"Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world."
--Paulo Friere, Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Educators in American schools, and we consultants who support them, are overwhelmingly white. As a result, the voices of BIPOC young people are often not heard. We have to ensure that, at all times and especially now, we hear and amplify those voices. This week, we're sharing a resource you can use to create space for students to express their concerns and center their experiences, and for all of us to listen.
The Know Your Rights documentary film-making project centers young people as authorities, action researchers, and truth-tellers in their own communities.
Over the past few years, teachers at two NYC Transfer High Schools: Innovation Diploma Plus High School, and the High School for Excellence and Innovation, have been engaged in collaborating with their students to create original documentaries. During the project pilot, students were asked to identify a single issue that greatly impacts their communities, they chose to research and document NYC’s approach to policing in communities of color.
This project was made possible by the amazing team that lead the NYCDOE's Multiple Pathways to Graduation initiative, in partnership with the Educational Video Center. reDesign's role was merely to bring this team's ideas together in a resource that can be used by any educator in their own context.
Know Your Rights is an open-source project with accompanying resource hub, designed to support young people and educators in a few ways:
The Resource Hub is housed on a simple, replicable, Google site that includes resources, tip sheets, lessons, resources on policing, and a journal and playbook for students. You can head there and find everything you need to begin planning a video documentary project.
If you are a teacher and would like a version of the Know Your Rights google site to adapt to your own needs, please email vicky@reDesignu.org. We will send you your own copy, with editing rights.
If the young people in your community are passionate about documenting a different issue, you can use your copy of the Resource Hub to remove references to policing, and begin by identifying the issue that is uppermost in the minds of young people (Stage 1 of the guide has three lessons to support the identification and selection of topics). Then, identify primary and secondary resources: people to interview, alongside historical and current trends in the issue, both locally and nationally, or globally.
Wednesday July 8th, 3-4pm. Click here for free registration >>
Wednesday July 15th, 3-4:30pm Cick here for free registration >>
"Creativity follows mastery." These are the words of Benjamin Bloom, who believed that learners are capable of incredible things if they have access to powerful learning environments. This is why we’ve chosen the name “Bloom” for our knowledge-sharing initiative. Bloom is all about our stake in helping to build the capacity of practitioners and leaders who work with our most marginalized youth to reimagine, recreate, redesign our models for learning--within schools and beyond. For us, this is fundamentally a matter of social justice. Reach out if you’d like to submit a guest post, or sign up for our monthly newsletter: Bloom@reDesignu.org.
Antonia is the Founder and Creative Director of reDesign, LLC. We are an educational design and pedagogy shop committed to developing learner-centered communities that nurture competency, community, and critical consciousness. Antonia currently thinks and writes about redesigning "school," the creation of competency-oriented learning experiences, reinventing "curriculum" for an integrated, interconnected and interdisciplinary world, and the opportunities and challenges of meaningful adult development in our field.