A draft conference program will appear here soon. In the meantime, review some of the 2010 AR*AB Teaching Conference workshop descriptions below. More information on the conference can be found on the ENSJ Conferences page.
Confessions of a former multiculturalist: Aligning the professed with the subconscious
Sherri Jones and Cathy Sansone, Milwaukee Public Schools
This interactive session will analyze the journey from multiculturalism to that of anti-racism. Moving towards anti-racism requires acknowledging â€“ and ultimately, dismantling â€“ the structural and embedded advantages for some and disadvantages for others. If a teaching practice is to be considered founded on principals/understanding of anti-racism, then it must address the structural and embedded practices, policies and perspectives that support privilege for the dominant group and the disadvantages, in varying degrees, for all others. If not, this practice will be lacking, if not ill-informed, and ultimately perpetuate racism. Anti-racist teaching practices must integrate personal reflection and development that moves from the passive to the active; from the state of privileged isolation to that of cultural competency; from diversity/multiculturalism to that of anti-racism. Take the challenge. Enter into courageous conversations about the impact of race.
Using the experiences of the Algebra Project and videography to explore racism and critical theory
Joan Wynne, Maria Lovett and 2 high school students, Florida International University and Miami Edison Sr. High
Two college professors and two high school students will facilitate several participant driven exercises to energize participantsâ€™ discussion around issues of racism and critical theory. Afterwards, we will present student-created videos that expose social justice issues within their communities. The students will also discuss their Algebra Project experiences that have taught them how to address societal racist notions. Through the uses of these specific methods of engagement, we will demonstrate practices that the workshop participants can replicate in their classrooms to allow for student-directed discussion and exploration of ideas about hegemony and social justice. We will also demonstrate how technology can be used to entice high school and college students into discussions of critical theory and community activism.
Respecting the many â€śEnglishesâ€ť of our students
Kevin M Kuschel, Milwaukee Public Schools
This session will explore ideas on how to use non-Standard English as an opportunity to share and learn together instead of viewing it as a deficit. There will be discussion on the importance of language acceptance and how to best utilize non-standard English speakers to enhance classroom learning. Given that all teachers must work with students of various language backgrounds and competencies in â€śStandardâ€ť English, this workshop hopes to highlight the importance of home language acceptance and how language is part of identity. Activities will include an active, anticipatory discussion and pair/share, a jig-sawed reading and discussion as well as a video clip and post discussion.
Culturally relevant science for early childhood educators: Building upon scientific indigenous knowledge
Maria Hamlin, UW-Milwaukee
Drawing on an Early Childhood base, this session will introduce teachers to both culturally based science and western science in the areas of biology, Earth and space science, and physics. Participants will complete â€śhands onâ€ť inquiry based science activities that are rooted in indigenous ways of knowing. The purpose of this session is to introduce educators to culturally relevant pedagogy in science and allow practitioners to engage in â€śhands on minds onâ€ť inquiry-based science activities that are rooted within specific cultural contexts. Practitioners will learn about both culturally based science and western science and how western science can be taught without devaluing indigenous studentsâ€™ culturally based scientific knowledge and ideas.
Rage, hope, and illuminating injustice: Critical literacy in the Neighborhood Bridges classroom
Tessa Flynn and John Sessler, Childrenâ€™s Theater Company Neighborhood Bridges
Neighborhood Bridges (of Minneapolis, MN) is critical literacy in action. Through storytelling, improvisation, and creative writing, students expose and challenge contradictions in our world. Neighborhood Bridgesâ€™ students, teaching artists, and classroom teachers ask questions, explore multiple perspectives, examine their own biases and opinions, and aim to ultimately investigate the very root of social injustices. Workshop Participants will partake in a typical Bridges session by actively engaging in the discussion of how classic tales, such as â€śPaul Bunyan,â€ť position listeners to think in a prescribed way. Participants will then experience the steps Bridges teaching artists use to empower students to collectively connect these social issues to their personal stories and the world in which they live.
Bias in books: Looking at literature and textbooks through the eyes of Native librarians
Theresa Seidel, Community Library-Salem, Youth Services Department
Participants will learn how to identify biased and racist materials. We will discuss how to handle those â€śuh-ohâ€ť moments when biased material slips into the classroom. Participants will discuss alternative materials to use for Thanksgiving and where to turn for help in finding acceptable materials about Native Americans from the viewpoint of the American Indian Library Association. Participants will be able to ask the questions they may have about why material is offensive. Participants will receive handouts that they can take back to the classroom to help in determining if materials are biased or racist towards Native Americans, as well as resource lists of on-line materials to use when teaching to ACT 31 standards. Craft ideas, lesson plans as well as hands-on materials to use with written materials will be discussed. Educators will be encouraged to bring out ideas they may have for classroom activities.
Positive classroom climates: Empowering youth, managing conflict
Tara Serebin, PLC Staff, Peace Learning Center of Milwaukee
As Educators, how do we empower youth to think, speak and behave differently toward each other? How do we help students deal with the daily conflict that drains classroom instructional time and strains peer relationships? How do we develop healthy classroom climates that honor diversity and foster tolerance and inclusiveness? This engaging workshop will discuss effective tools and strategies utilized by the Peace Learning Center of Milwaukee to encourage students (ages 9–13/grades 4–6) to engage in healthy communication skills and to manage conflict, resulting in improved classroom climates and youth self-esteem. The participants of the workshop will be invited to actively engage in a sampling of our Peacemakerâ€™s Workshop activities including a variety of cooperative games and â€śpeace tools.â€ť Many of the activities that will be conducted or discussed focus on acknowledging, accepting, and appreciating individual differences. Our activities encourage and support full inclusion of all members of a community regardless of race, sex, religion or handicap.
Undoing the deficit model by discovering funds of knowledge
Sarah Gronemus and Alyssa Ottow, School District of Waukesha and Fort Atkinson Schools
Through learning about ways to incorporate funds of knowledge, participants will consider the power relations of â€śschool cultureâ€ť vs. â€śhome culture,â€ť and teacher as transmitter of knowledge vs. student/family/community. The implications of student-centered curriculum will be discussed in terms of how this type of being/teaching affects the identities of students, teachers and the community. Participants will actively engage with student-created text (personal narratives) and describe studentsâ€™ background knowledge in relation to school constructs. By honoring students through a model of empowerment, rather than deficit, educators create a climate that allows access to high expectations, both social and academic. Participants will discuss how we should go beyond â€ścultureâ€ť to the individual level and not assume that studentsâ€™ cultures have deficits that need to be fixed. Participants will be asked to reflect and dialogue about these ideas, as well as plan for action in their practice.
The Zinn Education Project: Making it work for you
Mary Hauser, National-Louis University
Howard Zinn, one of education’s giants died last month. He was well known for his civil rights activism and his progressive (some say, radical) views of teaching history. This session is designed to provide a brief overview of Zinn’s life and work and then consider how his ideas can create a classroom in which students and teachers ask questions, view issues from multiple perspectives and understand that objectivity is not a possible or desirable outcome of learning in the social sciences. Participants will draw on their classroom experiences as they consider the following questions in small group discussions: What are some of the major problems in how history/social studies is taught? How can teachers foster critical thinking and avoid rote memorization of facts? What resources are available? What specific strategies will develop an anti-racist perspective?
Anti-racist/anti-biased lessons in the Early Childhood classroom: Theyâ€™re not too young!
Melissa Tempel and Angela Aranda, Milwaukee Public Schools: H.W. Longfellow & La Escuela Fratney
As teachers of students ages K4â€“2nd grade weâ€™ve often heard educators assume that Anti-Bias, Anti-Racist & social justice education is not age appropriate for early childhood classrooms. We beg to differ! Not only is it possible, itâ€™s imperative that we start to combat the institutionalized racist & biased ideas we are all exposed to on a daily basis. In this workshop we’ll share lessons, books, songs & other resources we’ve used in our classrooms. We will give examples of lessons we have done on anti-racist/anti-bias topics that reach beyond food, fiestas, holidays & Black History month, addressing the differences between the â€śtouristâ€ť approach to teaching multiculturalism & the anti-racist, critical thinking approach. If time allows participants will network to share ideas & resources.
Preparing first generation students for college
Robert Longwell-Grice and Whitney Gulbronson, UW-Milwaukee and MPS: Riverside High
This presentation will engage participants in an exploration of the issues first generation students face in preparing for college. The presentation will use a video-documentary and the experiences of one high school teacher who is working to develop a program aimed at preparing first generation students for college. Although the documentary is based on interviews with members of a low income, white family whose parents did not attend college, the issues dealt with affect all first generation students. The majority of first generation students are students of color from low income families. Learning about the issues confronting first generation students, therefore, will enable teachers, counselors and administrators to understand the issues low income students, regardless of race, confront when preparing for college. Further, the high school project addressed in this proposal is being implemented at a school where the majority of students are students of color. Participants will engage in discussions about ways in which they and/or their school can assist first generation college students prepare for college.
Help me understand you: Refugee students and the challenges of adapting to American society
Quinâ€™Tara White, Pan-African Community Association
Participants in this workshop will take a look into various refugee studentsâ€™ lives and gain an understanding of the potential they have academically while having the challenges of adapting to American society; in other words, what it is like to experience trauma in oneâ€™s home country and come to the United States to be thrust into an unknown environment and be expected to sink or swim. This session will engage teachers in a mock class taught in a different language to see how well they comprehend the context. Afterwards the class will talk about the challenges and potential students have when they are coming to the United States thinking this is the land of opportunity. The session will end with a discussion of inclusion and strategies that will help the students and the teachers better understand each other in the classroom setting.
“Coming to know” the Coexistence Exhibit through Transmedial Experiences
Karen Kelley Rigoni, UW-Milwaukee
Participants will become familiar with the Coexistence Exhibit that originated from the Museum on the Seam in Jerusalem. Through the use of transmedial experiences that incorporate multiple ways of receiving information and expressing understanding, this interactive session facilitates participants understanding of the universal message of diversity and acceptance the exhibit seeks to bring to communities across the world. The Coexistence Exhibition brings the universal message of diversity and acceptance of the other to the world community. This session is designed to be inductive; participants will go through a series of interactive activities as a way of coming to know and expressing understanding. We will then debrief the activities as learners to discover how these multiple ways of coming to know impacted their learning. We will close the session with a group discussion of how this message might translate into classrooms of children of any age.
Commercial Club Curriculum: Decoding Racial Codes and Contexts for Education Reform
Todd Price, National-Louis University
Placed in current context of “Race to the Top,” turn around schools and Mayoral Takeovers in Chicago and Milwaukee, this session will focus on how educational policy is often presented as beyond race, gender, class, orientation, ability, religious affiliation, and ethnicity. Participants will collectively unpack the “deracialized text” of gentrification, urban sprawl, and suburban flight from inner cities, and examine whose interests are being served by educational policy making coming from “Commercial Clubs” and other such civic and philanthropic organizations, who, while supposedly serving the public good, are ultimately resegregating our public schools and our classrooms.
Hate groups in the US: Understanding how they work, combating their effect
Jill Newton Moore and Alverno students, Alverno College
The messages and actions of hate groups revolve around racism and bigotry. By understanding who they are and how they work, we can better prepare our students to resist these messages and learn active ways to counter them. Participants will have guided work time (individual or small group) to brainstorm lessons and activities they can use in their schools, including blogging, student organizations, and learning experiences.
Exhuming the bodies: Unearthing the stereotyping we bring to literary study
Donna Pasternak, UW-Milwaukee
We bring quite a bit of baggage to our literary discussions â€“ fundamental assumptions about human nature, the physical world, causation, and a host of other beliefs and prejudices. This session will interactively unearth some of that baggage and negotiate ideas about how to deal with it in our classrooms: To encourage original thought and foster an understanding of disparate points of view; to re-examine a critical position from multiple, interdisciplinary perspectives; to analyze and question the cultural climate in the US in terms of a text; to formulate significant critical questions about literary texts; and, to learn various approaches to using literary material in a classroom.
Scalping the Indians: The use of honor and the American Indian mascot controversy
Darren Thompson, Bimadiziwin
The workshop will focus the agenda on how American Indian mascots in both our educational institutions and our professional sports franchises have provided stereotypes to generations of Americans and why the end of stereotypes through the means of our educators is one of the key ingredients to closing the achievement gap not only for American Indian students, but all minorities. The topics to be addressed will focus on how to distinguish the difference between stereotyping and generalizations and, by applying the difference, individuals can create a more identity-safe learning environment. The presenter will engage participants to reflect on how the material relates to them personally and in their work performance through an interactive presentation with handouts, flipcharts, visual and data formats.
Culturally Responsive Literacy to Impact Achievement
Wansheba Townsend, The Village of Hope, Inc.
Culturally and linguistically diverse students are overrepresented in great numbers in the area of special education. This overrepresentation has an impact on the achievement gap. When used effectively, culturally responsive literacy instruction can have a positive impact on students. With this workshop participants will have a chance to engage in meaningful dialogue and receive a list of recommended authors and books that address the issue of literacy instruction and the lack of culturally responsive literacy instruction practices in urban schools. The workshop will focus on practical ways to implement culturally responsive literacy strategies which will increase student success and have a positive impact on the achievement gap.
School to Prison Pipeline: Exclusionary Special Education
Erica Bonde-Griggs, Milwaukee Public Schools: Brown Street Academy
This workshop will discuss the disturbing trends happening in urban schools across the country, specifically in special education. The quality of instruction for culturally, linguistically, emotionally and behaviorally diverse students is often watered down and lacks rigor. This instruction results in academic failure, ill-prepares students for transition into adulthood, and neglects to prepare students for the broader society. Instead, it perpetuates a vicious cycle for a school to prison pipe-line. This workshop provides an in-depth examination and dialogue of the impact and outcomes of exclusionary special education practices. Participants will be given solid examples of what effective instruction for these students might look like.
Multicultural Education: A path to educational reform
Tatiana Joseph, UW-Milwaukee
This session will clarify the definition behind, and help teachers to reach, the higher levels and goals of Banksâ€™ four approaches to Multicultural Education. Understanding the four approaches to Multicultural Education, especially the Transformative Approach and the Social Approach, will allow educators to provide students with the opportunity to view concepts and issues from the point of view of different groups, especially marginalized groups, and to develop a sense of civil and political efficacy. Participants will be able to reflect and share ideas throughout the session and actively collaborate to develop different ways of incorporating multicultural education into their classes.
Teacher unions and racism: Lessons from Australia and Milwaukee
Angelo Gavrielatos, President of the Australian Education Union and Bob Peterson, executive board member of MTEA and co-editor of the book Transforming Teacher Unions, Fighting for Better Schools and Social Justice.
Two veteran anti-racist, union activists with lead a discussion about the history, the current practice and the future of engaging teacher unions in anti-racist work. What has been the past practice of teacher unions in the USA and Australia? What are today’s challenges as we address racism inside unions and in the education sector generally? What specifically can union members and leaders do to address these matters? There will be two brief presentations followed by questions and discussion. Workshop participants will receive a complimentary copy of Transforming Teacher Unions, Fighting for Better Schools and Social Justice.
Classroom management: Reframing how we think about our students
Vicki Herman, UW-Milwaukee
This workshop will guide the participants to reframe how they view and interact with students while learning that studentsâ€™ behaviors are socially and culturally learned, experimental, and motivated by strong needs and emotions. Workshop participants will identify the behaviors of some of the students they are currently teaching and determine what changes they, the teachers, might make to help guide the students to appropriate behaviors. The participants will work individually and in small groups while brainstorming changes they can make in their teaching practices that will include clues to help the students be successful learners, what it means to reframe/think about students in positive terms, and to reflect on changes in the classroom environment that will help students engage in positive behaviors.
The â€śBias Interviewâ€ť: Talking to people you usually donâ€™t
Leslie Whitaker, UW-Milwaukee
The Bias Interview invites teachers and students alike to reflect on their biases. It gives them a unique but simple way to uncover their preconceived notions: by sitting down with people and determining whether they are on target. The result is typically an experience far different than expected, which demonstrates the insidious nature of prejudice, asks students to think carefully about their interview subjects, and themselves. Guidance on adapting this assignment to various grade levels and subjects will be offered and participants will be encouraged to offer their own ideas.
Labor Pedagogy: A workshop in the teaching of workplace and class dynamics of the past, present, and future
Joe Walzer, IWW-Milwaukee GMB and UWM-SoCE and Trevor Smith, IWW-Milwaukee GMB and Marquette University
What are the deep-rooted connections between racist and classist oppression? This workshop offers a space for participants to explore the importance of teaching “class” in an antiracist pedagogy and provides ways to critically include the Wisconsin labor history standard for social studies into existing curriculum while making connections between schools and the workplace.
Literacy as empowerment: A social justice approach
Julia Richard, Laqueshia Turner, Justin Comer, Darren Thompson, Public Allies Milwaukee
Through a team service project that aims to address the high illiteracy rates in Milwaukee, a team of Public Allies explored the issue of literacy education and its relationship to power and privilege. Drawn from the service project, this workshop will examine how various definitions of literacy are constructed and how literacy is often approached through a deficit lens which marginalizes learners. Public Allies Milwaukee members will facilitate an interactive workshop with participants on asset based approaches to literacy education that both empowers literacy learners and challenges the traditional framework of literacy.
Individualism Shapes America
Mark Denning, Indian Community School
Understanding the theory of White Privilege” can be challenging, and even more daunting is the task of talking about it with people coming from dominate culture foundations. How can one talk about such an idea, or even race and it’s influences? Often, you will be considered “racist” for even bringing the subject up! When a person brings the topic of race to a conversation - what is intended to be said is often a challenge, and decoding what is heard can be more challenging. Some people often feel like they have no standing in the conversation, others think they are getting a lecture, while still others think there should be no conversation at all. Very often words like “political correctness” are used, both closing down communication and leading to frustration. We need to understand that there is something more at work in these conversations than individual experience and perception. Our complex and sometimes unarticulated culture, history, ethnic and historical identities are unseen forces at work shaping our conversational environment. We must articulate how conversation environment works - not just for self awareness, but also understand how it shapes the people we engage. This session will go over the root causes of the dominate culture character of understanding, and how to work with it. We will look at Cultural Cognition, Messenger Effect, and Pulsing Star communication ideas to help get you into better understanding, and getting understood!
From Play Through Pain: Anti-racist Process Play
Yvette Mitchell and James Murrell, Peace Squared, LLC
Participants learn to use play (joyful movement) as a process tool for moving through pain (racial reconciliation). Experience how to set-up teacher process circles that allow the space to practice your own anti-racist awareness and transformation, taking personal responsibility for privilege and rank. Learning to use process activities to access and transform their own racist patterns and practices is a key to teachers and others in education communities of practice developing anti-racist teaching and learning practices. By providing these tools and the encouragement for teachers to set up their own circles of process work (â€śplayâ€ť), an intellectual desire to be anti-racist can begin to be realized through a â€śwhole personâ€ť approach that taps the power of multiple intelligences and the powerful and engaging spirit of creativity, joy and play.
Marilyn Diaz, Milwaukee Public Schools: New School for Community Service
Viewing of a “Teaching Tolerance” video and discussion of its content, themes, and potential adaptations to various curriculum.