Project focus: Lessons and workshops that integrate diversity education into everyday curriculum
Unit Plans: "Strength in Diversity: The Pilots of World War II"; "Segregation Fifty Years Later: Lessons from Little Rock"
Workshops: "Teaching Diversity and Democracy through Discovery"; "Retool Your Use of Primary Sources"
Participant: Margaret Wilks, Paris Elementary School
Arkansas educators examine samples of primary source documentation.
"Diversity education is not a 'one unit' study. It is a thoughtful inclusion of diversity in all that we teach," says Margaret Wilks, National Diversity Education Program participant at Paris Elementary School in Arkansas. "When we look at the real history of this country, it is clear that groups and individuals of every race, creed, and color have contributed to our story, and knowing their stories helps us understand our strengths as well as our mistakes as a nation."
"We cannot pretend that past injustices haven't happened but must use them as a means to build on understandings about how we want things to be different in the future. I am convinced that real stories make the difference, so I utilize primary documents and personal stories to help students (and teachers) understand. This has been particularly important in the place I teach — a small, rural, mostly White town, where diversity is misunderstood as only a racial discussion."
"I work to shape my curriculum—in whatever area I teach—to help students understand how diversity is part of who we are as a nation and to tell the stories of those who have struggled for freedom and equality. More than that, I want students to really believe that they, too, shape our democracy and have a responsibility for that as citizens."