In conjunction with the Beyond Religion conference, the Pulitzer Center education team launched a new effort to deepen teacher connections and involvement with our programming.
Our new Teaching Partners initiative brought in 15 teachers from Washington, D.C., New York, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania to participate in the Beyond Religion conference at the National Press Club in June 2019. After meeting for an introductory lunch, teachers spread out through the conference and attended panels on religion's intersections with the environment, gender, extremism, and other subjects, as they thought about new ways to connect their students to the world.
Throughout the conference, Teaching Partners mentioned that it was valuable to interact and reflect with one another as educators while also among people with diverse professional and disciplinary backgrounds.
Alexandra Belliveau noted that for her it was "refreshing to be excited again about new topics. It was exciting to be an excited student again." As a result of the educators' engagement, journalists and teachers alike had the opportunity to think about reporting differently. Journalists who work with the Pulitzer Center often engage in education efforts, including classroom visits, and the Teaching Partners initiative afforded them the opportunity to think about this with teachers before even entering the classroom.
Victoria Pearson noted that the program provided educators with "a great avenue to connect content to the real world. I was given another perspective on the news that I hear daily.”
Conference participants discussed the importance of engaging the next generation in global awareness and how global news can be more effectively shared with students. Teachers who participated in the conference noted that they were able to directly connect to journalists whose work they would like to bring into classrooms.
For Teaching Partners, group lunches bookended the conference giving educators the opportunity to get to know each other and Pulitzer Center staff. These lunches also provided the opportunity to engage in meaningful discussions about how global news can effectively be brought into the classroom.
As educators, journalists, and consumers of news, we should all be asking the complicated questions about who gets to tell people’s stories. Teachers provided a valuable reminder that the students we work with have their own complicated and nuanced stories.
During the post-conference lunch, one teacher noted that this partnership helped to bring "a teacher voice, a student voice, and a community voice" to the annual conference, both of which are key components of our efforts at the Pulitzer Center to engage our education program to bring global stories to local contexts.