The Way We Teach

The Way We Teach

A series of articles and posts about the academic program at Miss Hall's School.

Mission-Driven Change

This article first appeared in the Spring/Summer 2015 issue of Miss Hall's Magazine. Read the full issue here.

With support from the E.E. Ford Foundation, the GLP at MHS Continues to Evolve

In the fall of 2013, eleven Miss Hall’s faculty members convened the first of the E.E. Ford Seminars. Funded by a grant from the Edward E. Ford Foundation, the Seminar’s goal was to inspire discussion, new ideas, and action anchored in classroom practices. In short, the teachers wanted to generate language and pedagogy around developing girls’ resilience and leadership as part of the MHS academic program.
“We felt there was a need to have time as a faculty to come together to think about classroom practices and to develop a vocabulary and pedagogy that reflected our work with girls and the mission of the School,” says English Teacher Anne Rubin. Ms. Rubin, along with Science Teacher Donna Daigle, helped facilitate the E.E. Ford Seminars, which continued through 2014-15. Inspiration came, in part, from the work of the Girls’ Leadership Project (GLP) Working Group and a recognition that even though GLP concepts were reflected in the Student Life, Horizons, and Athletics programs at MHS, could they also be found in the classroom? “We wanted to add academics to the GLP conversation,” explains Ms. Daigle. “We wanted to look at and talk about the work we do with girls in the classroom and find a way to learn from each other.”
 
“Our faculty are experts in this work,” Ms. Rubin adds. “We wanted to tap into that expertise, bring it together, and think and talk about what we do. As we were doing this, there was a lot of dialogue around women’s leadership; Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In had come out, Anne-Marie Slaughter’s article, ‘Why Women Still Can’t Have It All,’ had generated discussion, and we were talking about leadership and how that influences our work in the classroom.”

Faculty Research Projects

2014-15
  • English Teacher Rebecca Cook-Dubin created pedagogy aimed at developing gumption in her ninth-grade classroom by teaching writing through a growth mindset perspective and with a collaborative grading approach.
  • Science Teacher, Leonhardt Family Teaching Chair, and seminar co-Leader Donna Daigle reflected on the creation and maintenance of professional learning communities.
  • History Teaching Fellow Erica Imbimbo created pedagogy aimed at developing voice in her classroom through coaching girls to reach their own conclusions and make historical connections through group work and discussion.
  • Expressive Arts Department Chair Sophie Lee ’96 created pedagogy aimed at developing interpersonal efficacy in her classroom through modeling effective portrait photography and asking students to be self-reflective and process-oriented.
  • Latin Teacher Sarah Nix, Ph.D., created pedagogy aimed at developing voice in her classroom through coaching small groups to work coherently as a team, to use their voices to become a stronger unit than they would be individually.
  • English Teacher and seminar co-Leader Anne Rubin reflected on the creation and maintenance of professional learning communities.

2013-14
  • Horizons Teacher Kim Boland ’94 studied the relationship between competitiveness and collaboration in Miss Hall’s students.
  • Language Department Chair Pamela Breslin worked with students to identify qualities of leadership that have value in non-western cultures.
  • Science Teacher and Leonhardt Family Teaching Chair Donna Daigle supported students through implementing language, narrative, feedback, and individual sessions that promoted/focused on progress, growth, and perseverance.
  • ASC Learning Specialist and Math Teacher Fredi Hungate coached girls to push themselves to be learners rather than performers.
  • Theater and Dance Teacher Jen Jordan focused on a girl’s growth and success through increased risk-taking.
  • Science Department Chair Sue Lovell studied the effect of grit-inspiring teaching practices on girls’ perseverance.
  • English Teacher Emily Pulfer-Terino ’97 coached girls to reflect on their experiences giving, receiving, and integrating feedback in small workshop groups in Creative Writing.
  • English Teacher Anne Rubin looked at the power of long-term, small-group work in English III.
  • History Department Chair Matt Rutledge explored the power of cause-oriented leadership in an online context.
  • Math Department Chair Trish Shuart studied the use of electronic media as a confidence/skills-building tool for girls who think (or were told) that they cannot be successful in math.
  • Studio Art Teacher Ellie Spangler studied the effects of peer-to-peer support groups on student confidence and risk-taking in Advanced Placement Studio Art.
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Located in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, Miss Hall's School is an all girls private, college preparatory boarding and day high school for grades 9-12.
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