Engagement -> C.I.S. -> Training as Catalyst -> Action

Teacher Training as Catalyst

Professional development offerings for teachers vary in discipline focus, the types of experiences they provide, and the intensity and depth of the instruction. Programs are offered by higher education institutions, school districts, educational service districts, historical and scientific organizations, and by cultural organizations associated with the arts and arts-related projects.

From its inception, Confluence Project in the Schools determined that teacher training was crucial to achieving its goals. The project provided in-depth and systemic professional development for teachers to successfully transfer the discovery of ideas to as many students as possible. This intensive and ongoing training empowered teachers to inspire their students to look at historical events in new ways and deepen awareness about the natural and cultural resources associated with the Lewis and Clark expedition.

Initial groups of teachers (36 in 2004 and 36 in 2005) gained new insights by boarding a bus for a four-day study trip featuring 16 subject matter specialists in art, history, science, culture and governments. Teachers reported that their approach to content was shaped by these shared visits to historical sites as well as by the multiple perspectives offered by Chief Cliff Snider of the Chinook Tribe; Stephen Dow Beckham, the Dr. Robert B. Pamplin, Jr., Professor of History at Lewis and Clark College; and Janet Gallimore of the Confluence Project. They showed high interest in continuing professional development, sought ways to transfer to colleagues who did not participate in the project, and felt supported by strong administrative leadership. Teachers were able to articulate key insights connected to history, the impact of the Lewis and Clark expedition, the condition of the Columbia River and stories from Native American tribes in the Columbia Basin.

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