[Photo will be uploaded soon]
Below is a thoughtful reflection of David’s experience at St. Theresa School:
I was invited to give an introduction to p4c to the teachers of St. Theresa School, by the principal, Bernie Gora. The goal of the presentation was to achieve two objectives. The first objective was to get the teachers to experience p4c as a student. The second objective was to give the teachers a sense of what it would be like to implement it in their classrooms. We began by discussing the importance of establishing community and created a community ball together. This powerful experience was significant because it allowed the veteran teachers to get to know the new teachers better and also helped to establish an intellectually safe environment. Following a couple of group activities designed to get teachers to come up with strategies to create a culture of intellectual safety, they learned about the Good Thinker’s Toolkit book. We spent a lot of time breaking down the reasons for generating inquiry, and discussing ways to encourage elementary school aged children to question and wonder. From here, we briefly touched on the pillars of p4c and were able to annotate each pillar within their respective groups. The teachers were tasked to come up with discussion questions based off of their source material, and then shared one question they equally agreed upon to share with the other teachers. We continued our day by viewing a short clip of an award winning elementary charter school in Georgia and what strategies their school uses to be successful. The teachers were asked to come up discussion questions they wondered about as they were viewing the clip. This allowed me the opportunity to showcase what a Plain Vanilla would like in their classrooms. Each teacher was asked to write down one of their discussion questions on the dry erase board, and then we went around the room and let each person have two votes. Once we came to a consensus, we formed a circle with our chairs and began a Plain Vanilla discussion using the community ball while maintaining an intellectually safe environment. We ended our day with a wrap up of what they learned over the 2 day experience, and addressed any questions they had. Overall, it was very successful, and I was pleased to see and hear numerous teachers working together and assisting each other through the entire experience. Many of them mentioned how awesome p4c is, and they could not wait to introduce what they learned for their new students this upcoming year!