Professor Folsom Trains Teachers in ‘Intellectual and Emotional Learning’ in the Philippines

Tenth graders in Manila working together to analyze the life of an economist they chose to research.

Professor Christy Folsom (Early Childhood & Childhood Education) spent several weeks in the Philippines this summer, consulting elementary and high school educators on integrating social and emotional learning into their curricula. Guided by the methods she presented in her book Teaching for Intellectual and Emotional Learning (TIEL): A Model for Creating Powerful Curriculum (Rowman and Littlefield Education, 2009), teachers learned new ways to design lessons that will help children develop what Professor Folsom describes as twenty-first-century skills.

The TIEL model balances the need to teach skills and content with a focus on students’ intellectual, emotional, and social development—skills that Professor Folsom feels are vital for the future. From May 19 to June 9, she conducted workshops with teachers in Manila and Kalibo on developing lessons that utilize elements of project-based learning designed to open up the thinking processes in students.

“I knew that they were very traditional, using very rote methods,” says Professor Folsom, “but they liked the TIEL model, and they were willing to put in the work to make changes in their teaching.” In addition to teacher training, she also worked in the classroom with teacher leaders who will continue to help the teachers implement changes that include group work, classroom discussion based on questions that elicit thinking and social emotional learning, and the use of visuals and manipulative objects to enhance learning. Class sizes averaged forty-five students, which is considered to be small in Manila.

Dr. Folsom (right) helps teachers plan a lesson using the TIEL Curriculum Design Model.

“The most surprising thing was to watch them transform their teaching,” she said. “The TIEL model is also extremely cross-cultural, and teachers can immediately see its value in their classrooms.” Professor Folsom also presented this model to educators in Australia. The TIEL Curriculum Design Model consists of five thinking processes and five corresponding qualities of character.  It provides a guideline for helping teachers plan questions that support students in developing thinking and social emotional processes. The TIEL Model also uses project work to help educators teach students decision-making, planning, self-evaluation, and cooperation.

A member of the Lehman faculty since 2001, Professor Folsom has a broad background in education that spans all ages, grade levels, and education fields, and has worked as a consultant in education both nationally and internationally. She received a bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University, a master’s from Oregon College of Education (now Western Oregon University), and a doctorate from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is currently working on another book on lesson planning.