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Toward an Ethnic Studies Pedagogy: Implications for K-12 Schools from the Research

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Abstract

In direct contrast to Arizona’s criminalization of Ethnic Studies in Arizona, the San Francisco Unified School District’s Board of Education unanimously adopted a resolution to support Ethnic Studies in their schools. As schools across the country begin to place Ethnic Studies courses on their master schedules, the lack of preparation and education to support effective Ethnic Studies teaching has emerged as a problem. Therefore, the central questions addressed in this paper are: What is Ethnic Studies pedagogy? and What are its implications for hiring and preparing K-12 teachers? This is a conceptual article that builds upon existing research studies to investigate the pedagogy of effective K-12 teachers of Ethnic Studies. From this literature, we identify several patterns in their pedagogy: culturally responsive pedagogy, community responsive pedagogy and teacher racial identity development. We then tease out these components, briefly reviewing the literature for each, leading to a synthesized definition of Ethnic Studies pedagogy. We conclude the paper by providing recommendations for practice and research in the interest of preparing and supporting effective Ethnic Studies teaching in K-12 classrooms.
Toward an Ethnic Studies Pedagogy: Implications
for K-12 Schools from the Research
Allyson Tintiangco-Cubales Rita Kohli
Jocyl Sacramento Nick Henning
Ruchi Agarwal-Rangnath Christine Sleeter
ÓSpringer Science+Business Media New York 2014
Abstract In direct contrast to Arizona’s criminalization of Ethnic Studies in
Arizona, the San Francisco Unified School District’s Board of Education unani-
mously adopted a resolution to support Ethnic Studies in their schools. As schools
across the country begin to place Ethnic Studies courses on their master schedules,
the lack of preparation and education to support effective Ethnic Studies teaching
has emerged as a problem. Therefore, the central questions addressed in this paper
are: What is Ethnic Studies pedagogy? and What are its implications for hiring and
preparing K-12 teachers? This is a conceptual article that builds upon existing
research studies to investigate the pedagogy of effective K-12 teachers of Ethnic
Studies. From this literature, we identify several patterns in their pedagogy:
All authors contributed equally to the writing of this article.
A. Tintiangco-Cubales
Department of Asian American Studies, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, USA
R. Kohli
Education, Society and Culture, Graduate School of Education, University of California, Riverside,
Riverside, CA, USA
J. Sacramento
Graduate School of Education, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, USA
N. Henning (&)
Department of Secondary Education, California State University, Fullerton, College Park CP600-18,
P.O. Box 6868, Fullerton, CA 92834-6868, USA
e-mail: nhenning@fullerton.edu
R. Agarwal-Rangnath
Department of Elementary Education, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA, USA
C. Sleeter
Professor Emerita, College of Professional Studies, California State University, Monterey Bay,
Monterey, CA, USA
123
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DOI 10.1007/s11256-014-0280-y
culturally responsive pedagogy, community responsive pedagogy and teacher racial
identity development. We then tease out these components, briefly reviewing the
literature for each, leading to a synthesized definition of Ethnic Studies pedagogy.
We conclude the paper by providing recommendations for practice and research in
the interest of preparing and supporting effective Ethnic Studies teaching in K-12
classrooms.
Keywords Ethnic Studies Teacher education Race Culturally
responsive pedagogy Community responsive pedagogy
Introduction
On February 23, 2010, the San Francisco Unified School District’s (SFUSD) Board
of Education unanimously adopted a resolution to support Ethnic Studies in their
schools. This resolution was in direct contrast to Arizona Revised Statute 15-111
and 15-112, legislation that criminalized Ethnic Studies in Arizona, enacted that
same year. San Francisco’s institutionalization of Ethnic Studies was the result of
K-12 educators, university faculty, community organizations, students, and families
coming together to fight for an education that could potentially address gaps in
education achievement, opportunity, equity, and justice. Although these groups
believe Ethnic Studies holds great promise, challenges in its implementation
became clear in its early stages.
As a select group of SFUSD high schools began to place Ethnic Studies on their
master schedules, a committee of teachers was charged with developing Ethnic
Studies curriculum for the 9th grade. Since SFUSD housed Ethnic Studies courses
in history departments, the only requirement to teach the course was a social science
credential, resulting in an eligible pool of teachers with drastically variant levels of
Ethnic Studies content knowledge. There were teachers with an Ethnic Studies
background, who either received a degree in Ethnic Studies or who have
participated in community work that gave them opportunities to develop their
knowledge base on communities of color. These teachers felt that Ethnic Studies
involved teaching students how to understand their experiences with race and
racism through a critical lens. Teachers who lacked that background were instead
tentative about centering the course around race. Despite these and other
pedagogical tensions, the committee continued to negotiate towards common
ground, and for 3 years they met regularly to write, pilot, and revise the curriculum.
Discussions within this group centered around four major questions: What is Ethnic
Studies? What is its purpose? How do we teach it? What will our students get out of
it? This article was initiated with the SFUSD teachers’ struggles in mind. In this
article, we synthesize their questions into two central questions: (1) What is effective
Ethnic Studies pedagogy? and (2) What are its implications for preparing and
supporting K-12 Ethnic Studies teachers?
Our goal of operationalizing Ethnic Studies pedagogy is meant to move us away
from simplistic and static understandings of teaching and learning Ethnic Studies
curriculum, and instead consider the art of teaching and learning Ethnic Studies. We
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employ Tintiangco-Cubales’s (2010) definition of pedagogy to guide this
development:
Pedagogy is a philosophy of education informed by positionalities, ideologies,
and standpoints (of both teacher and learner). It takes into account the critical
relationships between the PURPOSE of education, the CONTEXT of
education, the CONTENT of what is being taught, and the METHODS of
how it is taught. It also includes (the IDENTITY of) who is being taught, who
is teaching, their relationship to each other, and their relationship to structure
and power (as cited in Tintiangco-Cubales et al. 2010, p. viii).
This conceptual article builds upon existing research studies to investigate the
pedagogy of effective K-12 teachers of Ethnic Studies. From this research, we
identify several patterns in their teaching: their use of culturally and community
responsive pedagogy, and how their racial identity informs their teaching. We then
tease out these components, briefly reviewing the literature for each, leading to a
synthesized definition of Ethnic Studies pedagogy. We conclude by discussing the
implications for preparing and supporting effective K-12 teachers of Ethnic Studies.
Background on K-12 Ethnic Studies
As the proportion of students of color in US public schools continues to grow, the
achievement gap between students of color and their White counterparts also persists.
Data from the National Assessment for Education Progress (NAEP) suggest that
standards-based curricula and test-driven teaching are missing the mark. According to
NAEP scores in reading from the early 1970s to the present, while the achievement
gap among 4th graders has been gradually narrowing, racial achievement gaps for 8th
and 12th graders were narrowest around 1988 and 1990, which was before the
standards and testing movement. After dropping when standards-based reforms were
initiated in the 1990s, scores for African American and Latino students only partially
rebounded, then virtually flattened out (NCES 2011).
Many researchers have challenged the notion of the achievement gap, and
reframed it as an ‘‘opportunity gap’’ (Carter and Welner 2013). Both curriculum and
pedagogy play a role in this opportunity gap, as students of color are not receiving an
education that reflects their realities (Noguera and Akom 2000). It has also been
consistently demonstrated that Ethnic Studies, a curriculum that does reflect the
experiences of students of color, has a positive impact on student academic
engagement, achievement, and empowerment, especially when linked with culturally
responsive teaching grounded in high academic expectations (Sleeter 2011).
Historically, Ethnic Studies emerged from social movements in the 1960s as
students, educators, and scholars of color pressed schools, school districts, and
textbook companies to produce and offer curricula that reflect the diversity and
complexity of the United States population (Sleeter 2011). In line with movements
of the time, particularly the civil rights movements in the United States and
liberation movements in the Third World, the push for an anti-racist, multicultural
curricular reform was guided by a strong sense of decolonization and self-
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determination. Students and community members demanded the inclusion of
histories and paradigms focused on issues of race, culture, power, and identity
(Acun
˜a1996; Umemoto 1989; Woo 1989). Specifically, in the San Francisco Bay
Area, the Third World Liberation Front coalition, influenced by Frantz Fanon’s
(1963)The Wretched of the Earth, formed at the San Francisco State University and
University of California, Berkeley campuses to demand inclusion, access, democ-
racy, and autonomy for students and faculty of color as a step towards a
decolonizing education (Umemoto 1989). This movement demanded and birthed
Ethnic Studies.
‘ARC’’ of Ethnic Studies
The educational purpose or the ‘‘ARC’’ of Ethnic Studies from its onset was
centered around three major concepts: Access, Relevance, and Community. Access
referred to providing students opportunities to receive quality education and urged
educational institutions to open their doors to more students of color. Ethnic Studies
defined quality education as one that is relevant and directly connected to the
marginalized experiences of students of color. To connect these experiences, Ethnic
Studies’ purpose was to serve as a bridge from formal educational spaces to
community involvement, advocacy, organizing and activism. Ultimately, students in
Ethnic Studies leveraged their education towards the betterment of their commu-
nities. This ARC of Ethnic Studies provided students with a critical hope that
shaped their engagement with their own education (Gonzales et al. 2009;
Tintiangco-Cubales 2012).
Elements of ARC also greatly influenced the purpose of Ethnic Studies at the
high school level in SFUSD. Attempting to challenge the reproduction of
essentialist categories of race, class, and gender, Ethnic Studies deconstructs
structural forms of domination and subordination, going beyond simplistic additives
of multicultural content to the curriculum. Ethnic Studies is an interdisciplinary,
multidisciplinary, and comparative study of the social, cultural, political, and
economic expression and experience of ethnic groups. Ethnic Studies recovers and
reconstructs the counternarratives, perspectives, epistemologies, and cultures of
those who have been historically neglected and denied citizenship or full
participation within traditional discourse and institutions, particularly highlighting
the contributions people of color have made in shaping US culture and society
(Butler 2001; Hu-Dehart 1993; Yang 2000). Further, by engaging students deeply
with multiple perspectives, including those that resonate with their own experiences,
Ethnic Studies taught well is academically very rigorous.
Challenges in Preparing Ethnic Studies Teachers
There are several challenges that exist in the preparation of effective Ethnic Studies
teachers, including a limited presence of teachers with Ethnic Studies backgrounds
and limited teacher development regarding how to teach Ethnic Studies, and barriers
in the credentialing process.
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In many school districts, teachers are required to have either a Social Studies or
English credential to teach an Ethnic Studies course. In California, in addition to
completing coursework, student teaching, and the statewide performance assess-
ment to obtain this credential, candidates must complete the California Subject
Examination for Teachers (CSET). For Social Studies, this examination tests for
proficiency in five domains of state standards: (1) World History, (2) US History, (3)
California History, (4) Economics, and (5) Geography. Ethnic Studies is not one of
the domains. An analysis of the pared down standards listed in the test preparation
guide for the Social Science CSET revealed only limited references to the history of
US-based racial and ethnic minorities, with zero references to US-based Latina/os,
one reference to Asian Americans in regards to Japanese internment, and only a few
references to Native Americans and African Americans (CCTC 2002). Additionally,
the standards are written through a Eurocentric perspective where the references to
people of color are both essentialist and additive (Perez Huber et al. 2006),
simplifying and marginalizing their experiences and contributions. Teachers who
master the content outlined in this examination may have some exposure to the
history of marginalized racial communities in the United States, but are not required
to have complex or critical understanding of institutionalized racism and how it
shapes the realities of different communities. Also, the content standards do not
require insight into the shared struggles of Black, Latina/o, Asian American or
Native American peoples, or the contributions of women of color in historical
movements. Thus, teachers with a Social Science credential who end up teaching
Ethnic Studies are not required to have content knowledge or a perspective that is
aligned with Ethnic Studies.
Additionally, testing is a barrier in the recruitment of effective Ethnic Studies
teachers, as the historical perspectives outlined in the standards often contradict the
lens of Ethnic Studies. Candidates who have completed a degree in Ethnic Studies
and would be best equipped to teach high school Ethnic Studies courses, find it
challenging to pass the CSET examination (Kohli 2013). This testing bias
disproportionately affects teacher candidates of color, who are more likely to bring
life experiences that, we will argue, are needed for effective Ethnic Studies
pedagogy (CCTC 2011; NRC 2000,2001).
Given these barriers to the institutionalization of Ethnic Studies and the
preparation of Ethnic Studies teachers, it is imperative that we examine effective
models of Ethnic Studies pedagogy to recommend how the barriers might be
confronted. In the next section, we survey the literature on K-12 Ethnic Studies
teaching and look for key patterns.
Research on Ethnic Studies K-12 Teachers
To examine what effective Ethnic Studies K-12 pedagogy looks like in the
classroom, we surveyed the limited extant research on Ethnic Studies teachers’
practice. We were able to locate six studies reporting data on teachers: four studies
of exemplary teachers of Ethnic Studies (Baptiste 2010; Daus-Magbual 2010)or
teachers in Ethnic Studies programs that were having demonstrable success with
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students (Lipka et al. 2005; Watahomigie and McCarty 1994), one of an exemplary
case and a poor case (Pollard and Ajirotutu 2001), and one in which the quality of
Ethnic Studies teaching was mixed or poor (Sanders 2009).
We begin with the studies of exemplary Ethnic Studies teachers. Daus-Magbual
(2010) studied teachers and students associated with the Pin@y Educational
Partnerships (PEP) in the San Francisco Bay area. Of the nine people in his study,
eight were classroom teachers; all were Filipina/o Americans. As participants in
PEP, before teaching Filipino American studies in the classroom, they engaged in a
deep process of transformation as they learned Filipino American history through an
Ethnic Studies framework, and located themselves within that framework. All of
them spoke of the critical importance of having worked personally through the pain
of oppression to reach a position of empowerment, and how understanding history is
essential to understanding self. Having engaged not only in studying Filipino
American history, but also doing deep identity work, they were then ready as
teachers to engage their students. With this background, the teachers brought to the
classroom a powerful vision of who their students can become that links students’
cultural identity with an empowered sense of purpose as a foundation on which to
build academics. The teachers stressed that, having worked through their own
identity in the context of PEP, they were then more able to reach, teach, and unite
students of varying identities and learning styles.
Baptiste (2010) studied how three history teachers interpreted the New Jersey
Amistad Law, which mandates incorporation of African American history into the
social studies and history curriculum, outlining in some detail what must be
included. The law established a commission to offer professional development for
teachers, which focuses on content rather than pedagogy. All three teachers (two
Black and one White) had participated in the professional development; two were
selected because they were recipients of the Amistad Exemplary Practice Award.
Baptiste found that all three teachers had engaged in critical reflection about their
own pasts in order to consider why and how to include perspectives of Africans and
African Americans within US history and were passionate learners who were
strongly motivated to increase their knowledge base about African and African
American history. As the researcher pointed out, all three needed ‘‘to come to grips
with their comfort levels with the materials and the integration of African and
African American history into the American history narrative’ (p. 163). With this
basis, all three were then able to respond to the needs of their students. They taught
in very diverse settings, ranging from all-White to all-Black, but all three teachers
made an effort to get to know their students in order to engage them with African
American history and explore where they fit in relationship to that history.
Two studies examined teachers in relationship to Native American curricula,
both of which showed success with students academically. Lipka et al. (2005) report
case studies of two teachers of Math in a Cultural Context (MCC), which is an
elementary mathematics curriculum developed collaboratively by Yup’ik Native
elders, math teachers, and anthropologists in Alaska. One teacher was Yup’ik, the
other was not. The teachers were videotaped, and the tapes were analyzed by Yup’ik
elders and faculty members. The Yup’ik teacher created a high degree of student
ownership over learning, partly because she and the students were already familiar
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with Yup’ik culture in the units (such as building fish racks), which enabled them to
work deeply with high-level mathematical reasoning. The non-Yup’ik teacher built
her teaching around relationships with students, and found the MCC curriculum to
give her useful framework for teaching math. The teachers’ styles were different,
but both had spent enough time in the community that they were able to teach the
curriculum in culturally relevant ways. Watahomigie and McCarty (1994) described
the origins and development of a bilingual/bicultural literacy curriculum on the
Hualapai reservation (along the southern side of the Grand Canyon). Hualapai
elders, a linguist, and a Hualapai certified teacher developed the curriculum; both
Hualapai and non-Hualapai teachers taught it. All of them participated regularly in
on-going professional development that focused on both the curriculum and
community life, which was necessary because the curriculum was so firmly
anchored in the community. Elders helped to conduct much of the professional
development. The program also assisted non-certified Hualapai people working in
the schools to become certified teachers.
Finally, Pollard and Ajirotutu (2001) report a longitudinal evaluation of two
African American immersion schools in Milwaukee. The elementary school showed
an overall improvement of various student outcomes. When that school shifted its
program to an African American immersion focus, the teachers, who had been
working together, developed a common vision fairly easily and also committed
themselves to completing 18 university credits in African and African American
history and culture. The teachers collaboratively developed classroom and school-
wide activities reflecting African and African American culture.
The two studies in which the quality of Ethnic Studies teaching was mixed to
poor offer a contrast. In the less successful African American immersion middle
school, Pollard and Ajirotutu (2001) found a constant turnover of teachers and
administrators, leading to fragmentation and instability in the school’s implemen-
tation of African and African American history and culture. They also found less
commitment among the teachers. Of those who stayed in the school, many failed to
complete the 18-credit requirement of coursework in African and African American
history and culture. Sanders’ (2009) study shows that content-based professional
development for Ethnic Studies, while helpful, is not sufficient. Sanders studied
Philadelphia social studies teachers’ implementation of an African American history
course, which the district had adopted as a graduation requirement. Twenty teachers
(6 Black, 14 White) from varying schools were interviewed about the course and its
impact on students, and support they received from the district. Teachers expressed
contrasting beliefs about the purpose of the course: while some believed it was to
promote personal development of African American youth, others saw its purpose
as providing everyone with another perspective on US history. The voluntary
professional development teachers were offered consisted of content-oriented
presentations by university professors and community/cultural excursions; it did not
include Ethnic Studies pedagogy. Only nine of the 20 teachers participated in it, and
some were not aware it was available. Three of the experienced teachers were
observed in the classroom, 1 week each. All three were used to teaching as content
transmission. As a result, they struggled with disruptive student behavior, some
using rigid teacher-centered teaching to manage it. In none of the three classes was
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there much student interaction about African American history, and the teachers
demonstrated low academic expectations. The researcher concluded that even those
teachers who had experienced the content-based professional development did not
know how to teach African American history to their students, a problem the
administrators seemed unaware of.
From this small body of research, some consistent findings emerge about
effective Ethnic Studies pedagogy. First, strong Ethnic Studies teachers had a sense
of purpose of Ethnic Studies, which was to help students critique racism and its
personal and social impact, as well as to challenge oppressive conditions. This
purpose was developed and grounded through coursework and/or professional
development of Ethnic Studies content knowledge and intellectual frameworks.
Second, the strong Ethnic Studies teachers brought a culturally responsive
pedagogical orientation to their work. They believed in their students academically,
knew how to situate students’ questions and lives within Ethnic Studies content, and
knew how to lead students through a process of identity exploration and
transformation in relationship to Ethnic Studies. Third, they were able to engage
with focal ethnic communities on an ongoing basis using the framework of
community responsive pedagogy. They recognized the importance of building
relationships with their students and students’ parents and wider community, and
built curriculum around those relationships. Fourth, while there were strong white
and non-white Ethnic Studies teachers, being a person of color was a distinct asset.
Regardless of their race, however, their effectiveness hinged on their continuous
reflection about their own cultural identities, their relationships with the focal ethnic
communities, and the impact of a Eurocentric system on their perspectives and
sense of self. The remainder of this paper elaborates on these emerging themes
regarding strong Ethnic Studies teachers and their practices.
Purpose of Ethnic Studies: Decolonization and Elimination of Racism
As illustrated by the studies above, discourse on the purpose of Ethnic Studies is
necessary, contentious, and has great bearing on its pedagogy. If Ethnic Studies is to
develop students’ critical understanding of the world and their place in it, and
ultimately prepare them to transform their world for the better by using academic
tools, its purpose needs to be embedded in its pedagogy. In keeping with its Third
World Liberation Front Movement roots, decolonization, self-determination, and
anti-racism are central to the purpose of Ethnic Studies and should be transparent in
its teaching. Early Ethnic Studies activists were inspired by the work of Fanon on
decolonization, defining it as both the physical act of freeing a territory from
external control of a colonizer, and as the freeing of the consciousness of the native
from alienation caused by colonization (Fanon 1963). Decolonization as a liberatory
process is central to Ethnic Studies pedagogy because it allows for a systematic
critique of the traumatic history of colonialism on native and Third World peoples
and, subsequently, healing from colonial trauma, including the trauma of having
learned to see oneself as academically incapable. This process of decolonization
should not be mistaken as only an academic exercise; the aim of decolonization is to
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move toward self-determination, claiming of an intellectual identity, and active
participation in the transformation of material conditions.
Mohanty (2003) asserts that a decolonizing pedagogy includes a critique of
capitalism and a transnational perspective for the purpose of transforming
institutions, local communities, and individuals as a form of resistance against
psychological and social structures of domination. Similarly, Tejeda et al. (2002)
argue for a decolonizing pedagogical praxis that pursues a social justice ‘‘that sees
dismantling our internal neocolonial condition and abolishing its multiple forms of
violence as preconditions to the existence of justice between all peoples that inhabit
the contemporary United States’’ (p. 10). They propose a decolonizing pedagogy
rooted in the struggle against imperialist expansion that began in the seventeenth
century. Directly connecting the historical colonial project of the United States with
contemporary internal neocolonialism that continues to affect people of color,
decolonizing pedagogy as a framework allows the Ethnic Studies classroom to be a
place where students can evaluate the systems and institutions that determine,
control, and maintain their positionality in society. The emphasis on praxis in
decolonizing pedagogy provides opportunities in Ethnic Studies courses for students
to practice ‘‘guided action aimed at transforming individuals and their world that is
reflected upon and leads to further action’’ (Tejeda et al. 2002, p. 14).
Strobel (2001) studied the impact of decolonization on Filipino students and their
process of becoming activists. Learning about the histories of colonialism within an
Ethnic Studies context provided students the opportunity to better understand their
personal and family experiences. It also allowed them to further interrogate their
internalization of colonialism and develop ways to resist the reproduction of
colonialism and colonial mentality. Strobel describes the process of decolonization
as having three elements: naming, reflecting, and acting. Similarly, Halagao (2010)
studied the long-lasting impact on the lives and continued action of student teachers
in a Filipino American Studies program. She argued that a decolonizing curriculum:
1. Requires deep and critical thinking of one’s history and culture focusing on the
concepts of diversity, multiculturalism, imperialism, oppression, revolution,
and racism.
2. Must also be feeling-based that allows mourning, dreaming, confusion,
struggle, excitement, passion, empathy to be sources of knowledge.
3. Needs to create a space for formerly colonized people to come together and
unite.
4. Teaches life skills that serve one personally and professionally.
5. Must have a social action component that models activism toward social
change.
In conjunction with decolonization, the purpose of Ethnic Studies is to eliminate
racism. Ethnic Studies pedagogy, as an anti-racist project, encourages both teachers
and students to critique racial oppression at the institutional, interpersonal, and
internalized levels while also showing how each level influences the other. As
Ethnic Studies has grown into an academic field of study in the last 40 years, much
has been theorized and reconceptualized with regards to race, but what has not
shifted is its purpose to challenge racism.
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Ethnic Studies has been borrowed from and built upon by scholars in the field of
education to support a racial analysis of school inequities, particularly by the
theoretical framework of Critical Race Theory or CRT (Yosso et al. 2004). As
Ethnic Studies courses enter K-12 school contexts, CRT offers concrete tools for
framing pedagogies of race, such as counterstorytelling and testimonio (Yosso
2005) which, rather than adding the perspective of communities of color to a
Eurocentric story, instead centralizes the experiences and narratives of people of
color, thus legitimizing them as evidence to challenge and reframe dominant
narratives about race, culture, language and citizenship. Centralizing a decolonizing
and anti-racist pedagogy shapes what is considered responsive about Ethnic Studies.
An education that decolonizes and teaches students to challenge racial oppression
has markedly positive impacts on students of color academically. One of the best-
documented examples is the Social Justice Education Project (SJEP) in Tucson,
Arizona, which intentionally linked development of an academic identity with
Chicana/o studies. Evaluations of the project over several years found that students
enrolled in its courses graduated and went on to college at a much higher rate than
other students in the same schools, and tested higher on the state’s tests for reading,
writing, and math (Cabrera et al. 2012; CLNAEP 2011). This shows that effective
Ethnic Studies teachers recognize and work with the powerful linkage between
psychological, cultural, political, and academic purposes of Ethnic Studies.
Culturally Responsive Pedagogy
As revealed in the literature, strong K-12 Ethnic Studies teachers have a culturally
responsive orientation. Culturally responsive pedagogy is a type of teaching that
responds to students’ cultures and needs, assists in the development of their agency
as producers of culture, and places great value on de-essentializing ethnic identities
and subjectivities by acknowledging the heterogeneity and multiplicity in people of
color’s epistemologies (Barnes 2006; Gay 2010; Ladson-Billings 1990,1995;
Sleeter 2005; Zeichner 2003). There are three aspects of culturally responsive
pedagogy that are essential to Ethnic Studies pedagogy: building upon students’
experiences and perspectives, developing students’ critical consciousness, and
creating caring academic environments.
Culturally responsive pedagogy advocates for situating student culture and funds
of knowledge at the center of the curriculum. Hefflin (2002) highlighted a
framework of culturally responsive teaching that utilizes students’ lived experience
as a guide to shaping the content and approach to teaching literature. The curriculum
not only included literature written by and about African Americans, but was
partnered with a method that drew upon students’ church culture to enact a ‘‘call-
and-response’’ approach to encouraging dialogue in the classroom, which increased
student engagement as well as verbal and written performance. Similarly, in an
ethnographic study of a high school Filipino Heritage Studies class, Jocson (2008)
reveals kuwento as a culturally responsive pedagogical tool. Kuwento, a story or
approach to telling/sharing stories, is linked to Filipino cultural traditions of passing
down history, lived experiences, and values. The teacher’s use of kuwento engaged
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students in sharing lived experiences and learning about their peers within a larger
socio-historical context, a process that affirmed students’ cultural identity and
knowledge and enabled them to make critical connections between the history,
familial relationships, and community.
These examples illustrate teachers who have found ways to center the
experiences of students in their content through culturally responsive pedagogy.
Building on these examples, the cultural responsiveness of Ethnic Studies pedagogy
should build upon the historical and current experiences of students and their
communities; however, it must also go deeper to also interrogate and foster
students’ critical consciousness. Many students who are newly exposed to Ethnic
Studies have to unlearn hegemonic Eurocentric culture they have been taught
throughout their whole academic and social lives, thus it is important within Ethnic
Studies pedagogy to use a decolonizing approach to culturally responsive
curriculum. As Camangian (2010) argues, marginalized youth of color must go
through a process of recovering themselves and their identities. This can help
students to value cultural knowledge while also developing a critical lens to
question and understand their realities, which lends itself to the second component
of culturally responsive pedagogy, developing a critical consciousness—an
understanding of structural forms of domination and subordination.
A third implication of culturally responsive pedagogy for Ethnic Studies is the
teacher’s investment in students’ academic success by creating caring environments
where student knowledge and skills serve as the primary point of departure.
Students identify teacher caring as crucial. For instance, Howard (2001) interviewed
African American elementary students about their teachers within urban school
contexts. Students said that teachers’ willingness to care and bond with them created
optimal learning environments. Teachers expressed caring through nurturing
behavior, the expression of high expectations, and a respect for the students.
Students mentioned the teacher’s ability to structure the classroom in a way that
valued the students’ home and community, and specifically creating a home-like
atmosphere or feeling. Similarly, Fra
´nquiz and del Carmen Salazar (2004)
investigated how school structures and teachers’ confidence in students can
encourage students’ academic success, based on a 5-year study in a Colorado high
school. Their ethnography highlights critical elements of a humanizing pedagogy
that Chicano/a students identified as key to their success: respeto (respect),
confianza (mutual trust), consejos (verbal teachings) and buen ejemplos (exemplary
models). Valenzuela (1999) calls this authentic caring, a type of care that
emphasizes reciprocal relationships, unconditional love, and connection, where both
students and teachers realize their humanity.
Because learning to reframe essentialist and hierarchical representations of
race, class and gender can involve challenging discourse in an Ethnic Studies
classroom, it is fundamental that students feel safe and cared for. Using models of
culturally responsive pedagogy in an Ethnic Studies context that build on students’
histories and experiences to develop critical consciousness in an authentically
caring way, teachers are able to ensure an environment that values students as
whole beings, encouraging success within and beyond the scope of their
classrooms.
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123
Community Responsive Pedagogy
In addition to being culturally responsive, successful Ethnic Studies teachers must
also be able to engage regularly and well with focal ethnic communities using
culturally responsive pedagogy, preparing young people for leadership in addressing
issues in their schools and communities. Building on Freire’s (1970) notion of
praxis, a cyclical process that emphasizes that relationship between theory, practice,
and reflection to address social issues, community responsive pedagogy provides
opportunities for students to apply what they learn in Ethnic Studies courses to their
broader communities. The key components to a community responsive Ethnic
Studies pedagogy include developing critical consciousness, developing agency
through direct community experience, and growing transformative leaders.
Using community responsive pedagogy, effective Ethnic Studies teachers
develop critical consciousness by connecting classroom learning with students’
home and community life, and helping students learn to analyze and act on
community needs. One method of community responsive pedagogy that has been
embedded in K-12 Ethnic Studies classrooms is Youth Participatory Action
Research (YPAR), where youth become critical action researchers. YPAR nurtures
a positive youth identity, develops critical consciousness and empathy for the
struggles of others, and engages youth in social justice activities informed by
students’ lived experiences (Akom 2011; Cammarota and Romero 2009,2011;
Duncan-Andrade and Morrell 2008; Ginwright and Cammarota 2007; Morrell 2004;
Romero et al. 2008). Akom (2011) developed a model of YPAR in a high school
Africana Studies class which he called Black Emancipatory Action Research
(BEAR) to focus on the implications of ‘‘racing research and researching race.’’ His
framework, rooted in Ethnic Studies, develops students’ critical consciousness
through questioning objectivity and reexamining the researched–researcher rela-
tionship, while emphasizing principles such as self-determination, social justice,
equity, healing, and love. With its commitment to community capacity building,
local knowledge, asset based research, community generated information, and
action as part of the inquiry process, BEAR represents a possibility for youth to use
their research to develop liberatory action plans toward the elimination of racism,
which is central to the mission of Ethnic Studies. By learning self-advocacy through
Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR), critically conscious students have the
opportunity to see themselves as knowledgeable, intellectual, capable, and
empowered (Ginwright and Cammarota 2007).
The steps and principles of YPAR provide students the opportunity to use their
education and lived experiences to address problems in their school and
communities. The steps also build their academic and critical thinking skills by
providing them with a process they can apply to solving problems that they may
encounter throughout their life. Duncan-Andrade and Morrell (2008) highlighted
how to develop youth’s critical consciousness by employing McIntyre’s (2000)
three main principles to guide participatory action research (PAR); (a) collective
investigation of a problem; (b) the reliance on indigenous knowledge to better
understand that problem; and (c) the desire to take individual and/or collective
action to deal with the identified problem. Building on community consciousness,
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Duncan-Andrade and Morrell implement the steps of Freire’s cyclical praxis model:
(1) identify a problem; (2) analyze a problem; (3) create a plan of action to address
the problem; (4) implement the plan of action; and (5) reflect on the plan of action;
when teaching students how to do research.
These steps demonstrate how community responsive Ethnic Studies pedagogy
develops students’ agency by engaging them directly in action that responds to their
research on their community. For example, the Social Justice Education Project
(SJEP) in Tucson’s Mexican-American Studies program took a ‘‘funds of knowledge’
approach to engage students in the teaching and learning of YPAR, where students
developed critical consciousness and agency through community-based research that
directly addressed social injustices in their lives, schools, and communities
(Cammarota and Romero 2009,2011;Romeroetal.2008). Students’ research-based
findings, produced in conjunction with their intellectual development, led Tucson
schools to make changes such as replacing missing urinals in the boys’ bathrooms,
repairing falling tiles in the gym ceiling, repairing water fountains, updating books in
the library, and ensuring classroom safety. Through this social justice youth education
model, teachers and students connected the classroom with the community and
engaged in practices that led to positive youth identities. Avendan
˜o(
2007) studied a
high school Filipino Studies course that strengthened students’ sense of agency
through a pedagogy that taught students (a) how to understand their power in the
process of knowledge construction; (b) an orientation around action; (c) through
modeling content; (d) critical thought and analysis that analyzed structure; and
(e) trust and collaborative learning. Similarly, Bautista (2012) studied students in the
Freedom Scholars Program, which focused on the intersection of college access
through the development of civic engagement. He asserted that participation in this
program allowed students to study the systemic and local challenges with schooling,
and also to enact what he called a ‘‘pedagogy of agency.’’ In essence, students teach
and learn about their own agency through their engagement with their communities
and ultimately become transformative leaders.
Through community responsiveness, Ethnic Studies grows leaders that aim to
transform their communities. For example, PEP created an ethnic studies pipeline
that promotes the development of students’ ‘‘critical leadership’’ praxis, which
focuses on practicing leadership skills that directly engage a purpose that is rooted
in equity and social justice. Critical leadership builds on two major relationships: (1)
one’s relationship to oneself, and (2) one’s relationships to one’s communities (ex.
neighborhood, racial/ethnic, cultural, global, etc.) (Tintiangco-Cubales 2009; Daus-
Magbual 2011). PEP addresses the need to train leaders who focus on improving
social conditions for themselves and their community. PEP began in 2001 to serve
the academic and personal needs of Filipina/o American youth through a mentorship
program between college and high school students. Expanding to elective courses at
the high school and middle school levels, an after-school program at the elementary
school level and various courses at the community college level, PEP’s pedagogy
became rooted in a ‘‘partnership triangle’’ between the public schools, university,
and community. PEP’s critical leaders have a foot in each of these three spaces.
Pin@y Educational Partnership utilized Ethnic Studies as a vehicle to confront
educational inequities while also growing their own leaders. PEP was part of a
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coalition made up of the Chinatown Community Development Center, People
Organized to Win Employment Rights (POWER), Coleman Advocates: Youth
Making a Change, Homies Organizing the Mission to Empower Youth (HOMEY),
San Francisco Freedom School, and the Japanese Americans Citizens League
(JACL). The coalition came together with SFUSD Ethnic Studies teachers and
students to develop a campaign to establish Ethnic Studies in San Francisco high
schools (Tintiangco-Cubales et al. 2010, pp. x–xi), one that was ultimately
successful. Students and youth involved in this mobilization gained lessons in
agency and self-determination from an Ethnic Studies community responsive
pedagogy that shaped the organization of the campaign and encouraged students’
engagement in shaping their own educational futures.
In summary, Ethnic Studies pedagogy is directly connected to the purpose,
context, and content of what is being taught where the goal of community
responsiveness is central. In the pursuit of this, academic rigor is not compromised
but rather heightened through applied critical consciousness, direct and reflective
action, and the growing of transformative leaders. Ethnic Studies pedagogy that is
culturally responsive allows students to see themselves, their families, their
communities, and their histories in the curriculum and practices of the classroom, as
multiple sources of knowledge and cultural experiences are validated and
celebrated. Ethnic Studies that is community responsive builds upon students’
cultures and seeks to provide opportunities for students to create culture and
communities amongst themselves and also use their education to respond to needs in
their communities outside of classrooms. Community responsive methods along
with a culturally responsive curriculum support the goals of Ethnic Studies to align
education with the historical experiences and current needs of communities of color.
Through YPAR and the development of student agency and leadership, Ethnic
Studies students become critical action researchers and intellectuals who use what
they are learning in the classroom to serve their communities. To engage in the
complex Ethnic Studies pedagogy outlined above, teachers must have more than
content knowledge. To embody a sense of purpose, and a culturally and community
responsive pedagogy, they must be reflective and be able to critically interrogate
their own identities and experiences.
Teacher Racial Identity Development
As revealed in the literature review, the final component of effective Ethnic Studies
pedagogy was a teacher who engaged in continuous reflection about race, culture,
and identity. They did this to come to grips with the impact of racism and
colonialism on their own perspectives and sense of self, and learn to take action
individually and collectively towards social justice and self-decolonization. Both
Whites and people of color who are potential or present Ethnic Studies teachers
need to engage in this process of critical self-reflection but, because they occupy
quite different positions in a racial hierarchy, the issues they must work on are
significantly different (Tatum 1992).
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Teachers of Color and Ethnic Studies Teaching
The majority of studies of effective Ethnic Studies teachers reviewed above
highlighted the practices of teachers of color. Students of color comprise the
majority of Ethnic Studies majors (NCES 2012), a key tool for teaching Ethnic
Studies. Additionally, because teachers of color often personally connect to the
historical and current racialized realities represented in Ethnic Studies curriculum,
they may be more likely than their White counterparts to connect to content and to
students of color (Achinstein et al. 2010; Achinstein and Ogawa 2011b; Ladson-
Billings 2001; Villegas and Irvine 2010), and positively impact learning (Dee 2004;
Nieto 1999; Villegas and Irvine 2010). Teachers of color generally bring a greater
degree of multicultural knowledge, support for Ethnic Studies, commitment to
social justice, and commitment to provide students of color with challenging
curricula than do White teachers (Au and Blake 2003; Rios and Montecinos 1999;
Su 1996,1997).
Unfortunately, teachers of color are an extreme minority in the teaching force
and underrepresented in the teacher pipeline (CDE 2012; NCDTF 2004), a problem
that is critically important to address for the teaching of Ethnic Studies.
Additionally, research acknowledges that being a person of color is not enough
when considering effective teaching of race, racism and racialized realities (Berta-
A
´vila 2004). While people of color are connected through a commonality of racial
oppression, to access the tools needed for an Ethnic Studies pedagogy, it is
important for teachers of color to examine the impacts of racism and colonization on
their own identities, relationships with others, and understandings of education.
Several studies have found that a teacher of color’s racial connection with students
does not always lead to cultural match. Teachers who are outsiders to communities
in which they are teaching, even if they are of color and/or share their students’
ethnicity, may also bring experiences, privileges, and prejudices that, if left
unexplored, hinder the teacher’s ability to relate to students and the community
(Achinstein and Ogawa 2011a; Achinstein and Aguirre 2008; Au and Blake 2003).
Kohli (2009) complicated that argument, finding that regardless of cultural
match, teachers of color often have experienced some form of racism in their own
K-12 education, which parallels what students of color are facing today. Even so,
many times racial minority teachers have internalized that racism, and must go
through an intensive process to unlearn and heal from their experiences. For the
teachers in the study, majoring in Ethnic Studies and engaging in critical dialogues
about race, racism and internalized racism had significant impact on their ability to
apply a racial justice framework to teaching (Kohli 2013). Based on an analysis of
life histories of two Latino teacher candidates, Gomez et al. (2008) found that
racism continued on through the teacher education of these teachers of color, and
that they needed space to effectively process their current realities with racism.
Collectively, these studies point to the need for more racial minority teachers in
the field and Ethnic Studies teaching placements. They also shed light on the need
for teachers of color to reflect on their privileges and positionality relative to their
students, their past experiences with race and racism, as well as the racialization that
their identity affords them.
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White Teachers and Ethnic Studies Teaching
Because of their large presence in the field, it is also imperative to consider
examples of effective White Ethnic Studies teachers, as well as what is needed to
support their preparation. White teachers who have learned to teach Ethnic Studies
effectively serve as models for White people coming to understand racism, culture,
and ethnicity, and learning to locate their experiences and identities within a racially
inclusive paradigm. For White teachers especially, issues of identity involve
unpacking the impact of benefiting from racism, as well as learning to recognize
themselves as cultural beings. For example, Ullucci (2011a,b) studied the culturally
responsive classroom practices and self identities of six highly effective White
teachers in urban K-6 school settings. The teachers questioned the relevance of
curriculum materials and challenged practices that would not be engaging to their
students. Additionally, they understood that racism impacts schools, acknowledged
and drew on the backgrounds of their students, and understood the value of
culturally relevant pedagogies. To critically understand and connect with their
students with regard to race, they reflected on their personal experiences of
marginalization with regard to class, lack of educational success, and ethnicity.
However, such reflectiveness and pedagogy are not the norm for White teachers.
Based on a review of research, Sleeter (2008) found that most Whites enter teacher
education with little cross-cultural background, knowledge or experience, although
they often bring naive optimism that coexists with unexamined stereotypes taken for
granted as truth (see also Marx 2006). Picower (2009) described White preservice
teachers she worked with as creating ‘‘a hegemonic story about how people of color
should be able to pick themselves up by their bootstraps’’ (p. 201). Aveling (2001a)
argued that, in a misguided effort not to be racist, White teachers often try to be
colorblind and not see race, creating an imaginary world where neither the concept
of race nor racism exists presently or in the past. These beliefs and deficits must be
confronted, and doubly so for teachers of Ethnic Studies.
Critical autobiography, critical storytelling, and critical life history can help
White teachers examine connections between their individual lives and identities,
and broader social and political contexts. Rather than assuming that Whites have no
experience with race and racism, these activities assist White teachers in analyzing
experiences they do have that contribute to their identity, beliefs, and position
within the racial hierarchy. Aveling (2001b), who defined critical storytelling as
writing a personal autobiography or narrative of experience and locating one’s
experiences within ‘‘specific historical, cultural, and class-based realities’’, revealed
that some White students are able to analyze racism in their lives and identities
using this form of critical reflection. Johnson (2002) engaged preservice teachers in
sustained contact with communities of color and writing autobiographical narratives
analyzing how their lived experiences influence their perceptions of race. Laughter
(2011) assigned a racial development autobiography extended with dialogue circles
in which White preservice teachers wrote their own personal racial development
biography, then met to discuss them. He found that this process allows for
consideration of diversity among Whites in their experiences and the sense they
make of those experiences. While these forms of critical reflection do not provide
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training in Ethnic Studies content, they are essential for beginning the process of
constructively situating oneself in relationship to Ethnic Studies.
Implications for Preparing and Supporting K-12 Ethnic Studies Teachers
Since more schools and districts like SFUSD are beginning to see the value of
Ethnic Studies, and more courses are developing throughout the nation, there is a
great need for effective Ethnic Studies pedagogy. It is not enough to adopt an Ethnic
Studies curriculum without attending to pedagogy. Ethnic Studies pedagogy must be
rigorous, culturally and community responsive, and reflective for it to be effective in
living its promise of decolonization and challenging racism. Ethnic Studies
pedagogy, defined by its purpose, context, content, methods, and the identity of both
students and teachers, includes an (1) engagement with the purpose of Ethnic
Studies which is to eliminate racism by critiquing, resisting, and transforming
systems of oppression on institutional, interpersonal, and internal levels; (2)
knowledge about personal, cultural, and community contexts that impact students’
epistemologies and positionalities while creating strong relationships with families
and community organizations in local areas; (3) development of rigorous curriculum
that is responsive to student’s cultural, historical, and contemporary experiences; (4)
practices and methods that are responsive to the community needs and problems;
and (5) self-reflection on teacher identity and making explicit how identity impacts
power relations in the classroom and in the community. Ultimately, Ethnic Studies
needs to be developed and implemented in localized ways to provide students of
color with a meaningful, responsive, and rigorous curriculum where multiple
perspectives are respected, affirmed, and honored.
Implications for Practice
Ethnic Studies pedagogy has implications for recruitment, preparation, hiring, and
support of teachers. To expand the pipeline of teachers of color within Ethnic
Studies, we recommend the expansion of partnerships between universities, school
districts, and communities of color. Teacher education programs should both recruit
students of color and students majoring in Ethnic Studies, who may not have
seriously considered teaching as a career pathway. Additionally, since testing is a
barrier for many students of color who may become strong Ethnic Studies teachers,
and discourages others from considering teacher education, we recommend a
moratorium on using tests that discriminate against prospective teachers of color for
admission into teacher education. We also recommend a moratorium on tests that
are not directly reflective of what excellent teachers in racially and ethnically
diverse classrooms actually do. Further, given the ongoing diversification of
students in K-12 classrooms, we recommend that performance-based assessments
for licensure include the ability to use Ethnic Studies pedagogy, as defined above.
State requirements for subject matter preparation should include Ethnic Studies
coursework, utilizing expertise from scholars with degrees in the field. Whether this
involves having Ethnic Studies content woven into state tests or having separate
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subsections dedicated to Ethnic Studies, this shift could increase the pool of
qualified Ethnic Studies teachers as well as reduce the loss of potential teachers who
majored in Ethnic Studies who are currently being mis-tested. Ethnic Studies
content needs to be woven within credential programs, including methods courses
and student teaching placements, so that teacher candidates have many opportu-
nities to study both curriculum development and Ethnic Studies pedagogical
applications. Teacher preparation programs need to offer examples of how to
translate Ethnic Studies expertise into teaching. Critical self-reflection, woven
throughout teacher education should include reflection on the impact of racism,
colonialism, and Eurocentrism on their identities. It is also critically important,
particularly for White teachers, to reflect deeply on their own positionality in a
racially stratified society, and how to navigate that positionality when working with
students and communities of color, and when teaching Ethnic Studies.
School and district leaders’ support for Ethnic Studies begins with hiring and
placing highly effective teachers in Ethnic Studies classrooms. In the hiring process,
school leaders should develop committees that consist of students and represen-
tatives from community organizations who are familiar with community needs, and
teachers who are knowledgeable about Ethnic Studies pedagogy. Similarly,
evaluation of the teachers should include input from students and community.
Evaluations of Ethnic Studies teachers should be based on the same qualities as
hiring. An evaluation process that is less punitive and focuses more on support will
provide room for Ethnic Studies teachers to become more effective in their practice.
Our review of teachers of Ethnic Studies found that those who participated in
professional development to strengthen their Ethnic Studies knowledge base were
more successful than those who did not. Districts need to allot financial resources to
provide current teachers with ongoing support, in the form of coursework,
workshops, learning groups, and conferences, to ensure that their pedagogy serves
the larger purpose of Ethnic Studies, as it relates to the context of the students in the
classroom.
Implications for Research
Ethnic Studies has a lengthy and strong history at the college level, and is a growing
movement within K-12 schools starting to develop institutional roots. While we
were able to use related bodies of literature to develop a description of Ethnic
Studies pedagogy, we found research on Ethnic Studies teachers and teaching in
K-12 school contexts very limited. The existing case studies offer sketches of what
good Ethnic Studies teachers do, and suggest differences between effective and
ineffective Ethnic Studies teachers, but there is a need for more research about the
pedagogy and practice of K-12 Ethnic Studies teachers. The research should
investigate teachers in contexts with different racial and ethnic demographics, as
well as teachers at different levels of K-12 schooling. Further, it should highlight not
just the content of the curriculum, but also the tools and strategies that teachers use,
as well as their impact on youth development, community change, and academic
achievement. Additionally, as advocates of Ethnic Studies move to institutionalize
courses across public school districts as both electives and requirements, it would be
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important to research the structural and professional challenges teachers face as they
establish Ethnic Studies courses within broader Social Studies (and other)
departments. Overall, it would be helpful for the development and growth of
Ethnic Studies K-12 teaching to see research that documents the strengths and
challenges of this beautiful struggle to educate youth in the historical and current
day realities of communities of color.
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... However, concerns have been raised about the fidelity of Ethnic Studies instruction given the lack of structure and support for Ethnic Studies teaching (Cabrera, 2019;Tintiangco-Cubales, et al., 2015). The complex objectives may be mishandled by underprepared teachers, many of whom are interacting with the ideas for the first time (Cabrera, 2019). ...
... As such, much work has been undertaken to define the goals and expectations of Ethnic Studies coursework in high school contexts. Scholars of K-12 education have sought to delineate key knowledge and skills that teachers consider as they develop learning experiences for their Ethnic Studies students (Sleeter & Zavala, 2020;Tintiangco-Cubales, et al., 2015). In particular, scholars have emphasized counternarrative as a central component of Ethnic Studies instruction. ...
... For example, teachers may not have taken an Ethnic Studies course in either their undergraduate, teacher training program, or graduate programs unless they specifically majored in the subject (Sanders, 2009). Second, teachers explain the need for more professional development and opportunities for self-reflection (King et al., 2020;Tintiangco-Cubales et al., 2015). Finally, teachers discuss challenges regarding decisions around standardizing Ethnic Studies curriculum (Chapman et al., 2020;Valdez, 2020). ...
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Ethnic Studies courses are expanding in U.S. schools. While research has demonstrated the benefits of Ethnic Studies for racially minoritized students, less research has interrogated the process of Ethnic Studies curriculum development. Counternarrative—a central component of Ethnic Studies curricula—may present tensions for teachers crafting Ethnic Studies curricula. Through a case study of Ethnic Studies curriculum development with experienced teachers in a large urban school district, this article illuminates three tensions in designing Ethnic Studies curriculum with counternarrative in mind. Tensions regard argumentation, choosing among counternarratives, and literacy development. Counternarrative is essential to Ethnic Studies instruction and a core component of education for racial justice. Exploring how teachers navigate the tensions in moving from counternarrative to curriculum represents an important inquiry into Ethnic Studies curriculum development.
... Critiques of professional development suggest that neutral, apolitical, and ahistorical approaches to content-area learning are inadequate and should support educators in developing the skills of identifying and disrupting systems of oppression, engaging local communities, and teaching through an interdisciplinary lens (Fernández, 2019;Kohli, Picower, Martinez, & Ortiz, 2015;Tintiangco-Cubales et al., 2015). Parkhouse et al. (2019) conducted a meta-ethnographic, systematic literature review of 40 studies focused on multicultural education-focused professional development programs. ...
... This body of literature is largely void of an analysis of power, sociopolitical and historical contexts, and difference. While there have been calls to challenge apolitical and seemingly neutral approaches to professional development (Fernández, 2019;Kohli, Picower, Martinez, & Ortiz, 2015;Tintiangco-Cubales et al., 2015), studies that center power and difference differ greatly in their approach, theoretical framing, and outcomes (Parkhouse et al., 2019). We build on these studies to include approaches to professional learning that center different knowledge systems with a focus on interconnectedness, embodiment, self-reflexivity, and healing (Asher, 2003;Berila, 2014;Dei, 2010;hooks, 1994;Ryoo, Crawford, Moreno & McLaren, 2009;Wane, Manyimo & Ritskes, 2011). ...
... There are different curriculum and pedagogical strands that enact multicultural classroom teaching, such as culturally relevant pedagogy (Ladson-Billings, 1995), culturally responsive teaching (Gay, 2000), culturally sustaining pedagogies (Paris & Alim, 2017), ethnic studies pedagogy (Tintiangco-Cubales et al., 2015), culturally congruent instruction (Mohatt & Ericsson, 1981), culturally appropriate instruction (Au & Jordan, 1981), and culturally compatible instruction (Jordan, 1985;Vogt, Jordan, & Tharp, 1987). Although they offer varying definitions, goals, and approaches, there is a general agreement amongst them. ...
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Much of the literature on professional development offers disembodied, secular, detached and technical approaches to teaching and learning. Born of a collective need for healing, meaning and co-inquiry, I joined justice-oriented educators to explore our overlapping experiences as liberatory practitioners and spiritual seekers. We met for over a year in fluid, yet predictable ways, sharing, breathing, moving, writing, reflecting, meditating. Engaging critical ethnography (Madison, 2007; 2011) and a spiritual dialogic approach (Edwards, 2016), I documented critical, interconnected approaches to professional engagements. This a critical and decolonial approach that is distinct from traditional notions of professional learning, in that it centers collective healing, interconnectedness and sustenance alongside pedagogies of justice and liberation. Situated in the in-betweenness of decolonial and anti-colonial theories, this study describes the context of our gatherings and the collective experiences of educators, including : awareness, embodiment, and healing; shapeshifting and multiplicity; and practicing interconnectedness and relationality. I conclude with guidelines and possibilities for critical, interconnected approaches to professional engagements.
... There is a body of research that also points to the importance of focusing on teachers' own critical awareness and identity development in order to support students equitably and holistically (Donahoe-Keegan et al., 2019;Tintiangco-Cubales, 2015;Ulluci, 2010). For example, Tintiangco-Cubales et al. (2015) have advocated for credential programs to weave Ethnic Studies content into coursework, engage teachers in critical selfreflection, and create spaces for teachers (particularly White teachers) to reflect on their own biases and positionality. ...
... There is a body of research that also points to the importance of focusing on teachers' own critical awareness and identity development in order to support students equitably and holistically (Donahoe-Keegan et al., 2019;Tintiangco-Cubales, 2015;Ulluci, 2010). For example, Tintiangco-Cubales et al. (2015) have advocated for credential programs to weave Ethnic Studies content into coursework, engage teachers in critical selfreflection, and create spaces for teachers (particularly White teachers) to reflect on their own biases and positionality. Similarly, Ullucci (2010) has noted the need for increasing coursework focused on multicultural development for teachers; supporting pre-service teachers in recognizing dominant, problematic narratives and providing them with new lenses for analyzing entrenched, harmful practices; and fostering racial awareness and understanding, while also cautioning against the development of a White savior complex (Aaronson, 2017). ...
... Despite the existing research, many scholars point to the need to better support teachers in these ways (Cochran-Smith et al., 2009;Goodwin & Darity, 2019;Martell, 2018;Schonert-Reichl et al., 2017;Tintiangco-Cubales et al., 2015), and more research is needed to better understand how to prepare teachers accordingly. ...
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Transformative social and emotional learning (Jagers et al., 2019), a form of social-emotional learning (SEL) specifically focused on equity, is an important part of student overall well-being and success. However, there is limited research on how to effectively prepare teachers to bring SEL to their classrooms, especially SEL grounded in social justice. In order to contribute to the growing field of teacher training in social-emotional learning, this qualitative study explores teacher perceptions of their own preparedness in this area. Findings reveal that teachers saw their own transformative SEL as a key factor in supporting students' transformative SEL, highlighting the importance of holistic teacher preparation that focuses on the social-emotional development of teachers themselves.
... The problematic of these large concentrations are compounded by a dearth of certified Asian or Hispanic teachers along with the lack of familiarity of White teachers to respective resistant intellectual traditions. As illustrated in vignettes one LINGUISTIC CONSCIENTIZATION 3 and two of our findings section, the New Destination South emphasizes the need for critical language advocacy, scaffolding of academic language, and exposure to Asian and Hispanic resistant traditions in schools as key related extension of ethnic studies pedagogy (Sleeter, 2011;Tintiangco-Cubales et al., 2015). ...
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The COVID-19 pandemic sparked the civic mobilization of various communities of color, including Asian Americans. This chapter discusses the corresponding role of Asian American Native American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs) within this context, serving as critical sites in cultivating Asian American students’ civic engagement toward social justice agendas. Educational research, scholarship, and personal reflections of practitioners are integrated throughout the chapter to discuss how AANAPISIs at Sacramento State and Coastline College fulfill this call by providing culturally relevant and community responsive programs and practices influenced by an ethnic studies framework.
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Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders (AAPIs) live in the intersections, particularly in the world of education. Some would describe this positionality as accidental or incidental, but, for many of us, our choice to locate ourselves in the intersections is intentional. An intersection can be defined simply as a juncture where two or more paths cross. When the roads of K-12 schooling and higher education converge, we discover glimpses of possibility for improvements in access, retention, and curricular matters. However, dynamics within these crossroads are assumed to be incidental and ad-hoc, leaving them poorly facilitated and under-theorized. But just as borders are historically, socially, politically, and economically constructed with intentions to separate, intersections can also be drawn with deliberate intention to ensure that we interact. In this essay, we suggest that critical educational intersections provide contexts where a multitude of interactions are possible for AAPIs to pursue purposeful wo...
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A life history approach was used to examine the narratives of 6 White teachers of racially diverse classrooms who had been nominated as being "aware of race and racism" by a diverse panel of experts. The teachers' responses to race were examined by semistructured interviews, a drawing of their racial identity and a classroom visit that examined classroom artifacts and teacher-student interactions. Narrative analysis revealed that teachers' perceptions of racial awareness were influenced by (a) perceived identity as "outsiders," due to class background or sexual orientation, that enabled them to disidentify with the White mainstream; (b) living and working with individuals of other races in relationships that approximated "equal status" and exposed them to "insider" perspectives on race and racism; and (c) personal religious/philosophical beliefs that emphasized equality and social justice concerns. Implications for restructuring teacher education programs include revising candidate selection criteria, increasing the racial diversity of students and faculty, experiencing "immersion" in communities of color, and using autobiographical narrative as a pedagogical tool.
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Background The call to recruit and retain teachers of color in urban high-minority schools is based on an assumption of a cultural match with students. Yet new teachers of color may find themselves challenged by students with whom they are supposedly culturally matched. Although past research has examined recruitment, preservice, and veteran experiences of teachers of color, little research investigates the critical novice phase. Purpose The study examines the induction experiences of new teachers of color in urban high-minority schools as they negotiate challenges about cultural identifications. The research questions ask: How, if at all, do new teachers of color experience sociocultural challenges from students? If they do experience such challenges, how do the teachers respond to them in practice? Participants Fifteen new teachers of color working in urban high-minority secondary schools in different subject domains in California. The participants include Latino, African American, Asian, Filipino, and biracial new teachers. Research Design This article draws from cross-case analysis of case studies of new teachers of color on the theme of responses to sociocultural challenges. Data Collection/Analysis Data are from teacher interviews, classroom observations, and focus groups, reflecting 3 years in the teachers’ lives. We coded the data on three levels: preliminary coding of sociocultural challenges, pattern coding of responses to challenges, and cross-case analysis. Findings The study findings complicate the limited conception of cultural match currently dominating policy and research rhetoric about teachers of color. The authors highlight a surprising new form of “practice shock” that the novices of color experienced when students of color questioned the teachers’ cultural identifications, finding them culturally suspect. The study also challenges the prevailing description of novices’ response to practice shock as moving toward more control-focused teaching. Instead, most novices at times took up the challenges as teachable moments and opportunities to broaden student conceptions. Teachers drew on “emergent multicultural capital” to negotiate challenges in ways that shaped teaching practice. Conclusions The literature on novices, drawn from a White-dominant sample, has not included a discussion of sociocultural conflicts or the supports needed in induction years for teachers of color. The study revealed the lack of support that many of the teachers felt in relation to negotiating sociocultural issues. The study raises issues about targeted induction support for teachers of color that educators and researchers should consider as they seek to diversify the workforce.
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The inclusion of race-related content in college courses often generates emotional responses in students that range from guilt and shame to anger and despair. The discomfort associated with these emotions can lead students to resist the learning process. Based on her experience teaching a course on the psychology of racism and an application of racial identity development theory, Beverly Daniel Tatum identifies three major sources of student resistance to talking about race and learning about racism, as well as some strategies for overcoming this resistance.