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Teachers College Columbia University

Reimagining Education: Teaching and Learning in Racially Diverse Schools

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As the public school student population becomes increasingly racially and ethnically diverse, educators need to reimagine teaching and learning to assure all students reap the multiple educational benefits of this diversity. Building on the success of our 2016 Reimagining Education Summer Institute, Teachers College, Columbia University is back by popular demand to provide educators, school district officials and stakeholders at all levels high-quality professional development and the opportunity to connect with people across the country who are committed to sustaining racially, ethnically and socio-economically integrated schools and classrooms

Demand for the Institute

Teachers, administrators, and school district personnel need to be prepared to address the changing demographics of our society. At the same time, racial attitudes among younger generations are shifting to become more accepting of people of all races. These younger Americans – the parents of current and future school-aged children – are asking for more meaningful pedagogy that will prepare children for the diverse, global society they will inherit. Concurrently, employers and universities are seeking workers and students who can cross cultural boundaries and collaborate with and learn from people of many races, ethnicities, nationalities, and religions.

Demographic, geographic, and attitudinal shifts call out for new and innovative ways of providing novice and veteran educators with the tools necessary to educate and empower a more diverse student body to engage with a global economy and society.

This Institute combines the expertise of Teachers College faculty, other faculty from around the country, and K-12 public and private school teachers, administrators and students from New York City metro region. Together, we will explore innovative ways to better prepare educators for a more racially and ethnically diverse student population.

Learning Objectives/Outcomes

Summer Institute participants will grapple with the many ways in which race and ethnicity matter in the teaching and learning that takes place within racially diverse schools and classrooms and how to design educational settings in which all students can learn from each other. Challenging issues and topics to be covered include racial identity, racial and cultural literacy, multicultural education, culturally relevant pedagogy, addressing racial politics, and how implicit biases affect leadership and teaching in diverse schools.

Key Takeaways:

Participants will:

  • learn to foster the educational benefits of diversity for all students
  • enhance students’ interracial understanding, empathy, and ability to learn from people of diverse backgrounds
  • develop strategies to tap into the insights and knowledge of diverse groups of students
  • facilitate dialogues among students, staff and parents about issues of race
  • understand racial identities within racially diverse contexts
  • develop culturally relevant curriculum and pedagogy
  • improve achievement outcomes for all students
  • build community and engage parents
  • frame diverse schools as the most desirable schools for the 21st century
  • promote the educational and social advantages of diverse schools
  • create a plan to bring this knowledge back to your own schools and communities

Attendee Participation:

The Institute includes several plenary sessions that foster greater understanding of issues related to race and ethnicity in the U.S.; racial and cultural literacy; multicultural education; culturally sustaining leadership; and student critiques.

Participants will also engage in daily small-group dialogue sessions with attendees from different educational roles and professional positions, as well as different locations, to connect these macro themes to their context. Time will be spent each day on how to take back new learning to apply in participants’ schools, classrooms and communities, resulting in an action plan by day 4.

They will also participate in 4 hands-on professional development workshops of no more than 20-25 participants, led by Teachers College faculty and other noted education leaders. Participants will sign up for workshops ahead of time.

Participants will also connect over informal lunches and optional after-hours activities. After the Institute, participants can continue to dialogue via a private online forum designed to foster thoughtful exchanges on difficult topics.

Who should attend

The Reimagining Education Summer Institute is designed to help all educators – in public, private, charter schools and higher education – learn how to create truly integrated schools and classrooms that tap into the educational benefits of racial and ethnic diversity. This professional development Institute is designed primarily for teachers, school administrators, district officials, parents, and graduate students in education and all others who are interested in addressing racial and ethnic diversity in changing schools and classrooms.

For individuals who attended last summer’s Institute, we have consciously designed a program to give you the opportunity to take your learning on critical topics to a deeper level, and develop a plan to implement your new insights in your schools and communities.

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