Curriculum developed specifically for use with the Guns, Grief and Grace film series.
I’ve shown Changing the Conversation for the past two years in our introductory public health course. The film is an excellent platform for health science students to begin a deep discussion on violence as a social determinant of health. New Moon’s portrayal of violence and its impact on the health in diverse Wisconsin communities is both unique and powerful. Because of its novelty as a topic for many students, I recommend staging the film and subsequent discussions with a broader discussion on violence prior to showing the film. For my students, this enabled them to grapple with their own relevant experiences of violence and think about their role both as citizens and future practitioners. The film and the follow-up discussion with Ms. Fitch has been received very favorably by my students. I recommend it highly for PA’s, medical students, nursing students, public health students, and graduate students in health programs.
Josh Knox, PA-C, M.A.
Clinical Assistant Professor
Physician Assistant Program
Dear Rita….how are the children?
It is no secret that education in urban America is in dire straits. I believe this has nothing to do with test scores, although the media and our politicians would have us believe otherwise. I believe it is due to the incredible responsibility that is given to one man or one woman who dares to become an effective urban educator. He or she is responsible for educating (as Lisa Delpit writes) Other People’s Children. The Maasai warriors of Africa greet one another daily with the question: “…and how are the children”?
In urban America, many of the children are not well. In our Milwaukee Urban Educators (MUE) teacher certification program, through a series of courses aptly referred to as Seminars in Urban Education, we attempt to make relevant to our teacher candidates the multitude of issues that may find themselves at the doorsteps of urban schools: poverty, lack of access, conflicting philosophies between home and school, ethnic and racial diversity and violence. We do not claim to have the solutions to these many issues nor do we promote the idea of being the “urban savior”. Rather, our intent is to help new urban teachers understand a world that is often very far and away from their own upbringing in such a manner as to educate them to then in turn empower their students to make a difference in their own communities.
In the third and final seminar of the MUE program, I chose to tackle the issue of violence through the use of the documentaries Dear Rita, Changing the Conversation and The Promise. My plan is to show parts of all of these, followed with guided discussions on what can we learn from these films and take back to the classrooms of Milwaukee to help change the conversation in the lives of urban youth. Through the sharing of resources with my students (such as books that deal with death and family resources for families who have experienced violence) conversation and ultimately a culminating art project that will hopefully find a permanent home in our teacher education program, it is my desire for our teacher candidates to leave the evening with a sense of hope for a better tomorrow for their students who may experience violence.
Some day in this nation, I hope we can answer the question: “and how are the children”? with a resounding “Yes, the children are well!” Right now, we are not there yet, and in the famous words of Robert Frost, we have miles to go before we sleep…and miles to go before we sleep. Through the use of current articles (there is no formal text for the course), site visits to local community advocacy agencies and resources, guest speakers who I consider change agents and the use of documentaries like Dear Rita, we are proving that the journey of a thousand miles begins with taking the first step.
Corey Thompson, EdD
Chairperson, MUE Program
Cardinal Stritch University
General Curriculum ideas used with gun violence prevention lessons.