by Head of Community Engagement Gordon Mathis
Over the summer, Upper Learning English teacher Danielle Reed spent three weeks at Exeter College in Oxford University studying Creative Nonfiction and Fiction, after earning a competitive scholarship from the English Speaking Union.
This year’s experience was no summer vacation! Participants met with their tutors (Oxford-speak for professors) every day for a two-hour seminar as well as a 90-minute plenary lecture. In addition, participants committed to 96 hours of independent study. Classes consisted of seven students, and Ms. Reed is still glowing about her learning.
Ms. Reed teaches plans to incorporate her lessons from this summer in her Creative Writing courses helping all of her students to advance in writing, including “Flash Fiction,” which will serve as the baseline for short story writing. She learned the most important part of writing is the process, not the end product, and is looking forward to imparting that understanding to her students.
Another takeaway for Ms. Reed from her summer experience at Oxford is to shift control of the classroom from the teacher to the students; many of her learning experiences in Oxford were peer-led” She is excited to help all of her students develop autonomy and management of their learning in her classroom.
This summer marks the second time that Ms. Reed has earned support from the English Speaking Union. In 2009, the ESU sent her for a summer of study at the Globe Theater, Teaching Shakespeare through Performance. This experience informed an integral part of her ninth-grade teaching; all students read Romeo and Juliet and then perform scenes around the campus.
Be on the lookout to see how this summer’s experiences will inspire Ms. Reed’s teaching throughout the school year!