EdChange – Applying Transformative Action towards Schools, Communities, and Organizations

Content: I found Ed Change through the New Century College at George Mason University where Paul Gorski is the associate professor of Integrative Studies, as well as the founder of EdChange. Their initiative is to gather the skills and resources of experienced educators dedicated to the principles of “equity, diversity, multiculturalism, and social justice” (EdChange).

Context: EdChange and their collective staff have decades of training, exposure, and experience with  teaching, as well as facilitating a variety of workshops, seminars, consultations, etc., for P-university level Their aim is to move institutions, along with the people within them, towards an approach to education that incorporates diversity, equity, and multicultural narratives. Due to their systemic focus, coupled with their extensive experience, EdChange can be addressed to classrooms of any size or level, in a multitude of contexts, and depending on the expected results, can be presented formally or informally. The main purpose is to develop a common understanding of the personal needs and/or expectations of the organization and then developing relevant procedures, programs, and tools in accordance. By doing so, there is not only a level of flexibility, but the approach is personal and helps strengthen both sides through their collaboration and growth. 

Implementation- A major factor is the success of EdChange is building momentum and ensuring that the organizations will continue to strive for transformation even after they are done with the training. Many of these skills are developed through the workshops and training seminars to solidify not only their particular approach, but their ability to maintain a productive trajectory. While the different exercises are directed towards individual needs, there are a set of themes that EdChange considers their expertise. For example, Introductory and Framework Building is the initial step of introducing the conversation about topics such as diversity and multicultural education and subsequently building forward thinking approaches. Another focus is on the Curricular/ Pedagogical; teachers are aided in strengthening their lessons to include transformative practices and how to engage the classroom in dialogue revolving around broadening their perceptions on the subjects of diversity, equity, and multicultural education.There are several other main focuses which can be found here. The time that it takes to incorporate their mission/ vision and their specific approaches depends on which focus(es) they are addressing, to which audience, and what goal does the organization have in mind. Where a introductory class could take an afternoon with grade-school children, their leadership development program could be a week-long and dialogue intensive. Due to these drastic differences, the pedagogies may vary, but they are continually aimed at shifting the mindsets toward embracing and implementing the diverse, the equitable, and the multicultural.

Goal- EdChange’s ultimate goal is to give people, all people regardless of any identity, the opportunity to achieve and grow, while simultaneously feeling comfortable in themselves, a well as valued and empowered. Through their continual approach towards the three main principles, they seek to reshape the way schools, communities, society, etc approach and build dialogue around those topics. However, an aspect of discomfort and challenge is essential in transforming power dynamics. By addressing those feelings of vulnerability, dialogue can be constructed from deep within the individual and it presents them with a chance to develop themselves as a part of their environment. To continue affecting change, EdChange will work with anyone or any group at any stage in this process of building awareness and development as long as they are committed and honest to their goal of positive change. There are also three main side-projects that are developed through EdChange to help the individual build their interests: Multicultural Pavilion is a collection of resources for artists, educators, and activists; SoJust is one of the only documented histories of social justice and activism on the Internet, and JUSTICE – the People’s News which is an actively updated journal on human rights and social justice related topics. 

Audience- Two main parties that would contribute from the curriculum built by EdChange are local communities, especially those challenged by systemic pressures or identity issues, and educators within school systems that have more restrictive approaches towards personal identification. On the community level, it would give the participants a change to gain insight on themselves and the intrapersonal aspects, while simultaneously placing them in a situation that gives them insight on their surroundings. Through this, individual identity becomes strengthened, individuals have confidence in dialogue construction, and they are more equipped to challenge the factors that limit them. In a educational environment, especially in places such as standardized public systems, identity development is not a major concern nor is it something that is appropriately addressed. Through giving the students the ability to open up and explore their interests, it will breed appreciation and positive change, which potentially can alter larger systematic procedures such as the education pipeline. Additionally, it gives the educator the skills to develop curriculum that would address diversity, equity, and multicultural narratives; topics that are essential to the growth of peace. 

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