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Language Matters I: Reading and Teaching Toni Morrison–a year long professional development seminar held at Cardozo High School in Washington, DC, September 2003- May 2004

Language Matters I was funded by NEH for DC area teachers.
NEH group at reading of Love

Cardozo High School
Frazier O'Leary and students at Cardozo High School, Washington, DC: Leaders of the Cardozo Project Model

Hosted by Frazier O'Leary, twelve teachers met monthly with one teacher/facilitator and one visiting Morrison scholar for an evening to discuss one of the author’s seven novels and supplemental critical material selected by the attending scholar. Each meeting focused on a single novel, beginning with a short presentation by a Morrison scholar, followed with an in depth discussion. Teachers were encouraged to especially draw upon their own experiences, approaches and challenges they encountered, and the knowledge of their own students.

Cardozo High School set a high bar in establishing what became known and adopted as “The Cardozo Project”: the teaching of The Bluest Eye across an entire grade of high school readers, from remedial reading classes to Advanced English. A second major accomplishment of Language Matters I was the preparing of a core of teacher-facilitators to further expand the “Language Matters” project.

Language Matters I was co-directed by Adrienne L. Seward (Colorado College). In addition to presentations by Graham and Seward, Deborah McDowell (University of Virginia); Keith Byerman (Indiana University); Marilyn Sanders Mobley (Case Western Reserve); Trudier Harris (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill) and Durthy Washington (U.S. Air Force Academy) and Herman Beavers (University of Pennsylvania) were all involved in the first focused workshop on the teaching of Morrison.

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