Reimagining the Classroom: BLTN Teachers Offer Support and Strategy

“…Even as they participate in supportive networks like BLTN, teachers are finding themselves bombarded with new demands and online resources…From one meeting to the next, teachers shared not only how they were surviving and striving to meet student needs, and how they were coping with ‘Zoom fatigue,’ but they gave sparkling accounts of the sources of joy they were finding despite quarantined life….”

The Bread Loaf Teacher Network Journal, published semi-annually, is edited by Tom McKenna, BLTN Director of Communications. Beverly Moss, BLTN Director, provides the guiding vision for the network and its digital initiatives. Contact Beverly Moss or Tom McKenna for more information or to submit content for upcoming issues.

Reimagining the Classroom: Inquiry and Innovation

The theme of "Reimagining the Classroom" came up before COVID 19 removed most of our assumptions about how a public school classroom functions. Bread Loaf Teacher Network fellows' conversations, collaborations, and publications spurred us last summer to develop an issue that put a spotlight on the rightful place of teacher and student voice in education policy and professional learning. Mindful of the long history of teacher inquiry in the BLTN, we knew we wanted to center an issue around the classroom inquiry tradition documented in Dixie Goswami and Peter Stillman's seminal Reclaiming the Classroom: Teacher Research as an Agency for Change.

When the pandemic closed schools around the globe, and BLTN teachers--many who would consider no other way to teach than networked with one another--gathered to share their new realities, their dialogue was fresh and urgent and unabashed, and yet it was also steeped in the network's tradition of seeing students and one another as resources, and in imagining rich human contexts for students to engage thoughtfully with one another online.

And so we present an issue which connects the work of Bread Loaf faculty scholars and teacher researchers across decades to the daunting reality of teaching and learning during a pandemic. We encourage you to listen to Dixie Goswami's recollections of assembling Reclaiming the Classroom, to marvel at the pragmatic innovations and thoughtful pedagogical commitments of this year's BLTN fellows, to learn about the online Family Literacy Nights proliferating across the national and international reaches of the BLTN, and to engage with us through comments.

We hope you'll join us in imagining and reimagining a new educational landscape that must stay rooted in nuanced classroom and community understanding, one which invites the knowledge and expertise of students, families, community members, teachers, and faculty.

-Tom McKenna, Editor


Reclaiming the Classroom: A Retrospective on Bread Loaf’s Foundational Work in Classroom Inquiry

“… former Bread Loaf faculty member James Britton’s call for ‘the decade of the classroom teacher,’ for ‘the full potential of interactive teaching and learning’ requiring ‘all the help we can give them’ may have arrived in 2020….”

Affirmation and Invitation: Say Yes to Pears

“…This is no ordinary pedagogy book. Joe and Brent invite us graciously into their practice, involve us in planning the ingredients for our own contexts, and they provide literal and figurative feasts for experiences (in high schools of all places) of community and affirmation…”

BLTN NextGen

Heart and Action: Virtual Family Literacy Night Brings Youth Network Together

“…’Peace looks like you and me,’ remarked one writer, ‘a 15-gallery view in Zoom, people writing and sharing in virtual spaces connected through the airways and our hearts’…”

Changemakers and Filmmakers: Vermont and South Carolina Students Learn from One Another

“…This is why we do this—for youth to learn ways to better understand themselves and help to change their worlds…”

BLTN Teachers

“Nothing, If Not Critical”: Learning Critical Thinking While Hanging Out with a Scholar

“…These young people and their teacher demonstrate the best of teaching and learning, and we are all lucky that our future is in their hands…”

Bread Loaf Teacher Network: A Resource for Virtual Teaching and Learning in Time of Pandemic

“…When the pandemic hit our youth we were able immediately to access caring, knowledgeable adults and each other….”

BLTN Global

Opportunities out of Nowhere: Karachi Connections

“…The virus came from nowhere, but it also brought opportunities from nowhere. TSW was fortunate to be associated with Andover Bread Loaf and the wider Bread Loaf Teacher Network. Although these are trying times that are constantly evolving, one lesson learned is that collaboratives, collectives, and networks are the way to go…”

Writing for Peace: ABL in Karachi and Mumbai

BLTN Leader and Andover Bread Loaf Associate Director, Rich Gorham (BLSE ’01) kept the Bread Loaf community informed as he worked with Mohsin Tejani (BLSE ’01), founder of the School of Writing in Karachi, Pakistan, and Lee Krishnan (BLSE ’07), teacher at Diamond Jubilee High School in Mumbai, India, to plan the 2018 Peace Literacy

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