Nashville, TN

February 6th to February 9th

February 6th
Flight to Nashville – Welcome by Bill Schwartz, short tour of the city and dinner at Jim and Nick’s with Ann Calhoun and family.
    Besides meeting my great host Bill, and Ann, I had the opportunity during this dinner to meet Scott Merrick (Ann's son in law), and his son. We had a great conversation on IT uses in the classroom and how technology can be applied to virtual learning environments. He is an expert in the field, and he has great ideas he is currently putting into play. I also had a good chat with his son, on music and arts, which gave me a good perspective on teenagers in the US.

February 7th
Hume-Fogg Academic HS: Public Magnet School
Interview with Principal Paul Fleming
Biology Class Y9
AP Physics Class with Science Chair Rita Davis
AP Chemistry Class
        The highlight from my visit to Hume-Fogg was the great interview I had with Principal Paul Fleming, a highly educated person with great ideas, proud of his school and pushing it ever forward. 
    Overall the school presented a good learning environment, with appropriate resources. The staff I met seemed to know their subject, yet the classes were not particularly exceptional in any way, examples were weak or too far fetched. I must say that the learning predisposition of students was excellent, and the diversity in the school was remarkable.

University School Nashville (USN) : Private
Physics class - Bill Rodriguez
Meeting with Counselor
        Tour of Media Centre
        The resources and quality of teaching I could see in this school were remarkable. Bill Rodriguez worked with people from Vanderbilt University, and had great insights into physics that he could take into the classroom. He used examples that were drawn from and/or related to the student's experience, an instance I particularly observed in all science classes, since it is related to a research I'm doing for a course at Cambridge University's School of Education.
        I was amazed at the Media Centre (one of the best I've seen in my tour, on a par with the one from GCHS in Naples). Its design and functionality, with multipurpose rooms, access to computers and overall learning environment, was very clever when taking into account the limitations in size the school had. As our school is moving soon to a new campus we are designing, I found this area to be of particular importance.

Dinner with ESU members
        I am in debt to the ESU members for organizing this wonderful dinner. It was a great occasion to meet and talk with different people, on education, politics and life in Argentina.

February 8th
Martin Luther King HS: Magnet Public High School
Physics Y11 honors
Meeting with College Counselor Kendra Campbell
        This was a very short visit, where I got to see a physics class, with good examples and good problem solving techniques, using peer and self assessment to evaluate understanding of a topic. The meeting with the college counselor added more to my understanding of the college application process, and how competitive and difficult this process can be for students.

Ensworth High School: Private HS (~400 students)
AP Chemistry - Crystal Miller
Lunch with Science Department
Environmental Science Class - Anna Tutle
        Ensworth is a fantastic school with a very inviting setting, with great resources and very capable teachers. I got to see my first lab class in action, superbly coordinated by Ms. Miller. I liked how the classrooms/labs were arranged, with oval tables that encouraged discussion and big spaces for the lab stations. The learning was hands on, also on the Environmental Science Class, when Ms. Tutle had students analyze the fuel emissions from their cars. Examples, and constant reference to their daily experience, getting science closer to their lifes, and great empathy with students, was the rule in all the interactions I saw.
        During the lunch we shared stories and found many points in common, in school life here and there, in students and in teaching. It was a very rewarding experience for me.

Reception with ESU members and talk by me
    After a brief reception, and individual talks with ESU members, I gave a short description of my trip so far, with a Q&A session afterwards. Everybody was very nice and respectful, I felt honored to be there.

Short tour of Vanderbilt University campus
    Bill showed me around the campus, it certainly looks like a great place to study!

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