Tara Affolter is an Assistant Professor in Education Studies at Middlebury College. She completed her dissertation, “Through the Fog: The Lives of Anti-Racist Teachers,” in the department of Education Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in May of 2006 where her advisors included Stacey Lee, Gloria Ladson-Billings, and Mary Louise Gomez. Prior to coming to Middlebury she taught part time at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for Educational Policy Studies department. Dr. Affolter has over 15 years experience teaching high school English and theatre while working for social justice within the public schools.
Additionally, Dr. Affolter has research and teaching experience in antiracist teaching, social justice education, culturally relevant pedagogy, and Critical Race Theory. Her current research looks at experiences of students of color at predominantly white liberal arts colleges in order to find more effective ways to build, support, and sustain diverse communities of learners. She is also developing programming to support teachers in rural settings to effectively develop critical multicultural curricula and pedagogy.
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) and Models of Inclusive Education (EDST 300) and supports student teachers in a variety of ways throughout the professional semester. She also periodically offers specialized courses including, but not limited to, Education for Social Justice (EDST 230); Critical Race Theory in Education (EDST 1020); and August Wilson in the Classroom (EDST 102).
On campus, in addition to her position within Education Studies, Dr. Affolter is the proud mentor of Middlebury Posse 13 and works closely with the Carr Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. Outside of the academic realm, Dr. Affolter enjoys being outside for almost anything active, acting, and spending time with her husband, Steve, (and any other family members she can track down) and frolicking with her dog, Scout.
Courses offered in the past four years.
▲ indicates offered in the current term
▹ indicates offered in the upcoming term[s]
EDST0115 - 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. NOR SOC
Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Spring 2014, Fall 2016, Spring 2017
EDST0300 - 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 AMST 0105). NOR SOC
Spring 2014, Spring 2015, Spring 2017
EDST0337 - 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
EDST0410 - Student Teaching Seminar
Student Teaching Seminar
Concurrent with student teaching, this course is designed to provide guidance in curriculum development and its implementation in the classroom, and to explore issues related to the teaching process and the profession. Students will construct a Teaching Licensure Portfolio as well as exchange ideas about their student teaching experiences. Topics including technology, classroom management, special education, and assessment will be featured. The Vermont Framework of Standards and Learning Opportunities, the five Standards for Vermont Educators, the Principles for Vermont Educators, and ROPA-R will guide the development of the Teacher Licensure Portfolio. (Corequisite: EDST 0405, EDST 0406, EDST 0407 or EDST 0415, EDST 0416 EDST 0417) (Approval required) 3 hrs. lect.
EDST0500 - Independent Project ▲ ▹
Winter 2013, Spring 2013, Fall 2013, Winter 2014, Spring 2014, Fall 2014, Winter 2015, Spring 2015, Winter 2016, Fall 2016, Winter 2017, Spring 2017, Fall 2017, Spring 2018
EDST1002 - Teaching August Wilson
Make Room: Teaching August Wilson
August Wilson has been hailed as “Theater's Poet of Black America,” yet many students have little exposure to this literary giant. In this course we will explore Wilson’s impressive cycle of 10 plays illustrating 20th century African-American experiences. We will take an interdisciplinary approach to reading, analyzing, and understanding Wilson’s work, exploring such influences as the blues, visual artist Romare Bearden, and playwright/poet Amiri Baraka. We will also use Critical Race Theory as an analytical tool for understanding Wilson’s significance within the larger context of race relations. The course will culminate with workshops at local schools and staged readings of Wilson’s work. ART LIT NOR WTR
EDST1020 - Critical Race Theory/Education
Critical Race: Theory in Education
In 1998 Gloria Ladson-Billings published a landmark piece entitled, “Just what is critical race theory and what is it doing in a nice field like education?” The piece revolutionized the field of education and helped bring an important lens of critique to understanding and working against inequity in schools. In this course we will examine the ways in which critical race theory has been utilized as a lens for interrogating past and current issues of systemic racism and other forms of oppression affecting our schools. We will focus specifically on curricula, funding, desegregation, special education, discipline practices, and federal laws affecting schools. HIS NOR SOC WTR
FYSE1475 - 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