We had our first annual "Teach-In" conference today at Teachers College, Columbia University. The theme for this year was "Nurturing Activism." It was our program's hope that we connect current teachers with fellow alumni of our program to create a broad network of activist teachers.
There were many great sessions including one that discussed how to create a thought-provoking and critical curriculum that culminated into a puppet show at the end of the year for students.
Mary Cowhey--author of Black Ants and Buddhists, a community activist for 14 years and a teacher for 12 years--gave opening remarks at the conference. I loved her book which talked about integrating activism, creativity, and responsibility into one's teaching.
In her talk, she stressed that teachers should focus on the three Rs:
Teachers, when teaching lessons, should always think about whether this is rigorous? Is it putting high expectations on the student? Is it relevant to what they are doing in the classroom? Relevant to the education standards set forth by the state? Relevant to the diverse backgrounds and cultures of your students? And finally, is the lesson fostering relationships? Is it fostering a community besides just your classroom?
I thought her talk was excellent. Below is a picture of me with Ms. Cowhey.
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