, on the Roanoke College campus. Dr. David Johnson and Dr. Roger Johnson, both of the University of Minnesota, presented keynote addresses focused on the institute’s 2004 theme, cooperative learning.
Six public school divisions and independent schools partnered with Roanoke College to sponsor the 2004 institute. The partners were Botetourt County Schools, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Division for Schools, Franklin County Schools, Montgomery County Schools, North Cross School and City of Salem Schools. Forty-seven teachers and administrators represented these sponsoring schools and divisions at the three-day institute as full-time participants. An additional 51 individuals were accepted as full-time institute participants based on application submissions or steering committee membership. In total, 98 full-time participants attended.
The institute was privileged to host special guests, such as Ms. P. Buckley Moss, recipient of the second annual Margaret Sue Copenhaver Contribution to Education Award; Mr. Wil Clay, children’s illustrator and storyteller; Ms. Donna Braband, Assistant Director of the ELCA Division of Schools; and Ms. Zahuri Hovhannisyan, Director of Programs in Armenia and Azerbaijan for the International Research and Exchange Board. Many Roanoke College faculty and staff also took part in various institute events. These guests included Dr. David Gring, Dr. John Day, Dr. Leslie Lambert, Dr. Lisa Earp, Ms. Judi Nelson and Mr. Greg Wells.
A team of individuals from Barry University in Miami, Florida, participated in the institute as part of collaborative research project with Copenhaver Institute directors and two beginning public school teachers from the Roanoke area. The Barry team included two university faculty members, the Associate Dean for teacher education, and two beginning teachers from the Miami area.
This year’s institute attendees represented eight states, including Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. From across the state of Virginia, twelve public school divisions were represented (Alleghany County, Botetourt County, Franklin County, Gloucester County, City of Harrisonburg, Montgomery County, Roanoke City, Roanoke County, Rockingham County, City of Salem, Town of West Point and Williamsburg-James City County Schools). Participants also represented eight independent schools (Charlotte Lutheran School, Community School, Epiphany School, Gloucester Montessori School, Navajo Evangelical Lutheran Mission, North Cross School, Roanoke Valley Christian School and West Park Lutheran School).
Because the MSCI 2003 institute hosted an internationally recognized keynote speaker, applications to that year’s institute offering were unusually high in number (119 total applicants, including 47 from sponsor schools). Of that applicant pool, 95 individuals were accepted for full-time participation. MSCI faculty anticipated a decrease in total applications for the 2004 institute, but maintained the goal of accepting 95 individuals, in order to keep full-time participant group size consistent with that of 2003. That goal was achieved. The numbers reported below reflect total applications for 2004 (including 47 from sponsor schools).
98 of these applicants were accepted to attend the institute as full-time participants. Many steering committee members and breakout speakers also joined the institute, increasing the group size to approximately 117 full-time attendees. Committee members and breakout speakers were not required to make formal application to the institute.
This year’s institute focused on cooperative learning. Grounded in constructivist theory, this emphasis furthered the institute’s commitment to offer annual themes that build on a consistent theoretical base.
Building on past successes, the institute continued to offer sessions that have been well received. These included keynote addresses, discussion sessions with keynote speakers, technology workshops and a variety of breakout sessions. Breakout sessions focused on areas of continuing interest such as faith and learning, academic standards, and hands-on classroom application of institute themes. Several special events were offered to participants as well, such as Monday evening’s keynote speaker reception, Tuesday afternoon’s “tea,” open time on Tuesday evening for participants to interact on campus and at various local sites, and access to the college’s fitness center and computer labs. Two local vendors, Ram’s Head Book Shop and The Learning Source, provided displays from which participants could purchase literature and teaching materials.
Recommendations from 2003 participants and the institute steering committee prompted revised offerings as well. In past years, the curriculum planning component of the institute’s agenda has included a general session attended by all participants, followed by work time in small groups. This year, in order to better meet the needs and interests of participants, three separate sessions (designated for elementary, middle and high school) replaced the larger general session. These sessions, focused on curriculum planning, were interactive in nature; combining discussion, work time and closure within a single meeting. Another revision to 2004 offerings was the discontinuation of video and text discussion sessions; this decision was made in order to provide more opportunity for participants to hear from and interact with this year’s keynote speakers. Additional changes included providing a later checkout time for residential participants and redesigning participant access to the Fitness Center.
2004 participants received Circles of Learning (Johnson, Johnson and Holubec, 2002) approximately six weeks prior to the institute. Each participant was asked to read the text and to prepare a list of questions and discussion points based on their reading to bring to the institute. The text was also distributed to breakout session speakers, each of whom was asked to read the text and frame his or her session in relation to the ideas and issues presented in the reading. Speakers for breakout sessions and discussion groups were selected from a pool of proposals submitted to institute faculty. This year a smaller number of breakout sessions were accepted, in order to provide participants with additional opportunities to hear from and interact with the keynote speakers. This year’s 21 presenters represented a wide range of experience and expertise; they included college and university faculty, an associate dean for teacher education, elementary, middle and high school teachers, two assistant principals, an instructional supervisor and an education consultant.
Dr. Gary Whitt, of the Roanoke College Education Department, conducted four seventy-five minute technology workshops at the institute. The hands-on workshop sessions were designated for teachers and administrators at specific building levels.
A special focus of the 2004 institute was to celebrate its fifth anniversary year. Steering committee members Mrs. Donnie Spangler, Ms. Tamara Teaff, and Mr. Bobby Booth coordinated the commemorative activities. Throughout the institute, five colors were used to symbolize the anniversary celebration and to recognize various individuals whose vision and commitment supported the birth and growth of MSCI. Mrs. Helen Hanes, Dr. David Gring, Dr. Leslie Lambert, Dr. Lisa Earp, Dr. Tim Reynolds and Dr. Leslie Murrill were recognized during institute events. MSCI’s original planning committee and its present steering committee were also honored for their contributions. Participants at the closing luncheon each received a bookmark, embossed with the institute logo and a Roman numeral V, commemorating the institute’s fifth year celebration.
At the institute’s closing luncheon on Wednesday, June 23, Mr. Malcolm Henderson and Ms. P. Buckley Moss were honored as recipients of the second annual Margaret Sue Copenhaver Contribution to Education Award. The award recognized the couple’s outstanding commitment and work in the field of education. The recipients were selected by the MSCI steering committee through a process that identified persons whose lives echo Margaret Sue’s passion for teaching and learning.
Mr. Wil Clay, children’s book illustrator and storyteller, provided the award luncheon’s address and art demonstration. After lunch, he remained to autograph books and prints for participants.
“If I can help pique my students’ interest in research and scientific careers, I feel that I have done my job as a professor to promote an extended education,” Dr. Balasubramanian says.