In this strand, participants explore aspects of culture, identity, and bias in Vermont schools that have powerful effects in our classrooms. Cultural influences and cultural differences on the basis of class, race / ethnicity, sex / gender, among other identifiers are present everyday. As educators, we need to be keenly tuned in to their powerful effects, and to explore effects we may be unaware of. Certain groups of students benefit regularly from these influences, while other students are unintentionally disadvantaged.
Participants in the strand will analyze how differences in beliefs, values, norms, and expectations based on their own and others’ class, race, ethnicity, sex, and gender influence their interactions with others. We will:
Throughout the strand, we will identify commonalities and “ally” skills that serve across differences to aid in the creation of successful relationships and successful student outcomes.
Success in relationships and success in education requires cultural competence within one’s own groups and with those from other groups. Skills for cultural competence begin with an analysis of one’s own identity, and an awareness of oneself and others. Becoming an “ally” to members of other groups is a conscious step that educators must consciously take to increase equity and learning; it doesn’t “just happen.” In addition to a personal exploration of these topics, participants will learn about the A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE Peer Training Program for middle and high school students.
Kathy A. Johnson is an Equity & Diversity Consultant/Trainer who specializes in helping create welcoming, respectful environments free of bias, stereotyping, harassment, and bullying. Since 1985, Ms. Johnson has provided consulting and training on issues related to educational equity, anti-bias education, gender equity, and cultural competency. Kathy is principal of Vermont Equity Training & Consulting as well as co-founder and partner of CQ Strategies, LLC (www.cqstrategies.org). She is a Senior Training Consultant with the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute, providing training and technical assistance to schools across Vermont implementing the Peer Training Program for middle and high school students. Kathy is a Certified Dialogue Education Teacher with Global Learning Partners (www.globallearningpartners.com). Ms. Johnson is the former Director of Equity Initiatives for Vermont Institutes (www.vermontinstitutes.org/equity) in Montpelier, Vermont. Ms. Johnson has worked with schools and colleges all over Vermont as well as outside Vermont. She has taught graduate courses through Saint Michael’s College and Vermont College at Union Institute and University. Â She is a contributing author to Dialogue Education at Work: A Case Book by Dr. Jane Vella and Associates (Jossey-Bass; 2004). Kathy can be reached at (802) 595-9596 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.