Monday, April 3, 2006

Evanston, IL, At last! - a viable teaching tool for celebrating our differences created by diversity consultant and educator, Susan O'Halloran, who has dedicated her life to helping others explore the joys and challenges of diversity. Teachers Making a Difference is recognized by the Department of Education (Illinois) for Continuing Professional Education Units and is sponsored by Angels Studio, a communications agency devoted to bringing the races together (www.racebridges.net/projects.htm).

According to O'Halloran, "Many of us grew up in communities segregated by such factors as race, ethnicity, religious affiliation and income. Today, we and our students face a much more diverse world. As diverse groups come together, respect and cooperation won't simply take care of themselves. Creating inclusive school environments and preparing students to be advocates for a more inclusive world takes attention, effort and skill." 

The six-hour, self-paced Teachers Making a Difference training program highlights O'Halloran's Kaleidoscope diversity curriculum (consisting of over 400 pages of lesson plans, exercises, and handouts) to achieve a better understanding of our multi-racial and multi-cultural world, and its microcosm-the American classroom.

O'Halloran explains, "My work as an educator made it apparent that most lesson plans lack awareness of our various cultures and learning styles. It's hard for teachers to teach what they were never taught. Classrooms need to include the students' diverse backgrounds and embrace those differences in way that invites everyone to feel heard and valued." 

The Kaleidoscope diversity curriculum, tested in a four-year pilot program with teachers in real life classroom situations, provides teachers with techniques to engage in honest examination and appreciation of the variety of differences and gifts the global human family has to offer. Teachers Making a Difference is a critical how-to guide offering educators the fundamental principles of diversity building by bundling the Kaleidoscope curriculum with strategies teachers can incorporate immediately. The webinar and accompanying learning guide answers questions such as:

  • How can I integrate diversity-related concepts into my classroom while keeping the environment fun and entertaining?
  • How do I teach diversity concepts when I wasn't taught them?
  • How do I defuse a heated conversation when there are valid, yet differing perspectives?
  • How do I respond if a student or parent calls me a racist?

Teachers will also learn how to confidently discuss topics by encouraging the exploration of biases and differences, opening doors for dialogue and motivating their students and themselves to make positive change.

Deb Graham, Vice-Principal of Crete-Monee High School in Crete , Illinois has been using O'Halloran's Kaleidoscope diversity concepts for many years. She states, "The program improves the school climate by teaching students techniques to acknowledge their differences and work together to find solutions or answers to problems or conflicts. As the climate changes then the environment is more conducive to learning which leads to higher test scores and grades."  

O'Halloran adds, "The goal of both the training program and the curriculum is to teach both educators and students the skills to create a world that works for everyone."

Since 1969, O'Halloran has worked in education, teaching students in pre-school through college and adult education. She has led workshops in corporate, religious, and non-profit settings. Along with Angels Studio, O'Halloran produces the Just Stories Conferences - stories, workshops and panels exploring ethnic identity and racial justice. She has also written, co-produced, and performed in diversity programs including Tribes and Bridges at the Steppenwolf Theatre and More Alike Than Not .

For more info rmation about Teachers Making a Difference please visit


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March 31st, 2006



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