Friday, September 12, 2014

Telling Our Stories/Raising Our Voices: From Anecdote to Action

Cathy Fleischer, co-director

As teachers, we know this to be true: The conversation about schools and school reform too often leaves out the voices of those who actually know the most about the day-to-day realities of the classroom and issues that impact students and their learning. While we increasingly read about bold teachers who have added their voices to the conversation, for the most part we remain silent in the public sphere, aware that the pressures on us to remain silent are huge.

But EMWP teachers are working on ending that silence! Fourteen of us joined forces this summer in a crash course on how to join the ranks of those teachers who are speaking out in order to effect change in our local contexts--and to do so in a safe way. We read about teachers who have found their voices and the stories of how they have done it; we learned from community organizers in multiple fields about how to create a public narrative; and we studied the interdisciplinary work of those who have researched the most effective language to use when framing our talk about education. Out of all this came amazing insights and plans: each of us thought about the stories of our own teaching and out of those identified an issue of concern—something that we’d like to change. As we worked with that issue, we thought about the best way to frame it so that we could help others truly understand, and then created a plan with short term, middle term, and long term goals. Along the way we created elevator talks, bumper stickers, and memes to help us focus our plans.

This fall, teachers are working to put their plans into practice and will report back in January on their progress.

Among the projects:
• A plan to help change the way alternative education is viewed within the school and in the community
• A plan to change the ethos of the school into one that believes that “everyone reads.”
• A plan to reclaim assessment and what counts as data
• A plan to reach out to parents to help them recognize real writing and real writing pedagogy
• And many more!

To learn more about this work, join us for a Saturday Seminar on February 14. We’ll talk about our own projects and how you too might join the movement to raise our voices!

No comments: