Amra Sabic-El-Rayess (Associate Professor of Practice, Education Policy and Social Analysis Department) supervises the program VOICES (Venture to Overcome Intolerance and Extremism in Schools), which has been selected by the Department of Homeland Security’s Center for Prevention Programs as one of the most innovative solutions to extremism in the US.
VOICES aims to enable educators to promote and instill values of moral resilience, non-violent problem-solving, and social connectedness among their students in schools by acknowledging and mitigating their own biases. This project seeks to provide an online professional development training opportunity for educators which leverages storytelling and problem-based learning pedagogy to inspire and create agency among participants to combat biases at schools. For our pilot training, this project aims to reduce Islamic radicalization by amplifying protective factors of targeted violence.
Led by graduate students at Columbia University’s Teachers College under the purview of Dr. Amra Sabic-El-Rayess, the purpose of this research is to inform the design and implementation of a professional development curriculum/ training for individuals working in education settings in the US to address and mitigate ethnic, racial, religious, and social biases and increase resilience in US schools. This study will evaluate the need among US-based education professionals for a professional development curriculum that focuses on story-telling to build resilience. The curriculum intends to build resilience to Islamophobia and reduce othering, marginalization, and negative narratives in schools. To date, there are limited resources and interventions geared for education professionals on addressing biases in schools among their students and peers through a story-telling medium.
In other news, Amra Sabic-El-Rayess was interviewed on the BBC World News Service about her book The Cat I Never Named.