About H.e.a.r. Chicago Talk

H.e.a.r Chicago Talk idea exchanges focus on different themes related to teaching and learning, with the goal of providing a space for classroom teachers and other educators to share ideas, recharge, and connect. Audience members  participate in the conversation by noting and sharing ideas and questions with each other and the speakers. H.e.a.r. stands for Hope for Equity, Authenticity, and Relevance in K-12 education.

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Long Time No See!

You may recall that on February 24, in partnership with Chicago Wilderness and Educelerate, H.e.a.r Chicago Talk looked at educating future eco-leaders, with a focus on fostering diversity. I feel honored to have had the speakers we did and the audience questions were incredible. The recap is below. But first...

Where has H.e.a.r. Chi Talk Been? 

Engaged Green Education people!
H.e.a.r. Chicago Talk is a one-woman production and, I discovered this spring and summer, subject to the vicissitudes of circumstance. One of my goals has been to find partners and resources so as to stabilize the forum's place in the world, though that goal clearly remains unmet (more on goals and purposes later). 

This one woman is swallowing her shame along with her second cup of coffee right now and imparting to you, finally, news of the Fabulous February event, as well as thoughts on the Flighty Future of our Feisty little Forum.

H.e.a.r Chicago Talk: Green Education for a Diverse Conservation Future recap 

We had an AMAZING group of speakers and an equally incredible yield of audience questions.

Pete Leki created the Gardens and Ecology Program at Waters Elementary. He offered a poetic description of the Waters program's foundation and growth, accompanied by an evocative montage of photos.

Audience questions for Pete are listed here. Themes (rooted in the realities of CPS today I think), include: How can such school programs survive a challenging district environment? and What is the relationship between shifts in school culture and gentrification, and how can that relationship be disrupted?

Kellen Marshall is a PhD Candidate in the Ecology & Evolutionary Biology 
Department at UIC and the director of research at Eden Place Nature Center. She presented, via video presentation, some of her research on the gap between educational and experiential requirements typical of conservation careers, and corresponding paths typically taken by Black high school and college students. 
A slide from Kellen's presentation
Audience questions for Kellen are listed here. Themes include: How can new and more pathways into environmental work be created? and What changes must be made in both the field and the community to foster diversity in the field?

Dr. Jo-Elle Mogerman is Vice President of Institutional Planning and Inclusion at the Chicago Zoological Society. She presented the principles and practice of a program at Brookfield Zoo that provides Chicago youth with authentic conservation experiences.

Audience questions for Jo-Elle are listed here. Themes include how to support conversion from internships to careers, and how to track that conversion.

Just a few of many audience
questions for Mike
Michael Rizo is an Urban and Community Program Specialist in the Office of International Programs of the US Forest Service. He talked about his work in partnership with El Valor Children and Youth Services engaging Little Village families in the life cycle of the monarch butterfly via cultural associations as well as ecological ones.

Audience questions for Mike are listed here. Themes include how to replicate a culturally specific program in other neighborhoods and how to extend successes into school and career as participating children get older.

I recommend you take a look at all the questions that came out of the evening!

Whither Goeth H.e.a.r. Chicago Talk? 

Each time we have a H.e.a.r. Chicago Talk, I am inspired by great speakers and thoughtful questioners. But nature-based education holds special interest for me, and the Chicago Wilderness/H.e.a.r. Chicago Talk partnership was pretty dreamy for me.

It was clear from the AMAZING questions we got from the audience that our eco-inquiry wasn't over after that event, had barely even started, in fact...we had convened an incredible group of people and now, rather than move to a new topic, I want to dig more into the questions and themes we touched on.

But how? A second green-education forum, a roundtable or study group, set up differently so as to discuss some of these questions in depth? Is that the same as a H.e.a.r. Chicago Talk, or something new?

H.e.a.r. stands for "Hope for Equity, Authenticity, and Relevance in education." Its goal has been to provide a positive place for educators to share ideas about teaching and learning. I have many conflicting thoughts about the extent to which this has worked and whether it can work in its present form and the current education conditions in Chicago. 

So I confess that at least some substantial portion of my long silence has been bafflement. Where do I go from here? What are people getting out of these forums? Perhaps I should focus on just one topic? Perhaps the forum isn't needed at all? Who is the audience? Is it possible to create an event that better appeals to both teachers and informal educators?

I just don't know right now what my conclusion is. I was hoping to know that before publishing this, but, well...I want to hear from you.

Action! Plan!

No H.e.a.r. Chicago Talks are yet planned at this point. Please:

1) Read the talk summaries and audience questions from Pete's, Kellen's, Dr. Jo-Elle's, and Mike's talks. Comment on the blog, on Facebook, or by email your favorite questions for each speaker. I will collect, publish, and forward! Perhaps people want to address these questions in another forum. I'd love to facilitate that.

2) Think about your experience with H.e.a.r. Chicago Talk. Comment on the blog, on Facebook, or by email on what YOU want to see. What need can it serve? For whom? What does it need? And/or, want to talk about it over coffee? Contact me.


About the Founder

Kaara Kallen, the host and founder of H.e.a.r. Chicago Talk, is a former high school English teacher and a writer and editor of educational content for kids and adults. She also totally dropped the ball this summer on writing in her blog, but when she does write in it, it's about innovative education practices.

Subscribe to our strictly occasional and definitely delightful mailing list here!