Teaching for Equity and Deeper Learning: How Does Professional Learning Transfer to Teachers’ Practice and Influence Students’ Experiences?
This recent journal article from Equity & Excellence in Education explores how two urban schools are helping teachers create equitable spaces for students. EL Education's Meg Riordan, Director of External Research at EL Education (alongside Montclair State University's Emily J. Klein & Catherine Gaynor), describe the structures and experiences supporting teacher learning and transfer of learning to practice as well as what happens when what is designed for and what is enacted do not align. Read more here, or below.
“We are at a critical moment in time to actualize education as more than a means of promoting compliance, but as an engine for equity.” — Meg Riordan, Director of External Research at EL Education.
Findings include that teacher professional learning for equity must (1) include centering it on content related to equity and critical pedagogy; (2) model instructional practices that promote equity; (3) create a culture of inquiry and ownership to promote a school ecosystem where equity and deeper learning thrive; and (4) invite students’ voices into the conversation to understand the impact of teachers’ professional learning.
“The obligation of anyone who thinks of himself as responsible is to examine society and try to change it and to fight it— at no matter what risk.” —James Baldwin
James Baldwin’s “A Talk to Teachers” suggests that the purpose of education is “to create in a person the ability to look at the world for himself, to make his own decisions … [to] ask questions” (1963, p. 42). Yet Baldwin also cautions us that society is wary of such deep learners, thinkers, and doers; he reminds us that the structures of our society have been “hammered into place” and rely on compliance for sustainability.
That last statement bears repeating: the structures of our society have been hammered into place and rely on compliance for sustainability. In schools across the United States, our most struggling students of color, those from poverty, English Language learners, immigrants, and students with disabilities experience instruction that reflects such compliance. This “pedagogy of poverty,” described by Haberman (1991), is teacher-driven, rewards passivity and silence, and values worksheet completion over question asking, meaning making, problem solving, and engagement.
Learn more about the structures and experiences supporting teacher learning in our link below.
Meg Riordan, Emily J. Klein & Catherine Gaynor (2019) Teaching for Equity and Deeper Learning: How Does Professional Learning Transfer to Teachers’ Practice and Influence Students’ Experiences?, Equity & Excellence in Education.