OSWEGO — Several members of the SUNY Oswego college community participated recently in a three-day international seminar at the State University of Piaui in Brazil as part of an ongoing teacher training partnership.
They included Dr. Alfred D. Frederick, distinguished service professor in the curriculum and instruction department, who coordinated the seminar; Dr. Barbara Streets of the counseling and psychological services faculty; Elliot Boyce, formerly of Oswego’s public justice department; and emeritus associate professor of health promotion and wellness Dr. Bernard Boozer.
They joined colleagues from Brazil and the United States, including Edwin J. Nichols, former clinical administrator at the National Institutes of Mental Health, and Eric A. Galm, chair of the music department at Trinity College of Hartford.
The 200 attendees included elementary and secondary teachers from Piaui. This was the second seminar in a series.
The first in 2013 focused on educational research, theory and practice.
This year’s seminar expanded to add music, health and cultural diversity.
Presenters were students and professors involved in research in these areas.
“The seminar provided an opportunity for me to share research, exchange ideas, and provide two presentations in my specialty areas of trauma, multicultural outreach programming, and counseling psychology,” Streets said. Her presentations were “Evaluating Student Learning in Educational Research via Cultural Immersion (a focus on West African dance camp experiences)” and “Culturally Competent Outreach Programming: Storytelling to Address Trauma, Loss and Grief.”
Frederick made a presentation on “Teaching for Cultural Relevancy and Cultural Justice.”
Boyce spoke on a panel concerning classroom climate. Boozer spoke on a panel on the interrelationship between physical and mental health.
Attendees’ reactions to the seminar were positive and appreciative.
“These days were rich and unforgettable,” one wrote. “We are extremely grateful for this experience and we wish to apply it in the teaching-learning process so to decrease social inequality in schools.”
During their time in Brazil, the Americans visited an elementary school, Escola Municipal Casa Meio Norte.
The school’s principal, Rutheia Costa, “shared best practices and factors which contributed to the academic success to low-income culturally diverse children,” Streets said. “Dr. Frederick has been collaborating with the school and Ms. Costa for over a decade; their work in turning around the school as well as the positive impact the school has on the community is impressive.”
The SUNY Oswego presenters’ participation and contribution to the seminar are activities of the School of Education’s African and Brazilian Academic and Cultural Exchange and Project CLIMB, as well as the partnership among the State Secretariat of Education in the State of Piaui, the State University of Piaui, the Municipal Secretariat of Education in Terasina, the Federal University of Piaui and SUNY Oswego.
Before the seminar, Frederick taught an extension course titled “Education of Diverse Populations Utilizing an Interdisciplinary Perspective: Theory and Practice” to 35 professors and students of education.
They gave glowing evaluations to the course and professor for the attention he gave to each participant, calling him “warm, supportive” and “splendid and singular.” Another wrote, “This course gave me a rich experience about embracing more and knowing more about cultures and values that the world offers.”
After the seminar, the Americans visited the Quilombo of Palmares in Mimbo. (Quilombos are Brazilian settlements founded by fugitive slaves.) There met they with a group of activists planning a 2015 black women’s equivalent in Brazil of the Million Man March that took place in Washington, D.C.