Summer Learning: Selections from Boston EdTalks 2018

Three Boston-area teachers share their stories on the life-changing impact of writing and storytelling

By Ted McEnroe, Director of External Communications

This year’s Boston EdTalks, live on stage at the WGBH studios in Boston, set a new standard for production quality in the history of EdTalks. The ideas being shared by brilliant and creative educators from public charter, public and private schools across Greater Boston has always been high. This year, though, we matched the quality of their ideas with a quality of production and preparation that makes these talks worth savoring and sharing.

Listening to the EdTalks that night, it struck us that they fell into a few thematic categories - so while you can watch any of the ones you want, when you want, on our YouTube channel or on, we thought we would share them in a few blog posts - a great way to stem “summer learning loss” about teaching and learning.

Our first theme is writing.

Christine Gentry - Bearing Witness: Oral Storytelling in the Classroom 

In her talk, “Bearing Witness: Oral Storytelling in the Classroom”, Christine Gentry of the City on a Hill Charter Public School in Boston weaves her journey taking writing from an important element of her classroom curriculum, to a place where it can serve as the common thread between students and their classmates, and a way to bring out sides of her students that would otherwise go unseen - and unsupported. Through their writing, she is able to build relationships with her students, and in her words, relationships are the currency of instruction.


Robert Comeau - Know Thyself: Guided Writing for Student and Teacher Growth

For Robert Comeau of Another Course to College in Boston, writing is a way to change mindsets and build communication. As a tool of reflection, it builds relationships, and helps inspire student/teacher connection. Reflective writing uncovers trauma that needs healing, vents stress that clouds thinking, and reveals racism that demands counter-narrative. Comeau himself dropped out of high school. In “Know Thyself: Guided Writing for Student and Teacher Growth”, he discusses how writing reconnected him and continues to do so in his teaching.


Mary Dibinga - Autheniticity through Argument: Creating Ownership in the Writing Process

Five paragraphs. Intro, three body paragraphs, conclusion. It’s the basic building block of writing, and in a lot of students’ and teachers’ minds - it’s a creativity crusher. Mary Dibinga of Boston Latin Academy says it doesn’t have to be. It’s not the essay that is the problem, she says, it’s the way we teach it. In “Authenticity through Argument: Creating Ownership in the Writing Process,” she says if we shift revision from an end-of-writing task to an early composing task, we can change students’ ownership over their writing and push them to deeper, more creative essays.



Learn more about the Boston EdTalks, watch talks going all the way back to 2013, and maybe start getting ideas for how you can be a part of the 2019 Boston EdTalks - all by going to today!