Workshops bridge gaps, give opportunities to grow success

Cooperative seminar promotes education


Cody Casares / The Advocate

Culinary arts assistant professor Elizabeth Schwarz shows spectators how to make fresh ricotta cheese and pesto as part of the Teaching Café in the Library and Learning Resource Center on Friday.

By Lorenzo Morotti, Editor-in-Chief

In order to promote the statewide push toward student success and ease students’ struggles, one must first pinpoint and then understand the issues students face going through the education system.

“The Teaching Café” was created to close the gap between educators and students through an eclectic variety of workshops, food and presentations in the Library and Learning Resource Center at Contra Costa College Friday from 2:30 to 5 p.m.

The theme was “Student Success: Innovative Ideas and Best Practices,” and the event was open for any student, faculty or staff member from any campus within the district to better prepare students to enter the workforce.

The Professional Development Office gathered representatives from English as a second language, counseling, student services, automotive technologies and health and human services departments; all while the culinary arts department students provided food and drink.

“Please be careful with your food and drink. We don’t allow food and drink normally in the Library,” health education department Chairperson Sandra Everheart, who helped organize the event, said. “But feel free to grab a plate, grab a table and let the learning begin.”

Five tables were converted into workshop areas that focused on skills ranging from “We are overwhelmed: Productively Venting and Managing our Stress” to “Teaching You to Teach us Students.”

Other interactive workshops included a virtual paint sprayer and refinishing booth by the automotive services department, and how to make fresh ricotta cheese and pesto by the culinary arts department.

Attendees moved freely through the Library, participated in various workshops and listened to musical performances and student presentations.

The presentation that attracted the largest audience was led by four Middle College High School students.

They expressed their concerns through a rap and then later a breakdown of 10 points where they think teachers could improve the learning experience in the classroom.

Eziah Tagle-Napitan, Bemister Tessema, Sandy Solis and Luis Garcia burned through their list, which ranged from being more interactive during lectures, study collaboration between departments on campus, in class group work to implementing “class-to-class” group work.

“You used to see this a lot in elementary school, where another class would come in the room,” Solis said. “You don’t see this after elementary, but mixing classes allows for students to get to know each other better and learn as a group.”

Everheart said, “Our (district) chancellor had a Convocation on Innovation at the beginning of the semester and encouraged all of us to think about innovative and creative ways in which we can facilitate the learning process in our classroom, campuses and non-instructional areas.”

She said the event was the “brainchild” of speech department Chairperson Sherry Diestler.

“We want to bring together the collective brainpower and skillsets of our students, our staff, faculty and managers,” Diestler said, “and put out the call on our campus so people can come out and share their knowledge with us.

“So let’s have fun together, learn together and acknowledge our great skillsets.”