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Racism can fracture individuals and communities. The first step to repairing the damage is making sense of how racism functions, both in our environments and in our own minds. Teachers can make their classrooms safe places for this crucial learning, so that teachers and students alike can be more fully themselves.
The parent-teacher relationship is precious—and complicated. It’s precious because of the potential for a partnership that supports our children’s learning, their development, and their lives.
From kindergarten to high school classes to schools of law and medicine, educators are offering mindfulness as a strategy to enhance students’ academic performance and to support their physical and mental health. Mindfulness, an antidote to the wandering mind, is focused awareness in the present moment. The most common mindfulness practice is to focus on breathing while holding thoughts and sensations in nonjudgmental awareness.
[[image|left|faculty=5046|caption=Dr. Ebony Elizabeth Thomas]]
[[image|left|caption=Dr. Stacy R. Gill-Phillips|width=130|src=https://www.gse.upenn.edu/system/files/u225/Dr.%20Stacy%20Gill-Phillips.jpg.jpeg]]
Nate Wilkins remembers seeing a change after a friend attended the Delaware Valley Consortium for Excellence & Equity’s High School Leadership Institute.
[[image|center|caption=Students talk through essential questions they need to ask to overcome problems during a breakout session at the Delaware Valley Consortium for Excellence & Equity High School Student Leadership Institute.|src=https://www.gse.upenn.edu/system/files/u231/DVCEE%205.jpg]]
Yasmin Kafai believes in the opportunities Maker Jawn provides for Philadelphia children.
The project —with a name true to the city — connects Philadelphia children and adolescents with volunteer mentors and Penn GSE students to learn and build. Maker Jawn kids meet outside of school to work on projects ranging from coding to cooking to sewing to construction. As leaders explained in a recent Grid story, the point is to engage the children’s natural creativity and curiosity.
Teaching students language and literature can be seen as a dry and difficult task. But children and teens already do love language. They embrace the widest range of new words—Are you “on fleek”? Who’s your “Bae”?—and find more ways to use language with Twitter, Tumblr, and Vine in a day than many adults do in a month.
A controversial children’s picture book, A Fine Dessert, has sparked heated discussions about diversity and historical accuracy in children’s literature. In a November 6 article, the New York Times called upon Penn GSE Assistant Professor Ebony Elizabeth Thomas to weigh in on the debate, highlighting her perspective as an expert on children’s literature and race.
Doctoral students master an academic discipline, but they don't always spend time learning a vital skill for future professors: How to teach at the undergraduate and graduate level.
A new series of workshops sponsored by the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) is giving Penn GSE students a better understanding of how to manage a college classroom and communicate complex ideas.