AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) Summer Institute Review

Posted by on August 24, 2014

By Luke Cabrera

Luke served as an AVID Tutor at Ben Franklin High School and is a current pre-service teacher at  Temple University.

If I had to describe my experience at the Summer Institute using just three words, I would choose: acclimation, participation, and resolution. Upon arriving, I had to accept the newness of the experience, from the people that I had never met before to the new information that I was learning throughout my content strand. As we went through each activity, each resource, each strategy to better organize a classroom, the whole process seemed daunting. While AVID encourages us to allow our students to ask questions of themselves and of their peers, there is an element of deliberate action necessary on the teacher’s part to make an AVID classroom successful. AVID provided us with many resources to build this foundation, and my strand spent a lot of time modeling these techniques by allowing us to go through them as a group.

Acclimation eventually led to participation. The AVID SI showed us a wide-spectrum of what can constitute “participation.” Many of the SI’s activities and classroom resources emphasized diverse group-roles in order to complete the current task. The workshop went through a variety of tasks and activities that required different contributions from different people. Sometimes the role depended on volunteering for a role or being placed into one at random. I was able to talk about and work on different areas of instruction pertaining to speaking and writing, while also remaining mindful of how roles within a group shift as we worked through activity upon activity. Once my strand really started going, it was a very social and interactive experience. We spent a lot of time talking and working collaboratively, all the while modeling for ourselves the ideal AVID classroom techniques.

Finally, as I finished up the SI workshop, I could not help but feel resolve to further understand what is necessary for me to do in order to become a better teacher. The wealth of techniques and information that AVID presented at the SI advanced my education as an aspiring teacher. The depth and breadth of AVID’s content was encouraging as well. There were times during my content strand that I realized that what I was learning at that moment not only applied to content that I had learned in my education classes, but was being used in a way that was brand new to me.

In addition to the workshop, I also attended the AVID general session and was able to hear two AVID students speak about their experiences and their future. It was a really nice moment and brought home the reason why everyone was there in the first place. I do not think that I could have attended the SI at a better time. I will be student teaching in the fall and the AVID SI not only helped my pedagogy, but also reminded me that  the process of becoming a good teacher: the thinking, the doing, even the doubting of myself, must always keep the goals of student enrichment and student self-discovery as its primary motivators.

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