Individual Presentation or Panel Title

A Narrative Exploration of Elementary Teachers’ Social Equity Teaching Decisions: The Curricula of Place and Identity

Abstract

In this narrative study, I explored each teacher’s decision making on social equity issues (race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc.) in his or her teaching. Participants considered the social equity issues they explored with students and social equity issues they sometimes avoided/silenced in the classroom and why. As my participants explored their own educational and personal experiences, personal identity came to the forefront as important. Like a magnet, personal identity frequently attracted participants toward issues of personal import in their teaching and learning. However, at other times, matters that were “too close to home” for a participant could make those social equity topics feel much less safe, thus, participants were repelled from these topics. The level of risk an identity label was perceived to carry in the community influenced whether participants were pulled toward or felt pushed from a social equity issue. My participants were in rural, urban, suburban, and micropolitan communities in the South, and place frequently arose as a rationale for why one might be wary of broaching a particular topic. In most cases, however, it was potential community push-back that was feared. Findings reveal the need for frequent opportunities to discuss the importance of social equity work and its impact, strategies for gaining (or maintaining) community support, and continued expansion of the ways that social equity work permeates the fabric of our pedagogy. We must work to make school safer spaces for both students and teachers.

Presentation Description

In this session, we will actively explore curriculum, autobiography, and place related to two key findings in a study on social equity teaching decisions and which social equity topics elementary teachers explored--or did not--in their teaching. Findings connected to personal identity and place as well as implications for action will be discussed. Participants will be asked to join the conversation on how this work can inform teacher education programs in their work with pre-service teachers and in-service teachers to work toward greater emphasis on social equity in schools to create safer spaces for both children and educators.

Keywords

Social equity pedagogy, Narrative research, Teacher education, Social equity teaching, Culturally relevant teaching, Personal identity, Autobiography, Curriculum of place

Location

Magnolia Room B

Publication Type and Release Option

Presentation (Open Access)

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Jun 13th, 3:30 PM Jun 13th, 4:45 PM

A Narrative Exploration of Elementary Teachers’ Social Equity Teaching Decisions: The Curricula of Place and Identity

Magnolia Room B

In this narrative study, I explored each teacher’s decision making on social equity issues (race, class, gender, sexual orientation, religion, etc.) in his or her teaching. Participants considered the social equity issues they explored with students and social equity issues they sometimes avoided/silenced in the classroom and why. As my participants explored their own educational and personal experiences, personal identity came to the forefront as important. Like a magnet, personal identity frequently attracted participants toward issues of personal import in their teaching and learning. However, at other times, matters that were “too close to home” for a participant could make those social equity topics feel much less safe, thus, participants were repelled from these topics. The level of risk an identity label was perceived to carry in the community influenced whether participants were pulled toward or felt pushed from a social equity issue. My participants were in rural, urban, suburban, and micropolitan communities in the South, and place frequently arose as a rationale for why one might be wary of broaching a particular topic. In most cases, however, it was potential community push-back that was feared. Findings reveal the need for frequent opportunities to discuss the importance of social equity work and its impact, strategies for gaining (or maintaining) community support, and continued expansion of the ways that social equity work permeates the fabric of our pedagogy. We must work to make school safer spaces for both students and teachers.