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Friday, May 6, 2016

North Clay adds speaker series

Monday, April 7, 2008

Jennifer Mishler
North Clay Middle School English teacher Paul Harbour is encouraging his fellow educators to continue to learn.

Harbour has organized a before-school speaking series which revolves around areas of interest and research of his colleagues.

Recently, the first speaker in the series, Jennifer Mishler, a fellow North Clay English teacher, spoke about adult pop culture references in children's animated movies.

"Pop Culture References in Animated Films" reviewed adult themed jokes in movies like "Madagascar" and "The Incredibles," including references to movies dating back to the 1960s.

Harbour said the first lecture was a great success. Teachers from North Clay and Northview High School attended the Friday morning event.

North Clay Assistant Principal Peter Kitka also attended.

Harbour got the idea from his time attending Indiana State University. Every Friday, a different speaker passing through town would share their expertise with students.

When no outside expert was in Terre Haute, professors from ISU would lecture. That's when Harbour said the "most interesting" lectures would take place.

Educators in Clay Community Schools have done research in many different fields of interest, and Harbour wants to offer them an arena to discuss topics in a "more complicated, more mature" way than with their classrooms.

"You don't realize how knowledgeable your colleagues are, or what they're interested in," Harbour said about the series.

He hopes to eventually have speakers every other week throughout the school year.

Two upcoming presentations are Glen Gill speaking on "Teaching Evolution and Creation in the 8th Grade Classroom and Meeting the State Science Standards" on May 2, and Dr. Salvador DiSalvo of Indiana State University presenting "The Influence of Cervantes and Don Quixote" on May 9.

If the speaker series continues to grow, it may be turned into a corporation-wide in-service. Educators are required to complete a number of continuing education hours each year, and the series provides a forum to share that knowledge.

These educators are using their early Friday mornings to reinforce the directive to never stop learning.

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