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In the summer of 1980 the Yale Teachers Institute conducted an intensive program on Connecticut history for school teachers, grades 7-12, from throughout the State. The Institute accepted thirteen outstanding teachers from a variety of public school systems which demonstrated a commitment to use materials developed through the Institute. In applying to the Institute, teachers stated the importance of the topics on which they proposed to work and the relation of these topics to courses they would teach in the coming school year. Each participating teacher became an Institute Fellow and prepared a new curriculum unit for use in school courses.
The Institute seminar on Connecticut history was led by Christopher Collier, a leading scholar and teacher of State history, who is Professor and Chairman of History at the University of Bridgeport and Visiting Lecturer at Yale. Professor Collier spoke on important topics on Connecticut history, guided group discussion about work in progress on the units, and advised each Fellow individually on the development of a curriculum unit. Guest lectures were given by Professors Howard R. Lamar, Gaddis Smith and Robert B. Gordon of Yale; Bruce Fraser, Associate Director of the Connecticut Humanities Council; and Professor Bruce M. Stave from the University of Connecticut.
Established in 1978 as a joint program with the New Haven Public Schools, the Teachers Institute seeks to improve teaching and learning in secondary schools and to serve as a model of university-schools collaboration. It aims to open the resources of Yale University to school teachers and to make these resources available in ways which they indicate will be most helpful. The Institute brings teachers from different schools and different grade levels to work together and with university faculty. It affords personal and professional growth, as well as a vehicle for curriculum development, through which teachers, who know best their studentsí needs, work directly with leading scholars of the academic subjects they are studying.
The curriculum units Fellows wrote are their own. The units contain four elements: objectives, teaching strategies, sample lessons and classroom activities, and lists of resources for teachers and students. They begin to meet the need for new curricular materials on Connecticut history. They were written by teachers for teachers; we hope they will be of interest to educators across the State.
The Institute on Connecticut History was our first statewide program; it contained the same requirements as the Yale-New Haven program, but adapted these expectations to a rigorous summer schedule. It was supported by a grant from the Connecticut Humanities Council. Supplementary funding from Aetna Life & Casualty Foundation, the Connecticut Historical Commission, and the Mellon Fund of the University of Bridgeport enabled the completion of an allied project, a Teachers Bibliography on Connecticut History by Professor Collier. The materials presented here do not necessarily reflect the views of the funding agencies. The Institute on Connecticut History was cosponsored by the Connecticut Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History and endorsed by the Association for the Study of Connecticut History and the Connecticut Council for the Social Studies.
James R. Vivian