This semester several students and future educators in the Intro to the Art of Storytelling class (EDU 292) participated in the Buxton Library “Living Library” event. This virtual event was open to volunteers who had an experience or interest they felt others might benefit from hearing about. This event provided a window into realities different from their own and enabled students to relate and connect to each other in a safe, inclusive environment. During the allotted time the “books,” or speakers, told their stories followed by questions from the audience.
“Language, in all of its forms, has long been a passion of mine. If you think about it, what we say, what we write, or read is the reason for every major moment in both our combined and individual histories. Words have the power to help us grow and understand the world around us,” says Sarah Speight, Living Library speaker. “As someone who is constantly looking for ways to show others how to see the beauty in language, whether it is through song lyrics, a journal entry, or a single, thoughtful sentence, I appreciated being given the opportunity to participate in this exhibition of tales.”
Introduction to the Exceptional Learner class (EDU 222), taught by Education Program Director, Meggin Kirk, gave students the opportunity to engage and learn from two panels. A panel of parents who have exceptionalities and a panel of young adults who have disabilities shared their perspectives and experiences in order to better inform future teaching practice. Based on the information that was shared, students wrote "words of advice to a future teacher."
“Having the parent and student guest presenters come to my EDU 222 class opened my eyes. Individuality is beautiful; no one is quite the same as anyone else,” says student, Scott Done. “My biggest takeaway was to get to know my students and see them for what they can do, not by what they can’t do. As a future educator, I valued their time with my class. I will never forget this experience.”
Guest speakers in the Cultural Diversity in Education class (EDU 230) provided an enriched learning experience for students. Jay Sloan, a Diné future educator, currently studying special and general education at Northern Arizona University and Teacher Development Center Coordinator at PVCC shared the concept of Cosmic Coincidences. The idea that you were destined to be in a certain place at a certain time. This concept has played a major role in how Jay has experienced life as a Diné individual. catherine lockmiller, a health science librarian at Northern Arizona University, also presented to the class. Her work involves researching and writing about critical theory in information science, and how it can build a resistance politics rooted in transformative justice. Additionally, Azra Hussein, co-founder of the Arizona Islamic Speakers Bureau, presented on the background of Islam, as well as, how teachers can best support students who are Muslim.
The “Learning Library” and Guest Speaker series have taught students to value inclusiveness and develop respect for each other’s viewpoints and ideas. They will bring these perspectives into the classroom as they become teachers.