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The first Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) program at the Center for Ultrafast Optical Science (CUOS), in the summer of 1999, was an ambitious one, with nine direct participants and scores of teaching helpers, ranging from undergraduate summer researchers through full professors. It was designed on two tracks, first exploring research on teaching and learning, and then how this pedagogical theory could be applied to teaching young people science in the classroom or within clubs. This year's RET program was much smaller and more focused on the scientific research at the center. Two local secondary teachers were introduced to the research environment here, largely by Research Scientist John Nees. John developed and taught much of a University of Michigan senior/graduate-level course entitled "Advanced Optics and Lasers Laboratory," which he adapted for the RET program. He also has run a secondary science club at the Community Church of God Opportunity Center single-handedly for two years, so he knows something about the needs and knowledge base of teen students.
The program's goal was to convey to the teachers andthrough themtheir students the nature of scientific research done at the university level. The teachers were directly exposed to the center's activity through daily contact with staff and through individual introductions to the researchers. Although the four-week time frame was short, we also hoped that they would be able to develop a hands-on module to teach teens in their home schools (and possibly to disseminate to a broader range of users).
This process began with two weeks of Introduction to Optics using the components and methods from the optics lab course. During this time, the two participants, both from Ann Arbor Public Schools, carried out experiments in geometric and diffractive optics to gain personal knowledge about the behavior of light. They were given a few chapters of introductory optics material and encouraged to keep notebooks on their lab experiments. The white-board instruction and teaching lab experiments were successful in conveying a fair range of practical knowledge and in providing a basis for understanding the vocabulary and techniques used in much of the center's research.
During the third week, participants worked in Dr. Emmett Leith's laboratories making holographic optical elements such as gratings, lenses, and general white-light-viewable holograms. These activities provided a new venue for the teachers to practice some of what they had just learned.
The final week was spent primarily meeting researchers and students at the center and planning a related instructional module to take back with them. They gained an idea of the scope of the work done at the center and made many contacts that could be drawn upon in the future for classroom enrichment or student mentoring through projects. One participant readily adapted the ideas presented in optics to develop a concept for enhancing students' understanding of high school geometry. The other teacher has been reassigned from high school to middle school for the coming year, and found a connection with their curriculum more difficult to devise.
While a vital link has been established between the center and the participating teachers, further activities involving specific students, class visits, and further development of teaching modules would seem to be indispensable to the overall success of the program.
Just as our outreach programs with young people thrive on the basis of ongoing relationships, we have found that relationships developed in summer 1999 continue to produce positive changes for the teaching and learning of science in local schools and community centers. Our RET 1999 alumnae are applying their knowledge and skills in a variety of settings and maintaining relationships to better serve children and teens.
Reulonda Norman, who graduated from UM in December 1999, works as a preschool teacher, where she puts group learning strategies and hands-on science experimentation into practice daily. She has also continued to volunteer in our science clubs. Aarti Raheja, now in her second year of medical school, and Debbie McCartney Hamann, who graduated from UM in spring 2000, both returned in the summer to coordinate Camp Discovery for the second year. Aarti brought several classmates along as volunteer camp counselors. Further, she collected and cleaned up (with her mother's help) many sets of dissection tools from anatomy class that would otherwise have been thrown away. They were used, with help from her and some classmates, in dissecting cow eyes in several of our science clubs. Research Scientist Greg Spooner, who had taken RET 1999 participants through his ophthalmology-related laser labs, helped with the eye dissection at several clubs. At Aarti's prompting, Debbie and Jeannine LaSovage will be attending Wayne State University School of Medicine's Health Focus Forum to share our science club model with medical students.
Debbie Hamann, as mentioned previously, was just hired to oversee all of our elementary programs, including the supervision of six club coordinators. Karyl Shand, who will graduate in December 2000, is overseeing secondary mentoring programs. Doris Calvert and Susie Shoemaker both oversee Learning Community Resource Rooms in elementary schools, serving all the teachers and students. Susie brought her Science and Technology Wizards to UM to interact with CUOS research scientists several times. They learned about waves and optics and returned to Owen School to share what they had learned. Beverly Tyler uses what she learned both in her elementary classroom and at the Community Church of God Opportunity Center, where she directs programs. Beverly's school in Ypsilanti is planning its transition to a math-science academy; at this summer's training sessions in multiple intelligences and learning styles, she was pleased to feel that she already knew what was being covered.
The overlapping, multiple-contact relationships among our people and programs exemplify Learning Community. People can no longer be neatly separated by site or program, because they regularly cross those boundaries. And, we are especially pleased with the depth of understanding of the teaching and learning processes that RET 1999 participants came away with. We tend to appreciate this only when we have to explain ideassuch as the effect of self-concept on an individual's response to a new learning situation, or how feelings of insecurity can inhibit understanding and retention, or the importance of inner-directed and open-ended inquiry in cooperative learningto others who were not part of the program.
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|A.||Mission, Goals, Strategies||D.||1999-2000 Program Summaries|
|B.||Structure and Funding||III.||Academic and Career Mentoring Programs|
|C.||Summary of Outcomes||A.||Program Description and Goals|
|D.||Five-Year Program Summaries||B.||Program Implementation and Plans|
|I.||Learning Communities: Overview||1.||Pioneer High School|
|A.||Pontiac: Accomplishments and Plans||2.||Slauson Middle School|
|B.||Ypsilanti: Accomplishments and Plans||3.||The Neutral Zone|
|1.||Community Church of God||4.||Owen Elementary School|
|2.||George Elementary School||5.||Camp Discovery|
|3.||Grant Explorations||C.||Anecdotal Evaluations|
|C.||Ann Arbor: Accomplishments and Plans||D.||1999-2000 Program Summaries|
|2.||Career Mentoring||A.||Technology Implementation|
|3.||Academic Mentoring||B.||Usage Statistics|
|4.||Possible New Church Involvement||C.||Anecdotal Feedback|
|5.||Evidence of Systemic Change||V.||Research Experiences for Teachers|
|II.||Science Clubs||A.||Program Description and Goals|
|A.||Program Description and Goals||B.||Program Implementation for RET 2000|
|B.||Program Implementation at Sites||C.||Continuation of RET 1999|
|2.||Community Church of God||A.||Organizational Chart|
|3.||George Elementary School||B.||Scope and Sequence of Goals|
|4.||Owen Elementary School||C.||Web-Site Home Page|
|C.||Anecdotal Evaluations||D.||Partners List|