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New Lunch/Learn Series Addresses Strategies to Teach Students with Different Life Experience than Yours

The current and historical public-school workforce in the United States remains predominantly white, middle class, and female; however, these demographics have never accurately represented all students in American classroom settings, which continue to grow in diversity. Classrooms are a place where the presence of biases, stereotype threats, and need for more inclusive environments resulting from differences between the demographics and lived experiences of the teaching workforce and students exist. While AACTE and other education stakeholders are taking up efforts to diversify the field, it is essential to improve the ability of our current educator workforce. In the United States, our classrooms have never been more diverse with students from multiple cultures, socio-economic levels, and disabilities. Thus, the essential question remains: How can we best prepare teachers to support all students in our classroom settings?

In partnership with the Global Science of Learning Education Network (GSoLEN), AACTE will offer a series of lunch and learns beginning in February to address the question, “How do we prepare teachers to be successful with students whose life, experience, and perceptions are different from theirs?” Through the panelists’ diverse backgrounds, experiences, and research, the lunch and learns will offer different strategies, models, and perspectives on best addressing this question. This is an opportunity for anyone involved in education to learn more about practices that can lead to equitable classroom engagement, settings, and outcomes.

The first webinar in this three-part series takes place on February 2 at 12:00 p.m. EST and will explore how educator preparation programs can prepare teachers to support all students in classroom settings. Attendees will learn from Mary Murray of Bowling Green University, and Dottie Erb of Marietta College, who discuss blended teacher preparation programs in the state of Ohio. The discussion will highlight opportunities for both public and private institutions of higher education to engage in blended programs that ensure teacher candidates are prepared to meet the needs of all students. In addition, attendees will hear from two public school teachers who have completed the blended programs and can attest to the opportunities for hiring and retention of well-qualified, highly skilled candidates.

Teaching Diverse Learners
February 2, 12:00 p.m. EST
Register today.


Mary M. Murray is a professor emerita in the School of Counseling and Special Education at Bowling Green State University and was the associate dean for the College of Education and Human Development for 10 years. She started her career teaching students with significant intellectual disabilities. She also held several administrative positions both in the PK-12 and higher education arenas. Murray has over 40 years of experience working with individuals with exceptionalities and/or their families, including higher education personnel preparation and undergraduate curriculum.  She has published numerous book chapters and refereed articles on parent professional partnerships, autism, and/or personnel preparation, and has also presented on the same topics at numerous state and national conferences. She is active in the state and nationally, and has served on the AACTE Board, is the past chair of Ohio’s Dean’s Compact, past president of the Ohio Association of Colleges of Teacher Education and serves on the Advisory Board for the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence.  She is also currently a reviewer/site visitor for the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation.

Dottie ErbDottie Erb served as professor and chair of Marietta College’s education division for over 20 years. During this time, she was instrumental in developing on-campus summer programming for local children that enabled teacher candidates to practice innovative approaches to teaching and learning. Erb also led Marietta’s efforts to develop blended coursework and clinical experiences leading to a dual elementary/special education license. As a past chair of the Ohio Dean’s Compact for Exceptional Children, Erb passionately believes that every teacher needs to be able to teach every child. 

Margaret Gerry is an AACTE doctoral fellow.

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