Curriculum Designer & Instructor for the Discussion Project.
Mariana Castro is a Curriculum Designer & Instructor for the Discussion Project. She serves as Deputy Director at the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER), a center committed to the improvement of educational outcomes for diverse student populations and to foster collaborations across academic disciplines and practitioners. She brings more than 28 years of experience in education as a former science teacher, a language specialist and a bilingual educator. Throughout her career, she has engaged in curriculum and instruction, teacher preparation and professional learning in the areas of science, language development and bilingual education. In her research, Mariana integrates her background as an educator, her passion for working with multilingual children, youth and their teachers, and her commitment for social justice. Over the last 14 years, her work has also involved policy work related to the education of multilingual learners, including the development of language proficiency standards in Spanish and English. Mariana has a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a M.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. She currently serves as the PI for research related to language practices of multilingual students, curriculum and instruction in dual language immersion programs, teacher professional learning and family engagement.
Successful Discussion Requires Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Participants will be introduced to the work and research findings of The Discussion Project at UW–Madison. Presenters will offer a definition of discussion and why discussion is an integral part of a student’s educational experiences. We will focus on the ways in which high quality discussion requires that instructors take responsibility to build inclusive and equitable learning environments that draw strength from the diversity of students in the classroom. The presenters will detail methods for building classroom community and explain how instructors can cultivate and maintain a classroom climate that helps produce a “discussion class,” and participants will take part in case study discussions that require instructors to take leadership in repairing classroom climate and relationships when a rift occurs.