The RE-SEED Model
We train our volunteers in a 32 hour training program which emphasizes the most recent pedagogy for science education, orients the volunteer to the modern classroom environment, emphasizes the role of the volunteer versus the role of the teacher and prepares them with a set of demonstrations and experiments that can be useful in support of the teacher’s lesson plan. Each volunteer receives a kit of experimental materials. While the volunteer is being trained we arrange for them to work alongside an experienced volunteer to gain classroom experience. We also provide follow-on training to keep the volunteers aware of new techniques and approaches.
It is important for the teacher and the volunteer to meet and develop a plan for how the volunteer will work with the teacher in the classroom. By understanding the concepts to be taught each week the volunteer can contribute ideas to the teacher as to how they can help. Some of the things volunteers can do include;
- Perform experiments and demonstrations. The volunteer can lead the activity or support the teacher. When you have six teams of students performing an experiment and needing help, an extra hand can be welcome. The volunteer can also suggest demonstrations and experiments and even assist in assembling materials. This can be especially helpful for young teachers still developing their repertoire of useful activities. Where a school district utilizes “kits” to implement a standard curriculum, our volunteers often take the same training as the teachers in the use of the kits and are able to closely coordinate their activities with the teacher in implementing the standard curriculum.
- Answer questions. The teacher can explain concepts one, perhaps two, ways. The volunteer has a lifetime of experience explaining science concepts to those without science background. Over half of student comments on surveys say ‘he made it clear and simple and I could understand’ or words to this effect.
- Tell stories from their career that illustrates concepts in an interesting way. Students love stories and volunteers love to tell them.
- Teach a segment where the volunteer has strong content knowledge and the teacher would like help and even learn themselves.
Not all teachers are comfortable bringing a RE-SEED volunteer into their classroom but those who have never regret it. Our survey of teachers in the Boston RE-SEED Center area reported 100% of the teachers who had a RE-SEED volunteer this past year want a RE-SEED volunteer next year. Our volunteers are also very satisfied with the experience and 70% return to the classroom the following year.
The teacher is the one who initiates a request for a RE-SEED volunteer to work with them in the classroom. Please use the link below to complete the form online (call 617-373-3382 for questions). The teacher will be asked to have the acknowledgement signed by the principal giving permission for the volunteer to work in the classroom if the district or school has not given blanket permission.
We then begin the search for a volunteer who is a good candidate for the needs of the teacher. Sometimes this is a quick process and sometimes the teacher will wait for a new volunteer to be trained. We keep the teacher informed as to our progress in locating a suitable volunteer.
Click here for Request for Volunteer survey (http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/reseedteachers2013).