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Conservation Teaching and Learning Studios

As a part of our Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners (NCEP) program, the CBC organizes Conservation Teaching and Learning Studios to promote opportunities for professional development. Using an action-oriented, participatory approach to conservation education, the studios bring together teams of conservation educators to exchange teaching strategies, train in evidence-based pedagogical approaches, and practice new techniques.

Upcoming Studios:

Learning to Collaborate and Collaborating to Learn: Bridging Boundaries in the Conservation Classroom

June 8 - 10, 2020

Online Application »

Research in a variety of disciplines has documented considerable benefits of collaborative learning activities, in the areas of content mastery and in the development of key process skills such as interpersonal communication. How can we as educators make sure that our students—future scientists, practitioners, and decision-makers—are advancing their collaboration skills as well as their knowledge? How can we ensure we are bridging boundaries within our own classrooms and reaching all students? In this Studio, we will focus on how we can teach conservation while building an inclusive, collaborative culture in the classroom. Using active, student-centered, and evidence-based teaching approaches, we will consider our own teaching practices in a rigorous, reflective, and evaluative manner. The Studio will also provide resources, feedback, and time to work on small changes in your teaching and course design that can have big results in student learning. 

NOTE: NCEP is committed to providing a rich professional development opportunity for educators this summer. We are actively exploring options that will be resilient to current events and will provide updates as soon as we can. If the Studio is canceled after you have paid the registration fee, you will receive a full refund. 

Recent Studios:

Effective Teaching By Design

Participants at the NCEP Conservation Teaching and Learning Studio at the American Museum of Natural History
NCEP studio at the American Museum of Natural History, June 2019. © Nadav Gazit

In June 2019, 18 educators and practitioners from the US and abroad convened at AMNH to work on integrating scientific and active teaching techniques into their own teaching practice, from designing a class session to planning an entire course. Individually and in groups, participants also evaluated how these techniques align with course objectives, goals, and intended outcomes, and considered multiple assessment strategies. Participants were able to learn from their peers and actively train on how small changes in teaching and course design that can have big results in student learning.

Walking the Walk: Implementing Active Teaching and Learning in the Classroom

NCEP Studio 2018 group photo
NCEP studio at the American Museum of Natural History, June 2018.

The evidence is clear: for over three decades, research has shown that active teaching enhances students’ development of the knowledge, skills, and attitudes they need to be effective scientists and professionals. For the 2018 Conservation Teaching and Learning Studio, 22 educators from the US, South America, and Southeast Asia gathered to train in and share strategies for integrating evidence-based active teaching techniques in the classroom, discuss and work through challenges to teaching actively, and practice applying these techniques in their own lessons and curricula.

Evidence, Evidence, Evidence! Developing and Assessing Critical Thinking in your Students

Group photo of the 2017 NCEP Studio
NCEP studio at the American Museum of Natural History, June 2017. © Nadav Gazit

Scientific literacy and the ability to evaluate competing claims based on the available evidence is a critical skill in all students, regardless of major. In June 2017, 16 university educators convened at AMNH to train in scientific and evidence-based teaching practices that promote the development of critical thinking skills, as well as aligning assessment techniques to desired student learning outcomes. Studio participants learned about effective tools and approaches from peers and investigators leading NSF-funded research on education, and practiced applying these techniques working in teams and on topics relevant to their own teaching.  

Developing and Assessing Student Skills in Conservation Teaching
Group photo NCEP Studio 2016
NCEP studio at the American Museum of Natural History, June 2016. © Nadav Gazit

Twenty-four educators from the United States, Latin America, and Southeast Asia gathered at AMNH in June 2016 to practice designing assessment approaches that develop and evaluate student professional skills, learn how to apply a variety of active and scientific teaching techniques in their own classrooms, and connect to a community of practice to exchange experiences and lessons learned in evidence-based teaching.

Teaching Tools and Techniques 

NCEP studio participants, July 2015 AMNH
NCEP studio at the American Museum of Natural History, July 2015. © Nadav Gazit

Held at AMNH in July 2015, this studio convened 13 conservation educators and practitioners from 3 countries (USA, Canada, and Jamaica) to develop case study-based exercises. Participants were introduced to and practiced applying active teaching tools and techniques in the context of their own conservation teaching topics. The studio also focused on providing professional development on evidence-based approaches to teaching science, with an emphasis on civic engagement and developing critical thinking skills in students. 

Assessing Student Learning of Socio-Economic Systems 

Participants at the NCEP studio in Annapolis, June 2015.
NCEP studio at the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center in Annapolis, June 2015. © Nadav Gazit

This studio convened 18 conservation educators and researchers from 13 institutions at the NSF-funded National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center in Annapolis, MD, in June 2015. Participants shared insights, created new connections, and identified key questions for further work based on their own experiences, knowledge, and research in systems thinking. 

Learn more about the Network of Conservation Educators and Practitioners (NCEP).