Teachers Institutes are educational partnerships between universities and school districts designed to strengthen teaching and learning in a community’s high-poverty public schools. An Institute places equal emphasis on teachers increasing their knowledge of a subject and of their developing teaching strategies that will be effective with their students. At the core of its program is a series of collaborative seminars on subjects in the humanities, mathematics, and the sciences. Topics are requested by the teachers based on what they think could enrich their classroom instruction. In the seminars, university or college faculty members contribute their knowledge of a subject, while the school teachers contribute their expertise in elementary and secondary school pedagogy, their understanding of the students they teach, and their grasp of what works in the crucible of the classroom. Successful completion of a seminar requires that the teachers, with guidance from a faculty member, write an original curriculum unit to be used in their own classroom and to be shared with others in the same school and other schools through electronic publication.
In the video below, teachers share their experiences as Yale National Fellows participating in the Yale National Initiative’s seminars, which model the Teachers Institute Approach for teachers working to develop their own local Teachers Institute.