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Providing insights into the need to go beyond superficial equity efforts in classrooms, the authors present a standardized test analogy to make the concept of oppression…
Providing insights into the need to go beyond superficial equity efforts in classrooms, the authors present a standardized test analogy to make the concept of oppression accessible and relevant for educators. Three levels of oppression (individual, institutional and cultural/societal) are described along with a brief overview of Paulo Freire’s four dimensions of oppression. Drawing parallels from a children’s book, Testing Miss Malarkey (Finchler, 2014), strategies for recognizing and interrupting oppression are offered. The authors recommend resources that teachers can use to help children and themselves take reflective actions (praxis) to interrupt systemic types of oppressions in their classrooms and personal spaces.
This paper is grounded in the belief that to teach in socially just and equitable ways, educators benefit from a fundamental understanding of how systems of oppression work in classrooms and in society. The paper provides both a theoretical and practical approach to help guide educators’ efforts in such a way as to address systemic issues of racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism and other “isms” (systems of oppression).
This paper does not present findings such as those found in an empirical study. However, it does provide an overview of Freire’s levels of oppression along with instructional guidelines to assist teachers in helping provide children with tools to understand oppression and to take reflective actions (praxis) to make a dent in systemic types of oppressions in their classrooms and worldwide.
There are many other decolonizing frameworks that are available. This translational study focuses on one of them (Freire’) and what it means for teachers.
Believing that the school years are foundational for providing children with the tools that they need to be able to identify and address the ongoing acts of oppression, this paper seeks to make the topic accessible to educators with the hope that they can make a lasting and positive difference in children’s lives (and in society in general). Recommended resources are provided.
To interrupt and counter oppression, educators must be informed. The benefits of doing so readily extend to society in general; so, it is important for both educators and students to understand oppression and have tools for disrupting it.
This paper takes the original approach of using standardized tests as analogy to make the concept of oppression accessible and relevant for educators. The authors use this example because they recognize that many teachers can identify with feeling disempowered by the standardized testing mandates and frenzy. They believe that educators will be able to extrapolate the process by which the loss of their power occurs with standardized testing to understand how institutional oppression works. Neither author has seen an article that uses an analogy from the professional lives of teachers to illustrate oppression.
Simultaneously drawing from DuBois’ timeless question, “How does it feel to be a problem?” (DuBois, 1990, p. 7) and contemporary notions that Black males are the…
Simultaneously drawing from DuBois’ timeless question, “How does it feel to be a problem?” (DuBois, 1990, p. 7) and contemporary notions that Black males are the solution to solving social and educational troubles in the Black community such as gang violence, high school dropout rates, and fatherless homes (Duncan, 2011), we focus on the positioning of Black males in the discourse on teacher recruitment and retention. While acknowledging the need to recruit and retain Black male teachers, we explore the weightiness of viewing Black males as the panacea for educational and social issues in schools such as disproportionate dropout and expulsion rates for students of color and youth involvement in gangs. We identify both challenges and opportunities faced by Black males and capture the complex and sometimes contradictory discourses. Particular attention is given to deconstructing the “double-talk” (Black males as both a problem and a solution) which positions Black male teachers as both the crisis and the savior/superhero.
Chike Akua is a doctoral student in educational policy studies at Georgia State University. A former middle school teacher, Akua taught in public schools for 15 years. During his tenure as a teacher, he was selected as a Teacher of the Year in the State of Virginia and acknowledged for exemplary teaching and service in Georgia. Akua is the author of widely disseminated instructional materials and children's literature and has led principal and teacher workshops for more than 500 U.S. schools and school districts. His book A Treasure Within: Stories of Remembrance and Rediscovery was nominated for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Award for Outstanding Contribution to Children's Literature.
Currently, the field of education has been seeking innovative strategies to increase the representation of Black male teachers in U.S. classrooms. In this chapter, the…
Currently, the field of education has been seeking innovative strategies to increase the representation of Black male teachers in U.S. classrooms. In this chapter, the author presents a status report of Black male teachers’ path to U.S. K-12 public school classrooms at six critical stages. These stages include the following: (a) Black males with a high school diploma; (b) enrollment in educator preparation programs; (c) educator preparation program completers; (d) educator preparation programs with the highest number of Black male graduates; (e) Black male education degree holders that select teaching as a profession; and (f) the current status of Black male teachers in U.S. K-12 public schools. Based on the data presented in this chapter, recommendations are provided to the field of education to improve their representation for the benefit of all students. Additionally, the critical need for this timely book is discussed.
This chapter addresses the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s ethical principle of “First Do No Harm” from the perspective of racial equity issues…
This chapter addresses the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s ethical principle of “First Do No Harm” from the perspective of racial equity issues that seemingly are not obvious to educators or often overlooked in the education of Black children. Two complementary points are made. First, many educators tend to view discrimination in terms of intentional and overt actions, but may not realize how they can and do inadvertently harm children during everyday classroom routines, instructional practices, policies, and curriculum that position African American culture invisible or abnormal. Second, even though teachers might not be cognizant or aware of institutional racism that is endemic in policies, instruction, curriculum, practices, and routines, their involvement in these practices represents an ethical problem and violates the “do no harm” principle. While most P-12 teachers and teacher educators agree in theory with the idea of valuing cultural and linguistic diversity, changing actions, and deeply-seated teaching practices and dispositions can only be accomplished by challenging and disrupting normalizing discourses in the policies that inform instructional practices, curriculum, and the pedagogies used in teacher education programs and in P-12 schools. This chapter suggests that teacher education programs use decolonizing frameworks for addressing equity academic and social issues for African American students. A discussion of institutional levels of oppression and praxis are included. Examples of barriers and promising practices are shared. An overarching theme is that early childhood teacher educators must unapologetically, thoughtfully, intentionally, and comprehensively advance issues concerning educational equity for African American students.