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Volume II: Diversity and Resistance


Language Is Power
How Language Is Used to Transmit the Values of African Authenticity
By Lorena Amos

This curriculum unit language is power will be the theme of the twelfth grade English literature and language program. The theme will require African American students to research the meaning and history of language. The students are encouraged to synthesize the influence of history and culture with their use of language. Each lesson requires the students to accept the responsibility to demonstrate and express language powerfully and creatively as they speak, write, read and listen. The activities will enable the student to explore and apply the deep thoughts and meanings of symbols, proverbs, listening (especially to elders), speaking, reading and the many other forms of language expression. The power of language will be celebrated with a language festival to exhibit the students’ creative expression.


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Ethnic and Racial Stereotypes in Literature
By Barbara Aronson
Allderdice High School

This unit is designed to educate students on the dangers of bigotry, prejudice, and defining people on the basis of stereotypical impressions. While we all have within us, certain biases against certain groups, the purpose of this unit is to allow students to confront these biases early on, so they may have opportunities to grow and develop into individuals who are open-minded and do not pre-judge.

The focus of the unit is to explore three types of stereotypes. The first, a racial example, is illustrated in the novel, The Learning Tree. The others are ethnic stereotypes---German and Jewish. The focus of the German study is to be found in the World War I novel, All Quiet on the Western Front. The Jewish stereotype will be explored in the novella, Night. All of the books are written by exemplary authors. Gordon Parks is an eminent writer and photographer. Erich Maria Remarque has written other fine books. Elie Weisel is a Nobel Peace winner, and has explored the Holocaust in many of his other novels.

Through class discussions, journal entries, role-playing, students will have an opportunity to handle issues specially geared to discriminatory and anti-semitic practices. Also, through a number of handouts, students should become increasingly aware of the dangers or pre-judgment.

The unit primarily is written for tenth graders who are on the upper levels of tracking. The unit is very malleable and choices of texts can be inter-changed.


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Human Relations Skills For Succeeding in a Diverse Workplace
By Yvette D. Cook
Carrick High School

Numerous workforce studies have shown that the main reason that people either leave or lose their jobs is their ability to get along with co-workers. Getting along with people is one’s most important career skill. The development of human relations skills will be explored as a strategy for promoting equity and celebrating diversity in the workplace. Business education students, regardless of career choices, should develop skills to succeed in the diverse environment they will be entering.

Learning to appreciate differences is a workplace requirement as employers expect workers to fit in, get along, and help others to do so. Economically, when people are getting along well with one another, a workplace has increased productivity, fewer errors, a positive feeling of team spirit and lower employee turnover. Workplace diversity can set the stage for problems of prejudice and cultural conflict. Developing tolerance and understanding for others may offset prejudice and discrimination.


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Literary Voices of the Excluded Using Literature to Facilitate Empathy Training
Lynn Marsico

This curriculum attempts to balance literacy goals with intervention strategies for reducing prejudice. Three major literacy goals are addressed in this curriculum; helping students make sense of complex text, writing in response to literature, and writing creatively in response to complex issues. In an attempt at prejudice reduction, this curriculum seeks to create safe situations in classrooms where students can discuss exclusion, racism, and prejudice. Literature will provide the stimulus for these discussions. The second goal relating to prejudice reduction is using literature to facilitate empathy training. Poetry, fiction, and memoir will be used to develop empathy for excluded individuals in our society.

The literature presented here is appropriate for sophisticated seventh and eighth graders and for high school students. However, the rationale and strategies are useful for a much wider audience, from grade four through college. Although I provide a plan for using this curriculum in seventeen class periods, there are many parts that can be used effectively in any literature class and I encourage all teachers of Language Arts, English, and Communications to examine the ideas presented.


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Racism and Colonialism: A Francophone Perspective
By Christine OKonski

As a teacher of French in Pittsburgh Public Schools, my students have always asked me, "Are there any black people who live in France?" My answers and explanations seldom meet their approval because ultimately, the proof lies within what they see. Students form an impression of the French language based on the images of France and of French speakers presented to them in their textbook. If diversity issues are treated at all by their text, a thorough explanation as to why France is ethnically and culturally diverse is rarely given.

The curriculum unit is based on three major topics: the history of colonialism with an emphasis on how the French viewed other cultures, the perspective of the colonized through literature, and finally, the way in which France has become the backdrop for these two phenomenon to be played out.


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From Concern to Action: What it Means to Become a Leader
Ulysses R. Winn, Ph.D

The purpose of this unit is to provide students with the knowledge to improve their communication and leadership skills. In keeping with the mission of JROTC "to motivate young people to be better citizens", it is inherent in this mission to prepare these students for responsible leadership roles while making them aware of their rights, responsibilities and privileges as citizens.

In order to improve the overall communication and leadership skills, I will use a process called WINNING COLORS by Stefan Neilson, Shay Thoelke and Richard Thoelke. They based WINNING COLORS on communication principles developed over 2,500 years ago. These communication principles were discovered by the Greeks and developed through the ages by Hippocrates, Chaucer, and Jung. It includes the behavioral learning methods of Skinner, Rotter’s locus of control, and Rogers’ people-centered communication. Cadets will have the opportunity to apply the WINNING COLORS process throughout the curriculum unit, entitled "From Concern to Action:… What it Means to Become a Leader.


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Chatham University
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Jointly sponsored by Carnegie Mellon University, Chatham University and the Pittsburgh Public Schools.
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