A film/poem written by C&I culture and teaching professor

A film/poem written by Thom Swiss, professor of culture and teaching in Curriculum and Instruction, will air on French television and in French-speaking Africa, for the next few months as part of a
global media show, "Mensomadaire." The film, a collaboration with
director Yoshi Sodeaka of Japan, is titled "Blind Side of a Secret," and
includes spoken parts in English, French, and Dutch. And early version
of the piece can be seen and heard
at: http://www.hyperrhiz.net/issue04/swiss/index.html

Sarah Hansen, Culture and Teaching student, receives AERA award

HansenS-09.jpgAt the recent annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association, Sarah Hansen received the 1st Place Proposal Award at the Division D (Measurement and Research Methodology) In-Progress Research Gala. Sarah's award-winning proposal featured ethnographic research that illuminated the Discourse models informing Indian immigrant parents' school engagement experiences. As a recipient of the award, she will give an invited paper at the 2011 AERA Annual Meeting. Sarah is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, Culture and Teaching track (Bic Ngo and Thom Swiss, co-advisors).

Congratulations, Sarah!

Holly Christie

Hk Christie is a doctoral student in the program of Curriculum and Instruction majoring in Culture and Teaching with a minor in political psychology. Christie has a M.A. from the University of St. Thomas in Public Policy and Leadership and a dual B.A. degree in Philosophy and Theology from St. Catherine University. Her work focuses on political literacy and the pedagogical practices which support participatory democratic student learning outcomes.

Her research has been featured in the Journal of Critical Educational Policy Studies and The Gift of Education: Public Education and Venture Philanthropy by Kenneth J. Saltman where she conducted the data collection and analysis of the Gates and Broad foundations' tax forms. She has been a speaker at the American Educational Studies Association (AESA), most recently "Dare We Transform AESA: A Call to Activism" at the 2009 national conference.

Annie Mogush Mason to coauthor book chapter

Annie Mogush Mason is collaborating with Head Start teachers on the White Earth reservation and U of M colleagues Mia Dubosarsky, Gillian Roehrig, and Stephan Carlson to contribute a chapter to an edited volume entitled, "Voices of Native American Indian Educators." The chapter, based on an ongoing professional development project, will tell their story of harnessing collective wisdom to achieve cultural relevance in pre-K classrooms.

Sarah Hansen

Looking back, I realize now that issues of culture and teaching have always been salient in my life. I earned my undergraduate degree from The College of William and Mary (Williamsburg, Virginia), where I studied anthropology and education. After college, my first teaching job was in the Peace Corps, where I taught English to elementary, middle, and high school students in Corlateni, Moldova. My Peace Corps experience deepened my interests in culture and teaching.

After spending two years in Moldova, I moved to Minnesota and earned my master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction, with a focus on children's literature. Lee Galda was my advisor in the program and continues to be an important professional and personal mentor for me. She encouraged me gain experience teaching in the United States. I moved back to the east coast to teach third grade just outside of Boston. My first year of teaching "state side" was a shocking wake up call to the reality of how politics operate in schools. It was also one of most satisfying professional experiences.

HansenS-09.jpgBut I missed the Twin Cities! So, after a year, I headed west again, this time settling into a teaching job at a Minneapolis charter school serving Somali immigrant students and families. I was home. This experience, in which culture and pedagogy intertwined in powerful and sometimes uncomfortable ways, compelled me to enroll as a doctoral student in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, where I now focus on the educational experiences of immigrant students and families in U.S. schools. In the Culture and Teaching track, I work closely with my current advisor, Bic Ngo. Bic has been instrumental in helping me develop as a scholar. And so have my colleagues. Culture and Teaching students are teachers, as well as learners. Their support has been invaluable.

My current research interests center on the experiences of Indian immigrant youth and their families. As a third year graduate student, I am conducting a pilot study with Indian immigrant parents at a community-based organization. This work sustains me--and continually reinforces for me that I am in the right place.

Bic Ngo and Sarah Hansen presented at the 6th International Conference on Teacher Education and Social Justice. The conference was held at the University of Illinois, Chicago, December 5-6, 2009. Bic and Sarah's presentation was called "Witchcraft and Gender Concerns in U.N. Refugee Camps: Implications for the Resettlement and Education of Refugee Women and Girls."

Bic NgoBic Ngo and Jill Leet-Otley presented at the 6th International Conference on Teacher Education & Social Justice. The conference took place at the University of Illinois-Chicago, on December 5th and 6th, 2009. Their presentation was entitled, Is There a Hmong Gender "Norm"?: Perspectives of Hmong American Policymakers on Gender, Early Marriage and Education.

Brian Lozenski

Diversity of Views and Experiences (DOVE) Fellow 2008-09

Brian Lozenski, Culture and Teaching (CaT) PhD student, performing with his band, Junkyard Empire.I am originally from Philadelphia, PA; my undergraduate degree is from Cornell University in Ithaca, NY where I majored in Operations Research Engineering and minored in Africana Studies. I received a Master's degree in Urban Education with a concentration in Mathematics from the University of Pennsylvania in 2003.Brian Lozenski, Culture and Teaching (CaT) PhD student, performing with his band, Junkyard Empire.I taught secondary mathematics for eight years in Philadelphia, PA and St. Paul, MN, and during that time I developed a leadership program for African American boys and also coached several chess teams. I have been a trainer for Wellstone Action's Campus Camp program for four years, where I work with college students around the country on developing community organizing skills. I am a husband and father of two wonderful daughters and in my spare time I am the MC for Junkyard Empire -- a politically progressive, live hip-hop band.

I entered the Culture and Teaching Ph.D. program in order to advance my understanding of critical multicultural education in urban schools and to develop educational models centered on social justice.

Aaron Hokanson

After a few years of being lost in the years after my undergraduate education, I moved myself to Australia where I enrolled in a two-year teaching degree. In the course of this degree and the single year of teaching first grade in a public school, I was exposed to the philosophy of Paulo Freire, the democratic approaches of preschools in Reggio Emilia (and interned and worked in schools focusing on this inspiration), reflective practice/action research, multi-age classrooms, and intercultural populations of students. My experiences pulled me back to the United States where I felt I could do the most important work, and where it was most important for me to be, personally and politically.

Big influences and sites of learning for me are in hip-hop (and other youth cultures), various conceptual and street artists, Feminist scholars of color, and the earlier years of Sesame Street. I am interested in how culture, meaning, and language are negotiated and constructed across difference of varying degrees.

Part of my experience as a teacher that led me to pursue a Ph.D. was a recognition of how, even within seemingly progressive and democratic educational environments, certain traditional modes of silencing and dividing students, teachers, and parents are perpetuated, limiting the possible sites of negotiation and cultural formation. As a means to this end, I am currently curious as to how certain methodologies (pedagogical and research) allow us to realize the researching potential of teaching and the teaching potential of research.

As a Ph.D. student I have experimented with organizing learning circles and meal groups, been engaged in an Action Research project with teachers, taught in a month long residential course based on the democratic approaches of Myles Horton and the Danish Folk School movement, teaching in an undergraduate class, as well as working in a collaborative, intercultural, intergenerational and multi-linqual research project. I have also been encouraged to find classes in and form relationships with other departments across the University.

I have found the Culture and Teaching program (faculty, students, classes, research) a strong base of support as well as a healthy, constructive space of challenge to my own assumptions and interests. I am extremely thankful for the diverse group of similarly concerned and equally passionate people who make up the Culture and Teaching program and in some sense help me maintain sanity and strength as I pursue a Ph.D.

Diversity Dialogue 11/24: White Men's Racial Others

Tim Lensmire
Tuesday 11/24/2009
12:00 p.m. - 1 p.m.
40 Peik Hall
Please bring a bag lunch if you like!

White Americans have, from the first, hopelessly confused the real Negroes and Indians, with whom they must for the sake of social survival and civil peace learn to live, with certain projections of their own deepest minds, aspects of their own psychic life with which precisely they find it impossible to live. —Leslie Fiedler

For the four white men who are the focus of this talk, the production of their own racial identities was intimately tied up with their relations to real and imagined racial others. I first share a theoretical framework that illuminates just how important racial others have been for the meaning- and self-making of white people throughout US history. Then, I discuss the larger interview study in which the four men participated, before turning to my interpretation of their interviews with me.

In the lives of these men, people of color, real and imagined, divided factions of families and churches against one another. People of color were integral to moral lessons they learned as boys—positive lessons about fairness and respect in athletics, negative lessons about hypocrisy (as they listened to their elders accuse Indians of drunkenness and stealing even as they watched these same white elders drink and steal). These men used people of color, imagined and real, to understand themselves and their powers—how smart they were, how good, how tough. People of color were integral to their efforts to find a place among the racist and democratic meanings and values of their community, society, and world.

Diversity Dialogues: monthly gatherings sponsored by the Department of Curriculum & Instruction. Each features a presentation by faculty, staff, student, or community members. Time is allotted for conversation.


Luke Lecheler (Learning Technologies) and I will be presenting a paper at the 2010 AERA Annual Meeting.

It's called "Design and Development of a Web Application for English and Composition Classes" and was placed into the session for "Designing Environments, Experiences, and Tools for Teaching and Learning."

We're very excited about presenting Confetti (the application we designed and developed and are continuing to design and develop) at AERA. It's not quite hooked up to a database for general use is, but it should be relatively soon and we'll start testing it further then.

Confetti Screen Shot

The Ethics and Politics of Research with Immigrant Populations

Martha BigelowBic Ngo

What are the epistemological and ethical considerations in research with immigrant populations?

Download conference call for papers [pdf] and conference flier [pdf]


The Ethics and Politics of Research with Immigrant Populations
President's Interdisciplinary Conference
June 4-5, 2010
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities

Deadline for Submissions: December 21, 2009


Bic Ngo, Assistant Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Minnesota
Martha Bigelow, Associate Professor, Department of Curriculum and Instruction, University of Minnesota
Stacey Lee, Professor, Department of Educational Policy Studies, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Ngo and Bigelow receive president's interdisciplinary conference award

Martha BigelowBic NgoBic Ngo, Ph.D., assistant professor and Martha Bigelow, Ph.D., associate professor (Curriculum and Instruction) received a President's Interdisciplinary Conference award from the Graduate School to convene a conference in Spring 2010.

Read the full CEHD News item.


Here is an update on some of the things CaT students and faculty have been doing in recent months. See recent entries below.

Jill writes:

I volunteer at Adam Abdulle Academy, a Somali charter school in Rochester, and I am an active member of the Diversity Council in Rochester. As a member I am involved in community work addressing racism and white privilege. That's about it...no papers published yet although I am currently working on an article with Bic in which we are using CDA to analyze some interviews with Hmong community leaders dealing with early marriage.