WHAT IS THE TEACHER's INSTITUTE?

The Teacher's Institute is a professional development institute for K-12 teachers. The institute provides opportunities for teachers to examine the social, economic, and political relationship between stereotypes, the larger culture, and schools, and their effect on the classroom, school, and communities surrounding the school. In this respect, the Teacher's Institute is fundamentally different from cultural competency training programs. The concept of cultural competency assumes that social categories of difference are physical, mental, or cultural conditions for which individuals can learn a particular language or cultural skills to help them "manage" difference. At the Teacher's Institute, fellows learn to understand race, social class, gender, and sexuality stereotypes as symptoms of social disconnection. Through individual mentoring, online resources, seminars in social theory, and symposia with local and global innovators and trendsetters in the humanities and arts, (neuro)science, and mathematics, the Teacher's Institute provides fellows and their students a professional development experience rooted in the science and the art of social connection.

 Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and social cognitive neuroscientist Matthew Lieberman in conversation during the Teacher's Institute symposium:  "Is Racism   the Neural Adversary of the Social Mind?"

Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and social cognitive neuroscientist Matthew Lieberman in conversation during the Teacher's Institute symposium: "Is Racism the Neural Adversary of the Social Mind?"

The Teacher’s Institute was an amazing experience because it allowed me to have a voice and be heard; it gave me a new sense of confidence and embraced my passion for art, education, and social justice.

how did The institute get started?

The Ed Factory's Teacher's Institute is the brainchild of Lisa Arrastia, the founder of and senior consultant for the Ed Factory, and the Institute's designer, senior facilitator, and lead educational consultant. The Teachers Institute began in 2011 in the Twin Cities. Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) was seeking an innovative professional development program for their teachers. Funded by MPS' Office of Equity and Diversity and coordinated by University of Minnesota's Department of African American and African Studies, The Teacher's Institute @Minneapolis was the first Ed Factory institute.

 
 Fellows learning from writer, educator Bill Ayers during the  Teacher's Institute symposium, "Love Pedagogy: Disrupting the Violence Against Young Bodies."

Fellows learning from writer, educator Bill Ayers during the Teacher's Institute symposium, "Love Pedagogy: Disrupting the Violence Against Young Bodies."

The Ed Factory’s Teacher’s Institute has helped me to see student-student relationships in a new way. It has changed my daily practice and how I relate with my students and how I encourage them to relate with one another.
 

what Does the institute accomplish?

Answer: deepen students' understanding of the effect of politics + economics on their community

Morgan Fierst and Stephanie Woldum started in the Teacher's Institute as fellows and later became Institute Mentors to new fellows. During their fellowship term, Morgan and Stephanie led their algebra students through an examination of math, race, and Minneapolis home foreclosures resulting from the Great Recession. Morgan and Stephanie designed a challenging, project-based learning experience for students. Supported by the Teacher's Institute, Morgan, Stephanie, and six of their students presented their project at the "Creating Balance in an Unjust World" conference in San Francisco. Morgan is the winner and Stephanie was a finalist for the Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching.

Read about their work, inspired by the Teacher's Institute, in the Twin Cities' Star Tribune.

 

ANSWER: use a love pedagogy to build social connections between teachers + students

Listen to how the Teacher's Institute helped Je'meyah want to come to school every day.

 Morgan Fierst, Teachers Institute 2011-2012 fellow and 2014-2015 mentor.

Morgan Fierst, Teachers Institute 2011-2012 fellow and 2014-2015 mentor.

The Teacher’s Institute is an unbelievably powerful and critical medium for development. I’m grateful to the institute for enriching my ways of thinking. I’m a better teacher, student, and person because of the exposure to critical thinking that the institute facilitated.
— Morgan Fierst, South High School Mathematics Teacher + Teacher's Institute Fellow and Mentor

how can i be a part of the teacher's institute?

Contact us so that we can let you know when the Teacher's Institute will be in a city near you. Then we'll email you an application link. 

As a fellow, you'll have the support of an experienced Institute Mentor as you focus on your individual, interdisciplinary project while also learning to teach for understanding, promote social connection, engage students in the making of their own learning, and develop classroom values dedicated to curiosity, innovation, and imagination. After the successful completion of the program, your fellowship award amount will be anywhere from $500-$1,000 depending on your city, and you could receive a Certificate of Advanced Study from a local college or university. In addition, CEUs are provided to fellows for all of the Teacher's Institute seminars and symposia.

With the exception of the Teacher's Institute Foundations seminars, which are held on designated school days in the beginning of the fellowship term, throughout the term you can expect to spend six to eight Saturdays with the Institute for 3-4 hours each day. Most Institute events are held at the city's host organization. 

 
  Claudia Rankine,   author of the award-winning   Citizen: An American Lyric   and Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University in conversation with Marlon James, winner of the  Man Booker Prize for Fiction for his novel  A Brief History of Seven Killings  , and Professor of English at Macalester College in conversation during the Teacher's Institute "'Strangers in the Village': Imagining (Young) Black Bodies in America."

Claudia Rankine, author of the award-winning Citizen: An American Lyric and Iseman Professor of Poetry at Yale University in conversation with Marlon James, winner of the Man Booker Prize for Fiction for his novel A Brief History of Seven Killings, and Professor of English at Macalester College in conversation during the Teacher's Institute "'Strangers in the Village': Imagining (Young) Black Bodies in America."


how can i bring the institute to my city?

Contact us

The Ed Factory is an open collective, so we're available to facilitate everything from one-day consultations and week-long workshops to full-semester or year-long programs. We work with teachers inside and outside of their classrooms, educational organizations, districts, and individual schools while collaborating with local art institutions, artists, colleges, and universities.