Institute Helps K-12 Teachers Improve Their Techniques

The Margaret Sue Copenhaver Institution for Teaching and Learning is hosted at Roanoke College

Each year Roanoke College trains teachers from every region of the country on how to employ the latest techniques in K-12 education through the Margaret Sue Copenhaver Institution for Teaching and Learning. This convention is hosted at the College every summer. The goal of this three-day program is to better educate and inform. The purpose of doing so is to instruct teachers on how to "create learning environments where students feel significance, respect and safety [and] include valuing diverse cultures" as well as "encourage students to continually try out ideas and practices for themselves and see where they work and where they prove inadequate" according to the Web site But those are just a few aspects of what is taught at the convention.

Each year the Copenhaver Institute convention has a different theme. Some of the topics have included social justice, engaged reading and cooperative learning. According to Tim Reynolds, chairman of the education department and co-director of the Copenhaver Institute, "each year the institution presents a theme grounded in a constructivist theory to help teachers develop their practice and apply the theory of multiple intelligence (identifying how different students learn)."

It is often very difficult to make large groups of students become interested in their school work. By examining different techniques presented during the convention at the College, it will help teachers better control and educate their students in appropriate manners. As techniques evolve, it is necessary for teachers to train frequently in order to remain effective.

The Copenhaver Institute presents speakers from myriad areas of studies. It has presented keynote speakers who are experts in their fields of academia. Speakers have included Dr. Howard Gardner from Harvard University, Dr. Carol Tomlinson from the University of Virginia, Dr. M. Layne Kalbfleisch from the Sackler Institute at Cornell University and Dr. John Guthrie from the University of Maryland. Each of these speakers bring expertise on different aspects of education that, combined, will be able to shine light on different ways of teaching today's youth from kindergarten to the 12th grade.

The Copenhaver Institute was established through an endowed gift from Mrs. Helen C. Hanes of Winston-Salem, N.C. in honor of her sister, Margaret Sue Copenhaver, a retired public school educator from Richmond.

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