Teen Stories as Mirrors and Windows: A Culturally Responsive Professional Development Series
Based on True Stories by Teens
Our young people deserve to have learning spaces that center and liberate them, where they can be deeply engaged, develop empathy for all people, exercise their own voices, and succeed academically. Research tells us that culturally responsive education not only acknowledges students’ experiences but welcomes them as an integral part of learning communities, ultimately resulting in greater academic success.1
Through reading and discussing true stories written by Youth Communication’s teen writers, educators will be given mirrors (stories that reflect their own experiences) and windows (stories that provide insight into another’s experiences) through which they can better understand themselves and the youth with whom they work. Educators will examine their own identities, identify and interrogate and challenge oppressive practices, and focus on building community in their classrooms and school buildings that honor the experiences and strengths of their students. Developed by teachers and youth workers, this program will add to educators’ pool of resources and leave them reinvigorated, empowered, and equipped to build supportive, culturally responsive learning communities.
Our team will meet with you to determine your school or organization’s goals and readiness. Together, we will build a personalized program that works to meet your specific needs.
1 LeBlanc, Gess, et al. “Why Cultural Responsiveness Is Crucial for Teachers.” Who’s in My Classroom?: Building Developmentally and Culturally Responsive School Communities, Jossey-Bass, Hoboken, NJ, 2021, pp. 20–20.
Process of working with YC
Step 1 – Schedule a call with us to learn more about the program
Step 2 – Complete needs assessment including staff survey and interviews
Step 3 – Choose sessions based on YC’s recommendation
Step 4 – Sign a memorandum of understanding and schedule first session
Your CRE journey will be highly customized based on what we learn during the needs analysis. We have sessions on supporting youth from a variety of backgrounds (e.g., young people of color, trans/nonbinary youth, homeless youth, disabled youth, youth who identify as girls, immigrant youth) as well as how to support youth by communicating high expectations for all students, solving conflict in productive ways, sharing power with young people, addressing internalized racism, and how to build compassion and community in their programming. Because we have an archive of thousands of stories by youth from all different backgrounds and experiences, we can support schools and organizations with customized sessions based on their needs.
As a member of the school equity team, Mirrors and Windows is exactly what we needed to guide us. I was engaged the entire session and left with great strategies to help my students.— TEACHER
Sample Stories Used in These Courses
We will draw from our vast archive of teen-written stories to ground our sessions in a discussion of the real world. Below are sample stories that may be used in the sessions. The YC facilitator will select the story or stories best suited to the theme, your student population, and current events.
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