Touchstones Spotlight on Stacy Pecha
Interview by Brittany Usiak, K-12 and Adult Programs Manager
It’s time for another Touchstones Spotlight! In this post, we’re shining the spotlight on Stacy Pecha, a 7th grade teacher at Selkirk Middle School in Washington who uses Courage to Care, Building Community Through Service with her Debate and Public Speaking elective class. Although she was introduced to Touchstones in 1996 and briefly used it in another district, this is her second year using the program consistently. Even in this short time, she’s seen growth in herself and her students in key discussion skills! Stacy is the only one at her school using Touchstones – as many of our teachers are. If you’re a teacher using Touchstones, and you’d like to connect with our global educator community, join our new group, exclusively for Touchstones teachers to share tips, strategies, and ideas, and build community. We’d love to have you!
What do you love about Touchstones?
Students have lost the art and fundamentals of productive discussion – especially LISTENING to each other. Touchstones helps to foster that skill.
How have you seen yourself develop as a discussion leader?
It’s a work in progress – I am getting better at noticing subtle body language, indicating that a student wants to add something. I’ve also noticed that I consistently want to be the “rescuer” when there are awkward moments of silence. (Teacher habit!)
How have you seen your students develop through Touchstones?
My students are getting better at TAKING TURNS – waiting and watching for the right time to add to the discussion. I think they appreciate that there are no wrong answers, their thoughts may spark a different conversation or promote a different point of view – but it is not wrong.
Can you share a memorable moment from your Touchstones classes?
I love the moments when the students are actually disappointed when our time runs out and want to keep the conversation going.
What do you want others to know about Touchstones?
The curriculum is progressive. You cannot base your success with Touchstones on the first few lessons or discussions, it is a practice and keeps evolving! Stick with it!