The school’s English department left for a retreat to Monterey on Friday, September 16 and returned at noon on Saturday, September 17. The purpose of the retreat was to give the teachers an extended period of time to study one aspect of its technique in teaching English and come to an agreement on common methods to use.
This year’s retreat focused on teaching grammar. The teachers were taught new approaches to educating students about the rules of the language, and also given forums for discussion.
“It was really great,” English teacher Keren Robertson said. “We looked at the current research, and we looked at some different models of how to do it. We practiced it, and we thought about how we want to do a better job of teaching grammar.”
Another purpose of the retreat involved providing a time for old and new teachers to bond and get to know each other as the new school year begins. Outside of their work on grammar, the teachers were also given an opportunity to enjoy the company.
“Honestly, I really like spending so much time with my coworkers outside of school,” English teacher Arantxa Arriada said. “I feel like I get to know them. We have a lot of new teachers this year, and so it was really nice to spend time with them and get to know them.”
Most importantly, the English department came back with a more enriched idea of grammar and a greater mastery of the techniques required to teach it.
“I learned a lot of new techniques,” Arriada said. “I used to not feel very comfortable teaching grammar, so it was very helpful to learn a few new things, and I’m definitely more motivated to teach grammar now. I have come out with the realization [after discussing and examining data] that we do need to teach grammar, and we as teachers need to address it.”