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New Strategies for New Teachers

Wednesday, February 21, 2018  
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By Sheri Burkeen, Director of Professional Development, SAIS
Using collaboration, differentiation, and active engagement to teach those who will teach others.

For more than 30 years, SAIS has been welcoming new teachers to independent schools through the Institute for New Teachers. Throughout its history, the institute has evolved to meet the needs of member schools. Last summer introduced the first session specifically for professionals with public school teaching experience who were new to independent schools. This year will bring an engaging, learner-centered program using active learning strategies to prepare new teachers to enter the classroom this fall.

As we encourage teachers to adopt a more individualized approach with their students, the INT instructors will apply the same philosophy with program attendees. Each new teacher is given the opportunity to participate in a flipped learning environment prior to the on-site meeting. These modules create a shared background knowledge among the participants and a platform to share personal reflections. Session attendees develop their professional networks by joining a small group of teachers charged with similar teaching positions. Institute instructors model active learning strategies with each session, and the program schedule affords time for small group discussion, reflection, and the application of shared information.

The long-standing hallmark of the institute is the presentation of demonstration lessons by each participant. New teachers deliver a short sample lesson to their small group. Lessons are recorded and reviewed together, giving the group an opportunity to explore teaching strengths and areas for improvement with their peers. Teachers collaborate with the instructors to modify their lessons based on feedback and information from the group sessions. A second presentation of the lesson allows teachers to demonstrate their learning. 

Teachers leave the institute ready for new challenges and excited for the school year armed with increased knowledge in the areas of child development, classroom culture, instruction, assessment, parent communication, and what it means to be a contributing member of an independent school community.

For more information on the Institute for New Teachers, please visit For information on the session specifically for experienced teachers new to independent schools, visit

Calendar more
Institute for Heads
June 19-22, 2018 | Asheville, NC
This retreat offers an opportunity for thoughtful dialogue and engagement with colleagues on key issues facing heads of school and their spouses.

Dean of Students Symposium
June 27-29, 2018 | Asheville, NC
Develop a network of peers, discuss best practices on current issues, and gather practical ideas from colleagues.

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