From Alaska to the Bahamas, Tanenbaum’s Education Programming Resonates

In mid-February and early March, I had the pleasure of presenting at two very specialized education conferences.

The first was the Beyond School Hours conference in Burlingame, CA. This conference is designed for out-of-school time educators, and I presented on our K-6 World Olympics curriculum, which has been very successful in after-school settings. The participants in those sessions came from as far as Alaska to the Bahamas and it seemed the only complaint they had was that I didn’t have enough copies of the curricula to sell!

A specific idea that resonated with the group was normalizing difference in contrast to celebrating similarities. While both are important, a greater emphasis seems to be put on the latter in diversity work. In doing a few activities from the curriculum, participants were able to experience subtle ways in which difference can be normalized in everyday lessons.

The second conference, the National Association of Independent Schools conference, was in my hometown of Seattle. I facilitated a panel titled Religion in Independent Schools: Innovations in Multicultural Education. The panel members were three independent school practitioners who have used Tanenbaum’s work successfully, and they shared their perspectives with over 100 attendees.
 
It was gratifying to see how our creative panelists have taken our pedagogy and lessons, and adapted them to fit their classrooms’ needs. A major take-away from this experience was the power of co-presenting at conferences. Also, the standing-room only crowd goes to show that issues around religious identity in schools are not limited to the topic of separation of church and state in public schools. One of the Education program’s initiatives is to work more deeply with independent school educators. Seems like we’re off to a great start!
– Anshu Wahi, Senior Program Associate