S.O.E. Prepares Diversity Video For Future Teachers

By Mark Sullivan
Staff Writer

The School of Education is producing a series of instructional videos to aid future teachers, administrators and counselors in dealing with gender- and race-based intolerance.

SOE Dean Mary Brabeck is leading the project, which involves videotaping a group of BC students acting in five short plays. The vignettes, scripted by playwright Margaret Hunt, pose ethical questions that arise out of staged misunderstandings and conflicts involving students and teachers of different colors and genders.

Brabeck said the project is aimed at students preparing for professions in urban schools.

"This project will develop students' ability to identify the moral matter of issues of intolerance that occur in schools, on the school grounds, and in the daily lives of students and staff in urban public schools," Brabeck said.
Theater Arts Center Director Howard Enoch (center) directs a video shoot last week in Campion Hall. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

Theater Arts Center Director Howard Enoch is directing the videos, which he said are meant to "spur discussion" among students in the School of Education, the Graduate School of Social Work and the School of Nursing who are preparing to work in urban schools.

Last Thursday in a Campion Hall lounge, actors taped a scene set in a boarding school, in which English-speaking pupils raise objections to Hispanic immigrant students conversing among themselves in Spanish. The play depicts two sides to the conflict: The English-speaking students feel discourteously excluded from the Spanish conversations, while the Hispanic students feel their native culture and language are under attack.

Another aspect of the conflict involves the headmistress and a young Hispanic-American teacher. The headmistress, upholding school policy, says the speaking of Spanish in mixed groups is "disruptive to learning," while the teacher, who was hired because she is bilingual, said the prohibition on Spanish is a violation of a basic freedom "guaranteed by the Constitution."

Enoch said the video aims to spark debate among viewers who may identify with both the administrator upholding the rules and the teacher resisting them.

"Hopefully, we're presenting a dilemma that's not clear-cut," Enoch said.

David Corkum, assistant director of television services in the Audiovisual Department, is supervising the taping and expects the video series to be completed in April.

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