Conference collaborates on Generative Justice

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The Generative Justice conference hosted by GK12 facilitated excitement and investment in the movement for generative justice! Thanks to all who attended, and especially to the conference speakers.

Links to conference presentations

Keynote by Alondra Nelson

Generative Justice wiki page

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Reflecting on some Initial Impressions

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When the other fellows and I began the GK-12 program last autumn, we met up outside our regular scheduled times ostensibly to talk about a group project that we could all play a role in, bringing our various strengths and disciplinary specialties to bear on some larger goal. We did eventually do that, on that fine September afternoon, before we could get to that kind of conversation, we still needed to get to know one another first. Having a background in improvisational comedy, I suggested we play a game.

Friends share stuff, right? Personal stuff, fears, hopes, dreams, and so on. So I suggested to the assembled crew that we do just that — anonymously. So, in regards to our upcoming assignment to teach at Hackett Middle School in Albany (HMS), NY, each person wrote one fear and one hope down on a piece of paper, tore them into strips, and put them in the middle. Then we went around, taking turns pulling paper out of the middle and reading them aloud. Needless to say, it was a lot of fun, and we only got through 2 or 3 of them before the meeting was up.

It turns out that I saved all these slips of paper and have decided to share them here. It would be fun to see what’s changed since — but that will have to wait until next fall!

What is your biggest concern about working at HMS?

  • “I’m nervous about working with the middle-schoolers: particularly about being able to keep them engaged and interested in the lesson.”
  • “I am terrified of them in general. Kids at that age can be cruel.”
  • “What happens if the lesson goes downhill? (If the lesson is too complicated?)”
  • “Not being able to convey interesting scientific concepts in a fun way that captures their attention. Also middle schoolers/kids — they kinda just scare me.”
  • “The CSDTs are a bit intimidating. I hope to expand my capabilities with them but I don’t exactly know where to start.”
  • “I’m worried about remembering how to do the skills you learn in middle school. Case in point: I can do integrals and derivations but I can’t remember simple math…”
  • “It might be difficult to make a lasting or meaningful contribution if we are too diverse, or plunge into fields we’re unfamiliar with.”

What are you excited about??

  • “I’m excited about working with middle school students in a social justice / STEM frame.”
  • “I’m excited about getting students interested in science and math. I hope to be a positive  impact. Hopefully I can influence them to pursue their college dreams.”
  • “Teaching new concepts and technology and hopefully getting minds to think about science and technology in a different and exciting way than they are used to.”
  • “I’m excited to show kids how programming orks and use that as a way to enhance their problem solving skills.”
  • “I’m excited about working on a project that can help people become engaged in science.”
  • “I’m eager to test hypotheses about concept formation in children, and to work on a software development project.”
  • “Seeing the progress from the beginning of the year compared to the end.”

I like that the last concern leaves open the question of “Whose progress?” Certainly the middle schoolers are included, but might not the GK-12 fellows themselves also be here implied?