WMWP Spring Symposium

Thursday, March 30, 2017 - 4:00pm

Westfield State University
March 30, 2017, 4-8:30 p.m.

Teaching with Courage and Passion: 
Personal and Civic Engagement in the Classroom

With political and social changes happening in our country and around the world, it is important that teachers support students and each other in personal growth and in civic literacy and action.

Registration fee (including afternoon snacks and light supper: $25; Full-time undergraduate students: $15) Register now - space is limited.

Download the conference flyer below.


4:00  Registration and refreshments

4:30  Session 1

  • Yes We Can: Teaching the Research Process in all Disciplines (Heather Brown). Our students are growing up in a world where the the mere perception of things can become their reality. In this session, we will focus on teaching the research process to students to empower them to independently find the facts that will shape their opinions rather than taking others’ opinions as fact.
  •  Addressing Privilege with Privileged Communities (Kelly Norris and Maira Hellyar). After some individual writing and group discussion about privilege, Kelly and Maira will share their experiences addressing privilege in the classroom. Helpful tips will be given, as well as common student responses and ways to deal with them. Participants will take part in small group activities and make a concrete plan for addressing privilege in a setting of their choice.

5:45  Dinner and discussion

6:30  Session 2

  • Race, Culture, Language, and Schooling: Dialogue to Improve Understanding and Awareness About Civic Engagement in Our Classrooms and Communities (Momodou Sarr, Kate McConnell). Crossing Borders Education (CBE) will screen several short clips from its feature documentary, American Textures, which explores race relations through filmed dialogues on targeted hot topics among six participants of diverse ethnicities. Participants in this session will be engaged in dialogue about race, gender, ethnicity, and student achievement.
  • The Workings of an Interactive Science Notebook (Lisa Rice and Brittany Rice). The Interactive Science Notebook enables and encourages students to be creative, independent thinkers and writers. This workshop will provide teachers of science, as well as other disciplines, with an understanding of the use of these interactive notebooks as an effective means for students to make connections and develop a deeper understanding of the content.

7:45  Dessert and closing keynote with Will Bangs: Staying Gold in the Classroom: Teaching for Civic and Personal Engagement. 

Like many other teachers, Will Bangs came into teaching with wide eyes and big dreams. Books and teachers had changed his life in deep and everlasting ways, so he couldn’t wait to be “that teacher” and share his love of reading and writing. Sure, he had his fair share of high points in those early years: making lasting connections with kids, earning several awards, and helping students become better readers and writers. But as time wore on, he experienced the low points that are all too common with the profession: long hours, low pay, and disrespect, to name a few. It all took its toll, and he almost left the profession for good. Sadly, he’s not alone. Studies by The National Commission on Teaching and America's Future show that one-third of all new teachers leave after three years, and 46 percent are gone within five years. In a time when our incoming federal administration has gone on record saying teachers are overpaid and we should cut one-third of all teachers, how do we keep our heads and hearts in the game? Hear Will's ideas for "staying gold" in the classroom. (Will Bangs teaches English Language Arts and Social Studies to 7th and 8th grade students at the Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Public Charter School (PVPA). Prior to PVPA, Will taught at JFK Middle School in Northampton and worked in after-school programs in Springfield’s North End and Orange.)

Presented in partnership with the Westfield State University Center for Teacher Education and Research