Teaching, Writing, and Acting across Difference

Bread Loaf Campus, Ripton, Vermont

February 16–18, 2024   

We have now reached capacity. If you would like to be added to our Winter Institute waiting list, please email us at blse@middlebury.edu.

The Bread Loaf Winter Institute is a weekend professional development workshop led by renowned Middlebury Bread Loaf School of English (BLSE) faculty.

Deepen your teaching practice while earning meaningful professional development hours along with other passionate educators. BLSE has over a century of experience delivering innovative, relevant, interdisciplinary course content ideal for teachers of English and language arts, and its impact on K–12 classrooms is bolstered by the Bread Loaf Teacher Network (BLTN), a nationally visible network of teachers and youth committed to using literacy to foster social justice.

The 2024 BLSE Winter Institute is being supported by grant funding from the Katherine Wasserman Davis Collaborative in Conflict Transformation. 

Cost: $1,000 with on-campus housing, $820 without housing

  • Gain 12 hours of professional development credit focused on engaging across difference.

  • Expand your multimodal toolkit
    as you explore the power of creative and critical storytelling.

  • Collaborate with a multigenerational cohort
    of educational leaders and peers on reimagining your courses, curriculum, and pedagogical strategies.

  • Engage in energizing
    self-work, expressive writing, and critical reflection.

Weekend Offerings

Full-Group Sessions

Warm-Up Exercise: Who Invited Your Spirit to Come Out to Play?

Led by Craig Maravich 
Actor, Teaching Artist, and Director, Beyond the Page, BLSE and Middlebury College

Roundtable: Naming Our Terms

Keynote Address: Teaching and Learning across Difference: Students as Cultural Guides

Speaker: David Wandera 
Associate Professor of Special Education, Language, and Literacy, The College of New Jersey

Group Sharing: Writing and Reflecting

BLTN Presentation: What’s Writing Got to Do with It? Youth-Led Networking and Community

Led by Tom McKenna 
Director, BLTN Next Generation Youth Leadership Network; Communications Director, BLTN

Final Debrief: Sharing and Applying What We’ve Learned

Led by Beverly Moss 
Professor of English and Director of Second-Year Writing, The Ohio State University; Director, BLTN


Engaging Community Literacy Practices in Our Classrooms

Led by Beverly Moss 
Professor of English and Director of Second-Year Writing, The Ohio State University; Director, BLTN

This workshop will focus on designing research and writing projects that ask students to identify, document, and contextualize literacy practices in their community spaces. It will explore ways to engage students in primary and secondary research and will underscore the value of literacies that occur within the community.   

Immigrant Youth Doing School: Teachers’ Self-Work

Led by David Wandera 
Associate Professor of Special Education, Language, and Literacy, The College of New Jersey

When teaching is devoid of reflexivity, it can reproduce inequalities and uphold power hierarchies. Through activities and discussion, this workshop provides participants with opportunities to develop reflexive pedagogies that support a diverse student population in the contemporary classroom. Specifically, we will explore ways to reimagine classroom life and purposefully respond to the needs of immigrant students.  

Photos, Voices, and Histories: Telling Our Stories

Led by Michelle Bachelor Robinson 
Professor of English, Director of Comprehensive Writing, Spelman College

This workshop will demonstrate how to use images to bridge gaps and tell stories across difference, drawing on research methods involving PhotoVoice and oral history-making. These strategies will translate into activities that will resonate with your students and engage them in inquiry, analysis, community-building, and expressive writing.  

Writing Then, Reading and Acting Now

Led by Lyndon Dominique
Associate Professor of English, Lehigh University; Director, BLSE

How do we, as teachers, make historically distant literary content relevant for contemporary student readers? Using Aphra Behn’s 6-page novel The Adventure of the Black Lady (1698) as a model, this workshop explores effective strategies for bringing early texts into the present and creating an engaging literary experience that fosters student writing and action.   

Writing to Witness

Led by Brenda Brueggemann 
Professor of English and Aetna Endowed Chair of Writing, University of Connecticut

How can we write about difficult things that have happened to us or that we’ve seen happen to others – in our personal lives and in our professional work? Why should we do so? This session will guide participants through brainstorming and preliminary composing while we explore questions of genre, modality, ethics, tone, and audience when writing about difficult things and/or bearing witness.   

This workshop is inspired by Sakinah Hofler’s TED-IDEA piece on  How to Write about Difficult Things and Take Back your Power  and Ilya Kaminsky’s Deaf Republic, alongside some brave and breathtaking written witnessing work by BLSE comrades in my “writing and/about teaching” classes.

Awakening Creativity: The “Who” in the Classroom

Led by Craig Maravich
Actor, Teaching Artist, and Director, Beyond the Page, BLSE and Middlebury College

This workshop will invite us to experience the unlocking of our creativity and its ability to build inclusive learning communities. Using embodiment and theater practices, we will explore creative pedagogy, reflecting on how these practices can transform our teaching and empower us as teachers. 

Additional Information

  • Each participant will take two different workshops.
  • Participants will be invited to bring a text, a lesson or curricular plan, or other teaching materials they plan to use in their classroom, and they will have the opportunity to work with institute peers on (re)imagining those in light of the institute discussions.
  • The institute will be held on the historic Bread Loaf campus in Ripton, Vermont, in the Green Mountain National Forest.
  • The event includes opportunities to come early or stay late for cross-country skiing at the Rikert Outdoor Center (on the Bread Loaf campus) and downhill skiing at the Middlebury Snowbowl (minutes away); discounted tickets are available.  

What to Expect

  • Keynote Address
  • Faculty Roundtable
  • Workshops
  • Film Screening and Discussion
  • Interactive Performance-Based Exercises
  • Presentation of Youth-Led Community-Based Learning
  • Group Writing and Sharing Sessions