Minnesota Education Strategy - Continue Learning

The Humanities Center’s Education Strategy is at work in Minnesota and has proven results that address the challenges of education from a humanities foundation. It is based on the reality that relationships are fundamental to learning and exist within cultures. This empowers educators to build relationships with students and communities to increase student engagement. The Education Strategy helps educators, students, and parents create success by closing the relationship gap that underlies and undercuts efforts to close the achievement gap.


Story Circles

In Story Circles, a trained facilitator guides participants through an interactive process that provides a welcoming setting to share experiences, learn from one another by listening, and build relationships.

Without barriers, participants of any ethnicity, age, gender, or religion can effectively use Story Circles to encourage one another—share what matters to them and seek valuable input in a safe setting. Participants will practice techniques for leading and participating in effective Story Circles, such as when to use a “talking piece,” and how to implement a “reflective” learning practice.

Story Circles also present opportunities to reinforce professional development strategies, share your struggles [and successes], and solve issues [offer inspiration] in a supportive group setting. Participants report that this process of sharing is a very effective communication tool that can lead to stronger classrooms, schools, and communities.

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Immersions About Place

Communities are established with pride and dignity. Although in many instances, the residents have often been forced to coexist amidst heartbreaking challenges. In today’s diverse society comprised of the indigenous, migrants, refugees, and immigrants, the phrase so often exchanged during introductions—Where are you from?—is no longer considered as hospitable for some, but instead offensive.

Immersions About Place allows participants to explore the history and culture of place by physically travelling to geographic landmarks in a specific neighborhood and by listening to the authentic sharing of stories that evolve directly from community voices. A reflective process of engagement follows each Immersion About Place as participants convene in circle to share how their immersion experience may have caused them to consider operating differently in their own personal lives, with their students, with peers, and in the community.

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Hack the System with Community Solutions for Change

Imagine a world where systems are built and shaped by the communities living within them. In this session, curated environments and sensory experiences create space to excavate memories of learning, share stories and imagine seeds of change within systems.

Activities that engage multiple learning styles will help us connect with one another and cultivate our own pop-up community. In this community, we will practice finding balance between reflection and active creation in order to shape the systems that impact our daily lives and relationships.

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Ways of Knowing and Being

In this session, Tlahtoki Xochimeh will introduce participants to ways of knowing by unpacking the processes through which people view reality. By examining human perspectives, behavior can be better understood and investigated. Concrete examples and interactive activities will be provided to ground discussions of culture, ways of knowing, and ways of being.

The primary goals of the workshop are for participants to be able to identify their own ways of knowing, to acknowledge that everyone has a way of knowing, and to recognize dominant and marginalized ways of knowing in the United States.

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Absent from What? Observations on Dominant Culture

Certain stories dominate discourse in America, reinforcing some identities and rendering others invisible in public. What are those “master” narratives and how do they originate and operate? Given an environment where certain narratives dominate, how do we go about including and valuing absent narratives in schools and public settings? This offering examines how the inclusion of these narratives can help change the dynamics of our educational system as a whole.

Martin Case of Allies: Research & Writing will present and lead a discussion that invites participants to reflect on "master" narratives and articulate the often unstated assumptions that shape public education in America.

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Inclusive Science

When most people think about science, they often only think about Western science. Science, however, is more than just Western knowledge and its production. Many varieties of science exist, which reflect the diverse knowledge systems from which they come from.

Through presentation and discussion, Tlahtoki Xochimeh will help participants explore different ways of knowing and multiple ways to arrive at truth. Participants will also examine the ways in which Western science has been privileged while other forms of science have been marginalized and excluded.

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The Power of Narrative and Re-Telling for Change

How do we find narrative? It is in everything, but often invisible until we ask it out. To many indigenous people, narrative is the prime methodology that drives philosophy, education, everything.

Through discussion and guided writing exercises, Heid E. Erdrich will guide participants in recognizing and creating narrative using art, history, and literature as prompts. In addition, participants will explore ways to share and invite narrative from others.

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Communities of Practice

In a series of customized engagements, groups of educators will come together to refine and revisit what they have learned in professional development offerings and assess how it is working in an applied setting. Communities of Practice offers guided opportunities to continuously engage with absent narratives concepts and strategies, while building a network of support among colleagues dedicated to relationship-based educational change.

Sessions employ a variety of methods to respond to participant needs, including: facilitated discussions, mentor-led activities, collaborative work sessions, and more.

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