Ben Cogswell MATESOL ´07, a graduate of the Middlebury Institute’s Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) degree, was awarded the Crystal Apple Award for taking remote kindergarten teaching to the next level during the Covid pandemic.
“He is genuinely among the most inspiring and creative teachers that we have met as part of the Pebble Beach Company and KSBW Crystal Apple program, a truly nice and funny guy,” KSBW News Anchor Dan Green said on the broadcast when he announced the award on April 30th.
Cogswell teaches kindergarten at Bardin Elementary in Salinas, California. He has been using technology in his teaching for years, and transitioned his class quickly to virtual learning when the global pandemic made that a necessity. “I do my best to treat it like the actual classroom,” he shares. ”For example, in a classroom setting we listen to each other politely: eyes on the speaker, peaceful hands, and mouth closed. We do the same thing in a Google Meet! Also I think about how to engage them on the other side of the camera to make sure they are not just sitting there passively during their learning time!”
Cogswell says that his MIIS education helped him “really learn to manage time, projects, and life, all while maintaining high standards.” He adds: “My professors equipped me with the knowledge and skills to reach my students in any classroom.”
To see an example of what classes look like for the Cogswell “Kinder Rockets,” check out the KSBW news story from April 30th. You will see another Middlebury Institute graduate featured there, - Jenny Cogswell MATESOL ‘07, described by her husband Ben as “a rock of support and partner in creativity of this project.”
“This is one of the greatest things about working with dedicated young teachers: As a teacher educator, I always have something to learn,” shares Professor Kathi Bailey, chair of the TESOL program at the Institute. “And let’s not forget about Ben’s wife, Jenny, who is a stellar teacher in her own right - and as you can see from the KSBW video, a talented ukulele player.”
When asked what he hopes his students take away from this experience, Cogswell responds without hesitation that he hopes “to continue to lead them on the path towards literacy, kindness, and preparation for their future in this changing this world.”
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