Magazine Feature

Summer Vocation

Teacher institutes offer tolerance education.

From the hallowed halls of Harvard to the wide-open ranges of Wyoming, a variety of institutes this summer will give teachers and educators opportunities for personal and professional growth in tolerance-related education. Whether you are in search of programs in multicultural music, character education or conflict resolution, you can find something to fit your needs.

Some of the institutes are designed for teachers of certain grade levels and offer admission on a competitive basis, while others are open to all. The programs run from one day to three weeks in length and vary from intense academic experiences to laid-back, vacation-style adventures.

Regardless of the location, the length of time or the subject matter, all provide professional training and offer educators a chance to collaborate with, learn from and be enriched by their fellow participants.


Character Education

Elementary and middle school teachers learn how to implement a comprehensive 12-point character education program at a one-week summer institute sponsored by the Center for the 4th and 5th Rs (Respect and Responsibility). The Center, which is a division of the Education Department at the State University College at Cortland (N.Y.), is "committed to teaching respect, responsibility and other core ethical values as the basis of good character."

In addition to the 12-point program, participants at the institute -- held in July on the SUNY campus at Cortland -- also learn how to reduce discipline problems, how to develop a caring school community and a better climate for learning, and how to work with parents to build children's character. Participants are encouraged to share successful practices from their schools.

The institute is open to individuals and school teams (teams would consist of five to six persons, including teachers, a principal or administrator, and, if possible, a parent representative). For more information, contact:

Center for the 4th and 5th Rs
Education Dept.
State University College at Cortland
P.O. Box 2000
Cortland, NY 13045
(607) 753-2455


Delta Blues

The International House of Blues Foundation Teacher Institute is a week-long educational journey through the music, art, literature and history of the American South. Teachers from across the country meet at the Center for the Study of Southern Culture on the campus of the University of Mississippi in Oxford to expand their knowledge of Southern culture and its influence on American history. Participants also learn how to integrate blues music, folk art and other cultural aspects of the region into their curriculum.

Scholars in the field of Southern Studies teach a variety of topics ranging from blues to civil rights to Elvis Presley. Field trips to the Mississippi Delta and Memphis, Tenn., augment the lectures and give participants the opportunity to hear, feel and better understand the region and the roots of blues music.

The Mississippi Department of Education offers four continuing education units upon completion of the institute. Participants are responsible for their own lodging arrangements; there are a limited number of dormitory rooms available. The registration deadline is in mid-April. For more information, contact:

Marcie Ferris
House of Blues Foundation Teacher Institute
University of Mississippi
P.O. Box 879
University, MS 38677
(601) 232-7282


Teaching the Holocaust

Each July, the education department of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., offers the Arthur and Rochelle Belfer National Conference for Educators. This three-day program for middle and high school teachers is designed to encourage Holocaust education in classrooms nationwide by offering a variety of workshops that explore rationales, strategies and approaches for teaching this complex topic.

Participants will have the opportunity to meet with the museum staff and take a guided tour of the permanent exhibition during non-public hours. The museum's interactive Wexner Learning Center, the Resource Center for Educators, and special exhibits are also open to attendees and contribute to the program's overall goal of helping teachers develop units of study devoted to the Holocaust.

There is no registration fee, and each person who completes the conference will receive a collection of educational materials and a modest stipend to offset conference costs. A limited number of spaces are available, and applications must be received by the end of March. For more information, contact:

Sylvia Kay, Conference Coordinator
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Education Dept.
100 Raoul Wallenberg Place SW
Washington, DC 20024
(202) 488-0407


Creative Conflict Resolution

The group Educators for Social Responsibility offers two-, three-, and five-day programs on conflict resolution and violence prevention topics. The ESR institutes are open to K-12 teachers, administrators, counselors, parents and community members who are searching for ways to make classrooms and school communities caring, safe, respectful places.

In addition to gaining practical teaching skills, participants receive assistance in developing action plans such as implementing school in-service training programs or designing community-wide conflict resolution activities. Depending on the institute, graduate credit or continuing education units may be available.

Registration deadlines are two weeks prior to each institute. For more information about this and other ESR programs held throughout the year, contact:

Educators for Social Responsibility
23 Garden St.
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 492-1764


Convening in Cambridge

Participants from around the world gather at the Harvard Institutes for K-12 Educators each July and August. These professional programs are developed by the Harvard Graduate School of Education and focus on such current challenges as violence prevention, inclusive classrooms, civic education, school law and assessment policies.

The time frame, format and fee vary for each institute, as does the target population. While some of the programs are particularly appropriate for classroom teachers, counselors and curriculum specialists, others are specifically designed for superintendents, principals and school administrators. A free brochure is available from:

Programs in Professional Education
339 Gutman Library
Harvard Graduate School of Education
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 496-8226


Democracy and Values

Elementary school teachers can learn how to teach children about fundamental values such as individual rights, justice, equality and diversity at a two-week summer institute sponsored by the James F. Ackerman Center for Democratic Citizenship.

Twenty teachers nationwide are selected to attend the program, which is held in June at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. In addition to seminars conducted by national authorities on citizenship, the institute includes field trips to state and community agencies. This networking opportunity is designed to help teachers complete the institute's long-term assignment: to implement an ongoing citizenship program in their school's community.

Each teacher will leave the institute with a monetary grant to initiate their community projects. The participants are brought back to Purdue one year later to report on the projects they have started and to work with students in Purdue's School of Education. For more information, contact:

Ackerman Center for Democratic Citizenship
1442 LAEB, Room 4115
Purdue University
West Lafayette, IN 47907
(317) 494-4755


Women's History

The workshop "A Woman's Place Is … in the Curriculum" is conducted by the National Women's History Project and held in Northern California each summer. The program is designed for teachers, librarians, curriculum specialists, teacher trainers and other educators who are interested in strategies and resources for integrating women's issues into all areas of the K-12 curriculum.

The conference sessions consist of guest lectures, small-group activities, presentations on women's history, and dozens of print and audiovisual re-sources. For example, in addition to a training video and a curriculum guide, each of the 60 conference participants will receive a comprehensive notebook filled with information on women's history and educational equity.

The registration fee includes conference materials and lunches but does not include hotel accommodations (call for current costs). College credit is available for an additional fee. For a brochure, contact:

National Women's History Project
7738 Bell Road
Windsor, CA 95492
(707) 838-6000


Celebrating Cultures

Summer courses offered by the Snake River Institute in Jackson Hole, Wyo., are described as "learning adventures in art, literature, history, photography and natural history." The Rocky Mountain region comprises the "classrooms" where participants study the indigenous cultures and communities of the American West.

The workshops, which range from one-day excursions to four-day adventures, might include floating on the Missouri River to retrace the history of the Blackfeet and Mandan peoples, visiting the heart of the Navajo Nation to explore the history and meaning of the Indian trading post, or staying on a reservation to gain a candid view of tribal culture. All of the courses are held in magnificent natural surroundings.

Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis, and class size is usually limited to 15 people or fewer. For an additional charge, guests may accompany participants. The Institute also has programs for children. For more information, contact:

Snake River Institute
P.O. Box 128
Wilson, WY 83014
(307) 733-2214


Global Peace

Every year 30 secondary school social studies teachers enhance their knowledge of contemporary world events and international conflict resolution at an intense one-week, all-expenses-paid summer institute sponsored by the United States Institute of Peace. Held in early August in Washington, D.C., the program uses small-group discussions, large-group presentations and interactive exercises to address issues relating to war and nonviolent conflict resolution.

Teachers share strategies and develop instructional units to take back to their schools. They also receive a modest stipend to purchase supplemental curriculum materials that can be used in the classroom, social studies department or school library.

The deadline for application is in mid-April, and selected participants are notified in June. For information and materials, contact:

United States Institute of Peace
Education and Training Program
1550 M St. NW, Suite 700
Washington, DC 20005
(202) 429-3844


Culture to Culture

The Summer Institute for Intercultural Communication, on the wooded campus of Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore., offers teachers training in dealing with cultural differences and minimizing cultural conflict.

Numerous concurrent workshops are presented in three sessions. Session I offers three-day programs designed for professionals who want a brief overview of issues in intercultural communication. The five-day seminars in sessions II and III provide more extensive information, resources and strategies on topics like "Teaching Intercultural Communication" and "Developing a Multicultural Vision."

The workshops are complemented by evening programs that include presentations, simulations and opportunities to review educational videotapes. Participants also have access to the reference library, which houses over 9,000 resources.

Graduate credit is available, and registration fees include on-campus or off-campus housing. For a free brochure, contact:

The Intercultural Communication Institute
8835 SW Canyon Lane, Suite 238
Portland, OR 97225
(503) 297-4622

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