Creating Courageous Space - Equity Pedagogy, Moving From Theory to Practice
There is no such thing as safe space, only courageous space...
Panelist, Academy Fall Meeting, November 14, 2018
The Academy’s Fall Meeting introduced many members and their colleagues to a beginning conversation on equity pedagogy, with invited panelists who actively work in education and incorporate or study equity pedagogy. The panelists’ expertise ranged from theory-driven graduate and doctoral studies on education, focusing on issues of equity and race in society and policy; to high school education with unique curriculum development that creates a more equitable learning environment; to finally how the adult training and education on equity in corporate and institutional workspaces creates a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive environment for employees.
It was incredible to see such vast experience around equity pedagogy:
Kevin Kumashiro, EdD
Dr. Kevin Kumashiro is an internationally recognized expert on educational policy, school reform, teacher preparation, and educational equity and social justice, with a wide-ranging list of accomplishments and awards as a scholar, educator, leader, and advocate. He is the former Dean of the School of Education at the University of San Francisco, the founder and coordinator of the national network Education Deans for Justice and Equity, and the award-winning author or editor of ten books, including Against Common Sense: Teaching and Learning toward Social Justice, and Bad Teacher!: How Blaming Teachers Distorts the Bigger Picture. His recent honors include the 2016 Social Justice in Education Award from the American Educational Research Association, and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Lewis and Clark University.
Zeus Leonardo, PhD
Zeus Leonardo is Professor and Associate Dean of Education, and Faculty of the Critical Theory Designated Emphasis at the University of California, Berkeley. He is an AERA Fellow and the Vice President of AERA’s Division G. He was co-editor of the Review of Educational Research (2011-2014) and has been on the editorial board of many journals, including Educational Researcher and AERJ, as well as the Associate Editor for North America of Race Ethnicity & Education. He has been a visiting professor in several universities, including the University of Colorado and University of Washington where he was the acting director of the Center for Multicultural Education in 2005. Leonardo has authored or edited eight books, such as Race Frameworks and the 2nd edition of Education and Racism (with Norton Grubb), and several dozen journal articles and book chapters that involve critical engagement with race and class stratification in education, democratic schooling, and diversity in multiple forms, including epistemological and ideological difference. He has given several honorary lectures, including the American Education Studies Association’s R. Freeman Butts Endowed Lecture, the Barbara Powell Speaker Series lecture at the University of Regina, Canada, and the Derrick Bell Legacy Award from the Critical Race Studies in Education Association. In addition to invitations in the United States, he has accepted keynotes in England, Sweden, Canada, and Australia. He is finishing a book titled, Edward Said and Education, which will appear in the Key Ideas Book Series with Routledge.
Eric Temple currently serves as The Head of School at Lick-Wilmerding High School, a coeducational day 9-12 high school in San Francisco serving 515 students. Before joining Lick-Wilmerding eight years ago, for seven years Eric headed The Carey School, a pre-kindergarten through fifth grade coed day school in San Mateo. Eric began his career teaching English and as the Dean of Students at Ojai Valley Upper School, then moved to Crystal Springs Uplands School where he taught English, was the Dean of Studies and Assistant Head of School. Eric has served on many school boards, as well as the California Association of Independent Schools board where he chaired the Secondary School Board of Standards. He currently serves on the National Association of Independent Schools Board where he chairs the Equity and Justice Committee and serves on the NAIS Commission on Accreditation. Five years ago, Eric joined the faculty of the NAIS Institute for New Heads where he teaches about understanding school culture. Eric holds a BA (Boston College) and MA (UMass – Amherst) in English Literature and a MEd in Educational Leadership (Teachers College, Columbia University). In his spare time he enjoys woodworking, gardening, and traveling with his husband.
Lisa Walker (Walker)
Lisa Walker (Walker) is a consultant and facilitator with over 20 years’ experience engaging groups in effective conversations, dialogues, and trainings. As the former Director of Cross Cultural Student Development at the University of California at Berkeley, she worked in collaboration with campus partners to address climate issues for a diverse student population. She is currently a consultant with The Equity Consulting Group, Inc. She has served as a National Leader for the College Board, as a consultant for Oakland Unified School District, a presenter at the national conference for NACAC (National Association for College Admissions Counseling) as well as a number of educational, non-profit and public policy organizations. Her topics have included: cultural fluency, implicit bias, diversity, team building, board development, strategic planning, and conflict and communication models. “Walker” as she prefers, is influenced by the disciplines of Ethnic Studies, Gender and Women Studies, by the philosophy of Engaged Pedagogy and by workplace applications for mindfulness practice. Her facilitation style is grounded in praxis, highly interactive, and inquiry based.
One feels almost overwhelmed by the task or even the scope of issues around equity pedagogy in the classroom, and what that means to existing learning systems and expectations. The discussion definitely raises the reality that systems not only require slight adjustment, they might require total restructuring to address equity. For example, Eric Temple discussed how group projects at Lick-Wilmerding are intentionally designed so that project completion requires all of the students in the group to participate, stressing that each student brings something unique to the project and counters dominance issues that can arise among students with varying levels of financial privilege and tools (e.g. computers/laptops, scholarship vs. tuition paying students, and family income). Another panelist, Kevin Kumashiro, raises the idea that we are creating “equity” in a societal system that has strong inequities, and how do we navigate that tension and enhance equity pedagogy in curriculum design and teaching. The panel is one of many steps the Academy is taking support the Center for Faculty Educators and UCSF partners in enhancing the role equity pedagogy must play in our teaching and curriculum.
This effort is supported by the Academy’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, led by committee chair Denise Connor, MD. The development of the panel was part of the committee’s work in response to the results from the Academy’s Diversity Climate Survey, taken in summer 2018 and completed by 83% of the Academy membership. The committee is now compiling the executive summary for distribution and discussion at the Academy’s winter site meetings in February and March. The winter meetings will discuss the impact and solutions from the survey and incorporate interactive small group sessions with the goal of transforming equity “theory to practice,” and improving engagement with learners.