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Teachers learn how to discuss events of Sept. 11 in their classroom


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July 18, 2002

With the opening of school and the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks just around the corner, a dozen Bay Area middle school and high school teachers have gone back to the classroom to learn just how much the world has changed and how to explain that to schoolchildren.

The classroom teachers have spent the last week learning from SFSU faculty experts in areas ranging from international relations to women studies at a summer academy titled "Understanding the World After September 11." It is believed to be one of the first sessions of its type in the country to help teachers improve instruction on the tragic, historical event and understand the unfolding aftermath.

"The teachers say they now have the context and background to teach Sept. 11 as an important date in world history. They feel they are going to be better teachers. San Francisco State wants to provide these type of opportunities for the continuing education of teachers," said Genie Stowers, associate dean of SFSU's College of Behavioral and Social Sciences and organizer of the weeklong seminar, which concludes Friday.

The Bay Area teachers, many of whom attended the sessions at their own expense, work with youngsters from sixth grade through 12th grade in public and private schools in Daly City, San Mateo, Belmont, Alameda, Walnut Creek, Dublin and San Francisco.

In daylong sessions the teachers heard from a broad array of noted SFSU professors who shared their knowledge and insights on fast changing world events. Former American Ambassador and SFSU Diplomat-in-Resicence David Fischer discussed the roots of terrorism and the possibility of future terrorism; Maziar Behrooz, assistant professor of history, explained the development of Islamic culture; Professor of International Relations Dwight Simpson examined the impact of Sept. 11 on the Middle East; Michael Potepan, chair of economics, looked at the affect of Sept. 11 on the economy; Jerry Combs, professor of history, discussed the challenges of American foreign policy; Ken Miller, assistant professor of psychology, focused on the psychological aftermath of Sept. 11 on children; Joanne Aviel, chair of international relations, explained how teachers can set up a model United Nations in their classrooms; and Chair of Women Studies Minoo Moallem discussed Islamic fundamentalism and its effects on women.

Working with SFSU's College of Extended Learning, the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences plans to sponsor future sessions on timely issues for Bay Area teachers.

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Last modified July 18, 2002, by the Office of Public Affairs