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Choose to Challenge: Subverting the Status Quo in the Classroom

March is a special time at Lincoln School, as we observe Women’s History Month and, in particular, International Women’s Day (IWD), celebrated annually on March 8. The day marks both a call to action for accelerating gender parity and a coming together to honor women's achievements. This year’s theme is Choose to Challenge, a call to challenge gender bias in all its forms. 

On Monday, alumnae and guests from three countries and 14 states explored this theme in a lively discussion with Head of School Sophie Glenn Lau ’88, English Department Chair Emma Stenberg, and English faculty Martha Douglas-Osmundson P’12 and Sophia Rabb. The panel explored two of Lincoln’s most popular post-AP courses, Language + Power (taught by Ms. Douglas-Osmundson) and Media + Gender (taught by Ms. Rabb), diving into questions like: What are the opportunities in Language + Power to challenge the canon? How do your courses involve choice-making and elevating student voices? How are the skills developed in English classes necessary for future change-makers?

“Many current conversations about both media and gender are about the idea of challenging status quos around representation, about things that seem normal. The students are really committed to that already and are sort of primed for it.” —Sophia Rabb, English faculty member

During the fast-moving hour-long session, the panel also fielded interesting alumnae questions on topics ranging from colloquialisms in modern English usage to gender and communication styles. An impromptu reading list emerged, including works by Lorraine Hansberry, Irvin Yalom, Toni Morrison, and Katori Hall.

“It was really interesting to hear what the panel had to say and to make connections with other alumnae,” Connie Worthington ’62 shared after the event.

“As I continue to reflect on this year’s theme, Choose to Challenge, I am reminded that from challenge comes change. One unexpected positive from the world’s sudden shift to life online last spring has been a transcendence of the traditional boundaries between our students’ Lincoln experience and our global community," said Sophie Glenn Lau ’88, Head of School. "We can bring the world into our classrooms, and we can share more of our dynamic curricula with the world. As an alumna who lived outside the Rhode Island area for many years, I see a tremendous opportunity to give our alumnae and friends new insights into how Lincoln is preparing its students to think critically and creatively and to question the status quo.”