Racially Diverse Classrooms The Focus Of Institute At Teachers College At Columbia In Harlem

July 13, 2017

With students of color representing more than half of all children enrolled in U.S. K-12 public schools today, it is more important than ever for educators to be adequately prepared to teach racially and economically diverse populations. To meet that need, Teachers College, Columbia University is hosting a four-day institute, “Reimagining Education: Teaching and Learning in Racially Diverse Schools,” to provide education stakeholders with the proper tools. The institute will take place Monday, July 17 – Thursday, July 20, 2017, at the school, 525 W. 120th Street in New York City.

“To create truly integrated schools, educators need new and innovative ways to engage all students and prepare them for a global society,” said Reimagining Education director Amy Stuart Wells, professor of sociology and education at Teachers College, president-elect of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), and an expert in segregation and integration of public schools. “They need to reimagine teaching and learning in racially, ethnically and socio-economically integrated schools and classrooms.”

Because diversity alone does not lead to meaningful or “real” integration, educators need to understand how race affects all students’ educational experiences. To that end, Reimagining Education seeks to provide educators, administrators, policymakers and other education stakeholders with the professional development and tools needed to create schools and classrooms where all students reap the educational benefits of diversity.

Reimagining Education debuted in 2016 amid demand from the education community for high-quality, professional development and the opportunity to connect with people across the country who are committed to sustaining excellent teaching in diverse classrooms. The institute will feature presentations and panels, interactive workshops, and deep-dialogue sessions led by curriculum and pedagogy experts from Teachers College and around the nation.

“Because Teachers College has so many faculty and graduate students who address these issues through different lenses and areas of expertise, we can help educators understand and successfully address the complexities of teaching students of different racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds,” said Wells.

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The four-day program features lectures, small-group dialogues, and facilitated workshops and demonstrations of effective multi-racial and multi-cultural curricula and teaching strategies. Highlights include:

Monday, July 17, 8:30–10:15 am
Reclaiming an African American Pedagogical Model: Lessons for Real Integrated Schools Today” 
Keynote speaker: Vanessa Siddle Walker, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Educational Studies, Emory University

Respondents: Michelle Knight-Manuel, Professor of Education and Associate Dean, Teachers College
Julie Zuckerman, Principal, Castle Bridge School; Founding Board Member, Progressive Education Network of New York (PENNY); Teachers College alumna.

This session will explore the connections between the historical bases of both progressive education and culturally relevant pedagogy. Drawing on her groundbreaking historical research on African American teachers in de jure segregated schools, Dr. Walker will provide strategies for engaging all students that will help them perform to their highest potential.

Tuesday, July 18, 8:30–10:15 am
“When Celebrating Diversity Isn’t Enough: The Need for Racial and Cultural Literacies in Our Schools”
Yolanda Sealey-RuizAssociate Professor of English Education, Teachers College
Ali Michael, Co-founder and Director, Race Institute for K-12 Educators; Teachers College alumna
Detra Price-Dennis, Assistant Professor of Elementary and Inclusive Education, Teachers College

This presentation will present the origins of the academic field of Racial Literacy and why hundreds of academics are currently interested in the field. It will also cover characteristics of Racial Literacy that make it popular with school districts that are seeking to improve the effectiveness their teachers and the academic outcomes of their students.

Wednesday, July 19, 2:00–3:00 pm – “Reimagining Academic Rigor” (will be live-streamed) Christopher Emdin,Associate Professor of Science Education and Associate Director, Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME), Teachers College and author of For White People Who Teach in the ‘Hood … and the Rest of Y’all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education, will discuss maintaining academic rigor in culturally relevant curricula.

Thursday, July 20, 8:30–10:15 am
“Reimagining Leadership: Lessons Learned From Unspoken History”

Sonya Douglass Horsford, Associate Professor of Education Leadership AND Senior Research Associate, Institute for Urban and Minority Education, Teachers College
Enrique Alemán, Jr., Professor and Chair, Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, University of Texas at San Antonio

This session will address the power of culturally sustaining leadership within the context of today’s separate and unequal schools. Contextualized by the historical trauma experienced by communities of color in the U.S. through (1) overwhelming physical or psychological violence, (2), segregation and/or displacement, (3) economic deprivation, and (4) cultural dispossession, as illustrated in Alemán’s film, Stolen Education, Horsford and Alemán will discuss the inspiration for the film and its connections to the everyday practice of school and system leaders amid the larger social, political, and economic forces of resegregation, gentrification, and displacement.

Each afternoon, the Institute will feature student groups from around New York City who are advocating, in different ways and through different mediums, for integration. On Monday, July 17, from 2:30 to 3:30 pm, the EPIC Theatre high school student ensemble will perform “Laundry City,” researched, written and produced by these students as a way to talk about gentrification and its impact on public schools.

Visit the Reimagining Education website at tc.columbia.edu/ReEd for full details on the Institute.

TC’s funded research expenditures in 2015-2016 totaled more than $60 million. www.tc.edu.

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