The Exploratorium's Teacher Institute cultivates collaborative community of teachers

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Thursday, August 10, 2023
The Teacher Institute supports thousands of teachers worldwide
The Teacher Institute supports teachers while emphasizing science as a process for understanding the world around us.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- Since 1984, the Exploratorium has supported the professional development of middle school and high school math and science teachers through the Teacher Institute (TI).

TI cultivates a collaborative community of teachers while supporting professional development that emphasizes science as a process for understanding the world around us.

"I think science is exciting, because it helps me understand everything that's going on," expressed Tamara Alt, a Teacher Institute participant. "When I see a phenomenon...I can actually dig into what are the scientific principles that are happening here."

Principal Scientist at the Exploratorium, Julie Yu, added, "Science really is one important way to understand the world around us, and for kids, any age, and adults, any age, to remember that the world is understandable. We can use evidence and knowledge and collect data to build our understanding of the world and each other."

The Teacher Institute hosts workshops throughout the school year, both virtually and in person at the Exploratorium.

"Science content is really critical for science teachers to be getting as professional educators. But, the second piece of that is really attaching that to pedagogy. So, what does that look like in the classroom," shared Dr. Megan Taylor, the Director of Teacher Institute.

Every year, over one thousand teachers attend TI programs and workshops where they have the opportunity to ask questions, learn, share expertise, and grow as leaders.

"I think the number one word that comes up when you talk to TI staff is joy. Because I think that teachers are often told no," shared Taylor. "We want to be a place to tell teachers, yes, that's been in the ethos of the Teacher Institute, since it began in the 80s."

"Educators are justice activists," Taylor added. "When we serve teachers and when we influence classrooms, we are literally influencing the next generation of folks to do really big, powerful things, to think about science differently, to think about themselves differently, and then to be empowered to use that."

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