The social unrest during the summer of 2020 in the United States has produced a renewed sense of urgency and agency for the interrogation of curriculum in K-12 education and the development of culturally sustaining practices. This urgency has encouraged more teacher preparation programs to be intentional in developing culturally sustaining teachers. This paper offers four pillars to frame classroom practices to be integrated holistically and support middle level preservice teachers’ development of their culturally sustaining practices. Pillar one focuses on understanding self. The ability to honestly self-reflect and to understand personal practice deeply and continually is critical. Pillar two is decentering whiteness/self. This is the act of interrogating curriculum and classroom experiences to uncover places where teachers can widen their frames and incorporate perspectives from historically marginalized populations. Pillar three is outreach. Personalized learning and examining asset based perspectives allow preservice teachers opportunities to develop their own outreach practices. Pillar four is communication. The ability to express ourselves in a variety of ways and view our individual cultures and experiences as assets are important in communicating what is important to us and the needs that must be met. These four pillars give agency and are a strong framework for developing culturally sustaining teachers at a time that is urgent.
Chandra Diaz is an Associate Professor and Department Chair in Teacher Education at the University of Nebraska Kearney.
Laurie Ramirez is an Associate Professor in the Middle Grades Teacher Education program at Appalachian State University
Rebecca Nelson is an Associate Professor and the Co-Assistant Department Chair of Teacher Education at University of Nebrasks Kearney
Nancy Ruppert is a Professor in the Department of Education at the University of North Carolina Asheville
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Diaz, Chandra; Nelson, Rebecca M.; Ramirez, Laurie A.; and Ruppert, Nancy B.
"Culturally Sustaining Practices in Middle Schools,"
Current Issues in Middle Level Education: Vol. 27:
2, Article 2.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.georgiasouthern.edu/cimle/vol27/iss2/2