Behind the Scenes of the Great Diseases Project: Part II

Editor’s Note: The following post is the second part of a series on “The Great Diseases Project: A Partnership Between Tufts Medical School and the Boston Public Schools,” in which AM Rounds asked a few of the projects’ participants to share their thoughts and impressions on the collaboration.

Kathleen Bateman, MEd, (Great Diseases Project,Co- P.I., and director of science and math, Boston Latin School, Boston, Massachusetts):

It was clear from my own past experiences as a biotech professional that the K-12 notion of authentic science practice is often far from the mark. My goal for this project was to bring the students not only the most relevant scientific content but also twenty-first century skills in interpreting, analyzing and communicating that content verbally and in writing.  I was confident that the Tufts partners could bring the content piece, but I also knew that there are elements of the high school classroom they had absolutely no experience with. For this to work the teachers would need to be equal partners, because only they knew how implementing relevant, necessary and engaging content would be accomplished. I’m gratified at how it has developed. The partnership has really been one of mutual respect and support. Tufts faculty, post docs and grad students have participated to teach the novel content to the BPS teachers and the BPS teachers, in turn, have shown them what it means to teach developing adolescents and why the traditional lecture is not always the most effective practice. This is a rare partnership in which both collaborators have pushed the other beyond their comfort zone, and the ultimate winners are the students. I look forward to bringing this project to completion and where we, and Tufts, will go next.

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