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When They Sound Different: Exploring Cultural Differences in How We Communicate
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When: 12/13/2019
9:30 am to 12:00 pm
Where: Institute of Notre Dame
901 Aisquith Street
Baltimore, Maryland  21202
United States

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Category: Direct Instruction


When They Sound Different: Exploring Cultural Differences in How We Communicate, Recognizing Potential Biases, and Enhancing Student-Teacher Communication and Understanding 


Let’s face it. Statistics show that the student body in our schools is diversifying at a faster rate than the faculty. Chances are, you and your students are both speaking English, yet not always understanding each other. This leads to mistrust, distrust, disproportionate/unfair discipline, or sadly, to diminished relationships with students.


Are you understanding your students and parents? Are they understanding you? Language and culture are inextricably linked. Where our students (or their families) come from shapes not just who they might be but also how they speak and use language. 


What biases and preconceived judgements are we making — unintentionally and not — based on hearing words that sound or are used differently from how we expect them to? How much are we complicit in language discrimination without being aware, and how does this impact our classroom? How can we be the kind of educators who meet students where they are and resist equating speech/diction with intelligence while also avoiding miscommunication?


What to expect: This one-of-a-kind practical workshop takes a real time, day to day look at how we are communicating across difference. We will explore different varieties of the English language — verbal and nonverbal — via audio; dissecting hip hop and pop lyrics; considering slang, idioms, and multiple meanings; and looking at four people from America and beyond and their  journeys with the English language. We also will take away useful tips and strategies to better and more effectively communicate with those culturally different from us.

AIMS Members: $50 (through November 29th) or $60 (After November 29th)
NON AIMS Members: $100 (through November 29th) or $110 (After November 29th)


Please note that NO REFUNDS will be issued for cancellations for this class after December 3rd. 



A teacher, equity practitioner, and racial dialogue facilitator, Samantha Fletcher worked as a journalist and producer for newspapers, magazines, and radio before transitioning to independent schools. This is Samantha’s 11th year teaching early childhood--including a year teaching a middle school cultural awareness course for which she co-created the curriculum--at St. Patrick’s Episcopal Day School, where she weaves identity into the everyday life of her classroom. Her 7- and 4-year-old sons KJ and Isaiah also attend.

Samantha earned her master's in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis on Minority, Urban, and Multicultural Education from the University of Maryland and a bachelor’s degree in Communications and Sociology from Augusta State University. She leads workshops and facilitates discussions on race, incorporating identity in teaching, and effectively communicating across cultures, bringing an approachable, engaging manner to otherwise difficult conversations. She has presented regionally and nationally for teachers, parents and organizations including area independent schools, the Yale Club of Washington, DC, AIMS, and at NAIS People of Color conferences.


Consent to Use of Photo / Video / Audio: Registration, attendance at, or participation in AIMS meetings and other activities constitutes an agreement by the registrant to AIMS’ use and distribution (both now and in the future) of the registrant or attendee’s image or voice in photographs, videos, electronic reproductions, and audio of such events and activities.


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