On Thursday, November 20, Professor Dee Knoblauch of Otterbein University provided an interactive workshop for Westerville City Schools community members. Sponsored by Parent Council and the Westerville ESL Department, the evening was designed to help families build positive relationships between our diverse cultures. As part of the school district’s strategic plan with regard to stakeholder engagement, the ESL Department is working to “build strong partnerships among schools, families, students, businesses, organizations and agencies.” Dee Knoblauch’s visit was closely aligned with district goals, as she gave her audience useful tools to help community members see the diversity in our schools as an asset.
Professor Knoblauch has taught courses in multi-cultural education and multi-cultural literature at Otterbein for many years, so she was able to offer the attendees several valuable resources. The workshop was an open discussion forum, with opportunities to talk about challenges in communication with unfamiliar cultural norms. Knoblauch provided insights into ways to overcome misunderstandings through positive approaches. The meeting concluded with a look at various books and electronic references about immigrants, cultures, and life as a refugee.