This program was first created in Deborah's classroom, during a critical teachable moment, as a tool to instruct and facilitate her students' vigorous discussion of their individual religious and spiritual beliefs in a safe and respectful manner.
In light of the fact that the student population involved was incredibly diverse in and of itself, the challenge was both daunting and exciting.
More detail will be forthcoming about those particulars and that initial 2 week period where the balancing act between freedom of speech, and the right to worship and/or hold religious and spiritual beliefs of one's choosing seemed to be mutually exclusive.
Suffice it to say that the classroom was about to explode, and that the moderator herself was in a state of perpetual prayer and silently uttering a vehement request for divine guidance as to how to be both a role model for what was being taught (acceptance, respect, tranquility), and figuring out how to teach it at the same time!
The Spiritual Diversity In Education" has been taught and reproduced over the 24 plus years since its inception, and has become a universal process where participants of the workshop learn how to initiate and support a climate of acceptance and understanding for diverse religious and spiritual beliefs, and how to subsequently create room for this dialogue to take place in any sector of the educational and business communities for all stakeholders involved.
The "Spiritual Diversity In Education" conversation is a powerful forum for change. This presentation may be taken into any community where it may be of service. It has been delivered at the Coalition of Essential Schools (CES) Fall Forum in Seattle, WA, San Francisco, CA; for Professional Development and Workshops in San Diego Schools, and for the California Teachers Association (CTA) Human Rights and Equity Conference in Santa Clara, CA.
"We will explore and celebrate our individual spiritual expressions, and together will embrace our unity and diversity. Through humor, personal reflection and interactive discussion, we will create an affective environment for perspective, peace and passion, and will gain the confidence and comfort required to take this experience and conversation back to our educational and professional communities."