At TeachingWorks, we are committed to the power of teaching to disrupt injustice. We are driven to ensure that teachers use the power of teaching for good so that children — children of color and white children — consistently receive teaching that disrupts patterns of anti-Blackness and white supremacy and other forms of racism and oppression. This requires that teachers learn to teach complex content and practices in culturally responsive ways and build classroom communities to advance justice.
Alyssa Brandon, TeachingWorks Communications Coordinator, shares her perspective on TeachingWorks' vision for our current unprecedented environment. Alyssa's role is centered around designing, sophisticated, inspiring, and informative storytelling campaigns and multimedia content that translate complex ideas about teaching and teacher education that disrupts injustice into understandable narratives.
What is unique about the work of healing, liberation, and antiracism in our current historical moment? What remains the same?
As COVID-19 vaccines are distributed in the weeks and months ahead, our nation’s students will return to school. As we prepare for the return to school, the work of healing, liberation, and anti-racism will be to learn what children have been making, reading, watching, thinking, and wondering over the past year, and design a return to in-person schooling that builds on and connects to those learnings. As we worked with teachers and schools this past year, we heard catastrophic predictions of lost learning and stymied growth for Black and Brown children. All of us in public education must refuse this crisis language. We do not know what children will come back with. For some Black and Brown children, to be out of the white gaze of punishment and deficit views was a welcome respite from fear and control. Many children had opportunities to learn and practice new skills, to encounter experiences that in-person schooling often neglects. Imagine a return to in-person schooling that, rather than racing to fill “gaps” and remedy “losses,” actively sought to explore the learning that children do outside of formal schooling and to build on and connect to it.
How has TeachingWorks acknowledged the technological divide and worked towards the program's anti-racist goals?
We have adapted our offerings and partnerships to be responsive to the demands we as educators are facing and the needs of remote teaching and learning. Over the past several months, we have hosted a series of webinars, virtual mini-courses, and professional learning workshops focused on supporting teachers and teacher educators to envision and enact what it means to use the power of teaching to disrupt patterns of injustice into virtual formats.
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The Marsal Family School of Education is proud to be a leader in the campus-wide initiative promoting Diversity, Inclusion, and Equity. Adding "Justice" to these values underscores the role of educators in the creation of just societies. Through research, public scholarship, community building, and the preparation of education practitioners and policymakers, we articulate and advance our dije agenda.