May is Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month! After a year of intensified hate and violence against the Asian American Pacific Islander community, ADE is proudly celebrating and recognizing AAPI Heritage Month. Each week, ADE will highlight community members, organizations, and resources that serve and uplift AAPI peoples in our collective effort to build a more empathetic and compassionate future.
From the Community
In our first AAPI Heritage Month blog, we are proud to highlight Janice Mak, chair of the Arizona Department of Education’s Technology Task Force.
Tell us about yourself and your work in your current role(s).
I am a first-generation Asian-American who has been teaching for more than 20 years internationally and in Arizona. My work in computer science education involves designing equitable learning opportunities for every student. To this end, I serve on the board of Computer Science Teachers Association, K-12 Advisory Council of the National Center for Women in Information Technology, and chair of ADE's technology task force.
Who or what inspires you to work in Arizona’s education community?
I am continually inspired by the teachers, students, parents, and leaders. The pandemic bears witness to the persistence, innovation, patience, empathy, and collaboration that we have collectively shown to ensure that learning continues, and students thrive. Everything from delivering hotspots to students, distributing meals, and integrating social-emotional supports have shown us now more than ever that it truly 'takes a village to raise a child.'
What’s one way our classrooms can be more culturally responsive and inclusive?
Research supports that encouragement matters, so I would say one powerful way to create an inclusive and welcoming learning environment is to practice encouragement. Even simple comments can make a difference in students' attitudes toward learning. A key point is to focus on the encouragement that centers on every student and their effort, perseverance, and progress since this promotes a growth mindset. Encouragement gives students the belief and confidence that they can complete tasks successfully which increases the likelihood of their engagement in the tasks. Encouraging students along the entire trajectory of learning will provide them with the confidence they need to tackle even the most challenging of tasks and nurture a positive and inclusive classroom that welcomes learners of all backgrounds.
The Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s Learning Together page connects the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center’s programs, curatorial expertise, and community anniversaries with K12 educators across the country. This page serves as an online venue for educational content featuring interviews with Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community members, links to community-created educational resources, book recommendations, discussion ideas, and more.
The Asian Mental Health Collective (AMHC) seeks to break down cultural barriers to destigmatize mental health support within the global Asian community. "It is apparent that there is a generational and cultural rift in many Asian families, with mental health woven through both overt confrontations and unspoken grievances as a result. AMHC hopes to help bridge those divides."
Asian Mental Health Collective
Modern Health Circle: Combating Anti-Asian Racism
Monday, May 10th at 9:00 am (PT) – Registration: https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_y7d1zL3cQfu7XWf0Tv1i8A
Asians around the world have experienced an upsurge of anti-Asian racism since the beginning of the pandemic due to the impact of white supremacy and hateful rhetoric surrounding the Coronavirus. With the stereotyped homogenization of Asian-identifying individuals, harm and violence have plagued the daily lived experiences of many Asians. Join this Circle with a Modern Health therapist for an intersectional space to learn, process, and heal. This session is open to all. This will be a listen & learn session.
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