About Empowering Multicultural Initiatives

Empowering Multicultural Initiatives (E.M.I.), a project of EDCO Collaborative, specializes in anti-racist education by establishing the values of racial harmony in schools in order to benefit students, teachers, administration, and the larger community.

E.M.I. originated in 1993 as a collaborative of seven school districts in the Metro West region of Boston, Massachusetts, concerned with academic achievement and equitable education. Current E.M.I. districts include: Bedford, Concord, Concord-Carlisle High School, Needham, Newton, Wayland, Wellesley and Weston.

E.M.I. facilitators work with schools and educators to help develop and implement effective anti-racist practices and programs. Empowering Multicultural Initiatives (E.M.I.) seeks to establish anti-racist school climates that offer excellence and equity for all students.

This Blog is designed to provide resources and updates on EMI activities.For Lesson Plan and Tenacity ideas check out EMI’s website http://www.edcollab.org/EMI/EmpoweringMulticultural.html

For information about EMI or the EMI 2013 - 2014 course schedules and activities contact ellistern123@gmail.com

EMI Activities

E.M.I. Spring 2014 Course Schedule

25-hour (2 credits) course

Anti-Racist School Practices to Support the Success of All Students (EMI 1)
This graduate level course is designed to introduce educators to the complex issues raised by race and racism and their impact on student learning and achievement. This course will also help increase the skills of cultural proficiency.
Course # sp14ARSPA
Course dates:
Fridays: January 31st and March 28th from 8:30-3:30
Thursdays: February 13th, February 27th, March 13th, April 10th from 3:30-6:30
Snow date: Wednesday April 16th

Course # sp14ARSP
Course dates:
Saturdays: January 25th, February 8th, March 8th and March 29th
Snow date: April 5th

E.M.I. 12.5-hour (1 credit) courses

Building Bridges of Understanding: Supporting the Development of Culturally Proficient Students
This course is for educators who want to encourage students to be culturally proficient and to successfully navigate their way in a world that is becoming more diverse. Discussion topics will include: cultural differences, stereotypes, prejudice, and forms of systemic oppression. Activities and resources from this course can be used in Advisory programs, Open Circle discussions, etc. and/or integrated into a variety of subject areas.
Course # Sp14BB
Tuesdays: March 11th, March 25th, April 1st and April 15th from 3:30 to 6:40

Strategies for Examining and Addressing the Academic Achievement Gap
This course will examine the current research on the influence of race, ethnicity and racism on academic achievement. Strategies that have been identified as successful will be studied and adapted to fit the needs of students in our schools in an effort to ensure that all students are provided with excellence and equity in their educational experience.
Course # Sp14SEAA
Tuesdays: January 28th, February 4th, February 25th and March 4th from 3:30 to 6:40

Understanding Self-Efficacy: Helping Students Do Their Best Work
This course provides participants with an opportunity to explore concepts of self efficacy and attribution theory. Participants will examine how students’ perceptions of themselves as learners influence their academic engagement and performance. Participants will learn how to use a strengths approach, create a growth mindset environment, and give praise and constructive feedback that promote student success in the school setting.
Course # Sp14USE
Saturdays: March 1st and March 15th from 8:30 -3:30

Optional graduate credits are available from Framingham State University for $75 per credit.

E.M.I. 5-hour Seminar

This 5-hour seminar is designed for grade 3-12 teachers responsible for teaching math and/or science who want to understand what “cultural proficiency” looks like in their classes. (This is included in the new MA teacher evaluation standards.)
Seminar: Math/Science
Seminar date: January 11th 9:00 -2:30

To register or if you need more information on courses, seminars or registration contact: ellistern123@gmail.com

Registration deadline is December 11th
A course may be canceled due to low enrollment.

We will continue to accept registrations past the deadline as long as there is space available.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Culturally Relevant Teaching - from Teaching Tolerance

Culturally Relevant Teaching http://www.tolerance.org/magazine/number-36-fall-2009/relevant-beyond-basics: Culture is an important survival strategy that is passed down from one generation to another through the processes of enculturalization and socialization, a type of roadmap that guides and shapes behavior. If new information is not relevant to those frameworks of culture and cognition, people will never remember it. If the information is relevant, they will never forget it. <snip>

The cultural norms and behaviors of schools are based on a very specific set of mainstream assumptions. When there is a cultural mismatch or cultural incompatibility between students and their school, certain negative outcomes might occur, such as miscommunication; confrontations among the student, the teacher, and the home; hostility; alienation; diminished self-esteem; and possibly school failure.  <snip>

Teachers need to find pertinent examples in students’ experience; they need to compare and contrast new concepts with concepts students already know; they need to bridge the gap between the known (students’ personal cultural knowledge) and the unknown (materials and concepts to be mastered). <snip>

If you have a true, caring relationship with your students, you don’t have to be lucky. You will know what their interests are, what information they relate to. Even in an abstract discipline like mathematics, relationships with students matter. When you’re talking about distances, it certainly helps to be able to say, “I heard you talking about your cousin Miguel. How far do you think you go to visit him?”

Culturally relevant teachers recognize that they do not instruct culturally homogenized, generic students in generic school settings. Teachers armed with a repertoire of generic teaching skills often find themselves ineffective and ill‑prepared when faced with a classroom of culturally diverse students.

Teachers need to re-envision their roles in schools. Culturally relevant teachers are systemic reformers, members of caring communities, reflective practitioners and researchers, pedagogical content specialists and antiracist educators. <snip>

Thinking of culturally relevant teachers as action researchers extends another important component of the reflection process. Action research is inquiry conducted by teachers for teachers for the purpose of higher student achievement. Action research requires teachers to identify an area of concern, develop a plan for improvement, implement the plan, observe its effects, and reflect on the procedures and consequences.

Finally, student achievement is not the only purpose of a culturally relevant pedagogy. Culturally relevant teachers must also assist students to change the society, not simply to exist or survive in it. For some teachers, this can be very challenging. When teachers promote justice they directly confront inequities in society such as racism, sexism and classism. Far too many teachers appear to be not only colorblind, but also unable or unwilling to see, hear or speak about instances of individual or institutional racism in their personal and professional lives.