Educating to Transform Society

Educating to Transform Society

A Two-Part Workshop by Aaliyah El-Amin

Part I:

Humanizing Education: Creating Spaces that Acknowledge, Address and Heal Racial Trauma

  • 8:15 a.m. Registration & Breakfast
  • 9:00 – 11:30 a.m. Program

Part II:
Mobilizing our Youth: Facilitating an Activist Education in Schools

  • 12:15 p.m. Registration & Lunch
  • 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. Program

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

St. Mark's School
25 Marlboro Road
Southborough, MA 01772


Program Details

Part I:

Humanizing Education: Creating Spaces that Acknowledge, Address and Heal Racial Trauma

  • 8:15 a.m. Registration & Breakfast
  • 9:00 – 11:30 a.m. Program
From consistent killing of people of color by police officers, to the rhetoric of our political leaders, students of color are often attending school immediately following large-scale, racially traumatic events. Further compounding these instances and their lived experience in a racist society, students of color in independent school settings often experience marginalization and race-based situations within their schools, which they struggle to name, and to which they are unsure how to respond.

Research shows racial trauma, either from isolated incidents or sustained experiences has the potential for negative impacts on health, identity, and academic performance. The impact of racial trauma is deepened when schools fail to acknowledge or respond to these experiences.

This session will (1) provide an overview of helpful literature on racial trauma and (2) create space for participants to experiment, practice, and reflect on a range of strategies and approaches they may proactively build into the fabric of their schools and classrooms. An informed and humanizing environment makes space for, mitigates, responds to and works to provide healing for students experiencing racial trauma. These strategies are often referred to as “pedagogies of healing”, and they may be drawn on within any educational space.

This session is for any educator who is interested in creating more humanizing spaces for students of color within their work.


Part II:

Mobilizing our Youth: Facilitating an Activist Education in Schools

  • 12:15 p.m. Registration & Lunch
  • 1:00 – 3:30 p.m. Program
Our society is overrun by large-scale systemic inequities. As educators, we have multiple opportunities to prepare young people not only to analyze injustice but also to act against injustice. In other words, as educators in any content area and at every grade level, we may facilitate an activist education. Yet, we often don’t consider all of the ways that we may (a) nurture a sense of agency in young people that they can change the social order and (b) provide opportunities in schools and classrooms for students to practice and participate in action towards social change.

In this workshop, we will explore how we might develop students’ capacity for action by engaging in activities, exploring examples, reflecting on our practice, and learning about several widely-used and research-based strategies for this work.


As a group, we will ask and answer:

  • How do we develop classroom and school spaces that facilitate activist inquiry and action?
  • How do we build young people’s sense of personal power such that they believe they can initiate and carry out meaningful actions in support of deeper social justice?
  • How do we ourselves model the leadership and orientation towards justice that we might want our students to embrace?

This workshop is for classroom teachers, school leaders, and other school-based staff who interact with students, and for all educators who are interested in examining and widening their repertoire of opportunities for leveraging education to move forward social change.