African Storyteller to Offer Interactive Workshop for Teachers

By WBNG News

African Storyteller to Offer Interactive Workshop for Teachers

October 11, 2012 Updated Oct 11, 2012 at 12:14 PM EDT

(WBNG Binghamton) Vanessa Johnson, a griot or storyteller in the West African tradition, will give an interactive workshop to current and future educators and others on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at SUNY Cortland.

According to a news release:

The event, titled "Teachers, Race and Ethnicity in the Classroom: A Self-Exploration Through Storytelling, Role Play and Interactive Exercises," will begin at 7:15 p.m. in Sperry Center, Room 205.

Presented by the College's Education Club, the presentation is free and open to the public.

Johnson is a writer, playwright, vocalist, fiber artist, teaching artist, historian and community educator. As an historian, she uses her voice to preserve the history of the past and the stories of the present. As a community educator, she uses her years of experience directing social service programs for youth and providing direct service to teachers and future educators to demonstrate, through storytelling, classroom management skill models.

Johnson will work with the future educators to use storytelling and role-playing to explore some of their attitudes, assumptions, stereotypes and misconceptions in regard to race and ethnicity in the classroom. Participants will be encouraged to stand up, move around and share their stories.

Some of the themes and questions that will be explored are:

• The past experiences educators experienced in a class setting that impede effective teaching in this multicultural society;

• The personal intentions teachers may use in addressing multiculturalism in their classrooms;

• Assumptions about intelligence and competency educators may bring into the classroom that inform their educational expectations of students from varying socio-economic, racial or ethnic groups;

• The particular signs and symbols, words and etiquette, of which a teacher should be aware when working with a growing number of students from new immigrant populations;

• The various language and non-verbal communications that, when used, can portray unintended, negative messages, which can impede communications between teachers, parents and students from different racial and ethnic groups; and,

• What teachers can do to become "culturally competent" and create a dynamic experience for all students in our classrooms.