Creating a Generation of Upstanders

Steve Adubato talks with Mary Sok and Jamie Lott-Jones, Social Studies Teachers & Diversity Club Co-Advisors at Watchung Hills Regional High School, about the importance of teaching students the dangers of stereotyping people from different cultures in an effort to create a generation of upstanders.

12/1/18 #3132






"I'm Steve Adubato. It is my pleasure to introduce two of the greatest educators you will ever meet, who've been working together for 15 years. Mary Sok is the social studies teacher, Diversity Club Co-advisor at Watchung Hills Regional High School, and Jamie Lott-Jones, social studies teacher, Diversity Club Co-advisor... you have the same title. This is ridiculous. You've been working together... same title... Watchung Hills High School... and we have you as part of our Classroom Close-up series we're doing in cooperation with the folks at the NJEA. What are you doing over there that's so special? We're about to see a video in a minute... what's so special about what you're doing? Well, we have some great kids that do special things, but our students have a... led an initiative to teach a lesson on Islamophobia that one of our Diversity Club members, Helen Yang, was just concerned about comments that she was hearing in classes about Muslim stereotypes, and she came to us one day and said, "Hey, I'd like to create a lesson. Could we teach it in some of the... some of the freshman classes?" And we both teach freshman world history, and we said "sure". So, she worked on it for about a month or so, and her and another friend of hers, Alana Margulies, created this lesson. They found the student voice resources, they found the TED talk, they put together the PowerPoint, you know, introduced... So it was a whole program? Yep. And it is. And they're great. Listen, we're about to see this video... I hope this video doesn't say everything you just said, because... they just... no, it's actually one of the great videos... they'll do a great job of it. They actually... they really do do a great job at Classroom Close-up. I promise you can jump in right after this. We're about to see this video. Sounds good. Check this one out. What do you think when you look at me? A woman of faith? An expert? Maybe even a sister or oppressed... brainwashed... a terrorist... Dalia Mogahed's inspiring TED talk about living as a Muslim in post 9/11 America is just one of the tools 12th graders Helen and Alana are using to get these history students talking about the topic of Islamophobia. I think that bringing subjects like Islamophobia to the classroom, especially in the world history classroom, I think it brings that element of discussion about things that we don't talk about a lot in our curriculum. How can we define Islamophobia? We're gonna sort of come up with a class definition for this. I don't think anyone, really, in their heart of hearts believes that making fun of someone or..."