Tara Affolter

Associate Professor of Education Studies

 work(802) 443-5944
 Tuesdays: 3:15 \e2\80\93 4:15 p.m. Wednesdays: 9:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. Fridays by appointment only
 Twilight Hall 108

Tara Affolter is an Associate Professor of Education Studies. She received  her Ph.D. in Education Policy Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Affolter has over 15 years of experience teaching high school English and theatre while working for racial and social justice within the public schools.

To keep herself engaged with schools and K-12 learners she frequently spends her summers back in Madison teaching pre-K at Lincoln Elementary School.  Within the Middlebury community, in addition to her contacts with local schools, Dr. Affolter volunteers at the Addison Country Parent Child Center, occasionally team-teaching courses for program participants.

Dr. Affolter has research and teaching experience in antiracist teaching, social justice education, culturally relevant pedagogy, disability studies, and Critical Race Theory.

Her teaching at Middlebury seeks to provide anyone who has an interest in education with the tools and lenses needed to successfully critique and dismantle inequities in schools. She is keenly interested in finding ways to build fully inclusive environments within schools, colleges, and universities. To that end, each year she teaches Education in the U.S. (EDST 115) Models of Inclusive Education (EDST 300) and Culturally Responsive Pedagogy and Policy (EDST 215). She also periodically offers specialized courses and First Year Seminars including, Education for Social Justice (EDST 230); Critical Race Theory in Education (EDST 1020); Race, Ethnicity and Inequality in US Schools (FYSE 1340); Black Playwrights Represent (FYSE 1475) and August Wilson in the Classroom (EDST 102).

Outside of the academic realm, she enjoys hiking, running, yoga, acting, spending time with her husband, Steve, (and any other family members she can track down) and frolicking with her dogs, Scout and Hermione.

Recent Publications include:

Affolter, T. (2019) Through the Fog: Towards Inclusive Anti-Racist Teaching. Information Age Press.

Affolter T. and Donnor, J. (Eds.) (2016) The Charter School Solution: Distinguishing Fact from Rhetoric.  Routledge, New York.

Affolter, T.L (2016) There’s a Black Kid in the Classroom and I Don’t Want to Piss Her Off” (2016) In Stead, V. (Ed) RIP Jim Crow: Fighting Racism through Higher Volume 6 RIP Jim Crow: Fighting Racism through Higher Education Policy, Curriculum, and Cultural Interventions Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. (New York).

Affolter, T.L (2015)  “Those teachers shouldn’t talk about race: Balancing preaching and protecting, anti-racist scholarship at home.” In G. Theorharis and S. Dotger (Eds.) On the High Wire:  Education Professors Walk Between Work and Parenting.  Information Age Press.



Course List: 

Courses offered in the past four years.
indicates offered in the current term
indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]

EDST 0115 / BLST 0115 - Education In the USA      

Education in the USA
What are schools for? What makes education in a democracy unique? What counts as evidence of that uniqueness? What roles do schools play in educating citizens in a democracy for a democracy? In this course, we will engage these questions while investigating education as a social, cultural, political, and economic process. We will develop new understandings of current policy disputes regarding a broad range or educational issues by examining the familiar through different ideological and disciplinary lenses. 3 hrs. lect./1 hr. disc. AMR NOR SOC

Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

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EDST 0215 - Culturally Responsive Pedagogy      

Culturally Responsive Policy and Pedagogy
Building on the work of Gloria Ladson-Billings’ culturally relevant pedagogy, Django Paris developed a theory of culturally sustaining pedagogy that “seeks to perpetuate and foster—to sustain linguistic, literate, and cultural pluralism,” for students in schools (Paris, 2012). In this course we examine how teachers might sustain and support students in classrooms and how educational policy might better address and respond to the rich diversity in our schools and communities. This is a required course for all students seeking a Vermont teaching licensure. (EDST 0115) 3 hrs. lect. AMR CMP NOR SOC

Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019

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EDST 0300 / BLST 0300 - Models of Inclusive Education      

Models of Inclusive Education
In this course we will focus on strategies and techniques for including students with diverse learning styles in general education environments. Legal, theoretical, philosophical, and programmatic changes leading toward inclusive models of education will be approached through a historical overview of special education for students with disabilities. Additionally, the course works to expand notions of inclusion such that students' multiple identities are incorporated into all learning. Emphasis is given to the active learning models and differentiated curriculum and instruction to accommodate a range of learners with diverse disabilities, abilities, and identities. (EDST 0115 or SOAN 0215 or SOCI 0215 or AMST 0105). AMR NOR SOC

Spring 2017, Spring 2018, Spring 2019, Spring 2020

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EDST 0337 - The Urban Educ. Internship      

The Urban Education Internship
This internship provides teaching and learning opportunities in schools in Washington, D.C. During the term, each student will be assigned to work as an intern with a classroom teacher or program at a school in our nation's capital. Tasks will vary but may include: observing classes, tutoring, directing small-group work, working with special education students, working in the computer lab, and working with outreach programs. Students will spend four full days (M-Th) at the school each week, keep a journal, and complete a formal essay about their experience. On Fridays, students will engage in an extensive reflective seminar and work with staff in our Middlebury College, Washington, D.C. office. Lodging and a lunch stipend are provided. (EDST 0115 or SOAN 0215; Approval required, please contact Jonathan Miller-Lane or Trish Dougherty prior to registration). (Pass/Fail) non-standard grade WTR

Winter 2017

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EDST 0500 - Independent Project      

Independent Project
(Approval Required)

Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Winter 2018, Spring 2018, Fall 2018, Winter 2019, Spring 2019, Fall 2019, Winter 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2020, Spring 2021

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EDST 0505 - Ind. Study-Sec Methods      

Independent Study - Secondary Methods
This course is for students who are pursuing a VT teaching license in a Secondary content area. Students are required to commit to a school placement under the guidance and supervision of a certified, secondary VT teacher. The content of the course will be developed collaboratively by the EDST professor overseeing the independent student, the VT secondary teacher who is overseeing the school placement, and the student. Regular meetings involving all three will take place throughout the semester. The exact meeting schedule will be determined on a case by case basis. Students will complete assignments that address the requirements of the VT Educator Portfolio. (EDST0115, EDST0215 and relevant courses in Psychology). By Approval only. Interested students must meet with the Director of Education Studies.

Fall 2017, Fall 2018, Fall 2019

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FYSE 1475 - Black Playwrights Represent      

Make Space: Black Playwrights Creating, Claiming, Resisting, and Existing
This seminar makes space for Black playwrights.  We will begin our focus with August Wilson, who despite his critically acclaimed ten-play cycle chronicling the experience of African-Americans remains unknown to many students. We will explore the influence of the blues, artist Romare Bearden, and playwright/poet Amiri Baraka on August Wilson’s work. We will also study playwrights Dominique Morisseau, Susan Lori-Parks, and Katori Hall. We will utilize Critical Race Theory as an analytical tool for understanding the significance of these plays in the larger tapestry of race relations and in understanding conceptions of resistance and representation. 3 hrs. sem. CW LIT NOR

Fall 2016

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Program in Education Studies

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50 Franklin Street
Middlebury College
Middlebury, VT 05753

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