Aerial view of campus with Williamsport, the Susquehanna River and Bald Eagle Mountain as a backdrop

Lycoming students gather for talk on diversity in education

Lycoming students gather for talk on diversity in education

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Aspiring teachers and others from the Lycoming College campus community gathered in the Mary Lindsay Welch Honors Hall to receive a message from H. Richard Milner IV, Ph.D., one that will resonate with the campus for some time. Director of the Center for Urban Education at the University of Pittsburgh and recipient of the Carl A. Grant and John Dewey awards, Milner is a strong and knowledgeable voice in the area of diversity in education and culturally responsive teaching. His teaching style is focused on educating and being mindful of cultural appropriation, which is a critical component of effective education.

Milner kept students on the edge of their seats with compelling data on disproportionalities in the education system. He kept participants engaged with “are you still with me?” prompts and 10 tips for obtaining and increasing equity in the classroom:
1. Remember WHO You are Teaching!
2. Remember Your Students are Developing Beings!
3. Race Still Matters.
4. When the Music Changes, so should the Dance!
5. Poverty and Merit
6. Curriculum should Connect!
7. Our Talk Matters!
8. Instruction should be Relevant and Responsive
9. Build your Professional Library!
10. Consider Some Radical Practices

The Lycoming education department and student body asserted, “we are still with you.” Milner’s statistics showed that Black students are being pushed out of school by suspension and, more often than others, pushed into in-school suspension. He bolstered this disproportional figure with a current remake of the doll test by Kenneth, Ph.D., and Mamie Clark, Ph.D. This experiment displays that the concept of learned helplessness still exists among cultures in the education system.

“If Lycoming College students and society truly desire to grapple with this problem, we need to be willing to take further action. The next steps for aspiring teachers are to build all students’ skills, increase the number of adults in every classroom (Noguera), incorporate language and literacy development across the curriculum, and address the listed 10 reminders,” said John Peters ’19, a political science major from South Williamsport. “Times have changed and, as a pivotal role in the scaffolding of future societal leaders, teachers need to adapt. It is now a necessity that new teachers change the dance to fit the music. There’s no way to “Lindy Hop” out of this transformation. It’s time to “Wobble” our way into the future of education.”

The event, coordinated by Courtney Dexter, Ph.D., assistant professor of education, was meaningful for all involved, particularly Lycoming students pursuing teaching certification. The education department was thrilled to bring Milner to campus and looks forward to other such events in the future.

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