Arizona Alliance of Black
Thinking Like A Lawyer: Powerful and Practical Strategies for Engaging African American Students in Rigorous Critical Thinking Instruction
Critical thinking is one of the most important 21st century skills and is essential for college and career readiness. However, teaching students to think critically is difficult: it takes a great deal of time, training, and expertise to do it in a meaningful way that helps students unleash their critical thinking potential. This workshop provides educators and school leaders with practical tools to bring critical thinking into every classroom for every students, especially African American students who teachers struggle to connect with. Participants will:
Colin Seale has dedicated his life to ensuring that all children have the opportunity to obtain an excellent education, regardless of where they live and who they were born to. This passion led Colin to Teach for America, where he taught secondary math in Washington, D.C. after obtaining his B.S. in Computer Science and minor in African American Studies at Syracuse University, where he was the Student Body President. Experiencing firsthand how issues of poverty impact our youth’s ability to achieve academically, Colin returned to Syracuse University to earn his Master’s in Public Administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Administration. But after serving as a Management Analyst at Clark County’s Department of Family Services, Colin realized that effective management was never going to be enough when the laws that led to systematic inequality remained constant.
This led Colin back to the classroom at the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Academy and enrolled in law school part-time at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where Colin graduated magna cum laude, externed with the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada, and represented youth in the Juvenile Justice Clinic. Colin’s commitment to service continued as a corporate attorney at Greenberg Traurig, where he clocked hundreds of pro bono hours through the Children’s Attorney Project in addition to his service as Board Chair for the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth and as President of the Charter School Association of Nevada.
In 2015, Colin launched thinkLaw (www.thinklaw.us), a standards-aligned program that helps teachers use real-life legal cases to teach critical thinking to all students. thinkLaw won the Shark Tank: One Day competition at TFA’s 25th Anniversary Summit in Washington, D.C., 1st Place and the People's Choice Award at the Governor's Conference on Business in Nevada, and has been awarded the ACLU of Nevada’s Community Juvenile Justice Award, the Las Vegas Chapter of the National Bar Association’s Community Juvenile Justice Award, and the City of Las Vegas’ African American Trailblazer, Peacekeepers Educators Award for thinkLaw’s work in ensuring that critical thinking is no longer a luxury good.
Arizona Alliance of Black School Educators
1334 E. Chandler Blvd., Ste. #5-D32
Phoenix, AZ 85048
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AzABSE pledges to continue serving as educational advocates for children who have been poorly served in the past. We further pledge to ensure that African-American and all other diverse students are effectively educated in the present and are accorded priorities for the future. We pledge to lead the way through the creation of a concrete model that demonstrates the goals of academic and cultural excellence.
"Closing achievement gaps is a critical issue. The performance of Blacks is systematically different from that of other racial and ethnic groups. Decreasing gaps in student achievement means that we must increase the learning gains of Blacks."
- National Education Association
"The gap between teachers and students of color continues to grow. Over the past three years, the demographic divide between teachers and students of color has increased by 3 percentage points, and today, students of color make up almost half of the public school population. But teachers of color are just 18 percent of the teaching profession."
- Center for American Progress
"African-American students, particularly males, are far more likely to be suspended or expelled from school than their peers. Black students make up 18% of the students in the CRDC sample, but 35% of the students suspended once, and 39% of the students expelled."
- U.S. Department of Education