Education & Professional Development Workshops

As a leader in education or your community, you know how important it is to address the stereotypes and lack of knowledge that create deep misunderstanding that can divide us and precipitate conflict. Let us develop a customized professional development workshop or community event with you to address issues of historical understanding or of how misperceptions of Islam and Muslims may be affecting your local community.

Workshops are presented by Barbara Petzen, who has a long and strong track record of working with educators and communities nationwide to address stereotypes and gaps in knowledge about Arabs, the Middle East and Muslims. She has written curriculum and designed programs in partnership with a wide variety of educational and cultural organizations across the country. Participants in her programs consistently recognize her broad and deep knowledge of the issues she addresses, her energetic and interactive style, and the excellence of the resources she introduces.

Barbara will come to your school, school system or organization to work with educators, students and members of the community, using her signature hands-on, engaging and nonpartisan approach to encourage participants to develop new ways to think and teach about the Middle East and Muslims.

Our professional development workshops and student presentations focus on three things:

  • Understanding the complexity and diversity of the Middle East and global Muslim communities, including Muslims in the United States
  • 21st-century skills including analysis and problem solving, technology applications, cooperative learning, and global competencies
  • Best practices and resources ready for use in your classroom today, with a focus on primary sources suitable for Common Core application

Middle East Connections workshops are designed to fit your school or community’s needs. We will tailor the topics and content to fit your local curriculum or current issues you’d like to address, and can work across a variety of disciplines, including world and U.S. history, civics, world cultures and religions, English/language arts, art, music, culinary arts, the history of science, and even dance. We have a broad list of topics we frequently address, including the following (although we are happy to discuss additional themes):

  • Misconceptions and Realities about Arabs, the Middle East and Islam
  • Diversity of the Middle East and Muslim societies
  • Geography in Practice: What is the Middle East, Anyway?
  • Muslim Diversities: Doctrine, Culture and Politics
  • Teachable Moments in Islamic History: Great Cities, World Trade, and Cultural Connections
  • Abd el-Kader: The Legacy of a Muslim Leader Today
  • Arabic in a Jiffy: Learn to Write in Just an Hour!
  • Women and Gender: Roles and Realities of Women in History and Today
  • Making the Modern Middle East/Making the Middle East Modern (document-based activities)
  • Demography, Democracy and Political Islam in the Middle East Today
  • Using Music, Art, Film and Literature to Teach about Arabs, the Middle East and Islam
  • Media Literacy and the Middle East
  • Cool Tools for Hot Topics: New Media and Technology Resources for Teaching the Middle East
  • What Food Tells Us: Innovative Strategies for Teaching with Culinary Commodities
  • Best Practices and Resources for Using Common Core Texts on the Middle East

Typically, our workshops are offered under a cost-sharing mechanism with a sliding scale, with the host organization providing the venue, refreshments, IT equipment and support, printing and registration and logistics services, while oneblue and the host work together to cover transportation, lodging and stipend for the presenter as well as the resources and supplies for the workshop, depending on available resources.

Interested in speaking with us about a workshop in your school, district or organization? Just email barbara@oneblue.org, and we'll be in touch right away!

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