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Episode 8: Classroom Conflict

School is full of conflict. This week we explore three conflicts in the classroom. Students and teachers use poetry and stories to reflect on moments of friction at school and help us understand why they matter. 

Stories with a Heartbeat is a new podcast from WUNC hosted by poet Will McIneney that uses poetry and storytelling to explore the complexity of conflict. 

Download this episode on iTunes, Stitcher, and Google Play

Picture of poet Jamila Reddy.
Credit Jamila Reddy
Poet Jamila Reddy

In the first story, writer Jamila Reddy shares a poem about an elementary school conflict. Kids can be mean, even at a really young age. But why are they mean? And what is the lasting impact?

Picture of Abigail, Brenda, and Yen standing in a classroom.
Credit Will McInerney / WUNC
Abigail Stern, Brenda De Leon, and Yen Nguyen.

The second story  is about identity and belonging, and it is about a nuance in Spanish grammar. Students Abigail Stern and Yen Nguyen sit down to talk with their Spanish teacher Brenda De Leon about a moment of conflict from earlier this year.

The last story is not so much about conflict as it is about overcoming conflict. Three high school students from the Poetic Justice program who never thought they would graduate are getting diplomas. This story is from four years ago and explores how students used poetry to empower themselves and excel in school. 

The classroom is a crucible. It is a place that defines us. And it is a place where we stretch who we are and what we are capable of in this world. But it is also a reflection of the world around us that includes the hurt we cause each other. The conflicts we encounter in school, they pull us down, but they also teach us how to persevere. In the midst of these conflicts, the power of stories emerge. Our stories are a bridge, a beacon, and an empowering force. In the midst of conflict, our stories connect us. 

Poetic Justice visit WUNC.
Credit WUNC
Poetic Justice students visit the WUNC studio in 2012.

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Will McInerney is an award-winning spoken word poet, storyteller, educator, and journalist specializing in the intersection of conflict resolution and creative expression. Will hosts and produces Stories with a Heartbeat, a new podcast that explores the complexity of the human condition in conflict through poetry, stories, and conversation. In addition, Will helps with education reporting and produces the My Teacher Project.
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