Conference to Restore Humanity! 2022 is an international invitation for K-12 and college educators to center the needs of students and educators toward a praxis of social justice. Featuring Dr. Henry Giroux, Dr. Denisha Jones, and tracks on disrupting discriminatory linguistics, ending carceral pedagogy, building for neurodiversity, and promoting childism, this conference aims to change systems and reimagine education.
We believe firmly in free, public access to the pedagogical tools necessary to enact a human-centered education system. That said, we also rely on your support to continue to host these events! 98% of our conference fees directly support keynote speakers and invited faculty. We believe experts should be paid a competitive rate for their contribution. If you find this information useful, we highly appreciate your donation.
Welcome to our curated resource list for Conference to Restore Humanity! 2022: System Reboot! Here, you'll find materials to engage with learning from our 2022 conference aimed at growing your practice and expanding a human-centered, progressive education.
In Teachers as Cultural Workers, Freire writes,
"...I don't want to be imported or exported. It is impossible to export pedagogical practices without reinventing them...Ask them to re-create and rewrite my ideas."
Progressive pedagogy is a switch and once you turn it on, it can't be turned off again. The reason why we are obsessed with learning about these human-centered ideas is that we can reflect and do better with ever-expansive knowledge. As we equip ourselves in this way, we become beacons of radical education who not only know better but do better, shining a ray of positive hope inside and outside of classroom communities.
Progressive education is as much about producing as it is consuming. These ideals aren't just for young people. As you engage in this conference, it's our hope that we take these ideas and run with them: reimagining spaces and sharing that knowledge with our peers, growing a grassroots movement of educators. These small subsets of each community will foster, grow, and connect to something much greater, each of us supporting one another along the way.
In as much as we want young people to constantly question the world around them, it's up to us to model that behavior. An endless intellectual curiosity for hope, love, and sustainability is not only morally paramount but intrinsically human. As so many communities descend into pillars of rage, promulgated by anti-public school advocates who intentionally spread misinformation, it's up to us to know solutions and show what school can be.
This work isn't easy. And attending a conference as educators have unprecedented rates of burnout is no small feat. This conference is one step (of many) in our ongoing push to utilize our relative power and privilege in supporting each other to create a better future. We cannot solely rely on young people to solve problems of previous generations. It will take partnerships and mentoring from all ages to create a just society.
We deeply look forward to partnering with all of you on this journey and are so happy to have you with us here. Let's restore humanity, together.
Keynotes at Conference to Restore Humanity are hosted in a flipped format. Each of the three keynotes features a ~30 minute recorded speech and a 1 hour Q&A session. Transcripts can be found for each.
Follow-Up 1 Hour Q&A Session.
Each event tackles a specific element of progressive pedagogy.
Our five "deep dive" learning tracks offer a host of resources for implementing human-centered learning. The following is a curated list of daily activities.
Linguistic discrimination is a widely accepted form of discrimination because it is built into our institutions and disguised as “common sense.” This course introduces participants to the various ways the educational system is set up to perpetuate the status quo of white linguistic hegemony and, ultimately, white supremacy. Participants will be better equipped to identify their own linguistic prejudices and how those prejudices show up in the classroom in dehumanizing ways.
Dr. Carrie Gillon (right) is the Language Commission Coordinator for the Squamish Nation. She is also a former professor of linguistics who is primarily interested in indigenous languages of North America. When she’s not tilting at windmills, she’s knitting, cuddling with her cats or reading way too much news. She lives in Vancouver.
Dr. Megan Figueroa (left) is a scientist, writer, and podcaster. She earned her Ph.D. in Linguistics in 2018 from The University of Arizona, where she studied how children learn language. She spends most of her time telling people that children’s language is fine, stop worrying. She lives in Tucson, Arizona with her dogs, her partner, and her weaving supplies.
About The Vocal Fries: Carrie and Megan are the co-hosts of The Vocal Fries, a podcast about the many ways we discriminate based on language. They both worry about linguistic discrimination and the harm it can do to most people. Carrie started this podcast with Megan to convince everyone that linguistic discrimination is just bigotry in a slightly more socially acceptable form.
The collective molding done by our educational system has worked so well that:
“…the overwhelming majority of Americans have been instilled with a rocklike conviction that certain linguistic forms are correct, while others are wrong. Even those Americans who are uncertain about precisely which forms are correct are usually confident that to find the answer they need only look the matter up in the right book or consult the proper authority.” (Burling, 1973, p. 130).
Reflect on when you first questioned the standardized language ideology that we all learn in school.
Reflect on how the institution of school made you feel about your language(s). Did you feel validated? Alienated? Was it something you were made to feel about your speech/sign or was it just your writing? If you have worked in a classroom, how have you un/intentionally perpetuated the standardized language ideology? Outside of the classroom, how have you un/intentionally perpetuated the standardized language ideology?
Arizona Poet Laureate Alberto Álvero Rios joined us on the podcast to talk about growing up in the Borderlands, specifically in Nogales, Arizona and Nogales, Sonora, MX. He shared this with us about speaking Spanish in public school:
You got swatted… for doing something bad. So, we didn’t just learn, you know, our first lesson in language, we got our first lesson in making an equation. And our parents said listen to your teacher… You know that you’re going to get swatted for speaking Spanish, and you know that you speak Spanish, and you know you get swatted for doing something wrong. You make the equation. You’re feeling this with the body. Second grade comes around and the equation widens out. Your body is a little bigger and it fits more now. Because now it’s been demonstrated: you get swatted for speaking Spanish and you start to recognize by second grade your parents speak Spanish your family speaks Spanish and if Spanish is bad, they, then, must be bad. Now you don’t say that out loud, but you have learned it through the mechanisms of the body, not the intellect.
Answer the following: what are the ways in which children are making this “equation” in classrooms today?
In 1918, the Chicago Women’s Club held “The Better American Speech Week.” Here’s the actual pledge children recited:
I love the United States of America. I love my country’s flag. I love my country’s language. I promise:
1) that I will not dishonor my country’s speech by leaving off the last syllable of words.
2) That I will say good American “yes” and “no” in place of an Indian grunt “umhum” and “nup-um” or a foreign “ya” or “yeh” and “nope.”
3) That I will do my best to improve American speech by enunciating distinctly and byspeaking clearly, pleasantly, and sincerely.
4) That I will try to make my country’s language beautiful for the many boys and girls of foreign nations who come here to live.
In the opposite spirit of “The Better American Speech Week” pledge, share a few mantras about language that you want your students to know to be true.
"Political education isn’t just education about politics. It’s education for the specific purpose of making our politics more powerful. It is front line work.It is core to advancing our struggles, not the ‘extra’ activity we take up after the struggle is over or for recreation."
former Executive Director, Center for Political Education; Co-Founder, Critical Resistance
As you embark on your study, we encourage you to read Rachel Herzing’s Political education in a time of rebellion.
Dr. Damien Soyjoyner (left): Dr. Sojoyner is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of California, Irvine who focuses on the relationship between public education, prisons, and the construction of Black masculinity.
Dr. Sabina Vaught (middle): Dr. Vaught is a Professor and Chair at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education who focuses on carcerality and liberatory knowledge movements.
Dr. Connie Wun (right): Dr. Wun is the founder and executive director of AAPI Women Lead who leads projects on ending racial and gender-based violence.
How does this apply to your teaching experience?
Challenge yourself to be curious, and to ask yourself and others productive questions with stretch, resonance, and resilience.
from: Ruth Wilson Gilmore, pp. 37-38, “Forgotten Places and the Seeds of Grassroots Planning” in Charles R. Hale, Ed., Engaging Contradictions: Theory, Politics, and Methods of Activist Scholarship, University of California Press, 2008, pp. 31-61)
Stretch enables a question to reach further than the immediate object without bypassing its particularity—rather than merely asking a community, “Why do you want this development project?” one asks, “What is development?”
Resonance enables a question to support and model nonhierarchical collective action by producing a hum that, by inviting strong attention, elicits responses that do not necessarily adhere to already existing architectures of sense making. Ornette Coleman’s harmolodics exemplify how such a process makes participant and audience a single, but neither static nor closed, category (Rycenga 1992).
Resilience enables a question to be flexible rather than brittle, such that changing circumstances and surprising discoveries keep a project connected with its purpose rather than defeated by the unexpected. For example, the alleged relationship between contemporary prison expansion and slavery falls apart when the question describes slavery in terms of uncompensated labor because very few of the 2.2 million prisoners in the United States work for anybody while locked in cages. But the relationship remains provocatively stable when the question describes slavery in terms of social death and asks how and to what end a category of dehumanized humans is made from peculiar combinations of dishonor, alienation, and violent domination (Patterson 1982; Gordon 2006).
How does this apply to your teaching experience?
How does this apply to your teaching experience?
This course introduces educators to the new theory of childism, or, akin to feminism and anti-racism, empowering children by critiquing and transforming adultist norms and structures. Participants will explore how childism could be used to rethink teaching and education.
Dr. John Wall (left): Dr. Wall is a Professor of Philosophy, Religion, and Childhood Studies at Rutgers University Camden. He is a theoretical ethicist who works in political philosophy, post-structuralism, and children's rights. Further, his latest book Give Children the Vote: On Democratizing Democracy advocates for anyone, regardless of age, to be given the right to vote.
Dr. Tanu Biswas (right) Dr. Biswas is an interdisciplinary philosopher of education dedicated to challenging children's historical marginalization. She is an Associate Professor in Pedagogy at the University of Stavanger (Norway) and Affiliated Researcher with the Professorship for Epistemology at the University of Bayreuth (Germany).Dr. Wall is the director, and Dr. Biswas is a board member, of the The Childism Institute at Rutgers which focuses on research, implementation, and activism surrounding childism.
What do you understand childism to be? In what ways you find it a useful concept or not? What questions, if any, you have about it?
What is one way you think childism might usefully be applied to teaching or education?
Reflect on the ways you do (or do not) see adultism taking place in teaching and education.
Your concluding activity for this course is to write a carefully crafted 300-500-word blog, citing parenthetical references to our course readings (e.g. Wall 2019, p. 1), on any aspect of childism in relation to education that you would like to explore.
Thorndike won, and Dewey lost. I don’t think you can understand the history of education technology without realizing this either. And I’d propose an addendum to this too: you cannot understand the history of education technology in the United States during the twentieth century – and on into the twenty-first – unless you realize that Seymour Papert lost and B. F. Skinner won.
B. F. Skinner: The Most Important Theorist of the 21st Century
Behaviorism is dead.
This track is hosted by Stimpunks. Stimpunks combine "stimming" with "punks" to advocate for neurodiversity and push back against systems that restrict our humanity and harm our unique identities.Ryan
Ryan Boren (he/they): Ryan is a former WordPress lead developer who retired from tech in 2021 after 15 years at Automattic, the distributed company he helped start. He finished his time at Automattic working on the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion team and helping create and run the Neurodiversity Employee Resource Group. Building a community, a company, a platform, and an ERG was an intense ride full of mistakes and learning that Ryan distills into Stimpunks.
Inna Boren (she/her): Inna went from big tech project manager to family case worker. Her skills managing software and hardware teams are now used to manage teams of doctors, care workers, and educators. She’s our motive force as we “fight the current to swim upstream.”
Chelsea Adams (she/her): Chelsea served as a combat medic in the United States Army for 6 years. After leaving the army in 2014 she went back to school with the goal of getting her nursing degree. During this time she worked on the oncology floor of St. Davids South Austin. She decided to go in a different direction career wise and currently is pursuing non profit work. Her goal is to continue her passion of helping people.
Kristina Brooke Daniele (she/her): Kristina Brooke Daniele is a neurodivergent homeschooling mom, educator, and author of two books (Civil Rights Then and Now and i wandered, lost: poems). She has worked as an educator for over 15 years as a classroom teacher, homeschooling teacher, and education consultant. Kristina is passionate about increasing the literacy skills of those students who are seen as failures by the education system. She believes all can learn given the opportunity to do so in a supportive and safe environment. She has dedicated her career to helping those who have been ignored find a safe space to flourish.