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Facilitating Critical Conversations with Teaching Tolerance

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Michael Klahr Center

48 University Drive

Augusta, ME 04330

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News cycles are dominated by stories that are not only difficult to discuss with students, but also laden with content typically regarded as improper for the classroom. Despite these challenges, educators have had to be ready to answer students’ questions and help them to understand these stories—even as we struggled to understand them ourselves.

New Haven (CT) School Administrator Meredith Gavrin recently said “Even when a school has a stated mission of social justice, there is no guarantee that all adults in the building are equally well equipped or equally comfortable leading discussions on sensitive issues like racism or sexual assault. Every school brings together adults from diverse backgrounds and perspectives. This diversity may be more apparent in some schools and communities, but any group of faculty and staff will bring with them a range of experience. Religious beliefs, political viewpoints, cultural backgrounds and individual identities all inform our understanding of—and responses to—the stories we see and hear in the news. Only by engaging in civil discourse as adults can we prepare to help our students wrestle with difficult issues.”

This workshop provides educators and school professionals with the tools for effective civil discourse within the school community.

Participants will learn to:

  • Identify strategies and resources to create a positive and respectful learning environment where critical conversations can take place;

  • Reflect on personal assumptions and biases and recognize their impact on classroom practice;

  • Develop skills and confidence for engaging in and facilitating conversations about race and other critical topics.

Who should attend:

  • K-12 educators, administrators, counselors, curriculum specialists/coaches

  • Pre-service K-12 educators

Free to attend, registration required.


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Michael Klahr Center

48 University Drive

Augusta, ME 04330

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