ITC Receives San Antonio Area Foundation Grant

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"Create, Connect and Collaborate"

Institute of Texan Cultures furthers mission with $25K grant from San Antonio Area Foundation
 
SAN ANTONIO – The UTSA Institute of Texan Cultures has received a San Antonio Area Foundation grant totaling $25,090. The funding will enable the institute to instruct teachers on applying museum teaching methods in the classroom.

The museum follows a mandate as the state's center for multicultural education by investigating the ethnic and cultural history of the state and presenting the resulting information through exhibits, outreach programs and teacher training workshops. As such, this grant will be dedicated to teacher training programs, expanding teachers’ abilities to instill critical thinking skills in their students.

"The generous Arts and Culture grant from the San Antonio Area Foundation will allow us to expand our partnerships with area school districts," said Angelica Docog, Executive Director. "We can pursue our museum’s mandate by working with colleges, universities and school districts to deepen students’ cultural enrichment. Professional development for teachers will help accomplish this goal."
 
The grant-funded project, "Create, Connect and Collaborate: Museum-based Professional Development Programs for Educators," encompasses the Texas Education Agency’s regions 3, 13 and 20, which include high numbers of rural and underserved schools in 14 counties. While students may not be able to visit the museum, museum educators can train their teachers to take non-traditional methods and more engaging subjects back to the classrooms.
 
"Museums teach with objects," said Lupita Barrera, director of education and interpretation at the Institute of Texan Cultures. "A museum’s way of teaching relies on analysis and critical thinking. We create experiences that help children draw connections between their textbooks and their world."
 
The Institute of Texan Cultures is authorized to award continuing education hours to teachers who attend museum classes and workshops. The museum has various means at its disposal to instruct teachers on bringing object-based inquiry and different teaching styles to the classroom.

Programs available to educators include Teacher Tuesdays, where educators explore a variety of topics related to a current museum exhibit, and prepare the related curriculum for the classroom. A more intensive Summer Institute for Educators, with a museum exhibit as its backbone, offers instruction on using objects, oral histories, historic images and experiences to help children connect to their lessons on intellectual, experiential and emotional levels. This method, Barrera says, reinforces classroom teaching by giving students more ways to process information and make meaningful connections in their own lives.

Through grant funding, museum educators will expand their offerings to encompass district-wide workshops to train teachers on teaching methodology, social studies topics and other subjects. The museum will continue building relationships with area colleges and universities to work with pre-service teachers, and train them in methods to use in the classrooms.

"Without partners such as the San Antonio Area Foundation, our ability to train teachers, and by extension, to connect with students in the classroom, would be severely limited," said Barrera. "Arts and humanities budgets, field trip funding – it’s all stretched so thin. It makes grant-funded opportunities like this so necessary."

The San Antonio Area Foundation manages nearly $260 million in assets and, since 1964, has distributed more than $260 million in grants and scholarships to educate youth, preserve the environment, protect animals, fund research and provide services that enhance the quality of life for people living in and around San Antonio.

The Institute of Texan Cultures is located on the UTSA Hemisfair Campus, 801 E. César E. Chávez Blvd., a short distance from the Alamo and the River Walk. Various educator resources, including TEKS-based classroom curriculum, field trip preparations and other educator resources are available at TexanCultures.com. For more information, call 210-458-2300.
 

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