MCS Farm Teachers Attend An Evening with Temple Grandin, Ph.D.
The ongoing professional development of the teaching and administrative staff is an important aspect of maintaining the quality of the academic program and the administrative operation at MCS. Staff members are encouraged to participate in professional development to stay informed about developments in their field and to continue gaining expertise in many areas of education. On Wednesday, November 20, three members of the MCS Farm Faculty - Cathy Cammer, Program Coordinator and Farmwork Teacher, Lacey Stewart, Farm Nature Teacher and Leila Jacobson, Farm Intern - attended An Evening with Temple Grandin: "Educating All Kinds of Minds" at SUNY Oneonta.
Temple Grandin, Professor of Animal Studies at Colorado State University, is a prominent author and speaker on both autism and animal behavior. Although Temple did not speak until she was three and a half years old and was considered "weird" for her learning development growing up, she has gone on to have a successful career as a professor and consultant for livestock handling equipment design and animal welfare. Currently, half the cattle in the United States are handled in facilities she has designed.
Dr. Grandin's seminar focused on the importance of exposing students to hands on work and experience. Cathy, Lacey and Leila described the seminar as a valuable source for enhancing how they think about teaching students at the Farm. "Supporting what a child is good at and focusing on their strengths rather than what they can't do is at the center of our teaching model and was a prevalent theme in Dr. Grandin's presentation," Lacey said.
"What stood out from the event was the importance of celebrating the vast diversity of thinkers and relating visual thinkers to animals who are also visual thinkers," Leila said. "The current education system is weeding out visual thinkers and at the Farm we are able to facilitate real life relationships for students and the Farm and livestock that they help to maintain."