When educators discover the power of the story exchange, they often feel compelled to spread the word. Case in point: Cari Strand, Curriculum Leader at the High School in the Community for Law & Justice (HSC) in New Haven, CT, introduced over 100 teachers to the technique at the League of Innovative Schools/New England Secondary Schools Consortium conference last month – and, she says, the response was “overwhelming.”
Cari’s presentation, titled “The Story Exchange: A Tool for Culturally Responsive Teaching,” drew on her experiences nurturing a supportive learning climate at her small, diverse public school. “When HSC set out to build professional development around teaching, learning, and leading across differences, we knew that we needed to provide the space for teachers and students to connect and truly understand the value and purpose of culturally responsive education.” The story exchange provided that space, and more. Under Cari’s creative guidance, story exchanges have also helped students develop their college essays, provided bonding experiences between students and the New Haven police, and, through virtual story exchanges, created ties between her school and schools overseas.
Over two days in late March, Cari and a team including HSC junior and N4 ambassadors Sean Nelson and Warren Hardy, HSC senior Samyah Wilson, and N4 Director of Global Programs Lee Keylock gave League of Innovative Schools/New England Secondary Schools Consortium teachers a hands-on introduction to the story exchange.
Following is some of the feedback we received:
• In my community, there is a disconnect and dehumanization of students. This could be a path to great change.
• Where to begin? I can’t wait to use this in our school! Thank you!
• Children are carrying trauma… and those little amygdala’s need calming… thank you! 🙂
• Entering into deep, authentic, multi-generational dialogue is key to creating engaging schools based on youth-adult partnership.
• This was the best presentation I’ve been to in the past 2 days. Thank you for sharing your stories!
Thanks to the work of master practitioners like Cari Strand, demand for the story exchange is growing at an ever-faster pace. N4 is gearing up to bring the method to teachers and students everywhere. Stay tuned!
More from Narrative 4 around the globe:
3/14/17 – Empathy in Israel
3/7/17 – Student Leaders SCHout for Diversity
2/3/17 – Connecting at UConn