This Member Spotlight highlights Ellie Friedland, an Associate Professor in Early Childhood Education at Wheelock.
She has a Ph.D. in Education and the Arts and a Masters Degree in Human Behavior and Development. She teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate Early Childhood Education courses She created and teachers the courses Creating Welcoming Environments for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Families in Education and Human Services and Clowning for Social Change; and co-teachers the General Education Capstones Education and Theatre for Social Justice and Trying Socrates. Ellie coordinates the Wheelock College program in Listening and Speaking Across the Curriculum. She serves on the Advisory Board of the Wheelock Family Theatre and works as a teaching artist for the Wheelock Family Theatre.
Ellie’s research and practice focus on education for social justice, anti-bias teaching, and teaching and learning through the arts. She is a Theatre of the Oppressed practitioner, and integrates this work into her teaching, as well as her community activism. She frequently offers professional development for teachers in anti-bias education and cultural competence. She works with public school teachers in Guatemala, as well the teachers and volunteers in the Safe Passage program, an enrichment program for children and families who live and work in the Guatemala City Dump (this program was founded by Wheelock alum Hanley Denning). She serves on the board of the UPAVIM Community Development Foundation, and works with the teachers at UPAVIM, a women’s collective in Guatemala City that created and maintains their own school through their sales of hand-made crafts and a small bakery.
Ellie has published a number of articles on this work, and her other publications focus on culturally competent teaching and learning, as well as on teaching for social justice through drama. Her recent publications include co-editing , with Toby Emert, the book Come Closer: Critical Perspectives on Theatre of the Oppressed, and the chapter “Image Theatre as Reflective Practice” in Playing in a House of Mirrors: Applied Theatre as Reflective Practice, edited by Elinor Vettaino and Warren Linds.
Ellie is past president of Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed, a professional organization focused on the liberatory educational and theatre approaches of Paulo Friere and Augusto Boal. Before coming to Wheelock in 1999, she taught at Endicott College, Cambridge College and Lesley University. She was a child and family psychotherapist for ten years, working in an outreach program that served families within which there was severe physical and sexual child abuse. She also studied and taught at the Actors Institute in Boston and New York, and before that she studied and performed clowning with the Cumeezi Bozo Ensemble in New York City; then founded and led the Clown Jewels Clown Troupe in Boston.
Watch Ellie’s interview here.
Interview conducted by Shannon Ivey. Video editing by Skye Ashton Kantola.