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Western’s Summer Teacher Institute is celebrating its 10th year in the Gunnison Valley. The teachers from both public and private schools, across Colorado and from several other states, earn graduate credit for courses. Some are here for just a week, others for the entire, two-week program.
They study everything from drawing, crafting with clay and writing to history, new techniques for teaching mathematics, local flora, motivation and leadership. One innovative class – “Spark: Stimulate the Brain Through Exercise in the Classroom” – aims to apply research showing physical activity prior to learning improves performance and retention, actually helping brains grow.
“I love the Summer Teacher Institute,” says Edith Cranor-Buck, the institute’s director. “As a former public school educator, I understand the need for teachers to get away and recharge their energy and passion.
“It is a gift for a teacher to have the time without distraction to focus on a course,” she explains. “Networking with other teachers, sharing ideas within a curriculum, learning from an instructor as well as from each other--the perfect situation for busy teachers.”
While many of the classes take place across the Western campus, others are in the field, such as the new Outward Bound Teacher Practicum, which sends teachers into the wilderness for eight days.