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“Re-Envisioning Professional Challenges through the Lens of Cinema” – Dr. Randy Testa

Friday, October 13th 2017
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Event Description

Trauma, Narrative, and Teacher Identity: A Speaker Series

As teachers, we are becoming increasingly aware of what it means to teach in the midst of trauma—whether that trauma is our own or our students’, local to our community or more culturally widespread.

Dr. Randy Testa, former Vice President of Education for Walden Media and currently serving as Managing Director of the K12-16 Programs at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, will facilitate a series of events to help us explore how we develop narratives that inform what it means to be a teacher in challenging times.

October 12, 7:00 pm, a film screening and discussion at the Normal Theater

October 13, 4:00 pm, a public lecture entitled “Professional Education that Sticks: Re-Envisioning Professional Challenges through the Lens of Cinema”

October 14, 10-11:30, a workshop and discussion on trauma, narrative, and teacher identity All events are free and open to the public.

The film is rated PG-13.

Here is a fuller description of the event series: Whether in education or business, professional development usually consists of informational presentations by experts, often called “Sit’n-Git.” Some of it might contain useful information, but most of it fails to change the way we view and address our everyday challenges, and all of it takes away time we desperately need to do our jobs, making it of dubious value. At the Harvard Graduate School of Education we’re looking at ways that narrative –film, fiction, and other texts– can help explore the complicated worlds in which professionals work and attempt to find meaning. We’re exploring ways that cross media, defined as “the use of texts across different content platforms” can be used to better understand professional challenges, and to make professional education more engaging, more personally meaningful, and more useful. Come join this cinematic exploration through a series of related events. On Thursday evening, we’ll kick things off at the Normal Theater by watching and discussing a stunning movie a lot of people never saw–a drama about a year in an elementary school classroom called Monsieur Lazhar. The film was a 2012 Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film. It has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 97%, and the screening is free, so you have no excuse not to attend. On Friday afternoon, we’ll explore Monsieur Lazhar as an emblematic case study for the use of narrative in professional education and its ability to cultivate self-understanding–the essential ingredient in meaningful professional education. Finally, on Saturday morning, we’ll set aside time to consider our identities as teachers through the stories we watch and tell. Come for one event, or better yet, all three (though you will want to have seen Monsieur Lazhar to participate fully). You will not be bored.

If you will need special accommodations, please contact the event organizer.




Stevenson Hall
300 S. School Street
Normal, IL